by Julie Badger Jensen
As summer ripens, take full advantage of the season’s splendor by serving sumptuous salads. Rich, red raspberries, sensational strawberries, and juicy blueberries burst with flavor and color. Melons in gorgeous shades of the rainbow, exotic papaya and mango . . . all in their prime . . . make for fabulous fruit platters. Served simply or with the addition of cheeses, sauces, or roasted nuts, salads add up to pure pleasure for the eye and pallet. An array of greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, cool cucumbers, garden peas, vegetables of every kind . . . all culinary treasures waiting to be served AROUND THE TABLE.
As temperatures climb with the abundance of sunshine, we look for a shady table, big caf umbrella and a cooling salad. As a main dish or accompaniment to a barbecue or picnic, a salad seems perfect . . . a great choice for a poolside lunch or twilight supper following a spirited game of tennis, volleyball, or golf. Summer, the season of brightness and beauty . . . those cherished days that disappear too quickly. Gather with those you love and celebrate the season . . . AROUND THE TABLE.
SUMMER’S BOUNTY SALAD PLATTER
Melons and berries at their best
Roasted almonds add crunch and flavor
1 small cantaloupe
1 small honeydew melon
1 / 2 watermelon
1 / 2 fresh pineapple
1 pint basket strawberries
1 head romaine lettuce
1 1 / 2 pounds small assorted cheese wedges (mild flavors)
such as havarti or monterey jack
2 cups whole natural almonds
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. honey
1 / 2 tsp. grated orange peel
1 / 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 / 2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. almond oil or butter (melted)
Spread almonds in a lightly oiled shallow pan. Toast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; cool. In small saucepan, blend soy sauce with honey. Stir in orange peel, garlic and ginger. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir in almonds; toss to coat evenly. Boil, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Toss with almond oil or butter and lightly salt.
Place almonds on cookie sheet in a single layer, separating almonds. Bake in center of oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Toss and separate every 5 minutes and cool. Store in tightly closed plastic bag when cool.
Cut cantaloupe and honeydew in half; remove seeds; cut into small wedges, removing peel. Cut watermelon and pineapple into wedges.
Separate romaine lettuce leaves and place on serving plates or large platter. Arrange fruit on top of leaves. Add wedges of cheese. Just before serving, pile seasoned almonds onto plate. Makes about eight servings.
FRUIT WITH RICOTTA AND PLUM SAUCE
Fabulous fruits, tart and tasty sauce
2 purple plums, quartered and pitted
1 / 2 cup water
1 / 4 – 1 / 2 cup sugar (to taste)
8 oz. fresh ricotta or cream cheese
1 Tbs. honey, plus more for drizzling
Mixed summer fruit, such as peaches, figs, strawberries, red and white cherries, blackberries, and blueberries
Fresh mint, for garnish
To make plum sauce, place plums in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Simmer until fruit has broken down and become mostly liquid, about 10 to 15 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor, and adjust sugar to taste. Let cool.
Place ricotta or cream cheese in a bowl and stir in honey. Drizzle more honey over surface of the cheese.
Wash and cut the fruit into serving-size pieces. Arrange on a platter and garnish with mint. Serve with the plum sauce and ricotta or cream cheese on the side.
LIME FRUIT DIP
Tangy and terrific
Serve with fresh fruits of your choice
2 eggs, beaten
1 / 3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 can (6 oz.) frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate
1 cup whipping cream, whipped or 1 cup cool whip
2 to 3 drops green food coloring
In top of double boiler, combine beaten eggs; add sugar, cornstarch and limeade or lemonade concentrate. Cook about 15 minutes until thickened, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring. Cool.
Add cool whip or whipped cream and fold into cooled limeade mixture. Serve with fresh fruit.
Note: This dip may be frozen. It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
Fantastic flavor, make a meal of it
4 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
4 cups cooked bow tie pasta
6 oz. poppyseed dressing (Briannas brand works well)
6 oz. raspberry dressing (Girards brand is excellent)
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 or 4 stalks celery, cut thin
1 or 2 cups sliced water chestnuts
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup red grapes
1 cup green grapes
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 / 2 cup craisins
Combine all ingredients except grapes, pecans and craisins. Marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Add grapes, pecans and craisins just before serving.
SEVEN LAYER SALAD
Crowd pleaser you can make-ahead
1 medium head of lettuce, shredded
8 oz. baby spinach
1 / 2 cup green onions, sliced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 cup (8 oz.) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1 pkg. frozen peas
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp. sugar
1 / 2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 / 4 tsp. garlic powder
3 eggs, hard cooked and grated
3 / 4 lb. bacon, fried
2 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges
Mix lettuce and spinach together in a 4-quart glass serving bowl. Layer green onions, celery, water chestnuts and uncooked peas. Spread mayonnaise over top. Mix sugar Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt and garlic powder together. Sprinkle over mayonnaise. Just before serving, sprinkle with grated eggs and bacon. Garnish with tomato wedges. Note: Can add a layer of shrimp or chicken to make a meal. Serves about 20.
CABBAGE CRUNCH SALAD
Crisp and crunchy, unique flavor
1 / 2 cup vegetable oil
1 /4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. vinegar
1 / 2 tsp. salt
1 / 2 head of cabbage, shredded
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
1 package ramen noodles, broken and uncooked
flavor package from ramen noodles
1 / 2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
red grapes, as desired
In a blender or food processor, combine vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and flavoring from ramen noodles. Pour over shredded cabbage. Add green onions and sesame seeds. Toss together. Add ramen noodles, almonds and red grapes just before serving.
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