Friday, March 5, 2010

Salad, Salad, Salad

Going with our trying to eat healthy theme, we are eating more soups and salads and less meat and carbs. I don't really avoid rice since rice, boiled or steamed, is far better than, say, having bread (rice has no fat and is very filling), but we're still trying to cut back.

Making a salad is simple. Seriously. Anyone with enough brains to pick their noses can make a salad, hopefully with clean hands. First,you start off with fresh vegetables. If I were to make one just for myself, I would use more variety. I love frisee, arugula and spinach, but since Allan doesn't, we usually go for romaine.

So we start off with a seemingly benign looking bowl of romaine lettuce.

Don't use a steel/metal knife to cut lettuce. It becomes brown and will taste funky. If you have those fancy porcelain knives, you can use them, but your hands are the best tools, or a plastic knife (yes, like the ones you get at fast food places). Tear the leaves according to the size you like. I like leaving the inner leaves whole.

Now, one thing about lettuce, don't buy them pre-cut. A whole romaine will only cost you something like Php60 (and it's good for two), so just buy that and slice it yourself. The pre-cut and pre-washed ones are usually up to php85-115. I mean, come on. You only buy pre-cut and prewashed if you don't have a knife and water at home. Lettuce can get a little slimy, so make sure you run water through each leaf.

So, now you've prepped your lettuce...Oh wait, there's one more thing. DRYING. Once you get lettuce wet, it is hard to dry off because the corrugated leaves catch too much water and patting them dry might cause them to get smushed. I have no salad spinner *cough cough* but I'm Filipino so I do what we people do best: improvise. You know those net bags that fruit like kiat-kiat or ponkans sometimes come in?

Like this? Or something similar to this? Well, I put my leaves there, go out where the splatter won't annoy anyone and begin to swirl it a lasso. It's fun! And it works!

So okay, now that you've really prepped your lettuce, let's go to dressing. If you lie vinaigrette, make something like that. But any dressing follows the same formula: acid, oil and flavoring. Say for example, olive oil, lemon and dill. Here this dressing is caesar (gasp! store bought!). Yeah, I know, but it was on sale! We used a couple of dollops of that plus some yogurt and drizzled it on. Then I crisp-fried (to take a lot of the fat out) a couple strips of bacon and added that to the salad. Then I grated a good amount of parmesan over it.

You're probably missing the croutons, but we didn't bother. It's pretty good. Now, I know you're probably shaking your heads. Healthy? Bacon? Cheese? Dressing? Well, I agree, but we ate this salad as a meal, without any carbs. Besides, the dressing is only 45 calories per tablespoon and we used only two. The aim is to cut back without deprivation. On normal days, we'd go get sinigang na baboy, ice cream for dessert and some chips for movie time.

And it looks good.

If I were to redo this though, I'd add tomatoes, cucumbers and maybe some fennel, with a light vinaigrette. Oh well.


In case you're wondering, yes, that IS an ice cream container. We promise to use any plastic containers at least ten times before throwing it out.


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