Apparently, the meteorological gods decided this past weekend needed to be perfect. It was glorious at home and also in Portland, where the kids and I spent a long weekend. There, Northwesterners! You had a perfect Easter. Now no more complaining until July.
To get under the wide, blue skies we took the kids to this lovely farm for an egg hunt and a hayride.
But it was really more about the pizza.
And one of my weaknesses. Yeah, that’s a close-up of a giant bag of Kettle Corn.
So I suppose after that and all those pilfered chocolate eggs, it’s appropriate to talk about salad. Lots of salad.
I shopped for ingredients yesterday and discovered that the locally grown baby greens we planned to highlight today were gone. In their place were these greens from California that I bought anyway, even though they traveled and traveled in trucks that used lots of oil to get here. Because I didn’t want to use even more oil to drive to the other side of town. And because I had only the one morning to make this salad to show you. So. California greens stand in here for the local ones that I was told should be back in stock at the co-op today, Olympia folks. And hopefully you’ll still be able to find the gorgeous Northwest-grown watercress I snatched from the top shelf. Another weakness and one I feel less guilty about.
Chie created the recipe for today’s vinaigrette, a versatile mixture that can also serve as a dip or sauce. I also tried my hand at a dressing, combining ½ cup of olive oil with the juice of ½ lemon, a pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon each of tamari, tahini and honey. So you can try that if you like, but hers is the real deal and will last you the whole of this week and beyond.
Salad with Baby Greens and Watercress
Whenever I make a salad, I remember one very dull summer in the
Midwest when I was in graduate school. A cast on my leg kept me
propped up on the couch in our air conditioner-free townhouse for
much of the time but one bright spot was discovering that I liked Mollie
Katzen on TV as much as I did in her cookbooks. I watched a lot of her
shows, but the episode that stuck with me was the one on green salads.
She said she tears lettuce into pieces “the size of my guests’ mouths” and
tosses only the greens with the dressing, arranging the other
ingredients on top. These have become my two golden rules for salad making.
This weekend a green salad showed up on the Easter luncheon table,
complete with quinoa and green onions. It was so good I wanted to replace
my dinner plate with the salad bowl (could it have been my body rejecting
those candy eggs? hmm?) so I thought I’d resurrect the
quinoa-in-the-salad trick, something I’ve been doing for several years.
baby salad greens
several sprigs of watercress, tough stems discarded
½ cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
6-7 leaves Thai basil, chiffonade
one green onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons raw sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
handful dried mulberries or golden raisins
Bring one cup of water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil.
Rinse ½ cup quinoa in three changes of cold water. When the water is
boiling stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15
While the quinoa is cooking, wash and dry the greens and watercress
leaves and place in a bowl. Prepare basil and green onion.
When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and place ½ cup of cooked
quinoa (or the amount you’d like to use) in a bowl to cool.
Top greens with some of the vinaigrette and toss well. Arrange remaining
ingredients on top, in the order listed.
I was inspired to make this dressing after my son gobbled down a salad
with a dressing just like it. We’ve eaten it as a dip for broccoli and asparagus,
as well. We’ve added chopped fresh basil and used it to top baked salmon fillets.
Thin with more water to use as a dressing. I hope you will enjoy the versatility
of this simple, homemade dressing!
1 c toasted tahini
½ c apple cider vinegar
5 T raw honey
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 c water
1 T stoneground or dijon mustard
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 c extra virgin olive oil
Place all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender. Blend until
smooth. You may need to stir it up a little to get it going. With the motor
running, add the olive oil in a thin stream and process until smooth.
Refrigerate and thin as needed.