How’s your week going? It’s starting to feel like Spring around here! I spent some time pulling weeds and assessing the sheer volume of work that’s needed to get the beds, pots and yard in acceptable condition. While I love to garden, Spring can be a little overwhelming due to the all the weeds that have snuck up… and the moss! It’s everywhere this year.
Citrus continues to make its appearance in the house, so much so, I’ve resorted to storing some in the garage, where they’ll keep longer. Although I’m still craving the orange crumble tart, and I’m drinking this citrus green smoothie almost daily, I continue to obsess over citrus. Have you tried the orange tart?
The pomegranate… I hoarded them at the end of January, like shoes at Nordstrom’s shoe sale, or…..
I don’t really hoard shoes, but pomegranate (and citrus)… yes, I hoard. If you see a pom, grab it, like you would shoes at a Nordstrom’s shoe sale (ahem). California poms are about out of season.
I read somewhere they freeze well. I tried it. It didn’t work for me. The arils were soft and lacked the robust flavor of a fresher pom. So, the last few I had on hand, I just let them hang out in the fridge until the skin got a bit pale and wrinkly.
Surprisingly, weeks later, the arils are still stunning and juicy. So, I made this salad, and sipped on my favorite pomegranate mojito, in quiet celebration and gratitude of the delicious pomegranate and delectable citrus.
Speaking of gratitude, I just purchased a 2/3 Community Supported Agriculture Share from Prairie Bottom Farm. A full share was just a little too much for us last summer. I couldn’t quite keep up with all the produce coming in because I don’t cook as much in the Summer due to travel, late day lingering in the sunshine and pulling weeds. We received a bit of a price break since we committed early, by about 10%. Purchasing early helps farmers plan yields and ensures they’ll have consumers for their crops.
While I’ve purchased eggs, veggies, and flowers from Prairie Bottom Farm at their farm stand, regularly, I’ve not participated in this farm’s CSA. What I am most excited about is not only do they provide the freshest veggies, and eggs from a carefully tended free-range flock, but because I’m a shareholder this season, I’ll be able to harvest U-pick flowers, herbs and raspberries when I pick up my weekly share. I’ve always enjoyed their flowers, particularly sunflowers.
If you haven’t considered a CSA or visited a farmers market, I hope you will. Not only does it help support local farmers, your local economy, but you know exactly where your food is coming from, how it’s grown and best of all, it’s fresh and tastes so good. An added bonus, as a shareholder, your produce comes straight from the farmer, so there’s no middle-man and the savings are passed on to you! Not sure where your nearest farmers market or CSA is? Local harvest can guide you. It’s a helpful tool, too, if you’re traveling this summer.
Thinking about farmers markets, CSAs and fresh berries makes me anticipate Spring even more. This salad reminds me of Spring with its vibrant colors and freshness. The clementines and pom arils make it juicy with pops of sunshine amongst the fresh greens while the roasted beets add a mellow richness that blends well with the citrus balsamic vinaigrette.
Assignment this week? Find pomegranates and your most localist Farmers Market or CSA. I’d love to hear what you discover! How close is your nearest market and/or CSA?
Winter Jeweled Salad
For the Salad:
- 4 oz Beets skins on with 2" of tops left on, smallish (10-12 )
- 1/3 C Pecans
- 8 C Spring Lettuce Mix rinsed and dried in a salad spinner, about 1/3 lb
- 2 Tbs Pomegranate Arils
- 2 Oranges Clementine or 4 Mandarins, peeled (individual cut in 1/2 if desired) with 2 Tbs of Orange Juice reserved for dressing
- 2 Green Onions or Scallions sliced thin on the bias
- 2 oz Goat Cheese optional
For the Dressing:
- 2 Tbs Orange Juice reserved from salad ingredients
- 1 1/2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- 3 Tbs Olive Oil
- 3/4 tsp Shallot minced
- 1/2 tsp Stone Ground Mustard
- Pinch of Salt
Prepping the Beets and Toasting the Pecans:
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place beets in 1/2" water, cover and roast for 40-50 minutes or until fork- tender. Place the pecans in a baking dish and toast in the same oven as beets for about 8 minutes (watch this. Nuts go from toasted to burnt quickly!).
- While the beets are roasting, make the dressing and chop the pecans, once cooled.
- Once the beets are out of the oven, allow to cool until they can be handled. Cut the stem and tail off. There are two ways to approach beet peeling. I use a vegetable peeler and gently remove the skin. Some simply slip the skins off. Your choice. Once the skins are removed, slice the beets into discs or cut into matchsticks.
For the Dressing:
- In a small bowl whisk the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot, mustard and salt together until an emulsion is formed. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
- For a composed salad, use a shallow serving bowl or platter. Spread the greens in the serving dish. Drizzle the salad dressing, a few tablespoons at a time to taste, over the entire salad right before serving as the dressing will wilt the greens over time. Toss well. Evenly distribute the beets, arils, and orange pieces over the salad. Sprinkle the green onions, chopped pecans and optional goat cheese over the top. Serve immediately.
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