What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Sierra salads to love
Special to the Tribune
Spring fever has hit the South Shore. I admit that I fantasized about baking a decadent lemon bundt cake or a chocolate cream pie. Instead of racking up the sugar and calories, I made a switch and turned to friendly spring vegetables. During the seasonal change, it’s a time to spring clean and detox our bodies so we’ll feel more energetic, healthier and happier.
Enter fresh green salads. I’m a typical Californian salad lover and have dabbled in a variety of salads at restaurants on the South Shore. I recall one date and one salad. It was a blind dinner date and I was excited. (I even wore a dress.) At first sight it was not love. At all.
Chemistry was MIA but we moved forward out of obligation to reservations at the Chart House.
I pulled a “When Harry Met Sally” dinner scene when the waiter took my order for a Chopped Cobb Salad. Like Meg Ryan’s character, I dished out my order, bit by bit.
“I’d like the chef salad, please, with the oil and vinegar on the side. And the apple pie à la mode. But I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top…” And on and on I rambled with my fussy instructions.
In between bites of the crunchy salad and warm, soft French bread with real butter (it boasts vitamin A) I was in heaven in my salad world. But the big chill between my dinner escort and me was cold as ice, like the second post-lovemaking dinner salad scene in the classic film.
My date was on a roll of rehashing memories of the former love of his life. I sat there and listened and listened. I’d rather have a root canal. The salad eased the pain and got me through a grueling two hours of going nowhere fast. Worse, on the way back home, my date told me he was used to “drop-dead-gorgeous women.” I held on to my salad in a doggy bag for dear life and counted the minutes until I could run – not walk – into my cabin and hug my pooches without hang-ups. While it was not a dream date, it was a dream salad, and I gave my leftover cheese cubes to my dogs and cat. So, the evening wasn’t a total loss. My companion animals treated me like I was beautiful with heart and soul.
Home-style Mediterranean Salad
2 cups mixed greens (the darker, the better)
1⁄4 cup cheese, shredded (four Italian mix)
1 large roma tomato, chopped
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl, place greens. Toss in salad ingredients. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil (the amount of vinegar depends on your taste). Serves one as a meal or two as a side dish.
OK. So, I’m still single, but I’ve got salad. Salads, like this Mediterranean delight, won’t break the bank and are easy on the eyes. Plus, drizzling a vinegar and olive oil dressing on top is healthy, unlike high-fat, creamy dressings. French bread (made in Truckee) dipped in warm olive oil is scrumptious and can take your palate to Italy without leaving the Sierra.
Motto: Enjoy fresh salads at restaurants or at home. And note, no matter who your dinner companions are, eating greens will make you feel better inside and outside.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.
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