It Begins

May 31, 2008 at 8:32 am 13 comments

Strawberries

It’s so wonderful to have an abundance of fresh delicious produce again.  Just seems like a few weeks ago that we locavores were subsisting on potatoes and the last dredges of canned goods.  The sight of plump ruby red strawberries at the Headhouse Market nearly made me weak in the knees.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, compares in sensual eating to the first bite of a juicy, ripe, just-picked strawberry.  At least that’s the way I feel about it. 

Helping out at the Weavers Way Farm table at the Headhouse Market was like going home.  I’d missed it more than I even knew: the energy generated by shoppers and farmers all focused on freshly harvested food.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I could load up on all sorts of glorious greens and some asparagus. 

Kohlrabi

I picked up a few more bunches of the edible chrysanthemum to try mixed in with the other salad greens I procured.  I thought the zing and tenderness of the chrysanthemum might contrast nicely with the edgier endive and smooth butter lettuce.  And, of course, my dear old friend kohlrabi got tossed in the shopping sack.  I actually had a great time “pushing” the kohlrabi at the farm’s table.  So many people hadn’t ever seen it before, asking questions about how to use it.  If you hadn’t guessed, I love answering question about how to prepare unusual fresh vegetables. 

Greens drying

I was more than a little giddy by the end of my afternoon at the market, both from the fun of it and from several hours of staring at potential food without eating any of it (okay, I might have eaten about half of my quart of strawberries, but that just fueled my hunger more).  As soon as I got home, I pulled out everything from my sack and eyed it up.  A salad was definitely in order. 

Strawberry vinaigrette

I got the notion of a strawberry vinaigrette as I washed up the chrysanthemum, thinking it’d put a nice sweet note behind the somewhat tart flavor of the mum leaves.  All of you should be proud of me.  For the first time ever in the history of this blog, I actually thought to write down what I was doing as I was throwing things in the blender.  Usually when I make something entirely up as I go along, I have to make intelligent guesses later as to what exactly happened in the process.   Don’t worry, it’s not that often that I don’t go into a recipe with something already scribbled out.  And taking so many pictures along the way helps out my memory tremendously. 

Record keeping practices aside, the vinaigrette was a wild success.  I can’t take credit though.  Really, how could I go wrong with those amazing strawberries as a foundation.  And their sweetness was the perfect offset to the zing of the chrysanthemum, so much so that I went ahead and made the salad again the next day because I was craving that flavor duet again. 

Lettuce in my garden

Speaking of salads, in “garden news alerts”, I had my first harvest this week.  It consisted of a handful of heirloom lettuce mix, nasturtiums, chive blossoms and a few shreds of basil.  So good!  The only thing I could have wished for was more of that strawberry vinaigrette!  

Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
A Straight from the Farm Original


Salad

1 medium kohlrabi
1 small head of endive
1 small bunch of edible chrysanthemum
1 head of butter lettuce
Strawberry slices
Almond slivers

Vinaigrette

1 C. strawberries, hauled and halved
2 T. honey (add more to taste if needed)
¼ t. dried marjoram
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. brown mustard
½ t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of rose water (optional)
½ C. vegetable oil

Begin by making the vinaigrette:  combine all the ingredients except the vegetable oil in a blender.  Process until combined.  With the blender running, slowly add the oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.  Place in a jar and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to two weeks. 

To make the salad, thoroughly wash the greens and tear into bite size pieces.  Let drain in a colander while you peel the kohlrabi.  Cut the kohlrabi into thin sticks and toss with the greens. 

Just before serving, assemble the salad by heaping it on a serving plate or bowl, adding strawberry slices, almond slivers, and a generous drizzle of vinaigrette. 

(salad serves 4, vinaigrette makes about 2 cups)

Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kalamafoodie  |  May 31, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Mmm, we’re still waiting for strawberries in Michigan–I’m jealous!

    And regarding chive blossoms…why has it never occured to me to eat them before? What a pretty salad that would be with the nasturtiums!

    Reply
  • 2. Christine  |  May 31, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Your lettuce looks fantastic, m’dear!

    I agree about the first strawberries of the season. For me, there’s just nothing like it (at least until peach season rolls around). We’ve already been through two quarts of local strawberries in the last three or four days. I’ve had bowls of strawberries twice today already, and although I’ve already eaten dinner, I’m considering a snack of salad with your strawberry vinaigrette…

    I don’t have any white-wine vinegar, though, so red-wine vinegar will have to do.

    (Relatedly, FYI: David Lebovitz’s recipe for strawberry-rhubarb sorbet. Indescribable. You must make it.)

    Reply
  • 3. sophie c  |  May 31, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    This sounds so delightfully fresh; love the idea of the strawberry vinaigrette! I agree, biting into a ripe strawberry is a heavenly experience! :)…strawberries are some of my favorite fruits, not just because they’re tasty, but they’re so beautiful!

    Reply
  • 4. realworldmartha  |  May 31, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    So wonderful!!! I love strawberries. I love it when we go somewhere were we get to pick and eat them. Fresh warm strawberries. What says summer better?

    Reply
  • 5. Holly  |  June 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    hi jennie… i LOVE your photos! (i know you must hear that alot). so this is a question about
    your camera. my husband and i are in need of a new one and i was telling him about your
    great pics and said i’d ask you what kind of camera you’re using. meanwhile, i will keep
    enjoying your recipes and your great blog. :) thanks!

    Reply
  • 6. Jennie  |  June 2, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Hi Holly – Thanks for the compliments on the photos. :) I use a Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1 MP Digital SLR with a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens for Canon SLR Cameras. I got both off of Amazon, which has the best prices I think. I love the camera and it takes a real beating (I carried out in the fields with me) so I’d definitely recommend it. Beyond the camera though, lighting is KEY to good photos. Natural light is the best and if you don’t have any good windows in your house, consider getting some difused photo lights. I don’t use any so can’t recommend but thought it was worth mentioning. :) Have fun!! Camera shopping is so much fun!

    Reply
  • 7. Holly  |  June 4, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    perfect! thanks so much for the info. i’m excited because that was one of the cameras we were considering based on reviews.

    Reply
  • 8. Columbus Foodie » Blog Archive » May 2008 Roundup  |  June 6, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    [...] Chive Dumplings and Spicy Crab Cakes with Key Lime Mustard Sauce from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette from Straight from the Farm, Spicy Fresh Corn Salad and Veal Chops with Morel Mushrooms from Sunday [...]

    Reply
  • 9. For the Four Eyes « Straight from the Farm  |  June 9, 2008 at 8:53 am

    [...] The farm is growing dandelions for the first time this year, and the large bunch I brought home with me landed on the counter next to the mesh bag of baby red potatoes I’d just picked up at the store.  Fate would have these two ingredients married together over the course of the next hour into a hearty warm salad, one of those concoctions where I raided the fridge and threw in whatever seemed viable, including the rest of the chicory from last week. [...]

    Reply
  • [...] (Sweet Napa) Recipe: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart (mix, mix… stir, stir) Recipe: Spring Salad With Strawberry Vinaigrette (Straight from the [...]

    Reply
  • 11. Close Call « Straight from the Farm  |  July 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    [...] to open the door to go out.  But wait!  What about a dressing?  All I had on hand was some strawberry (good stuff, but didn’t seem to fit this salad) and half a bottle of French, which I [...]

    Reply
  • [...] from the Farm has a wonderful Strawberry Vinaigrette. So luschiously pink. Yum. Make it with the first or the last of the strawberries (depending on the [...]

    Reply
  • 13. Punsons flora  |  July 6, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Fresh warm strawberries, this sounds so delightfully fresh.

    Reply

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