Monday, March 9, 2015

Lissa's Blueberry Tomato Salad

Sometimes I have a way of coming up with the craziest combinations, but I'm telling you, it works.  I know the first reaction is going to be, "blueberries and tomatoes don't go together," but they actually do, and I'm going to tell you why.  Blueberries are tart, and tomatoes are sweet; the sweet cancels out the tart.  Most of the times when a person cooks with blueberries, and sometimes even raspberries, the flavor is a bit sour.  It makes your cheeks pucker.  So what do cooks do to get rid of the sour?  Add more sugar, of course.  If you can add a natural sugar, why not do it?  Tomatoes are naturally sweet.

Tomatoes are also an excellent source of enzymes; they help break things down in the body and aid with digestion.  Pastas and breads are very hearty.  Many Italians center their cooking around tomatoes and tomato pastes to help break down the hardened foods.  I also believe that tomatoes are excellent on salads.  This salad turned out exceptional so I'm going to share it with you.

Melissa's Blueberry Tomato Salad

1 head of Leafy Green Lettuce
4 Stalks of Celery
1 Tomato
1 container of fresh Blueberries
1 container of Sprouts

The salad dressings that I prefer to use with this are Girard's Light Caesar for myself.  I like it because it's rich and creamy, and it has a nice zest to it.  I would have gone with Balsamic for health reasons, but I believed that it would have made the salad highly acidic, and so I chose a Light Caesar instead.  My daughter prefers Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing on hers.  Ranch is a little easier for kids to digest.  It's all up to what you prefer to use.

Pull away the lettuce leaves and rinse them.  Nothing is worse that serving salad with dirt on the inner folds.  As you can see, this has been thoroughly rinsed free, and is visibly clean.  I also rinsed the celery stalks. 

Some people like to rip their salad into shreds, but I like to cut mine because I like the fine lines that a knife creates.  I'm just using a regular serrated knife.  It seems to cut the lettuce into good sized chunks. 

After I finish cutting up the lettuce, I put it into a good sized bowl.  I don't necessarily use the bowl for mixing because between my daughter and I, we each like our salad a little bit different.  If I threw it altogether in the bowl, I would be denying her the choice of her preparation.  I think giving kids choices is a pretty good parenting skill.  We're just going to set this lettuce aside.

So back to my other ingredients, I'm going to slice up the celery which you can see that I've done, and I'm also going to slice up the tomato.

Here is a video of me cutting the tomato.  First make sure to rinse it, and remove any stickers that have been placed on the tomato by the supermarket.  I rinsed the tomatoes, and then I cut the tomato in half, and then cut it in half again.  Then I slice off the stem parts.  You don't want a tomato stem in your salad.  I sliced the tomatoes into wedges.

Nicole didn't want any tomatoes in her salad.  She just wanted lettuce, ranch dressing and the blueberries on the side.  I'm not sure how every kid is going to like it, but this is how my daughter prefers her salad.  She seemed to really like to keep it simple.This is how Nicole's salad turned out.  She finished every bit of it.

Nicole's Salad

I, on the other hand, like complexities.  One thing I forgot to put in my original picture was the alfalfa sprouts.  These are just store bought ones, but my mom actually grows alfalfa sprouts in her home.  My mom's is called a Handy Pantry and it comes with 4 trays.  I believe you can purchase a Handy Pantry on Google or Ebay.  My mom puts her bean sprouts in a darkened place. In a few weeks there are bean sprouts growing all over it.  I prefer my mom's home grown sprouts, but since she has been busy lately, supermarket organic sprouts are just fine.  I love sprouts.  I throw them on everything.

 So here's the arrangement that I use to plate my salad.  The lettuce goes first.

Next I add the celery and the tomatoes.

Then I add fresh blueberries. 

Then I put a small amount of organic alfalfa sprouts on top, not too much, just a few chunks of sprouts, and then I spread them around across the salad so that the sprouts lightly coat the salad.

Then I slowly drizzle the salad dressing horizontally and diagonally onto the salad.  I know how Girard's salad dressings can be -- a little rich.  I try not to put too much.  I'm careful not to tip the jar too much and overly drench the salad.  You want to pour slowly and carefully.

The blueberry tomato salad turned out absolutely delicious.  I recommend that everyone try my blueberry tomato salad.  It tasted amazing. I would definitely make it again.

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