Recipes

Lettuce Entertain You

Ok, so it’s just me and not an “us”  in the Lettuce play on words. But lettuce and greens are the thing today, so I’m running with it.

I picked up my second CSA share this past Monday and was, again, happily suprised! This is turning out to be a great thing…even my husband agrees, and he was the bigger skeptic.

The kids and I went to the farm in the rain and even met The Farmer. Great woman, friendly, enthusiastic…real. You can tell she loves her farm and what her family does. This was my first time at the pickup, so I didn’t know what to expect. A big folding table was under a tent and it was absolutely overflowing with veggies. All the goods were separated into groups and there was a white-board over to the side letting you know what was included in your share for the week. That’s in the event that there is no one manning the table when you come to pick up. It’s a serve-yourself set-up. Sort of like the grandest salad bar ever.

I felt like a kid in a candy store. Or a veggie store, as the case may be. This week’s goodies were:
1 bunch spinach
1 bunch scallions
1 bulb of fresh garlic (the thing is probably 2.5 feet tall. It’s a crack up)
2 heads of the most gorgeous lettuce you’ve ever seen
1 bunch of kale
turnips
green beans (again, so gorgeous you want to photograph them)
1 bunch of broccoli

Green, green, green as far as the eye can see. Our fridge now looks so healthy it’s almost criminal. See, this is just the week when I want to have some friend stop by and poke in my fridge just because it looks so good. Rather than the time recently, when I was making these crazy cupcakes for my daughter to bring into school, and the conveyor belt at the food store had twizzlers, m & m’s, pretzels and swedish fish piled on it…and I thought…THIS, yes, THIS is the time I’m going to run into 5 people I know and I’ll have to explain all the junk that I’m buying. Never fails.

Random veggie tidbit here…did you know that with garlic, a single clove planted will yield a whole bulb? How cool is that? From one bulb you can potentially end up with about 10. It’s like Garlic Gremlins (or attics. We’ve discussed this before)…they multiply like crazy. I’m thinking I may try this in the fall. You plant garlic 6 weeks before the first freeze and then harvest in the spring/early summer. Garlic is a long, slow grower.

Another random veggie bit….the Garlic scapes (more about garlic, I guess) from last’s weeks CSA basket. I used them successfully in my Cold Peanut Noodle salad. Chopped up those stems and threw them in. It was like killing two birds with one stone, as they looked and sort of crunched like scallions but tasted like garlic. Score! Interesting things, those scapes. They were so visually striking, too, that I almost wanted to put them in a vase. Almost.

And lettuce….lettuce, lettuce, lettuce. Lettuce discuss what to do with great quantities of lettuce. I’ve been making some kick-butt entree salads for dinner, that’s what. One that I made the other night got the thumbs-up votes from all at the table. A triumph. Easy, a little different, good mingling of flavors…perfect for summer. Enjoy this!

Pork Tenderloin Salad with Grilled Nectarines with Goat Cheese Toasts, courtesy of Cooking Light magazine

5 Tb. olive oil
3 Tb. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb. maple syrup, divided
1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
cooking spray
2 large nectarines (I actually used whited peaches and they were great), halved and pitted
6 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

French baguette
Goat cheese (I used Herbed Goat cheese)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Divide mixture in half. Combine half of balsamic mixture with 1 Tb. maple syrup. Reserve 2 Tb. maple syrup mixture. Brush remaining maple syrup mixture evenly over pork, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Grill or broil pork tenderloin to desired doneness. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Coat cut sides nectarine (or peach) halves with cooking spray, brush with remaining 1 Tb. maple syrup. Place, cut sides down, on grill rack. Grill about 5 minutes or until well marked and tender. Remove from grill and cut into wedges.

Combine remaining half of balsamic mixture, greens and onion in large bowl, tossing to coat. Top with tenderloin and nectarines. Add toasts on side.

For toasts:
Preheat broiler. Cut baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Spread each with goat cheese and place on cooking tray. Broil about 2 minutes until toasted.

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