After talking about basic skills any chef should master recently, I figured it would be a good idea to post on each of those things: salad, pie crust, and roasted chicken. Today I’m covering a basic salad and you can expect to see pie in the next couple weeks and my first attempt at roasting a whole chicken. I’ve gotten some good advice on bird roasting, so I think it will be a success.
Also, I received this box in the mail this week:
A couple months ago I signed-up for OXO’s Blogger Outreach (if you blog and cook, stop reading now and go sign-up, then come back) and I get to take part in their healthy eating campaign by posting about and giving away a salad spinner to one of you. OXO, a real favorite kitchen utensil maker of mine, sent me a salad spinner to experiment with in addition to the one I’m giving away. It is important to me as a blogger (and as a person in general) to be honest and fair in all I do, so know that although I received a free product, all opinions about the salad spinner are entirely my own and not influenced in any way by OXO.
I have a really old OXO salad spinner from my wedding registry that I am happily donating in favor of my new pretty, salad spinner. In a side-by-side comparison the newer model is a bit wider and has a thinner, more compact lid, so looks like it will take up less space. Also, all materials are now clear, sturdier plastic and the inner lid is removable for washing. All in all, the new spinner has the same great spinning mechanism, but is now sleeker and easier to clean. If you make much salad, get a spinner; your days of watery dressing or soggy paper towels are over.
Now back to the basic salad . . . I eat a lot of salad and as much as I love eating greens, it gets a little boring day after day. I like to keep jars of what I’ve started calling salad “accessories” on hand to spruce up the greens and transform the ordinary into something special. I don’t usually put more than one or two toppings on a salad, because I still want the salad to be about the greens. Here are my favorites:
- Fruit: dried cranberries or cherries, pear slices
- Nuts: sunflower seeds, spiced or candied pecans or almonds
- Cheese: Parmesan grated or fried into crisps
- Dressing: simple pantry vinaigrette or Penzey’s Country French Vinaigrette mix
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