Saturday, February 7, 2009

It ain't pretty, but here's my salad...

Not only as a chef, but a consumer and fellow eater...I find myself tackling what to make next. Sometimes in preparing food we might find the plate is not so eloquent in presentation, but my philosophy...if it tastes good then you have won half the battle...walk away feeling somewhat satisfied and let it go. Cooking is 75% imagination anyway...

Having to supplement your diet with more greens each day is another battle in itself, because face it- we do not eat enough vegetables. Lets break it down this way. Most of our childhood we were shown some form of the food pyramid and what was our first reaction? "Eat what", "That is a lot of vegetables, fruits, and grains every day", "How can we eat that much in one day"? Do we act that way when we have to go to work to earn the money to live the way we do? Well yeah some of us put up a fight, but we do it right?

I try and think of color codes when grocery shopping...small amounts of white and yellow vegetables, more of the 'Dark' greens, only fibrous fruits after lunch, and the others at breakfast. Grains should be all whole wheat (no sugar), seeds and nuts allowed. Small amounts of protein is needed if we eat the right way, and are close to the small section at the top.

Remember this painful reminder is as much for me as it is a reminder to all my foodie buddies out there...balance...

No matter how I looked at all the greens this week, they all seems to sulk when I hit them with a little heat. In doing this you retain more of their nutritional balance but can still add flavor through the oil, butter, and seasonings. This last menu item to round off my week was one of the strangest I have tackled...a true weed. I felt that if my mother saw me cooking these she would have chuckled. So, I jazzed them up with some Jerk Shrimp...throwing in some sauted chard for some crunch!

Dandelion greens are increasingly showing up in natural food stores and farmers markets, but most people can find them growing in the back yard. (Do not pick them to close to the street due to car fumes, and where dogs tread) Like most wild growing plants, dandelion greens offer more nutrients than other commercially grown greens.

The Greeks have been cultivating and picking them wild for centuries.

This was not the first time I have eaten them...we were vacationing in Chicago and I had them at a famous Greek restaurant in Greek Town...Yum!