Salad

End of Summer Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

August 31, 2017

I hope you’ve been summering well. You know, checking off fun activities like camping, fishing, hiking, boating, traveling, or whatever it is you like to do in the heat. For me, its mostly morning and/or evening fires with a hot latte or glass of crisp rose, riveting conversation or reading material. I also like to spend time in the garden and take long evening walks when the air is still warm but not hot. For some odd reason that perfect temperature calls to memory some of my favorite years of summer fun. I just love it and it makes me feel forever youthful. We also managed to squeeze in the annual camp trip with the nephew and nieces, cast a couple lines, hike a mountain, clink a couple beer glasses in Ireland and cut loose at my little sister’s wedding celebration. So I’d chalk it up to another great summer. But I can’t help to notice that the days are getting shorter and the morning and evening temps are significantly dropping at sunset.  I hate to say it folks but we’re on the brink of Autumn. So I thought I would share a bunch of summer recipes with you before we move into a new season. Some I have been whipping up all summer and the others are on my list to try before the good summer produce vaniches. Let me know if you try any and which one was your favorite!

P.S. I also included a couple fun non-recipe links at the very end.

XO

Crepes with Vanilla Bean Roasted Rhubarb. I have been making these for Sunday breakfast all summer. Instead of roasted rhubarb though I have been making more of a rhubarb compote and topping with strawberries and then raspberries as the summer progressed.

Peggy’s Coffee Cake. This is as good as the article makes it out to be. I’ve made it for the construction and ranch crew a couple times this summer. I tried it in a bunt pan and 8×8 baking dish and I think it tastes better in the baking dish!

Cold Brew with Coconut Creamer. I haven’t tried this creamer yet but its on my list while I am still drinking cold brews.

Healthy(ish) Truffles. I have been making variations of this sweet treat all summer and storing them in my freezer for a 10 o’clock snack. I use almond butter and about half as much as the recipe calls for and I add a generous amount of raw cocoa. Never have dates on hand? I buy a big container of fresh dates from Costco and they keep in the fridge. I am surprised how long they store.

Tartines. Fun idea for a quick and healthy lunch. Get creative with your own combinations. My go-to is homemade hummus and avocado with lemon pepper and sea salt flakes (not so creative but that’s what I like)!

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad. If you aren’t at the farmer’s market buying a baker’s dozen of fresh corn……you are crazy!

Four Bean Salad. I make this every summer. So glad my mom’s friend shared her recipe.

Tomatoes and White Bread Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing. You also need to make the pickled tomatoes ahead of time but don’t worry it’s really quick and easy!

Edamame Quinoa Salad. Use your fresh tomatoes and corn right now.

Chicken Avocado Cilantro Lime Soup and Minestrone Verde. This happens every year right about now. I start craving Autumn soups and its too darn early. Usually I make a batch of my corn chowder since corn is what I am picking but this year I switched it up.

Rice and Beans with Steak and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. If you didn’t grow tomatillos than use a fresh red salsa or any salsa you fancy for that matter! Quick and easy dinner that is delicious.

Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake. I tried this the other night, its super easy and who doesn’t like a pasta bake. I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche, I added 2 c. of shredded zucchini to the pasta and roasted some sweet onion slices with the zucchini rounds.

Heirloom Tomato Cheddar Tart with Everything Spice. If this doesn’t make you drool than watch the video here. My tomatoes are ripening on the vine so I will be trying this out shortly! Puff pastry is the only ingredient you might have to run to the market for.

Potato Waffles. Okay, this is probably more of a Fall recipe but I don’t care it’s on my summer list.

Honey Mascarpone Tart with Figs and a Salty Graham Cracker Crust. I want/need to make this so badly but instead of figs I want to use ripe juicy peaches that you can find fresh right now. I read through the post and it seems like a simple tart with only 8 ingredients and shouldn’t take long since its a NO bake.

Whole Fruit Pineapple Peach Lemonade. Have not tried this but with fresh ripe peaches in season I think its a must try.

Honeydew Jalapeno Margaritas. Definitely need to try this recipe.

El Diablo Cocktail. I had know idea what sotol was. After a little research, I found that it’s tequila’s crazy little brother. Think I might like him!

Native Deodorant. Paraben Free, Aluminum Free and Non Toxic Ingredients plus its free shipping and retuns. The coconut vanilla smells like tropical heaven.

