|OMG! So delicious! Can’t believe they grow this in Brooklyn!|
Where do you find the best salads and ingredients to create great meals? We are obsessed with living healthfully and staying young. Fresh salads are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, salads can get boring very quickly unless you make it your mission to create fresh new combinations. How? The key essential ingredient for any great salad is crisp super fresh ingredients. There are many types of salads. You can use practically anything as a base ingredient ranging from spinach to quinoa but for a delicious “classic” salad, nothing serves as consistently well as a cool crisp head of lettuce. The problem with lettuce is its soft and delicate leaves; by the time you buy lettuce at the grocery market, it’s often past its peak freshness or wilted. Freshness begins to decline as soon as lettuce is picked, and then it’s shipped (say from Mexico or South America) where it may get exposed to different temperatures, bumped around or damaged. If you’re so lucky as to have a local farmer’s market, well good for you! But buyer beware, some farmer’s markets try to pass off commercial lettuces when they run out of their own supply. Frustrated with disappointing lettuces, I recently sought advice from the guy who restocks the produce section at a local Whole Foods Market….
I asked him which lettuces were most “in demand” and which ones were the freshest. He quickly pointed to five different products on the shelves and then handed me one that was just about to hit the shelves and said “this one is great.” I tossed the box into my cart. What was the top item he recommended? That’s for my next post. It’s not actually lettuce.
His top lettuce pick was Gotham Green’s Butterhead lettuce and let me say it’s the best 4 bucks I’ve spent this week. I ate the lettuce as soon as I got it home. I made a very simple salad- washed unbroken lettuce leaves, a tablespoon of my favorite lemon citrus olive oil vinaigrette, a teaspoon of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, fresh ground black pepper and a sprinkling of Kosher salt plus a few fresh olives. I tossed the ingredients a few times and took a bite. The lettuce was so fresh and tender, it was like a cool flavor burst in my mouth. The perfect summer salad! And while I’d like to take credit for this five star salad, I have to give credit where credit is due; the salad’s awesomeness was due to the great lettuce leaves supplied by Gotham Green’s local farm. The fact the lettuce was locally produced in Brooklyn was even more incredible. Who would have thought you’d find great lettuce growing in an urban area like Brooklyn? But you do. I was so impressed by their product that I went and checked out their website at Gotham Greens.com. They say they’re “farmers who live in apartments,” and they grow fresh produce inside rooftop greenhouses. Buying your lettuce and produce locally is not only good for the environment but it’s good for you too. Local ingredients and fresher, crisper and you know where they come from and how they’re grown. In a previous post, I discussed high tech equipment that allows you to grow your own plants inside your apartment or on a terrace (if you’re fortunate enough to have a suitable one). I grow fresh organic herbs in my window and harvest them for recipes like my popular Basil mozzarella burger. It’s delicious, healthful and good. It’s all part of the Slow Food movement. What’s slow food? It’s the opposite of fast food. It’s a health and environmentally oriented approach to food and food-related products. I have to admit that when I first heard about “slow food” I was skeptical, but I get it now. And I like the concept because it delivers fresher and more affordable food to my area. This makes it much easier to access high quality ingredients like those from Gotham Greens. Fresh delicious food makes me feel food, lifts my mood and makes it less likely that I’ll settle for a “quick fix” like foods high in saturated fat and sugar. A win-win.