Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Missing Recipe!


I apologize for not posting a recipe today. My dad died Saturday late afternoon, and I've been running and gunning ever since. Between funeral arrangements, transportation arrangements for those coming from other states, keeping up with food--lettuce salad, really!--and laundry, making sure his bills are paid, and wading through the Trust's language to see what's what, I haven't had time to do anything else!

His funeral's Monday, so I don't know whether or not I'll post next week, either!

Again, my apologies!

I hope to "see" you all in a couple of weeks!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Berry Spinach Salad

I had a version of this in a Vail, CO, restaurant. I tried to find it on the internet just now, but I failed. It was a diner, rather than the usual upscale places you find there. We were tired and didn't want to deal with the energy of an upscale place! We were ready for a simple dinner and some sleep! Ha! I didn't expect more than the usual iceberg, tomato wedges, and some onion rings in a salad, and at that point, I didn't care. (That tells you just exactly how tired I was!) To my surprise, there was the salad I expected, in all it's variations, AND there was a spinach salad with raspberry dressing. And THAT'S what I ordered.

As I ate the salad, I (of course) kept tasting the dressing, trying to figure out the ingredients. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out more than raspberry. I finally asked, and the server said it was raspberries. I said, yeah, I know, but what else? She laughed and said, nothing, just raspberries. It opened up a whole new world. I would never have thought of using just a fruit and nothing else!

I've used that jumping-off point many times. I've varied the salad ingredients, but never, never the dressing! I have tried other fruits for dressing, with varied degrees of success. Obviously, summer is the best time for berry anything, since they're in season now--and affordable! I made this salad for my daughter, who was visiting me, and it was January. I bought, for a ridiculous price, a pint of raspberries for this dressing and fed her the salad. She took her first bite, her eyes widened, and she said, "This is the best salad I've ever had!" She ate with a look of rapture on her face. And this was Jenna, who eats what's handy and does as little cooking as possible! Ha!

So, enjoy this salad with its amazing dressing!

4 servings

10 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed and drained (Costco's organic baby spinach is great)
1 red onion, sliced into rings and separated
1/2-1 cup walnut halves (I don't use candied ones!)
2 pints strawberries, most halved and 12 left whole (If the berries are all large, you might want to halve them all!)
OPT: 1 pint blueberries

2 pints raspberries

On 4 plates, layer the spinach, red onion rings (you don't have to use all of them--especially if it's a large red onion! Ha!), walnuts--the amount varies depending on your taste, strawberries, and the optional blueberries.

Rinse and drain the raspberries. Toss them into a blender, and buzz until they're smooth. The seeds will still be in there, unless you have a high speed blender (like Vita Mix). The texture of the seeds is good!

Pour equal amounts of dressing over each plate.

Your other option is to pile everything into a salad bowl, pour the dressing over it, and toss. Serve in 4 equal portions. (I usually do this, as it's a lot easier! Ha!)

Either way: enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whipped Cream Fruit Salad

I love this salad now, and I loved it when I was a kid! My brother was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 3 (I was 6), so we didn't get to eat sweet stuff! And my parents are from the midwest, so when we visited our extended families, there was always a picnic! And always, always, someone would bring Ambrosia, the sweet salad with marshmallows, jello, and canned fruit! I'm sure there's other stuff in it, but I never got to eat it, either, so I don't know! (My mother fed us only what Mark could eat. A serendipity was that I didn't get cavities, so there's always an upside! Ha!)

This is my mother's version of a diabetic "Ambrosia."

1 15 oz can unsweetened pineapple bites, or tidbits (rings cut into bite-size pieces), drained
1 14 oz. can unsweetened peach slices, drained and cut into bites
1-2 (depends on the size) bananas, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/8"-1/4" slices
1-2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened (my mother used saccharine) with Splenda or xylitol, if you don't want to use sugar!

Mix the drained fruit and bananas. There will still be juice on them, so mix in 1 cup whipping cream, whipped and sweetened. This should be plenty for a dressing! The 2nd cup is for people like me, who like the whipped cream more than the fruit! Ha!

I've actually tried this with fresh everything. Ironically, I think this is the only fruit salad that I like better with the canned fruit. I wondered if it has something to do with the canned juice! I may try it again with fresh, because it goes against my "grain" to recommend canned anything! Ha!

Also, I've been dealing with my dad's failing health and heart for quite a while now, and "easy" is almost my middle name! The last few salads have been what I think of as "refrigerator salads," which means open the fridge and see what one can add to lettuce to make it at least more interesting! Also nutritious! Also tasty! Sleep is out, so I'm using food for energy these days!

Happy eating!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Plummy Salad

Champagne grapes, which I bought for the first time at Costco, taste a lot like red grapes. I think they're slightly sweeter, and they're tiny! They're fun to eat--we just sucked them right off the stem! Ha! I don't know about Steve, but I definitely felt like I was "getting away with something!" Ha! My very proper, Southern-upbringing mother might have frowned, or she might have joined me! I never could guess which it would be, making for an interesting childhood! Ha!

And two days later, I found champagne grapes in another store, and they were almost as big as red grapes! So, red grapes halved would be good! Ha!

4 servings

For the salad:
4 ripe red plums, seeded and diced (Black plums will work, but red plums are prettier!)
1 bunch champagne, or red, grapes
5-oz. bag of mixed greens (or a handful, or two, of greens from a 1-lb. container per plate! MMM!)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2-3 slices white onion, quartered and rings separated
1/2-1 cup pecans (this depends on how many nuts you like on a salad!)

For the dressing:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (try Costco's Balsamic Vinegar of Modena! MMMM!)
2/3 cup canola, or safflower, oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
OPT: sweetener (agave nectar, xylitol, sugar, etc.) If you're using a high-quality balsamic, it will already taste sweet, so these won't be needed!)

Wash and dice the plums. Rinse the grapes and drain in a colander or on a towel (or?). If you haven't already done so, halve the red grapes, if you're using them.

To serve:
Put the washed lettuce on 4 plates. Top with the cilantro, plums, and grapes. Sprinkle the onion pieces over this. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. (This is a nice-looking salad: red skin and yellow meat of the plums, red grapes, green cilantro and lettuce, white onion pieces, and brown nuts!) Serve with the balsamic dressing!

If you're using more lettuce, this can be a main dish salad. If you've limited yourself to a 5-oz. bag, then it's a side salad--which would be great with grilled chicken! To add more color, add roasted ears of corn! MMMMMMM to any or all! Ha!