Monday, November 28, 2011

Lettuce for Salads

Lettuce 4

I go through a lot of lettuce…3 romaine hearts a week…all by myself!  I don’t buy pre-chopped lettuce for several reasons…it goes bad fast, its more expensive, and I’d have to buy several bags to last me for a week. 

Romaine is my go-to…I buy spinach about once a month and eat spinach salads for that week (and drink green smoothies).  I hardly ever buy spring mix…it goes bad sooooo fast!  Sometimes I’ll do butter lettuce or arugula.

I also always wash my lettuce, but I don’t use a salad spinner…I’ve never owned one (never will either).  I use a trick my mom taught me! 

Lettuce 1

After chopping and washing my lettuce (when I’m serving salad to others, say for a party, I typically tear my lettuce…but chopping is good enough for just me), I drain it for a while in a large colander. 

Then I pour the lettuce into a pillow case (a clean one that I only use for lettuce drying), tie a knot at the opening, and put it in the washing machine on the end spin cycle!  Genius right?  Its like a giant salad spinner!

Lettuce 2

You have to make sure that you use the final spin cycle so that the lettuce doesn’t get “rinsed” again.  And note…I’m not talking about the dryer…I’ve shared this tip with someone before (Mel) who thought that I dried my lettuce in the dryer!

Lettuce 3

I store my lettuce in one of the large plastic container you can get spinach and mixed greens in at Whole Foods.  It holds 3 romaine hearts perfectly.  Happy salad making : )

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lima Bean “Hummus”

Lima Bean Hummus 2

I love hummus…have it in my fridge at all times (almost always homemade).  It’s the perfect snack (it holds me over when I get home from dance late at night until I get dinner ready).  It makes a great spread for a sandwich (I love veggie & hummus toasts, tartines if you want to sound fancy, for lunch.  This one looks really good, so does this one!).  It helps me eat more veggies (I dip carrots, red bell, cucumbers…hardly ever pita, I save that for restaurants!).

I also love lima beans.  So why not combine the two?  Although this isn’t technically hummus, that’s what I’m calling it (lima bean dip doesn’t sound as appealing!).  I kept it pretty simple…it’s flavored with lemon juice, salt, and pepper only (garlic would be a nice addition too). 

Lemons - Lima Bean Hummus

It comes together really quickly.  Frozen lima beans cook for about 20 minutes and then everything goes in the food processor.  The end.

And I’m sure its no surprise, but lima beans are really good for you!  Fiber, manganese, folate, potassium, iron…what more could you want???

Lima Bean Hummus 4

Lima Bean “Hummus”

makes 10 1/4-cup servings

1 16oz bag frozen lima beans
1/4 cup juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In boiling, salted water, boil lima beans until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

Process the lima beans in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula.  With the food processor running, slowly add the lemon juice.  Process for 1 minute and then scrape down the sides again. 

Again, with the food processor running add the olive oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.  If the hummus is too thick add more lemon juice or water*.  Add black pepper and taste for might not need any because the beans were cooked in salted water…process one last time.

The hummus can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Per serving (1/4 cup) – 110 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3.5 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 1 starch)

* The “hummus” really thickens as it cools…so make sure it’s a little on the runny side after you finish processing.