Looking for cool refreshing meals for this summer heat? Salads are a great way to keep your kitchen from heating up. We always want lighter fare during the summer. Sometimes it’s just too hot to eat, but we must to guard against hunger. There are so many great greens in our markets today. Mix it up. Remember the greener the greens or more colorful, the more nutritious they are. Add all sorts of veggies, whatever you like, such as the normal — cucumber, tomato, and onion — but don’t stop there. Add broccoli, cauliflower, raw squash, and/or mushrooms. Fruit is another great addition to what I call a meal salad. Also, don’t forget the protein. (A great suggestion is a rotisserie chicken from the market.)
Here are a few hints for a cool kitchen. While at the market, get a rotisserie chicken, which is great to have on hand. You can make an old fashioned chicken salad with celery, onion and mayonnaise or chop/slice chicken and top your salad. Over at the seafood section of most grocery stores, they will steam shrimp or other seafood to top your salad. That is a great short cut. I can find many ways in the summer to keep me out of a hot kitchen. Nuts are also a great source of protein.
If you want to keep it healthy and light, be careful. All the raw greens and veggies are great, but when you start adding the protein and dressing, that is when you can over do it.
Try a good balsamic vinegar, not even oil. It’s delicious! Add a little extra virgin oil and a little seasoning if you like. We’ve been talking about grilling a lot lately. While your grill is hot, roast some vegetables (like pepper, squash and zucchini, eggplant, onion) and top a salad with those. It gives you different textures and a whole different taste. Roasted vegetables also make a good sandwich, on a good grainy bread. Try this fruity Raspberry Vinaigrette.
• 3 tablespoons Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
• One half teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon honey
• One quarter cup olive oil
• Handful of fresh raspberries
• Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together. The berries will break up. Add fresh raspberries to salad with greens and sliced almonds. Top with dressing. Yum!
Hope you enjoy these salad ideas. May God bless you with many cool meals.
Elaine Barrett, along with husband, Rick, owns and operates The Flower Gazebo on Washington St., in downtown Albany and is part of a family of excellent southern cooks. She recently she has written and published a cookbook, “In the Kitchen with Elaine”.