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  • Matthew Mead / The Associated Press

    This red, white and blue potato salad could be the hit of the Fourth of July picnic. It has red and purple potatoes, roasted red peppers and cubes of white goat cheese, plus lots of blueberries.

  • Bob Chamberlin / MCT

    Rice salads are almost infinitely flexible, including cool rice and cucumber salad.

  • Matthew Mead / The Associated Press

    This sweet potato, grilled corn and black bean salad has a spicy cilantro dressing, which is high in flavor and low in fat.

  • Matthew Mead / The Associated Press

    Move over, ordinary pasta salad, and make way for Greek shrimp and feta pasta salad.

More Information

  • Red, white and blue potato salad

    Start to finish: 45 minutes

    Serves 10

    Ideal for a July Fourth barbecue, this recipe from The Associated Press makes use of gourmet purple potatoes as well as the more common red ones.

    INGREDIENTS

    24  ounces small red potatoes, halved or quartered

    24  ounce small purple potatoes, halved or quartered

    Kosher salt and ground black pepper

    4  tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided

    3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    tablespoons Dijon mustard

    1/4   cup chopped fresh tarragon

    ounces goat milk cheddar or gouda, diced

    2  cups fresh blueberries

    cup diced roasted red peppers

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Add a hefty pinch of salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until fork tender, but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Set aside to cool completely.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the olive oil, mustard and tarragon. When the potatoes have cooled, add them to the bowl, as well as the cheddar, blueberries and roasted red peppers. Stir gently to coat with the dressing. Chill for 1 hour to let flavors develop.

    Per serving: 250 calories; 100 calories from fat (40% of total calories); 11 g fat (4.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 9 g protein; 420 mg sodium.

  • Sweet potato, grilled corn and black bean salad with spicy cilantro dressing

    Start to finish: 45 minutes (30 minutes active)

    Serves 6

    Toss the sweet potatoes with the dressing while they’re still warm, which helps them to absorb the dressing and become deeply flavored.

    Recipe from The Associated Press.

    INGREDIENTS

    1 1/2  pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

    clove garlic

    1/2  chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

    1  small shallot, coarsely chopped

    1  cup chopped fresh cilantro

    cup seasoned rice vinegar

    Salt

    ears corn, husked

    One 151/2-ounce can black beans, drained

    scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Heat the grill to medium.

    In a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.

    Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the garlic, chipotle, shallot, cilantro and vinegar. Purée until smooth. Taste, then season with salt. When the potatoes are done, pour half of the dressing over them, then toss well. Set aside to cool.

    While the potatoes cool, prepare the corn. Mist the corn with cooking spray, then grill, turning often, until the ears are lightly browned in spots on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside to cool until easily handled. Cut the kernels from the cobs. To do this, one at a time stand each ear on its wide end, then carefully saw down the length of the cob on all sides. You should have at least 2 cups of kernels.

    Stir the corn kernels, beans and scallions into the potatoes, adding additional dressing as desired. Taste, then adjust seasoning.

    Per serving: 260 calories; 20 calories from fat (8 percent of total calories); 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 17 g sugar; 9 g protein; 1250 mg sodium.

  • Greek shrimp and feta pasta salad

    Start to finish: 30 minutes

    Serves 10

    INGREDIENTS

    1  pound rotini pasta

    1  tablespoon butter

    2  cloves garlic, minced

    1  pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed

    tablespoons olive oil

    1/2  cup sour cream

    3  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

    1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

    1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper

    green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

    medium red onion, finely chopped

    cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

    1  cup crumbled feta cheese

    pint cherry tomatoes, halved

    2  tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shrimp, then saute until the shrimp are just barely firm and pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to the baking sheet with the pasta, spreading everything in an even layer. Place in the freezer until just cool, about 10 minutes.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and oregano. Toss until well coated. Once the shrimp and pasta are cooled, add those and gently toss until well coated by the dressing.

    Per serving: 400 calories; 150 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 19 g protein; 660 mg sodium.

  • Cool rice and cucumber salad

    Total time: 30 minutes

    Serves 4 to 6

    Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from Deborah Madison’s “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” (Ten Speed Press, $40, 672 pages).