I’ve been thinking about these sandals for awhile now. I really should just treat myself for working so darn hard this summer! 🙂

Have you heard about Tocos? It is suppose to act like a creamer but its non-dairy. You can add it your oatmeal, coffee and smoothies to name a few. It’s suppose to do wonders for your skin so I decided I had to try it.

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel. Bye bye baby oil hello self tanner.

I bought these sunglasses for my mother and they look awesome on her. So much I want to get the same pair but might do these instead.

I think I might finally break down and buy myself a Vitamix Blender. They are running a Labor Day sale. I really want to start making the Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning.

Read this fun little article 10 Things You Need in Your Kitchen According to a Parisian. I couldn’t agree more and also think it’s good entertainment advice. However, I have a wee problem with #9, a splash of full fat milk is a must!

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine

July 29, 2015

Romaine
Grilled Romaine Salad

During June, July and August in Montana there are no excuses: Dinner should be prepared on the grill. Cooking and dining during the warmer months is best enjoyed outdoors because summer always seems in an awfully big hurry to get somewhere.

Meals should be quick and easy because who wants to labor over a stove all day? Salads, with the abundance of local, ripe berries and leafy greens, are also synonymous with summer. So here’s a recipe for a delicious salad prepared on the grill.

This tasty Cobb salad uses romaine lettuce and comes together in minutes. The romaine and bacon are grilled to create a lightly charred flavor that melds perfectly with creamy ranch dressing. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity, this salad is incredibly filling. However, if you’re craving more protein throw a steak on the grill too!

Plates pictured above can be purchased on the Mercantile here.

Salad

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine // Serves 2

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Two heads of romaine lettuce
1/2 an avocado
1/2 cup raspberries or one apple
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Six slices of bacon
Jalapeno ranch dressing

HOW TO MAKE IT

Lightly grease the grill and heat to medium or medium-high. Place the romaine heads and bacon on the grill. Grill the romaine for 2 minutes, 30 seconds on each side or until slightly charred but not overly wilted, and grill the bacon until crispy. Place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to help absorb any excess grease while plating the salad.

For presentation, place one head of romaine on each plate, cut into four chunks leaving the stem intact, and arrange in a half circle following the plate rim. Dress with ranch and garnish with whole or fanned avocado, fruit, walnuts, Gorgonzola and crumbled bacon. Serve warm.

If you don’t have raspberries or an apple, use other seasonal fruits; it will taste just as good! Also, if you don’t want to make homemade dressing, I like Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch found in the grocery store’s refrigerated section. It’s gluten free, and has no MSG, preservatives, or high-fructose corn syrup.

Cobb Salad with Grilled Romaine

From My Garden | Spinach + Radish

June 28, 2015

from my garden

So its begun…..the summer series ‘F R O M   M Y   G A R D E N’. And I am incredibly excited to announce my partnership with Mariah, Owner and Designer of Everything Golden. If you haven’t checked out her site, head there now, you will find a curated collection of vintage + handmade. Mariah and I will be working together crafting must have summer outfits and recipes to carry you through the best months of Montana!

I am sharing a recipe for a grilled garden salad with my last picking of spinach and radishes. I enjoyed three cuttings of spinach. The first, big vibrant leaves that I managed to only salvage half of due to an afternoon hail storm that swept through the valley. The second was everything I could hope for. And the last harvest, equally as tasty as the prior, I also only enjoyed about half as I was competing with its schedule to seed. Even so, I still had too much spinach from all three harvests and shared bunches with family.

Last summer, I planted all my lettuce varieties at the same time, early May. So at this time last year, I was trying to not only eat spinach but also kale and a variety salad mix lettuces. So this summer I staggered my lettuce planting dates so I have a continuous supply of different leafy greens all summer long. My spinach is done, the mixed greens are next and the lacinto kale to follow.

I also learned last summer, that even though I enjoy radishes, I always seem to plant wayyyy too many. So this year, I only planted one row about 4 ft long and that was just enough.

Garden Salad

Everything Golden

In case you’re wondering; I grew Goliath Spinach from Gurney’s and Cherry Belle Radishes from Home Depot.

The silver and gold dress is for sale on the Mercantile here. It’s vintage, which means there’s only one, so get it before its gone!

