Tag: salad greens

The Vinaigrette

When Dan and I got married, dear friends gave us a wedding gift of a wooden salad bowl and tongs, as well as several favorite salad and vinaigrette recipes.

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Eventually the tongs took on multiple uses, such as a drumstick for banging pots and pans when my boys were toddlers, and sadly, one day the tongs broke.  But we still use that wooden bowl for delicious salads, which, at their very core, consist of fresh greens and a vinaigrette.

The basis for every vinaigrette is three parts oil mixed with one part acid. The acid is usually a vinegar but can also be a citrus juice.  You can make any amount of dressing that you want and add all sorts of good stuff, but if you want the dressing to mix well and taste good, stick to an approximate 3:1 oil/acid ratio.  

How to choose your oil and vinegar?  1) Whatever tastes best to you!  2) Whatever complements your salad toppings. Here’s what I choose from most often:

OILS

  • olive
  • avocado
  • canola
  • sesame (in combination with olive or canola)

VINEGARS/CITRUS

  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • unseasoned rice vinegar
  • lemon juice

Combine your oil and vinegar in a jar or bottle, add a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and shake, shake, shake it! You’ve just made your own salad dressing. 

If you want to get a little more creative, here are some of my favorite ingredients to add, NOT all in the same dressing.

ADDITIONS

If you’ve never made your own dressing before, please don’t let all these lists intimidate you! Think of them as tools for unleashing your creative culinary genius on your next salad.  If you’d like specific recipes, here are a couple combinations I used in the past week.

For the single-serving salad I posted about on Monday, I made this:

Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • one clove minced garlic

On Sunday I made a chopped spinach salad (8 oz spinach) with blue cheese, chopped Paula Red apples, and caramel corn.  (Yes, caramel corn.  What can I say–I ran out of pecans but had just opened a bag of Chicago style popcorn!)  We’ll call this a honey mustard vinaigrette because syrup mustard just doesn’t quite sound right.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Rogers Golden Syrup (I ran out of honey.  Fortunately I had this cane syrup that, sadly, you can only purchase in Canada.  Thanks to my parents and Canadian relatives for keeping me stocked in this deliciousness!)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Note: My 8-year-old Harper declared this salad delicious and a little sour–I took that as an okay to make it again this week. 🙂

If you don’t use all your vinaigrette at once, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer, depending on your ingredients.  Make sure to shake it up again before using to mix together the oil and vinegar.

What’s your favorite vinaigrette?

Photography: Anne Kingma 

The Salad

Let’s talk about the most basic way to eat those leafy greens you’ll find nearly every week in your share: The Salad.

 Fresh greens and root crops make up the bulk of your fall share, and one of the great things about our greens is that they’re almost always harvested the morning of distribution, and if not the morning of, you’re getting them within just a a few days of harvest.  We’re talking serious freshness here, people.  Which makes them perfect for a leafy salad.

If you’re looking for something specific, try these fall salad recipes from the farm blog: Kale Salad with Apples and Figs , Chopped Salad with Asian GreensGreen with Maple Apples and Onions.

But this post is less about giving a specific recipe and more about giving you ideas for how to make a salad of whatever you have in the house, Waste-Free-Kitchen-yet-still-super-tasty-style.

The most basic salad is a simple side salad made up of about an ounce of fresh greens and tossed with your favorite dressing.  (Or, if you’re Farmer Dan, just greens.  For real!)

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1/4 oz serving for child / 1 oz serving for adult

We, however, often eat salad as our lunchtime meal, a time when we need more than greens to power through the rest of the day.  In this case, I like to top 2-3 ounces of greens with some combination of the following:

Savory Salad

fresh veggies, chopped or grated (peppers, cucumbers, beets, radishes)

cheese, grated or cubed (cheddar, havarti, pepper jack, mozzarella)

beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto)

meat (usually leftovers from the night before)

hard-boiled egg, chopped

fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, oregano, basil)

tortilla chips, crumbled

dressing (sometimes store-bought; sometimes a quick, homemade-for-one vinaigrette)

Sweet Salad

fresh fruit, chopped or sliced (apples, pears, strawberries, grapes)

cheese (Brie, cheddar, Camembert, blue cheese, gouda)

caramelized onions and garlic

nuts, chopped (pecans, walnuts, almonds)

dressing, like poppyseed or a honey-mustard vinaigrette

Here we go.  I’m going to make a salad here and now out of whatever’s in my fridge, pantry and garden, and show you what I come up with.  Be right back!

