A great salad dressing recipe, made ahead and kept in the ‘fridge at the ready, can transform your meals like nobody’s business. I’m going out on a limb here. Hear me out. (I’ll type fast, because it’s a bit shaky out here on this willowy extension.)
Here’s the deal: I have an entire lovely bed of salad greens, growing happily in my garden, enough for everybody in the family to eat a very large and health-enhancing salad every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Possibly, even, a mid-afternoon snack, as well. It really is unspeakable gastronomic luxury to have this abundance. It’s organic. Heirloom. Locally-grown (hello). Sustainably-whatever, natch’. And at its peak of loveliness.
There’s a but? Yup. There’s a but. It’s early morning as I type this (here is the but coming). My eyes are darting restlessly from the screen to the window at my right, consulting the sky outside–is it light enough yet to work in the garden? It’s nearly six-thirty. If I can get a few hundred more words down before 7:00, I’ll fill a quart jar with ice water, pull on my shoes, and stomp on out there. It’s planting season. I’ll spend most of every day, from morning until evening, out in my garden, planting, mulching, setting up watering systems, occasionally mowing when I feel like sitting down, or when I get too annoyed by the overgrown grass. Or when I run out of mulch.
There’s not time to make decent meals, not by a long shot. I am an avid over-gardener by choice or AOGBC for short. 🙂
This is the big conundrum of all the avid over-gardeners by choice that I know, and by golly, I know quite a few (and by AOGBC, I mean folks who garden to excess–either for themselves, stocking the pantry and the freezer, for family and/or neighbors, to sell, or–most likely–a combination of all of those). They work so doggone hard on their gardens that, when they drag in for meals, they have very little energy left to make something toothsome, though their garden may be full of the freshest, most beautiful delicacies that you can imagine.
It’s a pretty silly problem, isn’t it?
It doesn’t make much sense, by all accounts: in my garden today, ready to pick and eat, are baby radishes, asparagus, rhubarb, gourmet greens, mustards, herbs, frisée, endive, parsley, dill, chives, mint, nasturtium blossoms, grape tomatoes (just a few, but more coming on!), basil, strawberries—oh, and I know I’m forgetting something. Can’t you just imagine what a decent cook could do with all that at her fingertips?
So I’m a decent cook. (I wouldn’t make that claim, but my friends say that I can cook a thing or two.)
But what do I eat when I drag in for lunch, totally spent and already thinking about what I need to work on after lunch? If Amalia is not home to make something better, I grab a piece of stale bread and schmear some peanut butter on it, drizzle on some honey, too–if I can find the honey jar–grab an apple, and I’m good. It takes me three minutes to grab, it fuels me for the afternoon, and I’m back out the door as quickly as possible. When I head back out, I’ll hope to have one or both of the kids in tow, to tackle the afternoon’s planting to-do list.
This is me during planting season. I hit the ground running, baby, and I don’t come back to the house unless there’s something urgent that needs my attention, and that Amalia can’t take care of–which is to say, not much. She is quite capable, bless her sweet heart.
So here we are back at the salad dressing. This is why it’s such a boon to our diets if I have a good salad dressing already mixed up and in the ‘fridge. It’s doubly convenient if I also have salad greens washed and ready, too. Then it’s not such a production to wash some fresh greens, toss in a boiled egg, some avocado slices, possibly some leftover meat and/or seeds, and you’ve got something you’re not ashamed to call My Lunch.
Oh boy. What a difference, eh?
This dressing recipe came straight from one of the most talented AOGBCs I know, my friend Jamie. When we were indulging in a baby watch in Ohio earlier this year, Jamie made a jar of this lovely creamy, addictively snappy-on-the-tongue ambrosial dressing, and Sonia kept a big bowl of washed salad greens in the refrig at all times, and we ate salad at nearly every meal. Sometimes all I had for a meal was a big salad.
At least once I woke up craving salad and ate it for breakfast. Not. Kidding. I blame this salad dressing. My eyes, I believe, turned a more distinct shade of green during this time, due to all the dietary goodness I was ingesting. That’s gotta be a good thing.
It was grand. It was lovely. It was delicious. It was green-eyes-enhancing.
It takes less than 5 minutes to mix this stuff up. Extra points if you have some bleu cheese crumbles to scatter on the top of your salad, too, by the way. 🙂
If you don’t like bleu cheese (but by golly, I hope you do) feta is also good, or you can leave the cheese out entirely, but that would be . . . . kind of sad. 🙁
- 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (curly will do, too)
- 1/4 water
- 1 Tb chopped garlic (3 medium cloves)
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 oz (3 Tb) bleu cheese, crumbled
- Puree first 3 ingredients–the chopped garlic, the water, and the parsley–until smooth.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the bleu cheese, and blend until combined.
- Stir in the bleu cheese and you’re good to go!
- Store in a handy jar in the ‘fridge, next to your pre-washed greens. Lunch is ready, baby!
Now go, gentle reader. Be brave. Make a difference. Make your own creamy salad dressing and see what happens to your lunches! 🙂
I promise you, you’ll barely recognize them.
- The Spring Miracle of Rhubarb, and Rhubarb-Walnut Muffin recipe . . .
- Cotton Day; reproduction of leeches; cooling of turkey vultures; Eris