16 July 2008

Beet and Peach Salad

I love pairing fruit with vegetables in the summer. I especially like fruit and cheese added to summer salads. My typical lunch is a big salad with leftover meat or fish from the previous night’s dinner. The most common fruit I use on salads is apple, but in summer I lover the addition of stone fruits—peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. The other day I used leftover roasted beets (you can also use canned) and fresh peaches to a salad with pork tenderloin. I topped it off with mild fresh goat cheese (Chavrie is my favorite brand) and a homemade olive oil and champagne vinegar dressing. The natural sweetness of the beets is enhanced by roasting with a bit of olive oil and the sweet/savory mix of the beet and peach with the cheese is heavenly, I think. If you don't like goat cheese, feta also works well here. I suppose blue cheese would also be good, if you like it. For me, more aged cheeses can be problematic and cause headaches. I happen to be allergic to blue cheese, so that is reason enough for me to avoid it.

In addition to being naturally gluten free, this kind of salad has the added benefit of being great for those watching their waistline. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers I weigh my meat or fish to be added to the salad. Two ounces of  pork or beef or three ounces of chicken or fish are pretty standard for lunch salads and are quite enough if you are adding fruit and cheese. The Chavrie cheese is only 1 Weight Watcher point per 2T so it is ideal for adding to salads and pasta. I rarely use more than 1T at a time so it only adds a half a point to my meal. I also measure out my salad dressing to keep the points and calories low. If you are a migraineur who cannot eat vinegar or citrus, the Chavrie is soft enough to dress your salad without a typical dressing. I use it to stretch out my vinaigrette and make it creamy. Just toss the salad well—as the French say: “Fatiguer la salade”. It is an idiom that just means to dress the salad, but it makes me smile, because I think of it as mixing it well to tire it out!

With Farmers’ markets in full swing now that is my choice for keeping the cost down on organic salad greens. I am also fortunate to have friends who give me vegetables from their gardens and I even ventured into growing my own this year. No harvest yet, but things are growing and looking good. Much great eating in sight down the road.


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