This is what I came up with:

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A little bit of this, a little bit of that: pepperoni, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, brick cheese, green onions, olives, red-wine vinegar/avocado oil/garlic vinaigrette

I used salad greens but you can use any type of green for your base–spinach, kale, mustard greens, tat soi, bok choy, beet greens–any kind of green!  Each one will give your salad a slightly different taste and texture–yay for culinary adventures!

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Later this week we’ll talk more about vinagraittes, the quick-and-easy salad dressing you can make in less than five minutes and that can truly make or break your salad’s flavor.

What are your favorite salad toppings?

Recipe: Thanksgiving Salad with Apples, Beets, Brie and Candied Pecans

Believe it or not, we’ve arrived at our final week of fall share distribution! Week Seven of sweet spinach and buttery salad greens, candy carrots and sturdy beets, savory green onions and crisp radishes.

BeetsHead Lettuce 1Gardenjust the carrots166daikon in the ground before harvestIMG_1079cropped-200.jpg

As we approach Thanksgiving, I’d like to share how thankful I am for you, our farm members.  I appreciate your willingness to try new foods (like beets and green smoothies!), for your feedback on recipes, for remembering our goats with sweet treats, for chilly-afternoon conversations, for jars of homemade goodies. It’s truly a pleasure to grow for you.

Farm Member MontageI’d also like to leave you with a recipe you can use as part of your Thanksgiving meal.   We make a variation of this salad for pretty much all of our fall/winter get-togethers, be it an annual friend get-together known locally as Friendsgiving,  a church potluck, or the big Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

This salad packs a punch when it comes to vitamins, fiber, and texture. Let’s dig in and get started with the beets.  (For those of you who still are on the fence about beets, this salad can survive without them!)  We’re going to do the same thing we did in the very first recipe of this series—thinly slice and gently steam the beets.  A few of you have asked about peeling the beets–good question!  I rarely peel mine, but you’re welcome to if you have a texture preference. When the beets are finished steaming, set them aside to cool.

Meanwhile, melt a little butter over medium-high heat in your cast iron skillet or frying pan.  Toss in your pecans, add a little brown sugar, and stir until your pecans are caramelized, about 5 minutes.  Set the pecans on a sheet of wax paper to cool. When you sample one right out of the skillet, try not to burn your mouth (ahem, not that I’ve ever done that before).  If you don’t have time to caramelize your own pecans, you can always substitute a store-bought variety.

Pecans 2

Next, make your dressing.  I made a variation of cider vinaigrette from this Taste of Home salad recipe.  Whisk together apple cider, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard, and oil with a little salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Dressing

Slice the brie into 1/2″ pieces and place in a microwaveable dish. I chose the PrĂ©sident brand for its mild taste and smooth texture. You’re welcome to leave on or cut off the rind according to your preference.

Brie

The prep is almost done! Chop up the apple of your choice–I prefer Honeycrisp or Gala for something sweet or Granny Smith for tartness. Find a bowl appropriate to the size of your gathering, and fill it with a combination of baby spinach, baby salad greens, and/or torn head lettuce.  (If you’re feeling daring, throw in a little mesclun too!)

Right before serving, gently warm the brie in the microwave so it’s just beginning to melt.  Then place about two-thirds of each salad topping–including the warmed brie–on the greens, and toss everything together. The idea is to make sure the last guest to be served still gets the goodies! Lightly drizzle a few tablespoons of dressing over the salad.  Then sprinkle on the remaining toppings and make your salad sparkle with a little more dressing.

You can feel the satisfaction of serving a delicious and nutritious dish to complement your holiday feast.

Plated 3 (From Top)

A few notes:

1) A lot of the salad prep can be completed ahead of time, like the beets, pecans, and dressing.  You can even chop up the apples the day before—just make sure you toss them with lemon juice to keep them from browning.

2) Pour the remaining dressing into a small pitcher or serving dish and place on the holiday table for those who prefer even more flavor.

3) This salad is ripe for variations.  Don’t like brie?  Use gorgonzola, camembert, or a good cheddar.  Instead of apples or beets, try dates or pears.  Choose toppings that make your mouth water!

Leave a comment and let me know about your experience with the Thanksgiving salad!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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6 Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Each week you, as a farm member, take home 5-8 different types of leafy greens:

  • Baby salad greens
  • Baby spinach
  • Mesclun mix
  • Beet greens
  • Radish greens
  • Carrot tops
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard

Fall Share You’re receiving enough leafy greens by now that you could probably eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I want to help you do just that.  Here are six ways you can eat your greens this week.

1. In a Sandwich

The boys and I had lunch at the park last week, and I brought the fixing for bologna sandwiches.  I made mine by lightly spreading mayonnaise over Wasa rye crisps, then adding two pieces of bologna and a generous layer of mustard greens.  If I’d thought to bring them along, I would have added green onions.  So delicious I had to make another.

