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DINNER PLANS

A Three-Salad Supper

August 22, 1996|JANA LIEBLICH

Summertime in California, and the last thing you want for dinner is hot food. I've created this summer salad and ice cream menu with warm temperatures in mind. It is perfect for dining alfresco on a warm night.

The inspiration for these recipes came while shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday morning. While browsing the aisles, I found the golden beets, violet-colored potatoes, honey dates and other fresh delights simply too good to pass up.

I love shopping at the farmers markets, held daily throughout the area. Everything is so fresh, and I often come across ingredients that are hard to find anywhere else.

If you're unable to make it to one of the farmers markets, don't panic. Most of the more unusual ingredients in these recipes (baby purple potatoes, golden beets, honey dates and fresh shelly beans) can be found at finer supermarkets. And remember, if you don't see them stocked, ask your produce manager whether he or she can order them.

STAPLES

Oil

Salt

Olive oil

White wine vinegar

Sugar

1 onion

Milk

4 eggs

Sugar

SHOPPING LIST

5 small purple boiling potatoes

5 small Yukon Gold potatoes

5 small red boiling potatoes

1 leek

2 shallots

1 small package bacon

3 bunches golden beets

1/2 pound asparagus

1 (2-ounce) package pecans

1/3 pound blue cheese

1 orange

1 cup black beans, fresh, dried or canned

1 cup kidney beans, fresh, dried or canned

1 cup garbanzo beans, fresh, dried or canned

1 cup black-eyed peas, fresh, dried or canned

1 avocado

1 large tomato

2 serrano chiles

1 bunch cilantro

1 basket honey dates or 1 (8-ounce box) regular dates

1 pint whipping cream

1 (6-ounce) bag shelled walnuts

GAME PLAN

Night before: Cook beans for Four-Bean and Avocado Salad.

Morning or 3 to 4 hours before: Prepare ice cream and store in freezer until hardened. Prepare all ingredients for salads (except avocado for Four-Bean and Avocado Salad); keep refrigerated but do not combine.

1/2 hour before: Combine all ingredients for salads (including avocado) and toss with dressings. Refrigerate until serving or leave at room temperature if preferred.

THREE-COLOR POTATO AND BRAISED LEEK SALAD

SALAD

5 small purple boiling potatoes

5 small Yukon Gold potatoes

5 small red boiling potatoes

1 leek

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Simmer potatoes in water to cover until just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut into quarters or smaller pieces, depending on size of potatoes.

Cut leek in half lengthwise. Cut off and discard dark green parts. Place rest of leek flat side down on work surface and cut in very thin crosswise slices. Rinse well in colander and set aside.

Heat oil in heavy pan and cook sliced onion and leek on low heat until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

When all ingredients are at room temperature, combine with bacon and salt in large bowl.

SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to mix. Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

477 calories; 644 mg sodium; 25 mg cholesterol; 42 grams fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.68 gram fiber.

SALAD OF GOLDEN BEETS, BLUE CHEESE AND PECANS

SALAD

3 bunches golden beets

1/2 pound asparagus

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Simmer beets in water to cover until fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on size of beets. Drain and chill. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into quarters or bite-sized pieces. You should have about 3 cups.

Cook asparagus in boiling salted water until slightly tender but still bright green in color, about 4 minutes. Drain and place in ice water to halt cooking process. When cool enough to handle, cut spears on diagonal into 1-inch pieces.

Mix beets, asparagus, pecans and blue cheese in large bowl.

ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice of 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss well to mix. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

238 calories; 375 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.88 gram fiber.

FOUR-BEAN AND AVOCADO SALAD

Although I prefer the taste and texture of fresh beans, canned or dried beans work well too.

SALAD

1 cup cooked fresh black beans

1 cup cooked fresh kidney beans

1 cup cooked fresh garbanzo beans

1 cup cooked fresh black-eyed peas

1 avocado

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 serrano chiles, seeds removed and chopped

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

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