Saturday, July 19, 2008
ASIAN-STYLE SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING; AND A NEW (CHEAP!) GADGET
What kind of lettuce is this?
This morning DH went to the Denman Is. Saturday Market, which is held on the grass outside of our Recycling Center. We have eaten up all of the lettuce we planted (more is coming), so he bought an enormous lettuce, pictured above. I decided to showcase this in a luncheon salad, and had the taste for something Asian, so, the recipe below is what I came up with and we ate every scrap of it! It's open to adding or using different lettuces, greens (maybe the ubiquitous organic mixed baby greens) and other veggies, so, be my guest!
I wondered what type of lettuce this was, never having seen it before. It felt like an iceberg lettuce, but it was so pretty, with it's dark green and red leaves. So, after lunch, I looked it up and it IS in the "Crisphead" lettuce family-- it's a "Red Iceberg" lettuce! The seeds seem to be widely available online, and, obviously, it grows well in Canada!
It was much nicer than an ordinary iceberg lettuce-- maybe because it was organically home-grown, and we could also use the pretty outer leaves, which you usually never see.
I have to tell you about a new little gadget I got when I was in California-- a Messermeister Pro-touch Julienne Peeler. It was inexpensive and looked like it would be so handy for making julienne carrots, zucchini, etc., to pretty up summer dishes. And, I do love it! It's easier to use than a mandoline or an electric gadget, for this purpose, anyway.
Cuispro, Oxo Good Grips, and Kuhn Rikon also make julienne peelers, but the owner of the kitchen store in Healdsburg, CA where I bought it said she liked the Messermeister best, so I took her advice, and have no complaints. A very handy tool to have in your kitchen!
So, I hope you're having a great summer! The weather here is just perfect-- sunny and warm, but with a nice breeze most of the time. Before our trip to California (with a stop in Vancouver), we had a lovely visit to Salt Spring Island, a little south of us, where DH has family. If you get a chance to visit Salt Spring, it is beautiful! We attended his granddaughter's high school graduation. Doesn't she look beautiful?
I was looking at some old family photos that I recently acquired, and I thought this one, from the early 1950's, was so funny! It's me (on the left), and my sister being read to by my mother, who has such white "English Rose" skin, whereas we were SO brown! We are part Latin American (Peruvian), on my father's side, as you may know, and we lived in central California then. Neither of us get brown like that anymore (we haven't done for years and years, and my mother NEVER went in the sun without covering up and wearing a hat!), but the contrast between us and our mother is quite astounding!
Anyway, I'd better get some "real work done", I suppose! Here is that recipe, and I hope you enjoy it!
BRYANNA'S ASIAN-STYLE "CHICKEN" SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING
This was a last-minute invention using what I had in my refrigerator, which included a beautiful Red iceburg lettuce, grown organically here on Denman Island.
4 cups reconstituted Soy Curls™ (4 oz. dry)
(PS: If you don't have Soy Curls™, use any vegan chicken substitute that you like, cut into thin strips.) Read about Soy Curls, where to buy, and how to use here.
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used Kikkoman Lite)
1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil (Asian, roasted)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 dash Asian hot sauce (such as Sriracha)
2 tablespoons (approximately) potato starch (or use cornstarch-- you can get organic)
1 or 2 tablespoons oil
1 large green onion, green part only, chopped
1/4 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (Asian, roasted)
2 tablespoons sugar or alternate
2 tablespoons lightly-toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
8 cups (approximately) shredded or torn lettuce leaves or salad greens of your choice (washed, spun and crisped before tearing)
Note: Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner is the best on the market
+ any other veggies that you like-- I used sliced English (edible peel) cucumber
Mix together the marinade ingredients and mix well with the Soy Curls™ . Set aside.
Mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
Assemble your lettuce and other veggies on 4 plates before you cook the Soy Curls™.
Spread the Soy Curls™ on a platter and sprinkle with the potato starch. Mix well to coat. Add more starch if you think it needs it.
In a large wok, stir-fry pan, or hard anodized or nonstick skillet, heat the oil. When it's very hot, add the Soy Curls™ . Spread them out and let them start to brown on the bottom, then stir and toss until they are golden-brown all over. Sprinkle with the green onion and toss.
Distribute the Soy Curls™ evenly over the salad plates, and then drizzle with the dressing (whisk the dressing before drizzling on each serving). Serve immediately!
Nutrition (per serving): 300.6 calories; 51% calories from fat; 18.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 699.6mg sodium; 328.9mg potassium; 27.8g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 9.6g sugar; 22.7g net carbs; 12.9g protein; 6.8 points.