Tag: salad recipe

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: Fresh Mozzarella with Garlic, Tomato, Basil Sauce

Years ago, one of my favorite high school teachers, Mary Lagerwey, handed me the recipe below because she knew I liked (loved, really) basil.  

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This recipe’s seen a lot of love.

I’ve made this recipe for the past 15 years since then, with a few changes.  After having children, I cut way back on the red pepper flakes, sometimes eliminating them altogether.  If I forgot to seed the parsley on time, we’d go without.   And in an unexpected (at least for me) turn of events, I became a garlic farmer, and this dish became flavorful in a way I never thought possible.  

Then, this year, I saw fresh mozzarella in the store and for some unknown reason I was brought back to my time with Dan in Italy eating fresh cheese and tomatoes and basil right off the street and I wanted that again.  Since a return trip to Italy isn’t in the budget (goodness, it was barely in the budget then–we were eating on the street!), I decided to use the tried and true tomato and fresh basil sauce from from Mrs. Lagerwey, bringing a little bit of Italy to our Indiana table.  And the dish turned out to be delizioso–perfetto–gustoso! (That’s all I’ve got.)

Start with your tomatoes.  I know the summer garden season is almost over, but you should still be able to nab a pound of ripe, juicy tomatoes from your garden or farmer’s market.  I like to use a variety of colors–red, yellow, Green Zebra green–for beauty and flavor.  Cut out the cores and seeds, toss them in the compost bucket, and chop the meat of the tomatoes into 1-inch pieces.  Set aside the chopped tomatoes in a bowl.

Next comes the garlic!  If you haven’t purchased any of our garlic yet, now’s the time to do so.  (Yes, that was a shameless plug. For real though, the fresher your ingredients, the better this dish will taste.) Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic, then toss it on top of the tomatoes.

Now for the herbs.  I used to be very particular about tearing my basil because long ago I read in one my herb books that cutting the leaves discolors them.  I used to follow such directions.  Three kids and vegetable farm later, I chop them quick as can be with my trusty chef’s knife.  So chop (or tear) one cup of loosely packed basil leaves and a half cup fresh parsley, then toss the chopped herbs onto the garlic and tomatoes.  

Add a half cup of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more, depending on your audience), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a decent amount of freshly ground pepper, and a half cup of freshly grated Parmesan to the tomato/garlic/herbs.  Toss this all together and let marinate for at least a half an hour, but preferably longer (if you can wait that long to eat this!).

When you’re ready to eat, slice a pound of fresh mozzarella, then lay the slices on a platter.  (I used to make my own mozzarella, but now–yes, three kids and a vegetable farm later–I buy it at Costco.)  Pour that lovely tomato-garlic-basil sauce over the tomatoes,  and sprinkle another quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan over the top.  You can serve this with pasta, crackers or crusty bread, or we like to eat it as is.  Whatever you decide, enjoy!

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Recipe: Baby Beet Greens with Caramelized Onions, Pears, and Goat Cheese

Flowers of spring

Nearly every Friday at the Perkins’ household, we have Family Movie Night together. The evening basically involves eating pizza on the couch, sipping root beer, and watching a kid-appropriate movie, then dealing with two over-excited boys who would rather battle whatever villain we just encountered in the movie than go to bed.

My boys prefer plain cheese pizza. Dan and I, however, like our pizza topped with caramelized onions, thin slices of pear, mozzarella, parmesan, and goat cheese. So every Friday afternoon around three, I heat a few pats of butter and a little olive oil in the cast iron skillet, slice a couple onions, and, slowly, our home fills with the aroma of onions cooking down into savory-sweetness.

Pizza with carmelized onions and goat cheese

 What does all this have to do with a salad? Well, one time, a while back, I got a little carried away with the toppings prep, and I ended up with more than we could put on a pizza. At our house, leftovers have a tendency to end up on a bed of greens. The onions/pears/goat cheese combo was no exception—and we discovered it was just as good as a salad as it was on a pizza.

Carmelized onions and pear salad

You’ll want to start this recipe by caramelizing the onions, as this process takes a little while. I begin by heating my cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, I add the fats—butter and olive oil—and wait for them to sizzle. Meanwhile, thinly slice (about 1/8”) two large yellow onions, then toss them in the skillet, stir them around to coat with the butter and oil, and turn the heat to low. Now you’re going to let them cook down for 45-60 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes or so. The key to caramelizing onions is allowing them to cook slowly (for more details, check out this site), so now is a good time to prep your other ingredients.

Thinly slice three small pears—I use d’Anjou here—and set aside. Trim the stems from your baby beet greens, and place in a salad bowl for a family-style meal or on small plates for individual servings. A quick note here on the greens. I’m using beet greens in this recipe because their firm texture holds up well under the heated onions and pears which will eventually top them, and because I like their subtle, earthy beet flavor. They’re also incredibly good for you, including nutrients such as choline and folate. If you don’t have beet greens, try spinach or a salad mix.

Now it’s time to go back to those onions. Once they’re finished cooking, you’re ready to deglaze and scrape up the little bits of flavor on the bottom of the skillet. I used ¼ cup cooking sherry today, but sometimes I use balsamic vinegar if I’m in the mood for a little kick. If you don’t have either of those in the house, try wine or even water for this step.

Leaving the onions in the skillet and the heat on low, add your sliced pears to the skillet and gently stir, combining them with the onions. Cook the onion and pears together for about five minutes, just enough to soften the pears but not so much that they start falling apart. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.

Your salad’s almost ready! Spoon the hot onion/pear mix onto your bed of greens. Sprinkle goat cheese and freshly grated parmesan over the top—the goat cheese should melt just a little as it makes contact with the pears and onions.

Now go ahead and enjoy your salad. And you never know. You might even have enough toppings left over to make a pizza. 

Salad with pears and pizza

 

Photography and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

Recipe: First of Spring Salad

In the winter I tend to cook hot dishes—chili with frozen peppers and tomatoes from our summer garden; stir fry with overwintered carrots, spinach, and green onions; hot soup with potatoes, kale, and garlic.  But in the spring, when I can see tiny little lettuce and carrot and spinach and beet leaves pushing their way out of the soil, I want to eat directly and immediately out of the earth. 

Lettuce MixCarrots 2spinach with first true leaves

 Beets

So we’re going to start this spring with a series of salad recipes, ways to eat your produce fresh and raw.  We’re going to try to keep it simple.  We’re busy, like you are, but we never want to be too busy to share and enjoy a good meal.

Club Style Salad (Resized)

Start by mixing together 4 cups of greens–baby salad mix, baby spinach, baby beet greens, Asian greens–whatever you prefer.  Put the greens in your favorite salad serving dish, and set aside.

Next, get those toppings ready.  Trim and chop a green onion or two, slice an avocado, and grab one handful of cashews, another handful dried lo mein noodles.  Evenly sprinkle these over your greens.

Before you dig in, don’t forget the dressing!  Almost any dressing works with this versatile salad, but I like to use a recipe for Oriental Dressing, given to me by Sarah Oudman.  Mix together rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and a touch of sesame oil in a jar (or, in my case, a recycled Grolsch beer bottle) and shake well. This dressing is delicious but strong—advice from Farmer Dan: Dress lightly to enjoy the full flavors of the greens!

This salad works great as a side, but you can easily make into your main dish by adding more protein like sliced fried eggs, bleu cheese, grilled chicken, or chickpeas.

Salad with Grolsch (resized)

 What’s your favorite salad recipe?  What kind of salads would you like to see featured on the blog?

Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

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