Wednesday, 4 July 2007

5 Minutes To Cook Dinner? No Prob!

Having tried a no carb diet for two weeks, my inspiration has been pretty geared towards salad and cold food with a twist. Since it is summer time, you can have some variety and not have to pay an arm and a leg for the ingredients. Besides, lighter fare is usually easier to make and digest. I love rich foods but in the summer, who wants to have cream sauces or rich desserts all the time? Well, maybe some crazy French people might.

This is a salad that I would never have thought of unless I was on a restrictive diet and forced to do some research. My co-dieter found a recipe that seemed simple enough but with a little variation we turned it into something that worked for us.

When cooking vegetables, keep it simple. Blanch in boiling salted water. That's it. Don't complicate it. Also, it is important to note that when blanching any green vegetable keep the lid off. This prevents acids from condensing and dripping back into the water. Unless you want your vegetables to look like the way your mother cooked them (perhaps you feel a sort of nostalgia towards shitty looking, mushy, over cooked veg), then by all means allow the chlorophyll to bleed and consume yuck. Or, you can simply bring water to a boil, add salt, cook your vegetable no more than 4 minutes and a enjoy crunchy, tasty salad.

My tone of voice may seem slightly sarcastic, however, if you grew up the way I did hating vegetables, then you may understand my annoyance.

Vegetable Salad

2 Broccoli Crowns, cut into florets
1/2 Head of Cauliflower, florets
About a Dozen Waxed Green Beans, washed and trimmed
50 g Pinenuts, toasted
50g Dried Cranberries
150 ml Ranch Dressing (Recipe follows if you are keen)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large soup pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and taste water; it should be a little salty but not overpowering. Have an ice bath ready to refresh the cooked vegetables. Start blanching with cauliflower, then beans and finish with broccoli. They should not take more than 4 minutes to cook through. After blanching, place vegetables in ice bath and chill through. Drain and pat dry.

Place them into a large bowl and garnish with pinenuts and cranberries. Drizzle dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Ranch Dressing

250ml Mayonnaise
400 ml Sour Cream
300 ml Buttermilk
40 ml Vinegar
20ml Lemon Juice
Pinch of Worcesteshire Sauce
Small Bunch of Chives, finely chopped
20 g Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large bowl, whip all ingredients together until mixed well.

Chill overnight.

Makes about 1 Liter.

Variation: If you feel indulgent you can change the dressing to Chantilly Dressing. Since most vegetables are over 90% water, then feel free and treat yourself. 100ml Whipping Cream whipped and folded into 400 ml of Mayo, Tobasco, Worcesteshire 1 lemon sqeezed. Mmmm.

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