Perking Up A Boring and Dull Salad

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kaneohegirlinaz, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    In the Pro Chef Forum, there’s a thread that I have been chomping at the bit to weigh in on, but sadly, I am not a Professional.

    As a Home Cook, I need to come up with something different everyday. 

    The same-ole-same-ole doesn’t cut it!

    I also need to watch the bottom line, COST. 

    Some items that I utilize for a salad at home to keep them intersting are:
    • Fresh snipped herbs/dried works too
    • Roasted Vegetables
    • Veggies that are a little different, ie Persian Cucumbers, baby Heirloom Tomatoes I found yesterday at Trader Joe’s, beautiful!
    • Different seeds or nuts, like spiced-up pumpkins seeds, yum!
    Just a few thoughts from home …
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    At the top of my head....and in no particular order:

    • Cubes of Gruyère or Cheddar, or little pieces of smoked provolone. 

    • Crumbled feta cheese

    • Melted goat cheese on toast

    • Walnuts, toasted pine nuts, roasted crumbled peanuts

    • Olives

    • Capers

    • Cornichons

    • Canned tuna

    • Soft boiled or poached eggs

    • Minced shallots steeped in vinegar

    • Fried shallots, fried garlic (for a Vietnamese touch)

    • Freshly fried, still hot bacon cubes (not flat stale cold bacon bits)

    • Dried fruits (raisins, cranberries)

    • Croutons
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    The trick is making it unique to your establishment and also making it so 95% of your customers like it.
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Texture is very important.  I don't like cheese in my salads, but I know my hubby does so we make separate salads. 

    - A few herbs do the trick fast to perk it up. 

    - I love the texture of avocado in my salad. 

    - I like to pan roast almonds with salt/pepper and sugar too. 

    - mix in a half tsp of jam (raspberry or strawberry for me!) in your dressing

    - a handful of peas or corn (defrosted)

    - roasted colorful peppers

    - Add relish or chutney to the dressing.

    Even an everyday leafy salad can become exciting if you perk up the dressing:

    - mix in a half tsp of jam (raspberry or strawberry or raspberry for me!)

    - add some dill relish

    - roasted garlic

    - a spoonful of chutney

    - roasted citrus (if I'm making a roast I sometimes add a halved lemon or orange to the roasting pan flesh side down and then squeeze the roasted juice into my vinegraitte)
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah I think a unique dressing is important.  A house salad deserves a house dressing.
     
  6. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Fresh Homemade Green Goddess Dressing, oh my!

    NO ICEBERG LETTUCE!! 

    (unless of course your serving a old fashion wedge salad, then bring it on with not too much blue cheese dressing, loads of Blue Cheese&Bacon lardoons)
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    pomegranate molasses is a good dressing addition.

    I'm a fan of combining chinese black vinegar and a commercial grade balsamic (not a fancy one) in a vinaigrette. Takes it in a new direction that most won't recognize. My wife is a big fan of this particular vinaigrette with pomegranate seeds in the salad.

    I like nuoc cham as a salad dressing and it uses no oil at all, though it's certainly asian in flavor.  http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/basic-vietnamese-dipping-sauce-nuoc-cham.html is a fairly traditional approach to the sauce. I often shortcut it by using a thai sweet chili sauce instead of the sugar and chilis.
     
  8. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Tonight's dinner is going to be a entrée salad.

    As I poke around in the 'fridge, this topic comes to my mind.

    I think that I'll do a play on an antipasti type of salad:

    salami, cheese, olives, anchovies, and of course the lettuces, tomatoes, onions, some English cucumbers, radishes, with a simply vinaigrette

    All in a really big bowl
     
  9. berndy

    berndy

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    For me , a dinner salad should always include hard boiled egg ?
     
  10. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

    Yup!

    When I make a Chef Salad, always hard cooked eggs, sliced ham, turkey or chicken, cheese, bacon (avocado for me, not mister k~girl though) YUM!!!

    Basically, we kinda' like salads with loads of goodies, everything but the kitchen sink!  I would have to say we have an entree salad maybe every ten days or so.

    My husband doesn't order a salad out to much any more, he likes my food best    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/blushing.gif      But then we don't go out to eat much anymore.
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    How did it turn out?  It sounds a little salty with those first 4 ingredients. 
     
  12. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    It was Delish!

    Miss KK, I don't add any salt to the salad itself, and the meat, cheese, olives and anchovies

    (skipped the anchovies in my salad) are in small portions mixed through with a light hand on the dressing. 

    Loads of herbs and fresh ground black pepper. 

    I like to use leftovers like maybe BBQ chicken or steak, what have you,

    and make a big salad in a Chinese bowl we brought with us that is used to serve dishes in. 

    It's a goodly size portion of veg and a smidge of proteins.

    This makes for a nice light-ish supper, sometimes we'll have bread along side, but not often.
     
  13. thegeezer3

    thegeezer3

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    I think a great way to perk up a salad is to try and introduce a fruit. I had so many salads in barcelona that beautifully balanced fruit, meats and cheeses and nuts with rocket and other salad leaves. 

    Since oranges and apples are knocking around a few flavor pairings for you to try and use these fruit with in salads are

    Orange pairings

    Bacon

    Cheddar

    Asparagus

    Carrot

    Olive

    Walnut

    Almond

    Lemon

    Lime

    Coriander Leaf

    Thyme

    Rosemary

    Basil

    Mint 

    Apple pairings

    Bacon

    Brussels Sprout

    Cheddar

    Hazlenut

    Honey

    Miso

    Pistachio

    Walnut

    Almond

    Beetroot

    Cabbage

    Carrot

    Celery

    Chestnut

    Clove

    Crab

    Horseradish

    Nutmeg

    Orange

    Pear

    Pork

    Sage

    Squash / Pumpkin

    Vanilla

    Hope that gives you some inspiration.
     
  14. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Cooked pasta is a nice addition to a salad. Bow ties, fusilli, shells, not cooked al dente though. Goes good with meats, cheese, olive, etc. I like to toss with a light vinaigrette and add a spoon full of good blue cheese dressing on top to mix in.
     
  15. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Speaking of pasta, chefbuba...

    I made some Israeli Couscous with a simple vinaigrette, chopped red and green bell peppers, baby spinach, kalamata olives,  halved heirloom tear drop tomatoes (for DH), english cucumbers in a small dice, shredded carrots, roasted corn kernels, and peas, all tossed together with a pinch of dill.  We had never tried that before, YUM-O!!
     
  16. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I like Ponzu as a different, fresher Asian flavor on a salad. It plays well with sweet or savory, too.

    When I was a poor, young teacher struggling through the summers (we were paid on a 10-month basis), I ate a lot of salads with cottage cheese, sliced fresh mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, diced carrots and sunflower seed kernels (for a splurge). I topped it off with a drizzle of low cal French dressing. A bowlful of that was very filling. It's still a favorite comfort food for me in summer. Nothing exotic, but tasty.
     
  17. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    yum, cottage cheese (large curd) with chopped canned clams and snipped chives, some freshly ground black pepper