From the Garden: Easy Spring Salad
When I went to bed last night, the forecast for today was sunny with a high of 75. When I woke up this morning, it was cold, cloudy, and the forecast had changed to drizzle with a high of 68 and possible thunderstorms. WTF New England ... what is going on here? This is supposed to be the time of the year when we get to actually ENJOY your weather! I'm dreaming of beaches and lakes and sunny bike rides.
My mood these days seems to be directly related to the weather ... and my food choices are pretty much directly related to my mood ... but today I vowed to rise above the weather and make today a good day. Our garden is finally producing a few things that we can eat, so I put my garden boots on and went outside for a look. In the midst of the cold and drizzle, I found the makings of a perfect spring salad for today's lunch.
Pea leaves - Our peas are just barely producing peas - more are on the way ... but did you know you can eat the leaves?! They make the best addition to a salad because they have a slight pea flavor to them. They add some sweetness, and if you - like me - are not so patient on waiting for your peas to arrive, they get you through these early days of the season.
Lettuce - This is a classic cool weather crop. We don't eat a lot of lettuce, but I'm so glad I planted a little bit. It's so pretty in the garden, and it's fast growing - so I always have something to pick when I'm wanting a taste of freshness!
Baby spinach - I planted a TON of spinach this spring, because I'm hoping to be able to freeze any excess for winter. Spinach is one of the best greens to freeze because it holds its flavor and color so well. This is our second harvest of spinach already this season, and it's so so yummy!
Arugula - I mostly grow arugula because I like using it in pasta dishes, but I also love the spiciness it brings to a fresh green salad. I really love using it on a taco salad - but that recipe is for another day!
Baby carrots - These grew all winter in our garden and I harvested them all just the other day. I'm not convinced growing carrots is worth the patience or garden space ... but I have them - so I'll eat them!
Oregano - Our plant is monstrous, so why not include it in a salad?
Cilantro - My favorite herb of all time. It only grows in cool weather, so I grow (and eat) LOTS of it during the early spring and late fall. It smells amazing, and adds the best pep to your salad.
Radishes - Maybe my favorite crop to plant, because it's as close to instant gratification as you can get. Plant a bunch of radishes, and 20-30 days later you have fresh roots and greens ready to harvest. Another great spicy addition to any salad on your table.
I also added some pecans (from our old yard in Georgia), some croutons made from old bread crusts that I keep in our freezer, and some strawberry slices and goat cheese I found in our fridge.
Food is quickly becoming my favorite way to celebrate these dreary days of Spring. Can you tell?