When it comes to salads, are you a dipper, topper or a mixer?

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

The frequency with which we eat salads may provide clues about our personality type. Those of us who eat salads at least once a week are considered more trustworthy than those who never eat salads. Those who eat salads at least five or more times a week are considered less shy than those who eat salads less often.
With what meals do you usually consume a salad? Do you eat your salad as your main meal or at lunch? Those who consider themselves athletic do not usually eat salads as their main meal at dinner.

Are you a dipper, topper or a mixer?
According to a recent survey, people who dip their greens into their salad dressing (i.e. “dippers”) tend to be more spontaneous and outgoing than “mixers,” who mix their dressing throughout their salad. Mixers see themselves as more sociable than “toppers,” who simply dump their dressing on top of their greens and then chomp away. Toppers tend to be more shy than either mixers or dippers.
Which one are you?
Gender and age also seems to play a role in salad eating. Men are more likely to be toppers, while most women are mixers. Seniors (those 55 years and older) tend to eat salads more frequently.
In case you were interested, Italian is the No. 1 dressing of choice, followed by Ranch and then Blue Cheese.

Santa Fe Steak Salad
This hearty steak and salad meal can be served for either lunch or dinner.
1-1/2 tsps. chili powder
1-1/2 tsps. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 Tbsps. olive oil
1 to 1-1/2 lbs. boneless sirloin or top round steak, 1-inch thick, trimmed of fat
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen corn, thawed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 Tbsps. fresh basil, chopped
2-3 pickled jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips
2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
1 small head red leaf lettuce
In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Rub one tablespoon of oil on the meat, then rub the spice mix into the meat. Allow to marinate while preparing the vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a medium skillet, sauté the red onion in one tablespoon of oil for one minute; add the corn and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer to a bowl, add the tomatoes, basil and chilies and gently combine.
Roast the steak for 15-18 minutes for medium rare. Let stand for 10 minutes more, then slice into thin strips. Combine the pan juices from the steak with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates, dividing the corn mixture and steak, and drizzle the dressing over the salads. Makes 4 servings.

Baby Greens Salad with Grapefruit
This is a great luncheon salad, combining grapefruit, endive, baby greens, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, capers and olive oil.
1 medium-size grapefruit
1 medium-size head Belgian endive
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. capers, drained
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive or salad oil
8 oz. bag mixed baby greens or salad greens
Cut out sections from grapefruit and reserve any juice; set aside. Cut endive lengthwise into matchstick-thin strips.
In a large bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, capers, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of reserved grapefruit juice. Using a wire whisk or fork, slowly beat in olive or salad oil until mixture thickens slightly.
Add salad greens, grapefruit sections and endive to dressing in bowl; toss to coat. Makes 4-6 servings.

Caesar-Style Salad
This is not the classic Caesar salad, as it uses a combination of romaine and Bibb lettuce … and no raw eggs!
3 1/2-inch thick slices French bread, cubed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups Bibb lettuce, torn
3 cups Romaine lettuce, torn
Parmesan cheese, grated
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread bread cubes on baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until toasted.
In a small bowl, stir together lemon juice, oil, anchovy paste, garlic and pepper. Remove toasted bread from oven and place in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the dressing mixture over the croutons; toss to coat.
In a salad bowl, toss together Bibb and romaine lettuce. Add croutons, remaining dressing, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese; toss well. Makes 4 servings.

Cucumber Salad with Wasabi Dressing
Transport your taste buds to the Far East with this fresh salad.
2 Tbsps. Wasabi paste
2 medium cucumbers
1/4 red onion
3 Tbsps. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dried cilantro leaves
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
Seed and slice cucumbers lengthwise into quarters, and then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Cut onion into thin slices. In a small bowl, stir rice vinegar, brown sugar and cilantro into Wasabi sauce.
Just before serving, toss together cucumbers, onion and peanuts. Whisk dressing and pour over salad; toss. Serve on lettuce leaves, if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, email him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.