Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week One- Drunk on Chlorophyl

Ah Week One!  Opening that box of greens just made me want to dive right in and lap up all the chlorophyll I’ve been lacking since last fall.  My mind has been swimming with all sorts of creative ways to eat greens, but for this first week, when we’re all just so happy to have fresh, local, organic produce back in our fridges and bellies, I’m going to keep it simple.  While in a few weeks we might be looking for different ways to ‘use up the greens’, this first week I think we could probably enjoy just eating them right out of the bag, lovin' the cool, crisp crunch and the freshness that comes only with a lettuce leaf cut, washed and spun that very day, by the sweetest lil’ farmer you ever did know. 
So how to have perfect toppings and avoid that bad news bear we all know as canola oil that unless is certified organic, is from genetically modified canola plants?  Here's just a few ways.



This is my number one favorite way to eat and serve the salad mix; and it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Sally’s Favy Quick Dressing

1 part oil (I use extra virgin olive)
1 part maple syrup
1 part balsamic vinegar

Mix in a jar, shake well, drizzle over salad.

You can decrease the oil and increase the balsamic if you want, but this is the basic recipe.  I like to make a big batch in a jar to have enough for a weeks worth of salads, just shaking up the jar everytime I need some.  (Note: Don’t store it in the fridge as the oil will go thick and cloudy.  It’s fine at room temperature for a while.)

Along with the dressing, I like to toss in a few ‘salad accessories’, like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins.  If I’ve got an extra minute I’ll shave some radishes in, or crumble some feta, or toss in some black beans, or throw some left over quinoa in there.  But for tonight, first salad of Week One, we’re keeping it simple.


 Another favorite homemade dressing is my creamy poppyseed, for spinach salad.  With strawberries just around the corner (and don’t fall for that crazy/frustrating/deceiving Sobey’s scheme with the cheap American berries due to “challenging growing conditions in the Maritimes”), along with some almonds and sliced mushrooms, a classic spinach salad is a crowd pleaser anytime and place.  And the homemade version of this dressing is shockingly simple:
HomeMade Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
2 tbsp. cider vinegar (or white if that’s all you’ve got)
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
a splash of milk if you want to loosen it up a bit (but note it will not keep as long if you add the milk).

Again, I just add everything to a jar, shake it up and keep it in the fridge for when I’m ready to use it.  (It constantly amazes me that I can buy organic salad dressings, but I can’t buy organic mayonnaise to make my own and since canola oil is the main ingredient in mayonnaise, this one is a tough GMO to avoid.  Homemade mayo is a whole other challenge to itself, but truly is worth it if you can make the time for it.)


Although there was no proper romaine in this week’s share, the beautiful head lettuce could suffice for a sweet ceasar salad and with this homemade ceasar dressing, you can turn any salad into your best ever ceasar.  (This one is from Canadian Living.)

The Ultimate Ceasar Salad Dressing (doubled)
½ cup oil (I like something neutral like sunflower)
4 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 tsp. anchovy paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
6 tbsp. mayo 

The anchovy paste is getting increasingly hard to find here in Summerside, but it’s worth the search for this recipe alone.  It smells pretty funky and hardly seems worth it for 4 tsp., but it really does make a big difference in the flavour.  I’ve doubled this recipe because again, I like to make up a bunch and have it in the fridge so I’m not rushing around before supper trying to make dressing along with everything else.  Once you’ve made this once, you’ll not likely buy a ‘store bought’ ceasar dressing again.

The last dressing I’m going to include is a very straightforward, basic vinaigrette that will work with most any greens mixture.
Basic House Dressing/Vinaigrette

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon
½ tsp. thyme (fresh or dried)
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper

My sweet tooth likes the first, 3 ingredient dressing best, but if you prefer more bite and less sweet, this one might work better for you.  I find that letting it sit for a bit, to give the thyme and garlic to work themselves into the flavour, is best, but I often leave it to the last minute, which is ok too.
Can’t WAIT for week 2!  Got big plans for my mizuna and tatsoi!


(profuse apologies on the wierd formatting happening.  I have fought with blogger too long now to bother anymore, but surely will have it worked out for next time.)

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