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There are several varieties of lettuce I like to serve:

  • Romaine: It has sturdy leaves and can take any dressing.
  • Arugula (also know as rocket or roquette): My favorite, it has a peppery taste, and the larger the leaf, the more potent the flavor. I prefer baby arugula and wild arugula. If I had to choose one, it would be the wild baby arugula variety because it has the right balance of texture and it's not too spicy. I mix it in with other salads to balance out the flavor. Usually extra-virgin olive oil with fresh lemon and kosher salt is all you need for a dressing. Oh yes, and shaved Parmesan cheese all over the top!
  • Mesclun: A lovely mix of several different wild, young, tender greens. You get a variety of lettuce in a mesclun mix, such as arugula, endive, watercress and more.
  • Boston and Bibb: These lettuce leaves are delicate and lovely. I prefer to purchase them with their roots still intact, and then I store the lettuce until I'm ready to use it. I like to serve this lettuce at the end of a meal, with a light dressing and a creamy wedge of ripened brie with crusty French bread or gourmet crackers. So good!
  • Iceberg: Yes, I know it holds no nutritional value, and it's very pale, but my family loves it for tacos, taco salads, chopped salads, sandwiches and salad wedges. We serve our wedge salads with beefsteak tomatoes, sliced onion and blue cheese, ranch dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Red leaf lettuce: This has soft and tender leaves and a lovely subtle flavor. Be careful because too much dressing will wilt the leaves. You should toss it and serve it right away. I like to use these tender leaves when I make minced chicken or beef and roll the delicious insides around the leaves because they are large enough to hold a nice portion!
Here are a few suggestions I would like to share with you on how to keep lettuce fresh:

  • Always store lettuce in the refrigerator.
  • Before you purchase the lettuce, check all around to make sure it is crisp and doesn't have spots and isn't wilted or slimy.
  • Very delicate greens don't last long, so it is better if you use them within three days.
  • Before you store your organic greens, always check to make sure there isn't a sweet little creature living in there.
  • I store my lettuce in extra-large ziplock bags with two or three paper towels to absorb the excess water.
  • Never put too much lettuce in one plastic bag. I pack it loosely with the paper towels because crowding the leaves will wilt them and they have a tendency to get slimy quicker.
  • Lettuce should not be stored near fruits, especially apples. They give off a gas (ethylene) that promotes spoilage.
  • Always wash and spin-dry your lettuce, even if the package says "prewashed." Remember, you are eating raw vegetables, and everything should be washed thoroughly and dried.
Salad can be used as a side for dinner or for dinner itself. Most of the time, I end up with dinner or lunch in a bowl, my favorite mix of lettuce, veggies, meat and cheese—everything you love in one stop!

I would like to share with you my recipe for Butter Lettuce with Feta, Toasted Walnuts, Olive Oil and Lemon Dressing. I serve it as an appetizer or at the end of the dinner for a lovely ending to a great meal

Sending a "Big Bowl of Love", from my Big Bowl of Greens,
Love,
Cristina

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