Weeknight Entertaining - More Summer Salads|
by Linda Larsen
Linda follows up her popular Summer Salad Buffet feature with another article about Summer Salads in her Weeknight Entertaining Column. Enjoy her recipes for Curried Shrimp Salad, Seven Layer Salad, Pesto Potato Salad, and Chicken and Artichoke Salad.
Now it's hot. The kind of hot that forces you to sit still, preferably under a ceiling fan, sipping a cold drink. You can almost hear the garden growing. Everyone slows down. It's so hot you don't want to cook - not for anybody! But you have your boss coming for dinner Thursday. What do you do?
Serve summer salads. These great recipes, added to the others in the Recipe Box, give you almost unlimited choices for an easy, cool meal. Unfortunately, they do involve cooking with heat. My solution? I love to get up in the middle of the night and make these salads. I'm talking 2 or 3 AM, when it's totally quiet, the temperature is down, and you have the whole world to yourself. I can have the door to my screened porch open, and I listen to the crickets and the rustling and chirping of the raccoons drinking from our pond. There's something so soothing about being awake and cooking when the rest of the world is asleep. And the bonus you get is pulling complete, flavorful salads from the fridge when the sun is up and it's steamy again. Dinner is made, you have stayed fresh, calm and cool, and your guests can enjoy a great meal. Everyone will wonder how you did it!
Since I wrote my first column for this great website, I learned a trick about these cold salads. To lower the fat and calorie count even more, substitute plain yogurt for part of the full-fat mayo. I would rather use yogurt than the no-fat mayos. The salads take on a flavor and tang that is really refreshing. The texture seems to improve too.
For heaven's sake, make it easy on yourself and streamline the menu. If you have two of these salads ready, all you need to add are cold drinks and some ice cream for dessert (as a matter of fact, make it even easier and serve ice cream bars for dessert!) When it's hot everyone's appetite decreases. Set a pretty table, put on a cool, floaty dress, play great music, and enjoy your company.
The RecipesCurried Shrimp SaladSeven Layer SaladPesto Potato SaladChicken and Artichoke Salad
Next week...Elegant Sandwiches.
Linda Larsen is a freelance Home Economist with a degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota and a degree from St. Olaf College. She has been on the Pillsbury Bake-Off staff since 1987, and was in charge of Internet Recipe Search in 2000. Linda has developed recipes for Pillsbury and Malt-O-Meal, presented food to taste panels, held cooking seminars, and owned her own catering business "The Perfect Occasion". She loves to cook and entertain, write about food, talk about it, plan parties, read cookbooks and develop recipes. She has a cookbook collection of at least 1000 books and reads them as though they were novels.
Linda's first meal was a Mother's Day dinner from the Betty Crocker Children's cookbook, prepared when she was 11. Since then she has hosted wedding and baby showers, birthday parties, business dinners and cocktail parties, and wonderful simple meals for friends. Join her and learn simple and elegant ways to entertain your family and friends during the week.
Linda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.