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
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Carrots, red peppers and zucchini, chopped and roasted
1 ear of corn, boiled and shucked
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.