Monday, May 24, 2010
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It's suddenly summer here in Iowa and this weekend it was up in the 90s on Sunday. That didn't inspire me to turn on the oven, as you can imagine, so I relied on my CSA veggies to whip up a big chopped salad for dinner. This type of salad is my go-to meal in summer—it's flavorful, filling and is endless open to using whatever I have on hand.
Since this really isn't a recipe, but rather a method, here's what I do:
I combine a mix of lettuce (which I chop up if there are very large leaves) with chopped crunchy veggies like carrots, radishes and cucumber, then I add cheese (grated cheddar, crumbled feta or goat cheese, depending on what's around), a protein (like pinto beans, black eyed peas or walnuts), and tomatoes if I have them. Sometimes I throw in roasted veggies if I have leftovers or I add a cooked grain like bulgur or wheat berries.
Really, it's all about getting a few different textures and flavors in the mix—which is why I try to chop things up to be somewhat uniform and small. 9 times out of 10, I use this balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
based on the one in the Real Food Daily cookbook
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 glove garlic, grated on a microplane (or totally smashed)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard,
Put all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork, or shake in a small jar with the lid screwed on tightly.
I make sure to add cracked pepper and salt, and I try to made the dish at least 30 minutes ahead if I can because I think it's tastes better when it's had a chance to sit and soak in the dressing. I could seriously eat a version of this every single day!
Last week, I mentioned the vanilla coconut ice cream that I made and here you can see it, topped with strawberry rhubarb sauce that is my new favorite spring topping (simply those fruits, a bit of water, sugar and a tbsp of cornstarch cooked together until soft and thick). It's great on oatmeal, yogurt and ice cream, and made this a dessert I will surely make again. Though I might try it with light coconut milk—this batch was possibly a tad too rich!
These pictures were taken by my talented friend Bethany, who I am always saying is welcome to come over because I love seeing my life through her lens.