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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bulk-Packing Salads

Moooooore salad for N, A, and S :-)

Another salad post, with some random thoughts in here*
*edited: used to be at the end of this post, but it seemed to be more appropriate as a post on it's own, despite my attempt to avoid posting twice in a day

I was honestly surprised at the interest and post-requests for this. So simple, so easy, so basic.
This is for my friend N, who loves making salads for lunch
For fellow Toronto food blogger S, who observed my Tupperware-laden fridge this weekend and declared he should start doing the same
And finally A, who finds my massive freezing-packing habits hilarious. He was quite amused with my family's tradition of heading to Downey's Farm in Caledon for corn and storing a couple bushels in our deep freezer (after husking, of course). Honestly, a favourite childhood snack was enjoying steaming cobs in front of the fireplace with my family. My dad also used to like roasting chestnuts in that fireplace - yes, just like the song!

After posting my Summer Salad Pictures, there was some disbelief that I have time to make salads everyday. The answer is easy: I don't! I make a weeks worth at a time. This saves time, money, and ensures that not every meal is a Dangerous Dans burger!

Prep prep prep

A trip to the market gives me the great opportunity to pick different vegetables and fruit every week. As you can see from the above picture, I love variety. However, when the weather gets cold, schedules get busy, and produce becomes less local I have backups in my pantry. That way, there's no excuse for not having quick, hearty lunches/sides ready to be eaten in my fridge.

Canned Veggies
Baby carrots, beans, lentils, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, peas...drain them and put them in your salad. Sometimes I use leftover soup (i.e. cream of celery) for "dressing". Sounds different, sure, it's fun and interesting to change things up. Experimentation and creativity leads to new and interesting discoveries.
Canned Protein
I'm actually quite insistent on having protein with every meal. When I don't have cooked meat available (usually leftover chicken and fish), I turn to canned tuna or salmon. I haven't tried baby clams or smoked mussels...yet. I found these hiding in my pantry for a future soup, but maybe they'll end up in a salad. Probably not.

More protein & Grains
Peanuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, toasted soy beans, blanched peanuts, filberts, almonds, pepitas, raw sunflower seeds, pecans, flax seed...
Pumpkin flax granola, hempseed granola, bran flakes, sesame seeds, oats mixed with raisins.

Making a big salad bowl to divide up into containers:
Lots of prepped salads & adding some fresh fruit...

Salad Bowls - to eat right away

Pre-packed for the week:

Beets, apples, tuna

Berries, fruit, zucchini

Eggplant, smoked salmon, strawberry-yogurt!


Mers said...

How do you keep the greens from getting soggy and gross? I find it hard to keep lettuce crisp after a day in a tupperware.

Erin said...

There are certain greens that keep better than others. Cucumbers and zucchinis are only put in containers that I know I will eat within 2 days. Otherwise, if I pre-chop them, I will keep them in a separate tupperware and add them the morning of. I no longer eat lettuce in my salad, because I'm addicted to the flavour of kale which does a great job at staying crisp.
However, when I used to eat lettuce and keep romaine in my fridge to add instant noodles, I learned this from my friend's mom:
1. Rinse lettuce. Do not cut it with a knife (which will brown the lettuce(, but separate the leaves by hand. Pat dry or use a salad spinner
2. If storing lettuce on it's own, put it in a ziplock bag or large container, wrapped with a paper towel. If necessary, change the paper towel if it's moist the next morning and replace with a dry one.

The key is to store the lettuce (well, all greens but the leafy high-moisture content ones are the most precarious) when they're fresh and dry. I've heard of using white vinegar to perk up sad-lettuce, but I honestly eat through all of it before it gets sad, if I buy it because I only buy it when I need it for something specific and know I will use a lot at once.

If you like kale and not married to lettuce-based salads, I encourage you to try it out, or opting for lettuce leaves that are less "watery" to maximum freshness. However, I honestly don't know anyone else that eats kale raw in salads...everyone else seems to hate the bitter, earthy flavour that I love!

Mers said...

LOL! Thanks!!!

So much work to keep lettuce "unsad."

I eat kale raw... and when I told my coworkers, they told me I had to cook it! I like the stem... but apparently I'm not supposed to eat that!

Good thing kale is tougher and doesn't get gross in 2 days. Iceberg lettuce sucks.

BTW... can you eat nappa raw? Asians cook it, but I've seen others use it in raw salads.

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