Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm a Saladaholic

I love salads.
Always have. While growing up, mom usually made very simple salads to go with dinner - iceberg lettuce, tomato, and perhaps one other vegetable if it was on hand (carrot, cucumber, or radish). I would always help clear the table, and was glad to do so --> because if there was any salad left in the bowl, I picked at it until there was nothing left.

One time, when I was a young teenager, we went to Ohio to visit family. We were at my mom's sister's house, Aunt Patsy, and she had the biggest red tomato I had ever seen on her kitchen window sill. I remember desiring to do the dishes just so I could admire that tomato. Somehow, Aunt Patsy noticed my ogling - I have no idea how or why, as I'm not one bit transparent, ha!...she said, "Gina? Would you like that tomato?". Oh my goodness, music to my soul!! "You mean I can have...the whole thing?"

"Yes, you can have the whole thing to yourself," she laughed.

That tomato, and that Aunt Patsy Pearl made my day. Best present ever - like an apple or an orange in a hanging stocking back in the day. I will never forget that moment, nor that tomato.

Presently in my 50's, I find I still desire a salad every single day.
Salads are refreshing. I enjoy adding crunch to them with a few sunflower or pepita seeds. The last couple days, Randy has been traveling for work; so, when that happens, I can have whatever I want, whenever I want it - without asking anyone, "Well, what sounds good to you?". As a result, I found the nicest, cleanest, best ever Sweet Tomatoes Soup Plantation  I have ever visited. It's in Sugarland, Texas. If I'm in the upper section of Houston, I found I'll drive 30 minutes and two freeways just to have a big plate of their salad (and one muffin of the month - yum!).

Let's pretend we're there...get a tray, a white round plate, layer it with fresh spinach, then dark green leafy lettuces, then a light layer of red cabbage, then tons of shredded carrots and yellow squash --> out of this world good!!, then red beets, small pieces of fresh cauliflower, a spoon of their broccoli salad (heaven!), then I either drizzle ranch or poppyseed honey mustard dressing on top, and last, just a few sunflower seeds on top. Voila - I'm ready.

When at home, my favorite salad to make for lunch only has cabbage for lettuce in it...

Get an oversized bowl, and a fork (we're gonna make the dressing first).

Dressing (sorry, I don't measure):
Apple cider vinegar - Probably 2 Tbsp
Honey - Probably 3/4 Tbsp
Stir together with the fork really good - sort of like whipping it with a wisk.

Add finely-shredded cabbage (green and red), along with shredded carrots in the mix. Maybe 2-3 cups total (you can purchase this in a bag - to me, the finely shredded one is more delightful than the other; but, both are still good).
1 Tbsp Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) - I like them roasted and salted
1 Tbsp diced Walnuts

Put those things right on top of your dressing in the bowl, and toss it all together. Oh my goodness, fresh and delicious! I don't think this salad needs salt or fresh pepper; but, if you just HAVE to have it, then go ahead and ruin it - see if I care.

If you like your salads a little more tart, use more apple cider vinegar, or less honey. If you like them sweeter, do the opposite. Both tangy and sweet are great as dressings in this salad - you really can't go wrong.