January 13, 2010

Sunshine Salad & a Tribute to Mrs. Miep Gies

It's been exactly a week since I last wrote here. I've been simply too busy and now, exhausted both physically and mentally. However, all those haven't stopped me from nosing around in the kitchen and behind the camera. It's me, Pei-Lin! LOL!

I almost felt like bursting into tears at work today. Finally, I realized copywriting is not my cup of tea. It's not to say that I can't do it -- I can, but it won't be the best. Just like what I've shared with you previously, writers are given a false impression. Not all writers are born all-around. Having been trained in journalism mostly, copywriting seems like an alien to me.

What's worse, I'm summoned to the task of coming up with THE product names and taglines for five different products in less than two weeks! And, they've got to be "promising," so to say. Geez ... I spent hours and hours cracking my brain over these. At the end of the day, only 70 percent was completed. As usual, there will be changes after changes until "THE ONE" has finally emerged. Goodness, all these made me look so burned out! I looked just like an insane woman with a bad hair day after all the scratching on my head. Hahaha ...!

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

I was also very sad to have learned about the death of Mrs. Miep Gies. For those of you who have read about Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, this name is no stranger. I've always been amazed at how some people can be so selflessly sacrificing for others -- even with the knowledge that their own lives might be jeopardized as a result of such act or decision. Here's my salute to you, Mrs. Gies, for the altruism that you'd demonstrated in those harsh 24 months under the Nazi! You'll always be remembered for the great deed. (This book is highly recommended, if you haven't gotten around to read it! Becky, thanks for introducing me to such remarkable work and for lending it to me!)

Anyhow, I'd like to share with you an authentic American recipe, as promised. I first had a taste of this fabulous salad in the summer of 2007. At that time, I still knew not much about cooking and baking -- I was a taste tester! LOL! One of my American family friends Emily made this salad for a party at church friends'. There, I was hooked on it!

It was funny that I didn't ask for the recipe from Emily even though I did help her out with preparing the food for the party that day -- and witnessed how the salad was put together! It was only two years later, in July last year, that I couldn't fight against my severe craving for the salad. Finally, I went and asked around, hoping for a miracle to happen.

Based on my random description, My American "mom" Bonnie and "sister" Keren had a guessing game and hit the jackpot! They went through their cookbooks and found a recipe that exactly fit what was described. The recipe is authentically Midwest, or I should say Minnesotan to be on the safe side. At least, it's pretty common in that part of America. The recipe came from a cookbook compiled by three families. And so, it was submitted and shared by the Blanshans, who have been close friends of my family friends for years.

According to the recipe submitters, this potluck hit is known as sunshine salad. After once, there will be a second, third, fourth ... and countless times! People simply love it! Everyone kept asking us: "Who brought the salad? I'd like to have the recipe!" Boy, we were extremely pleased with how it turned out every time we made it! I even made it for the New Year's Eve get-together at my friend's. They raved about it! My friends kept asking me about the salad: what's it called, how to make it, what are the ingredients and so forth.

Sunshine salad is such a crowd pleaser! It's a perfect blend of ingredients, with each contributing its unique flavor and texture. The creamy, sweet and slightly tangy apple cider-mayo dressing marries perfectly with the garden-fresh, crisp broccoli. The creaminess also tones down the sharp, boldly pungent flavor of onion. For a sweeter, juicier touch, raisins are used. What's more exciting, smoky bacon is browned to crisp and crumbled and finds its way to the mix with the savory Cheddar cheese. And, thanks to the sunflower seeds for the added nuttiness! Most importantly, let the flavors marry for a few hours before serving!

This sunshine salad never fails to disappoint you and your guests! So, I'd like to spread the words out and share the recipe with you on behalf of my good, good American friends. A note though: the recipe is purely a reference, adjust it accordingly to your taste. This is simple and yet gives you an amazingly wonderful result. Do try it and let me know how you find it! =D

Sunshine Salad

2 heads of broccoli -- wash to clean and drain well; remove the hard stem; reserve and cut the florets into smaller pieces
1 head of cauliflower -- wash to clean and drain well; remove the hard stem; reserve and cut the florets into smaller pieces
*We skip cauliflower
2/3 cup red onion -- wash to clean and chop finely
**In fact, any kind of onion will do. Please chop the onion(s) real well, especially for those of you who can't stand the raw taste of onions. Chopping it into very fine bits does help tone down the raw onion taste.
1/2 cup raisins (any kind will work)

454 g (1 lb.) bacon -- right before serving, pan-fry in some oil till browned and crisped up, then crumble into real small bits
3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
***I actually prefer the orange-colored American Cheddar cheese for its bolder flavor and saltier taste. Sadly, I can't find any here as of now. But, that's just a matter of preference.

