On the South Shore, I've ordered a chef's salad at many restaurants. This popular salad is touted for its hard-boiled eggs, variety of meats - including chicken, turkey, and ham - tomatoes and different cheeses put on lettuce and smothered with Thousand Island or Blue Cheese dressing. This week I admit I was craving a high-fat salad dressing and turkey. I even bought roasted turkey slices--but I ended up changing my mind midstream. I decided to go meatless like I usually do and did a few years ago after a book lecture/signing.
These days, I'm getting waves of flashbacks from past Barnes & Noble book signings, complete with hotels and room service, because I'm getting ready to go on a tour again. One past book tour, I recall going to Chico for my book "The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes." It was a fun lecture andsigning because I brought Simon, my Brittany, who was allowed in the store. He upstaged both geologist Jim Berkland and me by making the rounds to rows of people in the audience. Simon was a true gentleman and enjoyed the attention of his surprise showing. It was a Kodak doggie moment.
After the signing, once cozy in the hotel room, I ordered a chef's salad and blueberry cheesecake. It was a huge salad and made an impression. As usual, I went into high-maintenance mode and ordered extra veggies, olive oil and vinegar and requested to hold all meat. I recall munching on the greens while in a strange room, snuggled with my devoted dog, and watching the film "10.5" on TV. At 11 p.m., I snuck my canine down to the swimming pool and took a dip. Sadly, Simon, a sporting dog, didn't take to the water. Worse, I broke the rules and got caught. It truly was one of the more fun business-pleasure trips. And the salad was unforgettable, too, so this week I decided to create a re-do.
Skinny Chef's Salad
2 cups pre-washed mixed salad greens (with romaine)
2-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cruciferous vegetables, raw, chopped
3 organic brown eggs, hard-boiled, sliced
3/4-1 cup cheese, a mix of four Italian cheeses (shredded or sliced Julienne style)
Red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (ratio: 3 to 1)
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
In a bowl, place greens and vegetables, toss. Add eggs. Top with cheese. Drizzle with vinegar olive oil, vinegar and onion mixture. Serves two.
Blueberry Sour Cream Cupcakes
1/4 cup European-style butter
1/2 cup water
1 package of pound cake mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries, whole and fresh
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, mix eggs, butter, and water. Add cake mix and beat with a mixer till smooth. Fold in sour cream and berries. Add cinnamon. Pour into extra-large cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or till golden brown. Makes one dozen.
The homemade salad without meats and high-fat salad dressings is perfect if you want to stay healthier, eat light, and keep lean. The blueberry cupcakes are moist (thanks to the sour cream), sweet with the blueberry punch and easy on the eyes and taste buds. Making a cake in an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish works too.) This meal is ideal for summer at the lake while preparing my mind and body for a run of upcoming book signings for "The Healing Powers of Coffee." And, of course, my Brittany duo will come to some of the bookstores, because they add a surprise factor to each trip.
Motto: Meatless salad with a good-for-you twist and cupcakes with nature's berries are good no matter where you are. Simple food and breaking the rules is sometimes worth the effort.
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. "The Healing Powers of Coffee" and "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this summer. Her website is www.calorey.com.