Last night I came home, took the dog around the block, went for a quick 3 mile run, and then whipped up this salad for dinner.
Ha – see what I just did there. I almost had you thinking I was the type of person who is always working out and consuming bowls of green stuff for dinner. You might be thinking that I always sort the mail the moment I bring it inside, throw out the Amazon boxes right away and manage to put on matching outfits each day.
In reality, I just spent a long weekend eating my way through Savannah, came home to piles of laundry, haven’t taken out the Amazon boxes in weeks and am running deliriously low on sleep, edging towards that point where every single task feels meaningless and yet also the most, difficult thing I have ever done. You know that feeling…don’t you? As for the matching clothes, well that is nothing new, but getting dressed at 3:30 am guarantees that I’ll end up in something that elicits questionable looks from my coworkers.
I was very close to pulling out the takeout menus last night, but luckily I had just received a new cookbook for some much needed inspiration. I was able to pull it together and get this salad in a bowl and in my belly and my body is thanking me already. It desperately needed a break from the fried chicken and shrimp and grits (though they were soo good, P.S – the South makes me want to fry things).
Last week, I received an email asking if I’d be interested in a new cookbook. They wanted to send me a copy, just to see if I’d like it. It was for a good cause, to raise awareness for the the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, so I thought, sure, why not. For the past several weeks I have done little other than travel and work. It’s not the worst life, actually feels a little selfish to complain about it. I’ve had a flexible work schedule – one that’s allowed me to work many long days in a row – and then take off for 3 to 4 days on a trip somewhere without taking vacation. Still it can become exhausting, flying home late, getting 4-5 hours of sleep, and then starting a string of 12 hour days. Many times I eat poorly on vacation, but then I have limited time to shop and cook, so I end up eating poorly at home and work. This cookbook was a good reminder of how important it is to eat healthy, fresh produce whenever we can. I loved pouring over the nerdy sections with the details on what nutrients support which functions in the eye and these were followed by interesting looking recipes featuring the recommended ingredients. Did you know that getting important antioxidants and nutrients on a daily basis can reduce your risk of macular degeneration (loss of central vision) by over 40%? I sure didn’t.
Armed with this knowledge and the inspiration of a recipe from the cookbook (salmon with peppered balsamic strawberries), I pulled some ingredients out of my fridge and composed something that was not only delicious but full of components that help support healthy vision. If you had a Spring Bruschetta Bar last weekend (which if you didn’t…better get on that soon) then you will already have most, if not all, of these ingredients in your kitchen. For the nerdy details on the eye saving nutrients involved, see below:
- Spinach is full of iron, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are essential for healthy vision. Along with other dark, leafy greens, spinach is one of the most beneficial things you can put in your body on a daily basis.
- Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, with enhances the adsorption of iron. Nutritionally, this makes it a great pairing with spinach and they are a pretty classic combination based on flavor alone (so doesn’t that work out well).
- Pinenuts, like almonds, are rich in vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant and great for the immune system, skin and eyes as it helps fight free radicals.
- Salmon and many other fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3.
I hope you are as sad as I am that this recipe used up the last of my quick pickled strawberries. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing all the different ways to use this magical ingredient.
Smoked salmon, pickled strawberry and quinoa salad
2-4 ounces smoked salmon
a couple spoonfuls of pickled strawberries
approximately 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts (almonds would work too) and feta cheese
a couple “handfuls” of spinach
dressing: 1 part liquid strawberry pickling juice to 2 parts olive oil
Special Equipment Needed:None
Make as much dressing as you think you’ll need. You can see the amounts in this recipe are loose, it’s really just a throw it all together scenario which hardly requires a recipe at all. Toss the dressing with the spinach. Layer salmon, strawberries, pine nuts, and feta on top. Serve immediately.