The Mockingbird Feeder

It was the party of the century, everyone danced until their feet were sore, the music was perfect, the dresses divine, it is the talk of the town..and you..weren’t..invited. 

You contemplate deleting all of your friends from your facebook page so you don’t have to hear about all the fun you missed out on. You even try to bully your partner into developing a third party resentment. No matter how good life gets, there is always some morsel on someone else’s plate tempting your attention away from your own dinner. 
Order envy. 

Something has awoken the phantoms, long banished to the confines your memory and suddenly you can’t concentrate on anything except the sounds of their rattling cages. You know the ghosts I mean. The one of the childhood nemesis who overtook you for the lead role in the play, the date you were rejected by, the test you left blank and then listened quietly to your friends recount how easy the questions were. It is the outfit you never wanted until you saw your best friend wearing it. And it burns, it burns..
You remember coming home and bursting into tears after that horrible night from your childhood, and maybe your mother was there to feed you bites of her salad off of her own fork. You never wanted to make your own, you always just wanted a bite of hers. Like a baby bird you sat on the floor while she shared with you the stories of her own childhood traumas. 
As you chop the lettuce for todays salad, you begin to laugh at yourself for allowing your day to be swept into the pity pan, you allowed yourself to be frightened by the phantoms as though they were real. You were waiting for somebody to come along and nourish you, when you had all the right ingredients at your very own fingertips. 
Make this salad for someone you love. 
The dressing: 
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 green onion chopped
a pinch of sugar 
Make 2 hard boiled eggs (cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 min, then turn the heat off and let sit, uncovered, for ~15 min) Rinse with cold water. 
Chop 1/2 head romaine lettuce
peel and dice 1 carrot
peel and dice 1/2 English cucumber
cut up 1/2 avocado
dice 1 whole red pepper
dice 1 head fennel
garnish with sliced eggs on top
Christina’s vote: “This salad made me feel alive and well”
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The Mutiny Preventor

One of my first cooking jobs was to prepare meals for the crew of an environmentally conscious, historically preserved, Delaware Bay oyster schooner. We did not use paper napkins, and our old chief mate (who was more of a yachtsman that a schoonerman) used to leave globs of salad dressing on his face in protest. As I was relatively new to cooking for other people I was riddled with insecurity. With the cautious desire of a person passing a taped off accident scene to both look and shield my eyes simultaneously, I used to rush up the galley hatch and sit on deck to spy on the crew as they tasted their first bites of each meal. I would half listen to the jovial banter of the well-tanned, tar covered sailors below while they recounted the day’s highlights, hoping for some morsel, some juicy words to slip out of the tiny square hatch to indicate whether the meal was well received.

Mostly the food was a huge hit, but once in awhile I would try something really risky (like toasted bulgar with mushroom gravy) and even the hungry sailors would leave me with leftovers.
It was on these days that I would find the bottle of ranch dressing had gone dry. Ranch dressing is the ultimate pacifier in any culinary disaster. It is particularly useful if you find yourself, as I often do, wrestling to convince stubborn non-vegetable types to explore the world of salads. Store bought ranch has a delicate blend of sugar, oil, salt and MSG, equivalent to a liquid bag of Doritos (who could stop at just one)?

The problem with Ranch is that once you get your crew hooked, you can never go back. This past summer I worked as a cooking instructor for Native American high school kids on an organic farm in Hugo, MN. I made the mistake of bringing out a bottle of Ranch dressing one day, from that day forth every lunch period was a stream of never ending inquiries “where’s the ranch?” It filled my heart with nostalgia.

I decided to use this opportunity to develop my own version of ranch dressing. Having just discovered how easy it is to make a yummy version of this dressing I regret having not tried it sooner.
The dressing:
2 cloves garlic mashed, chopped and squished into a pumice (use the flat side of your knife to get it smashed and the chop it until it resembles the kind of minced horseradish that my dad used to put on his steak..if you have no idea what horseradish looks like, it is kind of a mealy, gritty, watery paste)
1-2 Tbsp minced onion (same as the garlic)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped well
1 green onion, chopped
1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (to make your own see the earlier salad-e olivia, or use store bought)
1/4 tsp salt
a few shakes of lemon pepper

Chop 3 cups spinach (I used spinach and pea shoots mixed because that is what the farmers at the market had)
mix in
2 diced carrots
10 radishes
3 celery stalks
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 whole diced yellow pepper
1/2 English cucumber sliced and quartered

Christina’s vote: “Hidden Valley better stay hiding!”

