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Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bountiful Celebration!

This Sunday is World Kitchen Garden Day...a day to give a big shout out to all our brave herbs and veggies that have made it through this blistering summer. My herbs are great. Although now looking a little parched, they are troopers. You may remember I planted 5 tomato plants and expected a harvest for the whole street. I had visions of abundance. I fantasized about making salsas, curries, sauces, soups with plenty of tomatoes leftover for sun-drying and roasting. I have stacks of tomato recipes dog-eared. I can hear John Lennon now, "You may say I am a dreamer...".  I have lots to learn. Here is my total harvest:

So fleeting, I couldn't even get these two little guys into focus for this picture. And soon, there was just one. Right after I took this shot, one rolled off the table and my Chihuahua Stu gobbled it up. He ate it all, although he did shoot me a few quizzical looks. "What is this, Mom?" I think what I did wrong was not water the baby plants deeply enough in the beginning. This winter, I am hitting the gardening books.

Every celebration needs a a beautiful dish and here is what I am serving. Most of the veggies are from someone else's garden and the sunflowers are, too. How gorgeous is this???

World Kitchen Garden Day Salad

1  ripe avocado, cut into chunks or slices
1 tomato, sliced...heirlooms and small grape tomatoes are so pretty
1 cucumber, sliced into bite-sized pieces...I prefer the English ones
1 carrot, shaved with a veggie peeler into long curls as shown
2-3 beets, roasted and sliced...I like to mix colors, one yellow beet, one red, one striped
fresh mushrooms, sliced
8-10 fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
8-10 fresh basil sprigs, chopped
fresh salad greens of choice
handful or two of fresh arugula and fresh dandelion greens, if desired
2-4 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds or combination of toasted pumpkin and sunflower
any other veggies from the garden 

Tear spring greens and lettuces into bite-sized pieces. There is nothing less appetizing than a salad with huge leaves of lettuce to navigate. Add everything else and then toss with this dressing:


3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or for a special treat, olive oil infused with truffle oil
juice and grated rind of 1 fresh lemon
juice and grated rind of 1 orange
sea salt and pepper

Mix all well and taste for seasonings. You can also add in an extra sprig of basil, rosemary or lavender. Set aside.

Serve salad sprinkled generously with toasted seeds and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately because the beets will bleed after sitting for a while. Serves 4.

For more on this holiday, check out this link: Next year, now that I know about this great day, I will organize an Our Green Table community event for this. Mark your calendars, 4th Sunday in August 2011. You, me, us and our gardens.

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