Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Salad Cheats

It's time for another "cheat" recipe. 
I shouldn't give my secrets away because I LOVE the compliments I get
when I bring these cheats to parties, 
and I do fear that when people know how easy it is 
they might not be as generous with the "wows!"
So here's the deal.
Sometimes salads can be a pain. 
Chop this. Chop that. Wash. Chop. Dry Hands. Repeat. Chop. Chop. Chop. 
And then when I toss it all the beautiful goodies on top always fall to the bottom, 
so I don't enjoy doing that all the time,
especially when I am in a time crunch
and when am I NOT in a time crunch?
So this "cheat" is super fun.
I chop lettuce and cucumbers-that's it!
Which I actually enjoy.
I don't have to wash the cucumbers because 
I cut the skin off. I do it all the time so I can do it quite quick.
Here's all the goodies I put together:

I like to mix the lettuce because the color variation is fun to me.
First I wash and chop the lettuce in chunky squares and 
then cover my largest platter with it all.
Then I slice the cucumbers and fan it out somewhere on the bed of lettuce.
Rince the tomatoes and stick them on there.
An ample handful of those carrot slivers.
Then I put all the things on that I like that require the can opener.
Cannelinni beans, olives, corn and artichoke hearts.
They all go in their little piles, showing off their colors and juiciness.
Then I drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil,
sea salt,
black pepper,
and then I scatter those croutons all over.
Almost done.
I had Italian Parsley fresh, so I chopped that up roughly and threw it on there too!
Of course I stuck a few handfuls on there,
because it looks so fresh to have
those herbs bouncing around
not to mention,
the fragrance
adds to the

When I got to the party, I borrowed a pretty little pitcher to put
the ranch dressing in and nestled it right on the platter.
I didn't mention yet, but I'm sure you've figured it out that
this "technique" can be done with any kind of tossed
salad, and any ingredients will work.
You knew that.
I've done it with bistro salads, thai salads, taco salads, 
you name it.
What I love about this kind of 
"cheating" is that it 
allows people to 
create their own salad 
on their plate. 
People who hate olives don't 
have to scoop any up.
It's really fabulous,
and let's be honest,
it's not really
just because it's easy.
This salad came together in probably
7 minutes. I didn't time myself.
I might have been neurotic enough to time it
but that would have prevented the picture 
taking which is less than par I admit.
I'm not fishing for compliments.
"You can't rush art." Toy Story 2 quote.
So, I did rush it and these are the pics you get.
I love making these salads.
For how easy they are, the compliments are always generous.
People like to see what they're eating. 
It's embarrassing to ask if there's mushroom, egg, or cheese 
in something. How nice we are to people with allergies when we 
just display it all out there in the open so they know what they're diving into.

So I had to cheat my way into a potluck two nights in a row!
My Friday and Saturday this weekend were chaos but 
a wonderful, refreshing, and rich kind of chaos.
I was scrambling very unlike someone attracted to the simple life.
So for party #2,
the 7 minute thing would have 
taken way too long.
I confess.
I TOTALLY cheated!!
I went to Lunardi's Market and bought roasted veggies.
I did it. 
I even politely bickered with the guy scooping it up
who said they were grilled.
So not grilled.
I bought it,
went home long enough to pick up TrueLove,
use the pooooowdah roooom (joke from previous post)
and throw these veggies on a small platter.
I sprinkled them with Sea Salt, fresh pepper and 
a quick (careful of the fingers) chop of some
of that fresh Italian Parsley from
the night before.
And voila!

And guess what?
I got compliments!
I knooow.
I hardly did a thing.
Just dressed up that store bought cafeteria food for a party.
Of course we ditched the party before dinner
because TrueLove and I hadn't had
a proper date since
we could collectively remember.
That is not for anyone to feel sorry for us,
we've spent time out together
just always with others.
So we ("ditched" is the wrong word) politely excused ourselves.
Since we didn't stay long enough to taste this 
or hear feedback from those that did,
maybe nobody did?
I can not tell you that compliments came
in that department,
but when they
saw it shimmering on the plate 
with it's dark grassy green fresh herbs,
I did hear a few
nice comments.
So, I'm sure that I'm not the only 
person who cheats every now and then.
I had too.
Now that I have a blog where recipes show up,
there is a little standard to uphold.
I couldn't show up with a carton of potato salad 
like TrueLove suggested. Of course, the only pressure I feel
in internally generated. My friends who know me and
love me would care less really with what I show
up with,
 but since I've raised the bar of my own food by
posting pictures of it for God and everyone
to see, these cheats are 
commonplace around here.
If you have secret cheats, 
I'd love to hear what they are.
Who knows what next weekend will look like?

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