Monthly Archives: May 2015

Toss Up

When a friend ordered the composed salad at the restaurant we were lunching in last summer, it occurred to me that it would make a wonderful dish for entertaining. The various colorful vegetable and protein components looked so attractive arranged diagonally in stripes on a bed of lettuce and my friend could scoop it all onto her plate or pick and choose the elements she preferred. Easy and fun to assemble, it seemed like the perfect answer to the question of what to serve in this era of multiple dietary regimens.

So it didn’t surprise me when all of sudden the composed salad emerged as a major trend this summer. I keep running into articles touting it, and last week The New York Times (May 20, 2015, “The Salad: A Meal Unto Itself,” by Julia Moskin) offered a helpful outline of the categories to include. Something rich, something crunchy, cooked vegetables, something earthy, something meaty, something tangy, something sweet and juicy. Here’s a link to the article.

How I Kept the Guacamole Green

I made the guacamole as late in the day as possible. Still, I worried that it would turn brown before or soon after I arrived at the party I was taking it to over Memorial Day weekend.

However, along with her unbeatable recipe for guacamole (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1999), Ina Garten offers two invaluable tips for preventing the dip from discoloring:1) add the lemon juice as soon as you scoop the avocado out of the shells, and 2)press the plastic wrap right up against the guacamole when you cover it, since air is the enemy of avocado and you want to keep out as much as possible.

I followed Ina’s advice. Sure enough, the guacamole was as green when I left the party hours later as it was the minute I made it!

Coffee Roast

It’s important to ask weekend guests if they drink coffee in the morning and, if so, what kind they like. Too often hosts assume that their preferences will be yours.

A friend always served me hazelnut coffee, thinking she was giving me something special, until I admitted that I dislike flavored coffees. Now she buys a hazelnut creamer, so we can both enjoy the beverage.

A hostess one weekend kindly set up the coffee maker before she retired for the night, so we could simply press the brew button in the morning.  But just in the nick of time, we realized that she had filled the machine with decaf, not realizing how vital morning caffeine can be to addicts like us.

If I don’t get my caffeine fix, I lose all ambition and after a day or two without caffeine I develop a throbbing headache. That’s why, much to our hostess’ dismay, my husband and I went out for breakfast.