Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
We wait for spring to get here, then
before we know it, we are surrounded by new life sprouting all
around. Spinach and lettuce greens are just about the first to go in
the ground, and I count the days to be able to pick those fresh
little leaves for a perfect salad!
Once the little plants have their
fourth and fifth leaves, I think it is fine to start picking a few
here and there. What a delicacy to eat a salad made with the baby
leaves of spinach, lettuce and arugula. This becomes a salad that
could only be found in a handful of restaurants, and occasionally at
a farmers market. Gently rinse the tender leaves in cold water and
lightly spin or drain in a large colander.
I like to make glazed almonds to
sprinkle on a salad, especially a spinach salad. Take about ½ cup
of almonds and coarsely chop. Throw those and about ½ cup of
granulated sugar in an iron skillet over low heat. Stir this
occasionally as the sugar starts to melt. When the sugar completely
melts, it is important to stir constantly and not let the almonds
burn. Once it is all an amber brown, pour out onto a non-stick
silicon mat (or parchment paper). Spread out and cool. Once cool,
it can be broken into smaller bits. These sprinkles make a nice sweet
and crunchy addition to the salad.
An easy home-made vinaigrette can be
stirred together using ingredients in the cupboard. Just add 1
Tablespoon of your favorite balsamic vinegar to about ¼ cup olive
oil (or your preferred oil). For this salad, I add 2 teaspoons of
strawberry jam and a dash of salt. Stir together very well. I have
been enjoying some special oils and vinegars that my brother, David,
got me for Christmas. They are from DEVO company, and the set
included a strawberry balsamic vinegar that is very good in this
vinaigrette. Thank you, David! Once the vinaigrette has been made,
it can be stored in the refrigerator.
I also love to slice some strawberries
to go in this sweet spring salad. Wash the strawberries well, and
Put it All Together!
In a large salad bowl place all the
cleaned baby greens. Add the sliced strawberries, and sprinkle with
some Gorgonzola cheese crumbles and the glazed almonds. Drizzle
generously with the strawberry dressing and it's ready to eat! Enjoy
eating your tender, gourmet baby greens!
Photo credit: taken by Sherry
Tucker. Top: salad greens, Middle: glazed almonds before and
after, Bottom: prepared salad