Don’t Eat Shark Soup, Eat Salad

I am a really slow learner at times. It’s like, “yeah, the ketchup is standing on its head. Why didn’t they think of this sooner?” Now here comes another great revelation: I am making my own salad box. Duh! Stores had figured this out much sooner. But do you know what’s in store? No. When you make your own salad box, you are living much safer.

SaladBoxOne salad a day keeps the doctor away. And if you want to lose a little weight, take my advice: Substitute water for all drinks, eat one batch of salad a day—and keep your other meals reasonable. You will see. The weight will drop, not fast but permanently.

There is only one salad on my mind, the original one. “Thou shalt not have other salads besides me.” I am talking about the green stuff, not the chicken salad, not the tuna salad, not even the potato salad. My salad spells green, such as in “L E T T U C E all have salad.” Like I said, have one every day. The green stuff is so easy and tasty. Make it an essential part of your dinner. Or the main course?

Salad, It’s all About What’s In It

Salad, why bother? Not a salad fan? Too messy to mess with? I thought so, too, for a long time in my adult life. Then I developed a taste for the green crunch, and now I don’t want to miss it any more. My salad never gets left over at dinner or at a party. My kids will sometimes fight about it. And salads are so easy. Especially when you have your box ready.

SaladAvocadoPrep your lettuce and other ingredients right after shopping and store them in a tightly closing plastic treasure box in the fridge. I found that, with a tight-fitting lid, the moisture will keep my greens fresh and crunchy for about a week. So I am always prepared. I just grab a few leaves, tear them up bite size, and put the dressing on. Salad must be torn, not cut, because cuts cause brown edges. Now it is just as easy to have a colorful burger or sandwich. Youu know what, my salad box has become such a strong habit, I don’t even need to think about it any more.

The Main Ingredients: Greens

There are so many kinds of greens. With plain green leaf lettuce I get the most for my money and taste. Red leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce, romaine, homegrown greens, take your pick. Iceberg is the crunchiest and lasts the longest time, but it has the least taste. You find it a lot in salad bars. Spinach (with nuts, almonds, goat cheese) is very tasty in a salad. Bok choy and Belgian endive deliver a crunchy, cabbagy note. Some greens come in other colors, such as the radicchio in red. Radicchio has a slightly bitter taste, which can be an enchanting tributary to the main flow of flavors. It seems to harmonize very well with mandarin oranges and walnuts. And then there are greens that have a highly decorative value, but which I don’t favor in my fine salad, such as kale perhaps.

Your Handy-Dandy Salad Box

SaladA rectangular plastic container with a tight-fitting lid has become a permanent installation in my refrigerator. Pick a size that fits the layout of your fridge and keep it in a handy location. When you wash the greens in your sink—I like to wash them under running water over a colander in two go-rounds—tear off the wilted or damaged leaves and sections. Remove, twist off, the core of the lettuce head. This way the leaves come apart. Place the washed leaves in a semi-orderly fashion in the box so that you have room for a few other ingredients.

I love little red radishes. They provide a tasty crunch and seem to help digestion quite well. Tear off the radish greens and wash radishes well under running water. If you still have room in the box, wash a couple of tomatoes, a cucumber, and a bundle of green onions. Do not peel the cucumber yet and do not cut the tomato. Add a bunch of cilantro (if you like).

So when it’s dinner time, cut and tear a few things from the salad box, spruce it up with crunchies, and add the dressing.

NOTE: Vinegar and oil can make or break your salad experience. Use a good, cold-pressed olive oil and, by all means, balsamic vinegar.

SaladDetailThe Basic Salad (4 persons)

  •  1 head/bowl of lettuce, torn
  • 4-6 radishes, sliced
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped
  • 5 stalks of cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt (or less)
  • 3(4) tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3(4) tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (Ortalli)

Wash and cut ingredients, put them all in a bowl, and toss them lightly with your dressing. Ready to eat!

Jazz up your salad. Here is my favorite combo:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small can of mandarin oranges
  • 1 handful craisins
  • 1 handful pecans
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • small green Spanish olives

There are so many other salad boosters. The main idea about the salad experience is the exploration. It is amazing what surprising taste experiences you will have. So good that your kids will beg for more.

Here is your homework: Write an essay about “What All Can You Put in a Salad?”

ANSWER: Pretty much everything. So what’s in your salad?

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