Daily Archives: 26 May 2010

Our First Lettuce 2010

We had our first salad from the lettuce in our garden. I snipped a basketful to go with dinner. The greens were very tender. I made our favorite basic salad: greens tossed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, seasoned generously with salt and pepper. It’s so delicious.

I just love that I can walk in the backyard and collect ingredients for dinner. I’ve been using the herbs in my herb garden for more than a month now, especially the mint, tarragon, and chives. Next on the list is a rhubarb dessert. This recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake looks particularly good.

We made a summery meal to go with the salad. We had Fennel-Garlic Chicken Legs (from the June issue of Food and Wine magazine) with a Mediterranean Couscous Salad of my own invention. The chicken was particularly good.

We get a package of 3 whole chicken legs (thighs and legs) with our monthly meat share from Chestnut Farms. We don’t really eat much chicken other than this. Kim’s chicken is such a treat. It tastes distinctly better than supermarket chicken, just as her ground beef tastes better than grocery store hamburger. And, we’re happy to know her chickens roam in the pasture and sleep in school buses on the farm.

Earlier in the week, I made the same grain salad with leftover quinoa instead of couscous. Both grains worked well, but Howard and I both preferred the quinoa. Independently, we though the quinoa had a fun little pop when you eat them, reminiscent of the texture of tobiko (flying fish roe) when you eat sushi.

One other note on the salad, I don’t really like raw onion. However, I read once that if you soak the onion in vinegar for 10-15 minutes, it will mellow the onion. I tried it, and it worked. So, if you share my dislike of raw onion, try this. Soak the diced onion in red wine vinegar while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Drain off the vinegar before adding the onion to the salad.

“Tiny Grain” Mediterranean Salad
Serves 6-8

2 cups whole-wheat couscous or quinoa, cooked
¼ cup diced red onion (see note above)
1 cup diced tomatoes (this time of year, I use grape tomatoes)
2 Tbsp capers
½ cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
½ – 1 cup Italian parsley (flat-leaved), chopped

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl with Balsamic Dressing.

Balsamic Dressing:
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients until emulsified.