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The Well Dressed Salad: Contemporary, Delicious and Satisfying Recipes for Salads Paperback – 2006
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About the Author
Jennifer Joyce currently works as a food writer, food consultant as well as teaching at various culinary schools.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
My obsession with salads began in childhood. I grew up in rural Wisconsin in the north-central United States, surrounded by lush orchards and fertile farmland. My father, Leo, kept an enormous vegetable garden to help feed our family of eleven. Although I cursed the long hours of weeding and laborious end-of-summer bottling, I loved the earthy smell of the garden, its astounding variety, and eating juicy, ripe vegetables straight off the vine. My Italian mother, Louise, had to be an efficient household manager, of course, but she was more than that. She was also an artful cook. Delicious food was the one extravagance allowed. Since vegetables were plentiful, we had salads with every meal. Most were simple but intensely good: cucumbers, onions and tomatoes or roasted (bell) peppers dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. My favorite part of eating salad came at its pungent end. I would wipe the last vinegary remnants with bread and savor the final tart tastes. It's those mouth-watering memories that spur me to seek put ingredients as exceptional as the produce grown in my father's garden and transformed at my mother's table.
In the dozen years I've lived in London, England, my cooking has been influenced by many different cultures and synthesized into what I call modern ethnic food. Although the classes I teach each week might cover Vietnamese or Middle Eastern cooking, Californian cuisine or North African tastes, all my dishes have one thing in common -- the pursuit of bold, fresh flavors. I am passionate about combining herbs, vinegars and unusual ethnic products to create extraordinary flavors. You won't, for instance, find many mayonnaise dressings here, because flavors should be enhanced, not smothered.
I decided to write this book after designing a class on salads and finding it difficult to pare down my salad choices. I love them all, from the great Thai varieties to the perfect Caesar. I also began to realize just how well salads work for the way we live now, reflecting our new awareness about healthy eating. They're wholesome, light and yet full of flavor. A salad is no longer simply a side dish -- an uninspired bowl of iceberg lettuce slathered with bottled dressing. It can be the star of a meal.
There is more to this book than fine recipes, however. It is also packed with information to make sophisticated eating and cooking accessible, no matter what your level of expertise. Each recipe notes preparation times, variations, serving ideas and make-ahead guidelines. For items that might seem weird as well as wonderful, I've included a guide called World Flavors. I've also demystified confusing ingredients and explored familiar ones in features on tomatoes, lettuce varieties, noodles, legumes and oils and vinegars. Most importantly, each recipe has been tested twice to guarantee that you have stunning success.
My childhood hours in a garden piqued my interest in vibrant salads. But to know the pleasures of good food, you don't need to grow it, you need spectacular new ways to prepare it. Open this book to any page and assemble a few ingredients. Then enjoy and eat well. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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