Archive for July, 2019

SALAD 101

Some of my clients only seem to enjoy eating salads when they’re out in a restaurant.  They find making them at home to be tedious and for some reason, their salads seem to be BLAH. Eating a lot of greens is a wonderful way to pour nutrients and phytochemicals into your body,  so I’d like to give you a few pointers so that you can enjoy delicious salads at home.

  1. Keep your greens dry. So often, we buy a giant container of mixed greens, spinach or arugula, only to find that there were a few wet leaves in the mix that caused rotting of a good portion of the salad.  To avoid this, open the container, pick out the wet leaves,  and store the remaining dry ones in reusable green bags. I use Debbie Meyer GreenBags and love them! The greens stay fresher longer and I can re-use the bags. You can also put a paper towel in the bag to absorb any additional water.  You will have crisp greens ready at your fingertips:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015Y7B57U/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  2. Be creative! Add things to your salad that you love. I love adding some fruit into my salads. In the summer, I add strawberries and blueberries. In the winter, I add apples, pears or grapes. You can add leftover cooked vegetables, any protein that you like,  or sprinkle your salads with beans. Aged cheeses, like Parmesan or feta,  go a long way—you will be surprised how little you’ll need to make a huge IMG_1073difference! Make your salads colorful! Add sliced yellow peppers, red spiralized beets, and/or orange carrots. You can include green avocado, orange slices and/or yellow corn.
  3. Season it! This is a game changer. Sprinkling a bit of salt on your salad will make your salad come to life. Flavors will pop and everything will taste better. I learned this trick when I lived in Italy for eight years. It was also reinforced when I read the cookbook, “Salt, Fat Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” by Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton. Salt enhances sweetness and blocks bitterness.
  4. Toss it! Pouring dressing on salad in a bowl and pushing it around with your fork is no way to eat a salad. Get a large wooden salad bowl so you have room to toss. I bought this one from amazon and love it.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q312WXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

5. Top quality olive oil is the key. I am not a fan of salad dressings because many of them are full of chemicals. Olive oil, instead, is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. If you get a good brand, and choose extra-virgin, you might pay a bit more for it, but it will be worth it! For some tips on what to look for, check out this link:

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/how-to-buy-olive-oil-beginners-guide

In summary, having just a few tools—good storage bags for salad greens, and a wooden salad bowl to toss, will make salads easier to create.  Adding colorful ingredients that you love, a sprinkle of salt and some high quality extra-virgin olive oil,  will make home salads taste spectacular!

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WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA AND MINT

Every summer, I love ordering a watermelon salad when I am out at a restaurant. It is so delicious and refreshing, that I thought that I should try a recipe at home. This one is a hit! I love the combo of the olives and feta with the watermelon. I soaked the onion in ice water for 10 minutes to take out the bite. Just perfect!

ingredients (serves 12)download.jpg

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tabasco

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled

½ pound feta cheese, crumbled

1 ¼ cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)

1 small sweet onion, cut into ½-inch dice

1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

directions

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.

(recipe found on http://www.foodandwine.com)

 

 

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JAPANESE-STYLE CUCUMBER SALAD

I am growing cucumbers in my vegetable garden and they’re starting to come in! Therefore,  I searched for some new recipes and found this little treasure!! Clean, crispy and light. LOVE!!

ingredientsMGTCucumberSalad

4 mini cucumbers or 1 English cucumber

¼ teaspoon iodized salt, divided

1 medium carrot, peeled

2 teaspoons mirin

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon sesame seeds

instructions

Thinly slice cucumber (about ⅛-inch thick) and spread on a cutting board. Sprinkle half the salt onto cucumber slices. Turn slices over and sprinkle the rest of the salt on top.

Let sit for 10 minutes. Use a vegetable peeler to create carrot ribbons.

In a small bowl, whisk together mirin, rice vinegar and soy sauce. Using clean hands, squeeze water out of cucumbers and place slices in a large bowl. Add carrot ribbons. Pour dressing over vegetables, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Cooking note: One teaspoon agave nectar can be substituted for 2 teaspoons mirin.

(recipe found in “Food & Nutrition”, July/August, 2019)

 

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