Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mid-Summer Salad

Almost all of my food is local now and boy is it good!   My garden is overflowing with collards and kale.  Actually I can keep up with it by making large daily salads that I will describe below.  I learned about massaging kale from some posts on the Fuhrman forums and it is a great discovery for me.  You just mash them and roll them around in your hands and it breaks down the cell walls.  Then when you soak them in orange juice and vinegar, it tenderizes them some more.  So you don't have to cook them.  Not that there's anything wrong with cooking them but I spend as little time in the kitchen as I can in the summer, and salads are faster for me to make. So here's my summer salad recipe, pretty much all local, either from local farms or my garden.  This can feed 5-6 people or 1 person (me).

About 1/2-1 lb of kale and collards (total)
About 1/2 lb of cabbage (or less, our local cabbage just happens to be really good right now)
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 small summer squash (pattypan is my favorite maybe because of the name), chopped
1-2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
...and/or other local vegetables in season
juice of 1 small-medium orange
4 Tbsp vinegar (I've been using riesling raisin and spicy pecan, half and half)
1/2-1 oz seed mixture
fresh herbs if you have them (optional), e.g., dill, cilantro, chives, basil
a day's serving of beans or edamame

Clean and cut up the kale and collards.  Then smash and roll and try to pulverized in the hands.  Or massage it, as they say.  This darkens it and makes it have less volume and tenderizes it.  Add the vinegar and orange juice, mix it up and let that tenderize it some more while you chop and add everything else.    I do the herbs next so they tenderize too.  Then the cabbage and seed mixture to mix get those all mixed in.  Then the cucumber, squash and beans.  Save the tomatoes for last so they don't get mushed in all the stirring.    If you can get local cherry tomatoes, you'll be happy!

Here's yesterday's salad:

I think it has some cauliflower (not local) that I needed to finish up.  I don't plan on getting anymore cauliflower and broccoli from the store as I have enough food from my garden--my grocery bills have gone way down!  I have a broccoli stalk in my garden that's ready to harvest!   I've got cauliflower plants too but don't see anything in them yet except big leaves.  I'll be able to eat the leaves from all my plants in addition to the kale and collards:  brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and broccoli.  I did buy this cabbage from the store:
It is locally grown and it's sweet!  (well, if your taste buds aren't desensitized by the standard American diet).  It also has an unusual shape.

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