Monday, March 24, 2008

Lettuce Week

I'm going to go ahead and start off by saying that isn't me in the picture. Seriously, if I were to dress up like a head of lettuce, I would look absolutely nothing like this person. That said, I really admire their commitment to whatever occasion necessitated sticking their head through not only a wicker basket (surely that's itchy!) but a table and festive Hawaiian cloth.

Perhaps it seems I am stalling by focusing on this picture instead of talking about lettuce as is truly the point of this post. Or maybe it doesn't seem like I'm stalling to anyone but me, but rest assured: that's what I'm doing. Its not that lettuce week went badly because lettuce isn't perfectly enjoyable--its more just that I didn't put the appropriate vegetablesarefriends effort into it. I was so looking forward to lettuce after my first run in with salad greens (surely you all remember spinach week!), but I may have dropped the ball on this one.

I think the problem may have stemmed from the fact that lettuce is not a stand alone vegetable. I knew this going in, but somehow the thought didn't stay with me while I was at the grocery store doing my weekly veggie shop. Consequently, I only bought lettuce (specifically some mixed Italian greens). It wasn't until I was home and excitedly ready to construct my first salad that I realized I had nothing to eat with it. Don't get me wrong; I improvised to some extent, but I'm just not sure I ate enough salad to really be proud of it. Not since bell pepper week has there been so poor a showing of any vegetable (and yes, I realize this would be a more dramatic statement if I had more than eight posts)!

Nevertheless, and acknowledging first and foremost that this is based on limited research, I have come to some conclusions based on the salad I did eat. First: salad is something that I will never order in a restaurant on its own, but would definitely eat if it came with my chosen main course. I've also compiled a list of things that go well in salad:

Things that complement lettuce:
cheese (particularly feta and blue cheese. yum!)
fruits
nuts
certain other past-friended vegetables (tomatoes are allowable as are mushrooms)
oils and dressings

Things that do not complement lettuce:
carrots (yep, still not a fan)

I really wanted to try a lettuce wrap and a better selection of different types of lettuce, not to mention some more exotic salads. Man, this whole post is really just an exercise in shame. I think I'll try to keep eating salads with lunch for a while, at least until I clear my conscience. I may even try this on a week in the future when I'm not so busy with other things. Speaking of the future, I believe the winner for next week will be avocado. Bring on the the guacamole recipes!

Next week: avocado!

9 comments:

Susan Thompson said...

Avoiding cabbage, are we?

Guacamole is such a flexible recipe. I'm sure you realize that any amounts I give you are not exact. I don't really measure them and I probably don't make it the same way twice. My guacamole recipe was given to me by a friend from Mexico, Mexico City actually, and contains a secret ingredient.

Let me also say that I frequently make both salsa and guacamole at the same time. When I do this, I make the salsa first and then I don't bother to clean out the food processor. That way some of the salsa gets into the guacamole.

A word about buying avocados...they should be soft.

And now to reveal the secret ingredient: Tomatillos! Those little hard, green tomatos that come surrounded by a big, green leaf! When you buy tomatillos, they should be hard and the leaf should be reasonably not icky-looking. The interesting thing about this recipe is that the ratio in volume of avocado to tomatillo is pretty close to 1:1 or thereabouts. Having a lot of tomatillos in the recipe does not subtract from the avocado flavor at all but enchances the flavor and gives it a nice consistency. It also saves some money as tomatillos are relatively cheap and avocados can sometimes cost an arm and a leg.

Ingredients:

1. Six or seven avocados.
2. Tomatillos, the number of which is to be determined by looking at the number of avocados and then guesstimating an amount which appears to be almost equal to the volume of the avocados. Prepare them by removing the big leaf and rinsing them, cutting off stem part, etc. They have a sticky feel to them. That's normal.
3. Onion. The amount depends on how much you like onion. Maybe half a large yellow or brown onion.
4. Garlic, 1 or 2 cloves. Beware that, in my experience, the prepared garlic that comes in a jar is stronger and amounts need to be less.
5. Cilantro, 1 bunch.
6. A small tomato or a couple spoonfuls of salsa. This is optional. The final guacamole will still be green, not red.
7. Jalapenos, 1 or 2. This is optional.
8. Salt to taste.

Other options might include adding a little chili powder, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce, etc., especially if you are omitting the salsa or jalapenos...all this to your own taste preference, of course.

The final consistency of the guacamole will not be smooth like pudding. It should be a little more gritty but still easy to dip with a tortilla chip.

Put the hardest ingredients (onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapenos) in the food processor and process for a few seconds to chop them up. Then put the rest of the ingredients in and process for a few more seconds. That's all it takes, just a few seconds. Add salt to taste.

Susan

Susan Thompson said...

Oops, I forgot to add a couple squirts of lime juice to the guacamole recipe. Sorry.

Susan T.

fafner said...

Avoiding cabbage is right. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on tomatillos, etc., Susan T. I will try your recipe, although I just mash my avocado with a bit of lemon juice, garlic salt and Tabasco. This is great on a pile of shredded lettuce (for those who didn't eat enough last week.)

But 6 or 7 avocados? That's definitely for a fiesta grande. Remember, fafner, they (or the guacamole) turn ugly when left in the fridge.

TerryT

Susan Thompson said...

Well, naturally I assumed she was having a big party!

Guacamole is also a great condiment for chicken.

Also, I love avocados in a sandwich on whole grain bread with tomatoes, jack cheese, and sprouts.

Susan

Rachel said...

I loooooove guacamole. If I find a recipe I will let you know.

sharryb said...

Hi Kid,
I've been out of touch for awhile and just now have been reading your last few vegie weeks. You are going great guns! Not only are you eating vegetables but giving me lots of laughs. Nice.

Sharry

Elaine A. said...

Barrie told me your blog address this weekend. This is too funny. That picture scared me a little, thank goodness it's not you!

This is a great idea for a blog and I am whole-heartedly amused. I plan to keep up with you from now on...

Elaine (aka your cousin's wife)

Cody said...

You say the picture isn't you, but how can we be sure . . . for certain?