This weekend I spent some time with my girlfriends and, as usual, the topic turned to food.
Several of us began talking about different types of salads and reminisced about “wilted salad” and compared how our mothers used to make it for us.
I can remember that this was always the first salad made with the leaf lettuce we grew in our garden. We would pick the first and tiniest leaves knowing that this would be the best that would be produced. After cleaning, the leaves would be placed in a bowl along with green onion (again fresh from the garden) and chopped hard boiled eggs.
The dressing was made just before the salad was served as it was a hot dressing and once placed on the salad should be eaten immediately. Oh, what a treat.
Most of us think of a salad as a lunch or dinner alternative that you eat thinking it well help you cut that excess fat in your diet. We now know that many of the salads that we think are low-calorie actually are full of fat because of the salad dressings.
There are many fat-free dressings available, but you don’t find many of them in restaurants or available at salad bars.
When hunting for a salad dressing, make sure you check the sugar level as well as fat content because many have high sugar content. For me, a salad is still a better alternative to fast food even when I add the high-fat dressings because at least I am getting fiber and vitamins from the veggies.
These green salads are great, but sometimes we just want something different. Today, as an alternative, I am going to pass on recipes for different types of salads and dressings that I am sure you and your family will enjoy. They are not necessarily low-calorie — but they sure are good!
BROCCOLI AND ORANGE SALAD
A really good alternative way to serve your family broccoli! A little extra work but worth every minute of its preparation time.
4 cup broccoli (use only flower part, cut in small pieces)
6 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
2 cans drained mandarin oranges
½ medium red onion, chopped
Mix together in a large salad bowl. Pour on dressing and mix well. Chill for 1-2 hours.
1 ½ teaspoon corn starch
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard or ½ teaspoon table mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (beaten)
¼ cup water
3 tablespoon butter
½ cup mayonnaise
In small non-stick saucepan, mix corn starch, sugar and mustard then gradually add vinegar. Stir in beaten eggs until smooth and then stir in water. Place over medium heat and cook until mixture thickens and starts to boil (stirring constantly). Remove from heat and stir in butter and mayonnaise until smooth and creamy. Cool
This oriental flavored salad is a great alternative to lettuce with its wonderful dressing along with the added crunch.
1 stick butter
2 pkgs. Ramen noodles (without season package)
1 large tin sesame seeds
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 medium-large head of Napa Cabbage (sold at most supermarkets)
1 red onion, thinly sliced and then halved
1 ½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup sugar
½ cup vinegar
1 cup oil
Prepare dressing early in day by combining soy sauce, sugar and vinegar in blender and blend for 2 minutes. Slowly add oil and blend additional 3 minutes. Chill completely (shake before using). One or two hours before serving, melt butter in large skillet. Add noodles broken in small pieces, sesame seeds and almonds. Cook until golden brown stirring often (watch as they brown quickly). Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Cool. Slice cabbage in fine slices and mix with onion. When ready to serve, add noodle topping and ½ of dressing. Add more dressing if needed. Serve immediately (NOTE: This salad does not keep well so if you need a small amount place half of cabbage and onion in a Ziploc bag and half of noodle mixture in a separate bag for later use.)
CELERY SEED DRESSING
My favorite salad dressing. This is the house dressing used by The Golden Lamb, a historic restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio.
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon onion
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cup oil
1 tablespoon celery seeds
In small saucepan, combine sugar, mustard, salt and vinegar. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring occasional. Cool until lukewarm. Place onion and lemon juice in blender and blend until onion is finely pureed. Add vinegar mixture and blend for 5 minutes. With blender running, slowly add oil. Blend for 10 minutes. Add celery seed and blend for 10-15 seconds. Place in jar with lid and refrigerate. Makes about 1 pint. NOTE: Poppy seeds can be substituted for celery seed. For a bolder flavor, use balsamic vinegar!
Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column “Welcome to My Kitchen” out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.