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Two Nights, Two Salads, Two Dinners

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Salad Number 1: Peppery or Bitter Greens with Seasonal Fruit and Roasted Nuts

Serves 4

Tender greens with somewhat assertive flavors, such as peppery arugula and watercress or bitter endive, or young dandelion go wonderfully with sweet citrus fruits like oranges, mandarins, and blood oranges, ripe pears or crunchy apples, and figs. Roasted nuts bring out the sweetness in the greens. There are endless possible variations on this theme. One of my favorites is arugula, blood oranges, and roasted pine nuts. Or, for an easy main-course luncheon salad, combine fris& eacute;e, quartered ripe figs, and walnuts, then top it with thin sheets of prosciutto or smoked goose breast.

• 8 cups (about 12 ounces) trimmed, cleaned, and dried peppery or bitter greens, such as arugula, watercress, frisée, Belgian endive, or radicchio
• Fruits, such as
1 medium ripe pear or apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 ripe figs, cut into quarters
2 navel oranges or blood oranges, peeled and sectioned
3 mandarin oranges, tangerines, or clementines, peeled and sectioned
8 kumquats, sliced crosswise into paper-thin slices

Sherry Vinaigrette:

• 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• Pinch of kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons water or juice from sectioned citrus fruits
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 to 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted nuts, such as pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts

1. Put the greens in a large bowl and scatter the fruit over them.

2. In a small bowl or a jar with a lid, combine the sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, salt, olive oil, and water. Stir or shake vigorously to emulsify. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat, seasoning liberally with pepper.

3. Scatter the nuts over the top. Serve at once.

Alternate dressing: Fig Vinaigrette:

1 Tbs fig preserves
1/3 Cup white or light vinegar
1 Cup olive oil
1 Tbs water
1/4 Tsp Paprika
1/4 Tsp Dried basil

Mix ingredients and chill. Shake well and pour over salad before serving.


Salad Number 2: Easy Summer Couscous Salad

Couscous is a pasta by way of North Africa and should be easy to find in the grocery. (Boxes should come with both stovetop and microwave cooking instructions.) This salad is good for when you just can't face another typical pasta salad at your block party, church picnic or family reunion. And this is just one version—feel free to change the herbs or to add any great vegetables you see at the market that weekend.

For couscous:

• 3 tablespoons butter from Cedar Summit Farm OR Organic Valley Vendors
• 1 cup couscous
• 2 cups water or chicken stock (you might need a little more to moisten)
• pinch salt

For salad:

• 2 to 3 small red onions
• 1 package feta cheese (about 5 to 7 ounces)
• 1 small bunch arugula (or parsley or basil)
• 2 tomatoes
• Vinaigrette
• Juice of one large lemon
• Olive Oil
• Salt/pepper

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water, butter and salt just to moment of boiling.

Add couscous and put cover on. Take the pan off the heat.

Let it stand for five minutes. Meanwhile, dice your onions and shred your arugula into small bite-size pieces. Cut tomatoes into small pieces and get rid of seeds.

When couscous has cooled, put it into your serving bowl. Fluff it with fork, moisten with water or stock if there any lumps. Blend in your onions, arugula and tomatoes.

Crumble feta into small pieces into salad.

In a small bowl or jar, whisk lemon juice and olive oil together. Grind a little fresh salt and pepper into vinaigrette. Stir into salad.

Remember you can change this with any number of variations—toast pine nuts and add them in, maybe try a few chickpeas. Diced red peppers, small black olives, any spicy dark green—they're all fun.