Recently, I was invited to a gathering and asked to bring something. Since
I had been away, there was very little in the house to choose from, but I
did have quite a bit of brown rice cooked and cold. Made a quick salad of
that which I will share later.
It got me to thinking about transporting food safely and easily. I had to
learn this the hard way long ago after a clam chowder spillage in my
station wagon. It stunk for years, not months. I used to transport soups
and chowders in a big canner. I filled it too full before I thought to use
two of them filled halfway. Then I used a couple of cement blocks or rocks
to keep them from slipping. Of course, they wouldn't fit in a cooler, so I
got the bright idea to freeze blocks of ice, put them in heavy plastic bags
and into the middle of the chowder to transport. I did the same thing on a
smaller scale the other day with a crockpot chili.
In this summer heat, it is so important to keep food out of the sun,
refrigerated and safe from bacteria. Put potato or macaroni salad away as
soon as everyone has been served. Deviled eggs are delish, but need to be
consumed immediately and not left on the buffet table to languish in the
heat. I know I have mentioned it before, but anything with mayonnaise or
egg is suspect. If you or your kids take a water bottle with your lunch,
freeze the bottle and use it to keep the lunch cold and it will be
defrosted enough to drink by lunch time. No need for the blue things.
Brown Rice Salad
3 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup minced onion
2 carrots, grated or cut in thin strips
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon parsley or cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Mix all the above in a large bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.
Dressing: Use a jar with a cover and compose in the order given,
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Cover and shake. Pour over rice mixture and chill in the fridge for at
least 2 hours. Overnight is also fine.
It almost wouldn't be summer without this fresh cold soup. Some people like
it chunky with all the ingredients showing, some like it pureed. I like it
any way it comes as long as the tomatoes are fresh, fresh, fresh!
6 large ripe tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 medium sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cups tomato juice
2 cups of beef broth or water
Hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and seed the tomatoes. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Do the same with the
cucumbers and bell pepper. Mince scallions and onion. Mash the garlic with
a little salt. Combine oil and vinegar, put into vegetables, add tomato
juice and broth or water. Season with the rest of ingredients, blend and
Pretty & Easy Tomato Salad
2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch
2 balls of fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lettuce or spinach leaves to line a serving plate.
Arrange the tomato slices on the greens and top with cheese slices. Mix
together the oil, vinegar and sugar, salt and pepper. Pour this over the
vegetables just before serving. Sprinkle basil on top and serve.
Notes & Tips:
The gardens are starting to produce! This is the time of year to enjoy
fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. Even if you don't grow your own, it is
wise to buy as much as you can at the lowest prices and can or freeze it.
We were blessed with a lot of broccoli this year. I spent a couple of hours
this morning cutting it up for the freezer. Cut it up into little trees and
soak for a half hour in cold salted water. Then, bring a couple of pots of
water to a boil and "blanch" the broccoli for three minutes. Pick it out of
the water with tongs and put into a dishpan full of cold water with some
ice added to cool it right away. Then remove from ice water with tongs onto
a clean towel. When dry, put into freezer bags, pack tightly, seal and
freeze. Takes less time and trouble than it sounds.
If you purchase SOS pads for cleaning pots, cut them in half with scissors
right away. This way you will never have to throw away rusted and unused
portions. A box of these pads will last much longer and your scissors will
get sharpened in the process.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting it in the fridge and it will keep
If using plastic containers to store tomato based sauces, spray the
container first with nonstick cooking spray and there won't be any stains.
I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.
Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.