Grilled Garden Salad | Spinach + Radishes // Serves 4

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE FIXINGS
2 yellow peaches
2 chicken breast halves
4 handfuls spinach
1/3 c. toasted walnuts
1 or 2 radishes

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR THE DRESSING
½ clove of garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. agave nectar
¼ c. milk kefir or buttermilk
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Honey for drizzling

HOW TO MAKE IT
Heat grill to high. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive and generously salt and pepper. Cut peaches into halves and brush with oil. Grill peaches until golden brown and just cooked through. Only takes about one or two minutes. Don’t take your eye off them! Grill chicken until cooked through. Depending on the heat of your grille this may toake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow peaches and chicken to rest before slicing.

In a small mixing bowl, grate the garlic and add mustard, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt and pepper and milk kefir. Whisk in the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified.

Rough slice the spinach and lightly toss with dressing. Top with sliced peaches and chicken, chopped walnuts, and thinly sliced radishes (I used a mandolin).

Drizzle with honey for a little extra sweetness! Nothing beats grilled summer peaches + honey!

Everything Golden Vintage Silver and Gold Dress

Watermelon + How to choose the right one

June 14, 2015

How to choose the right watermelon

watermelon

It’s amazing how far a watermelon will take you through the week when you don’t want to cook. And lately I haven’t wanted to cook. Luke has been gone during the week, the air is hot and there is always something to do or get done. It’s summertime, which means retire the oven and break open the watermelon!

So this last week, I ate bowls and bowls of watermelon; for a 10 o’clock snack, for lunch, then for dinner and well if I needed dessert, it was watermelon. I like to squeeze fresh lime juice on my watermelon. Try it, I promise you’ll love it. I also like to cut equal sized cubes of watermelon, avocado and fresh mozzarella; arrange them beautifully like this, squeeze a little lime over the top, add some chopped basil and/or mint and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Yes, salt and pepper! Again, pretty much ate this for lunch every day last week and its probably on the menu this week too. Ha.

Now for the important stuff; How to choose the right watermelon. No, I don’t go around thumping and tapping every watermelon like a bongo drum! I do agree, the ‘sound test’ may give you some insight on a watermelon’s ripeness, but I don’t use it because I think it’s too subjective and well I think it looks silly! Below is my simple method.

Buy in Season….Don’t be tempted, May through September are the months.

Weight…………The ripest watermelons contain the most water and since watermelons are about 90 percent water, it should be incredibly heavvvvvvvvvy for its size.

Color……………Dark green and matte. Again, don’t be tempted, if they’re shiny, they’re not ripe.

Field Spot……..Don’t forget to look for the field spot. This is where the watermelon sat on the ground and ripened. It should be creamy yellow. If it’s white or nonexistent, put it back, it was picked too early.

Sap………………Check the ends of the watermelon (brown spots) for what looks like oozing sap. This step will weed out most your picks. There are always a couple oozers, but not many.

Shape…………..Obviously, don’t pick a watermelon with bumps, bruises, cuts, dents etc.

H A P P Y     H U N T I N G

Oh, and that reminds me. I went to my nieces dance performance last night and the younger kids (ages 3 to 6) were spotlighted with a name introduction and a question. So each kid would walk on stage, state his/her name and age in the microphone and answer the question; what do you want to be when you grow up. We are going to have a lot of doctors, vets and teachers but this one little boy, so adorable, said he wanted to be a hunter and a loving husband. Only in Montana, Ha!

Watermelon

Spring + Salad

April 24, 2015

I think Spring has finally sprung at the Cooper Hereford Ranch.

We finished seeding the spring wheat last week. The pastures are showing signs of life; hopefully this means we can stop feeding hay in the next couple of weeks if Mother Nature delivers some moisture. We are busy servicing pivots and wheel lines and burning ditch in preparation for the irrigation season. And, I almost forgot, since it feels like a decade ago, that we are just about finished breeding all the heifers and cows. The process started in mid March after the Annual Bull Sale. Whew, it’s time consuming.

If you enjoy the ranch updates, I typically post more photographs on Instagram. Follow me here if you want to get your daily dose of ranch life!

Cooper Hereford Ranch Mountains

Cooper Hereford Ranch Sunrise

Since it’s officially Spring, that means there is an abundance of asparagus spears available at the markets. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and I especially like to incorporate it into salads. I made a side salad using asparagus for Easter dinner and since then I have made it a couple different ways.

