Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Quality of Food For Healthy Salads


PRINCIPLES OF SALAD MAKING

21. CONDITION OF SALAD INGREDIENTS.--When the kind of salad to be served
is decided on, the selection and preparation of the materials are the
next matters to receive attention. Very often materials that are on hand
are utilized in this way, but if it is possible to select the
ingredients expressly for the salad, they should be very carefully
chosen. Any kind of salad, but particularly a vegetable or a fruit
salad, becomes much more attractive if it is made with ingredients that
are in good condition and that are attractive in appearance. They should
therefore be fresh and crisp and never mushy, wilted, nor limp. Of
course, this does not mean that material that is slightly unattractive
must be discarded, for it can usually be prepared so that it can be
utilized in some way. However, much of the deterioration of salad
ingredients before they are used can be avoided if proper attention is
given to them after they come into the home. Without doubt, the best way
in which to keep radishes, celery, parsley, watercress, and other greens
that are much used in salads is to wrap them loosely in a moist cloth as
soon as they are received in the home and then put them in a cool place.
Small muslin or linen bags having a draw-string in the top are very good
for this purpose, but they are not a necessity, for old napkins or small
pieces of worn cloth will do very well.

22. CLEANING AND FRESHENING SALAD INGREDIENTS.--In the making of a
salad, the cleaning of the ingredients used is a very important part of
the work. While nothing should be wasted in the process of preparation,
decayed or discolored leaves, stems, or parts of fruits and vegetables
should, of course, be removed. Every lettuce leaf and every part of
other salad vegetables should be looked over carefully and washed
separately in cold water. To accomplish this, the stalks or leaves must
be taken apart after the root is cut off. Then, before they are used,
they should be examined carefully again in order to make sure that no
small bugs nor worms and no dirt remain on them. Such vegetables will
become crisp if they are allowed to remain in cold water long enough to
bring back their natural freshness. A little ice added to the water
helps to accomplish this more quickly. It should be remembered, however
that lettuce leaves bruise and break easily and so must be handled
carefully if the best appearance is desired.

23. When cucumbers are to be used for salad, they should be peeled and
put immediately into cold water to become crisp, or they may first be
sliced or diced and then put into the cold water. They should never be
allowed to stand for any length of time in salt water. If it is desired
to season them with salt, a little may be added to the water in which
they are made crisp, but it will also be necessary to add ice to make
the water as cold as possible. The old idea that soaking cucumbers in
salted water removes something injurious has been proved to be untrue,
and they are just as satisfactory, so far as their flavor and condition
are concerned, when they are not subjected to this treatment. Radishes,
celery, and cabbage may be made crisp in the same way as are cucumbers
and lettuce.

In the event that any of these vegetables are allowed to stand in water,
they must be properly drained before they are used in a salad, for any
water that remains on them will dilute the dressing. If they must be
dried very quickly, they may be patted carefully between folds of cloth,
preferably linen or cheesecloth, or they may be allowed to stand for a
few minutes in a wire basket or a colander. Care should be taken,
however, not to allow them to stand until the good that has been
accomplished by making them crisp in cold water is undone.

24. PREPARING FRUITS FOR SALADS.--After fruits have been carefully
cleaned, they are ready to be peeled and cut into pieces of the size
desired for the salad. An effort should always be made to have the
pieces equal in size, similar in shape, and not too small. They should
be peeled in an economical way, but at the same time should be prepared
as attractively as possible.

25. In the preparation of oranges for a salad, the fruit is peeled as if
it were an apple, the peeling being cut deeply enough to remove the skin
that covers the sections. After the entire orange is peeled, the
contents of each section should be removed by passing a sharp knife as
closely as possible to the skin between the sections and then taking out
the pulp without any of this skin. The sections may then be used whole
or cut into pieces.

Grapefruit may be prepared in the same way as oranges. Upon the removal
of the whole sections, they may be left whole or they may be cut once or
twice, depending on the kind of salad and the appearance desired. When
grapefruit or oranges are prepared in this manner, they make a much more
agreeable ingredient for fruit salad than when they are simply cut into
chunks and the tough skin is allowed to remain on the pieces. No waste
need be permitted in this process, for the juice may be extracted from
what remains after the sections have been removed by pressing it in a
fruit press or by any other means and then utilized in the making of the
salad dressing or kept for some other purpose.

Bananas, which are often used in salads, should be peeled, any bruised
or decayed portions should be removed, and the surface should then be
scraped slightly with a paring knife in order to remove the pithy
surface, which, when eaten, has a puckery, disagreeable effect.

26. When fruits of any kind have been prepared for salad and cannot be
used at once, they may be kept from wilting and discoloring if they are
put where they will keep cool and are sprinkled with a little lemon
juice that is slightly diluted with water. Before the salad materials
are mixed with the salad dressing, however, all juices or liquid of any
kind should be carefully drained from them, for these will dilute the
dressing and produce a salad that is less appetizing in both appearance
and flavor.

27. PREPARING NUTS FOR SALADS.--When nuts are to be used in a salad,
they should never be ground in a grinder; rather, they should be chopped
or cut into small pieces with a knife. After being so prepared, they
should be added to the salad just before it is put on the table. This is
a matter that should not be overlooked, for if the salad is allowed to
stand very long after the nuts are added they will discolor the dressing
and cause the salad to become dark and gray looking.

28. MARINATING SALAD INGREDIENTS.--To improve the flavor of such salads
as chicken, veal, lobster, or crab, the ingredients are usually
marinated with a sour dressing of some description before the salad
dressing is added. As is explained in Essentials of Cookery, Part 2,
marinating involves the seasoning of meat or fish by means of vinegar or
French dressing. The preparation used to marinate salad ingredients may
be plain vinegar to which salt and pepper are added, or it may be a
French dressing, which is prepared by mixing vinegar, olive oil, salt,
and pepper in the proper proportions. Whichever preparation is used
should be poured over the materials after they are cut or prepared for
the salad, and only enough to moisten each piece slightly should be
used. The ingredients should then be carefully mixed with the dressing
to avoid breaking or crushing them and should be allowed to stand in a
cold place for a few minutes. Then they should be drained so that none
of the material used to marinate them remains on the salad when the
other dressing is added. With this done, the salad is ready for whatever
salad dressing is to be used.

29. Potato salad and salads containing such vegetables as carrots, peas,
string beans, etc. are also improved by being marinated in the same way
as salads made of meat, fowl, and fish. This sort of preparation
involves a little more work, it is true, but it usually produces such
gratifying results that it justifies the expenditure of the extra
effort. In the first place, a slightly smaller amount of salad dressing
will be required when the ingredients are marinated and, in addition, a
better looking dish can be made, for the dressing need not be mixed with
the salad but merely placed on top.

30. In case the housewife prefers not to take the time nor the trouble
to marinate a salad, she should at least mix thoroughly with salt and
pepper the ingredients that require seasoning. The fact that a salad
should be a well and highly seasoned dish must never be overlooked. As
can be readily understood, a bland salad without character is never so
appetizing as one that is crisp, fresh, well made, and properly seasoned.

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