Saturday, May 19, 2012

Red and Green Salad with Chayote

Ms Hovey was my favourite teacher in elementary school. Her grade four class was the first place I tasted kiwi, and the first place I saw baking soda react with vinegar. I was a quiet, bookish girl with long, brown hair and glasses, and I wanted to please her. Perhaps because of this, she encouraged me to enter the school's public speaking competition.

I had to write and give a one minute speech to a panel of esteemed judges, most notably, my school's principal. I was intensely nervous, and practiced that speech on the history of cameras for weeks. I timed it so that I knew I could say it all in precisely sixty seconds, no more and no less. The speech started with the word "Click!" and then went on to describe the pinhole camera and the Kodak company's rise to dominate the camera world.

When I returned home from school on the afternoon of the public speaking competition, my parents asked how it had went. I was shy as always. I mentioned that my classmate had won. Weeks later they asked about it again. Somehow that time I managed to get words out of my tight throat - I had come second. I was immensely proud but didn't want them to fuss over me.

This red and green salad is a no fuss meal for when you are feeling shy. It uses chayote, a vegetable from the courgette (zucchini) family. Chayote is mild and crunchy and can be eaten raw or cooked. Peel it under running water since there is a sticky substance under the skin that will make it slippery.
Red and Green Salad
serves 1

When making this salad, prepare the avocado last, since it will discolour if left too long. Cut the avocado in half, then twist to open. Use the side without the pit in this salad. (Wrap up the half with the pit in cling film and refrigerate for another use.)

for the salad:
1/2 c cooked red quinoa
1/2 chayote
1/2 red pepper
6 grape tomatoes
10 cm cucumber
15 green beans
1/2 avocado

for the dressing:
2 T olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Put the quinoa in a mixing bowl.
Peel the chayote under running water. Slice in half, then use a sharp knife to remove the pit. Slice half the flesh and add to the bowl. (Keep the other half for something else.)

Chop the red pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans. Add to the bowl.
Score cubes in the avocado flesh while it is still in the peel. Then use a spoon to lift out the cubes into the salad bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients.
Pour over the salad and toss.

Were you shy as a child?

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