Monday, November 10, 2008

colorful food for fall


So, I'm living in Poland right now--perhaps you've heard me mention that.
We like to eat cheaply, and we do almost all our grocery shopping at the Old Market (Stary Kleparz), which is about five minutes' walk from our place. What this means: we eat a lot of cabbage, onions, bread, barley and button mushrooms. White foods, in other words.

Lately we've been trying to incorporate more color into our culinary lives. It's really a perfect time to do it, too, because fall makes me want to put color everywhere, but especially on my plate! Our number one secret weapon against colorless food has been salad, and I think we've been pretty successful.

Top five colorful ingredients that we can get at the market, while staying frugal:
1. Avocado (definitely our biggest salad-splurge item at approx. $1 a piece)
2. Spinach (about $0.80 for a tremendous bunch, usually takes three meals to get through)
3. Yellow Lentils! (we've taken to soaking and cooking dry lentils rather than using canned, which is cheaper and tastier--the texture really does something for a spinach salad, and, of course, the color compliment is lovely)
4. Red Cabbage (delicious change of pace from white cabbage, slightly more expensive at about $0.50 for a good sized cabbage head)
5. Tomatoes (about $2/kilogram, less for the smaller, sweeter varieties)

And I recently learned to best absorb the lycopene in tomatoes, you should eat them with some fat. That's the best reason for a light oil-based salad dressing that I know of, after the obvious (delicious).

Considering all the pierogi, naleĊ›niki and zapiekanka we eat, the right colorful salad can be positively refreshing, not to mention vital to our health.

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