Friday, March 2, 2012

Reluctant Salad, or, Time Flies

I'm not entirely sure time flies. I think it ninja-stealths its way past because before we know it, it's already March and my last entry was when?

Oops. Yes. I know. Life ate me again. I will attempt to be better at this blog thing.(Not, of course, that I think anyone but a handful of friends -reads- this, mind, so the lack of updates doesn't seem to be a bother.)

I have a confession to make. It's weighed at me for some time now, and since I'm trying to get my health back on track with exercise and diet, maybe it will feel less like I'm betraying healthy eaters every where.

So. Here goes.

I really don't like salad.

Maybe it's because my conception of salad has always been the tasteless shreds of wilted iceberg lettuce strewn over a plate with flecks of tired red cabbage and stumps of mortified carrots, but I've never really dug into it with any real enthusiasm, not since my university years.

Now, that's not to say I damn -all- salads to be cast aside. A wonderful Lebanese family changed my conception of green leafy salads when I was still a struggling post-graduate student in university. They had spinach salads, with tomato and cucumber and onions, and a sprinkling of lemon juice, sumac, and olive oil. All this topped off with pine nuts! And tabbouleh - parsley salad with tomatoes, onions, bulgur, lemon juice, and olive oil for dressing. Up to that point in my life I hated parsley. After two years of having lunch at their house though, I was a parsley convert. Now I love the stuff.

But since coming back to Malaysia, salads haven't been something I run out screaming to obtain. All right, so maybe the fact that I'm not a great fan of the ubiquitous cucumber either might have something to do with it.

And then you have healthy eating. And needing fresh vegetables in one's diet. And all that jazz. I wouldn't actually have done anything beyond grunt at this, except that I fell sick recently in the middle of sorting out exercise workouts, work, and streamlining my diet. Which meant that fresh fruits and vegetables were probably going to be good for my immune system... I ate salad. A sort of variation on this recipe here, because I am trying to kick myself into working out and gaining stamina for advanced vocal examinations. I've had it three times already, each with a slightly different twist. The dressing, I have to admit, is lovely.

I left out the spring onions, substituted chickpeas in place of kidney beans, and bypassed the cheese because a) I didn't have any b) feta is expensive. I did add half a cup of leftover cooked quinoa and some pasta to bulk it up, as well as some wakame I had in the fridge from preparing something else. Didn't come across baby spinach so I used a pack of mixed salad greens instead - arugula, rocket, lamb's lettuce and some other lettuce varieties that actually pack a powerhouse of taste. More importantly, I like 'em, which is half the battle.

So maybe it's not quite enough to make me a salad convert, but I will admit - I'm not quite so ornery about disliking the stuff any more. Enough that I'll probably eat it once or twice a week, just to get in my required dose of greenery.

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