Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Salads, 2.0

I didn't used to be a salad person. I still don't think of myself as a salad person, but it is only a matter of time. 

Owen and his posse came for Shabbos a couple of weeks ago, and Ma's method is to mostly churn out the tried-and-true favorites, with a couple of new experiments thrown in. 

For a salad, I remembered Rena's Maple Vinaigrette, as yet untried. She and I concur that fat is not terrible, only a lot of fat is terrible, while a reasonable amount keeps the body satiated. I halved this recipe for a small salad composed of lettuce, cucumbers, orange bell pepper, and grape tomatoes (one of the reasons for my salad dislike is that the components are usually oversized and difficult to chew; I chopped up everything into bite-sized pieces). 

Now, for the flourish: Owen, he who scoffs and sneers at my "healthy" attempts, loved it. He kept saying, "This salad is great!" He even rhapsodized, "Who made this salad?" and didn't take back the compliments after I claimed ownership. 

For that Shabbos, the one store-bought item was a small container of coleslaw, brimming with divine mayo. The following week, for Friday night guests, I decided to search for a home-made recipe instead. 

I was taken with Jayme's Coleslaw Recipe, and halved it as well for the bag of coleslaw mix ($1.50 as opposed to $5 for the ready-made). I was initially concerned that there was insufficient dressing as I tossed it with a pair of tongs, but after it marinated overnight the results were satisfyingly mayonnaisey.
A note on the mayo: Now that low-fat is out the door, I purchased a bottle of safflower mayo (safflower oil is a good fat). Although it is full-fat, one only needs a little for a lot of creaminess. While there was only a 1/4 cup of mayo in the salad, it was enough. 

Cucumber salad is a Hungarian must with meals to cut the heaviness of meat, and I've found myself, for the first time, hankering for it. I cleaned out Ma's supply, and felt a burning need to concoct some more.
I didn't abide by a recipe, merely following my heart: thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced onion, minced garlic clove, dill, equal parts sugar and (apple cider) vinegar boiled together, and cover the remainder with water.

A note on the thinly sliced: My Zeidy lived only for sugar, but he took personal pride on his cucumber salad; with knife in hand, ethereal wisps of cucumber emerged. So, remember to shoot for "ethereal wisps." They should fold up in your mouth like a cheap suit. Since this wasn't for company, only for me, I used a vegetable peeler. The results aren't as aesthetically pleasing, but possess the necessary transparency. 

* Disclaimer: I did not take pictures of my attempts, so the above photos are merely rip-offs from the 'net.     

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