My sister’s are always requesting more salad recipes. I make salads often but find myself rarely writing the recipes on paper. I am typically a very detailed and precise person but when it comes to salads the recipes usually sound something like this; a lot of asparagus, a couple handfuls of spinach, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of feta. Not the easiest recipe to follow, unless of course that is exactly how you like to cook….a little of this and a little of that! So this recipe, or lack of, is my way of encouraging you to color outside the lines. So I am merely providing you flavors and textures that compliment each other and I am asking you to  add as little or as much as you like until the salad looks and tastes just right. Who really likes to follow a recipe anyways. Don’t we just want to be inspired?

Asparagus

Spring Salad

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
A lot Asparagus
One pickled red onion (see below)
A couple handfuls of spinach
One cucumber, seeded and cubed
As much hard boiled egg as you like
Enough feta
Enough crispy Prosciutto Bits (see below)
A couple cups of cooked Farro

THE BASICS
The first couple of times I made this salad I simply tossed the asparagus, pickled red onion, spinach and cucumber with equal parts of quality extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Then I garnished with quartered hard boiled eggs, feta and crispy prosciutto bits. It doesn’t get any easier!

A later version included cooked farro in lieu of the crispy prosciutto bits. If you haven’t tried farro yet this salad is a great introduction to the grain. Not only is it delicious in salads but I also like to use it in soups and baked pasta dishes. I buy the quick cooking farro that only takes about 10 minutes on the stove top. I tossed this salad with a four herb vinaigrette. Basically I whisked together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest, dijon mustard, garlic and finely chopped rosemary, tarragon, thyme and oregano. Very fresh and clean, the essence of Spring.

Pickled red onion is delicious and something I eat often on tacos, burgers and tartines. Something about the tangy bite from the vinegar that I just can’t get enough of.
To make, it’s quite simple. In a bowl, add 1 c. of vinegar and 2 Tbs granulated sugar. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Add 1 tsp. whole mustard seeds and salt and pepper. Add one thinly sliced red onion to the pickling liquid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Prosciutto bits are equally delicious and can be used to garnish just about anything. It gives a dish that salty crunch that everyone loves. To make, set the oven to broil. Spray a baking sheet and lay a couple strips of prosciutto on the greased baking sheet and broil for about 3 to 5 minutes until crispy. Transfer prosciutto to a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble.

Spring Salad

Salad with asparagus

WHAT”S HAPPENING
Looking forward to learning from Jody Engstrom with My Nutrition Living next Tuesday April 28th at Bridger Kitchens. She is teaching her dairy and non-diary ferments class. Think yogurt and beyond!
If you are local to Bozeman, join me at the Emerson Cultural Center on May 7th for this event.
Recently purchased these jeans and this swimsuit. Tip: Recycle your old jeans at Madewell stores and you’ll get $20 off a a new pair.
Don’t forget about the Derby. Check out this L.A. based hat designer here and make mint juleps with this recipe and use these pewter cups.

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

January 21, 2015

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

It use to be my mom who hosted every holiday dinner. Now, my sister’s and I contribute Christmas Eve dinner. Its predictable that I am designated salad and dessert every year. For some reason, my sister’s believe I am some kind of green salad goddess. I repeatedly tell them to use quality oils but they would much rather refuse the advice and eat my greens. So for Christmas Eve dinner this last year, I decided to substitute the standard leafy greens for shredded Brussels sprouts.

I think it’s safe to say this salad is tried and true. I started the recipe prior to Christmas. Adding a little more of this and a little less of that and have been eating it ever since. So I am bit tired of shredding and eating sprouts. On a positive note, it keeps well in the fridge so leave a little for the next day. I generously garnished a veggie burger and called it lunch for multiple days. I won’t say how many!

Give it a try while you can still find fresh Brussels and pomegranates. It’s seasonal and healthy and good way to keep that new year’s resolution from vanishing.

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad / Serves 6 to 8 as a side salad

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1 lb of Brussels Sprouts, shredded (thinly by hand or use a food processor)
Olive Oil
1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
4 oz. feta
1/2 orange, zest and juice
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Extra virgin olive oil

HOW TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
Whisk together the zest and juice from half lemon and orange with 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.

