Salads! The definitive summer food!
When I was a child we had three kinds of salads: freshly picked leaf lettuce with a dressing of vinegar, sugar and cream; cucumber salad, ditto on the sugar, vinegar and cream; and coleslaw.
The first was only in early summer. My mother did not grow ‘head’ lettuce and we never purchased salad dressings. I thought it was the ultimate treat to go to a restaurant and have a salad of Iceberg lettuce and French Dressing.
The second was only in mid-summer when cucumbers were plentiful.
The last was an option year-round but we only had it in summer as well: picnics, family reunions, village parties; all perfect occasions for big bowls of cabbage salad with a creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing.
As to pasta salads – what on earth was a ‘pasta salad’? Actually, more to the point, – what on earth was ‘pasta’? Was it like Creamettes?
Times have changed. Now salads of every kind are available everywhere all of the time. Takes some of the fun out of it, doesn’t it?
But the poor, old cabbage, never a superstar, seems to have drifted even further from the limelight. Oh people still get enthusiastic about these monster heads of pale green around St. Patrick’s day, when they proceed to cook it into oblivion. It still turns up at the odd family picnic, slathered in so much mayo that it’s barely recognizable – and usually with more of the red, sophisticated variety than the boring old green.
As to the health benefits: everyone is always touting the the benefits of broccoli and Brussels Sprouts, but what about cabbage? According to the Worlds Healthiest Foods ‘new research is revealing that phytonutrients in crucifers, such as cabbage,
work at a much deeper level. These compounds actually signal our genes to
increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process
through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.’ That has to be good, doesn’t it?
We know it’s good for us, knock off the heavy mayo and it’s low in calories, but, we still have the problem of what to do with the whole huge head. Buying a cabbage is a commitment, especially if you are only cooking for two. I normally plan on 2 or 3 cabbage dishes.
Here is my first recipe for my cabbage, the second will be posted on Wednesday (and involves pasta…hint)
Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad Time: 25 minutes
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 green pepper
1 – 2 stalks celery, sliced, about 1/2 cup
1 tbs fresh snipped garlic chives
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs walnut or sesame oil
1 tbs peanut butter
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Put soy sauce, walnut oil, peanut butter, vinegar, oil, chili powder, ginger and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slice chicken breasts into strips and toss with marinade. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes while you make the rest of the salad. Shred cabbage: cut a slice off of the head, lay the slice cut side down, cut into 4ths, then, cutting across, slice very finely: 1/16″ – 1/8″ (.3cm). Slice the carrot into paper thin strips using the vegetable peeler. Thinly slice celery. Julienne the green pepper. Snip chives. Make the Dressing. Put cabbage, carrot, celery and pepper into a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss well. Allow to rest while you finish. Cook the chicken on barbecue grill in pan or sauté in
nonstick skillet on stove. Either way cooking time is 5 – 7 minutes
over medium-high heat. Arrange the chicken on the salad, sprinkle with sesame seeds, chives and serve.
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs peanut putter
3 tbs sherry vinegar substitute red wine vinegar
1 tbs fresh parsley substitute 1 tsp dried
1 tbs oil – sesame or walnut
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs soy sauce
Put all ingredients in small bowl and whisk well.
Be sure to stop be Kalyn’s Kitchen on Monday for the complete recap of all the wonderful recipes.