Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Good Salad – Bad Salad!!!

January 14, 2011

Good Salad - Bad Salad???

It seems that a lot of people want to be immortal and are searching for a fountain of youth and many are finding it in their own way. Not so amazing, once they find it, they post the story on the internet and try to cash in on their discovery. Obviously, I am not opposed to that as I have made good money in the service industry for the past 15 years. However, I can’t believe that my genetics will adapt overnight to place my body in harmony with these new discoveries.

I tend to accept that anything that your grandparent or mine ate and drank in moderation will not kill me. Historically, man had a life expectancy of 33 years from mitochondrial Eve 200,000 years ago until about 1850 when things began to change. It wasn’t fire, housing the arts or a zest for life that led to people living longer. It was good old fashioned improvements in personal hygiene and public health.

From 1860 to 1910, life expectancy grew by about 10 years as Doctors learned to clean there hands and cities cleared the sewage and garbage off the streets. Life expectancy grew by a very big 20 years between 1910 and 1960 where we reached the biblical age of three score and ten. That was the era of sulfa drugs and improved antibiotics plus a continued focus on personal hygiene. Since the advent of infomercials about diets and exercise machines we have added 10 more years to our life but I would be hard pressed to give all the credit to exercise machines and weird diets with the advances in medicine and care for the aged that has taken place.

So given that I am a skeptic, how could one salad possibly be better than the other when both salads had about the same amount of ingredients including the olives and pepperoncini, they both had about 5 ounces of meat and the both used locally grown and very fresh arugula, tomatoes and cucumbers. The first salad I called Emperor’s Salad and first made last winter when tomatoes cucumbers and arugula were abundant and the meat is a sous vide Turkey Confit made from 5 ounces of steak cut from a turkey leg. I thought it was fantastic and healthy a year ago so I made it again this week.

I believe firmly in seasonal eating especially when it comes to tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula and will eat it every night in every way including BLT’s. The second salad is based on canned tuna with the rest of the salad ingredients being the same.

Bad Salad - Good Salad???

The tuna salad is simple to make and you just stir the following ingredients in a bowl and use a mold to fix the shape. The topping is 1 tablespoon of horseradish.

Ingredients:

1 can (5 ounces) of tuna in water well drained

1 Tablespoon of soy sauce

½ tsp fish oil (optional but it does add a lot of flavor)

Both salads have about 500 calories but because of the soy sauce and fish oil, the tuna salad had about 50% of my salt requirement for the day. Since that was my only salt for the day it turned out to not be a factor. So which Salad is the truly healthy one?

If you put your trust in the Inflammation Factor, the Turkey Salad is wickedly inflammatory and the Tuna Salad is soothing. Funny thing a cold front came through paradise the day I ate the Tuna Salad, my arthritis kicked up and if I didn’t know better and attributed my pain to the food I ate, I would have to conclude that the Turkey Salad was better for me. Oh well, one more reason I eat what I want in moderation.

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Grilling For the New Year

January 4, 2011
Pesto and Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork, Baked Beet and Coleslaw

Pesto and Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork, Baked Beet and Coleslaw

As regular readers know Dolores was very fond of Holiday Traditions and Food on New Years Day had a double impact. One old saying in St. Croix is to be careful of how you start the New Year because you will probably live the whole year the same way. So never argue or fight with anybody, avoid being tired or terribly hung over and get outside and do something healthy.

Another issue is what are the lucky foods to eat to start the year off correctly. One tradition from the states holds that eating cabbage and pork will bring you luck and prosperity. Another almost logical one is pork and collard greens. The better cuts of pork will have you living high on the hog all year long and the collard greens will bring green money to you. Another one is Lechon and Green Fig. The former is seasoned roasted pork and the latter is a tossed salad of boiled green bananas.

Stuffed Pork Loin

I couldn’t think of a single reason to break tradition and I had a frozen 5 oz piece of pork tenderloin and you cant get much higher on the hog than that. I brought a one pound piece and cut it in thirds right away so I decided to stuff one piece with a delightful yet simple blend of a Tablespoon of Pesto and a Tablespoon of Gorgonzola blended together with the back side of the fork.

I decided to grill it because I didn’t want to start the new years by creating and cleaning up after a mess in the kitchen so I built the entire meal around roasting my slab of meat on a piece of aluminum foil on the grill. Of course I slow cooked the meat on the colder side of the grill and folded up the edges to preserve the stuffing that leaked out as the meat cooked. This was cooked for a half hour turning once.

Baked Beat Before Pealing

Not to waste my fire I decided on a roasted beet because I had heard so much positive about the caramelized rich sugars and the bold earthy flavor so just had to try it since the heat was free and once again there was no cleanup. This was simple enough; put the beet on a piece of foil and lift up the edges. Pour some olive oil to coat the entire beet and close the foil. This was cooked on the hotter side of the banked fire for an hour.

The cabbage was coleslaw and simple to make. I used a cup of that per-shredded stuff that you get at the grocery store and mixed the following ingredients in the bowl prior to adding the cup of cabbage to the bowl and tossing it to coat all of the pieces.

Ingredient:

2 T mayonnaise

1 T distilled white vinegar

1 T lemon or lime juice

1 tsp brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Mix well and stir in 1 cup of shredded cabbage

The coleslaw and pork were fantastic and that is the extent of my traditions as outlined by Dolores.

Now the beet is a different story. If you love beets, this is just one more way to cook them and it is easy enough to do. I have learned to love borscht and pickled beets but this was your typical earthy tasting bland beet. The sprinkle of Gorgonzola didn’t help. I perked them up with my old standby, Balsamic Vinegar, and was able to say that they were good enough for me to eat it all up and start my year with a very healthy meal.

Well, I started my year with a great meal and a clean kitchen. Nothing could be finer so it must be Paradise or at least I’m grilling in January which is fine with me as I hate the cold.

Another Simply Beautiful Salad

August 12, 2010

Simply Beautiful Salad

Most people never learn that a salad can be a lot more than shredded lettuce, pink hothouse tomato slices and wilted limp cucumber slices. Italians and Greeks seem to have gotten the message and serve the most creative and unnamed combinations as Greek Salad or Antipasto. My wife was from the Italian school by heritage and so creative salads were always present.

In season, I prefer the richness of fresh Tomatoes to the bland flavor of Roasted Red Peppers from a jar but the peppers are preferred to hothouse tomatoes. With tomatoes on hand, I prefer fresh mozzarella for the subtle flavor that balances tomatoes. With the bland roasted red bell peppers, I prefer a Cottage Cheese and Gorgonzola topping.

Cheese and Gorgonzola Recipe:

1 cup cottage cheese

1 diced small onion

1 diced stick of celery

2 oz Gorgonzola crumbs

Mix everything together. Slice Romain lettuce across the stem in ½ inch slices and spread around the plate. Place pimento slices on top and then scoop as much of the cottage cheese as you would like on the plate. Another unusual, flavorful and beautiful combination.