I love having the ability to go out into the garden at lunch and grabbing everything I need for a garden salad at dinner. I would really love to tell you that my kids love this salad too, they are so impressed with my excitement at having grown a healthy bowl of greens and making them homemade dressing that they tear into it, devouring every bite. Of course the latter part is a complete lie. As I am presenting them their little bowls of colorful veggies and homegrown greens they avoid eye contact at all costs. They are too afraid of getting the “You are going to eat this right?” question thrown at them. They try in vain to avoid this back and forth the way I used too when I was a kid.
If I am lucky they pick through it eating the cucumbers or maybe a cherry tomato. This routine has gone on all year and I really don’t mind it. I am holding out hope one day they will be so hungry they will throw caution to the wind and dig into it. They will then cheer me for being such a great dad to provide such a wonderful salad to them. I realize I am probably setting my goals too high for this but I am a big believer that if you keep putting good, healthy food in front of them eventually they will eat it.
For me making this salad starts with a trip to the garden to cuts some greens, grab a cucumber, a few green bell pepper and a handful of cherry tomatoes. This year a grew a fairly large assortment of greens and I cut them often enough that they just continued regrowing (much to the chagrin of my little maniacs). I wouldn’t have been able to pick salads everyday this year if it wasn’t for Swiss Chard and Kale. Lettuce in my opinion is really finicky, it bolts on me too quickly or doesn’t regrow fast enough and the slugs tear into it. I really don’t have the time or patience to repeatedly replant lettuce to maintain continual harvests all year. Swiss Chard and Kale on the other hand did amazing in terms of regrowing. I cut the outer stalks on plants, rotating through them, and I was able to do that from the end of June until now and they are still going strong.
Granted I wasn’t able to do this with a few plants. I had about 72 plants of both Chard and Kale in the ground but they were resigned to the very far end of my garden which gets minimal sunlight everyday.
So for today’s salad I procured Swiss chard, kale, radish greens, beet greens, and a few leaves of lettuce I had left in a container. I grabbed a large cucumber, a few bell peppers, a roma tomato, and a handful of sun gold tomatoes from the refrigerator that I had harvest the day before. Now I was ready to make salad!
Beet greens, Radish green, Red Russian Kale, and Swiss Chard leaves
At lunch I am washing, drying and putting the greens in the fridge to assemble when I get home for dinner. All the greens go into a large bowl that gets filled with cold water and they soak for about 10 minutes. This will get some dirt particles off them, I swish them around and drain. Then rinse them again. Next I pull off the chard stems and break up the leaf into smaller pieces. I do not like the texture of chard stems in salad but they are edible so you can just chop them up and include them if you like. Big pieces of kale get ripped in half and and bigger stems get removed. After that another quick rinse and into the salad spinner they go. Once spun and dried they go into a recycled take out container and into the fridge to chill until dinner.
When I get home I dice up a big cucumber, a couple green pepper, a roma tomato, and split in half a handful of cherry tomatoes and add to the container. The salad is put together and now we have to dress it.
Into a mason jar goes a little apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard (I am partial to Raye’s Old World Gourmet Mustard made in Maine!), extra virgin olive oil and sesame seeds. The cover goes on the mason jar and it gets shaken for a minute to combine it really well. I will pour just a few tablespoons into salad container and cover the salad and shake it to combine dressing and salad. This jar of dressing will last me a weeks worth of salads. Back in the fridge to chill until the rest of the meal is done.
All that is left to do now is decide how to present this form of torture to my wonderful little children. Should I bring it out to them first on large plates so they think this is all that coming for dinner? No, that would be too mean. I will put a little feta cheese on top to help ease the pain of another salad for them. After all I do want them to enjoy this food someday!
- 4 cups mixed greens (lettuce, chard, kale, beet, radish) wash, rinsed, broken into pieces
- 1 large cucumber diced
- 2 green bell peppers diced
- 1 red tomato diced
- 6 cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 oz feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine greens, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes and mix gently.
- In a small mason jar with lid combine vinegar, honey, mustard, oil, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.
- Put lid on jar and shake vigorously for a minute to combine.
- Put 2 tablespoons dressing on salad and mix to combine.
- Keep in fridge to chill and ready to serve and top with crumbled feta.