Wednesday, June 10, 2009

“That’s not my bag, baby,” is Austin Powers’ line. Jennifer Chandler will tell you, salad, in a bag, is her bag.
“Simply Salads” has pages of crispy, green inspirations to prove it. With most of the prep work tumbling out of bags, she spends her time on the meat, vegetables and tuna to create masterpieces.
Add candied walnuts, hearts of palm, pears, grits croutons or tuna to a variety of greens for summer flair. Grilled romaine with green goddess and a crawfish remoulade are two temptations. Here are two quick dressings from Chandler’s stash of ideas:

Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
Try this on a bag of angel hair cole slaw and add shucked corn.
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey and oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Raspberry Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and lemon juice. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vanilla excitement
I recently shared recipes from the Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. cookbook. Now I’ve tried the product. Ever heard try vanilla powdered? Oganic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder gave my frozen berries a kick. It’s also suggested for baked goods and drinks. Makers suggest an apricot mango vanilla sauce for barbecued ribs with crisp green salads topped with seasonal garden vegetables and a quick vanilla-infused vinaigrette. Add a teaspoon of Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract to mellow out slow-cooked famous baked beans, they say, and sprinkle chunked sweet potatoes with a little vanilla sugar, grilling spices and a touch of butter, wrap them up in foil packets and throw them on the grill.

Guiltless Gourmet
I was going to say my favorite Guiltless Gourmet flavor is the chili lime (I’m always about the spice) but my daughter Jazz is right. The unsalted yellow corn is more … “all terrain.” They go with anything, are baked, and now have a “bolder taste and crispier crunch. I’ve enjoyed this brand before because the makers are going out of their way to bring an age-old food back to its roots. Look what we’ve done to it over the years. I just tried to impress a skilled cook — my mother — about my discovery. Turns out she’s already a Guiltless Gourmet fan.
These chips are organic and the company is having a contest. Makers are offering a chance to win a “guiltless” trip to Sin City, through Sept. 30. Look on the bag for the code that can be redeemed at Someone’s going to Vegas.

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