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Summer Salad Ideas for Outdoor Potluck


Beth Wilson
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Our community is having an outdoor potluck in late July and I always like to attend the community events so, I plan to go.

My concern is it will be outside under a covered pavilion and I usually bring salads that contain mayo or creamy dressings in them. With the heat of the day I think anything dairy or meat is not a good idea. Anything else I should avoid?

I was thinking of taking 2 salads with me and I need some inspirations.

The first one will be your basic tossed salad with local lettuce, tomatoes and whatever else I can come up with at the time but I am not coming up with anything for the second dish.

I have lots of time so I thought I would ask for some inspiring ideas. Any suggestions?

Beth

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Our community is having an outdoor potluck in late July and I always like to attend the community events so, I plan to go.

My concern is it will be outside under a covered pavilion and I usually bring salads that contain mayo or creamy dressings in them.  With the heat of the day I think anything dairy or meat is not a good idea.  Anything else I should avoid?

I was thinking of taking 2 salads with me and I need some inspirations.

The first one will be your basic tossed salad with local lettuce, tomatoes and whatever else I can come up with at the time but I am not coming up with anything for the second dish.

I have lots of time so I thought I would ask for some inspiring ideas.  Any suggestions?

Beth

Thai Papaya Salad is my go-to for summer picnic salads. It holds up well.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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You can sub shredded cabbage, cucumber, daikon, jicama, green mango, carrot, or any crisp vegetable/fruit. Shredded bagged cabbage mix (eg for coleslaw) will work well...the dish becomes a Thai-style coleslaw.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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At an outdoor dinner recently, someone brought cold sesame noodles with lots of snow peas, bell peppers, carrots and scallions. It was wonderful- and very attractive, especially since it was topped with toasted white and black sesame seeds......

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We're having a rustic family-style antipasto lunch tomorrow. The menu is great and took almost a week to put together. One of the things that might work for you (and it's fun) -- a skewered caprese calad. Use those little sword-like cocktail skewers and then skewer a cherry or grape tomato, basil leaf, little mozzarella ball, another basil leaf, and then cap off with another tomato. You can put them in a large serving tray and then pour a vinaigrette over all to marinate. Fun stuff.

Another thing on the menu is melon and prosciutto, but some people don't like meat. For the meatless ones, skewer the melon chunks and stick a red grape on the end.

Good luck.

Rhonda

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Remember that mayo actually inhibits bacterial growth and dishes made with it stay safe to eat longer than those without it. Meats that have not been handled safely are more dangerous than commercial mayo:

http://www.dressings-sauces.org/Mayonnaise_Dressings.html

That said, you could also make: tabouli, cous-cous salad, stuffed grape leaves, vegetable sushi cake, curried rice salad, fruit salad, Bengali Rasgulla, and well, tons of dessert items.

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Black-eyed pea or white bean salad. 2 cans of beans, rinsed, red onion diced to match bean size, celery ditto, roasted red bell peppers ditto, plus whet ever else you like (carrots, green pepper, parsley, basil, grated cheese(?), etc.) Top with a good vinagarette and let marinate for a while. Easy peasy!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I've been enjoying watermelon salads lately. Cubed watermelon, a little black pepper, lemon or lime juice, fresh mint, thinly sliced red onion, feta cheese, on a bed of arugula or not.

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What's a vegetable sushi cake?

In a past issue of Gourmet, thinly sliced zucchini topped with olive oil, s&p, drizzled with lemon juice and parm cheese was suggested as a salad that tasted as good either cold or after sitting out a while. I served this yesterday over baby lettuces-so easy but got raves.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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Remember that mayo actually inhibits bacterial growth and dishes made with it stay safe to eat longer than those without it. Meats that have not been handled safely are more dangerous than commercial mayo:

http://www.dressings-sauces.org/Mayonnaise_Dressings.html

And remember that while mayonnaise itself is acidic enough to inhibit bacterial growth, once you mix it with other foods, the ability to do so lessens. To say that "dishes made with [mayo] stay safe to eat longer than those without it" is not quite accurate. It depends on the other ingredients as well as how those ingredients are prepared.

To be safe, if you really want a salad with a mayonnaise-based dressing, add the dressing at the last minute and if the salad will sit out for a while, keep it on ice or cool-packs if you can.

