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Salads & slaws

Do you have a favorite salad? I don't. That's because I've hardly found one that doesn't appeal to me. But there was a time when my view of a salad was pretty myopic -- some iceberg lettuce with maybe a cherry tomato or two smothered by too much ...

Do you have a favorite salad?

I don't. That's because I've hardly found one that doesn't appeal to me.

But there was a time when my view of a salad was pretty myopic -- some iceberg lettuce with maybe a cherry tomato or two smothered by too much French or Thousand Island dressing.

These days, I'm only limited by my imagination. Or I should say my wife's imagination.

We have salad just about every night for supper, and Therese usually makes it. And not any two are alike. Generally, one of her salads might feature one or two kinds of lettuce or other greens (now, it could be beets, spinach or Swiss chard). But after that, anything and everything is in play.

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Just recently, we had a salad that contained black beans, another that starred corn (cut off leftover cobs) and a third that featured apple. (We prefer our fruits and veggies raw to prevent nutrient loss.)

And I'd be remiss not to mention our cabbage salads, or slaws if you prefer, that are nothing like the ones I had as a kid. (We all remember Mom's coleslaw, a creamy mixture that most likely contained mayonnaise or Miracle Whip and maybe a little sugar and vinegar.)

While the creamy version has always been a favorite of mine -- and we still occasionally have one -- I'm coming around to the kind of slaw that relies solely on oil, vinegar, sugar and a little salt and pepper simply because it's healthier.

Our cabbage slaws usually contain more than cabbage. If there are some extra carrots or broccoli lying around, they more than likely will find their way into one of Therese's slaws.

One advantage slaws have over regular salads is the wilt factor. Sometimes, lettuce salads can be problematic because that type of produce just doesn't keep as well as slaw ingredients. But probably the biggest plus of slaws is that they make raw veggies tastier.

I got into the slaw act the other day with an improvisation of a recipe that was given to me by Susan Belcourt, who along with her husband, Joe, exercises at my fitness center. The recipe calls for a broccoli/carrot/red cabbage mixture, which you can buy prepackaged at the supermarket, and is mixed with chopped green onions, vegetable oil, cider vinegar and honey. My version used fresh veggies that I put through a food processor and some chopped-up Vidalia onion.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in salad heaven when I attended a block party in our East Grand Forks neighborhood. Besides Therese's broccoli salad (one of my favorites), there were another four or five that were mighty tasty. They not only were pretty on the plate but also on the taste buds.

I can't wait to get the recipes.

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Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136; (800) 477-6572, ext. 136; or jtiedeman@gfherald .- com.

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