Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sensational Summer Salads
If there's one food that really captures the essence of summer, it's salad. All kinds of beautiful, ripe produce are overflowing from gardens and orchards. When fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their season, there's no need to do anything fancy with them - they're just begging to be tumbled into a salad bowl and enjoyed in their raw, natural glory.
Extraordinary Salads Every Day
Make it a point to stop at farmer's markets and roadside produce stands all summer long. Let the vivid, fragrant rows of lettuces, squash, berries, corn, cucumbers, peppers, peas, stone fruits, melons, and, of course, tomatoes, tempt you, and take home everything that looks good. Don't worry about how you're going to use it all - you only need a salad bowl and an appetite!
The One-Bowl Meal
Turn that salad from a side dish to an entree by adding some protein. This will turn it into a nutritionally balanced meal and keep your tummy from growling again an hour after dinner. A salad is the perfect way to use up that chicken or steak left from last night's barbecue. Any kind of lunch meat is good, too - smoked turkey, ham, tuna, salami, corned beef and prosciutto are all great on salads. If you want to keep it meatless, just open up a can of beans -- kidney , cannellini , garbanzo and black beans all make tasty, satisfying salad toppers.
Try on Some New Dressing
Same old bowl of lettuce every night beginning to make you feel like you're in a salad slump? Try a different dressing! Salad dressings are something that we're used to pouring out of one of those bottles in the refrigerator door, but they are unbelievably easy to make from scratch, and one taste of homemade dressing is going to make you fall in love with salad all over again.
Fresh raw sweet corn adds a wonderful crunch when cut off the cob and sprinkled into a salad. The vines and brambles are bursting with plump berries right now -- try sprinkling some of them into your next salad. You'll be surprised at how delicious that touch of tart sweetness is in an otherwise savory salad. Toasted nuts are all the rage in fancy restaurant salads. Make a little gourmet magic of your own by tossing some pecans, walnuts, almonds or pine nuts into a skillet and stirring over medium heat until the nuts turn a shade darker and give off an enticing aroma.
Use your Head - or Not!
It doesn't need to be leafy and green to be called a salad! Some of our favorite summertime salads have never been near a head of lettuce. Try a Greek salad of tomato wedges, sliced cucumber, white onions, bell peppers, tart olives and tangy feta mixed with a simply delicious dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and chopped oregano. Another spectacular salad for the peak of tomato season is the Insalata Caprese. This one is a gorgeous presentation consisting of rounds of garden-fresh tomatoes and sweet, creamy fresh mozzarella cheese layered on a platter underneath a crown of torn basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Don't forget to explore the world of grain and bean salads, too! Try tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern favorite with nutty, chewy bulgur wheat flecked with refreshing cucumber, tomato, green onions, and fresh mint and parsley.
Sensational Summer Salad
For a summer snack that will cleanse the kidneys and help the body to unload toxic wastes from the blood, use the following high powered recipe.
1/2 cup of watercress
1/2 cup of dandelion greens
1/2 cup of arugula
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated ginger
pinch of Sea Salt
Mix washed greens together.
Stir lemon juice and ginger.
Pour over greens.
Season with salt.
Tomato Basil & Feta Salad
This is a simple salad that requires no salad dressing.
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onions, finely chopped
2.25 ounces sliced black olives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add all ingredients in a medium serving bowl and toss!
MUFFALATTA OLIVE SALAD SANDWICH
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 c. chopped green stuffed olives
1 c. chopped oil cured black olives, (pitted)
4-5 pepperonis, minced
1/2 c. roasted red peppers, chunks
1 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh parsley
large pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. each oregano and basil
2 tbsp. white wine or balsamic vinegar
1 large round loaf bread
1/3 lb. salami, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Provolone, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced in circles
1/2 lb. Havarti cheese, thinly sliced
1/3 c. Prosciutto or Capicola ham, thinly sliced
Combine ingredients for salad and allow to stand overnight so that flavors can mingle.
Slice the bread in half, slicing off the top portion (like a cap) and scoop out some of the center of loaf. Drizzle oil from salad on both top and bottom halves, using a good deal of the mixture for the bottom half.
Layer the olive salad, cold cuts, cheeses, and layer again until all ingredients are used. Top with bread top (cap). Slice into 6 wedges.
Variations: Thinly sliced pancetta may be sautéed and used in addition to other cold cuts.
A unique muffalatta-like calzone can be made by using home-made bread dough. Add 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon each oregano, basil, and rosemary to the dough.
When preparing the salad, use 1/2 cup less olive oil.
Roll out to a 14x9 inch rectangle, brush with olive oil, layer on the salad and cold cut ingredients, sprinkle with fresh mozzarella and chunks of ricotta cheese, roll up and pinch closed. Allow dough to rise until nearly doubled and bake until golden. Don't forget to cut a vent hole in the dough to allow steam to escape.
This recipe is a nice take-along for picnics and Summer day trips.
SUMMER'S HARVEST SALAD
7 ounces macaroni, * see note
1 cup fresh broccoli, florets
6 ounces shrimp, cooked
1 small tomato, chopped
1 cup spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup red onion, sliced
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 teaspoons salad supreme seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 boiled egg, grated
Prepare macaroni according to package directions, add broccoli during last two minutes of cooking time; drain. Combine macaroni and broccoli, shrimp, tomato, spinach and red onion. Blend together Italian dressing, salad supreme seasoning, salt and cayenne pepper. Toss dressing with salad mixture. Garnish with egg and sprinkle with salad supreme. Serve immediately or cover and chill. Refrigerate leftovers. 6 to 8 servings.
ZESTY SUMMER SALAD
2 medium cucumbers
2-3 medium tomatoes
1 each yellow, red and green bell peppers
1 small onion (optional)
2 cups zesty Italian salad dressing
Peel and thinly slice cucumbers, dice remaining ingredients. Combine all ingredients with salad dressing. Chill and serve
MANDARIN ORANGE SUMMER SALAD
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. slivered almonds & 3 tbsp. sugar
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 head lettuce
1/2 romaine lettuce
Melt 3 tablespoons sugar in frying pan. Throw in almonds, stir until coated. Place on plate until cooled and then separate. Mix oil, sugar, vinegar, parsley and salt. Toss dressing, almonds and oranges in lettuce. Great summer salad!
INDIAN SUMMER SALAD
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. orange Jello
2 c. boiling water
1 c. (6 oz.) frozen orange juice, undiluted
1 c. crushed undrained pineapple
1 c. (11 oz.) can drained mandarin oranges
1 (9 oz.) Cool Whip
1 pkg. instant lemon pudding mix
Dissolve Jello in boiling water, add orange juice, pineapple and oranges. Pour into 9"x13" pan. Chill until firm. TOPPING: Fold pudding mix into Cool Whip, spread on top of firm Jello.
SUMMER SALAD VEGETABLE STIR - FRY
1 lg. cucumber (about 8 oz.)
1 bunch radishes (about 8 oz.)
2 lg. ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp. vegetable oil or dark Oriental sesame oil
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds with teaspoon. Cut in half lengthwise again. Then slice crosswise in 1/2 inch pieces. Thinly slice radishes. Cut tomatoes in half. Scoop out seeds and juice and dice the flesh, thinly slice the white and green parts of scallions. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add cucumbers and radishes and stir-fry until hot, about 1 minute. Add rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and scallions, stir-fry about 30 second or until vegetables are glazed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, makes 4 servings. Per serving: 72 calories.