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A sushi cake is sushi ingredients pressed into a cake pan in an attractive manner. It's usually seen in Japanese home cooking. I have forgotten the correct term for the category it falls into.

There's a picture of one on the cover of 'Sushi Making At Home' by Yasuko Kamimura. That photo shows shrimp on top, but it could be anything -even furikake or the tiny nori strips that look like confetti.

It's a lot like sushi made in a wooden mold. You lay down layers in an attractive manner (thinly sliced, or grated, easy to cut things) inside a cake pan or springform pan, then place a plate on top and weight it down for an hour or so, or more, under refrigeration. (spraying the mold with non-stick spray may help, it's not always needed, but if I were under pressure to get it right, I'd use it) You then unmold, present to oohs & ahs, then slice it like a cake. It usually has three layers of rice, often colored by the addition of grated veggies (raw carrot is very colorful & tasty) or tiny beads of lightly sugared scrambled eggs.

The cake in that photo had the cucumber sides added after it was unmolded. The cucumbers were sliced with a peeler. The tie is a pickle of kanpyou gourd. You can find it both dried and pickled at a Japanese market.

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This is a great salad, and holds up well. I've recommended it to lots of people, and they've all loved it. (I usually chill this about 4-5 hours. If chilling overnight, omit the green peas and add them a few hours before serving - otherwise, they lose color. Also, I strain out the crushed garlic before adding the dresssing):

CURRIED COUSCOUS SALAD WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefi...ecipe_id=226616

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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I like surprising with something unexpected. My standard in a situation like this is a gazpacho, kept cold in thermoses, easily served in small plastic glasses with plastic spoons.

In the same vein, Mexican shrimp cocktails are kind of like a gazpacho, only spicier and with shrimp.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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In the same vein, Mexican shrimp cocktails are kind of like a gazpacho, only spicier and with shrimp.

That is a great idea! Gourmet has a recipe for Mexican Seafood Cocktail that is really good.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/vie...Cocktail-231992

Rhonda

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If sweet appeals to you, I had a fruit salsa yesterday that knocked my socks off. She served it with cinnamon pita chips. It had strawberries, raspberries, diced apples, and a bunch of other fruits, flavored with lime juice and blackberry jam. I didn't ask for the recipe, but I'm sure there's a thousand out there.

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That looks good.  If green papayas aren't available do you have a substitution idea? 

I am not sure I have ever seen a green papaya here in Northern Ontario. 

But I have lots of time to look.

B

A semi ripe mango will work great - you want it on the hard side, but not rock hard. Julienne it and dress it. Fantastic!

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Just got back from the grocery store, happy to see that mango's are now available here. Seems the local grocery store is getting adventurous with the selection on the fruit isle.

Will have to try that recipe out then!

Beth

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Tomato season is here. A tomato salad will also be wonderful and easy. Thin slices of different color tomato top with torned basil leaves dressed with Balsamic Vinegrette and top with shaved Parma cheese.

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That vegetable sushi cake looks fantastic! I can see how this would stand out among other sides. Thanks for the info.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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I make this Asian style coleslaw often and it's always a hit -- it actually won a prize at one potluck. Also, if you're a beet fan, you might consider a beet salad -- sliced beets in a vinaigrette with mint and feta cheese is different and beautiful, and beets and oranges also go well together in a salad. I also make a Southwestern style salad with julienned jicama, red bell pepper, red onion, orange and avocado slices with a lime/orange/chipotle dressing.

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I think I'm very old fashioned when it comes to salads.

I really like puy lentil salads with a mustard dressing (a great meal in itself, especially if served with salami and bread but excellent on its own).

Tomato salads are great in the summer especially with a ton of fresh herbs (I like a mix of oregano, thyme and parsley).

Not exactly a salad but a close relative: steamed veggies in vinaigrette; leeks, fennel bulbs and carrots are great.

A classic celery root remoulade brings a nice crunch to a meal and so is a well made coleslaw.

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My favorite salad these days has been a golden beet salad with shaved red onion and fennel bulb in a light vinegarette dressing. Golden beets are still at our Farmer's market and they are wonderful. I just steam them in their skins, then peel them and slice about 1/4 inch thick. Very nice at room temp for a picnic.

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

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