10 February 2012

Top Five Friday: Gettin' Your Green On

Salad "freshens without enfeebling and fortifies without irritating."
~ Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

Last week I highlighted my top five favorite soups. This week we look at salads.  I know ~ you don’t like to eat your veggies. I understand that salads are easier to munch on in the summer time when the tomatoes are red and juicy and warm from the sun’s caress in your garden, and your hands smell like the crisp and spicy basil leaves you just plucked.  But salad has its place in the winter too.  And even if you haven’t had a mild winter like we have had so far here in Virginia, you can still enjoy the energy and pick me up you get from eating your veggies.

Also known as layered salad, I make this for summer BBQs and it is a great way to get those veggies down!  The recipe I have actually used is in one of my coveted Southern Living cookbooks, but this one has most of the ingredients and the point of these salads is to play a little.

I discovered this sexy little salad while searching Epicurious for a 4 course dinner for fourteen friends I hosted a couple of weeks ago.  Actually, I took this recipe as a suggestion and made substitutions all over the place.  Figs are not in season, so I used dried instead; raspberry and run raisin goat cheese instead of the yogurt; arugula instead of pepper cress; and I topped it off with balsamic vinegar and EVOO.  Wow.  Now I know why figs are known as nature’s candy.  Even my friends who do not like salad ate it up!
Okay, I agree: this salad really is better in the summer when everything is straight from the garden.  But it still makes the list as one of my top five salads.  I adore fresh tomatoes and basil still wet with dew.  If you are dairy-intolerant like me, forgo the cheese altogether or use Daiya’s Mozzarella ~ love that brand!  It’s not only non-dairy, it’s non-soy.  Yay!

This is a great winter salad because it has bread in it.  And although I try to eat as little gluten as possible for health reasons, fresh French bread is my weakness.  I have used a variation of this recipe several times and each time it’s a hit.  The key is to let the salad sit for a little while so that the bread absorbs the juices from the tomatoes, cucs, and the EVOO.  This one can be an entrée.

Growing up I hated beets.  Now I love them.  Especially in the juicer.  Ahh!  My favorite café in North Arlington is Cassatt’s Kiwi Café and they serve a simply amazing beet salad with goat cheese and honey.  This recipe has the same idea (brown sugar), but with the added yumminess of bacon.  And as we all know, everything is better with bacon!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What are your favorite salads ~ for winter or summer?

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