2. As a Base

Tender baby salad greens, mesclun mix, and/or baby spinach work wonderfully as a base for fried rice.  I make Indonesian fried rice (Nasi Goreng) and place it directly from the hot wok onto a plate of greens, where the heat from the rice gently wilts the greens.  You can also use salad greens as a base for re-heated leftovers or stir-fry.

3. Sautéed or Steamed

This is the perfect option for cooking greens like Swiss chard, kale, and large spinach.  One of Dan’s favorite side dishes is lightly steamed Swiss chard sprinkled with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

4. As a Salad

This option almost goes without saying.  Try a savory salad with fresh herbs, green onions, peanuts, and a touch of sesame oil one day, and a sweet salad with apples, toasted walnuts, and gorgonzola the next.  By varying your toppings (cheese, nuts, beans, fruits, veggies, meat, dressing), the possibilities are endless.

5. In a Soup

You can add chopped cooking greens to many soups.  One of our favorites is Spicy Potato Sausage and Greens Soup (From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook), a delicious soup made with chicken broth and topped with a spoonful of cream.  You can also make soups where greens star as the main ingredient.  This past summer I tried a new recipe, Kale Potato Soup, from the cookbook Simply in Season (one of our beloved cookbooks!).  The kale—cooked and pureed—turned the soup completely green.  Before I showed it to my boys, I told them we were having a very special dish for dinner: HULK SOUP.  Dinner that night was full of loud outbursts as we all morphed into Hulk over and over again, but Harper and Asher cleaned out their bowls with no problem.

6. In a Smoothie

Every day Dan and I drink a quart of green smoothie, a beverage made up of 1/2 to 2/3 greens, and 1/2 to 1/3 fruit.  I started drinking green smoothies about a year ago, after Dan’s parents introduced me to Victoria Boutenko’s Greens for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution.  Since then I’ve experienced an increase in energy and a significant decrease in allergic reactions—I think of green smoothies as my daily dose of a super-vitamin.

If you’ve never made a green smoothie before, here are two important considerations:

  • Use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Nutribullet. You can use a standard blender, but the greens may not blend well, resulting in an unpalatable drink.  Also, Boutenko describes how greens, which are high in cellulose, are more easily assimilated into the body when broken-down in a high-speed blender.
  • Rotate your greens for maximum nutritive benefits. Boutenko recommends rotating a variety of at least 7 greens.

For more information, read Boutenko’s “Guidelines for Green Smoothie Consumption for Optimal Health Benefits.” 

As I said at the beginning of this post, you’re getting enough greens to eat them for three meals a day—including breakfast.  This week I made a frittata with radish greens and beet greens, green onions, herbs, and potatoes.  Pair the frittata with a green smoothie, and you’re off to a great start to your day.

Potato Garlic Herbs

Begin by prepping the vegetables: chop the green onions, leafy greens of your choice, and herbs, and slice the potatoes.  I used fingerling potatoes in this recipe, sliced thinly so I didn’t have to cook them ahead of time.  If you don’t have fingerlings, use baby red or baby Yukon gold potatoes.

Once your veggies are ready, heat your skillet over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  I used my cast iron skillet—if you don’t have cast iron make sure your frying pan is flameproof as this dish requires broiling for its finishing touch.

Green Onions

Add the chopped green onions and sautĂ© for about three minutes, until they’re just browning around the edges.  Push the onions to the side of the skillet, then add the potatoes and spread them evenly over the base of the pan.  Let the potatoes sit for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly beat 6 eggs.  Add ÂĽ cup milk (I used whole milk) and add a touch of salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Potatoes in Skillet

Flip the potatoes and let the other side sit for about four minutes.  The first side should be golden brown.  Once the potatoes are done, add the greens, garlic, and herbs and cook for another two minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

Preheat the broiler to high.  Spread the greens/potato/herb mixture evenly over the base of the skillet, then pour the eggs over the potato mixture.  Press the veggies under the eggs, then evenly sprinkle the cheese on top.

Frittata in Skillet

Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until the eggs are just beginning to set.  Then place the skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (do not overbroil!) until the frittata is set and golden.

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You can serve the frittata hot, warm, or cold and cut into wedges.  If you’d like, serve with pancakes (I made gluten-free oatmeal pancakes) and a green smoothie made of spinach, beet greens, banana, and tropical frozen fruit mix.

Scroll down for the printables of the Potato, Green Onions, and Greens Frittata and the Every Day Green Smoothie.

How do you eat your greens?  I’d love to hear your ideas–leave me a comment and let me know!

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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