Tuesday, May 20, 2008

California Salad with Avocado, Strawberries, and Ginger-Citrus Dressing

Well kids, welcome to the most exciting/depressing couple of weeks in the year: season finale week. It's exciting, because what equates to a whole semester, or year, of television watching gets summed up in breathtaking and adventurous and emotional finales. However, the day after your favorite show's finale is kind of like the day after Christmas. You feel all empty and sad, because you know there is no more happiness coming for a long time. What on earth am I going to do for an hour on Tuesday and Wednesday nights without American Idol? (My assessment of this season is evident in my decision not to buy tickets to see AI Live, even though they'll be at Rupp in August...)I know, Hell's Kitchen still has a few weeks left, and The Next Food Network Star picks back up sometime in June. But for the love of God, you're taking LOST away from me AGAIN for 7 straight months? I know, I should focus on the positive, like the fact that we get a 2 hour season finale next week. And that it'll be out on DVD (or Blu-Ray, thank you Dave) soon and I can sit and watch the season all over again along with the cool bonus material (I love hearing Naveen Andrews talk in his British accent and anything to do with Michael Emerson). Still. No more LOST? Til January 2009? It's like taking away my coffee. And facebook. And myspace. And kittens. All at the same time. For 7 months. The absence of LOST means more than just no more good television; it means no more official podcasts, and a slow-down of activity on lostpedia.com, two of my favorite distractions. I guess it will force me to focus more on writing a proposal, which is insanely frustrating to me at this very moment.

So, let's talk about food! This week is a healthy-eating week for Dave and me. Last night I made my favorite salad, what I like to call a "California Salad." I've only been to California once, but I'm guessing this dish would go over well there since it's light, refreshing, and uses avocados. And it can be vegetarian friendly!

Ginger-Citrus Dressing:
2 tsp ground ginger
2 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1/4-1/2 cup orange juice

Combine ingredients together well with a whisk or fork. Taste; for sweeter dressing, add more honey. For a spicier dressing, add more ginger or mustard. For a creamier dressing, add more mayo. For a more thinned-out dressing, add more orange juice.

Drizzle on a salad assembled as follows:
greens of your choice (I prefer romaine hearts/cabbage blend in this salad)
sliced avocado
sliced fresh strawberries
orange supremes (sliced into juicy tidbits)
nuts (chopped pecans, almonds, or cashews work well)
chow-mein noodles (if you have some)
roasted chicken (optional, best for when eating as a dinner salad)

Trust me, you will crave this salad and want to make it over and over again. I based this recipe off a salad recipe I got from Food Network a long time ago, and can't even remember the original ingredients or proportions. I know it's very similar to what I have here, but this version is better than the original. The dressing makes about 4 servings, and keeps well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days. This is Rose's favorite meal, and it's one of my all-time favorite dishes. It's very "girly," so it's great to make and serve for a luncheon, brunch, or tea. You can go ahead and assemble all the ingredients ahead of time - except for the avocado, which tends to turn brown very quickly with or without a squirt of lemon juice - and prepare immediately before serving.

Wonder if avocados, strawberries, and oranges grow on the island, or just coconuts and mangoes?

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