Thursday, February 24, 2011

College Student Cooking {Salads}

Dear Kate,

Your new salad spinner will soon be your best friend.  It is not just for crisping, washing, drying and storing lettuce.  Wash berries, grapes, green beans, snap peas and other produce by filling the bowl with water, letting the dirt settle and lifting the food easily out of the bowl.  My spinner get’s daily use. 

You can store your produce already washed right in the container, but I know that fridge space can be hard to come by.  To save greens in a more compact way, lay out a couple clean paper towels.  Place the clean and mostly dry lettuce in the center and roll like a sleeping bag.  Place the roll in a zip top bag and place it in the front area or door of the fridge.  You don’t want it to get too cold.  It will keep nicely for a week this way.

I know you love salad and need no convincing about it being a good thing to eat, but there is a little bit I would like to share in regards to dressing.  First off, vegetables need a good dose of fat with them in order for your body to be able to absorb many of the nutrients, so stay clear of the ever common “low fat” varieties.  Secondly, the fat needs to be a good fat, which is really hard to come by in anything not homemade.  Stay away from vegetables oils like corn, soy, safflower, cottonseed and canola.  These are cheap oils that wreck havoc on the system. Sorry to say that restaurants use them almost exclusively, like I said, they are cheap.

Vegetable oils are extracted through chemical solvents, bleaching, deodorizing and high heat resulting in rancid oils that can promotes inflammation. The problem with these oils is that they are unstable and quickly oxidize.  Oxidize fats damage tissue and cells in the body.

I suggest extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a really easy dressing.  If you want a little variety, add some mustard, garlic, herbs or spices.  You might even pick up some apple cider vinegar to have on hand.  A little sweetener is great for dressing bitter greens.  An egg yolk can make the dressing creamy and red pepper flakes for some heat.  It really doesn’t have to be complicated and most dressings will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks if you want to make up a small batch to have on hand.

Eating in for salads not only saves money, but is also enormously better for your health.
links; Simple Lives Thursday, Things I Love Thursday, Cooking Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fightback Friday, Finer Things Friday, Frugal Friday, Foodie Friday, Fresh Bites Friday

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