Sunday, May 28, 2006

a beautiful salad

I've always thought that salad tastes best when it's made by someone else -- regardless of what's in it.

Recently, though, I've overcome decades of laziness and adjusted my attitude towards salad. Inspired to frugality by the ridiculous expense of my iPod, I've committed myself to cooking very nice meals at home so we don't eat out so much. This commitment extends past the cooking itself, of course, into planning and shopping and such pre-prep tasks as washing lettuce and keeping a running inventory of what we have in the house, as well as a forward-looking menu plan subroutine running pretty much at all times. (I take my inspiration where I find it.)

I finally found a pizza sauce recipe that the children like, and so we've been having home-made pizza once a week. Pizza alone isn't the best of meals, but pizza with a salad like this is better than just OK. This week, the pizza was a reflection of the salad, loaded up with mushrooms, roasted peppers, and kalamata olives in addition to the standard pepperoni.

Is it a rut if you aren't tired of it? How can I ever get tired of this divine combination of tastes, and textures, with such delightful colors? I suppose one day I will. I change it up, of course, depending on what's on hand, and what's for dinner. The night we had sausage and peppers, I skipped the peppers in the salad -- and on clean-out-the-fridge night, I chunked up leftover chicken and added it to the salad, and the salad itself was dinner.

This particular version: romaine lettuce, cucumber, Roma tomato, roasted peppers with garlic, kalamata olives, sliced fresh mushrooms, grated mozzarella, and pepperoncini. The olives and pepperoncini give a kick start to the vinegar and olive oil dressing we add at table.

The whole thing takes maybe ten minutes to put together (having already washed the lettuce). The payoff is worth the investment.

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