Friday, May 22, 2009

Salad Daze

I get obsessive. I get something in my head and it doesn't go away until it comes to fruition. We won't go into detail about when that character trait works and when it doesn't. It's just that right now - I have this "baby lettuce" obsession. I never should have read Bella Tuscany. Ever since I read a passage where Frances Mayes described picking some fresh baby lettuces off her terrace and making a simple salad - I have obsessed over wanting a terrace filled with plantings of baby lettuces. I have pots and pots of herbs on my patio. Why not baby lettuces? I did announce to Paul (husband), that I immediately needed a terrace of baby lettuces for my "villa." I am likely to spend the next few days trying to figure out how many baby lettuces I can get onto my patio. My husband would be pleased to see a flower or two.
`
So, I have this baby-lettuce fantasy and then for Mother's Day my daughter gave me:
200 Super Salads by Alice Storey. I want to make every salad in the book! I also want to grow all the ingredients but I will spare you that obsession. It's enough I try to fulfill my baby-lettuce-dream.

I made a grand start on fixing the salads. Four today! And as far I am concerned - it's all Italian - even when it says it's Greek. The hallmark of Italian cooking? Fresh! And these all are!


There's the green salad. (You can see why I need a terrace of baby lettuces.) It's your basic - anything you please. Since I don't have a terrace of baby lettuces (yeah, I'm harping on that again), I turned to my fridge. I had spinach, "live lettuce," (you do understand that if I had my own terrace of baby lettuces - this lettuce would have a name), and watercress. Mixed 4 T olive oil with 2 T Chardonnay vinegar, 1T Dijon mustard for dressing and was done. This was a good start in making a dent in the book. When spring starts, I like green. It has been months since I looked at anything - so Mother-Nature green!

I also served the Greek Salad. It's basic but bears repeating:

Chopped chunks of: 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, a whole mess of kalamata olives (I never was an exacting person), feta cheese cut in chunks and a little parsley and oregano. Dressing? A dash of olive oil and a squirt of lemon.

And the next salad caught my eye.

Daikon, Carrot and Red Bell Pepper Salad. I shredded four carrots and thinly julienned the red pepper. I substituted Daikon sprouts for the daikon - because that's all they had in the store. I toasted 1 T of sesame seeds and threw it all together. For the dressing: 1t sesame oil, 1t mirin, 1t rice vinegar. Heat gently over low flame to combine. Cool and toss with the salad. Sprinkle with scallion and cilantro. (I used parsley.) There's little in the way of dressing which was actually very nice. It just moistened the salad. And that's all it needed.
And then the American requisite Potato Salad.

2 lbs. new potatoes, 4 oz bacon, 1t vegetable oil, 6 scallions. 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used less), salt and pepper.
`
Halve the potatoes and cook in lightly salted water till tender (about ten minutes). Rinse under cold water and allow to cool. Cook bacon till crisp. Slice some scallions thinly. Season with salt and pepper. Toss all (again - when cool) with the mayo. Top with some scallions, adjust seasonings and serve.
`
Now, all I need is a villa with a terrace filled with baby lettuces. A fig tree would be nice.... and an olive grove....

20 comments:

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Claudia
Perfect timing as these are all wonderful salads to eat during the hot summer! I grow herbs, tomatoes and peppers in large flower post so maybe lettuce would easily grow that way too? Maybe towards the end of summer I'll try .. it might be too hot now.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend!

girlichef said...

Oh, this looks wonderful...but I completely understand your obsession! Every time I read something by Frances Mayes I long to be, do, travel, experience and just live her life...if only for a little while :)

Elyse said...

Four salads in one day?! That's incredible. I want a terrace full of baby lettuces, too!! First I need to get a terrace :)

Claudia said...

Terrace? Who has a terrace? I don't!

Sophie said...

Waw,...look at these wonderful yummie & apart looking & healthy salads! Great for a pic-nic!

Claudia, if you want to have my latest post under my Sophies foodiefiles, please subscribe again on my RSS feed because it has changed & then the feeds will be updated ever time! Thanks!

Pearl said...

Claudia - your salad looks delicious!

OhioMom said...

Oh I am totally liking the Greek Salad! Usually I do a simple green salad and, when in season, sprinkle some fresh berries in. I absolutely agree you need a "salad garden" :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Wonderful salads! I especially would love to try the one with daikon!

unconfidential cook said...

They all look great, but that daikon-carrot salad really caught my eye. I love using unusual vegetables like daikon in everyday dishes.

burpandslurp said...

oh man, I hear you. how wonderful it would be to have your own salad garden. and haha! high five on the fig groves!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

These salads all look just right with the warm weather approaching. There's no reason NOT to have a lettuce garden on your patio or porch or stoop. You can easily grow them in containers. What I'd like is that villa in Tuscany.

Donna-FFW said...

Claudia, all of your salalds sound and look delicious. The book sounds delightful. And a terrace full of baby lettuce sounds so serene.

Maryann said...

I'll take a fig tree! OK, and an olive grove as well :)
xox

Shelly said...

All of these salads look great! I especially love the potato salad with bacon...yum!

Bunny said...

OMG I have my eye on 2 of these salads, the second one and the last one! These look perfect for the summer, lucky you having a whole book full of salads!

joe@italyville said...

Love it Claudia... a few figs, olives, maybe even a lemon tree. It's all Italian because you're making it! Happy Memorial Day.

Sara said...

Looks delicious! I love salad, lately I've been buying a mix of baby greens that also has fresh dill, cilantro and parsley in it. So good!

Barbara said...

Beautiful salads, Claudia. I think I am part bunny, in my love for greens!
Yes, a villa with fig trees would be a dream come true. =)

the happy couple said...

your salads look great! i love them in this warm weather. thanks for the inspiration.

Dimah said...

oh, yum! your salads look delicious!