Summer of Salads

The salad is a highly misunderstood and underappreciated food. Often  thought of as a side or the healthy unfulfilling option. The store bought dressings that coat them as often filled with sugars and make them completely unhealthy. Yet salad is an amazing option when it’s too hot to eat or cook for that matter. A well put together salad should tantalize your taste buds, satisfy your hunger, and leave you wanting more. Here are the five rules for summer salad making,

Start from the bottom (like Drake): Choose interesting lettuces for the base of your salad, don’t get stuck with mundane romaine or iceberg they are practically flavorless, mix and match different lettuces.

Kale: Super food of the moment, cut very finely, slight bitter flavor

Arugula: Peppery and delicate

Butter Lettuce: Delicate, but slight crunch, big leaves, very creamy in flavor

Spinach: if you don’t know what spinach is…

Mache: Sweet, nutty, small bunches of leaves, pretty for presentation

Micro greens: There are a vast variety of them, and they are my new obsession post about them coming soon.

Spring Mix: A perfect mix of lettuces and a good base of any salad

Always add protein: Protein is what makes your body go round, chicken, fish, beef, beans, you need something that will stick to you and crave your hunger. A good idea is to grill off a bunch of protein at night, when it’s normally less hot, for three days so you can jus add it in when making salads.

Less is not More: When it comes to adding additional ingredients. Throw in everything you have, veggies, fruits, nuts, cheese, grains, such as quiona, even rice!  A salad can be a great way to use leftovers.

Appeal to your senses: Use ingredients that are colorful, crunchy, sweet, sour, soft, aromatic. If you think of all your senses the salad will be a success, You eat with your eyes first so make the presentation pretty!

Dressing: The dressing has a potential to make or break an entire salad. In the summer I tend to lean towards lighter vinaigrettes because I find creamy dressings to be too heavy. I will soon have a follow up post on making vinaigrettes and dressings because they really are so simply to make and so much better for you then that bottled disgust.

So now you have the rules, take them and run and just in case your creative juices aren’t running yet here are two quick and easy options.

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

Start from the Bottom: Romaine, red cabbage, pea shoots

Always add protein: Grilled Chicken (marinated in pineapple juice/olive oil)

Less is not More: Add in red/yellow bell pepper, pineapple, apples, cashews, edamame, dried mango, cucumbers, hearts of palm

Appeal to your senses: Sight, lots of colors, Smell, the dressing is very aromatic, Touch, crunchy soft, chewy, Taste, YUM!

Don’t forget the dressing: In this case a pineapple mint vinaigrette, (pineapple juice, mint, splash of lime, agave grape seed oil, salt and pepper)

0-1 mise en place for hawaiian chicken salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Start from the bottom: Romaine, arugula micro greens

Always add protein: Grilled shrimp (not pictured only because I used this as a starter salad)

Less is not More: Avocado, grapefruit, marcona almonds

Appeal to your senses: Pretty presentation, crunchy buttery almonds, bitterly sweet grapefruit, creamy avocado

Don’t forget the dressing: Honey Lime vinaigrette (grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt, pepper)

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my life has been a very interesting journey thus far. in my quarter century crisis im and not certain of much except that i love cooking and entertaining, and pleasing people is my passion. (wait that sounded a little funny) i am goofy eccentric, and love to laugh, in fact i often laugh at the most inappropriate times. i place high value in honesty and working hard. i don’t really believe in faking it until you make it, without some base knowledge or some sort of depth to your cause. i believe in making mistakes and trying everything once as long as you bring yourself no harm and no harm to others. i am a new age hippy, my words to live by are freedom, serenity, and love. i look for signs of the world and listen. i do judge, anyone who says they do not is a liar, but i use my judgements against you to reflect back on me to see how i can better myself. i hate constraints of our society, including grammar, punctuation, and recipes. i think fast except when it comes to numbers. the culinary world has always been and shall be my safe haven and outlet. i want to inspire, teach, and learn.

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