It is cold. Well, it is relative given I am not in the north where the nights almost guarantee a frost, if not a hard freeze. Here on the boarder of the frost-free zone I am still actively going out daily to harvest the elements of our meals. Beets, radishes, turnips, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli and cauliflower flourish until brought into the kitchen.
I am also amazed that my lettuces are still sprouting leaves and only one or two of the have shown signs of wanting to bolt. I have diligently snipped from a variety of possibilities whenever I go to make a salad – a little oak leaf: red and green, curly green, red romaine and crimpled lolla rossa get mixed together. I have been making sure they continue to sprout new leaves to replace the ones I steal. On the half dozen evening when I knew the temperature was going to drop to the frost line, or worst, I have blanketed those tender leaves with a billowy high-tech cloth that thwarts freezer burn so come the morning sun I am not furlong due to a wholesale loss. But here is the rub – I married someone who does not share my enthusiasm for salad greens. Why didn’t he tell me that before I agreed to the better or worst proviso? I do realize I am among a rarified group that adores a bowl of baby greens, washed and spun dry so their sweet, bitter, spicy tones aren’t diluted. Is it so weird that I envy a rabbit’s dinner? Though unlike my furry little friend I do like a good dressing from a simple tossing of lemon juice and fruity olive oil punched with a suspicion of salt flakes to creamy concoctions emulsified with blue cheese or avocado.
While tossed greens are welcomed on my table anytime I do question Mother Nature and her timing. Why cannot these leaves flourish during the heat of summer as well when tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers are ample, and that way I just might be able to get my spouse to eat more greens?
Vanilla Infused Dressing - yields approx. 1-1/4 cup
1/4-cup champagne or white balsamic vinegar
1/2-cup fresh lime juice
2-teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 drops Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2-cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients together and whisk till well combined.