Tuesday, August 2, 2011

you say tomato, i say let's eat!

Sarah Nassauer's article, The Salad is in the Bag, about market research on bagged salads left me shocked.  According to her article, market research done by the NPD Group found that "the average American eats a salad at mealtime only about 36 times a year...Fewer than half of Americans - 49% - ate at least one "leaf salad" at home in two weeks, compared with 75% who ate a potato dish and 81% who ate beef."  This is crazy talk! I mean, is this really true?  What sort of a sad state are we living in?

photo from Dole via the WSJ
The craziest part of this article is the reasons why Americans don't eat salad - even in the convenient bag form.  Apparently, NPD determined that "the single biggest problem with salad is making it.  Cleaning, cutting, making sure you have fresh produce..." I find this so funny, because in my mind a salad is the easiest thing to make! You don't need to turn on a stove or an oven.  You don't necessarily even need to use a knife - especially if you're buying these pre-packaged lettuces and vegetables.  It's pretty user-friendly if you ask me.  But that's not where it ends, Dole actually reformatted its packaging (above) after its research determined that Americans weren't even buying bagged lettuces because they didn't know how to make salads "taste good."  So now, Dole, along with Fresh Express and I'm sure other brands, includes pairing suggestions on the bag.

homegrown cherokee purples

I will admit, my love of vegetables goes much deeper than that of most people. So perhaps I am not the best judge of what is normal in the salad eating category.  I'm pretty sure vegephile isn't a real word, but if it is I am one.  I have loved vegetables for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, (much to my mother's chagrin) my grandparents would tease me for wanting to eat a cucumber over a bar of chocolate.   In fact, if left up to my own devices, I would eat salad for most meals.
cukes and tomatoes
I only wish I could make people taste how delicious these fresh vegetables are. We've come along way from mushy, canned peas (as Dan's mom will attest).  Heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden are perhaps summer's most wonderful treat.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  While I love tomatoes sliced raw, roasting them in the oven concentrates that amazing flavor and makes them oh, so good.  Below you will find one of my favorite recipes for roasting tomatoes - these could then be cooled and added to a green salad...but I highly doubt they'll last that long. 
and some flowers and succulents too (only not to eat)

Roasted Tomatoes from Ina Garten via The Food Network

12 roma tomatoes halved, seeds removed (I say don't remove the seeds)
4 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2-4 cloves of garlic minced (depending on their size and how much you like garlic)
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Lay the tomato halves out face up over a baking sheet.  Making sure they're evenly spaced and in a single layer. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle on the rest of the ingredients.

Cook for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to caramelize.



  1. ohh i love cherokee purples! i am jealous you can grow them. they are SO expensive to buy here. however i have two in my kitchen right now, and will be making this for dinner tonight: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/05/french-tomato-tart-recipe/ the honey makes it soo yummy.

  2. aren't they so delicious?! that recipe sounds delicious! for some reason my computer is taking forever to load the page, but i have a feeling i might have to be inspired by (aka copy you) again :) you always make the best stuff. you'll have to send me a pic so i can post it here!