Friday, May 22, 2009

Contained Excitement

I am trying to get more enthusiastic about eating salad.  There are endless combinations and flavors and toppings and I am determined to eat more of it.  Raw veggies are so gosh darn good for you but it's difficult to chose them over something bready and/or hot sometimes.  It's probably going to get easier in the next few months since we are on the cusp of summer.  I cannot believe how fast spring went by!  I used to eat soup from a nearby place at work but the rising temperatures make it less appealing.  I decided to get a salad one day and I really enjoyed it.  The only downside was that it cost almost twice what I usually pay for soup.  This didn't seem like a good habit to fall into so I decided to get into the better habit of making my own salads at home to bring to work.  I found a nice brand of goat cheese that is sectioned off into individual portions and each package has enough for about 12 salads.  It's the perfect amount to crumble up and sprinkle on top.  The issue was finding a good salad mix.  The first one that I bought had too much spinach.  I love it but too much of it raw leaves an unpleasant mouthfeel.  My teeth feel all rubbery for a good hour or two afterwards.  The next mix had too much purple and the resulting bitterness took away from the overall experience.  The third spring mix that I tried was much better and I really enjoyed my salad today.  

I usually pack the same one almost every time because I really enjoy this combination of flavors.  Costco is a great place to stock up on salad stuff.  They have massive containers of organic spring mix for less than five dollars.  They make several good sized salads.  I keep lots of fresh greens in the fridge lately.  I'm a big fan of cooked baby spinach and I also use a whole container of baby arugula to cook with beans for dinner.  I buy the huge bags of shelled nuts.  They are about 2-3 pounds each of walnuts and pecans.  I take a few handfuls and toast them in the oven.  I did 375 degrees today for about 15 minutes.  I checked them and then let them stay in about five minutes longer.  I love taking them out of the oven and reveling in their aroma.  I don't add anything to them.  Once the oils are released by the heat, they have such a complex and satisfying taste on their own.  They add major flavor to any salad.  I usually use about 1/5 of a cup and then save the rest in a container for future lunches.  About two cups of assorted nuts will last the week.  I try to make Chris a salad too so I try to maintain a shelf in the fridge with supplies.  I need to come up with a more efficient method.  It's a work in progress.  

Another thing I love on salads is berries!   Luckily they are cheap right now.  Summer is an action packed season for produce.  I love to take the family to the pick-your-own patches.  I also can't wait to see all of the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes when they burst onto the scene at the market!   When the berries aren't readily available, I find that dried cranberries are a great touch.  We have a small herb garden in a planter that is inside of our house.  We have a nice box on the balcony but the squirrels tend to seek and destroy anything I put out there.  This is why I can't have nice things.   They get good sun behind the couch so I just need to remember to water them and they can give us the flavor hookup when we need it.  

As far as dressing goes, I've still been on a balsamic reduction campaign.  I just love how a light drizzile can bring a whole salad to life.   I'm going to experiment with making my own salad dressings.  There are a few good ones you can get from the store but most of them are usually lacking in some way.  This seems like a proactive way to fill in the gaps.  

I can't wait to see what kind of stuff they have at the Farmers Market tomorrow!  I'm on the lookout for some inspiration.  I'm trying my best to sustain this  and I need to keep it interesting in order to keep from straying.


  1. You're a food blogging maniac :) Hugs, S

  2. I found a really good organic salad dressing from Trader Joes...but I can't remember the name of it, I'll get back to you on that, but its delicious!!

  3. If only I could blog the way you quilt.