NOW IT'S TIME FOR SALADS

Well, that was fun while it lasted. • The cakes, the cookies, the candy canes and champagne — they're all increasingly fleeting memories. Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. • Now it's time for salads. • Don't groan. Salads are great, even if you haven't made a weight-loss resolution. They're good for you, they're delicious and they can contain almost any combination of ingredients in creative ways. • Start with a base of lettuce, usually. It can be peppery (think arugula, radicchio or watercress), it can be buttery (think Boston lettuce), it can even be almost sweet

(think baby greens). • Add whatever vegetables you like, from artichoke hearts to raw zucchini. Tomatoes and a mild form of onion are always welcome. You can boost both the taste and the tactile appeal with a bit of crunch — croutons, perhaps, or toasted nuts or seeds. Add hard-boiled eggs and cheese, if you like. And all of that comes before you even settle on a dressing.

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