Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bore Your Kids and Clean Your Fridge: Salad for Dinner

I gave Henry and Jonah a cooking (uncooking) lesson in how to make salad a substantive meal, something I know a thing or two about - in the past, my announcing that we are having salad for dinner produced sad little faces all around, so I've developed some tricks.

Trick #1: Protein. Tofu cubes, hard-boiled egg, chickpeas, whatever. Ideally more than one kind. Otherwise everybody is hungry and grumpy ten minutes later.
Trick #2: Something carby: Grated beets, leftover roasted potatoes, chunks of bread.
Trick #3: Something creamy: avocado, goat cheese, you know what I mean.
Trick #4: Something crunchy: Toasted seeds, croutons, radishes, etc.
Trick #5: Some special treat that you adore, so you don't feel too virtuous/deprived: For me, it's marinated mushrooms or really good olives or both.
Trick #6: Pull out the stops on salad dressing. My mom used to make the best salad dressing, a 50/50 blend of ketchup and mayo that she called "Russian." I loved it. My kids are not fans, but they love my balsamic vinaigrette with herbs. The point is, make it really, really good.

Salad dinners are an excellent way to clean out the fridge of all the ingredients you thought you were going to use last week, but it was way too hot to cook. They are also a fine way to bore your teenage sons, should you choose to give them a long lecture about how to make salad a complete meal. "Neat," they might say, before changing the subject and cleaning their plates.