More on 'Salad Days'
I thought of several things after my post yesterday and then you readers chipped in with some hints that are too good not to share. So here goes with my thoughts and then your additions.
I generally wash only one head of lettuce at a time unless of course, I'm serving many. For just John and I the standard head will do us for about three or four salads each. I wait until I'm ready to serve salad for the first time and then I wash the head of lettuce. I cut off the root end (and if I'm being smart I set it right away in a dish of water or pop into soil). Then I wash well and set to drain on my drying mat. While the lettuce is still damp, I cut what is required for our salad. If I've planned to have salad the next day I'll go on and double up on what I cut up. I wrap the remaining lettuce in a clean cotton cloth which I keep just for this purpose. I like old solid cotton napkins and flour sack towels for this purpose. Then I pop the damp bundle into a zippered baggie and close it and place in my vegetable bin. Lettuce will keep up to a week this way, though I admit we seldom have any last that long.
I've found if I'm planning to have salad the next day I'd better not put it on the table. John will absolutely eat every bit of it! I generally make a large enough salad that I get about 2 cups and he gets about 3cups. Lettuce is one thing that is a 'free' food for most diets, meaning you can eat up to 4 cups of it without noticeably impacting your carb count.
It is recommended that you cut lettuce meant to be served that day but tear lettuce if you're making it up to 24 hours ahead. This prevents the 'rust' or browned edge you might otherwise get on the lettuce. I don't know just why this is so, but it does make a difference. I have to add I've noticed that iceberg is much more likely to 'rust' than leaf lettuces.
I wanted to share what Rhonda does again. Just scroll down the linked page and you'll see how she preps ahead salad and sandwich toppings. I've shared this in the recent past but it's such a good idea. I've found it's a good way to encourage myself to eat my salads when I'm home alone. If it's all made and the toppings are set up in little containers ready to simply spread over the lettuce, I'll make myself a salad. If I have to take time to prep it, I just will skip it 98% of the time. I don't combine my lettuce and toppings all in one container the way Rhonda does because I don't have a large container. However I do use little deli lunch boxes with baby food and pimento jars I've recycled and fill with the toppings. The deli container keeps them all together and the little jars fit in it rather nicely.
I don't know who shared this idea but golly it sounds good. It came in under Anonymous: A local restaurant around here toasts cubes of gingerbread for croutons on their Autumn salad with lettuce, apples, dried cranberries, walnuts and brie. Very yummy and filling.
Lana: I like the 4 pack of Artisan lettuce at Aldi. I wash all of the heads and spin them and store it in a large produce keeper to use throughout the week. I have a variety of lettuce right there everyday.
I like the Artisan packs myself and at Aldi they are very inexpensive. I've seen them go for upwards of $7 at standard groceries but seldom more than $2.50 at my Aldi.
Tammy: I like to chop the Romaine, then add fresh spinach to it to amp up the nutrition value. Then that goes in the frig and we make up each salad with whatever additions each individual wants. I make our Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressings, but we have a favorite brand of Caesar. Once in a great while I will buy a small bottle of Dorothy Lynch (a local brand of that orange "French").
We enjoy wedge salads sometimes when we're grilling steaks. They just seem to hold up well to the red meat.
One thing we don't have often, but Greg and I both really like is to cut a round of goat cheese, lightly bread it, and brown it in a skillet just until golden on both sides. Serve that on your salad. Oh, it is so good!
Now I really wish the weather would warm up again - lots of salad ideas to try out!
What about this lovely idea for a really cool and refreshing salad from a 1946 Woman's Home Companion Magazine? Just as it was written in the magazine:
Orange Julep Salad
Add chilled orange sections to your green salad. Then serve with deliciously different Wesson Mint Dressing:
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 c vinegar
3/4 c Wesson Oil
1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves
Mix and shake in a jar.