My vegetable garden’s kale, chard, mustard greens, broccoli, lettuce and brussel sprouts all survived the winter, providing us with sprouts, raab, and green leaves for weeks. As many shot up in height to flower and (eventually) produce seeds, I let their flowers feed the bees as long as possible. For awhile I had six foot tall kale plants. They were so thick that I used our tree pruning shears to take them out. Almost everything’s been pulled in the past few weeks to make room for my summer vegetable seeds and seedlings.
The timing of this abundance of greens matched the blooming of my chives and calendula. Bursts of color in our yard, burst of flavor in our mouths. I planted the calendula seeds last year primarily for aphid control. The resulting plants survived, so we’re experiencing their flowers much earlier this year and there are many more of them. Additionally, this year we’re eating the petals much more frequently. I think I’m braver. Just like the kids, I have my moments of hesitation when it comes to trying new foods. Especially those from which I have to wash aphids off. Ready for dinner?
This spring salad has been composed in my favorite way, with a walk in my backyard. I might pick a little mint, a little tarragon, a little basil from my itty-bitty babies (to help their production), a few chives and their blossoms, a calendula or two…
My kale gets very finely chopped because that’s my favorite way to eat it raw. I’m not crazy about gigantic kale leaves. (I usually prefer lettuce finely chopped, too.) I top it with the chopped herbs and scatter the herb and flower blossoms on top. Salad decorating!
I have these gorgeous preserved lemons in my fridge, so I frequently add tiny bits of those to salads. Sometimes finely grated parmensan, always a sprinkle or two of Maldon salt. Freshly ground pepper is nice when I remember it.
I like a strong dressing for the kale, so I made various versions of a lightly sweetened mustard vinaigrette. I’ve kept the olive oil to acid ratio around 3:1 and used lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and/or red wine vinegar as my acids. I add a splat or two of dijon mustard, either a dab of honey or a splash maple syrup, and a little salt. I make my dressings in washed out glass spice jars, so all I have to do is shake them vigorously and I’m set. Much to my amazement, Miles has been eating this salad right along with Harry and I. Charlie, not so much.