Sunday, July 10, 2011

Salad - It's What's For Dinner!

In this heat, it's rare that I use the big oven except for canning. Instead, I have a small convection oven that is large enough for a 12-inch pizza, and since it doesn't heat up much, it gets quite a workout in the summer. This is it:  http://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Convection-Toaster-Oven/12016177?findingMethod=rr Mine is an older model, slightly different, but it also has a rotisserie capacity for roasting a small chicken.

Why am I telling you about a convection oven in a post about salads? Because it's what I use to either heat up Perdue breaded chicken or to bake wild-caught salmon for topping the salad and adding the necessary protein for the dinner meal. Here's the chicken I use in a pinch - http://www.perdue.com/products/product_detail.html?category_id=259&id=400

but of course Trader Joe's wild caught salmon is also excellent in this salad (yes, I'm getting to it!). You could also used a cut of flat iron steak, cooked medium and cooled, then sliced up for piling on top of the salad.

Ramen Noodle Asian Coleslaw
Serves 4-5 for dinner, maybe 12-15 for a side salad

Ingredients

1 bag of angel hair cole slaw, rinsed and drained (I use this):



1/3 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped
3 green onions, trimmed and roughly sliced
Half a bag of spring pea pods, washed and roughly chopped (you could also use snow pea pods, but I like the crunch and sweetness of the spring peas)
1/4 red or yellow or orange or green bell pepper, small dice
1 medium cucumber, prefereably from the garden so you can leave the peel on, but if store-bought, peeled, then quartered and sliced crosswise into bite-sized chunks
1 pkg of oriental flavor ramen noodles (no meat products, vegetarian)
3/4 to 1 cup of whole raw almonds, lightly toasted in either a skillet or in the convection oven, cooled and roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons of brown sesame seeds (unhulled); you can use hulled but the unhulled are more nutritious
Other options
1 finely grated carrot, or
1 cup of mixed micro greens (broccoli, arugula, radish, etc.), or
1 cup sunflower sprouts, or
1 cup chopped pea sprouts, or
1 cup your favorite lettuce, washed and torn

Keep in mind the more volume you have, the more salad dressing you'll need. The recipe I'm giving you will cover the main salad plus an additional 1 cup of greens.

Dressing
1 packet of oriental ramen seasoning from the ramen noodles
2 T. brown sugar
2 t. soy sauce
1 T. toasted sesame oil (I use plain, but you could use hot pepper oil if you're adventurous)
1/4 c. peanut oil
3 T. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 T. mirin (Japanese rice wine, very sweet)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. pepper

Place the dressing ingredients in a pint jar, put on the lid, shake vigorously. It's ready. You could also add a few drops of sriracha sauce if you like spicy.

Combine all the salad ingredients except the ramen noodles, sesame seeds, almonds, and meat. I use a 12-cup plastic container so I can shake it all up. When you're ready to serve, add the ramen noodles (place them first in a plastic sandwich ziplock and smash the heck out of them until they're in tiny pieces), the almonds, the sesame seeds, and the dressing. Put the lid on the container and shake it all up. You can then dish out the salad and put the sliced meat on top of it, or you could add the meat before you shake it all up. I do the latter if I'm taking it for a community meal.

This is a delicious salad, much requested by those who have tasted it, and quite filling for a dinner meal. Add a glass of sparkling grape or pear juice, or a tall cold glass of fresh mint iced tea, and enjoy!

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