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a salad to love

January 15, 2012

Nothing disappoints me more than a bad salad in a good restaurant.  You know the kind of salad I’m talking about:   It comes out and all the leaves are matted down or wilted (often with a few rotting “surprises” hidden somewhere near the middle), and the whole thing looks pathetically dry and unappetizing, having come straight out of one of those pre-packaged mix bags.     At this point you think to yourself, ” Seriously, why did I even bother?”  You scan the table, and your friends look so smug with their open-faced sandwiches.  You spend half the meal dragging soggy, brown-edged leaves to an ugly mush pile in the corner of your plate.   You will not pout.   You will steal a french fry from your neighbor.

Well now its Sunday and there’s a good chance you’re watching football and eating something greasy and delicious.  Good for you!  A safe bet in the sports bar.   Even if you do feel guilty about it tomorrow – I am here to save you from the prospect of a another bad salad in the only place where you can help it:  your own kitchen.    I’m going to include a few suggestions along with a recipe for my standard simple vinaigrette, which I like to keep on hand in a large container.  It’s nice to have when you get home from work and don’t feel like going crazy in the kitchen.  Here’s how to regularly whip up something nice and clean and green that you can feel really good about when you dive in with a fork tomorrow….

SALAD RULES:

1) buy at least 2 varieties of LOOSE dark greens (stay away from the kinds that come in a rectangular-shaped plastic bag via modified atmosphere. Why?  #1), I personally think fresh loose greens taste better.  #2) bagged lettuce spoils faster once opened and has a higher risk of this).  My favorites are green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, green kale, and spinach.

2) wash your greens.  Do this on a sunday and you’ll have clean lettuce for the week.   Fill a clean sink with cold water, or, clean leaves individually by rinsing under the faucet.

3) dry your greens.  If you don’t own a salad spinner, you need to get one.  My Grandma used to slave over washing and drying her tender garden lettuces by hand.  She would lay each leaf out on paper towels and then roll them up for storage in the fridge.  It was a labor of love, but the invention of the salad spinner put those  lost hours back into the day.   Once you’ve spun your greens, you can store them in the spinner, refrigerated,  for about a week.

4) add crunch to your bowl.  I like sliced almonds, carrots, granny smith apple….just to name a few.  My salad pictured below includes kale, spinach, almonds, carrots, roasted beets & sliced radish.

4) mix a big batch of homemade dressing you love, and drizzle it over your greens.  Toss and enjoy!

SIMPLE VINAIGRETTE – store in a bottle or jar that you can shake up prior to serving.

1/3 c  red wine vinegar   |   1 c mild olive/canola oil   |   juice of 1/2 lemon   |   1 tsp garlic salt   |   1/2 tsp  ground black pepper

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Hallie permalink
    January 29, 2012 7:19 pm

    I have been patiently waiting to figure out your secret, go-to dressing recipe. Thanks for this!

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