Saturday, August 7, 2010
Local Beet salad with Virgin Mojito Dressing
The sky, which had been brewing with clouds of various shapes and sizes, had finally settled on a uniform grey. The air seemed to be saturated with cool water, and together with the color of the sky it felt as though the city were trapped inside a giant glossy rain droplet plastered to a window somewhere. I dropped my self pity about working through the weekends as well as the weeks somewhere along the sidewalk in between my car and farmers market where I work. I love working there, in fact, I love it so much that it hardly feels like a job at all, but it is difficult to be away from my family so often.
As I got to the vendors, my sleepy scowl melted into a smile. Mr. Kelly of Mrs. Kelly's teas was the first person to greet me. He makes it his business to know where all the great pastries are, and is known for creating beautiful appetizers out of the free samples being offered. When he tries something that is really good, say, some elephant ears from Fresh Fields Bakery or some cheese croissants from Ule's, he buys a huge batch of them and walks around delivering some to everyone. He leans in close and talks quietly out of the side of his mouth, as though everything he chooses to say is proprietary information that you are being entrusted with.
"Have you seen the rainbow carrots yet" He leaned across his tea table and asked, ducking his head down low and then looking over his shoulder.
"Of course I have" I replied. "I used them in the kids program two weeks ago! Haven't you been paying attention?" He looked disappointed, but then laughed at my teasing. I kept walk on walking. There was Minnesota herb lady Bonnie Dehn, of Dehn's farms. She was standing at a coffee shop vendor, laughing and rubbing elbows with all of the people waiting for coffee. Her presence made the little stand with the umbrella sticking up feel just like a neighborhood pub.
When I got to the demo stand, I was greeted with the message that the first apples of the season had arrived. The air was buzzing with so much excitement that it felt as though we were all standing in the waiting area of a hospital and had just been told that a baby was just born. I felt like passing out bubble gum cigars. "Where?" I asked, thrilled. "Over in stall 209. Go and see for yourself!" I rushed over and was greeted by a flamboyantly happy man with plastic gloves and a tray of apples, and the rest of the day listened for the signs of autumn creeping in.
Virgin Mojito Salad Dressing
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 small bunch mint
1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Local Greens and Beet Salad (in honor of the eat local challenge)
Blanch whatever varieties of local beets you decide to use separately, so that the red beet juice doesn't bleed into the lighter color varieties. To blanch them, boil for 3-4 min, then shock them in cold water. Mix with
3 small local carrots, sliced
2 cups local mixed greens
Christina's vote: "This salad made my angst subside"