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For The Love Of Food

by | Jul 9, 2010

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Lots of interesting health and nutrition stories this week. I particularly love the piece about how exercise impacts cognitive performance, and the bits about the health benefits of grains. I’m not in the mood to focus on any BS this week, but if I did it would have certainly been the Monsanto court decision.

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For a complete reading list join me on the new Digg or StumbleUpon. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Quick Fix: Warm Sausage Salad à la Trader Joe’s

by | Jan 7, 2009

A couple weeks ago I was visiting friends and family down in Southern California (Orange County & Inland Empire) and on the first night found myself without my farmers market, without my Whole Foods and without a decent (or healthy) restaurant for miles and miles and miles. And miles.

The evening was getting late, so the only respectable option on the horizon was my beloved Trader Joe’s. But I have to admit, TJ’s is not exactly my first choice when it comes to produce. While they do have a small produce section with moderate variety, the stuff they carry is always pre-packaged and a little, well, let’s call it *off-fresh*. Not bad or old, but not exactly the pinnacle of freshness either.

I do not mind their bagged salad greens, however. Even at Whole Foods I buy the boxed kind because it always seems a little cleaner than the bulk bin. I don’t mind farmers market dust, but back-of-a-grocery-store-loading-dock dirt? I’ll pass.

So salad it was. I bought their herb salad mix, which has a nice assortment of interesting flavors. Salad is tough in the winter though. For starters, tomatoes are inedible. The Persian cucumbers looked okay, so I bought those and a bag of avocados.

What really takes the meal to the next level though is a sausage, onion, red pepper and mushroom sauté. The heat from the pan wilts your greens, adding a warmness to your fresh green salad. Eureka!

The secret is to use a sweet onion. Trader Joe’s always has several different onion varieties in little bags, so just read the labels and you’ll be fine.

Trader Joe’s also has a fantastic cooked sausage selection and I like them all. This time we went with Cilantro Chicken, but follow your heart when you are picking a flavor for your own salad.

If you are vegetarian you can substitute tofu or just skip the sausage.

A perfect any-season healthy meal in about 15 minutes.

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Warm Sausage Salad à la TJ’s

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Trader Joe’s cooked sausages (any flavor)
  • 1 bag of salad greens
  • 1 small (or 1/2 medium) sweet onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper (optional)
  • 6-8 brown crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small avocado
  • 2 Persian or Japanese (small) cucumbers
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Good quality vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Slice onion and bell pepper into slivers about 1 inch long. Clean mushrooms and slice into desired thickness. Dice the cucumber and avocado. Cut sausages into thin slices.

Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat until it swirls easily. Add onions and peppers and cook until translucent, 1-2 minutes.

While the onions and peppers are cooking, empty salad bag into a large bowl add and the cucumber and avocado. In the summer, tomatoes are a nice addition too. Who doesn’t love summer tomatoes?

Dress the greens with olive oil and vinegar (balsamic is my favorite), and season liberally with sea salt and cracked pepper. Toss with tongs and set aside.

Don’t forget to monitor your vegetables while you are tending to your greens.

When ready, add mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cook until mixture starts to slightly brown then add sausage, making sure the cut ends touch the surface of the pan. Continue to cook until the edges of the sausage start to brown, 4-6 minutes.

Scrape contents of the pan on top of the greens and mix well with tongs. This salad serves well with a chunk of baguette and even a bowl of TJ’s boxed Tomato and Red Pepper soup.

Enjoy!

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