Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 172: Holly West & the Grilled Greek Salad

So George and I leave this week for a fantastic family trek across the great state of Kansas to K.C. We’re off to visit the new nephew and bask in the radiant glow of his parents and grandparents, George’s mom & dad. In preparation for this trip, I tried on swimsuits today at Target. Apparently the veggie diet isn’t having quite the desired affect — still bumpy and bulgy in bad places. Whatever. I found a tankini that goes well with a cute bottom I already own, so I’m ready to weather the inevitable pool outing, not with the aplomb I was hoping for but gracefully enough with a cute wrap skirt.

How does this pertain to a food blog? You may be wondering. Well, because we’re leaving, I’ve had this contest with myself on whether I can get through the week without grocery shopping. I hate tossing food either before we leave or having that weird off-smell when you return. In short, I have not done any grocery shopping at all this week and am quite pleased with our dinner results anyway. The most fantastic thing I made was a grilled Greek salad, much in the way of a traditional chopped salad, but with Greek-ish ingredients. I thinly sliced and grilled two medium yellow squash, half a red onion, and four small tomatoes (quartered). Then I lined them up on a nice platter with romaine lettuce, halved olives, feta cheese cubes, and diced roasted red peppers. Beautiful colors, by the way. To make things seem fancier, I melted a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan, added sliced garlic and sautéed a 1/2 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs until they were toasty. While they cooled a little, I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the platter, leaving the lettuce uncoated. I was letting the whole thing sit for about 15-20 minutes, because I used refrigerated ingredients and wanted them all to be at least room temp to go along with the grilled veggies. Then, I mixed the crumbs with ground pepper, a pinch of salt, a minced banana pepper and a handful of chopped fresh oregano and sprinkled the mixture over the entire salad. George really liked it, and I only used ingredients that were already in the frige, open or refrigerated. Success!

Yesterday, I made a taco salad using only ingredients I already had, but opening one can of chili beans. Not really cheating since I didn’t have to go to the store. Tonight I made enough spaghetti to also eat for tomorrow’s lunch on the road, and I grabbed fun snacks at Target to make good use of that saved grocery money.

Holly West is a Mexican restaurant next to Wal-Mart shopping center in Arvada, off of I-70 at the Youngfield exit. I ate there with my friend Gina for the first time ever, surprising since (a) I love Mexican food and (b) I live literally a mile away. Well, it has a new name now, not sure what it is — long and tedious to say and they answer the phone “Holly West.” Gina and I drove the parking lot several times trying to make sure that was the right place before finally just going in to ask. It was. So we stayed. Their sign says “Famous for the Tacorito!” and so I ordered a bean one. It was pretty much a burrito but with chunks of tomato inside of it. Okay. Then we ordered an ice cream stuffed sopapilla for dessert. It came with strawberries and whipped cream and was delicious! Ever since then, I have a heavy feeling in my abdomen that I’m not entirely surprised about. Sometimes Mexican food has this affect, but I usually don’t just feel like I ate a rock. Often there’s movement, uncomfortable and surprising. Today it’s just a large, solid stone. I was hungry for dinner, but my spaghetti is now sitting on top of the stone and I am not pleased. Hopefully it won’t last. I can’t imagine traversing the length of Kansas like this. Ick.

So, goodbye for now. I will write when I return from my trip. The in-laws don’t believe in wireless internet access, of course. I have looked up the Liberty farmer’s market and am all set to attend on Saturday morning. It’s my first trip to visit family since declaring my vegetarian state, so I’m a little worried (hence the necessity of fabulous Target snacks). I’m hoping for the best!

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