FORGIVE ME, FOR I HAVE SINNED

The perfect food blogger would never resort to using pre-washed greens, buying instead produce exclusively from the farmer’s market,  each leaf washed with loving care. However, I am not ashamed to confess this particular sin. Quite the contrary, the bag of organic  “mixed greens” found in most grocery stores is one of my best friends, because it makes life so much easier.  To my delight, the latest issue of Fine Cooking had an article devoted to redeeming sinners like me: it offered  several options of salad recipes that,  starting from those handy bags, turn them up into something special. I intend to try all of them, but my first choice was the one featuring a ginger-yogurt dressing and fresh cucumber. I can never resist the call of ginger.  😉

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH CUCUMBER, ALMONDS, AND GINGER-YOGURT VINAIGRETTE
(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, July 2012)

1-1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. thinly sliced mint leaves
salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
5 oz. (5 cups) mixed baby greens
1 small English cucumber, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, shallot, ginger, mint, salt, and black pepper.  Stir in the yogurt and olive oil.

In a large bowl, season the greens and cucumbers with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top, and serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

The original recipe called for sesame seeds instead of almonds, but I like to have extra crunch in my salad, and felt that the sesame seeds would more or less disappear through the mix.  I also used non-fat yogurt in place of low-fat, because that’s what we had laying around in the fridge.  The dressing turned out light, with the mint and ginger bringing a nice zing to it.   Great, simple salad, perfect way to doctor up those bags that may find their way into your grocery cart… 😉  Extra-vinaigrette keeps well for a day, the flavors intensify a bit.

Because Fine Cooking doesn’t make their recipes available online for non-subscribers, a while ago I contacted the magazine to know their thoughts on copyright issues. Here’s the deal: they don’t mind bloggers publishing any of their recipes, as long as full credit is given and a link to the magazine is included, so that’s what I’ve been doing, without guilty feelings.  Except, of course, the guilt of buying that eventual bag of salad greens. Pre-washed.  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Cracked Wheat Sandwich Bread

TWO YEARS AGOAu Revoir, my Bewitching Kitchen

THREE YEARS AGO:  French Bread

WATERCRESS SALAD

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a weak spot for words. I fall in love with certain words (no matter what’s the idiom) the very first time I hear or read them.  Watercress is one of those.  I just love to say it, and I love to see it written with the twin s’s at the end shushing along hand in hand.  And I also love the veggie, but where we live it’s hard to find.  Plus, when we do find watercress it’s pricey, and sold in plastic containers that require a degree in Puzzle Solving to open. It’s precious stuff!  When I found a carton at the grocery store the other day I gently placed it in my cart, hurried home and made a salad that received intense nods of approval from all guests. Full disclosure: there were two guests, me and my beloved.   😉

WATERCRESS SALAD WITH GINGER VINAIGRETTE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Watercress, preferably young leaves
Orange segments
1 avocado, sliced
cherry tomatoes, cut in half, lightly salted
squeeze of lemon juice

for ginger vinaigrette
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated ginger (or use 1 Dorot cube)
salt and black pepper to taste
1/8 cup grapeseed oil

Start by making the vinaigrette.  Dissolve the sugar in the rice vinegar, add the ginger, salt, and pepper, and whisk.  Leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes while you prepare the salad.    Right before dressing the salad, you will add the oil, form an emulsion by vigorously mixing it.

Cut the avocado and sprinkle the slices with lemon juice to prevent oxidation. On a serving plate,  distribute the watercress leaves, the avocado slices, tomatoes, and orange segments.

Add the dressing (you may not need it all, save leftovers for later), adjust seasoning, and….

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

If you don’t like ginger, this vinaigrette is definitely not for you… Both rice vinegar and grapeseed oil are very mild in taste, so you need something to perk this dressing up.  If ginger is a no-no, add some lime zest and a little squeeze of lime juice.  That should do it.

Blood oranges are perfect if you find them in your markets.  In that case, I’d probably  use yellow grape tomatoes, just to mix the colors.   Chow-mein noodles  are another great addition to this salad.  I avoid bringing them home, though, because they usually win the battle against my will power.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Carrot and Sweet Potato Puree

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Bread

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