Fast-Tip Friday: The Salad Roll

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If you haven’t seen this little trick before then I’m super pleased to be able to be the one to show it to you. One of our issues when we make salads or deal with fresh greens is that we always have way too many and they get all gross after just a few days. So one of the tricks we picked up in Newfoundland (the land of rotten vegetables) is this: the salad roll.

So you take your greens, spinach, lettuce, whatever, and you give it a good wash and a bit of a shake (so that there’s still some water on the leaves).

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Then you lay it out in a thin layer along the length of a clean dish towel.

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And you roll it up. Not too tightly. But tight enough that the leaves aren’t sliding around in there.

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Then you can toss this in the fridge and your greens will last so much longer!

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Twisted Bee Ell Tee

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I love taking classic dishes and putting a little something extra in them to add just that little bit more to their perfection.  And there is nothing more perfect than the classic BLT (that’s a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, for those few of you uninitiated).  But is that actually true?  No.  Because you can always add.  There’s the BELT, for instance: bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato (on a biscuit, no less).  And a variation of the grilled cheese that we like around these parts, the BTC (bacon, tomato, cheese).

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As I have learned, adding avocado makes pretty much ANYTHING better.  In fact, I think I’m going to make a decree here for the Avocado Rule, which parallels the Pie’s Banana Rule, wherein adding a banana to anything (shakes, smoothies, pies) makes it better.  So this one is the same rule, but, you know, with avocados.  So we’re making a BALT (bacon-avocado-lettuce-tomato).

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We don’t do a lot of sandwiches here at Ali Does It, but with the Pie away for the weekend it’s all I can really muster up the energy for.  This sandwich is at the high end of my give-a-crap level for the next few days.  So stand back in awe.

First you take a nice ripe avocado.  And you cut it open.  And you get rid of the pit.

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And you empty it into a bowl.  I know, this is heady stuff.

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And you mash it up with some garlic and some lime juice.

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Until you have a marvellous guacamole.  I would use a whole avocado for one sandwich but the Pie doesn’t let me so I would recommend one avocado for TWO sandwiches.  Leave that alone for a bit.

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Then you take a couple teaspoons of mayonnaise (whatever kind you want, it’s your sammich), and add a sprinkle or two of chipotle seasoning. Give that a stir.  Tada.  Now you have chipotle mayo.  CAN YOU EVEN HANDLE IT?  Me neither.

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Slice up a tomato while you’re at it.  And wash and dry some lettuce.

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Now you need some bacon.  However much you want, cooked however you like it.  I would recommend at least two slices of bacon per sandwich, but you can do what you want.  I’m not your mother.

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Slice up some bread of your choosing.  This is a simple ciabatta.  Regular sandwich bread is standard.  What is the total BEST though is a nice fresh croissant (it might be my favourite thing ever, especially if you add some gooey Brie to your BALT).  Like the BEST.

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Now you put it together!  Smear on some spicy mayo and soothing guacamole, then layer on your bacon, lettuce, and tomato and you’re good to go.

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Did you need a DIY on how to make a sandwich?  Perhaps not.  But I don’t care.  Because now I get to eat this. With a salad that is mostly comprised of exactly the same ingredients: lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and bread. Oh well.

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A Little Lettuce Trick

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I’m sure you all knew this, but I didn’t.  I missed out the day that they taught life hacks in class. So I thought this one was nifty.

For some reason the Pie and I don’t really eat a lot of lettuce.  We need one or two leaves of it every once in a while, but if we buy a whole head, no matter how many different ways we try to preserve it, it goes bad.  I mean, this is Newfoundland, after all.

But I learned, from the internet, that you can re-plant your lettuce stubs and grow new leaves.  Novel.

So I have a lettuce stub here, which I’ve left to sit in a bowl of water on my windowsill for a week.

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You can see that already a new baby leaf is growing out of the stub.

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And on the bottom it’s all swollen and weird.  I suspect these will become roots.

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So now you plant it. Stick it nicely in potting soil with good drainage. And set it somewhere sunny.

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And wait for your lettuce to grow.  Again. And it will!

Summer Soft Tacos

While it’s in our immediate plans to learn how to make our own tortillas, we haven’t gotten there yet.  So for now we’re using store-bought corn tortillas and that’s working out just great.

Tacos and wraps are great because you can get creative with what you use.  You can use poultry, beef, pork, soy … whatever you want.  You can even use leftovers, add new spices, and come up with whole new dishes.  Plus they’re easy for when you don’t have a lot of spare time at night.  And kids like making their own.  So it’s a win-win situation for all.

This super-easy recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and by my measurements, feeds 3 people and uses 10 small corn flour tortillas.  You can of course up the recipe for more.

Start by finely chopping up 1 red onion.

Put half that onion in a good-sized bowl and the other half elsewhere.

Then finely chop up 2 tomatoes and add them to the onion.

Ditto 4 leaves lettuce (Romaine).

And an avocado.

And a bunch of cilantro.

Toss.

Liberally season with salt and pepper and lime juice.  Set that aside to get all percolated with cilantro and lime goodness.

In a tiny bowl, mix 2 tablespoons chili powder with 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon corn starch.

In a medium saucepan, sauté up that other half onion with a clove or two of minced garlic (about 2 teaspoons).

Add in about 1 pound (450g) lean ground beef and stir until browned.  Add in the spice mix and cook for a few minutes longer, until thick and saucy.

Grate up some cheddar cheese and have some sour cream handy as you artfully arrange all your foodie bits around you.

Now take a tortilla and smooth on some sour cream.  Then sprinkle some of your tex-mex meat.

Scoop on some salad and a dropping of cheese.

Roll from one end to the other.

Like rolling a dead person up in a rug.  Or a burrito.  And eat that sucker.  Mmmm.

Best Chicken Sandwich – Ever.

At least that’s what the recipe says.  A recipe for a sammy.  Don’t that just beat all …  Nevertheless this is super easy and super awesome and it serves two, for a romantically messy meal you can eat with your fingers.

It’s from a book called Food Cook Eat by Lulu Grimes that my mother gave to the Pie for Christmas a few years back.  Page 108 for those of you following along at home.

First, slice up a tomato, half an avocado, and wash some leaves of lettuce (get fancy and use arugula or frisé or whatever), and set those aside.

Cut two large pieces of ciabatta or Turkish bread in half horizontally and put that aside as well.

Take a boneless, skinless chicken breast (or a boned, skin-covered one and work some magic with it, which is what I did), trim off the excess sinew and fat, and cut it in half horizontally.

Flatten the pieces out a bit by hitting them with the side of your knife, the flat of a cleaver, your fist, or a mallet.  Work out your frustrations, but don’t go crazy and break the flesh.  You just want to thin it out a little.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pan and slip in the breast pieces, cooking them on both sides for a few minutes until brown and cooked through.  Sprinkle them with some lemon juice and take them out of the pan.  Put ’em on a plate or something.

Take your bread pieces and put them, cut side down, in the pan. Press them down a bit to soak up the chicken and lemon juices and leave them in there for a minute or two.

When you take the bread out of the pan, rub the cut side with a garlic clove, cut in half, then generously spread all the pieces with mayonnaise

Put a piece of chicken on the bottom pieces of the bread. 

Top with tomato, avocado, and lettuce, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. 

Plop the top of the bread back on and eat the crap out of that thing.  Tada: your sammich.