HOW TO MAKE THE SALAD
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Drain rinsed garbanzo beans and pat dry. Spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbs. olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. cayenne. Bake for 20 minutes and then scrape baking sheet with a spatula. Bake another 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. Set aside.
Heat a large cast iron pan to medium high and add 2 Tbs. olive oil. Swirl pan around so olive oil coats the entire surface. Once pan is hot, add shredded Brussels sprouts. Saute for about 7 minutes until softened with brown bits. Transfer to a serving bowl and continue with the second batch of shredded Brussels sprouts. If you have a large enough pan you may get by doing this once but I prefer two batches so the sprouts cook evenly with plenty of brown bits.
Add diced onion to serving bowl. The size of onion will dictate whether to use only a quarter or up to half. Spend the extra time dicing away. No big onion chunks in this salad.
Add roasted garbanzo beans, pomegranate seeds and feta to serving bowl (reserve a little feta and pomegranate seeds for garnish). Toss all ingredients together with vinaigrette. Top salad with remaining feta and pomegranate seeds.
Enjoy the New Year with this festive and vibrant salad!

Eat seasonally, Stay Healthy!

Simple Weekday Salad

November 12, 2014

Simple Lunch Salad

I have been thinking a lot about what healthy living means to me. Eating whole foods, plenty of exercise, a good night’s sleep, rest (not to be confused with the prior), giving and receiving love, belly aching laughs, feeling self-worth, sunshine and so forth. Listed in no particular order because all equally important for my physical and mental health. I am wondering though, is it possible to be successful at all of these things? Seriously, it’s a lot to ask. Sometimes I don’t sleep well when my husband snores and sometimes I don’t want to ‘feel the burn’ in my thighs. I guess health is no exception, results require self-discipline, motivation, and hard work. So every day I try to be healthier than the day before. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. But every day is a new day and I try to remind myself if I have my health, I have everything.

This recipe was inspired by a lunch I devoured in Cape Town. I cannot remember the name of this part market part café but I remember  thinking “I want to own a place like this”. It was the perfect place to share espresso and cake with a girlfriend, buy a gift on the fly, grab fresh flowers, read a book and drink a Pinotage, and stop for lunch every day! The lunch menu varied daily and was displayed in beautiful ceramics on a large wooden farm table. Maybe some day I can call it my own.

I harvested my last row of spinach a week ago. Pretty happy to be eating fresh greens from my garden in November. I recently requested a building project from my husband so if I am lucky I might be harvesting more fresh greens throughout the winter. Fresh spinach keeps well, even when dressed, so its perfect for a workday lunch.. The beauty of this salad is its simplicity without compromising taste. The sweet and hot cherry peppers are key. They make all the difference. I bought mine from Trader Joes during my last visit to CA. I have not searched for them around here but my first stop would be Front Street Market.

Simple Weekday Lunch // serves 4

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Juice of 1 lemon and zest
1 Tbs. bean liquid from can
½ tsp sardine paste
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed and unfiltered)
1 15 oz. can butter beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. sweet and hot cherry peppers, sliced
4 handfuls of spinach
4 oz. feta
White balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT

In a glass bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, bean liquid, sardine paste and chopped rosemary. Slowly add olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Add beans and peppers to marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Toss spinach with white balsamic and olive oil. Crumble feta over top and add a large scoop of beans and peppers on the side. I used one handful of spinach, a splash of white balsamic and a drizzle of olive oil, and an ounce of feta per salad.

Big Sky

I had to share a couple photos of the Montana sky. This last month I have woke to a different colored blaze shining through to my kitchen. The perfect way to start the day. Rise and shine!

Food & Farming – Four Bean Salad

September 4, 2014

Four Bean Salad

My mother brought me leftovers from her annual quilting party. FOUR BEAN SALAD. She said it was bright in color and I should give it a try. She thought I might want to blog about it. Well she was right, and typically I am not a multi-bean salad doer. Thanks for sharing your recipe Maureen!  I ate four bean salad for four days. No joke!

I decided to adapt the recipe every so slightly. Decided it was the perfect recipe for all my fresh garden beans. I used 1 lb. 12 oz. of beans but any weight close to that would work just fine. The recipe shows this salad serving 6 to 8 people, true when eaten for a light lunch or dinner. But if served as a side salad, it is plenty for a picnic or BBQ gathering. And speaking of picnic and BBQs. This salad is ideal for entertaining or the outdoors. Best made ahead of time and tastes better with each marinating day. Like I said, I ate it for four days and equally pleased on the last day!

Head to the Farmer’s Market this weekend and buy a bag of beans!