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Refresh-mint Salad

Beautiful weather deserves a beautiful salad. Pale pinks and greens for summer shorts and sandals walking down the avenue, a burst of yellow lemon for the unfailingly ever present sunshine, some creamy yogurt to cool the fire within and a cool splash of mint for the breezy wind and shady respites along the way. An absolutely perfect, wonderful, beautiful spring day…but…it would be better if I were out to enjoy it, if the neighbors weren’t so loud, if I didn’t have this job, this car, this payment, if the economy were better, if I were richer, thinner, prettier, had more free time, more friends, the right friends, lived in Paris, had a bigger house, lived on a boat.. sound familiar? next come the “when’s”. When I get fit I will be comfortable with my body. When I get rich I will feel safe with my financial status. When I live in Paris I will be happy. When I have free time I will enjoy my day. When I get there I will be okay. 

When the chicken crossed the road and got to the other side, he saw that he was a thinner, richer, and more attractive chicken and people told him so. Instantly he became afraid and his fear turned quickly to anger, for he knew that he was still a chicken. He blamed the crossing guard, he blamed the signpost for suggesting he should cross the street to begin with, he blamed the establishment, he blamed himself. Hopeless and desperate he shouted at the crossing guard and shook his feathery wing in rage. “I have worked hard for everything I have, I crossed this street, I am rich, I am attractive, and STILL I AM A CHICKEN! Now I have nothing but fear that I will lose what little I have earned along the way, and I am getting old and soon there will be nothing left of me. Then crossing guard, who had seen many before follow the path of the chicken across the busy street asked the one question that made the chicken see the folly of his ways. “what were you expecting?”  
Enjoy this salad. Enjoy it in the moment, every bite. Appreciate your company, even if the company you have is just you. This salad was designed so that every flavor could be loved and appreciated exactly as it is in this moment. Every vegetable is present, no bells and whistles, no fancy dressings, just pure, fresh flavor. 
slice into half moons 1 bunch of radishes 
slice and quarter 1 long seedless cucumber
quarter cherry tomatoes (1 pkg)
chop finely a handful of fresh mint
drizzle 1 tsp (really, just a tiny bit) of olive oil over the top and 1 tsp salad vinegar
sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper
stir and plate the vegetables, garnish with a dollop (or a scoop) of greek yogurt (we call this “ice cream” in our house because it is so unbelievably good)
grate some lemon zest over the top. 
Christina’s vote: “I just didn’t want it to end”
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The Uberbusy Mom Salad

I woke up this morning with a sense of duty. I had things to accomplish, and I was going to systematically check them all off my neatly organized mental list. I fed the cats: Charlie gets wet food Sasha and Eugene get dry food so I put Eugene and Sasha in the other room, but just as I put Eugene IN Sasha ran OUT. I put Sasha in and Eugene ran out. I put down Eugene and picked up Sasha, I put down Sasha and Charlie ran in…I Shoo out Charlie, shut the door and..whew! Everybody was now in their proper place, so I fed the cats and went for a run. 
Running took longer than anticipated because I kept running (literally) into people I know and I had to stop often to chat. I got home, put the dishes away and started working on my thesis. 
Every two seconds I thought of something important that needed to be done. I sat down, I stood up to fold towels, I sat down, I got up to make iced tea, I sat down, I got up to wipe off the counters. 
By about noon I started to get hungry for salad and headed to the grocery store. 
The majority of my shopping trip was spent on the telephone. I balanced grocery bags precariously on my wrists while smashing the phone between my shoulder and ear so that I could keep talking all the way to my door. I switched on my bluetooth the second I got in my house. While I made the salad, Eugene pawed at my ankles, dove into the grocery bags, and tried clawing his way up my leg. “what’s that?” I said “I am sorry, I gotta go, my cat is getting into everything and I need to get this salad made” I hung up the phone. 
The phone rang again “hello, oh hi Mom… yeah I can talk I am just making salad” 
At this point Eugene dove at my ankles and desperately started biting. 
“ouch!” I said, “Eugene is BITING me!!” 
Suddenly, at that very moment, it hit me. Child or no child, husband or domestic partner, full- time housewife or full-time grad-student, I.. have become… my mother.  
Memories of being a little child tugging out on my mothers nightgown while she laughed and cried and shared all of her deepest thoughts with her 20 closest friends. one. after. the other. on the telephone came rushing to meet my awareness as I looked into Eugene’s desperate little attention seeking eyes.  
A few days ago we were over at a neighbors house. The neighbor had a little girl with long tangles in her hair who jumped up from her cereal bowl in front of the TV to perform the giant imaginary stage in the bright lights of childhood the second we walked through the door. Her mother, excited to have some adult company, started telling us about the paint job she had just done while her daughter flailed and tugged and gradually escalated her cries to a loud MOOOM. The mother calmly turned to her daughter and said “baby, please! I am trying to have a conversation” and then turned back to us and said “I swear, she never wants to talk to me unless I have company over”. 
The way of kids and cats is to do everything in their power to ensure they are number one at all times, and because they are cute, we have no choice but to abide. 
So for all the busy moms, here is a salad you can enjoy. If your really, really busy, substitute a store bought poppyseed dressing for the homemade one (but the homemade one doesn’t take too long, and you can keep the kids busy by giving them the rest of the blueberries or having them help you shred up the lettuce). 
The dressing:
6 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 very small yellow onion, or start with 1/4 (you can always add more)
2 tsp yellow mustard powder
1/4 tsp salt
blend together in a mini cuisinart or using a hand blender (or the magic bullet, or any other pureeing device you may have ordered off of a midnight infomercial or at a mall demo)
After you blend, add 1 Tbsp poppyseeds
The ingredients for this salad came from a friend’s garden in Indiana..not literally, but in theory. Start by rinsing and shredding a head of lettuce. Use spinach if you have it, or green leaf. I had some red leaf so I used that. 
Add 2 cups diced sugar snap peas
Add 3 diced carrots (I used the third one for garnish)
Add 1 sliced avacado
1/2 pkg of blueberries
Christina’s vote: “I never thought I’d like blueberries and snap peas together, but wow! I could swear I saw them tango!”
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The Indoor Gardener

