Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fresh Food Friday: Mixed Lettuce

Welcome to Fresh Food Friday, week two! If you missed last week, we talked about using herbs from the garden in cooking, spa treatments, and flower arrangements. You can find that post here. This week we are talking lettuce.

One of the very first things we get to eat out of the garden each year is lettuce. Of all the things we grow, I think lettuce might save us the most money. If you plant a couple of times and you harvest lettuce regularly it can last you through the summer and fall. It will be October or November before we buy lettuce from the store again. We always plant Mesclun (mixed) lettuce. It's the mixture of several different types of lettuce, usually including leafy lettuce, chervil, endive and arugula. 

If I'm honest, I'll tell you I haven't always been the biggest fan of salad. Sometimes I'm still not. But once we stopped trying to make "house salad" (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrots), I started liking salad a lot better. So today I share with you a few of our favorite more creative salads. I hope you find one you like, and please feel free to share any of your favorite salad recipes in the comments. 

Steak Salad
This is a great thing to make if you have a steak or half a steak left over from another meal. Usually if we've had steak for dinner a little lighter meal sounds good the next day anyway. : )

Mixed lettuce greens
Fresh or frozen corn kernels
Grilled steak, chopped
Feta cheese crumbles
Ranch dressing

Raspberry Chocolate Mint Salad
This is my new favorite and one of the few salads I'll eat without cheese (although some crumbled goat cheese in there would be good). I'm not sure if I mentioned when we talked about herbs, but we are growing some chocolate mint this year. It has such great flavor. Herbs are a fun way to add flavor to salads. 

Mixed lettuce greens
Chopped apple pieces
Toasted Pecans
Finely chopped chocolate mint leaves.
Raspberry vinaigrette or poppyseed dressing

New Potato & Chicken Salad with Yogurt Chive Dressing
I made this last summer and need to remember to make it more often because it is filling and flavorful. I saw the recipe in Sunset Magazine and you can find their recipe here. Here's how ours came out using their recipe. 

Shoestring Beets & Goat Cheese
I told you a while back that my favorite salad is a combo I found at Mad Greens: the Crazy Ivan: greens, shoestring beets, goat cheese crumbles, pepitas, croutons (and I always add steak), with sherry-molasses  vinaigrette. It's actually easy to make at home. Visit Mad Greens website for other good salad combo ideas. Salad isn't the only thing you can make with lettuce though, try stuffing a pita with greens, chopped apple, avocado, pomegranate, and creamy beet spread. 

Thanksgiving Salad
I don't know who's getting tired of turkey sandwhiches, because I'm not, but I've seen a lot of magazines and pins about how to use up those thanksgiving leftovers. Here's a salad I made up for that:

Mixed lettuce greens
Chopped yellow peppers
Chopped pears
Pomegranate arils
Chopped turkey

Cranberry Lime Dressing:
1/2 can cranberry sauce (the gelatin kind)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or mini blender, add salt and pepper to taste, add more water if dressing is too thick.

That's how we are using and enjoying our mesclun. I hope there's a salad you'd enjoy too. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks for reading!
- Haley

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