Monday, May 10, 2010

The Happiest Place On Earth? Home, with Radishes!

I just got back from spending several days in The Happiest Place On Earth. The Most Magical Place On Earth. The Magic Kingdom... you know the place: Disneyland.

Happy and magical, sure; healthy and nutritious, not so much. This is what a typical meal of ours looked like in the park:

And this is what a typical meal of ours looked like outside the park:

So between the fast food and the adult libations, I was not the picture of health on this little adventure. Sure, I was able to throw a salad or two in the mix over the course of four days, had a lovely meal of grilled blackened salmon at The House of Blues in Downtown Disney, and God love em - Disney really tried to step up the health quotient at its concessions (sliced apples were available as an alternative side to french fries, and fresh fruit stands were abundant... problem was, none of it tasted any good. Preservatives are preservatives.) So, the birthday boy Randall and I indulged in way more carnival concoctions than I care to admit. There may have been a corn dog involved. Possibly a churro. And I had anxiety about it the entire time. I am not one to shrug it off as "guilt-free vacation behavior" - I seriously was on edge until... well, now.

To the rescue, my friend Aerial. She showed up at my cubicle bright and early this morning, my first day back from the Anaheim fat farm, with a shopping bag bursting with fresh goodies straight from her garden: delicate lettuces, still specked with earth, and a fistful of stunning French breakfast radishes, lacy green tops still intact. I might just survive after all!

I spent the day envisioning my dinner. A simple salad - the lettuces dressed only with a splash of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a crack of fresh pepper and a sprinkling of sea salt. You can't beat Mother Nature - why try? But the radishes - oh the radishes! I had something crunchy and flavorful and aromatic and spicy in mind for them.

I whipped up what I'll call a Radish Chop Salad, and it was everything I had daydreamed of and more. Even Randall (not quite so guilt-ridden over the junk food consumption as I) enjoyed it with gusto. It's got an Asian flair, and would make an awesome side dish in lieu of coleslaw. But tonight, this salad was my main meal, and I think I've managed to crunch my way out of my food funk. It's good to be back!

Radish Chop Salad
All ingredient quantities can be adjusted - just use what you have in a combination that you like, but here are some guidelines for enough to feed two:
  • 1 cup radishes, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked and shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted or raw almonds, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons nam plah (fish sauce)
  • The juice of one large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
Combine all of the chopped ingredients in a salad bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together; adjust individual ingredients to taste (these measurements are approximate - you know me, I just throw stuff in there and play with it until it tastes right). Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Great make-ahead dish; the textures will hold up in the fridge for a good 24 hours, and the flavors will continue to develop (can you say left-overs?).

This salad would taste amazing with the addition of some fresh chopped cilantro; I just didn't have any on hand.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Mo, it is so fun to share the bounty from my garden with you when it immediately turns into a fabulous recipe and a deep appreciation for the harvest! Aerial and Splash