Saturday, July 4, 2009

The BIG Salad

Over the course of my life of watching exorbitant amounts of television, I have acquired an intimate knowledge of every episode of both “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” I can quote word-for-word specific scenes from each show, enjoy asking my friends “how you ‘doin?” a la Joey Tribiani, and am constantly thinking about how a situation in my life is exactly like a certain episode from one of my favorite two classic comedies.

When I was eating doughnuts with a knife and fork at Grace’s special 3-course doughnut tasting last month, I was thinking about how it was like the episode in “Seinfeld” where everyone begins eating Snickers bars and such with a knife and fork. When an acquaintance that works in a restaurant tweeted about a mean customer a few weeks back, I admired her for her patience and confessed that I would have been tempted to give the person a “sneeze muffin” (Rachel from “Friend’s” way of dealing with the nasty patrons at Central Perk). And whenever I wander across the street to my good friend’s apartment without announcing myself first (an unfathomable act for most in LA), I smile and think, “This is just like ‘Friends’ or ‘Seinfeld!’”

My excessive familiarity with the shows is not a bad thing when I am around others who have also seen every episode multiple times, but when I am conversing with normal human beings, I need to explain myself when I, for example, decide to give someone the finger by banging my wrists together (what Ross and Monica did to each other as children). I also need to provide an incredibly long explanation as to why I decided to name this salad I made for my lunch last weekend, “the BIG salad” rather than simply “chicken and roasted vegetable chop.”

Given that the inspiration for this salad came from my favorite chopped grilled vegetable salad with fresh greens, chopped balsamic grilled vegetables, feta, and avocado from Sage Restaurant in Newport Beach, the latter seems to be more appropriate. Or more accurately, “bird-free” chopped vegetable salad, since I felt compelled to recreate the dish because my mom doesn’t like to eat on the patio at Sage during lunch because of the birds (she has a slight, completely understandable phobia of their flapping wings).

Yet, I wasn’t thinking about Sage or birds or my mom, bless her South Dakotan heart, when I was devouring this salad last Sunday. I was thinking, “Gee, this is a BIG salad. Just like the BIG salads that Elaine liked at Monk’s Café on ‘Seinfeld.’ I bet she would like this. Because it’s… wait for it… awesome!”

Okay, so that last line came into my head courtesy of Barney from “How I Met Your Mother,” the greatest show on television that not enough people are watching, but that’s another story for another day when I am writing about the perfect burger or a pineapple.

Today, in honor of the 4th of July, I am posting about the BIG salad because in America, food tastes better when it’s bigger. (Or at least it does according to the Cheesecake Factory.) Regardless, this BIG salad is really tasty, and would probably be just as tasty if it were the SMALL salad. Of course, if it were the SMALL salad, I would have simply called it the aforementioned chicken and roasted vegetable chop and wouldn’t be writing it up in this completely round about way.

“How you doin’?” Hanging in?

Yeah, me neither. So, here’s the recipe.

Happy Fourth of July!

“The BIG Salad”
Inspired by the Chopped Grilled Vegetable Salad at Sage Restaurant

Chicken breast
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Carrots, red peppers and zucchini, chopped and roasted
1 ear of corn, boiled and shucked
Avocado, chopped
Feta cheese
Salt, pepper
Olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
Salt, pepper to taste

Whisk balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, honey, salt, pepper together in small bowl. Use half as a marinade for the chicken. Reserve the rest for the salad.

While chicken is marinating, toss the chopped carrots, slivers of red peppers and chopped zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender (approximately 20 minutes).

Meanwhile, boil the corn for 5 minutes or until just tender. Rinse with cool water and then shuck the ear. Set aside.

Cook chicken on either a grill or grill pan, and begin assembling salad ingredients. Mix together lettuce, feta, avocado, and roasted vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, serve, and then slice the grilled chicken over the top.


Burp and Slurp~! said...

haha, I guess I'm one more person you have to explain to because I don't watch those shows! But eating donuts and snickers with forks and knives? Haha, that actually sounds so fun.
That salad looks amazing! Very fitting for a hot summer weather. Thanks for the recipe!

finsmom said...

I love the big salad episode!!! I think of it every time I make one... a big salad with lots of stuff in it :)

Jenn said...

I like "How I Met Your Mother" It's a good show. Sadly under appreciated.

Nice job on the salad. I could always go for this any day.

Reeni♥ said...

I am the same way with Seinfeld! I sometimes tell people this is just like such and such on Seinfeld - and get met with a blank look! Ha. It's nice to find a kindred soul. Love your big salad, yummy flavors and textures. It looks better than any big salad Elaine ever ate! Hers were always so plain.

Pearl said...

that salad looks SO delicious!

Elra said...

Always love salad like this. The dressing is my favorite!

Diana said...

Sophia - It is kind of fun eating a donut with a knife and fork! Really not too much different from eating a cupcake with a fork.

Fin's Mom - YES! I'm so glad at least one person got it! :)

Jenn - Isn't HIMYM great? I miss it now that it's summer!

Reeni - I'm so excited you are a Seinfeld fan too! Do you know there are actually some people who have never seen an episode? Shocking!

Pearl - Thanks! Hope you had a nice 4th!

Elra - I love this dressing too. It's sort of my go-to for my salads -- I put it on everything!

Esi said...

That's a pretty awesome sounding BIG salad.

My friends and I do the wrist bumping in lieu of the finger often...

Burp and Slurp~! said...

Thank you for your kind words! I really got comforted by them. I invited all sweet bloggers like you to a virtual meal with me...Korean style! :D

Daily Gluttony said...

question is: did someone else take credit for your big salad?? haha

friends & seinfeld are two of my favorite shows EVER! next time we meet up, i'm sure we'll have lots to talk about!! :D

Kirby! said...

"I'm Chandler... could I BE wearing any more clothes???"

I feel you on the quoting. I feel like 1 out of every 10 things that I say are from TV. Sad, but true.

And I am a huge fan of big salads!!!

Talita said...

What a delicious salad!! Has everything I like!