Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Salads

Fall isn't what it used to be. By now, the days would have had a definite nip to them. It would have meant hot meals and hot drinks. Not anymore. Thanks to global warming - and yes, it does exist -s we're having summery weather and balmy breezes right up to November.How to survive? Adopt a summer menu. Eat salads - fall salads.

Tossing together greens and veggies many be a tricky aspect right now. After all,  it's not the height of  summer when there are daily harvests. The tomatoes are riper and have that glow  only a summer sun can give. Vegetable choices are limited. There aren't any fresh ears of corn or bright colorful peppers. What to do? Work with what the stores do have. Yes, there are tomatoes. They're just  not going to be the gems of two months ago. Canned tomatoes can be used in salads but they may be a bit juicy, depending on what brand is used. Luckily California can give us greens all year round. You still can make a lovely mixed greens salad using tomatoes and spinach or arugula. Canned veggies are never as good as fresh but they'll do. Add some canned corn along with sweet peas for some color and texture. Beet salad is always delicious  and the canned kind can be elevated by adding freshly sliced onions. It's a nice addition to even a fall picnic or tailgating party. A  chilled green bean salad is another refreshing side , especially when it's dressed with a crisp , classic vinaigrette. Even canned asparagus can be turned into a salad. Use a citrus based dressing to give it some dash.

What about combining fall fruits and vegetables?. The first is easy to do. Apples , pears and Concord grapes blend very easily into salads. One of the most delicious is a Waldorf salad. It is a blend of chopped apples, grapes and walnuts.Celery is the base of it and this can be bought all year round. It is versatile, Add chicken to it and it's a lunch or dinner. Without it , it makes a nice side to grilled chicken or even  turkey burgers.Apples also pair well with spinach and kale, Combine them in a salad with walnuts and dried cranberries. Pears are also popular right now. A delicious one is where slices are mixed with Roquefort cheese and any kind of lettuce. Be sure to use three kinds of pear,  the sweet, large Anjou, the brown, textured Bosc and the bright yellow tart tasting Bartlett. One spin on it calls for avocado ,or the alligator pear but this can be omitted.The salad is  served with a mustard dressing. Grapes can be added to any salad, They bring an earthy sweetness that goes with any green. Fall veggies are kind of limited however there is a lot to do with carrots and cabbage. These can be the stars of a salad or  supporting players. A chilled carrot salad is a nice palate cleanser at a tailgate party. A vinaigrette dressed slaw is perfect at any fall barbecue or picnic.Add some sesame seeds for crunch and flavor.

Fall isn't what it used to be.We still have shorts and flipflop weather til Halloween. Hot days mean easy eating. Create a fall salad, head to the beach or the park and enjoy a summery October.

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