Monday, March 19, 2012 of the trade, and salad on the go

Anyone that prepares salad meals on a regular basis can do it in a matter of minutes, especially when fresh ingredients are already washed and proteins cooked.  Tender greens, like most lettuce are not conducive to packing as they wilt and turn to mush soon after you add oil (fat) or acids (lemon, vinegar), and for that reason I love my "slaws", or cabbage salads.  Cabbage mixes can be shredded in advance and I've had mine last for 5-7 days easily.  Like all salads they should be dressed right before you eat them, but cabbage mixes will hold up longer, so much so that I often take them with me when I travel.

The best way to prepare shredded salad ingredients I suppose in in a food processor with a shredding attachment, but mine broke long ago so I use a mandoline (V-slicer) and various types similar. Originally I only used one, a V-slicer, but now I like my red cabbage shredded thinner, and the same with the carrot if I use it (requiring two additional types of slicers!)  Hey, I like what I like!  Good thing it only takes a few seconds, and really the only down side?  Having more dishes to wash!

Putting together your own dressing, when you practice, takes only a few minutes too.  In fact many times I make "single servings" that I leave unmixed to the side of a packed salad (see picture), or at the bottom of the container.  I mix everything up right before I eat my salad, that way nothing wilts during the 4-6 hours before I get to it. (another reason why I have so many measuring spoons on my counter at my fingertips!)

Last night I finished a ton of food prep, so this morning I have none of that to do as I have a busy week ahead.  I know once I leave the house this morning I won't be back until 2:00pm.  A cabbage salad is one meal that I know will last the whole morning until lunch, and I don't even have to refrigerate it for 4-6 hours if I keep it in a cool place.

I don't have access to a microwave so I had to pack other foods that don't require heating.  I'll take a container of chicken liver and mushroom pate and crackers.  I freeze the pate overnight so it will be perfectly thawed by lunchtime!  I don't think I will need more than that, an apple, PNB and celery w/raisins, prunes, almonds (measured) are common snacks I also might pack.

I'm rarely away from home without a fridge or microwave, but I'll always find a way around it.  Foods I don't make myself just aren't as appealing to me.  If I only made one meal a day myself, somehow packing and preparing a lunch makes me feel more confident and in charge of my life....but so does making all of my own meals...lucky me I don't have to choose only one!

Raw broccoli and cauliflower and kale take well to preparing ahead of time and when asparagus season gets here thinly sliced asparagus is on of my favs.

more on cabbage salad!


Tracy said...

Yum, yum, and more yum. I made your Asian Dressing to add to the mixed cabbage for supper tonight. So good! The cabbage mix is just so dang pretty. :)

Tracy Reifkind said...

I packed this last night, left the house at 7:30am, and didn't get to it until was still cold from being in my trunk! I skipped the brown rice tortilla though...saving my carbs for dinner!

JenG said...

I am intrigued by 'thinly sliced asparagus is one of my favs.'
I never gave thought to using asparagus in that fashion and I like that idea! I have a recipe (on my blog) for refrigerator asparagus pickles...if you like pickled stuff, you should try them! They are super easy & great in salad. :)

Rebecca said...

Saw this brussel sprouts, bacon, and lime recipe and thought of you. I purchased the Kindle version of your book and have already put some of it into practice this week. I'm swinging and thinking "vegetables first." Thanks to you!

Here's the recipe: