It’s that time of year again; the one where I can’t cover up my body in such a way as to hide the holiday fat. Time to get serious and cut down on those endorphin-producing carbs.
Yesterday a friend of mine and I were having lunch in a tavern famous for its catfish. She had a salad and I had the bottom-feeder. She said she likes salads but hates making them. I said I had the solution.
I eat most of my meals alone, so unless I grill up a pallet of chicken for future use, I’m eating salads. It’s on these base salads that I put the meat or cheeses, whatever I choose for the protein, fruits and other vegetables that would spoil quickly if pre-cut (like strawberries, avocados, tomatoes). But making them is a messy business, so like everything else I do, I assemble them en masse; at least five at a time depending upon the size of the head of lettuce. I buy the biggest cucumbers, onions and radishes. I clean and chop and then assemble, leaving those protein and fruit toppings off to be added just before I eat.
Don’t think they’ll keep? Well, they will, I promise. And at least for five days. I have a new ice-box, but here are the tricks I use to assure freshness. First, I make sure there’s no water at the bottom of the bowls before I seal. I also wash my radishes with soap and water (because I leave the skin on), but I also peel my cucumbers and remove the seeds as much as possible. I remove a layer of onion, then wash or use a new knife before I cut it. I wash my hands between veggies, so that I remove as much bacteria as I can and don’t cross-contaminate from the skin to the meat of another veggie. I seal fully, so tight in fact that I can stack these.
But the most important part is in the buying. I use a green leaf lettuce and try to buy early in the morning when they are set out fresh and not handled by 100 customers before me. I look for the hardest vegetables, since that indicates full hydration and age.
My one-bowl meals are normally more nutritious than a steak and potato dinner, but if I feel the need, I’ll slice up some steak or put some hot bar-b-que on a cold salad. Really delish! Oh, and check our the sulfite content of your salad bags, and try to find out when they were assembled. If you do this, you’ll probably never buy one again.