Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sublime Salads

Salad makes us happy. We scan all new menus for interesting combinations and, if we find one we like, we try to recreate it at home. When salads in restaurants fall short of our expectations, we instantly lower our opinion of the place and start discussing where the chef went wrong.

What image does the word salad conjure up to you? Is it a bowl of lettuce with the occasional slice of cucumber and wedge of tomato, with your choice of bottled ranch or heart stopping creamy blue cheese dressing? Does vinaigrette mean a bottle of oil and a bottle of vinegar placed on the table for you to pour on your greens, never to be blended or seasoned properly? If so, you've clearly not dined at our house!

The inside of our overly stuffed refrigerator is home to many condiments and various bits and bobs but you'll not find any bottled dressings. A basic vinaigrette is so simple to make and so much healthier than anything store bought. You prefer a creamy dressing, you say? So do we and it's but a minor tweak to the recipe. You like cheese, you say? We agree wholeheartedly. And, in fact, almost all of our salads include small amounts of cheese in one way or another. Love that sweet, tangy, honey mustard combination? An easy recipe adjustment. We honestly can't think of any bottled dressing that's hard to recreate.

Over the years we've developed, copied, practiced and finessed a few of our favorite combinations and we serve them often. They're as important a part of our meals as the entrees. Here then, are our top favorites with recipes to follow in the next few posts. There are variations to almost all of them depending on our mood, the season and the availability of ingredients. So, make them to your taste and let us know what you think. Were getting hungry already.

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