Friday, September 11, 2009

Green Salad with Lemon/Agave Dressing

I had a wonderful visit to my awesome Dr. the other day. Isn't it amazing that some people can deliver relatively bad news and still make it sound great while others deliver the same news and make you feel as though you had committed some crime or another? My wonderful Dr. is the prior. She could tell you that all of your hair is going to fall out and make you excited about the end result. She could tell you that you are clinically obese and cause you to be excited about the diet that you must be on until you get rid of 35 pounds or so. She could tell you that you are pre-diabetic or have Syndrome X and it sounds as though life has opened a new and exciting door to your future!

Not that my hair is going to fall out or anything. No, it is going to stay. Thank some higher being for that. However, the last of my list was exactly what she told me. That, and the fact that my Vitamin D levels are dangerously low.

Now this is a problem. If you don't know what Syndrome X is, Google it, or go here. And Vitamin D? I never realized the myriad diseases and illnesses this simple hormone helps alleviate or prevent! Again, check it out. The D thing is a bit more complicated than the X thing. But that is alright.

Anyway, what are we doing about the X thing? To start with, my kitchen has turned into Mediterranean food central. I have to stay away from breads and pastas unless I grind the flour myself and make it from scratch. Little did my lovely Dr. know that until moving to the shoddy kitchen house, I did just that. There are to be no processed foods, not a problem, I don't keep them in the house as a rule. Everything, yes, everything, must be made in my little kitchen. No pre-made anything.

Now just where am I going with this? How many people eat out of a box? How many children don't know where milk really comes from? Luckily, we as a family were mostly there anyway. Just a small bit of rethinking the whole butter versus olive oil thing and we were good to go. I tossed the ever present potatoes, looked the other way when the bread came out, and generally didn't bat an eye. Greens, whole grains (not ground but truly whole) roma tomatoes, fish, chicken, lean pork and beef; all have remained in my gastronomical life. It is what I top them with and how they are prepared that has been modified.

Take a simple green salad for instance. Rather that top it with a dollop of bottled salad dressing I get to make my own! The following recipe is the salad we had last night. Fun, colorful, and fresh. Who could ask for more?

My Favorite Madrid Street Salad
serves 4

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, fresh, not pre-packaged
2 cps fresh romaine hearts
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup feta
1/2 cup wheat berries, cooked
red onion rings
artichoke hearts

Coarsely chop lettuce and toss in a large bowl with tomatoes. Garnish with remaining ingredients and dress with Lemon/Agave Nectar Dressing.

Lemon/Agave Nectar Dressing

3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbs agave nectar
2 tsp basil, dried or fresh
2 tsp water

In a small jar, combine all ingredients. Shake until combined and pour over salad.

This is a very light dressing and will give flavor without weighing down the salad. It has the consistency of water actually! I am working on ways of keeping the dressing emulsified without causing the dressing to get heavy. Will update once I have figure this out.