04 October 2008

lazy saturdays yield abundant rewards to those who keep their eyes on the ground

Pink Lady Salad

Well, despite the title of this post, this Saturday actually hasn't been too lazy, but it has been relaxing. I woke up early this morning because I wanted to walk to the farmers' market and run a few other errands downtown before it became too hot outside. I was excited that I needed to go back for a jacket when I left the apartment at 7:30, but a few hours later, I shed my outer layer and found myself wishing for a real autumn as I kicked a few stones into an overgrown field. Despite the increasing warmth and the run-down, abandoned surroundings, my spirits remained high as I thought about the goods in my bags: onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and delicata squash from the market; a couple of books from the library; a growing pile of pecans (for eating) and leaves (for art class); my diana camera with a (finally!) completed roll of film. I was looking at the road as I walked for more art materials (and possibly to avoid telling another friendly man in a truck that I am fine walking and that I don't need a ride) when I saw a small cluster of dandelions growing from beneath a bush. They were over a foot tall, which is impressive because it seems that usually they are pulled or picked before they reach six inches. Not that the size of the dandelion really matters. What I was actually excited about was the bundle of tall greens beneath the flowers. Although the grocery stores in Abilene have gotten better about stocking their produce sections, the dark, delicate leaves of dandelions have yet to grace the shelves. I grabbed a handful of the greens, making note of the general area so that I could return for more later...

Dandelion Greens

Don't worry, mom, I washed the leaves well (although it was after taking the picture). Talk about fresh produce! If only that were the case more often. Generally, living in Abilene and trying to eat fresh/organic/locally is quite a challenge. I would really like to take part in the Eat Local Challenge, but I know that realistically, I would have to declare so many items as exceptions that I wonder what is the point? Maybe next October I'll be living in a place where that would be realistic. But for now, I'll end with this simple, somewhat-local salad recipe--the perfect way to enjoy something fresh and cool on a beautiful, lazy Saturday afternoon.

Pink Lady Salad
(for men, too!)

a few of handfuls of arugula, spinach, and dandelion greens
a large handful of broccoli sprouts
the seeds from half a pomegranate
about 2 T raw pumpkin seeds
three small tomatoes, halved
about 1/4 c carrot and sage almond butter (recipe to follow)
a few sprigs of fresh mint
a drizzle of balsalmic vinegar (I used a fig-infused variety but regular would be fine)
a pinch of salt

combine everything and toss before serving

Carrot and Sage Almond Butter

I based the recipe for my Carrot and Sage Almond Butter off
Tofu for Two's Carrot Almond Spread with Sage. I decided, however, to make a few changes as I wanted a thicker paste and I wanted the sage to be a stronger flavor. Also, I didn't toast my almonds (per the original recipe), but I still slightly cooked the carrot. I would like to try an all-raw version of this soon, but here it is in the meantime.

Carrot and Sage Almond Butter
100 g almonds, soaked for three or four hours, then drained
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 big clove garlic, sliced
8 large sage leaves
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

I placed the carrot and garlic in a pan, barely covered with water and cooked for a few minutes until the carrot was just beginning to feel tender. I then placed all the ingredients in the blender, adding some of the water from cooking the carrots until the mixture blended well into a smooth paste. You may need to add additional water to get the desired consistency. I kept mine pretty thick because I prefer a hardy dip, but this would also be a delicious salad dressing if thinned.


Lael said...

You sly girl, starting a blog! Sounds like you had a lovely Saturday. And this salad looks fantastic...as usual...so glad I get to experience your creativity in life.

Kristin Wood said...

Ah! Everyone is blogging again. I will be sure to pilfer some of your recipes :)