Friday, September 3, 2010

2 Amazing Summer Salads for your Labor Day Feast

Hi Nanas! Ready or not, it’s Labor Day Eve. For those of us planning to host a get-together on our back patios, decks or place to breathe in the sultry September air, the party menu—at least I’m guessing—was planned weeks ago. So, in writing this, I am appealing to 1) Nanas who need just one more little item to complete the party spread or 2) those Nanas headed to a relative’s outdoor barbecue or dinner party, who don’t want to arrive empty-handed.

If you’re looking for a great recipe to whip up and wow the crowd when you set it upon the banquet or picnic table, look no further. I’m not only recommending two AMAZING summer salads that appeal to both meat lovers and vegetarians, but suggesting classy gear for food transport.

I’ve featured this product on Nana’s Favorite Things this week; it’s a salad on ice serving bowl that transports my Gazpacho Salad and Grilled Flank Steak with Peaches on its bed of summer crisp mesclun lettuce, beautifully and in one piece—no matter how far you travel by car. These dishes look so gorgeous under the salad bowl’s glass dome, it’ll be just the ticket, I think, to capture oohs and ahhs from fellow party guests at your next pot-luck.

Now, because of record breaking temps across the nation, guests may arrive at a Labor Day party thinking they aren’t that hungry; little do they know that the outdoor festivities they’ve been enjoying in the holiday heat have contributed to some mild (to major!) dehydration! They need to replenish their bodies with vital nutrients, and salads are the perfect way to go.

I love the Grilled Flank Steak and Peach Salad, especially. Why? Well, honestly because I’m a girl who appreciates a great steak, but beyond that who doesn’t love an excuse to cut up 2 enormous Georgia peaches and relish their sweetness in these last dog days of summer? It’s a hot salad—the steak is cooked on a grill—yet lovingly arranged on a bed of crisp cool greens. It’s a lighter dish than a big plate of barbecue and sides, so guests enjoy Nana’s peachy keen salad entrée with no guilt. If you’re thinking I can’t possibly be right in saying that because red meat is featured here, you’ll be emboldened by the following fact: There are at least 19 cuts of beef classified as lean or extra lean according to USDA labeling guidelines. On average, these cuts have just 6.2 grams of total fat and 2.3 grams of saturated fatty acids per 3-ounce serving. These meats are eye round, top round, round tip, top sirloin, bottom round, top loin, tenderloin and…drum roll…flank steak. So go ahead and fire up the grill!

Not a meat eater? No, problem. My other star salad—the Gazpacho Salad—is so pretty, so healthy, and so summer fresh you’ll want to drink it in, even though you’re going to need a fork. Seasoned with lime, garlic, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil and enough cold and crisp cucumber to bring down a fever, this one’s a winner! If you’re feeling like it’s too lightweight a presentation (not enough sustenance for hungry party-goers), you can always pair it with breadsticks on the side—or better yet, some cool sparkling water or light white wine. For this dish, I make my own croutons from whole wheat bread—you’ll see the instructions for this at the bottom of the recipe.

Bon Appetite, my friends…wherever Labor Day 2010 finds you!

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