Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Recipes: Spoon Salad and Simple Citrus Dressing

I have been trying out recipes from around the blogsphere lately and found a delicious keeper that will definitely become a staple: Spoon Salad by Simply... Gluten Free (sorry, I ate it before photographing it!).  While the name doesn't really illustrate the deliciousness of this dish, I implore you to check out the recipe.  I was skeptical at first too, but the tasty blend of every veggie known to man really won me over, especially after I added my simple dressing to spark the taste buds.  And the best part (besides being freakin' easy, quick, and no-cooking-required), as Carol discovered: the family will love it!  My husband really dove in and had it more than once, which definitely speaks something for those less inclined to feast upon veggies!  Here's my experience:

Ingredients I used:
4 small to medium golden beets, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half

1/2 head of red cabbage, rinsed, dried, and quartered
6 small zucchini, rinsed, dried, and ends chopped off and cut in half

1 bunch of chard, rinsed and dried
1 bunch of Italian parsley, rinsed and dried
1 container of pre-washed baby arugula

I made the recipe as described, but used golden beets and was pleasantly surprised by their complete lack of stainability, a known problem with their red relatives.  I peeled four small-medium golden beets and cut them in half and added them to peeled carrots (cut in half) in the food processor.  I pulsed until the large bits were broken up and then let 'er whirl until the tiny bits collected on the sides.  I made sure I stopped short of puree, but the fine chop was ideal.  What came out was a sunset hue of veggies that was so gorgeous I almost stopped there.  The burnt orange-yellow sunset veggies looked so vibrant, reflecting off the sheet metallic bowl.  But I had so many veggies to use, I couldn't stop there.

Onward I plunged, scraping out the carrot-beet mixture, adding the half head of red cabbage, quartered, by itself since there was so much (and it took 2 batches to completely chop--so don't overfill or you'll be fishing out chunks from the finely chopped bits--not fun).  The purple hue added a twilight tinge to my sunset veggies.  Then, the zucchini (I could only find tiny ones, so I used twice as many and cut each in half before adding to the food processor), which added puffy white clouds to my sunset.  Finally, the vegetation to be bathed in sunset splendor: one processing batch each of rinsed and well-dried chard and parsley and arugula I substituted for watercress that I couldn't find at the store (I saved my kale for kale chips instead since I think I had quite enough greenery without it).  The arugula added a lovely peppery-ness I adored.  The result was a kaleidoscope of colors, a rainbow sunset with each color just screaming out from the masses with its own uniqueness of flavor and texture.   I was enthralled.

I let the salad sit until dinnertime and then dressed individual servings with Simple Citrus Dressing.  OMG it was divine and such an awesome way to get your raw veggies!!!  To note, on cold days, you can also heat the salad in the microwave and it tastes great!  I served it with seared scallops, broiled fish, chicken, grass-fed beef, you name it.  Delicious!  And the recipe makes a ton--so you can experiment with it and serve it in different ways for a good portion of the week (it lasts a good 4-5 days when covered and refrigerated).  Enjoy your veggies!

Simple Citrus Dressing
Use this vibrant dressing on all sorts of salads and seafood to brighten the flavor and spark your taste buds!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2 as individual salad dressing or one honking salad to be devoured by a group

1 avocado (the larger, the better)

juice of 1-2 citrus--lemon or lime work equally well

optional: garlic powder/granules and chopped chives or green onions

optional: nut oil of your choosing to dilute dressing to your pleasing (NOTE: too much hazelnut oil makes it overpoweringly hazelnutty, you are warned)

optional for the lime dressing: chopped or torn cilantro

optional for the lemon dressing: small bit of olive tapenade or plain olives

play around with spices as you like!

Juice the citrus of your choice and place it in a bowl.  Add half of the avocado and mash the avocado with the juice.  Add any optional ingredients.  Taste and adjust quantities/seasonings.  Add dressing to the salad and mix throughly to coat evenly.  Cube the other half of the avocado.  Add it to the finished salad.  Voila!--you have a simple salad in five minutes or less!

Serving Suggestions:
This is great over the Spoon Salad, but also delicious over mixed greens and spinach.  I make it in a tupperware container and just keep adding more avocado and citrus (sometimes oil) as needed until I feel it has been around for too long (lasts at least a week).  This is also the only way I have kept avocado with success without it turning disgusting brown.  The citrus saves the vibrant green color for salad after salad!

Citrus Dressing on FoodistaCitrus Dressing