Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter-to-Spring Salad

The picture above is the side salad my friends and I shared last night with our buffalo burgers.

I made caramelized onions to go with the ground buffalo which I formed into burgers after mixing it with a dollop of seeded mustard.

When I taste-tested my caramelized onions they were too sweet; I guess I was heavy-handed with the tablespoon of brown sugar that I melted with one tablespoon of butter.

To rectify the problem, I poured the wilted, sweet and buttery onions into a strainer and briefly ran cold water over them, flushing out some of the sugar.

Returning the onions to the pan and the hot plate, I added a slurp of balsamic vinegar -- the acidic-tartness offset the buttery sweetness superbly.

Balsamic vinegar went over the salad too, about one tablespoon to two or three tablespoons of olive oil.

A good quality balsamic vinegar will bring out the best in salty foods such as goat cheese, astringent foods like spinach and sweet vegetables like roast pumpkin, and it will offset the richness of oily foods like pine nuts -- all the ingredients that make up the salad above.

Incorporating chunks of roasted winter pumpkin with early-spring spinach, arugula, watercress, or asparagus is the perfect combination of winter-to-spring ingredients.

As we head into March, combining winter root veggies with young, raw or partially-cooked greens will help systems and livers sluggish from heavy winter foods transition into longer, warmer spring days that beckon us to be active.

Adding vinegar to cooked vegetables, meat dishes and salads will also help, in particular a slurp of either organic apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar, since both are considered detoxifying agents for the liver.

It's been a pleasant break today, writing about a simple salad instead of the politics of where our meat comes from -- the topic of the last couple of weeks.

Perhaps it was this first, warm and sunny spring day in Boulder CO that inspired my digression.

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