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Executive Chef Michael Davis believes a creative innovation of wholesome foods is the best approach to eating... foods unadulterated by chemicals, layered in flavors with a picturesque presentation. He received his A.A.S. in Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University.

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Cooking with Chef Davis

 
by Michael Davis, Executive Chef

 
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How about a salad?

The word salad often denotes a bowl of cut greens, sliced tomato, purple bermuda onion slice, a slice or two of cucumber, a couple of croutons.

Building the Perfect SaladFor many of us this represents the only form of raw vegetable that we get in our diets.

I love food, and wouldn't consider myself extremely health conscious. My love for food has led me to study nutrition, at one time which has aided me in my approach to sound nutritional cooking. However I have always enjoyed a nice salad.

Now common sense tells us that a salad is safe nutrition. I have never polled or asked but it is probably the first thing that I think of when I consider eating healthy or losing weight. I am estimating that this is a very common thought process.

Eating out is not really a realistic option, because of the money and the added calories. However salads at the house seem to be a hassle, and don't have the same flare.

What I would like to do is give us a different idea of what a salad is and make it simpler to have great salads at home.

The first thing I would ask you: What are your thoughts on a salad bar? If you have never eaten at one I would suggest going to your local grocery store that has a salad bar there. You can either put together a salad from the salad bar or look at the ingredients that they have available.

What do you like to have in your salad? Your options are many and here are some ideas. Buy your favorite greens mixture, find a store that sells bulk spring mesclun mix. Get your standard tomato and cucumber.

You can stay as simple or get as complex as you want.

You have the basics on your plate here are some options for vegetables you could have in addition to your base. Asparagus, green beans, snap peas, beets, corn, baby corn, radishes, sprouts, avocado, broccoli, artichokes, mushrooms... the list is really endless.

These vegetables, in most cases, are best blanched and shocked. Now this could be a hassle, my suggestion is to have them for a vegetable with a dinner some night and do enough to have leftover. Another option is to use canned, this is not as beneficial as fresh, nutritionally speaking. My thought is that if it keeps you eating salads then they are beneficial. Try getting low sodium ones.

Protein options are plentiful as well: grilled chicken, steak, seafood, hot and cold, hard boiled eggs, and again canned tuna and other seafood options. There is more planning for proteins, as with vegetables, but you could use the same philosophy and prepare extra for meals.

Cheeses may be thought of as unneeded additional fat calories, and in excess they could be. But unprocessed cheeses are beneficial to the digestive process and are very healthful. Grocery stores offer small portions of feta, blue, chevre, fresh mozzarella, mozzarella, jack, cheddar... the list goes on. These are all nice options to complimenting your salad.

Then toppings: croutons, chow mein noodles, nuts, raisins, craisins, fresh herbs, composed salads (potato salad, pasta salad)

Your dressing is best made from EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) which is a healthful fat. Whether you are using vinegar and oil, or a dressing try using one with EVOO. The amount you use should be minimized to what you need to enjoy your salad, keeping in mind that there are approximately 100 calories per tablespoon of fat, which even if healthful adds up quickly.

So, how about that salad?

Executive Chef Michael Davis believes a creative innovation of wholesome foods is the best approach to eating... foods unadulterated by chemicals, layered in flavors with a picturesque presentation. He received his A.A.S. in Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University.





@ 5:02pm ET on November 2, 2014
Thanks for the info.

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