Archive for September, 2012

Hello, my name is Nicole and I am a salad snob. It could be the fact that my relationship with salad didn’t really get going until I was an adult, so I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid the iceberg/ranch dressing with a single sad slide of tomato combination that I know many people probably endured in their school lunch rooms. To me, a salad is a masterpiece that requires a mix of organic greens, fresh vegetables, home-made dressing, and something cooked on top of it.

When I go to the salad bar for lunch at work, I’ve been creating an Asian-inspired salad with sesame dressing, something called “wok tofu”, greens, baby corn, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds. I sometimes throw some cucumber on there, especially if I’m feeling bloated that day. I’m also a huge fan of vegan Niçoise salad, which I usually make with fingerling potatoes and fresh string beans (olives optional because I don’t use enough to keep a jar on hand, but Whole Foods does have a darling little olive bar). Anyway, when I make a salad it is a serious endeavor, and this one was no exception. It’s a play on a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, except in salad form. I would suggest making it for a fancy lunch and maybe serving it with a glass of chilled white wine on a warm spring day.

Garlic Toast

When I moved to the Santa Monica Promenade, I didn’t realize all of the perks associated with the neighborhood. Sure, I knew that I would be able to run on the beach in the morning and that I was walking distance away from a twice-weekly farmers market as well as Whole Foods. However, I had no idea that I was moving do close to the source of fresh-baked baguettes. Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica bakes their bread fresh daily, and sometimes as often as every hour. On the weekend, I like to walk down and pick up a hot loaf of bread, either their thick Italian loaf or the more traditional, thinner baguette.

In the interest of maintaining the looseness of my jeans, I only go over once a week to get my carbohydrate fix. While I usually enjoy the bread slathered with soft avocado in place of butter, I have also been known to make killer garlic bread with it. My trick is to use no less than 4 cloves of garlic for every quarter loaf of bread, which makes it a really romantic dinner option. Hey, my breath may reek but at least I don’t have to worry about vampires. If Buffy taught us anything, it’s that Southern California is teeming with the undead. You could always break out the holy water, or you could just check out this recipe after the jump.