Summer Salads

Summer has instantly arrived over the past couple of days in the northeast! The past two days have been a triple H kind of a day, hazy, hot and humid. Which makes the article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal so perfect, Sarabeth Levine described her ideal summer salads.

I love salads and all the different dressings available to me on a gluten-free diet! But, what I love most of all is growing my own salad. The sunniest spot in my yard happens to be my deck and this is where I have all of my containers. I planted the lettuce and cherry tomatoes last weekend. These are both low risk, high yielding options for a brown thumb gardener like me. I even bought a couple of strawberry plants for fun because they grow like absolute weeds and figure I would have a really difficult time killing them.

oregano, tarragon, thyme on 3/30
oregano, tarragon, thyme on 3/30

Last year I bought a bunch of herbs and just kept them in their little starter pots. I did not know that most herbs were perennials until a summer dinner party when the hostess showed me her herb garden and said she had planted it six years ago. She advised me to throw the herbs into a real pot with some good soil and then see what happened in the spring.

At the end of March, when we started doing some spring cleaning, I grabbed the pots that I had put on the side of the house and lifted the collection of dead leaves that had gathered on top to throw into the green waste bags. I was so surprised to see all of these little green leaves pushing up through the soil!

Mint 3/30
Mint 3/30

Mint, tarragon, thyme, oregano and rosemary had all started growing anew! Two months later, the herbs are absolutely flourishing.   As I wait for my lettuce and tomatoes to grow, the Wall Street Journal Summer Salad article had some great dressing ideas using these herbs. One was to make a blender dressing using fresh tarragon is you are adding salmon or chicken to the salad. For a basic oil and vinegar, throw some basil, parsley and oregano into the blender. I just planted the parsley and basil so I will have to wait a week or two for that dressing.

For bitter greens, like arugula, lemon juice and a lighter oil such as canola oil, whisked together with a little salt and pepper is a nice combination.
My biggest problem with salads is that only one of four of my kids would be happy to see a big chopped salad with some chicken or fish on top. For that solution, I will turn to other articles on advice for getting picky tweens and teens to eat vegetables.

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