Friday, June 26, 2009

Storm & Salad




I was sitting at the kitchen island earlier tonight, waiting for my husband to come home from his Bikram class, while I watched a storm brewing over the city. I was performing the usual ritual of scanning the web for dinner inspiration and facebooking. As I googled what was "good to eat after Bikram yoga" I noticed the big black clouds coming toward Brooklyn. They always come in the same way, right over the Empire state building, zapping the lightning tower and pouring onto the East River. As usual, the clouds took a turn towards Queens, and according to my sister-in-law's facebook status, there was hail. Luckily the storm bypassed our 'hood. Only the wind battered the windows, hitting the building like a freight train. Watching the lighting from up here on the 24th will always be exciting. I come from the country, and this is about as close to nature as I've gotten in NYC. But how appropriate for a Libra, high in the sky, an Air sign. (Since this thought just occurred to me now, I checked about.com to learn a bit more about my element, and it is no wonder I sit here at this very moment writing this very blog....more on that another time!)
Under the brooding clouds, ideas for dinner finally came to me. It is a rare occasion my husband requests a bland and healthy meal. "Spiceless, onionless, garlicless" really throws this Italian-grounded wife-chef for a loop! One lone green apple in an otherwise empty fruit-bowl inspired a spinach "chik'n" salad. My husband is vegetarian, and I was raised in a red-meat-loving family of hunters, so fake meat is often a point of compromise for us. I give to you my expirement - which went over excellently:

Vegetarian-Chicken Apple Spinach Salad with Carrot Vinaigrette
Baby Spinach
Green Apple, cut up
Trader Joe’s sesame honey cashews, toasted
Smart Strips Chick’n Style Strips, heated in skillet

Dressing:
1/8C Canola oil
1/8C total of lemon, lime and orange juice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste
1 tsp honey
1 large basil leaf
1 small organic carrot

Sauté “chicken” 2-3 minutes until hot. Toast nuts. Put dressing ingredients in chopper or food processor, and pulse until as smooth as possible. Pile spinach on plates and toss to coat with dressing. Top with apples, nuts and “chicken”.




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