Spring! It was slow to arrive this year, but we're so grateful it's now in full swing.
It's been hard to find the time to post here these days. Between settling into our still new home, running a new business, teaching cooking classes, gearing up for the busy season, getting our garden up and running and taking care of a little puppy, there hasn't been a lot of free time.
On top of all that, we have some exciting news to share: we are expecting a baby boy in November. We feel so blessed. Now that the nausea has (mostly) subsided, I'm ready to jump back into the kitchen.
But our priority right now is the garden. We're so behind! And we've got to get it in shape before the guests descend this Memorial Day weekend.
To that end, we've built the raised beds for the kitchen garden (thanks to the help of our dear friend David). Our chicken coops are in progress (also thanks to David) and our early season crops are in the soil.
Our puzzle now is figuring out where to plant the fruit trees, shrubs and flowers we ordered from FEDCO. It seemed like such a good idea back in January, but now I realize I know absolutely nothing about landscaping. We're constantly learning.
The chicks will arrive any day now, so we're brainstorming how we'll train our bird dog not to hunt them. And then there are the hawks, eagles and foxes to contend with.
We're continuing to prepare a huge, overgrown garden plot our neighbor Ronnie has so graciously allowed us to farm this season. We're so grateful for the many ways our neighbors continue to welcome and supported us.
We're so excited that soon (we hope) we'll be able to share our garden bounty through the meals we cook for our guests and friends, bringing us one step closer to our vision. Of course, we still look forward to continuing to collaborate with our farmer and fishermen friends.
After seemingly endless weeks of dull root vegetables and preserves, fresh spring greens and new vegetables varieties have started to appear on the tables of the farmers market. Right now, I'm still cooking with winter staples but have started to fold in the newcomers. This captures this culinary transition.
The salad brings together hearty roasted winter beets with delicate new spring greens, goat cheese, pumpernickle "dirt" and a simple vinaigrette. Edible flowers are a nice touch, too. (You can grow them in your garden or on your window sill.)
The key to this salad is to season each component before you plate with dressing, salt and pepper and plenty of lemon juice to brighten it up.
I realize this post is heavy on life and light on food, but I'll be spending more time in the kitchen now, so expect more recipes soon.
Spring Beet and "Dirt" Salad
1-2 bunches baby beets
2 slices stale bread (pumpernickel or another dark bread)
2 tablespoons of bacon drippings (or olive oil)
1 bag baby kale (or other greens)
Little black (salad) dress(ing)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Goat cheese, crumbled if soft, shaved if hard
Edible flowers, optional
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the beets in a baking dish and add a little water to the pan. Cover and roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets.
Drain and let the beets cool to room temperature. Peel, trim the bottoms so they sit upright, and cut into wedges. Set aside
Make the "dirt." Place the stale bread in a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Don't over-process or you'll end up with powder.
Heat a skillet with the bacon drippings or oil. Toast the bread crumbs until fragrant and golden. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Spoon some "dirt" in rings on dinner plates.
Toss the beet wedges in a bowl with some dressing, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Arrange on the "dirt."
Toss the greens in the same bowl with some dressing, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Arrange with the beets.
Sprinkle pieces of cheese around the beets and greens. Top with edible flowers, if using.