Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fix Your Salad: Vitamin Greens, Tatsoi, Croutons, and That Pesky Leftover Cranberry Sauce (feat. Sunday Sandwich)



Salads take a lot of guff in Murka, due to the one-two punch of this country's love affair with dead cow meat and that era of the token salad when iceberg lettuce and industrial tomatoes were king. Salads can be so much more and if you're looking for a great way to get some vitamins into your system, then look no further than the noble salad. Many greens are packed with vitamins, fiber, and are easy for human bodies to break down into those needed parts. In addition, the variety of colors, textures, and flavors within that broad palate of the salad are a joy to explore. A properly made salad is a beautiful thing.

Japanese Vitamin Greens
In greens alone there are the options of  kale (vitamin k, lutein, carotenoids, vitamin c, beta carotene, iron, calcium), spinach (niacin, zinc, protein, vitamins a,e,c,b6, and k, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, copper, manganese), basil (protein, vitamins e,a,c,k, and b6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, potassium, zinc), mint, (vitamin a, small amounts of other vitamins like c and b complex vitamins, high in iron and manganese), and bok choy, (vitamins a,c,d,b6,b12, magnesium, iron, potassium, protein). While I'm more likely to parody "superfood"-touting clickbait than I'm likely to write it, I've found an easy-to-grow cabbage with vitamin in the name, Japanese Vitamin Greens. High in vitamins a,c,k,e, iron, and calcium, Vitamin Greens are a mild mustard green cousin and have a flavor reminiscent of  bok choy.

In addition to some home-made garlic croutons* and a light touch of vinaigrette**, the salad above contained baby kale, bok choy,  and, as I had both available and they have slightly different nutritional profiles), vitamin greens, as well as garden-fresh tomatoes (still producing in late November), several mustard greens (Ho Mi Z, Southern Giant, Mizuna), as well as another mustard ...

... Tatsoi
Like all of these delicious greens, Tatsoi is loaded with carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals. Sure, you can cook these mustards, but they're even more nutritious raw and together they make a mighty fine salad.

Those, friends, are just some of the greens. There are a whole world of salad ingredients, dressings, and toppings waiting for you to create your own works of art.

"What", you may be asking, "about that titular 'pesky leftover cranberry sauce'"? Well, first of all, look at you using "titular". Secondly, and seriously, I mixed a little of the juice with a few tablespoons of Champagne vinegar and quarter cup of avocado oil to produce a light, tart, and tasty dressing for the salad. That's what. Part of the remainder went into today's sandwich.

In case you missed it


Mmmmm-mmm!
St. Andre Triple Cream Brie and cranberry sauce on a toasted English muffin. Sounds like breakfast to me (although, I want to try the same filling with some freshly baked rye).

Back again to salads, a mix of healthy greens and other vegetables is a delicious way to get vitamins into your system. Have fun with dressings. Have fun with ingredients. Throw in some cut vegetables or fruit. Make friends with citrus zest. Play with peppers. The foods of many cultures offer a variety of salads to explore. Salads don't have to be boring. Don't make them boring. Fix your salad!

Radish, Tomato, Bell Pepper, Mixed Greens, Red Frilled Mustard, Fennel


* About those croutons: I took some stale baguette ends, cut them into cube-ish shapes, tossed them in a skillet with olive oil, melted butter, and garlic powder, and then stuck the skillet into a 300 degree oven until the croutons re-crisped (around five-ten minutes).

About Fix Your Salad: After my most recent trip to Utah I posted about a pathetic excuse for a $12 salad at a once-favored restaurant. "Don't just bring me problems," I'm always telling people, "bring me solutions". So, in the spirit of practicing what I preach, (and Doc Gus' suggestion that I give our reader(s) a tour of my garden), since that post I have been sharing some of my favorite salad greens. If you're going to charge folks $12 for a salad, restaurant industry, don't be lazy jerks about it.