Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipe: One Wild and Lucky Salad

One Wild and Lucky Salad...Beautiful!

This salad was inspired by posts from my FB friend Lana Sutton. She had been showing how people can eat from their yard..."weeds" that are edible and tasty, and she shared some ideas and pics of salads from her own yard.

I've been wanting to try this for a couple of days, so I ran outside this afternoon to pick some wild violets before my husband mows tomorrow. I got brave and sampled some yesterday (amazingly no tummy ache followed), and found the white ones seemed sweeter than the purple, so I picked more white blooms than purple.

Some people that know me know that I used to find 4 through 8 leaf clovers quite often while growing up...in fact, I used to keep track of them by placing 2 per page opening in my Bible...at last count I had over 969 of the 4's, and 30+ of the 5's, etc...(that's not counting the ones I gave away, didn't pick, or threw away because they wilted before I could press them). Unfortunately I misplaced that particular Bible while in college, so I've now got several scattered throughout different books I own. Clovers wilt very quickly once picked, and have to be pressed almost immediately.

The knack for finding them (especially 4 leaf clovers) has continued into my adulthood, so I wasn't too surprised when I went to pick some clover for my salad that I found these "lucky" special ones.

This 5 leaf clover is featured atop a piece of arugula,
my favorite salad green.

I didn't have all the ingredients in my yard - I had to get the spinach and tomatoes from the store, but it's still satisfying to know that most of the salad came from our very own back yard!

One Wild and Lucky Salad

Wild violets (white and purple)
Grape tomatoes
Wild onions
4 and 5 leaf clovers (may substitute 3 leaf clovers)

Wash, drain and place all the ingredients except the wild onions into a salad bowl. Remember, presentation is key - you want to be able to see the clover, flowers and tomatoes pretty well because the colors and images are spectacular. I started with the spinach, then arugula, tomatoes, flowers and clover in that order.

This salad is best served quickly before the flowers and clover wilt, but can be refrigerated for a few hours if it needs to be, with only slight wilting.

Wild Onion Vinaigrette

Equal parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Wild onions (the bulb w/o greens, washed and minced)
salt (to taste)

Just mix the ingredients well, and drizzle a little with a spoon onto your salad. I only used a tablespoon because it has a strong presence and I wanted the flavors of the vegetation to come through.

Wild Onion Vinaigrette

There are many wild "weeds" that can be used for a Wild and Lucky Salad, including dandelion flowers. I still need to research this more - hopefully I'll find other edible treasures in my backyard!

The day's bounty of 4 and 5 leaf clovers

Let me know if you get adventuresome and try your own yard salad...I'd love to hear all about it!

Close up of a 4 leaf clover with
wild violets, grape tomatoes
and arugula.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Recipe: Lavender Potatoes

Corey and I really crave these new baby potatoes
cooked with Lavender.

A lot of my recipes are inspired by foods I've had in the past, and this one is no exception. Growing up, my mother would make us very similar potatoes when they started coming on in the garden. However, my mother is a traditional Southern cook and would never consider putting lavender into any dish. Here's my version of "Mama's New Potatoes".

Lavender Potatoes


New Potatoes, washed (for me, the tinier the better)
Butter, melted
Lavender Buds
Garlic Powder

Parboil your washed potatoes with salt and 1 - 2 tbsp lavender buds until tender. Drain and place onto a baking sheet lined with foil.

Brush potatoes with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Place some lavender buds atop each potato, and bake at 350°F until the potato bottoms are browned (anywhere from 20 - 40 minutes, depending on how browned you like the skins).

These tiny potatoes turn out creamy and fragrant - perfect alone, or beside a nice roast. Oh, and the butter and seasonings left on the foil...you'll be hard pressed to keep yourself from cleaning up with a little bread or potato! ;-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Spring? Quick, Grab The Camera!

Finally - Spring is here!

Finally - Spring has pounced on our backyard, and for a few brief days we've had glorious blooms and blossoms that will disappear about as quickly as they arrived. Even my Moso bamboo has started to shoot, and it's very early for that (I'll save the bamboo for another posting).

I'm so glad that warmer weather has arrived, because this past winter was long and hard. I thought the low temperatures we had were supposed to kill of a lot of the bugs, but I've seen more insect activity recently than I've seen in quite a while.

The ants are busy as...bees!

My husband and I planted some really beautiful trees when we first bought our house about four years ago. We planted three Yoshino Cherry trees between our fence and drive behind our house. The blossoms are the palest pink, and only stand out as pink when you see them against the Callery Pear tree that was here when we moved in.
Close up of Yoshino Cherry blossoms with Callery Pear in the background

Yoshino Cherry blossoms with Callery Pear in the background

Another stand out in our back garden is the Japanese Weeping Cherry. We originally bought two, and planted one in full sun inside the fence, and the other just outside the fence in partial to mostly shade. The latter one died, and is now officially my "Nightmare Before Christmas" tree!

The one that survived has a couple of branches that reach up instead of weeping...I like to imagine it's saying "Haha! I survived! Victory is mine!" (Guess we should name it "Stewie-san")

Weeping Cherry Blossom

Callery Pear Blossoms

Callery Pear Blossoms

God, Karma, and Luck

Wow...some "karmic circle" that started 5 years ago just closed this morning with an accidental phone call I received. Wow. WOW. I'll be thinking about this one for years.

Lesson learned: God works in our lives even when we don't always see exactly what He's doing behind the scenes.

Romans 8:28
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Shortly after the phone call I found a "lucky" four leaf clover in the back yard (that's it scanned in the photo above). Today's blessings are already turning out to be much better than the challenges of yesterday.