Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Salads of Summer

So you already know since my very first post on our blog was about wine, I love wine. But that's not all. What else do I love that goes great with wine? Chocolate, yes. Cheese, yes. Lounging around with friends, yes. All of these are fabulous pairings for a rich and happy life.

The point I am really trying to get to is that I also love great food. I love to cook and eat wonderful food. I thought I would share today's offering.
I grew up on a farm in Tennessee and we always had lush gardens this time of year. If you come to visit us and see our front or backyards you will see how that has carried on in Catonsville! This time of year my absolute favorite thing to eat on a hot summer day is a huge salad piled high with lettuce, herbs and flowers from my garden. Herbs don't only taste good, they have loads of health benefits. There are also lots of flowers, both common and uncommon, that are edible and quite delicious. Daylilies, nasturtium, pansies, hibiscus and chrysanthemums are just a few of the tasty delights you may have right in your yard. Also, if your herbs or lettuce goes to flower, usually the flowers taste similar to the herbs themselves. Arugula flowers are just as flavorful and peppery as the arugula itself.

Salads alone can be boring, but add to them a big pile of fresh herbs and they become quite amazing. You can see here my lunch from today...
The ingredients from my garden were:
Mixed lettuces
Arugula & Arugula flowers
Thyme & Thyme flowers
Yarrow & Yarrow flowers
Lemon Basil
Onion flowers
Garlic flowers
Elecampane flowers
Lavender flowers (not too many unless you're looking to take a nap after lunch!)

Also I made a fresh salad dressing that you might like to try:

2 tablespoons soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon Veganaise (or mayonnaise)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of ume´ plum vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Chef's note: The above measurements are estimates because I don't typically cook with measuring cups. Also, you can find ume´ plum vinegar at Whole Foods or Roots. It is the key element in making the dressing so yummy!

Here is a favorite homemade salad dressing of Rissa's too:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne
Heat oil and cumin in a small pan over low heat about two minutes until cumin is fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with other ingredients.


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