Tag Archives: Fresh Greens

I’ve been chopped!

If you like food, and you like hearing what others have to say about food, you’ve probably grazed on the offering of the Food Network.

As two self proclaimed foodies, my wife and I enjoy following a couple of shows. One of our favorites is the extremely entertaining show Chopped.

In case you are not familiar with the show, here’s a quick overview:

Four chefs walk into a kitchen… oh wait, that’s a different joke. No, here:

4 chefs cook in a timed competition to make the best food. They have 20 minutes to make an appetizer, 30 minutes to make an entree, and 30 minutes to make a dessert. There is a basket of mystery ingredients, which usually has about 3-4 items each chef must use in the final dish. Plus there is a stocked kitchen so they can grab additional things like spices.

In my own fun version, I was hungry. I had about 20 minutes to eat before we needed to go someplace, and I had the following items in my “basket”:

Tortilla Chips,

Raisins,

And Sardines.

Since I considered this to be an appetizer round, I naturally decided to make a quick salsa of Raisins and Sardines, with a bed of crushed tortilla chips. Finding some fresh Cilantro in the fridge with some Mustard, I raced against the clock to bring the elements together– carefully dicing the cilantro, and arranging it all together to form a very tasty appetizer!

Now for the judges…

How did I do?

Food critic one: “I thought the presentation was quite nice, a small colorful bowl, and the cilantro and raisins really coordinate well.”

Food expert two: “I agree, but what I really like the flavor this dish brought out, the salty sardines, and the sweet raisins with the freshness of the herbs, a very good start to a meal.”

Grumpy food person: “But for someone with a background in slow food methods, can we really give him a pass with only 20 minutes of preparation?”

Food expert two: “Good point, I think that using Mustard out of a jar was just a cop out.”

Food critic one: “I disagree Two, I feel the use of fresh herbs like Cilantro is perfectly in line with slow food principles, and it’s not really possible to cook slow food fast.”

And whose dish is on the chopping block?

Judges?

Grumpy food person: “Well, we thought that your flavor combination and presentation were spot on, but that using a prepackaged Mustard instead of making your own was not adequate for you to move on in this competition, and so for those reasons, you’ve been chopped.”

Exit interview:

Me: “Though this is a crushing blow to my own ego, I must say that just being here and making this amazing salsa has been it’s own reward.”


Salad Dressing

Happy little veggies


The Summer after High School I took a job at a local fast food joint. Actually, I pride myself to this day in saying, it was Casual Dining, a significant cut above the fast food served at our competition. But semantics aside, it functioned much the way all pre-fab food entities must. One small item that I had the task of stocking onto the shelves every week was Salad Dressing. A very small part of our inventory, these cute little bundles have the capability of transforming mere rabbit food into a delicious snack, worthy of satisfying the highest calorie requirements. How could they accomplish this in 3.5 onces or less? Easy! The dressing was 50% fat (By weight). And boy was it tasty. That stuff revolutionized my idea of what a salad could be. Now, before you navigate away in disgust, I have mended my ways a little since then. I mean, I’m not a total cretin. But I still like my salad to taste good. Don’t hand me a pile of dry chopped leaves and expect me to get excited.
Then I met Salad Dressing Simplicity. Well, that’s my title for it. This revelation can be found starting on page 127 of Nourishing Traditions and flowing all the way to page 135. Within those few pages there are 19 different recipes (some are variations on a theme, but trust me, they are quite different). I haven’t made a dressing from this section that I didn’t like. The one I use the most is ‘Basic Dressing’, on page 129. But since this recipe contains fewer than my minimum requirement of words, I add the subtitle ‘Salad Dressing Simplicity’ just to fluff it a little.

The biggest tip to this section I have found is good Olive Oil. Since the oil is a huge contribution by bulk, any flavor that comes off as strong in the oil will show up in the final product. With a little care, the tones from the oil can be matched with other ingredients, or a very mild oil can be found (probably by trial and error).

Ok, before you make me hand in my man card, I will reassure you that real men can eat salad and survive. (Um, no, I didn’t say eat only salad, that is the dumbest diet I have ever heard of). So here’s how: camouflage. Simply disguise your salad as a meal. A variation of what I suggest is found on page 240 in the form of ‘Raw Salmon Salad’. I don’t eat raw fish (the classic yuk factor, I’m just stuborn that way), but this recipe is up the right alley. Cook the fish, or leave it raw if you like, but either use the liquids described in the recipe, or replace them with one of the dresings in the section disscussed above. Use mixed greens instead of Boston lettuce if you like (I do), and ADD SOAKED AND DRIED NUTS!!

This is the absolutly best thing to compliment your enormous stockpile of freshly prepared nuts.

So go out to your daughter’s pet rabbit cage tonight, and share a salad! Happy (green food) eating!

(Um, quick Biology/editor note: you probably shouldn’t give a rabbit either meat or dressing, rather different digestive tract there. Oh, and you should never eat food that has come in contact with animals. Cross contamination is all fun and games until someones looses their dinner. So eat a salad together, but not the same salad).