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Entries in recipe (2)

Wednesday
Jul252012

Garden Salad With Sour Cream | Salade de Jardin avec la creme sur

I wash each harvest from my garden and I go about it with meticulous care. Each pea pod is rubbed and scrubbed under lukewarm water (I can't handle cold water running over my hands for long periods of time, because, frankly, I'm a sissy). Each spinach, lettuce and basil leaf is cleaned. Pretty soon, each tomator will be thoroughly washed when it's ready and picked for the table.

I find it particularly interesting how much time I spend washing my herbs and veggies. When I buy produce from the supermarket (whether it's organic or not) and I'm ready to eat them, I run them under water and give them a passing rub. 

I am under some false delusion that all of these store-bought vegetables have been thoroughly cleaned before I purchase them. They look so bright and fresh under those bright lights.

When it comes to my homegrown produce, I know what's lurking under leaves and around the plants, whether it be minute amounts of pests (so far, let's hope that stays the trend for us) or flat-out dirt. I am aware of how close it grows to the earth and the types of bugs that like to land on it (I saw a white spider with a red V on its back; not harmful to me, but do I really want to eat it?).

Growing my own food has created this relationship, one in which I recognize the big picture of plant life. I get close to the bugs and the dirt; I pull or pinch my harvest from the stem. This is real food and I know there's other real things clinging to it... things I don't particularly want in my salads and sandwiches.

It's about time I started paying attention to the outsides of supermarket produce with the appropriate amount of concern; maybe not to the point where I'm whipping out the steel wool and a gallon of bleach, but at the least a hearty cleansing, on par (if not more than that) with my own produce.

Wash it all twice, whether it's organic or not. It's hard work, but you minimize unnecessary "inputs" to your body.

I had the pleasure of visiting my mom's garden yesterday; she gifted me with some green onions (aka scallions or bunching onions) and some tender lettuce leaves. With those two ingredients in hand, I immediately knew what I was going to do with them.

One of the traditional foods of the Saint John Valley region is the Garden Salad with Sour Cream (or, in French, Salade de Jardin avec la creme sur). 

It comes straight out of my memory. I haven't eaten it in years and knowing I was over halfway to making it for myself gave me the giddies (Is that a phrase? If not, I vote it should be.).

It's a very simple salad to create. The ingredients, in addition to the lettuce and green onions, are minimal. How minimal? Think sour cream and salt and pepper. 

It's inexpensive, easy to prepare and delicious.

 

Garden Salad with Sour Cream | Salad de jardin avec la creme sur

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Lettuce leaves should be tender. Romaine lettuce is too dark for my taste, so I stray away from using that. Iceburg lettuce has no taste or nutritional value, so why bother with that either. Try a loose leaf variety. The lettuce cultivar pictured is Black Seeded Simpson.

If small enough, the lettuce leaves can be used whole. Otherwise, rip them in half with your hands. Do not use a knife (lettuce and metal don't mix).

Chop the green onions. Use both the white bulb and the green scallion part of the onion. 

Mix the vegetables together and add sour cream slowly until you've covered every leaf and onion thoroughly. For four cups of lettuce and two green onions, I used about a half cup of sour cream.

Mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

I paired my Garden Salad with Sour Cream with pork loins and pasta. (What am I saying -- "pasta?" More like Kraft Mac 'n Cheese Spirals. But hey! Two-thirds of a healthy meal is almost there!)

This is my new (old) favorite summer salad. In UpCountry, these two vegetables are coming out of the garden, so put them to work in making your mouth happy!

Do you have any simple salad recipes that you tend to make each summer? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!

 

You might also like:

Spinach: This Too Shall Pass

Garlic Scapes

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr242012

Clarissa Bell's Peanut Butter Cookies

My sister/neighbor lent me a collection of my grandmother's recipes. I've been slowly going through them and copying the ones I want to try on new cards (that I downloaded here at Cottage Industrialist).

I came across her "Peanut Butter Cookies" recipe and was excited by the fact(s) that it as an easy recipe with few ingredients and that, according to the scrawled note in my grandmother's hand, it is her mother's recipe.

  

My grandmother's mother was Mrs. Clarissa Belle Stantial. I don't know much about her. I know she had children (my grandmother included) and that one of her sons died in the second World War. Besides that, my great-grandmother is a name.

I don't like that that's the way it is. I wish I could ask my grandmother for a few stories about her mom. Easier said than done, though. While my grandmother is still alive (at age 97), she has been suffering from age-induced dementia for years now. She will answer questions and can recognize faces, but it's hard to imagine her telling a story.

That's why it's extra-special for me to bake their recipes; I feel closer to them, as close as I'm like to get.

And along with being special, it's easy. 

 

The ingredients are:

1/2 cup melted butter (melted butter is so much easier to obtain than softened butter. yay!)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1&1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

 I miraculously made it from my pantry to my kitchen table/work station with all ingredients in hand (actually, arms. I was hugging it all, like when you hug something you love).

 

 Clarissa's recipe doesn't give many instructions, so I assumed you just mixed it all together in a bowl.

 

 That worked and the batter seemed to have a good consistency. I spared you the picture because, no matter how many times I took it, the batter ended up looking unappetizing. Blame the lighting (or the photographer, actually), because it looks just fine and pleasant in person.

 Teaspoon out portions of dough and roll them into small balls. My cookie sheet fit a dozen of these dough balls. Flatten with fork, alternating directions to get the desired crisscross look we've come to associate with peanut butter cookies.

 I don't know if it was Clarissa Belle or my grandmother Dorothy that came up with the actual baking instructions (10 minute at 375 degrees), but they didin't work for me. My oven runs hot, so I baked them at 360 degrees and (naughty me) discovered that 10 minutes is too long (the hard way). My first batch came out brown and hard around the edges.

Readjusting: (I should have just stood by the oven and watched them bake on the first trial run, but I was distracted by my playlist. On my laptop. In my bedroom. Music: ruining some things while making everything else more awesome). The second time around I baked them for 8 minutes, let them sit on the cookie sheet for an additional two minutes, then removed to my clean counterspace to cool (remember, using a wire rack is smarter, but I don't own one. Birthday's in two days. Fingers crossed.)

 They came out looking awesome and smelling even better than that somehow. After letting them cool enough to hazard a taste-test, I chewed on the gritty, rich peanut-butteriness with a sense of awe and respect. My great-grandmother made these cookies. And now I'm making them. Let the powers of lady bakers, delicious cookies, and simple recipes never die.

 Here's the recipe all nice and compact!

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1&1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

 Roll in small balls & flatten with fork. Bake 10 minutes at 375 (or, as I did, for 8 minutes at 360).

 

I hope you enjoy my great-grandmother Clarissa Belle's recipe! Do you have any recipes from family members that you keep alive?