There has been a lot of rain and gray skies this past week. The upside: I’m welcoming the arrival of boots-and-sweater weather. The downside: It makes me want to hibernate.
More specifically, it makes me want to EAT ALL THE FOOD. I have to keep telling myself that it’s not time for my once-a-year Fettuccine Alfredo indulgence. The idea of eating green vegetables is less than exciting, unless they are folded into a casserole of macaroni and cheese. But vegetables must be eaten. More exercise must take place, too, but let’s just focus on one thing for right now.
I committed myself to making a salad today for lunch. I’ve talked before about my special relationship with salads. I’ve even admitted to being seduced by a salad. Once again today I was struck by how the process of making a salad makes me feel. Preparing lunch for myself is different than cooking dinner. It’s leisurely. There’s no concern about pleasing anyone else. This is special Sarah time. As I was mincing shallots and toasting sliced almonds, I felt like I was engaging in some sort of ritual to take care of myself. You know in chick flicks when the woman recovers from heartbreak by lighting candles, pouring a glass of wine, and running a bath? That’s oddly what this felt like.
The foundation of this salad was a mix of spring greens in my fridge that needed to be used, some apple, and good sharp Cheddar. It didn’t need much beyond that. I decided to throw some toasted almonds on there for some extra crunch (and fiber and protein). When it came to the dressing, I whisked together a tiny bit of minced shallots, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar with some olive oil. Seasoned the greens with salt, tossed in the dressing, topped with the sliced apples, coarsely grated Cheddar, and almonds.
So, this is pretty much a standard fruit-nut-cheese salad formula. You could change out the almonds for walnuts or pumpkin seeds, or the cheddar for blue cheese or Gruyere. I used Ambrosia apples because that’s what I had on hand, but I think Pink Lady or Honeycrisp (my favorites) would work nicely, too.