I belong to a wonderful group of vibrant ladies. Our excuse for gathering is to celebrate the day each and every one of us was born – yup, our birthdays! We will often meet at a restaurant to celebrate all the birthdays of a particular month. Whoever is having the birthday gets to choose the restaurant and the date of the gathering. The birthday girl usually receives a few fun gifts, and always receives a pile of birthday cards – yes, you can still give actual paper cards, and post birthday wishes on facebook too! And somehow a special cake always shows up. Well, our latest gathering happened to be a 3 birthday celebration! Instead of having the party at a restaurant, it was decided to have it at the home of a group member. Now, the boys are not usually allowed, but the rules were bent on this occasion! Her husband was fantastic! He made a beautiful, delicious lasagna for the party; and he played the role of the magnificent host to the max! He was the cook, the bartender, the server, the dishwasher, and seemed to be everyone’s personal assistant for the duration of the party!
I had offered to bring a garden salad to accompany the lasagna. I knew I wanted to make a salad and dressing that would be on the lighter side, since lasagna tends to be pretty filling.
The evening before the party I went out to the greens garden and picked some lettuce.
Right now, we happen to have 4 varieties that are ready for picking: black seeded simpson, bibb, and 2 varieties of romaine: “freckles” and “rouge d’Hiver”. Romaine lettuce is my personal favorite because I love the crunch, and “freckles” romaine is my absolute favorite of all!
I washed and drained the lettuce, and then put it in the fridge for the next day when I would be making the salad.
We also have plenty of fresh herbs in our herb garden. I picked some oregano and green onions to chop up and add to the salad.
The lettuce and herbs are the ingredients that I could harvest from our garden. Any other vegetables had to come from another source. I typically shop various local vegetable markets, farm stands, small local farmers, and health food stores for my produce. I like to buy local when possible; and I will buy organic unless the cost is unreasonable. I wanted to add, not only some varying flavors and textures, but also some vibrant colors to the salad. Here, you can see some tricolored carrots that I shredded, along with sweet onion, red bell pepper, and cucumber.
Oh, and I happened upon some grape tomatoes and a nice, ripe avocado to add as well! It was getting better by the minute!
I wanted to make a tasty dressing that was on the lighter side. I’m always experimenting with dressings, and this is one that I came up with a while back. It’s a fresh citrus dressing. The main ingredients are olive oil and fresh squeezed orange and lemon juices. It’s dressed up with some fresh minced garlic, salt, mustard powder, black pepper, orange peel powder, and cider vinegar.
Here is the recipe:
Fresh Citrus Dressing
½ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon orange peel powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Shake well to blend, pour over salad, toss, and enjoy!
Here it is, ready and waiting to go to the triple birthday party to share with the girls! It was a fabulous evening, by the way! And even though I didn’t grow everything that went into the salad, I could use what I had, add some other great veggies that I purchased, and still create a tasty, fresh ‘n fabulous salad!
So, until next time… plant some seeds, tend to your garden, and watch it grow! Josie