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
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
- Toss (A) together to combine
- 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
- Right before serving, evenly scatter (B) on top of the chilled salad and toss them altogether to combine. Serve immediately