Friday, May 27, 2011

Simply Scrumptious Salads

Around here, summer's arrival is marked by increasingly frequent trips to the garden to snip fresh produce and herbs to spice up our cooking. Although it's still a little early to truly begin harvesting much of anything, Mom's garden has already sprouted handfuls of flavor to add to our nightly salads.

Family Sized Salad on Crate and Barrel's To-Go Folding Side Table

For some reason, I love making salads. Even though it can be terribly time-consuming (last night I was glued to the cutting board for 45+ minutes), I get the same sort of satisfaction from filling a big wooden bowl with neatly chopped colors that I do from folding and putting away a pile of laundry. Or from running around the vaccuum a few times. Or from writing down things that I've already done on my to-do list just so I can cross them out. Or from re-arranging my desk. Ah, I'm working on it. 

Last night's salad* featured the following:

Iceburg Lettuce
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Romaine Hearts

Red Pepper
Organic Carrots

Salted Almonds + Cashews (delicious toasted if you have the time!)
Dried Cranberries
Crispy Wonton Wrappers (stir-fried in olive oil & crushed into small crouton-esque pieces)

Lemon Thyme

With Zoom!

*Although this salad was quite tasty, my favorite salads incorporate spinach lettuce, carmelized walnuts (try them - they taste like candy!), lightly drizzled parmesan peppercorn dressing, and homemade croutons (try stir-frying the ends of an old loaf of bread in olive oil with pepper & garlic salt).

Often we leave our big family-style salad dry so everyone can choose their own dressings (and add contested ingredients like pieces of hard boiled eggs, bacon bits, olives, etc.)...and so Brother #3 can mix in pasta with sauce and top it off with Thousand Island dressing to his heart's content. It probably comes as no surprise but I get very unhappy when the different parts of my meal touch!

Brother #3's Colorful & Chaotic Plate** 

**Please excuse the suspiciously slimy looking bacon-cheddar-jalapeno hamburger, the glare from the granite countertop, and the reflection off of the fork and spoon. Brother #2 - hurry home so you can teach me how to camouflage my status as an amateur photographer!

Last night I sliced up some leftover grilled BBQ chicken and sprinkled Emeril's BAM IT! salad seasoning on my individual salad. The pre-mixed spice (of garlic, salt, sesame, poppy seed, parmesan cheese, paprika, celery seed, and black pepper) served as a delicious and healthy alternative to a salad spritzer or dressing - although I did wake up this morning with a particularly brutal case of garlic breath.

My Salad (Terrible Lighting Thrown in for Free)
A Medley of Flavor and Crunch from Emeril

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