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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Cool salad for a hot day!
What to eat when it's 95 degrees outside and 60 percent humidity?! I know when I get home the in the dog days of summer, the last thing I want to think about is cooking. I don't know about you, but the hotter it gets the less I want to eat... finding something that is light, healthy and appeals to heat-wilted taste buds is a bit of a challenge. I find that in summer we often choose a protein that can be cooked on the grill (avoid heating up the kitchen) and a large salad.
For me, making a salad that has surprising and different flavors is a challenge and you know I love the opportunity to play with food. This led to my previously posted roasted beet salad, which is a rich and delicious salad that can become a main dish. The down side is that beet-roasting takes about 45 minutes of oven time, which is not that appealing during June in Hampton Roads. So I have had to experiment with some new twists on salads to keep my family interested and I am going to let you in on the results of my experimentation so you can escape the heat of the day with a cool salad. These are less recipes than formulas for a salad that is a delicious respite on these hot days. So grab some greens... and go!
2 heads romaine or iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 red onion chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces cheese cut in chunks (pepper jack, cheddar, queso fresco are all good choices)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh are great (good use for leftover corn on the cob) but canned or frozen work well too), drained
Toss all ingredients together. If you have leftover chicken or other meat, you could add to make the salad heartier but with the cheese and beans, no meat is needed. I serve this with a dressing made of 1/2 cup of ranch dressing mixed with 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning mix (I know it's gauche, but my family loves it! You could toss a vinaigrette with cumin and smoked chipotle chili powder as an alternative)
Salad with Dried Blueberries
2 heads of butter lettuce (I love the delicate taste of this), torn into pieces
2 whole ripe pears (if you can find them) peeled and sliced or 1 can pear slices, drained
4 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese (my personal favorite, but brie would also be great) broken into pieces
1/4 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 tsp sugar or 1 packet of Splenda (for diabetic husband)
Toss all salad ingredients. Shake all ingredients together until smooth. Toss salad with dressing.
You could make a simple raspberry vinaigrette for this but the creaminess of this dressing with the acidic kick of raspberry vinegar is delish!