My limited experience with gardening comes from a job I took last summer on an organic farm. It has given me both an appreciation for truly fresh vegetables and a faint stench of manure in my car that I fear will never come out. I have often heard people describe gardening as a spiritual practice, a meditation of sorts. While I don’t share the gardeners’ love for the soil, (nor do I connect dirt encrusted fingernails with a symbol of seasonal pride) I do appreciate and admire those who acquire a green thumb.
A gardener understands the ridiculous nature of the question, “why don’t you just go to the grocery store?” or “you can get fresh produce at the farmers market, why go through all the trouble?” To the gardener this is akin to saying “why bother dating, just head to the brothel!” or “why raise your own children, just send them away and visit them when they graduate from college!”
It is the same with cooking. To cook is to cultivate a relationship with your food. You taste each ingredient and take in the flavors. You want to be there to see the onions start to brown when sprinkled with salt. You smell the nutty aroma release from toasting quinoa. You hear the crisp sound of the knife slicing through carrot.
To me cooking is time well spent. Of course, I could just as easily (and in an equal amount of time) drive to the sandwich shop and watch as uniform laden teens apathetically partition pale pre-sanctioned vegetables and meat circles with plastic coated hands. But then I would be taking my lunch with a stranger, and that could be a very dangerous and unpleasant experience.

Today’s salad is a meditation for the indoor gardener in you. If you actually have an indoor garden (mine consists of one lonely basil plant habitually robbed of all her leaves, which I abandoned last summer and Christina has been humanly watering ever since) then this salad is a perfect way to use some of your fresh herbs.

Rinse 1 cup of quinoa 3 times in cold water, feeling the grains with your fingers as you rinse. Quinoa is coated with saponin, which has a bitter flavor. Rinsing the quinoa gets rid of the saponin, when the rinse water is no longer cloudy the saponin is gone. Drain and set quinoa aside.
Get out a large cutting board. Feel it with your fingertips. Take a moment to imagine the beautiful smells and flavors you are about to enjoy as you layer each ingredient into your salad. First imagine the finely chopped onion sizzling in sesame oil. Now go to your cupboard, get out your favorite saucepan (the one you use for rice) and place it over the heat of your favorite burner. Add some toasted sesame oil. Watch as it melts to cover the bottom of the pan, invading every corner. Dice one very small yellow onion. Chop it until it gets really small rocking your knife swiftly against the board. Feel your eyes start to water (this is more likely to happen if your onion is really fresh, or if you use a white one). Scoop the onion into the hot pan and sprinkle with salt. Skate the onion around in the pan. Add some minced garlic, now more salt.

