Friday, July 16, 2010
Local Friends Salad
“Are you doing anything fun tonight?” asked the lab tech. He is long and lean, and always wears scrubs with nothing underneath them. Apparently he never got the memo that scrubs are supposed to go on outside of your clothes. It’s a silly ritual anyway, wearing scrubs. Christina and I often talk about it. Most people who work in a hospital setting have a collection of scrubs which they put on at home, then travel to work in. They usually hit up the coffee shop, or maybe the gas station on their way to work, then maybe again on their way home. There is nothing in particular about the scrub that is more sterile than wearing everyday clothing, so really scrubs are a sort of ritualistic uniform akin to the shaman’s garb.
“I am going to pick up our vegetables”
“What do you mean pick up your vegetables”
“We get a CSA.”
“It stands for Community Supports Agriculture. Basically, you invest in a share of a local farm, gambling that they are going to have a successful year. Then, you get a share of their produce. Lot’s of farms around the US participate. Ours is a farm that only grows heirloom variety vegetables, and specifically ones for salad. They are called ‘Webster Farm Organic’ (www.websterfarmorganic.com). Every Thursday the farmers come to the city and bring us our share of what they grew that week.”
“Interesting.” He said, holding one of the four jelly sandwiches that he had packed for lunch in front of him, with his elbows splayed wide on the table. “But what are you going to do for fun tonight?”
“That is fun.” I replied. He turned his head to the side, looking wary.
Meeting new people is often awkward at first, especially when you meet under circumstances which don't imply that you will necessary share similar likes, dislikes, or general world view. It's like getting vegetables from a CSA, I probably would never have chosen to buy baby mustard greens had they not come in my CSA, but now that I have tried them I find that I like them a lot.
Later that night, I pulled into the coffee shop parking lot, which contained a big green van stationed like a lighthouse next to a table filled with cloth bags of vegetables. The farmers, two smiling women with a skip in their step, stood out front handing out the bags. They saw me coming and began sorting through the bags.
“We had a great week, and I mean a great week this week!!! The rain and the sun have been just perfect. You will not believe how good everything tastes this week.” This morning, when I was making my salad, I snapped into a crisp fresh pea pod, and nearly fell over. She was right. Its like a light shell filled with sweet nectar, not at all starchy or raw in flavor. It tasted more like a fruit than a vegetable. Try this salad using the freshest local produce you can find, and tasting each ingredient before you add it to make sure that it carries a flavor that ‘gets’ you.
Champagne Hazelnut Honey Dressing
3 Tbsp Hazelnut infused olive oil
1 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp raw honey
¼ tsp soy lecithin
¼ tsp ume plum vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper
Peaches and Peas Baby Greens Salad
3 cups mixed baby greens (local and fresh)
1 ½ cup diced pea pods (sugar snap or snow, fresh and local)
2 sliced peaches or nectarines (I used nectarines)
garnish with edible flowers
Christina’s vote: “this salad was gentle”