Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Salad Days

tomato plants at Heritage Farm, Decorah, Iowa
I officially began eating garden salads on June 1, and that has been my dinner mainstay every day since. (I admit, I was gone three days to Iowa.) I find that not only does food taste better from the garden, but you're much more willing to put in the time washing and preparing it! I now get home just as tired as I always am, but for some reason what I most want to do is go out and pick lettuce, spinach, arugula and the occasional beet green and come in and wash and dry the stuff.

Looking for a way to supplement the lettuces, I cooked up a pot of lentils one day and made a jar of something called John's Oil and Vinegar Dressing (and which I am calling and labeling "Tahini Dressing" from the great cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce put together by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. I picked up the book on my trip to Heritage Farm/Seed Savers in Decorah, Iowa, last weekend. This cookbook has absolutely the best collection of simple, few-ingredient preparations for vegetables that grow in Midwestern gardens.

I've had salads topped with salmon with a sweet chili sauce dressing and with potatoes, lentils, artichoke hearts and the tahhini dressing. Radishes, of course. But by far the best meal was the first homemade pizza of the season. It only took slightly over an hour from start to finish and in that time I made the mozzarella, made the dough with the whey, picked and cleaned the spinach, sauteed the spinach, onion and a few leftover mushrooms, put the pizza together and baked it for 18 minutes. It made me very, very happy.

This week we had a 101 degree day (Tuesday) and today was in the low 60s. And the wind has been fierce, continuing to batter my peppers and tomatoes. I brought back two roma plants and an heirloom to replace some of my more wind-battered plants last week, only to submit them to this week's onslaught.

The real bad news in the garden this week is that both pear trees have died and tent worms/army worms have infested the apple trees. I killed them off yesterday, and bought a bottle of spinosad-- just in time because today, I can't believe it, but I discovered Colorado beetles on my potato plants! How can that be? I expected them to maybe show up late in the season, but no! I crushed every bug-- they're insanely defenseless because when you get close they just roll up and play dead. Tomorrow, everything will get a good spraying.

Tomorrow is the Farmer's Market, and I'm hoping there is still asparagus. I'll also pick up some green onions. Even without asparagus, I've got another week's worth of greens-- plus 2-3 meals of kale-- and then hopefully the snow peas that are blossoming now will be kicking in. I'm thrilled to see if I can keep this going...

John's Oil and Vinegar Dressing (a.k.a. Tahini Dressing)

1 cup red wine vinegar (I used white and a little balsamic to deepend the flavor)
1 cup olive or canola oil (I used local sunflower oil)
1 Tbs horseradish mustard
5 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs honey
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper

Mix ingredients in a container (I used an empty maple syrup bottle with a good pouring lid) and pour on greens. Also good on lentils and potatoes, beans, etc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wish I could have a salad with you...debbie papa