I was out having lunch with my friend Michelle a couple months back, and we went to Sweet Basil Café in Herndon, a favorite lunch spot for the work crowd. That day they had a mango chicken salad on the specials, and it sounded so appealing that we both ordered it. The flavors really hit the spot with sweet mango, grilled chicken, lemon vinaigrette, and nigella seeds, and I knew I had to give this one a try at home. I like dinner salads in the summertime because they are so easy and light on hot days….
My boys don’t agree on many things, including food. Two like tomatoes, one doesn’t. Two like corn, one doesn’t. Two like carrots, one doesn’t. Two like melted cheese, one doesn’t. (I don’t get that one at all.) But one thing they all agree on is cucumbers. They’ll eat them sliced with lunch or dinner, plain or salted, pickled, or in a salad. They are so juicy and refreshing that I will eat one whole with a little bit of salt for a snack, and eating a bowl full of cucumber salad is my idea of a great lunch….
We’ve been growing chard for a couple years now, and fortunately our chard comes back each spring. The baby leaves are as tender as any salad bowl lettuce and full of flavor, and it’s so satisfying to see the chard sprout, then pick the small, tender leaves and have them on the table in just a few minutes. I really love that benefit of growing my own….
Simplicity has been our theme this summer. I went back to work in June and realized that I wasn’t superwoman. Oh, I knew it way before then, but adding big deadlines to my juggling pile made me think less about what I wanted to do and more about what I could realistically do, and the first thing on my list was to make our meals easier and faster to prepare….
Early today I returned home from 10 glorious days of vacation to find our garden in full production mode. All the tomato plants have green tomatoes, teasing, making me wait until they ripen. I could pick some of the green peppers to encourage more flowering, and I probably will as I find it difficult to wait for peppers to fully ripen to a beautiful red, yellow, or orange.
The parsley is very bushy, even though I trimmed it back before we left and made fresh tabouleh with the leaves and stems. Tabouleh is one of the healthiest salads you can make; the parsley alone is bursting with 13 vitamins and minerals and even supplies protein; the bulgur provides fiber, protein, and potassium; the tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and lycopene; and the scallions are a significant source of vitamin K, about 250% of the daily requirement. Somehow knowing that the salad is so healthy makes it taste even more delicious….