    INGREDIENTS

    1 1/2 cups long-grain rice

    Salt

    2 or 3 cucumbers, seeded and finely chopped

    1/2  cup finely chopped parsley

    tablespoons chopped dill

    tablespoons chopped mint

    1/4  cup finely sliced green onion, including some of the green part

    1/4  cup Champagne or white wine vinegar

    tablespoons olive oil

    1/2  cup plain yogurt

    Green oakleaf, Boston or butter lettuce leaves, for garnish

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Cook the rice as you would pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until it is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook or undercook it; the rice should be soft all the way through but should not be beginning to “explode” at the ends.

    Line a jellyroll pan with a kitchen towel. Drain the rice and rinse it quickly under cool water, then spread it over the kitchen towel. Cover with another kitchen towel and gently pat dry.

    Meanwhile, put the cucumbers in a large bowl with the parsley, dill and mint. In a small bowl, combine the green onion, vinegar, oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

    While the rice is still warm, transfer it to a bowl and add the cucumber mixture, dressing and yogurt, and toss gently with a wide rubber spatula. Taste for salt and tartness. Serve tepid or chilled, mounded on plates and garnished with light green lettuce leaves.

    Each of 6 servings: 275 calories; 6 grams pro.; 45 grams carb.; 2 grams fiber; 8 grams fat (1g sat.); 2 mg chol.; 3 g sugar; 119 mg sodium.

  • Gingered apple slaw

    Serves 4 to 6

    Chef Donald Link suggests these apple varieties for this slaw: Gala, Braeburn and Golden Delicious. From “Down South,” by Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe (Clarkson Potter).

    INGREDIENTS

    apples, cored and cut into matchsticks, about 4 cups

    1/2  cup mayonnaise

    Juice of 1 lemon

    tablespoon ginger juice (see note below)

    tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced

    Kosher salt and black pepper

    ounces crispy prosciutto or country ham, optional

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Use a rubber spatula to combine sliced apples in a medium bowl with mayonnaise, lemon juice, ginger juice, cilantro and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with prosciutto if desired.

    Note: Use a box grater or large-toothed Microplane to grate about 2 tablespoons ginger. Use your fingers to squeeze juice from grated pulp. If you prefer, you can use a garlic press to extract the pungent juice from a slice of fresh ginger. If you want to add crispy prosciutto to the salad, thinly slice the ham and fry it in a couple of tablespoons oil until crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Break ham into small pieces over salad.

  • How to keep salads cool and safe to eat

       Safely transport cold food: Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food needs to be kept at 40 degrees or below to prevent bacterial growth and kept in the cooler until serving time.

       Safely serve cold food: Once the salads are served, they should sit out no longer than 2 hours, or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 degrees.

    McClatchy Tribune

What’s Cooking: Cool salads for July 4th picnics and barbecues

Published: Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 - 12:00 am

Summertime is high season for eating outdoors; weekend and Fourth of July plans are often filled with cookouts, backyard parties and picnics.

That often means bringing a dish, usually a dessert or salad, to go with the host’s main course. With salads, the lineup is often the same: potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, baked beans, bean salad.

But if you want a variation on the same-old, same-old, or something new entirely, we have some suggestions. And see the box below for safety tips when transporting food.


Red, white and blue potato salad

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Serves 10

Ideal for a July Fourth barbecue, this recipe from The Associated Press makes use of gourmet purple potatoes as well as the more common red ones.

INGREDIENTS

24  ounces small red potatoes, halved or quartered

24  ounce small purple potatoes, halved or quartered

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

4  tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided

3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4   cup chopped fresh tarragon

ounces goat milk cheddar or gouda, diced

2  cups fresh blueberries

cup diced roasted red peppers

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Add a hefty pinch of salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until fork tender, but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the olive oil, mustard and tarragon. When the potatoes have cooled, add them to the bowl, as well as the cheddar, blueberries and roasted red peppers. Stir gently to coat with the dressing. Chill for 1 hour to let flavors develop.

Per serving: 250 calories; 100 calories from fat (40% of total calories); 11 g fat (4.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 25 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 9 g protein; 420 mg sodium.


Sweet potato, grilled corn and black bean salad with spicy cilantro dressing

Start to finish: 45 minutes (30 minutes active)

Serves 6

Toss the sweet potatoes with the dressing while they’re still warm, which helps them to absorb the dressing and become deeply flavored.

