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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Edamame Salad With 
Fresh Ginger Vinaigrette
I had the very good fortune this last Friday to not only pick my Granddaughter up from school for a half day, but to buy us and my Daughter Candice some lunch. My Daughter Candice is expecting a baby!!! I'm so excited! Lela is very excited to be a big sister,
(she would prefer a sister, but understands that we don't get to choose, God does and already has), and I am glad that Mommy and Daddy don't wish to know ahead of time. I didn't either. It's just such a wonderful surprise, and I guess if people are that obsessed about knowing, the baby showers could be scheduled afterwards as well, couldn't they? Who says they have to be before the baby arrives. The baby arrives. That little statement makes it sound as if she/he are coming via a limo. Oh well, people will do what they want about the gender dilemma. I'm just glad we all like to wait and be surprised.

So, back to the salad. Lela and I stopped by Candice's classroom so Lela could say goodbye before we ran off and got in trouble looking at baby things. I asked Candice what time she would be able to leave for lunch but it was over an hour later. She did exclaim that she was famished and had eaten all the small things she'd brought that day. So I said we'd pick up lunch for her and bring it back. She was elated! Lela wanted to go to "The Corner Bakery" literally around the corner from the school. That was fine with Mama, she wanted a pesto and pasta dish, and we just happened to buy her a lemon bar as well. Lela had the kid's menu turkey sandwich with fruit and chocolate milk (of course!), and I finally decided on an edamame salad with ginger vinaigrette. It looked great and the description sounded wonderful. They offer it as an entree size or side salad and I chose the side salad. It was enticing me all the way back to the school to hand off Mama's lunch. Lela was already eating hers, so I pulled under a big shade tree on one side of the school's parking lot and we contentedly devoured our excellent choices.

My salad was so amazing. Fresh, crisp vegetables, none of them cooked or even blanched. The ginger vinaigrette was perfect; sweet but tart and full of ginger flavor. In fact I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoyed the vinaigrette so much that the little bit left in the container was consumed as well by tipping the container and drinking it! The side salad is about 1 cups worth and was the perfect size for a hot, windy, dry day. The price was ridiculously inexpensive as well, less than $4.00. Works for me!

I was so happy with this little salad that I knew I had to make a version of it, inspired by "The Corner Bakery." We were so busy this past weekend with normal weekend stuff and then Mother's Day. I had wanted to take this salad to the park where we all met, but just didn't have time to pick up some of the fresh produce that I knew I would want to include. So I made pickled cucumbers and red onions for the park instead. Today I finally got to stop at Sprouts to pick up those ingredients, and of course lots of other things as well. Normally I would shop on "Double Wednesdays", but I just couldn't wait for this any longer. You see....I have been having dreams of eating this since last Friday! I couldn't contain myself any longer.

I had to not only inspirationally duplicate their salad but had to make it my own. If you eat at this establishment and then create yours, I'm sure you will add or delete to suit your own tastebuds. This would be amazing in unlimited ways! Leave it vegetarian, or add chicken or shrimp, tofu, teff.....be my guest and have fun customizing it! I have a few ideas that I will be sharing soon! 

The weather here in SoCal is ugly. Where are the rain clouds for us? Somehow we need to make a trade with a few other states. Let us have the rain and we'll let them have some dry-out weather! In fact we'll let them have a lot of dry out weather! In the meantime - EAT SALAD!

Anyway, you know what time it is, let's get on it!

Edamame Salad With Fresh Ginger Vinaigrette    (approximately 4-6 side salad servings)
6 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed edamame beans
2 small baby bells, whatever color you prefer
5-6 grape tomatoes
4-6 ounces English cucumber
3-4 ounces fresh ginger root
1 spring onion
3-4 ounces avocado
3-4 Tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
2 ounces pickled sushi ginger

Ginger vinaigrette recipe follows below.

1. Peel the fresh nub of ginger and prep with all of the other vegetables as follows: slice all of the vegetables (but not the edamame), into 1/4 inch matchsticks, stack and then cut into 1/4 inch dice.
2. Add all of the chopped vegetables into a medium bowl along with the edamame beans. Stir together and add enough dressing to coat all vegetables well. Cover and chill about an hour. Stir and serve!

Ginger Vinaigrette:    (this would also make a great marinade for fish or chicken)
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Tamari sauce (sodium reduced gluten free soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root, about a 1-1/2 inch nub, peeled
2 Tablespoons spring onions, rough chop
1-2 ounces pickled sushi ginger, rough chop
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 Tablespoons honey or agave
1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
1/4 grape seed or olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh garlic cloves, smashed 
salt to taste - be careful because there's already a good amount of sodium from other sources, chill the dressing first and then taste before you add any salt

To make the dressing: Place the first 8 dressing ingredients into a blender, Ninja, or small food processor and whiz on high until all food bits are finely minced. In a very slow and steady stream, (which may mean by hand), add the oil and whizz to make an emulsion. 

Add immediately to the salad, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour to meld flavors.

I have included a photo of this salad with chicken mixed in and presented in a tomato flower.