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Archive for Wednesday, June 19, 1996

SALADS COOL WHEN HEAT SOARS

June 19, 1996

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When the day grows long and the temperature soars, it's easy to find reasons not to stay inside and cook. Besides, the summer appetite, which doesn't hanker for a full spread of main course and side dishes, can be very forgiving of a dilatory cook.

By the same token, this is exactly the time of year when skimping on meals seems most foolish. For all the activity we do outdoors in the heat, whether it's yard work or straight exercise, we deserve balanced meals.

The trick is to make our bodies want to eat them on a regular basis when hot food holds little attraction.

It's easy to dress up lettuce with a full complement of vegetables and the protein afforded by beans, cheese, tofu or a hard-boiled egg.

So many of us now create our summertime menus under the sneeze guard with plastic tongs that it's hard to remember sustainable life before salad bars. (While I often have nostalgic pangs for the comfort food of my youth, that standard of the early '60s, the iceberg lettuce wedge adorned with a glob of Hellman's mayonnaise, doesn't qualify.)

Along about this time of June every year, my fascination with lettuce-based meals suffers from familiarity. This is when I start looking for engaging alternatives. The criteria: It must be served cold and it must be relatively easy to prepare.

Happily, the '90s American diet includes a variety of salad options that have nothing to do with lettuce.

Take the basic pasta salad, for instance. Improvisation flows easily from cooked pasta and a vinaigrette. Add tomato, green onions and other offerings from the garden or crisper drawer. Round it out with shredded cheese or grated Parmesan and chunks of chicken, ham or tuna.

For as simple as cold salads can be, they also can approach elegance, particularly if attention is given to their presentation.

Because it's light and serves so well cold, chicken is my favorite meat for a summer salad. I found these two recipes in ``Women of Great Taste,'' the Wichita Junior League cookbook.

Carmen Miranda Chicken Salad

5 cups cooked, diced chicken

2 cups cooked wild rice

1ng about this time of June every year, my fascination with lettuce-based meals suffers from familiarity. This is when I start looking for engaging alternatives. The criteria: It must be served cold and it must be relatively easy to prepare.

Happily, the '90s American diet includes a variety of salad options that have nothing to do with lettuce.

Take the basic pasta salad, for instance. Improvisation flows easily from cooked pasta and a vinaigrette. Add tomato, green onions and other offerings from the garden or crisper drawer. Round it out with shredded cheese or grated Parmesan and chunks of chicken, ham or tuna.

For as simple as cold salads can be, they also can approach elegance, particularly if attention is given to their presentation.

Because it's light and serves so well cold, chicken is up sliced red bell pepper

3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

1`Women of Great Taste,'' the Wichita Junior League cookbook.

Carmen Miranda Chicken Salad

5 cups cooked, diced chicken

2 cups cooked wild rice

1ng about this time of June every year, my fascination with lettuce-based meals suffers from familiarity. This is when I start looking for engaging alternatives. The criteria: It must be served cold and it must be relatively easy to prepare.

Happily, the '90s American diet includes a variety of salad options that have nothing to do with lettuce.

Take the basic pasta salad, for instance. Improvisation flows easily from cooked pasta and a vinaigrette. Add tomato, green onions and other offerings from the garden or crisper drawer. Round it out with shredded cheese or grated Parmesan and chunks of chicken, ham or tuna.

For as simple as cold salads can be, they also can approach elegance, particularly if attention is given to their presentation.

Because it's light and serves so well cold, chicken is

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