by Deborah Eisenhut

Can anyone come up with a better reason to close the kitchen than to finally be able to eat less and play more? Let’s be honest, we all have been cooking & cooking & snacking for months like some kind of perpetual Thanksgiving pilgrims. Ok then, we all agree it is time to move outside and enjoy other kinds of sustenance. How about picnics and much easier and lighter food fare? Summer salads have everything going for them. Fresh, flavorful, colorful, easily prepared and portable. So our “new normal”, at least for the next few months is going to be delicious and refreshing. We are going to resist running back to the fast food restaurants and buffets. We are going to shop local and fresh now that we can, and our health and spirits will soar! Try these recipes and a new “outdoor” environment to enjoy them in…even if it is just our backyard or local park.

Tomato-Corn Salad
1/2 cup diced shallots (or onion)
1 tsp jalapeño minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbls butter
2 cups corn kernels
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
Saute 1st 3 ingredients in butter until slightly softened. Add corn & cook 4-5 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from heat; add tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Add s&p to taste. Mix gently. Chill if desired.

Watermelon, Feta & Blueberry Salad
2 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup blueberries
2 TBLS fresh lemon juice
2 TBLS honey
1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Mix watermelon & blueberries in bowl. In a cup mix lemon juice and honey; pour over fruit. Add mint & top with feta. Mix gently and chill.

Mexican Tortellini Salad
1 tsp minced onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup fresh cilantro
Juice and zest from large lime
1/3 cup evoo
salt & pepper
Package 16oz of quality cheese tortellini
1/2 cup corn
12 oz can of black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 chopped avocados
1/2 cup cojito cheese
Blend onion, garlic, cilantro & lime. Add evoo & season with s&p. Place 2 cups of cheese tortellini in a large bowl and add half of vinaigrette. Add cooled cooked corn, black beans tomatoes, & avocados. Add crumbled cojito cheese & s&p to taste.

Asian Bok Choy Salad
Mix 1/2 cup water & 1/4 cup sugar in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally to make a light syrup. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, soy sauce and evoo. Refrigerate. In medium bowl toss together 2 medium heads chopped bok choy
& 4 chopped green onions. Top with 1 cup pine nuts & 5 ounce can of chow mein noodles.
Sprinkle with chilled dressing to taste.