Face plant with the eggplant

This week I received my first order from the produce delivery service I’ve been excited about (see the two previous posts). It worked out well–arrived well before dinner–which is not necessarily guaranteed in their delivery time frames. Everything appeared to be of the utmost quality…and most of it has been. The only disappointment was the broccoli–it looked excellent at first glance. I went to wash and prepare it the next night and one of the two stalks had quite the bug infestation. I am fine with finding a bug or two, especially in organic fruits and veggies, as long as the quality of the food item is still good. After all, we need insects in general and I am most grateful to not have pesticides in my food! I had to pitch that one. The other stalk looked ok, but after I steamed it and the tops loosened a bit, it was obvious there were cities of tiny little guys hidden up there. Darn!This company is great and will credit for any bad produce. I just don’t think I want to complain-it is understandable that this can happen, but hopefully not often. And I got a discount on my first order anyways. I’ll call them next time if needed.

However, I really met my match with the eggplant. Such a beautiful veggie! Maybe I will just get a fake one to keep on my counter because I love the look of them! I consulted Veganomicon, as usual, and decided to slice and roast, thinking I’d enjoy slices that day and sandwiches after that. Keep in mind, the skin was still on…Somehow eating the sliced eggplant with skin just did not work for me. Ever since I have had children, I truly have a stronger gag reflex. Did my hair go straight with pregnancy…no, of course not! But I can now gag on a vitamin! Although I did not physically gag in this scenario, it was exceedingly close. And it was too late to pull the skin off and enjoy it that way. When an appropriate amount of time has gone by (maybe next month summer) I will definitely try again with skin-removed eggplant in a yummy ratatouille.

I had been contemplating a blog post about my new favorite summer lunch (ok-sometimes it’s dinner), so this seems like a good time for it. I call it “All-in Mexican Salad”. It’s quick, easy, and flexible…

All-in Mexican Salad

serves 1-2 depending on appetite

Ingredients:

Romaine hearts, chopped (I typically use one stalk and end up with a little leftover, maybe enough for one small side salad later)

Muir Glen Organic Salsa (feel free to use any salsa, but this makes it for me. I love this salsa!)

Shredded cheddar cheese or cheese alternative

Plain Greek yogurt or nondairy substitute

Broken tortilla chips

Anything else you want, or want to use up! This included for me today-chopped cucumber and grape tomatoes. Other possible additions: avocado slices (awesome), onion, olives, squeezed fresh lime juice over the top, fresh cilantro-either mixed in with the greens or on top, beans, or chopped up veggie burgers. I don’t need a dressing with this, but that could be another addition.

This is my favorite salsa-very natural, and if you are counting calories, the whole jar is only 140 calories. It’s my “dressing” for the salad.

I have found Romaine hearts (I have tried a few brands and all were good) to be the key to really fresh salads in general. They last a long time in the fridge. You do have to wash them, but I think that keeps them fresher (the fact they were not already washed and cut, as in prewashed bagged salads). They are more costly than buying a regular head of romaine, but you don’t end up discarding any leaves. Quick and easy to wash and chop. Even after washing and chopping, they last many days in a sealed container. If you have not tried them, I respectfully recommend you give them a try!

I have become more comfortable with less worry over protein. All veggies have protein (after all how does a cow become a protein source…by eating veggie matter!), so if I feel I need even more protein in this meal, it really is easy to add a higher protein food to help meet the daily requirements. Examples include: the Greek yogurt, beans, leftover quinoa, or veggie burger. But I don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary to add it to this salad every time.

I hope you enjoy this quick and adaptable idea!

Lastly, I am excited that I am going to have a giveaway of a new copy of one of my favorite cookbooks in the next month. I can’t wait to share a terrific meat-free cookbook with someone; so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend! And I am curious, how do you feel about insects on your produce? Do you overlook a few?Note added later: Just to be clear, I am asking if you are ok keeping the produce if you removed the insects from the produce as you washed it…not advocating eating them.

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