Starting today I'm going to try to update this beast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pretty standard for blog updates I think. I really wanted to make some kind of Mexican dish for this post since I am going to a Mexican themed party tonight. Unfortunately, the party is in Halifax and I am on the train to Halifax. Instead I will be buying thirty $0.89 tacos at Taco Bell and this post will be about the spinach salad I've had just about everyday this week for lunch.
I never really thought I liked salad. Then I made a salad and realized I just don't like boring salads with iceberg lettuce. If you want a good hearty salad you have to use spinach. Spinach is where it's at when it comes to salads. Aside from being tasteless, iceburg lettuce is basically just water. There isn't much nutritional value there. With spinach you get great flavor and lots of nutrients, like iron. Popeye was all over the spinach and he's the strongest guy I know.
Back to spinach salad. I'd like to cover the three most important parts of a salad. You gotta have croûtons, dressing, and the vegetable part. I'll start with the croutons since you can toast them while you make the salad to save time.
A lot of salads I've had used those crummy store bought croutons. You know the kind. They are hard and have no taste.If you want a good croûtons you have to make them yourself with fresh bread.
I'm a big fan of the miscellaneous bread bag offered at many grocery stores. Usually you need to go to the market about 30 minutes before closing. This is when they empty the fresh bread bins and sell it at a discount. Sometimes you can get these doughy tresure troves during the day but I wouldn't count on it. Also, I should mention that these are a big ticket item for university students. Many times I have gone to get a sack of bread and found my classmates making the same purchase.
For these croutons I selected the infamous white bun that is common to almost all bread sacks. Multigrain buns would be great too though, any discount bread really. You are going to want to dice this bread into bite size pieces and throw it in a bowl. Give it a little splash of oil and toss it around. I normally use olive oil for this, however, when I was getting my herbs the other day I found a bottle of oil that looked interesting. It's a mixture of red palm oil and canola. Apparently it's healthier than olive oil. I just like the colour so I picked it up. For croutons I found that I prefer olive oil though. Crush a nice garlic clove and add it to the oiled bread chunks. Throw some basil, oregano, salt and pepper into the mix and you are good to go.
I know, this is the only the seond post and its back to basil and oregano AGAIN. I've got some exciting things lined up for this weekend so hold your horses. This is an application where I actually prefer dried herbs as opposed to fresh. Since you are going to bake the croutons the fresh herbs would just dry up anyways.
Pop these bad boys into a preheated oven to like 4oo degrees. By the time you are done chopping up your veggies they should be done. Don't toast them too much, just lightly brown like so.
This way they are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They wont disintegrate when you stab them with your fork like most store bought croutons and they will be packed with flavor!
The dressing for this salad is pretty simple. Its just the same red palm oil I used for the croutons and balsamic vinegar. At first I used a 50/50 ratio but this was too vinegary for me. I found 2/3 palm oil, 1/3 vinegar worked well. I really liked thered palm oil here, the coulour and taste are both great. a dash of salt and pepper is nice to add. I tadded some garlic but you don't really need too. I just really like garlic.
Time for the salad. most people make salad in a large bowl. I think this is part of the reason I don't really like most salads. most of the good bits, huddle up at the bottom of the bowl. I like to make my salad on a plate, much like a pizza. I start off with the spinach and add all the ingredients from there.
Leave a little bit of space for a piece of Hickory Smoked Mac & Cheese and you have a meal to rival Chef Lonely Heart's Soup for One.
Dang this salad was tasty. Its like I have a new lease on life... for salads... I really like how the sweetness of the raspberries adds to this salad. The crunch from the almonds is pretty great too. But don't take my word for it... (READING RAINBOW REFERENCE). So that's how you make a delicious spinach salad with raspberry dressing. Now here is a picture I made of the raspberry sailors (and a story!).
After their narrow escape from Banantes, the most feared pirate/banana to ever sail the 7 seas, the rasberry sailors thought they were home free. Unfortunately the nefarious radish shark and his gang of tomato cohorts decided to show up to terrorize the SS. Pepper!