Wishing you all a happy and healthy year ahead!
As soon as a new year is around the corner, you hear people talking about eating lighter, better, healthier and so on. The media isn't one to be left behind either, and in January, one can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine without an article about resolutions, sensible eating, and exercise. While all that is a good thing, it can get predictably boring. Besides, we all know what really happens as the year progresses.
That is why I had decided that my first post of the year would not be anything like that, because I know better than to make resolutions that don't ever work. However, I would be lying if I say that getting in shape has not been on my mind for a while now, particularly after packing those pounds during the trip to India over Diwali and while traveling during the week of Christmas.
So as the year began, I virtuously stocked up on a bag of mixed greens from the farmers' market, and since then, have already enjoyed a few different salads. Absolutely enjoyed, because I actually like salads a lot and eat them regularly and happily throughout the year. The trick is to keep it balanced and satisfying.
The salads that I make are not based on precise recipes, and usually depend on what is on hand besides the greens, but I like to include a small amount of protein as far as possible, and try to include different textures and colors. I don't like to crowd the salad with too many things, but a few well chosen things that are fresh and flavorful and that go well together never fail to please. While most of them are tossed together extempore, I do have a few favorite combinations that I make repeatedly, and the following is one of my cool weather favorites, put together with all local ingredients except the dressing.
Mixed Greens Salad with oranges, tofu and almonds, with soy-ginger dressing
These quantities are for 2 servings, and can be scaled easily.
Ingredients for the Soy-Ginger Dressing
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons light olive oil (or any favorite neutral salad oil)
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped
Ingredients for salad
enough mixed greens for 2 (about 4-5 cups)
1 cup of cubed tofu
2 Tablespoons of thinly sliced red onion or chopped scallions
2 Tablespoons slivered sliced almonds
Tossing it together
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except cilantro, salt and pepper until emulsified together. That takes a couple of minutes. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper at the end and stir together.
Drizzle about a tablespoon of the dressing over the tofu so that it absorbs the flavor while you prep the other things.
Peel and slice the orange into segments [see notes]. Wash and dry the greens, and place in a large bowl. Drizzle the remaining dressing lightly over it and toss gently. Add the onion, orange segments, tofu, and almonds. Season with a little salt and pepper, and toss just once or twice before serving.
Slicing an orange into segments is a lot easier than it sounds and I learned it only a couple of years ago. Here is a beautiful pictorial guide that tells you how it can be done.