FOUR BEAN SALAD // Serves 6 to 8
Adapted from Maureen Nordahl

1 lb. 12 oz. fresh beans (I used a mix of green and yellow wax beans)
1 ½ c. sweet onion, about 1 large onion
1 bell pepper, I used orange
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans

VINAIGRETTE

½ c. distilled white vinegar
½ c. grape seed oil or any other neutral salad oil
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. basil leaves
2 Tbsp. parsley leaves

Wash fresh beans and snap off ends. Blanch fresh beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green and yellow in color and tender crisp, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to halt further cooking. Drain beans from ice water and cut beans in thirds.

Dice onion and bell pepper. Drain and rinse canned beans. Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl.

Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over salad. Toss so everything is well coated. Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving. The longer it marinates the better!

Harvesting Wheat

Haying

We finished harvesting the wheat yesterday. What a relief since the weather has started to turn. The mornings and evenings are chilled and the afternoon air feels like Autumn. We have yet to finish the second cutting of hay. Typically we are finished with this mid August. But unusual weather patterns has extended the haying season. Fingers crossed for some warm afternoons. For the hay and for me!

Introducing the Vogue Gardening Summer Series

July 16, 2014

Vogue Gardening

I try to eat seasonally. It’s the only way to taste food in its purest form. I believe recipes should be inspired by the colors of farmer’s markets and gardens. Depending on where you live, this is easier said than done. When I lived in California, farmer’s markets were a weekly ritual for me. Now residing in the countryside of Montana, I find it rewarding to eat from my own garden. The growing season is short, starting with lettuce varieties in May and ending with a plethora of squash in October. So I have decided to celebrate the colors of summer and my gardens bounty with a Vogue Gardening Summer Series. Each garden harvest will feature a recipe and fashion photo pairing. Why food and fashion, because both are a beautiful display of color, texture and pattern. And I like the juxtaposition of a fashionable woman in a country garden. So brace yourself for vibrant outfits and food flair in the coming weeks.

Vogue Gardening Summer Series

I planted my first batch of leafy greens in early May. Maturity dates varied around 40-60 days. So I was eating fresh garden greens in early June. I harvested two cuttings on almost all the varieties. After that some of the varieties started to bolt. I planted a second group that included my favorite varieties in early June. So that batch has been ready since early July. You can imagine how many fresh salads I have been making in the last couple of months. And there seems to be  no sign of slowing down. So if you are local and want a fresh bag of garden greens give me a shout. I would love to share the bounty!

Some of my favorite garden greens planted this year include:

Goliath Spinach, think spicy green harissa
Black Magic Kale, eat stems and all
Tangy Mesclun Mix, perfect for salads
Black Seeded Simpson Heirloom Lettuce
Marvielle of Four Seasons Lettuce, a reliable butterhead variety
Bibb Lettuce, delicious crispy leaves

Garden Greens

With garden greens being the featured harvest, I have included the recipe for my go-to vinaigrette. My sisters are always asking me how I make such tasty salad dressings. I think the key to any dressing is quality oil. Most my dressings include olive oil but certain salads might call for a mild less flavorful oil like grape seed or on the flip side an oil with a dominant flavor like sesame or walnut. But in my opinion,whatever oil is being used buy quality. For the use of condiments and vinaigrettes I think it is important to select an Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a dark container with a natural peppery finish and a deep green aroma of grass. I look for less expensive oil for cooking. Look for labels like cold pressed, unfiltered and organic. There are lots of specialty stores that allow you to taste the different varieties before purchasing. This is important since they are so expensive. And remember to store the oil in a corner in your kitchen that is cool, dry, and dark.

I make this vinaigrette a lot. Right now with all the lettuce varieties from my garden I make it weekly and refrigerate it. This way I always have quick lunch or dinner on hand. Its simple, fresh and tangy. In my opinion, it makes all garden greens pop. It’s also quite versatile. I often drizzle a little on my morning fried egg or add to beans and asparagus. I think you will find all greens take a liking to it, just get creative!

Kate’s Go-To Vinaigrette

1/2 c. lemon juice, approx 2 lemons
1 Tbs Sauvignon blanc or another crisp clean white wine
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp grated ginger root
1-2 garlic cloves (to taste), grated
1/4 c. olive oil

Add lemon, wine, mustard, ginger and garlic and give a quick whisk. Continue whisking as you pour in the oil. It’s that easy! I like to grind salt and pepper on the salad rather than in the dressing.

Kate's Go-To Vinaigrette

Summer Steak Salad

August 4, 2013

This is a great summer salad. The steak and cornbread make for a filling entree and as a salad it is fresh, light, and perfect on a hot summer evening after a day’s worth of work.

steak

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