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Tossed dinners

From Staff Reports

As the temperature heats up, salads can be a good, cool alternative to traditional hot dinners - especially for vegetarians. Here are a few variations on the salad theme.

Couscous/vegetable salad

From "Beyond Alfalfa Sprouts and Cheese"

8 ounces couscous (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh chopped or 1/2 tsp dried
2 ablespoons wine vinegar
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded, chopped
2 scallions - sliced thin
1 tablespoon basil fresh or 1/2 tsp dried
6 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Place couscous in large bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over couscous and let stand.

In saucepan, bring vegetable stock to boil, add thyme and vinegar. Boil to reduce to 3/4 cup.

Add peas and corn to liquid and turn off heat. Toss tomatoes, scallions, and basil into couscous. Add liquid to couscous and mix well. Cover and refrigerate two hours before serving. To serve, top a romaine leaf with couscous mixture.

Creamy green pea and cheese salad

From "MasterCook Mac," recipe by Martha's Recipes

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
32 ounces frozen green peas, thawed and drained
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bacon bits

Mix sour cream, vinegar and salt in medium size bowl. Stir in peas and onions. Place 1/2 pea mixture in a serving bowl. Top with 1/2 the cheese and bacon. Repeat layers. Cover and chill until served. Serves 12.

Spinach with raisins and pine huts

From MasterCook Mac, recipe by Taverna

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
2 pounds spinach, stems removed
Salt and pepper

Place the raisins in a bowl, add hot water to cover and let stand until plumped, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven at 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts in a small pan and place in the oven until toasted and fragrant, eight to 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a wide sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the pan and stir constantly until it is wilted, about four minutes.

Drain the raisins and add them to the pan along with the pine nuts.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well and serve hot.

Warm spinach salad

From MasterCook Mac, recipe by Sibella Kraus, "Greens, A Country Garden Cookbook"

3 ounces pancetta, cut in 1" pieces
4 medium eggs
2 bunches spinach

Uncoil the pancetta, cut into small pieces and fry in a medium pan until crisp.
Drain the pancetta on paper towels and wipe pan.

While the pancetta is cooking, cook the eggs in boiling water for seven minutes.

Remove from boiling water and transfer to iced water to stop cooking. When cool, carefully peel. They will be a little soft so use care.

Warm the vinaigrette in the pan in which you fried the pancetta. Toss with spinach leaves and pancetta, divide onto four plates. Cut egg in half over the plates, it will be slightly runny and place on spinach. Dust with fresh grated pepper and serve immediately.

Basic vinaigrette

From MasterCook Mac

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup olive oil

Whisk vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in small bowl. While whisking vigorously, slowly add the olive oil a few drops at a time until the mixture starts to emulsify. Then continue adding olive oil in a thin steady stream until the sauce thickens slightly and fully emulsifies.

To make things real easy, use a blender or food processor instead of a hand whisk.

Fire and ice melon soup

From MasterCook Mac, recipe by David Woods, Millennium Fruit Soup Cookbook

3 cups watermelon, seeded and chopped
3 cups cantaloupe, seeded and chopped
2 cups zucchini, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 medium jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour soup into a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or until thoroughly chilled. Serve chilled.

Spinach-strawberry salad with goat cheese bruschetta

From MasterCook Mac, recipe by Cooking Light

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sherry or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced red onion
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups torn spinach, (about 1 pound)
2 cups halved strawberries
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
1 (3 ounce) log goat cheese, cut into 6 slices
6 (1 ounce) slices French bread, toasted

Combine the first eight ingredients in a jar; cover dressing tightly, and shake vigorously.

Combine the spinach and strawberry halves in a large bowl, and toss gently. Pour the dressing over the spinach mixture, tossing gently to coat. Spoon one cup salad onto each of six plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon toasted almonds. Spread cheese over toast slices; top each salad with one bruschetta.

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