Summer Garden

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nasturtiums and fennel from the garden


just picked beets and carrots

Summer is here and I’ve realized my dream of a big garden to provide most if not all of our vegetable needs. I’m feeling most fortunate.

I’m also having to really learn to cook seasonally because I’m determined to cook and eat only from the garden…of course, we’re buying seafood, meat, dairy and the necessary chocolate, but only vegetables and herbs from our own collection.

I’m also learning to make it up as I go. I wander through the garden and think about what we should eat that night. Partly by what’s needing to be eaten or go past its prime and partly by what I want to eat that day. So far, I’ve only lost some lettuce to bolting when we were out of town. We’ve eaten LOTS of peas-both snap and shelling and I’m just now starting to get a little tired of them.

So much bounty…I’m amazed every day by what one tiny seed can turn into with a little love and care.

Today, I’m going to share what those nasturtiums and beets in the pictures became a part of. You may not be able to find the flowers at your market, but the rest should be doable and is a lovely summer salad.

Beet, nasturtium and herb salad
serves 2 

For the salad:

3 small beets-mix of golden, chiogga and red if possible
5 oz or so of arugula or mixed lettuce
small bunch of fresh basil or fennel fronds
6 -8 nasturtiums

For the dressing:

1 small shallot, diced
2 T of white wine vinegar
4 T of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Put shallots in small bowl and cover with vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes or so while you assemble the rest of the salad. This mellows the shallots.
Slice beets 1/8 of an inch on a mandolin or slice as thinly as possible with sharp knife. Slice basil or separate leaves and leave whole. Tear fennel into bite size pieces if using. Put lettuce/arugula in bowl, set aside.
Add salt and pepper to the shallot mixture. Whisk in olive oil slowly until emulsified. Taste and adjust if needed.
Toss lettuce/arugula in dressing.
Top with beets, herbs and nasturtiums and serve. Or if you really want it to look beautiful, place dressed greens on serving plates, then top with beets, nasturtiums and herbs.

This is a beginning for many other salad options. If you have a garden or found different things at the market, you can use this as a start and change the herbs, vegetables as needed-beets for carrots, basil for mint, add fresh peas if you have them-whatever strikes your fancy.

Above all, enjoy the process and see if you can find some beauty in your food today.

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