The days of summer are delightful! Days of golden light, especially in the evening around 8 p.m. as the day begins to cool. The sunset brings forth the warm, mellow lemon-ripe glow that touches harvest-sown fields and the fruits and vegetables of our gardens. Glancing west on Third Street in Rugby where some trees still reside on the boulevard, it looks like a glorious movie set - incomparable and so enchanting. It is this light that helps to bring forth many of our garden fares.
As our gardens yield fresh vegetables in abundance and we crave cooling fare, we find that we can celebrate summer with refreshing salads and other light offerings. If you have not made your own salad dressing, I would encourage you to do so. They are often easy to prepare and healthier in content than purchased store dressings, since homemade dressings have less sodium and also less fat. Also not to be overlooked is that fact that homemade dressings have a superb taste, which adds a delightful piquancy to our summer salads.
Making homemade mayonnaise gives us the chance to test and try olive oil. There are many different brands and flavors on the shelves in the grocery store. Olive oil does not taste like cooking oil such as corn oil. However, its robust flavor, zeal and nutrition is worth your acquaintance! In my years of making homemade salad dressings, I have learned that some are better with cooking oils while others better blend better with olive oil. So experiment and see what creates a "hallelujah" on your taste buds.
The activities and joys of summer demand that we scatter our energy if we want to savor a full summer gala. By using summer's salads, we can spend less time in the kitchen and yet still enjoy a very satisfying mealtime. Here are some summer salad recipes and dressings that easily go arm-in-arm with busy schedules.
Wedding Present Slaw
While taking a photography class in Mount Carroll, Ill., I found this recipe. The lady who catered our noon lunch shared that the recipe received its name because if it is done correctly, the cabbage and apples will be bathing in beauty - as white as a pristine wedding dress. This is coleslaw you can't just simply toss together.
As many of you know, anything that has to do with weddings is a high delight for Lydia. Recently I shared with her that we should consider the unpeeled red apples as the bridesmaids. That brought a great smile to her face. She did mention that she would prefer that the bridesmaids were well-appointed in very fashionable teal dresses! When made with the fresh cabbage of summer, this slaw is remarkable.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup crisp unpeeled red apple, finely chopped
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
1 ice cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salad dressing
Salt and pepper
Mix apple cider vinegar and granulated sugar. Salt and pepper to your taste. Combine red apple with cabbage, cover with vinegar mixture, add six ice cubes and refrigerate for six hours.
Shortly before serving, whip and salt heavy cream, adding prepared mustard and salad dressing. When ready to serve, squeeze cabbage mixture, one handful at a time, until it is entirely free of vinegar juice. Then just before serving, add whipped cream mixture to cabbage. This is important - one tablespoon at a time - until reaching a nice slaw consistency, but not "sloppy" as if cream were added all at once.
Tangy Greek Dressing
This is slightly thicker than basic French dressing, but it's delicious with heavier salads such as vegetables or dark greens, cooked or uncooked cauliflower or broccoli flowerets, radishes, squash slices, cooked string beans, and other leftover vegetables. This dressing is glorious and victoriously rich in coral color. Be assured the vegetables that are dressed in this deep pinkish orange cloak say, "Oh, draw near us - please."
1 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried
2 1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. This makes 1 quart.
It is said that oil and water do not mix, but oil and vinegar definitely do! Here is a blender recipe that is easy as walking.
Place one egg, 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper in the container of a blender and turn the motor on high. Add in a thin steady stream of 1 cup olive oil. Turn off motor as soon as all oil has been added and the mixture is thickened. Makes 1 1/4 cups.
Thousand Island dressing
To 1 cup mayonnaise, add 2 tablespoons chili sauce, 1 tablespoon finely chopped green pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon each of chopped pimiento and chives. Thin the sauce with a little light cream if desired.
Best French Dressing
This dressing recipe came from my Mom. She made it repeatedly in our home. It tastes great and keeps for a long time. It is as fair as the meadows of summer.
1 quart salad dressing
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup catsup
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 sweet paprika
1/4 scant cup prepared mustard
Dash of pepper
Mix all together and store in a unique jar.