Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adventures in Salad

So, I know a couple of my friends are excellent chefs, and that's great for them, really. I'm just not in that club of people who ever learned how to cook anything properly. And there are very few things that I know how to make with any degree of confidence, if they require more than two ingredients.

But that doesn't stop me from trying. There's a restaurant here in the Raleigh area that has some really excellent salad called fatoush. It's got cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers in it, with a dressing of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. And it's got some herbs in it, too. And since I've been trying to eat healthier myself (and hopefully get my parents to eat healthier), I ambitiously attempted to make the salad myself, at home.

First I went to the grocery store--the new Harris Teeter (I love Harris Teeter... I'm gonna miss it when I move inshaaAllaah) that's just opened up by my house--and bought the ingredients. Peppers, tomatoes, a cucumber, lemon juice (since I don't have a juicer I didn't buy fresh lemons) and I also bought some fresh parsley, mint, and cilantro.

When I got home, I went about learning how to chop herbs. That's right folks, I didn't know how to chop fresh herbs. And some might say that I still don't. The recipe called for about 2-3 tablespoons of each kind of herb chopped, so I pulled some from the bunch, chopped off the stems, and went about chopping as best I could. But I didn't measure and really had no idea how much would amount to 2-3 tablespoons of chopped herbs. And I apparently cut way, way, too much. Of everything. I had probably about a cup of each type of herb.

Then I went and cut up a huge tomato, a longish cucumber, one green and one red bell pepper. This I knew how to do (more or less) since I'd at least done it before. But with me, any kind of fresh vegetable (or fruit) always means adventure. I was putting my veggies and herbs in the same dish and realized that I had nearly as many herbs as everything else! So I took out about half of them and set them aside.

Then I realized I didn't have any garlic--and asked my mom to buy me some on the way home. Garlic is something I've only just learned how to chop. Actually, what I learned is that if you squash a clove of garlic under your knife (like a chef's knife) then it's really easy to peel, and then I just put it in a garlic press. The recipe called for about 3 cloves. I added 5, just because it was kinda fun to squash them.

Then I added some olive oil and lemon juice. But I didn't feel like measuring, really--so I've got no real clue how much oil or juice I added. I know I was supposed to add about 1/2 cup of oil, and the "juice of 2 lemons." But since I didn't have actual lemons, it's not like I could tell how many lemons' worth of juice I was actually adding.

Now I've got a huge bowl of salad that will burn your lips, and nobody will eat it but me. I know my problem with it is that there's just too much parsley, or cilantro, or mint, or garlic, although probably all that. So I just pick out the other pieces with a fork, toss in some pita bread (which thankfully dulls the potency) and try to eat it as fast as I can before the taste catches up with me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Salad posts always deserve comments