LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) --  Americans celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, lighting grills, and even firing up smokers.

Janine Washle from Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen stopped by WDRB in the Morning to display a variety of summer salads and festival Fourth of July desserts.

An array of grilled, or smoked meats are usually served with a variety of sides many of which are hearty salads. Cool salads complement, and enhance the flavors of grilled foods with their crunch, creaminess, and interesting flavor combinations. While we probably don't give it much thought, the wide variety of salad dressings, and types of salads can be largely credited to Americans of the early 20th century.

In the 1900's, American chefs put their creative minds to work, and came up with a variety of salad dressings. In fact, most of what we find on store shelves today are the same ones that were created in that salad heyday. Dressings like Green Goddess, French, Italian, and Thousand Island were all part of this salad renaissance. Creamy dressings were popularized when Richard Hellman, a deli owner in New York, began to sell mayonnaise. Mayonnaise itself though was created hundreds of years earlier in France.  Marzetti's brand salad dressings started appearing on store shelves because Joe Marzetti couldn't keep up with requests for his old world recipes.

Iconic salads like Waldorf, Cobb, and Caesar salads were part of this salad 'storm', and still are on menus nationwide. Interestingly, they were created by West coast chefs for Hollywood's movers and shakers during that time. International favorites such as Italian Panzanella, bread and tomato salad, can be found even today in many magazines, and online with dozens of variations. Nicoise Salad, from France is one of the most argued salads. What ingredients, proper assembly, and whether to serve on a bed of lettuce, or tomatoes makes this a real conversation starter, or ender depending on who wins the argument!

Then there's coleslaw.  Many would say coleslaw isn't salad it's just, well, slaw. But, if we take a look at the meaning of the word we can see that it indeed is a salad; a hearty one with a base of cabbage or at the least some sort of cruciferous vegetable. Coleslaw is from the dutch word, koolsla. 'Kool' meaning cabbage, and 'sla' the word for salad. Early Dutch settlers grew cabbage along the banks of the Hudson river in New York making slaw from their harvest as early as 1785. This dutch slaw was in a vinegary dressing. American slaw with a creamy style dressing evolved from this.

Armed with all of this salad knowledge, we can step into summer with delicious salads to enhance a meal, or be a meal in itself. So start chopping, and mixing because there is no better side to grilled and smoked meats than a cool, and refreshing salad.

Classic Cucumber Tomato Salad

Serves: 4

english cucumber, peeled, and sliced 
2large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into chunks 
1/4 cup sliced or diced sweet onion 
Vinaigrette: 
1/2 cupwater 
1/2 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar 
2 TB granulated sugar 
1 tsp sea salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper, optional 
1-2 tsp vegetable oil or other neutral oil 

Preparation:

In a large bowl, make the vinaigrette first by combining water, and vinegar. Whisk in sugar, salt, and pepper if using. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add oil and whisk to incorporate.

Add cucumber, tomatoes, and onion to vinaigrette. Stir several times to really infuse the vinaigrette with the tomato juices.

Cover bowl, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1-2 hours.

Keeps for about 7 days in the refrigerator.

NOTE: Do not keep adding vegetables to the original vinaigrette. Always prepare fresh vinaigrette.

About Janine Washle:

CloverFields Farm & Kitchen is primarily an on-line destination.  They are not open to drop-in visitors as it is a private residence.

"Authentically from Farm to Table"

CloverFields Kitchen researches and reinterprets many traditional recipes using local produce, much from their own gardens, and adding a global perspective.

"Exploring Global Tastes through Local Foods"

Janine is working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.

Connect with Janine and Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on the website, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest.

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