After picking up this week’s Basket and before heading to the grocery store for supplements, I sat in my car creating my menu plan for the next two weeks. I wrote meatloaf and turnip mashed potatoes down on my list, thinking I could turn what I thought was a turnip into a nice mash. About 10 minutes later, I was in the produce section at the grocery store and thought I’d check to see what turnips look like to be sure that what I had was, in fact, a turnip. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category
Want that cool summer refreshing bite in a salad? Open up your Valentine pack and mix up this tasty dish! Perfect for a romantic dinner or barbecue with friends. Here’s a quick side dish I love whipping up for a lunch all on it’s own or for a side dish with a warm dinner. (more…)
I have been exploring uses for my bag of wheat berries that is living in my pantry. I had a major risotto craving so I thought I would try to sub the wheat berries in for the rice. This recipe turned out really comforting and rich like traditional risotto. I really liked how the wheat berries made it a little chewy. (more…)
Someone once asked me why I volunteer every week at Bountiful Baskets. It’s not like I’m not busy enough already. I have an extremely busy and demanding life. I have a beautiful family that cook for, clean up after, run a household for, play tag with…. I’m a mom; a jack of all trades! My kisses make pains go away, my hugs make fears go away, my tenderness makes people feel loved. I am a wife, a mother, a homemaker, a professional woman with my own staff and career. We are in the middle of starting our own business. I have personal goals and dreams that I give attention to. I have relationships that I make an effort to maintain. So why do I spend every Saturday morning getting up at the crack of dawn to volunteer for Bountiful Baskets when its only “suggested” once every 6 times?
Now that school has started I’m back to making lunches for the kids because let’s face it cafeteria food is…well cafeteria food! My children have never been picky eaters because we’ve never dumbed down their food. What we eat they eat! This ol’ gal doesn’t do multiple meals. Because of that our kids are much more open to trying things most of their contemporaries won’t touch and quite honestly it makes my life much easier. I do have to be honest with you though. Our food philosophy has created borderline food snobs, but hey, worse things could happen ya know?!
Not until we are lost do we begin
to understand ourselves -Thoreau
I didn’t realize how much I needed a creative outlet until I started writing this blog. I had a personal blog that I used post to on a very regular basis, but for a time I lost my voice. I am happy that I have found it again and am even happier to share tonight’s dinner. This morning I picked up my Bountiful Basket and immediately began dreaming up different ways that I could use it’s contents this week.
The Juice pack was introduced in January to provide those participants that wanted to do a juice fast an easy and affordable option; for many it was a chance to add some extra fruits and veggies to their dinner table. I tried juicing and actually liked some of the concoctions that I came up with, but I tend to use it to add some extra produce to the table. I decided to try some “Retro” dishes and a couple you might not have thought of…ready? Here we go!
Though it’s no new discovery that vegetables are beneficial to ones health, did you know that greens, when eaten regulartly will improve your health. Greens are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances all of which play an important role in the maintenance and well being of your body. Without a doubt the fastest and easiest way to incorporate greens into our diets is by way of the salad. Now most people when they think of salad they think of the basics: ice berg lettuce, tomatoes, maybe a few slices of purple onion and a crouton or two. What they don’t realize is that there not only are some greens not actually green but there are dozens of varieties to choose from. Here we’ll go over some of the most commonly used and their care.
Lettuces are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are grown and sold worldwide and are members of the genus Lactuca. The most common of the lettuce families are butterhead, crisp head, leafy, and romaine.
Types of Lettuce
Boston and Bibb
The most common of the butterhead variety, Boston and Bibb posses soft leaves and feature a buttery texture and flavor. Boston is larger than bibb but both for cuts and are excellent choices to be used in making lettuce wraps.
The most common of all lettuces, iceberg falls under the crisp head category. It possess a mild flavor, remains crisp for long periods of time and lends itself well to hearty dressings.
Red and Green
Distinguishable by it’s separate ruffle edge leaves, leaf lettuce is not a firm head. It’s rather delicate, therefore, can be easily damaged. Leaf lettuce can be found in both red and green varieties and are known for their mild flavor and tender leaves.
I like to call Romaine the backbone of all the lettuce family. It’s hearty, flavorful, and versatile. Romaine is a loosely packed head with long leaves and thick ribs. The outside leaves are dark and you will see a noticeable fading as you get into the center of the head, or the “heart” of the romaine.
Though not new in the culinary world, living lettuce is finally making it’s way to dinner tables across the United States. Living lettuce is grown hydroponic and sold with the root system in tact. if you happen to have a green thumb you can maintain the lettuce for quite awhile if you just pull off leaves as needed. The most commonly used living lettuce varieties are butter and bibb but if you look around you can also find arugula, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce and watercress.
The most common and easiest to find are nasturtiums, calendulas, and pansies. They are often used in salads or as garnish.
****Be mindful to ONLY use edible, pesticide free blossoms.***
When most people think of spinach they see visions of Popeye and the overcooked spinach that he always ate. Truth be told, spinach is terribly under appreciated but incredibly versatile. Whether tossed in a salad, sauteed with bacon or added to stuffing, spinach possesses a rich flavor and tender bite.
Spring Mix(aka Mesclun)
A mixture of a variety of baby greens that posse very subtle flavors much less bitter than their more mature counterparts.
Sometimes known as rocket arugula is actually a member of the cabbage family. It’s strong spicy flavor lends itself best to salad mixes when eaten raw but can be quite delightful when sauted.
A member of the chicory family, endive can be found in a a couple of varieties, Belgian and curly. Belgian is the shoot of the chicory root. The leaves are normally seperated and filled though whole heads can also be grilled or braised.
Delicate leaves on hearty stems, watercress has a very peppery flavor and can be tossed into salads, added to cream cheese, soups and most savory dishes what do not require extended cooking times.
Most commonly identified by it’s large ruffled/curly leaves kale possess a bitter flavor that goes well with rich foods but is a nice accent to salads and soups and can sometimes be found in it’s ornamental variety (also known as Savoy).
Somewhat tart and almost spinach like, chard is essentially a type of beet that does not produce a root. It can be steamed, sauteed or used in soups and salads.
Care and Storage
Please keep in mind that all salad greens are highly perishable and need to be handled properly in order to maintain a reasonable shelf life. Soft leaved varieties tend to perish more quickly than their heartier leaved counterparts. Do not store greens with tomatoes, apples or other fruits that emit ethylene gas as it will accelerate spoilage. All greens should be vinegar washed after they are torn and prior to using. Drain thouroughly either in a colander or a salad spinner as wet greens do not stay crisp, they do not hold dressing, and they will go bad much more quickly than dried leaves. Once dried store in an airtight container.
Don’t forget to eat your greens!