237 ml (1 cup) mayonnaise
****I've tried with both home-made Japanese mayo and Western-style mayo, both work.
115 g (1/2 cup) granulated/caster sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Toss (A) together to combine
  2. Next, blend (C) together and stir into the broccoli mixture; toss them altogether till everything is well-distributed throughout the mix. Transfer the salad into a container, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors marry before serving
  3. Right before serving, evenly scatter (B) on top of the chilled salad and toss them altogether to combine. Serve immediately


qinyi said...

It looks really easy to make! I shall go get the ingredients on my next shopping trip! btw, i saw photos of polo buns and rotiboy on your flickr page!! can you please share those recipes?? i miss them so much!! :)

Quinn said...

I love bacon and cider dressing together! And this Sunshine salad is bold, with the amount of mayonnaise, bacon and cheese, it is certainly not the salad for those on diet! Gone my Year 2010 resolution to be skinny!

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

what a beautiful and mouth watering salad !! recipe look simple, I may try it out soon.Thanks for sharing. As usual, nice shots .

Ellie said...

I love the name of this salad! Sunshine salad :) How appropriate!

faithy, the baker said...

I like the name of your salad..Sunshine Salad! :)

Also, I've nominated your blog for Happy 101 Award..check it out at http://theamateurbaker.blogspot.com/2010/01/my-happy-101-award.html

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Pei Lin, I hope your sunshine salad has driven away those gloomy clouds due to your work, cheers!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

It's a beautiful salad - happy and sunny, alright! Take heart that the weekend is near ... take a good rest!

Dodol & Mochi said...

@qinyi: Hello from Malaysia! Thanks for stopping by! How's the English weather treating you? Stay warm, yea? Hmm ... The recipes for those two buns won't be posted for now because I intend to try them out again. Will keep you posted on that. In the meantime, hope you'll have fun making and eating the fruit of labor, i.e. the salad! Take care, my friend!

@Quinn: Thanks for dropping, Your Majesty! Yup, oodles of mayo, bacon and cheese there! But hey, it's American! LOL! Definitely not for the faint-hearted and weight-conscious ..., which explains my unhealthy weight! Hahaha ...!

@Sonia: Hey, there! Thank you for visiting here and the encouraging words. Yes, it's very, very simple to fix. Gotta give it a try! Do let me know how it turns out, yea? =)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Ellie: Hi, thank you for stopping by! Yes, gotta agree with you! The salad is colorful in both appearance and tastes! Sunshine definitely cheers you up! Whoever that named the salad, he/she was so,so right! =D

@faithy: Hey, I finally got to see you! Lovely picture of you! You're so beautiful with a well-maintained figure! How did you do it with all the bakes that you've been churning out!? Goodness! LOL! Too bad, I'm already out of shape! Boo ... Thanks for coming by! Yes, the salad is aptly named! So sunny, so coloful, so flavorful! Last but not least, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE AWARD! Totally unexpected! I'll share it with others on my next post. =)

@HHB: Thank you, friend! Thanks for stopping by and for the encouraging words! You've just made my day. Cheers to you, too! Have fun with your two little sunshine! Hope your big sunshine is safe and sound in the land far, far away. =)

@Ju: Thanks for coming by and for the kind words! I'm actually happy that, at least, there are so many things for me to learn at work. Nothing wasted for the efforts and time I've made. Though, it can be exhausting. Oh, well! Who doesn't love weekends! Alrighty, I'll hang in there--the weekend is around the corner! You have a fabulous one, too! Have fun baking for CNY!

tracieMoo said...

I miss making salads cause nowadays I'm too busy to even eat, Pei-Lin! Sigh. The salad looks really tempting! I'm such a salad fan. Got to have a bowl of salad whereever I go.. :)

Mochachocolata Rita said...

yum...what a hearty salad!

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow great salad so sorry you don't like your job sweet Pei lin, maybe you can find a job as a food writer

love Rebecca

homeladychef said...

oh dear... so sorry to hear that you almost burned out, i'm sure you are good in writing. I enjoy every post by you. ^^ may be you can consider being a teacher or tutor? or being a food writer, write for food magazine?

homeladychef said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patricia Scarpin said...