Scoop in the quinoa and stir until the grains just start to brown and a nutty aroma fills your nostrils. Breathe it in deep. Add 1 cup cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the quinoa sprouts little curly tails and has the poppy feel of sushi caviar in your mouth. Remove the pan from heat and add 1 more clove minced garlic and 2 large diced carrots (add while still hot) stir to cool. Set aside for a bit. Mince 1 bunch sorrel and 1 bunch Italian parsley (actually, use whatever herbs you have in your indoor garden). When your quinoa has cooled, add herbs.
Add some ume plum vinegar, or lemon juice, or rice vinegar if you feel you need more flavor.

This is your salad, so make it your own. Imagine how your loved ones will be nourished by it on a sensory, physical and spiritual level. Enjoy!

Christina’s vote: “Refreshing! This salad brought back memories of the boathouses and beatnicks in frogslew on the Mississippi river in Winona, MN.”

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Proposition 8 Bites Salad

My grandmother only had one rule we had to abide by while visiting her home. Try two bites of everything on your plate. While we were at her house we were allowed to climb the rafters, track mud wherever we chose, eat whole sugar cubes without brushing our teeth afterward, get lost in the woods for hours, we were free to do anything our little hearts desired, except, that is, refuse the mushy plate of bitter parsnips lurking ominously before us. My brothers and cousins came up with all sorts of elaborate schemes to circumnavigate their vegetable obligation, seriously, I am amazed my grandparents plumbing held up with all the carrots and peas getting flushed down the toilet.
This salad was inspired, in part, by today’s California supreme court ruling to keep the ban on gay marriage. The whole thing is tremendously confusing to me. I was writing to a friend about it and she said that even though she is saddened by the news that gays and lesbians cannot marry in California, she is glad that the supreme court does not have the power to overrule the peoples vote. But what about human rights? What about civil rights? If the people wanted to ban sunlight to plants, water to the elderly, play to children, pizza to teenagers, would we abide? What mode of thinking does a person need to have to put their vote to deny a basic human right to another person? Because I believe in the goodness of humanity, I came up with two possible answers to this question 1) they simply do not identify gay people as being human and therefore cannot empathize with the fact our love is no different and 2) they do not identify marriage as a basic human right or need.
This got me to thinking, where in my own life do I discriminate? How can I take more risks in my life to ensure that I keep my own mind open. Naturally, I was pondering all this while walking around the produce aisle of the grocery store.
I decided to make a salad using local ingredients that I have passed over many times in the produce section because I am unfamiliar with them. I think is important for me to branch out from what I am used to and take risks in all areas of my life, and today I am starting with salad.
Imagine how the world would be different if everyone took two bites (metaphorically speaking of course) before they wrote an entire race, gender, sexual orientation, political view, or ethnicity off?

Here are two ingredients you may not recognize, but try them, they are good!
Sunchokes: they don’t look pretty, but peel them down and they have a deliciously mild flavor and a delightful crunch.
Sorrel: all I can say is YUM!! This herb/green has a lemony tang that is milder when the leaves are young. The flavor reminds me of eating clovers from the backyard as a kid.

The dressing: 3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp local honey
The dressing will be thick and sweet, but the salad is tangy and a little bitter and it needs you to give it the sweetness to calm it down.

Finely chop 3 cups of young spinach
mix with 2 cups finely chopped sorrel
quarter 3/4 pkg local cherry tomatoes and add
shave in (with a carrot peeler) 2 medium sunchokes (squirt some lemon juice over the top after you add these shavings so they stay white)
Add 1/2 bunch blanched asparagus cut small (put asparagus into boiling water for 1-2 min, drain, and shock in cold water to stop the cooking process)

Christina’s vote: “Walking on water seemed a very distinct possibility after eating this salad”

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Raw Feast Salad

A cool breeze flew in through the tall windows of our city apartment this morning and slapped me in the face. Like cartoon steam the wind formed itself into fingers and tugged me by the nose into the kitchen. I stood, dumbfounded, sharpening my knife and standing before a giant head of fennel.

I was brought out of my daze when Christina walked in and said, “are you making salad already? It’s morning, too early for salad!” Admittedly, that exact thought had gone through my head moments earlier, but I had been dreaming about salads all night and I wanted to start with the days recipe while my mind was fresh.
Fresh is actually the perfect descriptor for this salad. It is similar to a recipe obtained from a raw foods cookbook in that the dressing combines flavors of mint and grapefruit.

