Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Color & Texture

Yesterday I made more potato salad than I planned. The potatoes were larger than I first thought. I figured it would be a nice warm weather treat. (The day was unaccountably cold and raw, but I tried to ignore that detail.) I had some for last night's dinner and this afternoon's lunch, but I craved something colorful and crunchy to serve with it. So I made a chopped salad, and since many summer vegetables are not yet ripe, I made a few substitutions.

I wanted a Mexican flavor, so I loosely based my recipe on the corn and black bean salads I make when corn is in season. I didn't have fresh corn, so I used canned. I didn't have black beans, so I used kidney. Then I added a whole lot of chopped onions, green peppers, grape tomatoes, and cilantro. I made a dressing by whisking together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, chipotle, garlic, salt and pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar,  and a dash of hot sauce. I mixed it all together and let it chill for a few hours. It was delicious.

Although I love green salads, I enjoy other types as well. I often chop up vegetables and throw them together with some sort of dressing. The secret to these chopped salads, I think, is to mix colors, tastes, and textures. So rather than thinking of specific foods, I think crunchy, tangy, smooth, chewy, or bland. I try to mix and match. So I might mix bland cucumbers with tangy garlic and yogurt, or sweet corn with spicy dressing, or sweet watermelon with sharp onions and salty feta, or chopped tomatoes with black kalamata olives.

Not only do I get a variety of vegetables that way, but I also get to decorate my plate.

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