Wednesday, June 17, 2009

60-Minute Salad

I made a delicious dinner last night (yep, I do say so myself). I'm calling it a "60-Minute Salad" because it took that long to make it. Though I suppose, technically, it took closer to 60 days than to 60 minutes.

I bought these raised planters for Greg last year (for his birthday). He had talked at length about wanting to plant a garden with Geneva. I bought the big one for him to actually grow a few things and the small one for Neens to dig around in.
They have sat empty against the back fence for over a year.

I went ahead and took over, planting all "starts" in the beds and in these clay pots. I had a lot of success with the herb garden I did last year in pots (on the patio). My herbs have come back with vigor this year (though, I did lose the basil to snow and decided to replace our stringy rosemary with new plants this year as well).

Between the pots and the beds I have 3 tomato varieties, 2 squash varieties, zucchini, cucumber, 2 red peppers, sweet beans, lettuce (butter, spring mix, red and green leaf), oregano, basil, peppermint, spearmint, chives, english thyme, lemon thyme, flat-leaf parsley and rosemary.

We've had some beautiful weather and the veggies are really taking off. However, we've really only been able to enjoy the herbs so far... 

...until last night when I decided to "harvest" my lettuce for the first time. I noticed right away that I planted my starts WAY too close together so I had some thinning to do. The caterpillars that nested in the two heads made my decision fairly easy.
I picked and snipped until I had quite a bowlful of crisp leaves and a pretty substantial pile of inedible cast-offs (though the bugs might argue the "edibleness" of the leaves I discarded).

Garden lettuce is dirty.
Several rinses and spins later, I was ready to dress up my salad.
I made a light lemon vinegarette and added cucumber, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, chives and mint, kalamata olives, roasted almonds, and feta. Then I topped each serving with a scoop of flaked albacore dressed in the same vinegarette (lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic, dijon mustard, salt and pepper).
The result was as delicious as it was time-consuming. 
We ate the whole bowl. 

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