The Making Of A Salad
We are now eating a salad with every meal.Must tell you about the initiative of the US Govt called Choose My Plate which suggests that half the plate should be full of vegetables and fruits.A simple measure that can help cut down calories.
We combine a variety of fruits and vegetables such as green beans,bell peppers,onions,tomatoes,kiwi,orange segments and pomegranate.The base is mostly Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar......in a 3:1 proportion.The balsamic vinegar we use is made from grapes from Modena but is not the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale,which is a gourmet product aged for at least 12 years :)
Not all olive oils taste the same.It depends on the quality of the green olives used.
Extra Virgin Olive Oils are the ones that are to be used in salads (not for cooking at high temperatures and should not be refrigerated either)
Many a times we read restaurant menus that say "raspberry vinaigrette" or "lime vinaigratte" which is just a combination of oil and vinegar with fruit flavor.
Not all dressings are healthy.Which then means that a salad can be unhealthy if it has a high fat dressing.Take for instance the Thousand Island Dressing which has mayonnaise and cream or Ranch Dressing which has buttermilk,sour cream and mayonnaise.The calorie intake automatically goes up.
Another thing to remember is that just because it's olive oil,one should not have a great deal of it.
We add salt and pepper to the salad.Mustard and garlic is what my cousin Archana adds.At times we add basil which has a lingering spicy taste (of course Thai Basil differs than Italian).One day we added Rosemary which added an earthiness to the salad.
Kiwis and orange segments not only make it more colorful but also add to the tanginess.This summer we also added bits of green mango!
Blanched Broccoli,sprouts and boiled corn add to the substance of the salad.Among salad leaves,I must admit I have a fondness for Rocket or Arugula ever since I had it in a salad in LA with chopped strawberries and lime juice.Iceberg Lettuce is another great option.
Salads can be made non vegetarian by adding boiled or grilled chicken,boiled egg or seafood.Varying ingredients everyday is the best way to maintain the interest!
When you go to a cardiologist or a physician,it is likely that you will be asked to do a blood test called serum homocysteine which is a marker for heart disease.High values are seen to be linked with heart disease.Contributory factors for high homocysteine are vitamin B12 and Folic Acid deficiency,which are common in Indians.Vitamin B12 is present in milk,fish,poultry,eggs and meat....which is why a deficiency is common in vegetarians who don't have much of a milk intake.
Folic acid is present in legumes,leafy and other vegetables and fruits.Cooking for prolonged periods of time can destroy the folic acid content.Folic acid is important for red blood cells.In a pregnant mother,it is important for proper development of the spinal cord.Having a salad can ensure a better folic acid intake.
A salad cannot replace a meal but as a significant part of a meal, it can add so much value to it!