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Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's A Green Thing

I am a chest beating manly man who loves meat in all its forms and I get a little weak kneed for smoked pork products. But I must admit...with reluctance....I love salads.
This green rabbit food, we have all made to disdain and place in the category of diet food, or reserved for those veggies hanging out by the health food store, playing drums and guitars in a circle that wreaks of patchouli. Contrary to what we think, those veggies are right and this stuff is good for us in its raw form and can heal our gassy, bloated, constipated, irregular, fat laden, jiggly bellies. Now don't go thinking that Chef Dave is gonna stop eating meat and will join a drum circle, but I do condone eating a well balanced meal that is relatively healthy and sometimes we forget that, and our diet becomes a little unbalanced in today's over processed, fat, and sugar laden fast food world.
A salad is a quick and easy way to make a meal and get some raw veggies in you.
I was making a wood fired salmon dinner for my mothers birthday one year, and decided to make a salad I had made before in my profession. It became both my mother and my wife's favorite. It combined a few things I never that I thought they would try, and try to expand their flavor profiles.
My wife can be picky with what, and how she puts food her mouth. She has developed a set of rules like no sweet and savory, prefers it cooked and not raw, etc. When these foods were mixed in a salad  and in her mouth, she didn't seem to mind and actually liked combinations that would have broken her food rules.
As a chef, I am always looking for flavor combinations that pair well together and create that symphony in my mouth. One of the easiest ways to find that symphony and indulge your desire for experimentation of foods is a salad.  The combinations of salads are endless, and allows you to make the choice to take in and taste one ingredient of the salad or create a medley of flavors with each bite.
Tasting foods in their raw form lets you taste the unadulterated flavor that nature intended. In turn you will  gain a new appreciation of the different components of the foods you were already cooking, you will also realize the true quality (or lack of) of the food we are purchasing.  It may change what and how you purchase your food the next time you need to go grocery shopping.
Make a meal out of a salad. A fun and easy way to make dinner a little more enjoyable for kids is to present a make your own meal at the table. Each person creates an individual expression of what they like or an outlet to be a little adventurous. Place different greens,  chopped veggies, dressings, cheeses, meats, fruits, etc. Most of these chopped veggies can be introduced into your next meal and will be ready to cook, being already chopped.
Those who are already saying that adding meats and cheese and tons of dressing, make a salad more fattening, here are a few tips to make these mean green meals a little lighter on the calorie counter;
Use less dressing by tossing your salad with your dressing of choice. By tossing you spread the dressing out and enhance the flavor by getting it on every component of your salad not just the top, tempting you to want more dressing when you get to the bottom.
Get the dressing on the side and dip your fork in the dressing them pick up a bite of salad and bite.
Refrain from using cream based dressings, vinaigretteS are a better choice.
Make your own dressing, most of the ones in the bottle are full of chemicals, flavor enhancers, and the worst of all high fructose corn syrup-READ YOUR LABELS, it might frighten you...
Go organic, less risk of pesticides and chemicals, Radiated food, GMO foods, and out of season foods.

The indulgent salad I mentioned was my mothers favorite contains as follows;
A mix of organic spinach, rocket, frisee, and romaine lettuce
Topped with sliced red onion, yellow bell pepper, and pears and raspberries
Goat cheese crumbles and bacon crumbles, croutons
a red wine vinaigrette , dash of lemon juice and fresh cracked black pepper.

Green is the thing. Mix it up and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. If you need some great salad, dressing, or meal ideas, let me know!