I'm serving the salad portion at my church's progressive dinner party. I am making a Spinach & Strawberry Salad for twenty-two people. I want to add nuts to the salad, but can't decide which variety. Also what about the salad dressing? Should I keep the dressing on the side and offer more than one flavor. I was thinking poppy seed and a maybe a vinaigrette. What do you recommend?
Serving Salad in Sacramento
Dear Nuts to Salad,
How fun to be involved in a progressive dinner party. And lucky for you, you aren't serving the entrée! If I were you, I'd serve toasted slivered almonds to complement your Spinach & Strawberry Salad. Keep the nuts in a side dish with a serving spoon. You never know who might have a nut allergy. It is much more common these days.
I'd toss the salad with the poppy seed dressing just before your guests arrive. That way the tender spinach leaves won't wilt. And only offer one dressing. Keep things simple and easy for yourself. A progressive dinner should be fun for both you and your guests without a lot of fuss.
I bought fresh salmon at Kroger the other day. I cooked too much of it and wanted to put the leftover cooked salmon in a casserole the next day, but I wasn't sure if it was safe.
Unsure in Union County
Dear Unsure Salmon-Lover,
What a problem to have - too much salmon! Alas.
One can never have too much salmon - unless it is the old, smelly kind.
One of the best ways to tell if salmon is "good" is to use your nose. If it has an odor - you know, the "fishy" odor that turns most people off from eating fish - pitch it. Cooking it will not make it smell or taste any better.
Beyond the "fishy smell" factor, there is no reason you can't use salmon in a recipe the next day. If you love to eat salmon, but don't want to shop every day, buy extra, portion and freeze. Give yourself twenty-four hours to thaw frozen salmon in the refrigerator before you cook.
Leftover cooked salmon makes a delightful meal.
However, I would caution against putting cooked salmon in a casserole recipe that needs to bake for twenty minutes or more. Your already cooked salmon will become dry, overcooked and tough.
Try these easy-to-prepare recipe ideas next time you make a little too much salmon instead:
Always buy domestic salmon (when you can) and if you buy frozen salmon don't forget to read the label. Look for the words "domestic," "sustainable" or "caught in the USA."
Maureen C. Berry is the copyeditor and food writer at SurfKY.com. When she’s not writing or cooking, she’s photographing wildlife in her backyard. Maureen founded Center Street Writers' Guild in conjunction with Hopkins County Public Library. CSWG offers free writing/critique workshops. She lives in Western Kentucky with her husband and wire fox terrier, Reagan. Follow her on Twitter @seafoodladyorl.
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