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Culinary Discovery: Salad Days

by Gabriella True

Stop! Turn off your oven. Please, it is way too hot to be cooking anything in there. Only use your grill or your stovetop or you soon will be way too hot to do a thing, especially cook. Summer is the time to prepare and eat delicious salads. Salads are easy one-dish meals. Go ahead, be creative! Scour farmer's markets for fresh herbs and perfectly ripe vegetables.

Today for lunch I served egg salad with fresh dill, cucumber salad with sweet onions and melon ball salad. It was a perfect meal to eat al fresco on our deck and the best part was; I did not break a sweat standing over a hot stove! Many salads are so easy that one really needn't follow a recipe. But the recipes include herein are sure to wet your appetite on these lazy summer days. You can serve them all tossed together or if you are having guests over and would like a nice presentation, simply arrange everything neatly. You can also create a salad buffet by placing all the ingredients of the salads in separate bowls so your guests can take as much or as little of those ingredients as they please.

Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
"The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English country-house, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf. They lengthened slowly, however, and the scene expressed that sense of leisure still to come which is perhaps the chief source of one's enjoyment of such a scene at such an hour. From five o'clock to eight is on certain occasions a little eternity; but on such an occasion as this the interval could be only an eternity of pleasure."

The Ugly Duckling, Hans Christian Anderson
"It was so glorious out in the country; it was summer; the cornfields were yellow, the oats were green, the hay had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and the stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from his good mother."

A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
"The routine of our days had changed, and we were living outdoors. Getting dressed took thirty seconds. There were fresh figs and melons for breakfast, and errands were done early, before the warmth of the sun turned to heat in midmorning. The flagstones around the pool were hot to the touch, the water still cool enough to bring us up from the first dive with a gasp. We slipped into the habit of that sensible Mediterranean indulgence, the siesta."

Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
"At home, I plan a menu ahead, though I frequently improvise as I shop. Here, I only begin to think when I see what's ripe this week . . . Finally I caught on that what you buy today is ready-picked or dug this morning at its peak . . . As I unload my cloth sacks, the kitchen fills with the scents of sunny fruits and vegetables warmed in the care. Everyone coming home from market must feel compelled to arrange the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and enormous peppers into a still life in the nearest basket."

Consuming Passions, Michael Lee West
"You'll know it is time to harvest when the birds circle the vines and the air turns purple. Tie on a straw hat, one that belonged to your grandmother, and grab your child's red metal sand bucket. Then step into the garden. If you go early, you can see bumblebees diving into the clematis; but it is best to wait until midmorning, when the snakes are sunning on the rocks. Just to be careful, beat the weeds with a stick."

Recipes: Lemongrass Beef and Noodle Salad; Insalata Gorgonzola with Chicken; Lobster Salad, Poached Salmon with Corn Salsa; French Feta Salad; Tomato, Basil, Olive and Red Onion Salad; Greek Pasta Salad; Roast Beet Salad with Goat Cheese >>


©2003 Gabriella True for SeniorWomenWeb
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