Craving Some Green?

After work tonight I joined the herds of New Year's resolutionists at my neighborhood gym where I was lucky enough to snag the last of the treadmills with a TV fixed to it. (What would a gym workout be without the Food Network? I shudder the thought!) While running, listening to the Roots on my ipod and silently watching "Down Home with the Neeley's", I found my mind wandering and fixating on it's favorite topic: food. More specifically though, it seemed like my mind was having quite the debate with my stomach:

Mind: "So stomach, whattcha thinking about for dinner, hmmm?"

Stomach: "Mmm, how about some pizza. Ooeey, gooey, extra cheesy piping hot pizza. Yeah..No wait! Pasta. Yes, that's it. A giant bowl of pasta with soft creamy fresh mozzarella cheese baked on top just until it starts to brown and.."

Mind: "Um, dude, we're on a treadmill. Let's think this through. Maybe we should cool it a little and grab something a little healthier but still satisfying? Isn't there a fresh box of organic spinach in the fridge?"

Stomach: "That is SO lame. Really Mind, you're such a drag sometimes."

Mind: "No, no, no! Wait, hear me out. What about a giant salad with all kinds of vibrant flavors and contrasting textures going on?"

Stomach: "I'm listening.."

Mind: "So we have leftover chicken, right? And we put that on top of that nice fresh green spinach and then make a nice dressing and add some of those crunchy chow mein noodles and tart cranberries.."

Stomach: "That does sound kind of good actually, and it won't undo any of this running. I like where your head's at. Now can we please stop running? I'm getting a cramp."

I used to think that salads were such a lame dinner selection. It seemed anytime I'd go out to eat it was the same thing. Usually consisting of iceberg lettuce, a mushy tomato, coated in an oily dressing and and topped with stale croutons, I didn't get the appeal. But then I discovered the art of making a delicious salad and I actually crave them now. The key is to surprise yourself with new textures and flavors and keep it interesting. You might even find yourself wanting a second helping...

Another factor in creating that perfect crave-worthy salad is the dressing. Fresh off of reading some Michael Pollan books (In Defence of Food, An Eater's manifesto changed my life) I got totally turned off by store bought salad dressings with their encyclopedic list of scientifically engineered ingredients and sugars, I craved something more natural to adorn my spinach leaves of green. Below is the basic breakdown but it leaves lots of room for some creativity. I love the use of dried rosemary here but I encourage you to experiment with herbs and tweak this to your liking. I'd also like to point out that I don't use a lot of olive oil in my dressing. I hate a salad that gets dragged down by oil. I also used a rice vinegar (I like its clean crisp quality) but I've also made this with apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar and raspberry vinegar. Get creative!
Basic Salad Dressing
- 1 part Dijon mustard
- 1/2 part dried or fresh herbs
- 3 parts vinegar of choice
- 1 part honey (this balances the acidity of the mustard and vinegar)
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
I like to put all of my dressing ingredients into a jar with a tightly sealed lid so I can shake it all up!

1 comment:

Daniele Mathras said...

Hilarious Mind/Stomach commentary! And I love Michael Pollan and "In Defense of Food"... you should check out "Omnivore's Dilemma" if you haven't read that yet, it's life-changing as well!

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