Today’s post is yet another easy-meal suggestion continuing the “things food bloggers eat when they don’t plan to write a recipe” theme (previous posts are here and here and here) from a few months back. Essentially, these are the things that take the bare minimum of effort to prepare and are what I eat when I don’t feel like cooking. In addition, I am sharing my possibly-best kitchen tip ever and it has to do with how I store my precioussss *cough* I mean my baby salad greens without them wilting or going slimy.
Yesterday, having braved the elements due to a pressing need for fresh milk, we have visited a supermarket. While there, I restocked on a bunch of salad vegetables (including the not-pictured fresh batch of greens – the ones in the photo are the last of last week’s greenery!), and picked up a box of pretty red grapes. I don’t often buy grapes because they are lovely and delicious and sugary as all hell, especially for fruit, but when I see a box of particularly pretty ones I don’t try to resist. Or, well, I do try to resist by not eating the entire box as soon as I get home, but that’s about as far as my moderation goes. Today, the morning dawned grey and uninspiring, and the swich to daylight non-savings time (gods how I hate this useless practice!) stole an hour out of my day, and by necessity, lunch was a let’s-see-what-fridge-has-to-offer affair.
The above pictured salad takes only as long as it takes you to slice and fry the halloumi. I fry mine in a non-stick skillet on medium heat in a small amount of rapeseed oil, with some chili flakes thrown in, only until the slices are golden on both sides. In meantime, I put handfuls of whatever greenery was left in my salad-storage box* (last week it was mache aka lamb’s lettuce and arugula) on plates, sliced some grapes to go on that, drizzled it with good olive oil, and sprinkled with a bit more chili and oregano. I do not salt the salad since halloumi, even rinsed, tends to be rather salty on its own. While the halloumi was frying, I also had time to call a friend for a short conversation about a creepy dude who’d been messaging me on Facebook (don’t worry, dude is reported and blocked), hung up, and my lunch was ready.
* I digress here because I must tell you of my salad-storage box and its awesome purpose. You see, I am a firm believer that those expensive boxes of lovely baby salad leaves are the best green thing ever. Arugula, beet greens, watercress, mache, whatever you call them – I love them all, preferably mixed, tossed with a good homemade dressing or just drizzled with olive oil. There’s only a couple of problems – I don’t shop daily, the supermarket doesn’t restock them daily, and they go bad literally in about 24 hours if left in the thing they are packed in (usually a pillow-pack or a plastic box wrapped in some cellophane). And when they go bad, they turn yellow and black and slimy and smell revolting. Sounds familiar? I thought so.
Baby-salad rot used to be my kitchen nemesis until I discovered the one and only awesome way to store it for at least a week without any detrimental effects. Enter the salad-storage box, which is neither anything you need to buy, nor a brand. It’s just a large roomy tupperware box (I actually use a discarded-by-supermarket food-safe plastic box with a snap-on lid that the store gave out for free after emptying it of candy into their by-weight candy isle). Mine measures 18x18x11cm which gives it a volume of ~3.5L. Any large tupperware box will do. When I buy a pack of greens, I lay a sheet of paper towel in the bottom of my (dry and clean) box, shake the greens out onto it, loosening them gently if they’d been compacted in the package, lay another paper towel on top of them, and snap the lid shut. That’s it. The box can now go into the fridge and it will keep your greens fresh for a week, like magic. This can obviously also be done with a large bowl, paper towels and a sheet of plastic wrap, but that takes a lot more inconvenient space in the fridge (not being rectangular), and you can’t stack things on top of it unless your bowl has a lid. Plastic food storage boxes are rectangular, slot easiy into fridge, are easy to clean, aren’t breakable and the best part is now that you know this, you probably already own your very own magic salad storage box. You are welcome. :)
So there. A meal you can put together in about ten minutes (if that) out of greens, grapes (or other fruit!), and halloumi – three ingredients not counting a pinch of chili flakes and a drizzle of oil. Short of grazing on a bed of lettuce, it doesn’t get much simpler than this – and this? It’s not just simple, it’s good! The mild and bitter greens mix goes great with sweet-tart juicy grapes and the salty chewiness of halloumi, and to be honest, if I had had some kassieri (saganaki) cheese, that would have worked equally excellent here as well. And this makes a pretty perfect antidote to grey day blahs, if I do say so myself.
As a bonus, I’ve used up the block of halloumi that, while not part of the freezer stash, has been hanging around the fridge for a while. Those things keep forever in the refrigerator if they are sealed (half a year easily), but in the spirit of using things up out of the freezer, fridge and pantry, I’m happy to have it out of there – and eaten.