Salad and Dressings Tips

Salad and Dressings Tips

The hot, smoggy and humid October's weather could be a real lethargic factor for some people. Nothing beats the frenzy of spending a relaxed evening preparing cool salad for early dinner. Eating the same thing day in, day out can be quite drudging to say the least. Not to mention the lost tie running in and out of the kitchen to see if the pasta is perfectly al dente or not. Cooking does not have to be a monotonous activity.

Salads contain all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace nutrients and invigorating bitterness that your body needs. Another attribute is a delightful sequence of differently flavored bites: chewing through the plate becomes a thrilling sensory experience. One mouthful may be mainly onion, the next biting, crunching radish, then hot sage or cool corn salad. The rich mélange of leaf colors, sizes and textures is reflected in the flavors.

Salads are food, not just leaves to decorate the roasted chicken. Salads can be spoilt if you put too much dressing on it. The dressing's role is to highlight not to overpower the salad ingredients. Salads aid digestion, provide fiber and diversity in both taste and texture. There is a large range of interesting salad leaves and herbs no offer - as well as sorrel, mint or round lettuce - you can now find Japanese mizuna and Italian rucola. Allow your imagination to run wild with endless possibilities of main course salads.

When out for grocery shopping, wilted salads or those with brown stems should be rejected. A salad must look vibrant and free of any brown spots or cracks. Remember that all lettuces and salad leaves should be eaten as fresh as possible, no longer than 48 hours after their date of purchase. The best way to store lettuces is to remove the root, but otherwise leave them whole and enclose them in a polythene bag in the lowest part of the refrigerator. Washing should be avoided as once the leaves are wet it is difficult to dry them again and you simply cannot get dressing on to wet salad leaves. Alternatively, use a damp piece of kitchen paper and wipe each leaf - this way the leaves remain dry and can easily be coated with dressing.

If you insist on washing your salad leaves, plunge them briefly into cold water and place them in a salad basket. You could either hang them up after a good shaking or else swing the basket round and round outdoors. Finish off by drying the leaves carefully with kitchen paper.

Salads need not have to be oozing in fat and and calories to be delicious. Basic oil-and-vinegar mixture can create tasty and healthy dressing for any salad. Yes, you have heard of the benefits of a Spanish, Greek or Italian diet. It is widely agreed that olive oil plays a part in helping to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the few oils that do not require chemical processing. It retains more natural minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and is therefore much better, than other oils such as animal fats.

If you like to make your own flavored oils, gently heat a quantity of olive oil and add chopped chives or basil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to cool. Blend using a food processor then strain through a fine mesh sieve and store for 3-4 days in a corked bottle to let the flavors develop. For spicy chili oil, gently heat olive oil, several finely chopped fresh chilies, a bay leaf and an unpeeled garlic clove. Let cool then strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in a bottle.

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