I bought happily and gratefully. Then, as I was turning to head to town I thought, oh! What did I buy to make a Free Range meal with? And truth, it was all in the bag...well...almost all.
I've been eating a lot of salads lately, working on my hopeful resolution of losing my *I don't smoke anymore so I eat instead* weight - which is working, by the way - so not surprisingly, most of what I bought pertained to salads. But something different. I love salads and the ingredients for anything too complex are hard to come by here, so the Veggie Guy's offerings today were a welcome sight. I brought home spinach and snow peas, mushrooms and radishes, tomatoes and pears (no pears in the salad though it might be good with some blue cheese in there...no! stop! not blue cheese *sob*). So while the weather is calling for more of a split pea with ham hocks meal, I went with the salad and it was good - and will be again!
Using this recipe called Wilted Spinach Salad as a base I added a few other things that bulked it up. Eating should be enjoyable as well as healthy, whether you are on a mission to run a marathon or lose or gain weight and this fit the bill for me. Self inflicted deprivation (and I do not consider eating salads deprivation) is not attractive if you have a choice!
Wilted Spinach Salad
The heated bacon dressing wilts the spinach leaves and gives this salad a wonderfully delicate flavor.
By Diana Rattray, About.com Guide
- 10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bit-size pieces
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
- 2 to 4 slices bacon
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar (I used maybe half a teaspoon, it was plenty)
- 3 tbsp. vinegar (I used about 5 - any kind but balsamic would be good, balsamic doesn't carry the bite this needs)
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1/2 tsp. salt - or to taste
- 1/8 tsp. pepper - or to taste
Preparation:Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes.Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp;remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cupcombine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper.Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready toserve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, or untilmixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hotdressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced eggand crumbled bacon. Serves 6.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~What I added:
Button mushrooms - the veggie guy had three kinds of mushrooms today: portabello, crimini and button - I was splurging enough and the button looked wonderfully fresh so I went with them
Snow peas - see *splurge* above
Broiled chicken breast - already had it, why not?
For the bacon drippings - I rarely buy bacon because I love it too much. But when I do, I always save the drippings in a jar in the fridge. It lasts forever and sometimes just a tad in something will be enough to impart a good bacon-y smoky flavor (see omitted bacon above). So, wonderfully enough, I happened to have almost 2 tablespoons of drippings left in the jar waaaaaayyyy at the back of the fridge where the mint jelly hides in wait for lamb again one day.
I know this photo might seem out of focus, but as I poured on the dressing
and the steamy aroma of bacon grease and vinegar went up my nose, I think I was swooning...
I'm so glad I lessened the sugar. Any more would have been way too much, but the little in there was like a note singing against the saltiness and tanginess of the dressing, making every ingredient stand out individually. I can't say I've ever put sugar in a dressing before, but I sure will in the future.
The finished salad