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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Scraps Salad & Mom's Flowers

You can't help but embrace summer this week. It's the 4th of July and I don't know about your town but ours is covered in patriotic bunting, ice cream, and sandy kids. Also, my mom's flower garden is on fire. It's so full of color and bees I couldn't help but share it if only to remind us in February of what summer looks like.

I've noticed that we eat simplest in the heat, when nobody wants to cook, chop, or spend much time in the kitchen. I made this quick salad of summer leftovers for my mom and I. She needs to feed and rest her green thumb!

Here are my tips for building a delicious salad from leftovers...

Leafy Green Base: Arugula, Baby Lettuces, Spinach, Kale (I used a mix to eat up wilting leaves)

Cooked Vegetable: Grilled Corn, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, or Onions (I cut corn kernels from two leftover grilled cobs)

Raw Vegetable: Carrots, Peas, Cucumber, Tomato (I used raw peas from the garden)

Crunchy Nuts & Seeds: Sunflower, Raw Sesame, Walnuts, Almonds, Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds (I used sunflower seeds)

Crusty Bread: Tear up and toss in, it acts as a spongy crouton (I used Orange Peel Bakery bread)

Creamy Cheese: Goat, Feta, Mozzarella (I used tiny mozzarella balls, sliced in half)

I like to build a salad in small piles so you can estimate quantities as you go. Make sure to use a huge bowl, one larger then you'd think, so you can toss everything easily.

Uniform Size: Salad is easier to eat and get a mouthful of everything when it's chopped to the same size. I think it looks nice too.

Dressing: Keep it simple. The vegetables, nuts, cheese, and bread are the stars of the show. I suggest whisking an acid (lemon juice or your favorite vinegar) with olive oil, salt, and pepper to create a simple vinaigrette.

Here are a few of my sister's favorite summer salad recipes:

Beet Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
Heirloom Tomato, Fennel & Avocado Panzanella
Broccolini Salad with Tahini Dressing & Pine Nuts

Have a happy holiday whether celebrating under fireworks, in the mountains, or on a picnic blanket.

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