For a tasty twist on traditional croutons, cut leftover cornbread or biscuits into 3/4-inch cubes. Drizzle with a little olive oil or melted butter, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, and bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
Quick-cooking and low in fat, turkey tenderloins are always a favorite and are a great addition to a salad. They're every bit as easy to prepare as pork tenderloin. Just season as desired, and grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) for 25 to 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion reads 170°. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Flavored oils and vinegars offer endless possibilities for creating your own salad dressing. The ratio for a classic vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar or fresh lemon juice, but the proportions can be adjusted according to taste. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Substitute fruit preserves or jam for a portion of the oil. Fresh herbs and aromatics, such as minced shallots or garlic, and fresh ginger are also great options.
- Whisking in a little mustard will emulsify the mixture and will help prevent the oil and vinegar from separating. Just remember to always add the oil after all the other ingredients have been mixed together.
- Nut oils can vary in strength and richness. You may want to combine them with a little olive oil when preparing a vinaigrette. To ensure freshness, look for a production date on the label, and refrigerate after opening.
- White balsamic vinegar has the same sweet taste as the traditional brown balsamic vinegar, but it can be added to foods without discoloring them.
- A terrific way to flavor and tenderize less expensive cuts of meat, vinaigrettes also make a memorable marinade.
"From Our Kitchen: Spring Greens" is from the March 2006 issue of Southern Living.