Actually, Christina and I tried the raw foods diet for a few months when an unfortunate set of coincidental antibody profiles led to the misdiagnosis of her having a rare form of autoimmune disease. We believed that we could alleviate some of her inflammation using extreme dietary measures, and why not? Countless books written by orange-skinned, white-toothed oddballs standing before juicers have been written on the subject. Their testaments contained the key to longevity and a pain free existence. We bought a dehydrator, and lusted after the 500$ vitamix blender. Day after day our kitchen was filled with the smell of sprouting beans, the countertops covered in soaking nuts and our ears were filled with the constant buzz of the dehydrator running. The preparation of a simple meal often began three days in advance. To all who are curious I am proud to announce that we actually GAINED 10 lbs on the raw foods diet (we DID go out for desert at a local raw foods restaurant almost every night).
Food made me really emotional when I was a raw foodist. A version of this particular salad sparked tears of joy and the compulsion to call Christina at work to tell her about just how good my lunch tasted. The grapefruit and the mint remind me of the Bahamas, where I have spent time as a cook on sailboats and as a little girl visiting my grandparents in their island home. Every morning in the Bahamas seemed to start with a carefully cut grapefruit half, an appropriate memory this morning as I stood before a giant grapefruit on my cutting board drinking in the fresh morning breeze.
The dressing is made as you go for this one, because the flavors of the vegetables will be different depending on when and where you buy them. You will need to taste as you go.
Slice thinly 1 head of fennel, then chop into bite sized pieces.
Peel 1-2 carrots and use the carrot peeler to shave the carrot into the fennel mixture.
Squeeze in juice of 1/2 large grapefruit
drizzle with 1 tsp honey
add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
add 1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
add 1/2 cup diced/chopped fresh mint leaves
add 2 cups of bean sprouts (I bought mine at the co-op, it was garbanzo, mung bean, pea sprouts..a mixture.. you can make your own bean sprouts but it takes a few days)
Shave the outsides of 2 large beets (any color, I used chioggia because of their pretty colors) and then use your peeler to shave slices into the salad. Taste the beets, if they are bitter add a tad extra vinegar to the salad. If they are still bitter after you stir everything together add some extra vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar.
Season salad with freshly ground pepper. The dressing will be pretty mild, but you want the raw flavors of each vegetable to come through. This salad is really light and crunchy for the garden flavor lover in you!
Christina’s vote: “This salad made me feel primitive oogabooga”
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The Child Tamer

Egg salads remind me of summer days spent sitting on patios feeling my skin brown and my hair bleach copper while developing square imprints on the backs of my sweaty little legs from the warm metal patio furniture. Put this image together with the right footwear, a few layers of callous and dirt, and the right hair-do, a wind styled rats-nest (which my mother would have to chase me around the kitchen to comb out) and you have the quintessential childhood summer outfit.
I can remember sitting outside with my mother at one of her friends houses, sipping iced tea from a straw and making a straw-wrapper worm come alive by pouring iced tea on it. I was probably imagining all the things I wanted to be doing at that moment that didn’t involve sitting still or minding my manners. Suddenly, a plate of the most delicious egg salad was brought before me, and with it, came my undivided attention.
The middle of the day is the best time for egg salad. The mornings play gives birth to all sorts of afternoon activity ideas if given the time to reflect and re-fuel. This particular version is loaded with flavors that I find comforting from my childhood, romaine lettuce, lemon, eggs, mayonnaise, celery, salt and pepper, with the slightest bit of adventure, radish, pickled ginger, soy sauce, broccoli sprouts. It is like riding a bike with the training wheels off for the first time, knowing that your dad is walking behind you holding you up. It is the first crack at dunking your whole head in the water while still wearing your bright orange arm swimmies. This salad is a safe adventure, no need to look behind you, someone is still holding you up.

The dressing:
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp sunflower oil
6 slices pickled ginger (like you have at sushi..yes, the pink me!)
2 tsp honey (it is worth it to buy local honey, it is a treat to be able to taste the flowers you smell every day)
1 tsp dijon mustard (do you have any grey poupon?)
pepper, and a tiny bit of salt

The salad:
chopped romaine (1/2 head)
radishes, radishes, radishes (I used two bunches from the farmers market, they were a little too mild for our tastes.. It seems like it is difficult to find a good spicy radish these days)
2 or 3 celery stalks, diced
a handful of broccoli or alfalfa sprouts

Make 5 hard boiled eggs (put the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil. boil for 1 min. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 8-10 min. Run under cold water)
peel eggs, and mash up with ~1/4 cup mayonnaise (if you want to make your own mayo use the recipe from the salad olivie that I made last Saturday..or use your own recipe..or use store bought..but make sure it is the kind you are used to from your own childhood)
add 2 diced green onions
and 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
and salt, pepper and paprika to taste
If you are feeling adventurous, or, you are disappointed with the strength of your radishes bite, you can try adding some wasabi paste to your egg salad..but be cautious, this can get a little intense!!!
allow the egg salad to chill before indulging ( this part..) Dress the vegetables and top with the egg salad. Garnish with rice crackers.

