Weekly Food for Thought with a food tip on yogurt, how to jazz up your average salad and more.

Lighter, warm-weather fare doesn't mean a boring bed of lettuce. There are plenty of delicious ways to get creative with your leafy greens. Here are a few tips:

* Go nuts: Almonds, pecans and walnuts provide flavor, body and crunch, giving your salad the perfect boost.

* Add veggies: Snap peas provide a fresh and delicious crunch, and cucumbers are a cool and refreshing addition.

* A fruitful effort: Dried or fresh fruits provide sweet and tart flavors to complement the more bitter varieties of leafy greens, like arugula. Try mixing dried cranberries and walnuts for a great one-two punch.

* Say cheese: The right cheeses provide a rich and savory boost to your salad. Feta works well with a vinaigrette dressing, and freshly shredded Parmesan is a great way to top off almost any salad.

* Fire up the grill: Beef up your salad with a cut of fine meat, marinated in your favorite dressing. Then, drizzle the dressing on your salad, too.

-- ARA

Food tip: How yogurt is made

Yogurt is filled with healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In order to be labeled "yogurt," the FDA requires these two bacteria, but manufacturers can add other probiotics, too. The bacteria is added to a warm milk bath where they proceed to ferment and coagulate into a semisolid, producing tangy lactic acid.

-- CookingLight.com

Easy recipe: Asian Steak Salad Marinade and Dressing

1/3 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup vegetable oil

For marinade, combine all ingredients in small bowl; whisk until blended. Reserve 2/3 cup for salad dressing.

-- www.fishernuts.com

Did You Know?

At room temperature, bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes. The more bacteria there are, the greater the chance you could become sick. – FoodSafety.com

Food Quiz

Befitting an ancient fruit, the pomegranate's name comes from the Latin 'pomum granatus'. What does 'pomum granatus' mean?

A. red pulp

B. tart fruit

C. seeded apple

D. sticky delicacy

-- funtrivia.com

Answer is at bottom of column

Wise to the Word: earthenware

Clay bakeware that is glazed with a hard, nonporous coating. If high-fired, the earthenware is hard; low-firing produces soft, fragile ware. Because of its inherent ability to release heat slowly, earthenware is favored for dishes requiring lengthy cooking, such as baked beans and stews. Care must be taken to cool earthenware slowly and completely before washing in order to prevent the glaze from cracking. Once the glaze cracks, the exposed surfaces can adversely affect the flavor of foods cooked in the container.

-- epicurious.com

Number to Know

490: One cranberry scone from Starbucks is 490 calories.

 -- calorieking.com

The Dish On …

“In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks” by Ted Allen

As host of Food Network’s hit show "Chopped," Ted Allen presides in pinstripes and sneakers while chefs scramble to cook with mystery ingredients. But at home, Ted is the one chopping the vegetables and working the stove, trying unusual ingredients and new techniques, from roasting earthy sunchokes in a piping-hot oven to develop their sweetness or transforming leftover pinot noir into complexly flavored homemade vinegar. In fact, it’s discoveries like these that propel him into the kitchen nightly.

-- Crown Publishing Group

Food Quiz Answer

C. seeded apple

GateHouse News Service