It has been quite the spell of sweets and overindulgences in our household. Let’s see…Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl, and Valentine’s Day. Feeling the need for a little equilibrium straightening? Me too. Let’s have salad. But not just any salad – we do not want to go cold turkey and have some sort of episode. Let’s make sure this baby is not only so good for us we can barely stand it, but that it tastes so good you won’t even miss your Aunt Bessie’s pumpkin pie — too much.
A good salad can satisfy many cravings. Trust me on this. But before we get too carried away down that path, let’s not forget the most important salad rule of the universe: hydrate those greens!! I’m starting out here with a mix of baby spinach, some bitter greens, and some baby kale. Often when you bring these guys back from the store, they look less than appetizing. This is because they are dehydrated – seriously. They look how I feel after an hour on the treadmill. They need water and oxygen – STAT. Plunge them into a sink full of nice cold water for about half an hour, and watch them come back to life.
Before we dive in headfirst, I must say that this salad is kind of on the excessive side. I made it to take to our friend’s house for dinner, and just could not stop myself from adding a ridiculous amount of this and that. So take what you like and leave the rest. Let’s just be out to have a good time and if you see something here you’d like to try, excellent. If not, just leave it out with no harm done.
All done with the hydrating? Drain the greens, spin dry, and chill until ready for construction. Now let’s start looking around for some fun stuff to add.. This might sound odd, but once again, trust is requested. Let’s cut some Delicate Squash into rounds, scoop out the seeds, and roast them with some Agave and salt. Sweet, slightly salty, tender. See where I’m going and how it helps balance the greens out? Bake them at 350 until tender and set aside. We’ll get back to them later.
OK, what else do we have in the fridge? Think I’ll quick steam some green beans until they are just tender, then set them aside to cool. Don’t have beans? How about broccoli?
Hmmmm… Oh yeah. I have a few Golden Beets in the crisper. Peel, cut into cubes, and let rest in cold water. If they are the least bit bitter, the soaking really helps. If you haven’t enjoyed raw beets before, you are in for a big treat.
What else do we have? Radishes with just a little of their pretty green top knots left on – quartered.
I also found some of those little colorful peppers. Cutting into rounds this time for a nice shape.
I am feeling the need for a little crunch, and since it is still technically winter, we shall go the Pomegranate Seed Route.
Have you ever tried a Watermelon Radish? When you cut them in half, you see beautiful fuchsia and pale green rounds – hence the name Watermelon Radish. Sliced thinly, they add a nice visual vibe.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going by now – no hard and fast rules. Just the freshest food with a variation of colors, textures, shapes, and tastes. Greens go on the bottom, and start building. Oh, I added some grated carrot here. And no, I do not know when to stop hardly ever. A blessing and a curse.
So far things should look familiar, until this point when I got the old carrot peeler and and made some cucumber noodles….then rolled them up just for fun.
Then I drug out a Chiogia beet and sliced it thinly – just really like how they add such a nice colorful touch.
But still…..I know!! Some dried cherries and dried cranberries. And what the heck? We’ll top the whole thing off with some fresh raspberries and pray for spring. Oh yeah – it appears that some sliced Blood Oranges have been added to the mix as well.
And there was a nice Maytag Blue Cheese on the side. And a Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Recipe below. And yes, of course that is a bottle of wine in the background – it was inspirational. Hope you enjoy!! xoxoxox
- Any or all: baby spinach, arugula, baby kale, radicchio, mixed spring greens
- Cucumbers - peeled only if necessary
- Scallions, slivered on the bias
- Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange or purple), cut into matchsticks or rounds
- Green beans (raw or steamed) cut on the bias
- Beets (fresh or roasted). If fresh, grated, peeled and cubed, or thinly sliced
- Kohlrabi (shredded or finely chopped)
- Raspberries, pomegranates, or other fresh fruit
- Some fresh sliced citrus: blood oranges, cara cara oranges, etc.
- Grated or slivered carrot
- Roasted delicata squash circles, or butternut squash, cubed and roasted until tender
- POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE
- • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- • 3 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
- • 1 heaping tablespoon blackberry jam or other berry jam
- • Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR THE SALAD
- Wash, cut, and otherwise prepare all of the vegetables, fruit, and herbs as you would like. Arrange on platter. Add accompaniments and drizzle with Pomegranate Vinaigrette right before serving.
- FOR THE DRESSING
- In blender, combine balsamic vinegar, jam, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Gradually add olive oil while machine is running until emulsified.