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Salads for summer

July 14, 2011

By Ginger Isham

Hot days are here! I think it would be nice to hire a summer cook who would shop and develop new ideas — although I enjoy shopping in air-conditioning. My mother used to say she wished the family would tell her what they wanted to eat, and she would just make it instead of coming up with the menu herself. Maybe some of you like this idea, too, so here goes:

Pasta with ginger, mushrooms and tuna

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cut up fresh mushrooms
5 cups cooked ziti
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup flaked white tuna (may use canned white albacore in water)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry white wine

Saute mushrooms quickly in oil, until brown. Remove from heat and combine with cooked ziti, ginger and tuna. Sprinkle with lemon juice, wine and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature (or can make ahead and serve cold).

Red and green fettuccini

4 cups cooked spinach fettuccini (before cooking break into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup red stemmed Swiss chard chopped and blanched (use green tops and red stems)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 red pepper, cut into slivers

Combine all salad ingredients and toss with dressing, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Quick potato salad

6 large potatoes; cooked, peeled and sliced (I like Yukon gold)
3 slices of bacon (I use the 50 percent fat free bacon bits already cooked)
1 chopped onion
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced dillweed

Saute onion in bacon fat or, if not using bacon, a small amount of olive oil. If using bacon, fry crisp and break into small bits. Combine all ingredients and serve warm.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.