I go through phases in life. I'll go through phases where I'll listen to the same band for a month, some songs over and over... I'll go through Pride & Prejudice phases, where I read the book (and it's many trashy sequels), watch the movies and generally annoy the hell out of my friends by incorporating Regency phrases into my daily vernacular. Also, sometimes... I'll make the same salad. Every day.
This is that salad. This is also a good salad to make when you're not going to be kissing anyone for awhile. You see, I put an ungodly amount of red onion in this salad. I just love red onion. It's nice and onion-y, kind of sweet and has a nice spicy bite. Mmmmmm. But unless you're eating red onions along with your partner... yeah. Not all that great for kissing later.
My dude doesn't like raw red onions. Sigh... alas, he is away. And I will play. With crazy amounts of onion (hey, at least he knows I'm not kissing other dudes).
Sometimes when it's 5:20 and I'm at work... I dream of this salad. I can't wait to get home and start the chopping. This salad almost keeps me warm at night. And since I live in New Orleans... and it's hot as balls right now, I don't have to turn the stove on!
So. I give you... Apple Salad For One, or rather... Salad For When Your Boyfriend Is Working Offshore For 2 Weeks.
- 1 large handful of crisp lettuce (Romaine is my fave)
- 1 small handful of Spinach
- One quarter of a Red Onion, diced
- Half of an Apple (I love the Pink Ladies & Galas)
- A few tablespoons of chopped Walnuts
- A few tablespoons of Dried Cranberries
- A few tablespoons Gorgonzola Cheese
- A few splashes Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- A squirt of Lemon Juice, or a splash (small) of Apple Cider Vinegar
- A squirt (very small) of Agave syrup. Honey works too.
- Pinch of Salt (and pepper if you like... but I don't)
I don't do exact measurements for this salad because over time I just instinctively know how much of a certain ingredient to put in. I know I like an ungodly amount of red onion. But you might not. Totally cool, just add a few tablespoons or omit all-together. Same thing with the gorgonzola... if blue cheese doesn't ring your bell, add nice big shaves of Parmigiano Reggiano. Or how Giada says it, "ParmaGEEANO ReggEEANO".
Now I know that these kinds of salads are pretty popular right now. The fruit/blue cheese/nut combo. It's popular for a reason. These kinds of salads are divine. I think even WENDY's has something like this on the menu. But this recipe is fresh, healthy, vegetarian and tweaked to perfection. By me.
And so we begin. The handful of Romaine.
I like to help it along and chop it up. I really hate trying to shove big pieces of lettuce into my mouth. It's very awkward... sometimes you'll take a bite and a bit of green is hanging out of your mouth, dressing gets all over your face. It's not pleasant.
I like to chop it into tiny bits. Spinach is some good stuff, yo. TONS of vitamins and minerals... it makes your cells all happy. I try to put this stuff in as much as I can, even smoothies (recipes to come).
See? A nice chiffonade-like hand full of spinach ribbons. YUM!
Next: THE RED ONION.
Yep. I use a 1/4 of an onion. Diced. I'm kind of a freak. Feel free to dial back, and if you don't like onion at all, omit all-together. But seriously, try it. Build up a tolerance. It's so awesome.
Next. The apple. I like a nice crispy, sweet apple. This be a Pink Lady.
Again. I like to chop the apples up into little pieces to keep things uniform. In balance. But if you like big chunky apples, or nice slices... go for it. Because it's all about WHAT YOU LIKE.
Next: Squirt a little lemon (this is a half)... and Rachel Ray's famous tip to squirt it facing up isn't a bad idea, cause it keeps the seeds from going in.
This will keep the apples from going brown... and it's also the acid in the salad. Two birds, one stone. Awesome. Sometimes I use a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (I like the Bragg's), but today I had a lemon laying in waiting in the fridge. Lemon makes it all bright and tart, where as the vinegar will be more complex and well... vinegary.
Next: Yummy Walnuts!
These guys are also sooo good for you. Omega 3's. Protein. But a little goes a long way with the fat content. I like to take a few tablespoons and chop em up a bit. It creates the illusion that there's more walnuts in the salad. Yes, I like to trick myself into thinking that there are more walnuts in there... what can I say.
And now... cranberries :-)
Isn't this starting to LOOK AWESOME?!
The cranberries add a nice tart bite.
Now. The Olive Oil...
I like this stuff. The Whole Foods brand. It's relatively cheap and good quality. Extra Virgin. It's not the cold pressed organic amazing stuff that costs 20$ a bottle... but it'll do. It'll do just fine. A couple of splashes, depending on how much you're watching your fat intake. This stuff is good for you though... olive oil is monounsaturated and heart healthy... it's good for your skin, your hair. It's all around good stuff to have in the kitchen.
Next up... Agave Syrup.
Just a tiny squirt. You don't want to make things overly sweet. You already have apples and cranberries. The Agave just... really gives it a pleasant sweet undertone and cuts the sourness of the apple cider vinegar if you use it. Agave is something that I use a lot. It's the raw stuff from the plant that makes tequila. Awesome! It doesn't spike your blood sugar like regular sugar. It's good stuff. Mild. If you don't have agave and you don't want to spend 5 bucks on a little squirt (I use this stuff in a lot of things), then honey is also wonderful.
Next. And very important! SALT.
Just a grind or two. Salt wakes everything up. Makes things taste more like you know... things. Sea Salt is da bomb.
At this point I stir it all up before I add the last ingredient... I don't like to stir it with the Gorgonzola in there because I don't like to mush it all up too much. When it's all mixed, give it a taste... is it seasoned enough? Does it need a splash more olive oil? A tad more acid? Adjust to taste. And while assembling, remember... you can easily add... it's harder to take away.
Next: Sigh... Gorgonzola.
I can't believe I used to hate this stuff... it's amazing how palates expand. These days, I can't imagine life without Gorgonzola... (one of the reasons why veganism never stuck with me... love for cheese)
Throw in a few tablespoons. A little blue cheese goes a long way... it's pungent. Or hell, throw in a lot if you know you like a lot of cheese.
Aaaaaand. It's DONE! Heaven. In a bowl.
So there it is... my inaugural recipe. Enjoy.
On another note, did you know what was voted the most depressing book of all time? Not sure who did the voting, but I believe them:
She must have had a boyfriend who worked offshore too ;-)
Or, like Jennifer Aniston, is alone and desperate with only her microwave to console her.
Seriously, WTF? Make a salad! Life's not so bad!