Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Caesar Salad and Beyond

Live long and prosper!

Hmmm, that doesn't go together. Well, maybe it does. Eat this fabulous salad and you just might live long and prosper!

So this salad was the bomb. Where the heck did that expression come from anyhow? It sure is a weird way to say this was a delicious, amazing, do over again salad!

I was inspired to create a Caesar Salad dressing after attending the Dinner and Movie Night at the Raw Intentions Kitchen recently. Caesar Salad was on the menu and it was one of my favorite courses of the night. So between having a list of ingredients from the chef (Denise Madeja), and having lots of Raw Food Recipe Books, my Caesar and Beyond salad was born.

Live Raw is one of my favorite books. Mimi Kirk is 70+ years old and is an inspiration. She can put lots of 50 year olds to shame. In her book, Live Raw, low and behold, a Caesar Salad recipe. From croutons to "Parmesan cheese" to the dressing, she had this recipe covered. So, I used this as a base to my salad.
First, Parmesan Cheese. Mimi calls it Cashew Parmesan. It was so easy to make, has a great texture and will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. It is used in the dressing and then I also used it to sprinkle over the salad after it was plated. It could also be sprinkled in wraps or even on steamed veggies. It has lots of possibilities.

Combine in food processor and pulse.
Cashew Parmesan

Next, lets make croutons.  These are made out of jicama (I love saying this word - pronounced hic-a-ma.). It sounded like this could be a really cool addition to the salad. First you make a marinade. Cut jicama into squares and then marinade them, put them in the dehydrator and croutons would be created. Well, this was not so successful. But just because it does have such good possibilities, I will probably try this again when I can be home with my dehydrator.

Sliced and chopped jicama
Marinade for two hours
Place on dehydrator tray

 And the result was little chewy things that maybe resembled the look of a crouton, but was no way crunchy like a crouton. So I put them all in a zip lock bag and I am eating them as a snack. They were not salad worthy, but could be if they got crunchy! However, they do taste good! So I may try this again.

See how much they shrunk!!!
To have a great Caesar salad you need a great dressing. I was really happy with the dressing. I started out using Mimi's recipe and then tweaked it a bit. This is a dressing I will make again.

This is the bulk of the ingredients for the dressing: cloves, olive oil, tamari, capers, lemon, salt and pepper. In the bowl is some of the cashew Parmesan, and I also added Dijon mustard and Worcester sauce. I blended everything except the Cashew Parmesan, and then added it to the bowl with the Cashew Parmesan and mixed it well with a whisk. I love it! I filled a mason jar and put it in the refrigerator overnight (while the croutons were dehydrating) and all I had to do is shake it up when it was time to dress the salad.

The salad. This had to be a bit more substantial than your traditional Caesar Salad since it was our main dish and not a side salad. Of course, the first ingredient was the romaine lettuce.

I tossed the romaine and onions with the dressing and plated it. Then I took half of the yellow pepper, cucumber, tomatoes and olives and tossed it with a small amount of dressing and placed it on top of the romaine, and then repeated it with the other half. I had mung beans that just finished sprouting so I added a handful of those to each plate. In the refrigerator I had alphalfa sprouts and added a good pinch of those to the middle of the salad. And for good measure, I sprinkled it with Cashew Parmesan. And alas, my Caesar and Beyond Salad was born!

Live long and prosper!

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