Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Kitchen Table Staples: Rhubarb Sauce and Chopped Salad

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It's suddenly summer here in Iowa and this weekend it was up in the 90s on Sunday. That didn't inspire me to turn on the oven, as you can imagine, so I relied on my CSA veggies to whip up a big chopped salad for dinner. This type of salad is my go-to meal in summer—it's flavorful, filling and is endless open to using whatever I have on hand.

Since this really isn't a recipe, but rather a method, here's what I do:
I combine a mix of lettuce (which I chop up if there are very large leaves) with chopped crunchy veggies like carrots, radishes and cucumber, then I add cheese (grated cheddar, crumbled feta or goat cheese, depending on what's around), a protein (like pinto beans, black eyed peas or walnuts), and tomatoes if I have them. Sometimes I throw in roasted veggies if I have leftovers or I add a cooked grain like bulgur or wheat berries.

Really, it's all about getting a few different textures and flavors in the mix—which is why I try to chop things up to be somewhat uniform and small. 9 times out of 10, I use this balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

Balsamic vinaigrette
based on the one in the Real Food Daily cookbook
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 glove garlic, grated on a microplane (or totally smashed)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard,

Put all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork, or shake in a small jar with the lid screwed on tightly.

I make sure to add cracked pepper and salt, and I try to made the dish at least 30 minutes ahead if I can because I think it's tastes better when it's had a chance to sit and soak in the dressing. I could seriously eat a version of this every single day!

Last week, I mentioned the vanilla coconut ice cream that I made and here you can see it, topped with strawberry rhubarb sauce that is my new favorite spring topping (simply those fruits, a bit of water, sugar and a tbsp of cornstarch cooked together until soft and thick). It's great on oatmeal, yogurt and ice cream, and made this a dessert I will surely make again. Though I might try it with light coconut milk—this batch was possibly a tad too rich!

These pictures were taken by my talented friend Bethany, who I am always saying is welcome to come over because I love seeing my life through her lens.


  1. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it sounds fantastic!

  2. I'd like to personally attest to the deliciousness of this salad AND to the sunny, gorgeous, totally happy aura that pervades Miss Amy's kitchen and home. xoxo!