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Salad Days

Salad Days

Winter is a time for indulging in stews, soups and other comforting foods that you wouldn’t want to eat in the heat of summer. But occasionally in winter, salads are the main course, especially after a shopping trip when a glance at the dressing room mirror is as scary as watching “The Exorcist.” So here are a few of the salads I’ve been eating over the winter, in case you have the urge to try on some new blue jeans too. The salad in the photo above contains campari tomatoes (the only decent ones to be found here in the winter other than grape tomatoes), red onion, pea shoots, sugar snap peas, edamame beans, avocado, cilantro. My standard salad dressing is 2 parts olive oil, 1 part white balsamic vinegar, a bit of Dijon mustard, a small amount of honey, salt and pepper. Shake well and pour. January 2011 146 This salad is Molly Wizenberg’s celery root, fennel and apple salad. The recipe calls for hazelnut oil. It’s expensive, but the salad just wouldn’t taste the same with a substitute. I omitted the parmesan cheese it calls for because it overpowers the hazelnut oil flavor, but I added some toasted hazelnuts and that enhanced it. March 2010 537 For this salad, I used a mesclun mix, roasted red beets, cara cara oranges, red onion, and goat cheese – standard salad dressing as in first salad, but used sherry vinegar instead of white balsamic.   March 2011 230 This is a lentil salad made by boiling the lentils in water for about 1/2 hour and draining. Add whatever you like as accompaniments – I used celery, green pepper, carrots, onions, tomatoes and parsley. If I’d had some canned artichoke hearts I’d have thrown those in. For the dressing, I used olive oil, but added some lemon juice in addition to white balsamic vinegar, as well as a small amount of ground cumin, salt and pepper. Serve over radicchio and Belgian endive. March 2011 201 This salad contains green beans, matchsticks of jicama, blood orange sections and slices of red onion. I used a blood-orange flavored olive oil from the Carter and Cavero store in Princeton, the juice of an orange instead of vinegar, salt, pepper and a squirt of honey, plus some salt and pepper. March 2011 227 I thought I’d pull out my oils and vinegars to give you an idea of the variety I use – olive oils can be peppery, mild, fruity, plus that hazelnut oil I mentioned, and some canola oil for deep frying. My standard olive oil is extra virgin olive oil from Casale Sonnino, a villa and agriturismo near Rome owned by friends of mine. I can feel confident in knowing what I’m getting since the olives are grown on their property, hand-picked and pressed with supervision from the owners. I can’t wait to try Joe of Italyville’s olive oil too, from his Tre Olive brand. It should be ready for shipping soon. Vinegars range from plain old white distilled vinegar that’s great for cleaning as well as pickling, to red wine, white wine,  sherry, and aged balsamic vinegar from Acetaia San Giacomo. I like fig vinegar occasionally too, but am all out of it for the photo. I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan on Friday. From our comfortable homes in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is terrifying to see the enormous devastation caused by these powerful forces of nature. Imagine being there. We cannot ignore the plight of those involved. Many organizations are accepting your donations. Be careful because scammers also come out in force during tragedies like this. Click on the following names of news organizations that have compiled lists of trustworthy places where you can donate: MSNBC, Time, AP.

This Post Has 27 Comments
  1. Very impressive collection of oils and vinegars! You're definitely ready for any eventuality. And to have a reliable supplier of artisanal olive oil–what a privilege!

  2. The weather is realy warming up here this week, I'm giving my oven a rest, salads like this would be a welcome change! Healthy , colorful and all your flavor combinations are sparking my tastebuds this morning!I need to get out of my comfort zone and start adding things like celery root to my salads! Love that hazelnut oil too.

    My heart goes out to the people of Japan, I can't even fathom what they must be going through, we all need to help in whatever way we can.

  3. What a lovely array of salads Linda. We eat salads all year long, regardless of the weather. I'm a vinegar collector too. Perhaps it goes with the territory if you love salads.

  4. I would be very happy to have one of your beautiful salads…
    Salad always tastes the best to me when made by someone else…I do not know why…
    They are simply gorgeous!

  5. I love the array of ingredients. I do many simmilar but really think that lentil salad is a grand transition-weather salad. Hearty enough for blustery March but – enough with the comfort food already! Must also try honey in my dressing – almost neevr do this. Maybe I'll be sweeter. Oh Japan! I finally spoke with my friend – they are an hour outside of Tokyo and semmed shell-shocked.

  6. I always love beet salads. (I just roasted beets for a salad last night.) And, lentil salads. These all look great! The hazelnut oil sounds lovely with celery root and fennel.

  7. I could eat all of these salads, Linda, especially the first one with the tomatoes, avocados and pea shoots. Thanks for sharing your stashes of olive oils and vinegars – you must have a lot of closets to store them in!

  8. I should eat this way more often! I would like to lose weight before the summer arrives and I can no longer hide under a coat. Your collection of vinegars and olive oils is impressive. I will have to try hazelnut oil as I like the taste of hazelnuts.

    The tragedy in Japan is heartbreaking.

  9. We certainly are on the same wavelength Linda – but your salads are so gorgeous, so beautifully composed. And I always love a peek into someone else's cupboard!

  10. My scales are frowning at me. They haven't been in action for so long. I may have to tuck into your salads before confronting them again.

  11. Linda, I never let the seasons dictate what I should or should not eat. I actually enjoy salads in the cold winter months. The only thing I'm looking forward to is good tomatoes.

    In any event, looking at your wide selection of salads makes me crave them even more!

  12. We actually had that very same beet salad last night. I substituted a naval orange for the cara cara. I have also been making the same vinaigrette that you have, but have been subbing maple syrup ( a gift sent down from Vermont) for the honey. It is a unique flavor and a nice change. Have a good weekend!

  13. Oh yum! I adore salads. No day is a proper day without salad. Love your collection of vinegars and oils.

  14. I just returned from feasting in Italy on such great food. Salads will definitely help out with the weight gain! I have been looking for a recipe for penne alla zingara which I had at Il Cavallino Rosso in Valenzatico. It was so delicious. Do you have a recipe for it? Corinne

  15. I just returned from feasting in Italy on such great food. Salads will definitely help out with the weight gain! I have been looking for a recipe for penne alla zingara which I had at Il Cavallino Rosso in Valenzatico. It was so delicious. Do you have a recipe for it?

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