Boston Trio

Though I love New York’s Buffalo Chicken Wings (deep-fried doused in a spicy sauce), I am not fond of fried foods and decided to come up with a non-fried version. Like Buffalo Wings, these are great served with Blue Cheese Dressing and also with mango chutney.

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Cobb Salad

Packed full of protein and fat, Cobb Salad seems to be me the perfect fare for anyone on a low-carbohydrate diet. In 1936, so the story goes, Bob Cobb, the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, went into the restaurant’s kitchen and put whatever intrigued him into a salad. He served it to some friends, who later came back looking to have it replicated.

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Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad

Before I started writing cookbooks I owned From the Night Kitchen, a take-out shop in Brookline Village, Massachusetts. One couple used to come in every time they were going to take a trip (and they traveled a lot). They would have me pack a lunch for the plane that always included this salad. I always think of them when I fly and when I make this salad. They would certainly have agreed with Wolfgang Puck, chef and restaurateur, who said, “To me, an airplane is a great place to diet.” Unless, of course, you bring your own lunch.

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Thousand Island/Russian Dressing

For me, Thousand Island and Russian dressings are interchangeable, as they have as their chief components both mayonnaise and chili sauce. The name “Russian dressing” is really a misnomer because it’s come to be as American as apple pie. One rumor has it that the name derives from the fact that it originally had Russian caviar in it. Today, horseradish or hot dog relish often gives the dressing its texture.

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Blue Cheese Dressing

Thick and creamy, this can be used as a dip for crudités or Boston Trio chicken as well as a dressing on any green salad. A slightly updated but classic combo for this dressing is a wedge of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with bacon, avocado, and cherry or grape tomatoes. Another impressive salad combination is romaine lettuce with pears and lightly toasted walnuts. Burgers and roast beef sandwiches also benefit from this tangy combination, as do steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

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Caesar Salad Dressing

While this is the traditional dressing for a classic Caesar Salad – whole or chopped romaine lettuce, lots of Parmesan cheese (optional in the dressing but not in the salad itself), and croutons – you can use it as an all-purpose salad dressing. Additionally, you can substitute feta cheese for the Parmesan, and for a main course, add cooked chicken, shrimp, or steak.

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Pesto Dressing

When my friend Nancy served this dressing on a simple green salad for family and friends, everyone loved it but no one could guess what was in it. Pal Urit Chaimovitz guess artichoke hearts and husband Steve said honey. But it was 7-year-old Joey who put his nose toward the salad and correctly guessed pesto. While it’s great on any combination of mixed greens, it’s also perfect drizzled on tomatoes and goat cheese; chilled new potatoes; cold noodles with julienned vegetables; and pasta with halved grape or cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.

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Lemon Pepper Dressing

This tart and lively dressing can be used on salads and steamed vegetables (especially artichokes and broccoli), and drizzled on grilled chicken, salmon, or swordfish. Pepper lovers might want to increase the amount of one or both of the peppers (keeping in mind that the heat of the peppers strengthens as they sit). And of course, the pepper can be decreased or simply eliminated.

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Gazpacho

This refreshing raw summer soup is a salad in a bowl. The classic Spanish recipe has more olive oil and includes bread crumbs; this version uses less oil and substitutes croutons for the crumbs, reducing the calories and improving (I think) the flavor and texture. Dill and cilantro aren’t traditional Spanish flavors, but both work in this recipe. The feta isn’t traditional either, but it’s still very tasty.

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Broiled Salmon with Mustard and Brown Sugar

Making dinner doesn’t get any simpler than this. Slathered in a slightly sweet, spicy mustard sauce, this salmon is great paired with a dark green vegetable. I’m partial to broccoli myself.

Serves 6

1½ to 2 pounds salmon fillet, tiny bones removed with a tweezer, cut in half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Place the mustard, brown sugar, and chili powder in a small bowl and mix to combine.

3. Place the salmon in a large baking dish and smother with the mustard mixture. (The salmon can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours or frozen up to 2 weeks.) Sprinkle with the salt and place under the broiler. Cook until browned on top and just undercooked inside, about 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Cut each half into 3 pieces and serve immediately.

From From Warehouse to Your House: More Than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)