The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

We "HEART" salads

I'm oddly intrigued that my father's been on a quest for a great Greek salad in Cincinnati lately. (I think his friends have been raving about them or something). We never make Greek salads at home, and three of his most despised foods - cucumbers (makes him burp too much), red/green peppers (ditto) and oregano - are among the main components of Greek salad. Add to that the fact that I have never seen my father eat any kind of an olive, and it's a mystery to me. But I am also intrigued to look online and see that Greek salads (unlike any I have ever had in a restaurant, including Mythos in Newport), by and large, do not actually contain lettuce. Epicurious has this recipe, and here's a fun video "how to" on Greek salad. I'll have to buy some feta and try these one of these days. But I've been into other creative salads lately.
When I was a kid, I remember thinking that salads always tasted better in restaurants, I guess because they contained so many more ingredients. But now that I buy my own groceries, I make sure we have plenty of tasty add-ins -- not just iceberg (read: non-nutritional crunchy water product) and Ranch (pasty white stuff) dressing. During vacation with extended family last week, we tossed together what has become our standard salad around the house, which can always be amended based on whatever is in the fridge. The basic ingredients:
Romaine hearts
Baby carrots, sliced
Fresh Campari tomatoes
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (recently replaced blue cheese, since it's a bit milder)
Dried blueberries (or cranberries/craisins)
Dried currants (by SunMaid - like raisins but smaller and daintier)
Pine nuts
Freshly ground pepper - lots of it
Optional add-ins
Green onions, sliced.
Avocado. Yum.
Pecans or walnuts. Lately, it's been candied pecans from Trader Joe's.
Grapes or cherries
Sea salt. This is my latest thing.
Mushrooms, in small quantities, sliced.
I'll happily just eat a salad for dinner these days, or add a little pasta and a few slices of toast to feel satisfied. Dressing? That's up to you, but I alternate between balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil, and Brianna's ginger mandarin.


at 4:11 PM Blogger Stepf said...

You simply must get feta from the Mediterranean market at Findlay Market. Buy the sheep's milk feta from Bulgaria. It's about half the price of the grocery-store varieties, and the brine-packed block is full of rice, creamy, tangy flavor. My boyfriend and I love it on pasta and in omelets. (And oh, yeah, in Greek salads.)

at 7:34 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

I wanted to add a few things to your "options" list for a good salad. I make a BIG salad at the beginning of the week to eat as either a side to a bigger meal or as the entree itself:

Cin Twin's optional ingredients:
Rotisserie Chicken (especially when it is the main course)
Mandarin oranges(from the can..adds color and flavor)
Handful of blueberries
Sliced strawberries
Almond Accents
For dressing I like this light balsalmic vinigarette.

Salads are perfect for the summer. Yum!

at 8:37 PM Blogger Julie Gaw said...

CinTwin1 - Mm. Yum. I forgot the Mandarin oranges. I love em but just wish I could get them fresh here more easily. I loved the canned ones till I could get my hands on bags of the fresh ones in southern China. My roommate and I would buy a couple pound bag, then sit down and completely finish the bag. If one of us would stop, the other one would finish them! And I should use more "easy" rotisserie chicken too. I always find myself cooking meals when I don't have time to do so. It's such an escape!

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