What a wonderful idea for the insanely hot days we've been having here, Pei-Lin!
I love salads, especially the vibrant, colorful ones like this. Beautiful!

pigpigscorner said...

aww..cheer up hun! Hope this salad made you feel better...

noobcook said...

your salad is sunshine indeed ... so vibrant and colourful! hang in there, I'm sure you'll find something u love to do :)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@Tracie: Poor dear ... I know how college life can take a toll on you! Remember to eat, eat, eat while you work hard ... Otherwise, you'll become too skinny! Take great care of yourself, yea? Look forward to meeting you up soon! Have a great weekend! And, thanks for stopping by!

@Rita: Thanks for stopping by!! Ya, it's a hearty salad ... not a light one for the weight-conscious! Hehehe ... =D

@Rebecca: Hahaha ...! Thanks, for the kind words! Who knows what would happen in the future ... We'll see ... You have a great, great weekend! =)

Dodol & Mochi said...

@homeladychef: LOL! Thank you so much for the kind words ... You've made me feel a bit better! Who knows what to expect for the future ... We'll just take it along and enjoy the ride. Thanks! You have a great weekend!

@Patricia Scarpin: Yes, I've gotta agree on this that it's a summer salad! So far, we've only tried making it on hot, hot days! Not the winter! Thanks for dropping by! You have a fabulous weekend!

@Anne & Jeff: Thanks, guys! You've made me feel better ... Move on!! Have a wonderful weekend, yea?

@noobcook: Oh, thanks a lot for the kind words!! Each word counts!! You have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Blessed Homemaker said...

Sometimes the bosses already have something in their mind but when the copywriters came up with something else, they will be given "hell". Copywriters really need some "tonic" to replenish their brain juice. Maybe your sunshine salad helps? ;-)

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, YUM. This salad would be a hit wherever you took it! I've bookmarked this one.

Su-yin said...

Love the colours in this, truly a salad to brighten up any day. :)

Y said...

Love your salad. Looks like a big plate of happy.

By the way, I didn't realise Miep Gies had passed!

qinyi said...

pei-lin!!! i just made this yesterday and it was so YUMMY!! sweet, crunchy and oh so addictive! in fact, i've had 2nd and 3rd helpings and am seriously considering if i shld just attack the portion i packed for tmr's lunch. hehe :)

Kitchen Flavours said...

As of the name...really sunshine salad...looks colorful and yum...

Food For Tots said...

What a great sunshine salad! Love the colour combination - so catchy. The taste must be real good.

Dodol & Mochi said...

Sorry, everyone, for such late of a reply!! Have been too busy!

@Blessed Homemaker: Thanks for the kind words! ^^ I know ... Working life is, most of the time, a hell ... But, well! Things move on. Oh, hey! Perhaps, you were a copywriter before becoming a mom!? Your writing is pretty good!

@Kate: Hey, thanks for coming by!! Yup, it's a sure-shot at any potluck! You've gotta make it. It's an authentic American recipe & salad. It'd remind you so much of home ... especially if you're from the upper Midwest! =)

@Su-yin: I love it! Hope you'll love it, too! And, thanks for stopping by & dropping by a few lines!! Ya have a good day! ^^

Dodol & Mochi said...

Sorry, everyone, for such late of a reply!! Have been too busy!

@Y: Thanks so much for stopping by!! Yes, it's such a plate full of cheerfulness! =) ... Oh, and it's so sad that Mrs. Gies had just passed away! I really admired her for altruism! The book is indeed a great one! Worth reading!

@qinyi: I'M SO HAPPY YOU MADE THE SALAD!! Wasn't it GOOD!!?? Now, you know what I mean when I actually said I've made it so many times! Because it's damn good!! So, addictive, like what you've said! Well, did ya attack the rest? LOL!! Yummy! Thanks for coming by, dear!!

@Kitchen Flavours: Thank you for stopping by and dropping a few lines here!! The salad is really good! Hope you get to try it sometime! =)

@Lai Kuan: Thank you for dropping by!! It's indeed colorful!! Tastes very yummy & addictive, too! Hope you get to try it someday. =)

celine said...

i made this over the weekend and it was GOOD! my kids, hubby and friends (who came over for dinner) just couldn't stop eating ....

thanks for sharing a super-duper, yummy salad!

Pei-Lin@Dodol and Mochi said...

Dear Celine,

So, so glad you tried the salad out! Isn't it super-duper yummy!? So addictive, too! =)

You know what, you've made my day by saying these! When I opened up my mailbox and first read these words, I screamed! My mom said to me, "You gone insane!?" Hahaha ...!

Once again, thanks a lot for stopping by & for the encouragement you've given me! =)


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