Friday, July 16, 2010

Keep the Kitchen cool – Make a Salad

Hot weather has pretty much engulfed most of the country this week. The heat has put any oven related meals to the wayside until temperatures cool down to more reasonable levels. It seems unrealistic to even consider preparing roasts (svickova included!) when such oven use when run counterproductive to running the AC 24/7. Anyhow, the method of cooking in such extreme heat is simple, go with the salad movement.

How much salad can one possibly eat during the week? Good question. Mix it up. Initial thought of salad includes working with such starters as mescalin greens, romaine, or leaf. I try and stay away from iceberg as it has zero nutritional value. Once the green foundation is laid down, the sky is the limit when one can add protein (meat, egg, or beans), cheese, and veggies. Keep the salads line moving throughout the week by having one of these every few days and topping with different proteins as well as different binders whether they are vinaigrettes or mayo based dressings.

Skipping the Greens

Lettuce laden salads have you feeling like you are eating rabbit food? Go with heavier hitters such as chicken or tuna based salads that are held together with mayo. I like to purchase the freshly baked chicken at the local Meijer or Jewel and shred half of it up for chicken salad that includes celery, mayo, pecans, apples, and a little dill. The alternative to a store bought ready made chicken is to cook a chicken breast on the outdoor grill.

Tuna salad also goes over well when stuffed inside a large garden ready beefsteak tomato or on a fresh croissant. I generally like to eat tuna in moderation and less frequently due to the questionable quality of tuna that has been sold within the past year or so. It seems as though every other tin of tuna I purchase (regardless of brand) has a mushy quality. It was not long ago one could still expect a hearty flaky chunked tuna regardless if it was immersed in a pool of oil or water. Please bring the good tuna back!

Pasta Salads are not just a side dish

There is no law written that pasta salads are only a side. I will usually be blessed with an excess pasta salad leftover from weekend picnics that get brought to work on the following Monday. The salads occasionally taste better as a leftover since they have had a chance to marinate longer. These situations will occasionally call for me to take some of that excess grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie and shred and mix in the salad. Also revive with some fresh Italian dressing and herbs if necessary.

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