Recipe from The Associated Press.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2  pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

clove garlic

1/2  chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1  small shallot, coarsely chopped

1  cup chopped fresh cilantro

cup seasoned rice vinegar

Salt

ears corn, husked

One 151/2-ounce can black beans, drained

scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the grill to medium.

In a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring 2 inches of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until just tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the garlic, chipotle, shallot, cilantro and vinegar. Purée until smooth. Taste, then season with salt. When the potatoes are done, pour half of the dressing over them, then toss well. Set aside to cool.

While the potatoes cool, prepare the corn. Mist the corn with cooking spray, then grill, turning often, until the ears are lightly browned in spots on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside to cool until easily handled. Cut the kernels from the cobs. To do this, one at a time stand each ear on its wide end, then carefully saw down the length of the cob on all sides. You should have at least 2 cups of kernels.

Stir the corn kernels, beans and scallions into the potatoes, adding additional dressing as desired. Taste, then adjust seasoning.

Per serving: 260 calories; 20 calories from fat (8 percent of total calories); 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 17 g sugar; 9 g protein; 1250 mg sodium.


Greek shrimp and feta pasta salad

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

1  pound rotini pasta

1  tablespoon butter

2  cloves garlic, minced

1  pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed

tablespoons olive oil

1/2  cup sour cream

3  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  teaspoon ground black pepper

green bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

medium red onion, finely chopped

cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

1  cup crumbled feta cheese

pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2  tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shrimp, then saute until the shrimp are just barely firm and pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to the baking sheet with the pasta, spreading everything in an even layer. Place in the freezer until just cool, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives, feta cheese, tomatoes and oregano. Toss until well coated. Once the shrimp and pasta are cooled, add those and gently toss until well coated by the dressing.

Per serving: 400 calories; 150 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 19 g protein; 660 mg sodium.


Cool rice and cucumber salad

Total time: 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from Deborah Madison’s “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” (Ten Speed Press, $40, 672 pages).

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2  cups long-grain rice

Salt

2 or 3 cucumbers, seeded and finely chopped

1/2  cup finely chopped parsley

tablespoons chopped dill

tablespoons chopped mint

1/4  cup finely sliced green onion, including some of the green part

1/4  cup Champagne or white wine vinegar

tablespoons olive oil

1/2  cup plain yogurt

Green oakleaf, Boston or butter lettuce leaves, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook the rice as you would pasta: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the rice and cook until it is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook or undercook it; the rice should be soft all the way through but should not be beginning to “explode” at the ends.

Line a jellyroll pan with a kitchen towel. Drain the rice and rinse it quickly under cool water, then spread it over the towel. Cover with another kitchen towel; gently pat dry.

Meanwhile, put the cucumbers in a large bowl with the parsley, dill and mint. In a small bowl, combine the green onion, vinegar, oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

While the rice is still warm, transfer it to a bowl and add the cucumber mixture, dressing and yogurt, and toss gently with a wide rubber spatula. Taste for salt and tartness. Serve tepid or chilled, mounded on plates and garnished with light green lettuce leaves.

Each of 6 servings: 275 calories; 6 grams pro.; 45 grams carb.; 2 grams fiber; 8 grams fat (1g sat.); 2 mg chol.; 3 g sugar; 119 mg sodium.


Gingered apple slaw

Serves 4 to 6

Chef Donald Link suggests these apple varieties for this slaw: Gala, Braeburn and Golden Delicious. From “Down South,” by Donald Link with Paula Disbrowe (Clarkson Potter).

INGREDIENTS

apples, cored and cut into matchsticks, about 4 cups

1/2  cup mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lemon

tablespoon ginger juice (see note below)

tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced

Kosher salt and black pepper

ounces crispy prosciutto or country ham, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

Use a rubber spatula to combine sliced apples in a medium bowl with mayonnaise, lemon juice, ginger juice, cilantro and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with prosciutto if desired.

Note: Use a box grater or large-toothed Microplane to grate about 2 tablespoons ginger. Use your fingers to squeeze juice from grated pulp. If you prefer, you can use a garlic press to extract the pungent juice from a slice of fresh ginger. If you want to add crispy prosciutto to the salad, thinly slice the ham and fry it in a couple of tablespoons oil until crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Break ham into small pieces over salad.



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