Friday, July 31, 2015

The Amazing Technicolor Dreamsalad

It's Summer!  Around here, that means an abundance of fresh, home-grown, leafy goodness to munch on.  I love having a garden to pluck from, and in the PNW you can pretty well manage this year round with a little research of what to plant when, even without cold boxes.  But what can you do if you're short on space?  Even in an apartment with a deck the size of a thimble, and a sliver of sunlight you can grow things to brighten up your meals.  Sometimes all you need is a sunny window, and a flower pot!  Some of my favorite, easy to grow, summertime edibles include:
  • Red Romaine Lettuce (Often comes as a free gift from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds & can be successfully grown in an 11" pot)
  • Nasturtiums - Both the blooms, and medallion shaped leaves are edible, and a source of both vitamin C & Iron.
  • Marigolds (Tagetes & Calendula) - Cut petals at their base, and sprinkle over salads, or steep blooms in hot water for teas.  There is a laundry list of supposed uses, and health benefits of calendula blossoms, as well as praise for being a source vitamin C & Flavinoids.
  • Pansies - Adorable sprinkled in salads, adorning deserts, or garnishing beverages, these little beauties contain both vitamins A & C.!home/c9lIf you're low on inspiration, look no further than Laurel Anderson's Wild Plate.  This gorgeous
non-cook book is loaded with fresh ideas, beautiful photography, and valuable, rarely shared tips and thorough explanations to help even the most rookie raw foodies out there!  I'm not one who follows a strict raw food diet, but as the temperatures climb I am one to avoid warm meals in the summer heat, and find myself flipping through its pages for new ideas.  If the raw food diet is something you're interested in, Wild Plate is not only the place to look for new smoothies, salads, and juices, but it will take you beyond the basics of raw cuisine, and walk you through what you need to know about raw food prep where others leave off, and gives you all the tools you need to start your raw food adventure!

My go-to Summer Salad consists of (vulgar amounts of):
  • Red Romaine Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Carrots & Radishes (sliced into medallions)
  • Black Olives
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Nasturtium Blooms
  • Marigold Petals (snipped)
All tossed & topped with my favorite summertime Strawberry Vinaigrette by: The Gracious Pantry found here.  What I love about this really basic salad, and delicious dressing is that you can stop here, and have a beautiful dish packed with flavor, or  you can keep pushing it as it affords you the opportunity to get creative.  Want a little more heft?  Throw in some mushrooms!  Need more crunch?  Get out the celery stalks!  Swap out the lettuce for spinach ... throw in some walnuts, I mean, wherever you want to take it is totally up to you.  Bon Appétit, my lovlies!

P.S. enjoy that blue moon tonight!