Christina’s vote: “It would be a shame to conceal any of the flavors of this salad between two pieces of bread”

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Dressed to Get Leied Salad

Some friends came over for dinner tonight, so I made a salad in their honor. I asked them what their favorite vegetables are, to which they responded “tomatoes, avacado, cucumber and carrots”.. All of which come from California at this time of the year. To round out the west coast theme I decided to include a taste of Hawaii and Mexico too. I made a coconut lime dressing with chili pepper for a California style salad with tortilla crisps on top. 

As a side dish we had panko breaded chicken. This is a good side dish for this salad, but make extra salad dressing if you decide to serve the chicken and offer it as a sauce on the side..otherwise you will have to watch your guests struggle to balance bits of salad on top of their chicken once they discover how well the flavors go together.  

A little girl and her exasperated mother were standing behind me in line at the grocery store. The little girl kept poking at things and her mother kept saying “Bethany, don’t touch that..” She swung precariously from the end of her mothers grocery cart. The mother, now barely able to hold herself upright, was hanging her forehead on the handle of the cart. 
Suddenly, the little girls eyes grew wide. 
“Mommy, mommy, mommy..mooooooooooommmmmmm!!!” she said 
“mmmm?” the mother said. 
“Mommy LOOK!! they have GREEN LEMONS here!!!” the little girl pointed at the limes destined for my salad. 
It made my day.
The dressing:
3 Tbsp coconut (in a can of coconut the creamy part usually separates from the liquid..just use the creamy part)
2 Tbsp canola oil
Juice from 1 small lime 
Juice from 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
the white part of a green onion
1 tsp honey
sprinkle of chipoltle pepper (optional)
lime zest
The salad:
finely chopped romaine
1/2 diced red pepper
2 small carrots sliced thin
1 chopped tomato
3 chopped mini cucumbers
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 small avacado cut bite sized
some edible flowers
crisp tortilla topping (below)
tortilla topping:
cut two small flour tortillas into strips 
throw strips into a pan of piping hot canola oil, salt liberally and stir vigorously.. when lightly browned remove from pan and let drain on paper towels. 
Katie’s vote: “the salad was equal to laying in a hammock on a sandy beach, pina colada in hand, watching a hula dancer”
Eliza’s vote: “usually coconut is a selfish flavor and takes over the whole dish, but this dressing was nice because I could taste the coconut AND the other flavors in the salad”
Christina’s vote: “I resent that I had to share”
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Your Own..Personal..Goddess Salad

My favorite reason to shop at natural foods stores is this:

You are out at a grocery store. You find a product you really like..say..oh, I don’t know…a salad dressing. You bring it home and your family really likes it too. The next thing you know you are buying bottle upon bottle of the stuff, your neighbors are starting to look at you funny because your recycling bin has been sitting outside overflowing with greasy empty bottles of dressing. Then one day, the thought comes to can make your own salad dressing! They list the ingredients right on the label, and because this product is made with whole natural ingredients, no complicated chemistry is  required (well, nothing requiring an order from the chemical supply store anyway)! This was my experience today with the quintessential natural foods dressing- “the Goddess”. 
This goddess salad is the best dressed vegan I have ever met. This particular version is loaded with garlic, however, so plan accordingly. I normally put carrots in this salad, but I didn’t have any carrots today.. sprouts are good in it too. 
The dressing: 
In a little cuisinart mixer (or whatever chopping device you have) blend the following:
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 T water
1 T tahini (sesame butter)
1 T cider vinegar
1/2 lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 diced green onion or some chives
Taste the dressing, but resist the temptation to drink it. 
Cut up 1/4 head of green leaf lettuce into bite sized pieces. Dice some purple cabbage (use equal amounts purple and green). Add about 1/2 cup celery, 1 cup small pieces broccoli, and 1/2 cup chickpeas. Dress the salad. 
I had a really hard time waiting to start eating this until the picture was taken. Really, it was torture. 
Christina’s vote: “Pleasure in each bite. Vampires will keep their distance with this one”
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