Satisfying, and beautiful

Hi! I tried to stop in here on Friday, but Blogger was having some kind of meltdown, so I couldn't. I wanted to tell you that the first farmers' market of the season was Saturday morning at eight o'clock sharp in Orleans, and that I was looking forward to seeing you there. I hope you made it.

If you didn't, though, don't worry. Barbara and Gretel and Lucas and the gang will be there every week from now on, and the Provincetown market starts this Saturday. There's also a new farmers' market on the block, starting up this Wednesday at the brand-spanking-new Preservation Hall in Wellfleet. I'm not quite sure who will be there yet, but I'm planning on going, and I promise to report back. It is so nice to have a fridge full of local greens and spring carrots and hothouse tomatoes (!) and cucumbers (!) and Ron Backer's asparagus. Finally! It makes me a little giddy.

It is also a good reminder that there are, believe it or not, other food groups besides rhubarb & Meyer lemon desserts. Between the rhubarb pie testing my mother and I have been doing, and last week's attempt at this Shaker Lemon Pie, and the rhubarb-lemon cobbler we talked about two weeks ago, I find it hard to fathom, but according to the Little Caesar lettuces and the French Breakfast radishes, it's true.

And I have to say, it feels pretty good to step back into the salad world. Yesterday, Alex and I had one of those hugely productive Sundays—tidied up, did the laundry, finished the house budget, picked out paint colors, planted squash, planted melons, planted tomatoes, went to the dump, scrubbed the guest room!—and mid-day, we stopped for a quick rest at the kitchen table. We didn't have time for a long break—there were still way too many spiders living in the baseboards—but I wanted to make something a little bit elegant, something pretty and simple.

I pulled out a nice china salad bowl, and three bags of greens from the fridge. I did a little mix-and-match—some of Barbara's butter lettuce, a handful of spicy mustard Mizuna from Rod and Darnell, and a whole bunch of Lucas's baby braising mix. Then I chopped up a tomato, sliced a carrot and cucumber and two radishes thin with the mandolin, and crumbled some goat cheese and gorgonzola on top. It was hardly fancy, but it was satisfying, and beautiful, and with a few slices of baguette and butter, it did the trick.

If you're feeling anything like I am these days—hungry, and busy, and a little too interested in gardening to sit down and make anything terribly fussy or complicated—I highly recommend giving it a whirl.


This is hardly complicated enough to count as a recipe, but it's what we've been eating all week, and it's also delicious. Tomatoes and cucumbers are not normally things I associate with spring, but with Ed and Betty's hothouse in full operation, maybe they'll move up permanently on the calendar—keep your fingers crossed, and who knows.

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
a pinch of salt
freshly cracked pepper
1/2 pound mixed spring greens
1 spring carrot, trimmed and sliced thin
2 French Breakfast radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
1 tomato, chopped into half wedges
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
a handful of crumbled gorgonzola
a handful of crumbled chevre

Whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste in a small pitcher. Be sure to whisk for at least 30 seconds; it takes the mustard a little while to bring the vinegar and oil together and get the whole thing to emulsify. Set the dressing aside.

In a large salad bowl, toss together the greens and other vegetables. Crumble the cheeses on top, dress, and toss well. Serve at once, with a hunk of crusty bread to mop up the extra cheese and dressing and veggie juice.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.