Archive for April 28th, 2008

Saturday, I was charged with bringing a salad to a sorority luncheon. I was unsure about actually staying for the shindig, but I did my part by providing food, which is mostly what alumnae are good for. For the most part I don’t mind. For a few days, I couldn’t decide what salad to bring, but my mind kept going back to the delicious Chopped Salad from the Cheesecake Factory. I have never been able to find a real recipe, but it’s just a salad so it’s not hard. Here’s the “recipe”:

Chopped Salad

3 hearts of romaine
one medium/large green apple
one large ripe avocado
one small can of sweet corn
blue cheese
bacon pieces (I used the jar kind, by the salad toppings)
grilled chicken (optional, I didn’t use it this time)
tomato (I just garnished with cherry tomatoes, but I suppose chopped up would work too)
lemon juice
dressing (balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite vinaigrette)

1. Wash and dry the hearts of romaine. Chop the romaine into very small bites. As you are chopping, put the romaine on a clean dishtowel or paper towels to absorb any remaining water. (I realize the prebagged kind seems attractive but it really makes it so much better to have very small pieces. If you are in a superhurry or superlazy you could go with the bag I suppose.) When you are done chopping, make sure the romaine is dry as you can get it, then dump it in a large bowl.

2. Wash the apple, then cut the apple into small 1/4 inch cubes (doesn’t necessarily need to be uniform). Squirt a little lemon juice on the apple bits to keep them from turning brown. Dump in bowl with lettuce.

3. Cut avocado in half, and cube it. I use the method where you take each half, and score the avocado (still in the peel) with a knife, in approximately 1/2 inch squares, then scoop out with a spoon. (I know this is a terrible description. Click here for a better description and photos.) Squirt a little lemon juice on the avocado to keep from turning brown. Dump in bowl with lettuce.

4. Add bacon pieces to the lettuce, apple and avocado bowl. (I used almost the whole jar. However, in the process of shaking the bits loose, I shook them loose all over my kitchen.) Open can of corn, rinse and add to bowl. Sprinkle a generous amount of blue cheese over the top of everything (more or less to your taste, I used between 1/2 and 3/4 of a 5 ounce container). Add tomato and chicken if you are using them.

5. Add a little balsamic vinaigrette (I probably used about 1/4 cup, maybe less) and toss everything together with tongs until mixed well. Enjoy!

I promise you, it’s really delish. If you don’t like blue cheese, use a little less, or use a different cheese. The strong flavor really adds to the taste though. And if you don’t really like avocado, you can’t really even taste it because it mixes all up with everything else. The major mistake I made (beside the bacon bits all over my kitchen) was not putting everything in a large enough bowl for good mixing. I did make a beautiful presentation in the trifle bowl I’ve never actually used for making a trifle (although I do have a yum recipe for one) and drove my salad to the luncheon. I had to buckle it up so it didn’t tip over.


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