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We had planned to take a picnic dinner and go for a Saturday night bike ride playground tour but lightning and a need for new inner tubes on my bike did us in…and after Daddy had gone to suck lengths to put together the bike trailer for the kids to ride in.  Instead, I cooked up the veggie patties I had made earlier in the day and popped in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch (oops, I’ll have to figure out what to eat tomorrow now!), and whipped up what I think I will call the best salad I have ever eaten.  Both were yummy enough, I figured I’d share the recipe…except if you have read my blog, you probably have realized I’m more of a “lil bit o’ this/lil bit o’ that” kind of cook and I couldn’t definitely tell you how much of anything I put in, unless I was working from an existing recipe.    So instead, I guess I’ll go with a basic ingredients list and some general instructions!

Veggie Patties:

Precooked grains (I make a big pot of brown rice, barley and lentils and we eat them up in various ways throughout the week)
Shredded zucchini (other squash would probably work here too, but we got some monster zucchinis given to us, and I only have so much space for shredded zucchini in the freezer!!)
Shredded carrots
egg (undoubtedly, if you were vegan, there is probably some other binder you can use…but since we aren’t even vegetarian, we don’t really care)
cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, TVP, etc (I use whatever we have in the cupboard, today that happened to be TVB and these really yummy mystery herb crackers my mom gave us)
season to taste
optional: grated cheese

Mix everything up to a good consistency where a patty will stick together. If its too wet, it will fall apart in a blob… conversely, if its too dry it will crumble apart. The goal is a happy medium where it all sticks together (hmmm…metaphor for life?). You could probably broil, bake, fry or grill these conventionally…we use the George (which is starting to die, I think). Regardless of which you use, you are going to need a bit of oil–either cooking spray or a wee bit of oil in the pan, as there is a tendency to stick.

Spinach and Fruit Salad

thinly sliced apples (I use the slicer thing on my grater)
grated carrots
dried cranberries
Parmesan cheese (an Italian blend would be good…for a stronger flavor, feta or bleu cheese would probably be tasty as well)
Plum wedges (I use them for garnish, and then cut them up and eat them in the salad)

The dressing for this salad is and apple cider vinegar dressing (I got the basic recipe for the dressing from Eckert’s Restaurant, where they serve a great apple salad). To make it, its about a 3 to 1 ratio of sugar to apple cider vinegar. Boil the vinegar until the sugar is all dissolved. If you wish, you can also herb up the dressing with some garlic and cracked pepper or other herbs. You need very little dressing for a fairly large salad, but the leftover dressing keeps well in the fridge. You can put the dressing on hot, straight off the stove, if you want a wilted spinach salad…otherwise, be sure to chill the dressing if you are making it fresh before you toss!