Monday, July 28, 2008

Variations on a Theme

Quinoa, spinach, garlic scape, carrot, grilled squash, apricot, chicken salad, dressed with oil and lemon.

I don't think I've had the same salad twice in the last month! To think, I used to need a recipe to make a salad, at this point I could write my own salad cookbook, lol! Forcing myself to not overshop food, in combination with having some of my veggies chosen for me (CSA), has made me get creative when it comes to making my salads.

The most important thing to learn, at least it has been for me, is that oil and lemon (or lime) is really all you need, especially in the spring and summer when fresh veggies are so full of natural flavor and goodness. I find that oil and red wine vinegar is what I use more of in the fall and winter, but red wine vinegar, (and, God forbid, lol) balsamic vinegar, pairs with tomatoes prefectly.

Once you start making your own dressings you won't use store bought again (another blog post!) Dressing are simply 2 things....oil (fat), and acid like vinegar or citrus, etc.. (I promise this will be a seperate blog post soon!)
Quinoa, arugula, grilled squash, mango, roasted jalpeno and red bell peppers, chicken, dressed with oil and lime.

I've been using brown rice and quinoa in alot of my salads to make them a little more substantial, adding in chicken as my protein.....chicken is not my first choice, but because I've been making so much stinkin' chicken stock lately, I have so much of it pre-cooked, anyway.....if you start with:

a grain, or carb, brown rice, quinoa, barley, pasta, bean, legume, etc.

a protein, chicken, shrimp, pork, beef (leftovers are great for 'next day salads), hard boiled egg, etc.

lettuce greens, spinach, arugula, baby greens, romaine, butter, chard, etc..

Any leftover veggies, especially grilled or roasted (again, you should always, always cook more for this reason), summer squash, asparagus, eggplant, corn (not really a veggie but..), red bell, cauliflower, brussels, onions etc.

raw veggies, tomato, (of course), green/red onion, shredded carrot, jalapeno, red bell, red cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, sprouts, celery, anything super fresh and special from the farmers markets, etc.

a fruit!, either dried or excuse for not using fresh especially in the summer! Grapes (raisins), peach, plum (prune), apricot, orange, mango, strawberry, apple, fig, etc.

other stuff like, olives, capers, anchovy, nuts and cheese (in moderation), etc.

Dress salad with oil and lemon and life is good!


Amy said...

Your dressing consultation with me in St. Paul has changed the way I look at dressing. It really is as easy as you claim. I've had a lot of fun trying new combinations. I'll look forward to your post on salad dressings!

BTW - you HAVE to download the song called "Homegrown Tomatoes" by the Blue Dogs. You'll love it. It should be your theme song! I found the song a few years ago when I had the lead role in a play titled "A Bad Year for Tomatoes." Check it out!

Tracy Reifkind said...


OMG that makes me so happy to hear that, woo hoo! "Dressing consultation"...I'll have to add that to my list of services, lol!

I have a real cute picture of the two of us that day, I've been waiting for an opportunity to use it...soon I hope. Hey, any chance that you'll be in St. Paul again in Aug. or Sept.?

I'll get Mark to find the song for me today, thanks.

Tori said...

You come up with some of the best recipes! Next week I will have to try this salad since I will finally have access to shops that sell quinoa!! I move this weekend and will be hitting the farmers' markets asap!! I will be working from home starting in Sept. so I will have plenty of time to cook. Like you always say, "life is good!!"

Tracy Reifkind said...


I think I'm over quinoa! I know Fawn really digs it, but it's higher in calories and , to me, not as filling...she doesn't have to worry about calories because she's not an overeater!

Quinoa has 170 calories for 3/4 c. cooked (1/4 c. uncooked), where as brown rice has 170 calories 1 c. cooked. I know it's just 1/4 c. difference, but sometimes it's a mental thing, lol!

I would use quinoa in salads made to take to potlucks or to make for company because most people have never had it, so it has a little "wow" factor.

I'm so behind on my e-mails and I apologize for not getting back to your last one, my plan is to catch up this weekend at the LA cert....yea right, lol!