Lucky 7 Salad!

Yes… I’M BACK!  I know your life has been empty and hungry without your Punky Chef.  So sing to the heavens, hug thy neighbor, and get EXCITED, people.  I’ve been busy traveling and working on many things happy problem.  (New songs!  Visit www.myspace.com/thehappyproblem.  Sorry, brief promotional moment.)  AND, Punky Chef is now AUNT PUNKY CHEF.  Witness my two gorgeous new nephews – born within 24 hours of each other to my sister and my sister-in-law:

Ryder Punky - doing his very first Elvis impression

Punky Ryder - doing his very first Elvis impression

David Punky - doing his first Johnny Rotten impression

Punky David - doing his first Johnny Rotten impression

So I’ve been enjoying the baby parade for the last three weeks, and am now getting back to my teensy kitchen and starting to cook again.  And just to ease us all back in, I’m throwing this fabboo, quick, healthy lunch at you.  Witness Lucky 7 Salad!

Do ya feel LUCKY, Punk?

Do ya feel LUCKY, Punk?

Yeah, it’s pretty much the easiest ever, thanks to our “7” theme and also to the wonderful people at Newman’s Own for the dressing.  Come with me…

Serves: 1 (If you are so fortunate as to be lunching with friends, I leave you to multiply everything.  Must be nice being so popular.)

TOOLS:
Big knife
Biggish bowl
Vegetable peeler
Fork
Spoon
Strainer

INGREDIENTS:
7 Greek (calamata) olives, pitted
7 grape tomatoes
7 walnuts
1/3 can kidney beans
Parmesan wedge
1 medium-sized carrot
Pepper
Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic dressing:

Yummy yummy.  Happy happy.

Yummy yummy. Happy happy.

RECIPE:
Ready for the easiness?  And the 7-ness?  Start by throwing two handfuls of chopped Romaine lettuce into your bowl.  (See the TIPS section for my prep, storage, choppage and adoration of the heavenly leaf known as romaine lettuce.  I always have it with me, people.  Feel the love.)  Grab 7 grape tomatoes, slice each in half and toss them in.  Do the same with 7 Greek (calamata) olives.

Sevens to Betsy!  (Oh, I slay myself.)

Sevens to Betsy! (Oh, I slay myself.)

Now grab 7 walnuts – chopping them roughly so they don’t disappear into nutty dust, if you know what I mean – and throw them in.  Then take your carrot, peel it, slice it two times, and chop those 4 stalks 7 times.

It’s a-comin’ up SEVENS all over the place, eh?  I love it!

Except that’s the end of the 7’s.

Sorry.  I could only carry it so far.

And anyway, you’re psyched we’re breaking the chain of sevendom now, because we’re adding BEANS for protein – 1/3 of a can of kidney beans, rinsed and strained, to be exact – and 7 beans really wouldn’t go very far.  And we’re heating things up even more by then adding SHAVED PARMESAN!  And really, you wouldn’t want to skimp on the Parm just to stick to the stupid 7 theme, would you?  Using your vegetable peeler again, shave as much as you like on to that puppy, and then take the strange Parm “claw” and put it back in the wrapper like a good girl.

Happens to the best of us... (sigh)

Happens to the best of us... (sigh)

And now you are in full-on, pre-dressing mode:

A veritable RAINBOW of crunchy yummy Sevenness...  (Are there two n's in "sevenness"?)

A veritable RAINBOW of crunchy yummy Sevenness... (Are there two n's in "sevenness"?)

Sprinkle a little pepper on top – this will put an edge on everything and also mellow out the acid in the dressing.  Grab your Newman’s Own and drizzle lightly – you really don’t need a lot with this salad because of the great taste and moisture from the olives and tomatoes.  Plus, I just always err on the side of less dressing.  I like to taste the flavors of the veggies, not so much the flavor of the dressing.

Toss it gently with your fork and spoon, and SERVE and ENJOY!

"1-2-3-4-5-6-7, All good salads taste like HEAVEN..."

"1-2-3-4-5-6-7, All good salads taste like HEAVEN..."

The best thing about this salad is not just that it’s lucky, but also that it tastes GREAT, is fun to CRUNCH in your mouth, and it gives you a totally different flavor in almost every bite.  A forkful of tomatoes and Parmesan will bring you Italian delights, but the next forkful could have walnuts and beans and a Greek olive which sends you somewhere else entirely.  It keeps the eating interesting.

Like eating is ever boring. PUH-LEASE.

And really, you can put as much or as little of ANY of these ingredients into the salad.  I just find that these proportions work really well and it makes the whole thing easy to remember.  When in doubt, COUNT TO SEVEN!

wuv,
Aunty Punky

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