supper salads: dressed for success, and unprocessed.

freestyle fridays
notes from maggie's farm

dressed for success

As you might imagine, we eat a lot of salads on the farm.  A lot of salads.  Due to the generosity of mother nature, there is salad for every season growing just outside the back door.  And no bottled dressing will ever grace our greens.
We don't need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables - the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers - to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences. Jane Elliot
October Unprocessed 2011
Why?  Well, because they aren't very good.  They just don't taste good to us.  If I've purchased one, I've purchased, and tossed, hundreds.  Yeah, no, not even the ubiquitious ranch (of which I've tried every one on the shelf. e.v.e.r.y. one. my friends.).  Is that un-American?  Am I branding myself here?  Are you thinking...hmph.  Nothing more than a salad snob.    Well, lemme share some of our favorite 'little black dresses' for our supper salads, and I think you'll agree that they are just too easy, too healthy, too economical to bother with buying the gallon bottle of Hidden-You-Know-Where again.  

raspberry walnut vinaigrette on spinach arugula salad with bacon, blue cheese, and more.

4 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tsp honey
1tsp dijon mustard

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons walnut oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)

Combine first three ingredients in blender and mix well.  As blender motor runs, slowly drizzle in oil in a thin stream until all is combined.  Correct seasoning. Serve over lettuce blend of baby spinach and arugula, crumbled blue cheese, whole fresh raspberries, slivers of red onion, blanched green peas, and nitrate/nitrite-free peppered artisan bacon.
To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomat--the problem is entirely the same in both cases.  To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's vinegar. Oscar Wilde
french potato and bean salad with olive and tomato, dressed with blue cheese aioli
aioli, from tips for tuesdays' post, this week. (see notes, below) 
steamed fingerling potatoes, whole
fresh, trimmed green beans, steamed until tender crisp
sliced black olives (great with oil-cured kalamata or nicoise olives)
whole cherry tomatoes
(additional options include cornichons, sliced radish, chopped celery, capers, or anything else you crave!)
This salad is inspired by my 'special mom',  Jerre Perkins (you might remember her from our Mother's Day post, and a fabulous potato salad she served for this year's Father Day dinner.  We've made the aioli by adding a clove of garlic to the bowl with the egg, and folding in a handful of minced parsley and crumbled blue cheese, to taste (or not, if you're not a fan) to the processor at the end when making homemade mayonnaise.  Correct the seasonings.  Toss with vegetables, serve warm, or chilled, if preferred.
Salad freshens without enfeebling and fortifies without irritating.  Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
sensation salad 
juice of 3 small or 2 large lemons
1T white wine vinegar
1 small clove of garlic
1 cup of grated parmesan, asiago, romano, or pecorino cheese
1 T blue cheese (again, you say?)
1/4 c parsley
1c neutral-flavored oil
fleur de sel, and freshly ground pepper to taste
1t anchovy paste (optional)

Combine first 6 ingredients and processed until well minced.  As processor is running, drizzle in oil until all is combined.  Taste and correct seasoning.  (If anchovy paste is used, add it with the first 6 ingredients.) Best when refrigerated overnight to develop flavors.  Dress greens with some firmness--here we've used a favorite, butter lettuce, but combined with romaine for body.  Sliced radishes, cherry tomatoes, slivers of red onion make a simple salad that stands up admirably to the deliciously assertive flavors of this cheesy, garlicky dressing, a favorite in creole cuisine, where it often simply serves to dress a bowl of iceberg lettuce and a crouton or two.  We gussied it up a bit for its internet debut.  Try dressing cooked veggies, or dipping crusty french bread-- oh, who am I kidding, get out a spoon and eat it straight from the processor--I can eat my weight in this stuff.  Seriously.  It's fabulous.  Thank you, Louisiana.

"There was an Old Person of Fife,
Who was greatly disgusted with life;
They sang him a ballad,
       and fed him on salad,
Which cured that Old Person of Fife."

Edward Lear


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