Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tis the Season

I love Spring. 

A lot happens at the tail end of Winter and through Spring: a huge number of fabulously, wonderful birthdays (Justin's, mine, Charlie's and Auggie's for example); thin, fresh asparagus; straight from the garden lettuce; flowers everywhere; and every now and then the weather will tease us with a preview of summer--hinting at what is to come. Spring also reminds me that until the end of summer, I won't have to hunt, too much, in the produce section at the grocery store. It is amazingly satisfying to walk out into the backyard empty handed, and come back with a mound of crisp lettuce that's just a wash away from my salad bowl--and this is just the beginning.

So, here we go.

This is what we had for dinner last night: a blended green salad from the backyard and stuffed pork loin. Justin was in charge of the pork loin and I was responsible for the salad. Like me, he is a little bit of this and a little bit of that kind of cook. From what I understand he did the following:

Cut a slit in the side of pork loin and fill with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.
Rub the same Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper on the outside, drizzle everything with olive oil and grill on medium high heat for about 4 and a half min per side.
Remember to let the cooked meat rest on a cutting board for about 5 to 8 min before serving.

It was a perfect dinner.

My Green Salad with Simple Vinaigrette

I wash and chop lettuce from my garden and put it all into my large wooden salad bowl.
We love adding any of the following: red or green onions, walnuts, pine nuts, grated parm/feta/goat cheese, tomatoes, and/or olives.

My quick salad dressing (for 2 or 3 people who love a large salad)
Please note that I do not measure when I bring a dressing together. And I prefer a more acidic dressing, which means that I use more vinegar and mustard than most people. At the end of the day, mix and taste, and mix and taste until you find something that you love. Once you get the hang of it, it is hard to create a bad dressing, and it will be so much better and faster than anything that you can find in the dressing aisle at the grocery store.

In a small bowl combine the following:
A couple glugs of the best olive oil I have.

Add about an equal amount of a favorite vinegar. Currently I'm using half balsamic vinegar and half apple cider vinegar together--odd I know, but I love it. And I feel like I'm bringing a bit of my grandma to dinner because she loved apple cider vinegar and all that it can do for the body and soul--a true cure all in her opinion.

Add a half-way-up-the-prongs-of-a-dinner-fork scoop of mustard (your favorite). I love stone ground mustard.

Add, about 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of Karam's Garlic Sauce, which is amazing. It might only be available here in the heater Seattle area. (I didn't find their website, but they do sell it on Amazon Fresh.)

Add, about 1.5 tsp of Amore's concentrated sun dried tomato paste.

A pinch of salt and a bigger pinch of pepper.

Then I mix it (a quick whip with the wrist) with a fork until it comes together.