Tales From the Garden & Sherrie’s Super Food Salad

It’s been a whirl wind month so far and there is no rest in sight!  My son’s wedding was June 10th.  I’ve been working on this wedding for the better part of 9 months and have enjoyed almost every minute of it. The first week of June was really stressful because of the weather.  Colorado is now officially known as the hail state and mother nature was bound and determined to live up to my dread of my yard and garden being destroyed in a matter of minutes.  Every day I ran outside and  covered everything up the minute the sky looked threatening.  Many, many times the hail did come. But, that diligence paid off and nothing was shredded to a pulp. 

Basil, Mustard, Red Leaf Miizuna

It was rainy on the morning of the wedding , thankfully it stopped before the ceremony started.  The deck had to be hand dried so the bride’s dress would not get wet!  The chairs had to be put out an hour before the ceremony and so many last minute things like food, champagne, flowers, cake and photographers had to be organized in a one hour time frame because of the crazy weather. It was all a blur!

Thank goodness I am an organized person (obsessive organizer).  Everything came into place like we had  hours to do it!  All of the guests pitched in and everything got done.

Everyone at this wedding absolutely loved the setting I had created for my son’s wedding.  It all centered around a great organic garden, a xeroscaped yard, and a rather sizeable deck with a backdrop I created for the altar area for the wedding ceremony.

I dug around Queen City Salvage for a couple of months to find interesting doors from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  I wanted all kinds of solid wood doors, some without glass windows and some with them.  I have to tell you these doors were HEAVY, solid hardwood doors!  I could barely lift them out of the car. They were filthy from sitting in the salvage yard for years but in each door I saw the ugly duckling with possibilities.

Each door was sanded, stained or white-washed and had 5 coats of poly on them!  That alone took a few months to prepare. Both sides of all the doors were treated this way because I did not know for sure which side would be facing the bride and groom when they were installed on my deck (permanent installation).

Antique Door Wedding Altar

I love this backdrop!  It speaks to me as a previous architectural student and interior design major.  There is so much history involved here.  Who walked through these doors, where did these doors come from, who made them, what wood was used? 

Now they have been recycled, repurposed and redesigned for a completely different purpose!

Every morning my husband Claude walks out on our deck to survey the garden, enjoy the deck and his new contribution to the project which is 2 shade sails he installed after the wedding.  He loves it that we can go out to the garden each day and harvest today’s meals.  It makes me happy that I worked so hard to have this garden when I see how much he enjoys surveying the “south 40” (what he calls the garden).

I wanted to share the photos from this garden with you and yesterday’s salad that came from this wonderful garden.

All of the beds in this garden are raised beds except for two.  So they are easy to work in.  They all had a combination of outdoor potting mix, top soil, choir (ground up coconut husks) and organic compost mixed together.

Garlic Shoots  or "pigtails'

I grew a lot of the vegetable plants from seed and began in February starting the seeds and keeping them under shop lights.  It’s a pain doing this but if you want to try different heirloom varieties that your local garden centers don’t carry this is your only option.

Right now this garden is really thriving.  It has finally warmed up and everything is really doing well.  Our growing time will be a huge factor.  We only have around 150 days or so in Colorado and we got off to such a wet, cold start.  A frost could cut that shorter but I am hopeful that there will be enough time and warm weather to have great tomatoes this year.  Although getting the tomatoes to set the fruit can be a challenge.  I may have to resort to trying to hand pollinate the flowers to make that happen in which case I will be “fooling” mother nature! 

Dwarf Peas

I love the challenge but it can be discouraging.  Last year in mid-July I yanked all of the tomato plants out of the ground in frustration.  They were not setting the fruit and I knew that there were not enough days left to get a crop.  So out they came.  The $80 tomato is a favorite saying at our house when you get to the end of the season and only have a few tomatoes.

Now for the salad!  By all means please play with the green’s listed in this salad.  You don’t have to use them all if you have them in your garden and any bag of mixed greens at your local grocer or farmer’s market will result in a great tasting salad.

Blue Borage

Super Food Salad

Ingredients

Borage leaves and flowers

Sorrel

Arugula

Kale (I used a mix of curly, italian, and dinosaur)

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Romain

Roasted Figs (2 per person)

Manchego Cheese, shaved

1/3 c Pistachio’s, chopped in half

2 thin slices of prosciutto per person

Instructions

You can pick and choose any greens from the list or use a package of store-bought mixed greens.. When you are preparing the greens just cut enough to fill each person’s salad bowl or to fill one-third of the space on a dinner plate.

I washed all of the greens and laid them on paper towels to dry a little. The borage was cut in a fine chiffonade because it has hairy leaves.  The kale was chopped fairly small and was then massaged to help break down the tough leaves.  The sorrel was chopped fairly roughly as the leaves are tender.  The Arugula was torn in half.  The baby bok choy had the leaves removed from the stems but they were not cut.

I roasted dried figs in balsamic.  To do this just cut the dried figs in half and put in a sauce pan.  Cover the figs with balsamic vinegar and cook on medium heat until the figs get soft and the balsamic reduces by at least one-third in volume.  You can store the figs in the refrigerator for weeks. So I usually make lots.

I shaved the manchego really thin and shelled and cut the pistachio’s in half.

To assemble the salad all of the salad greens were put in a large salad bowl, the salad was dressed with the vinaigrette dressing and then put on a large platter.  The figs, manchego and prosciutto were placed around the salad.  The borage flowers (purple and white) were sprinkled over the top of the salad along with the pistachio’s.

It was a feast for the eyes and tasted amazing!

Super Food Salad

Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp poached garlic, mashed

2 tbsp fig’s roasted in balsamic

1/2 c light olive oil

Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor until the figs are pureed.

Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield:  1/2 – 3/4 cup

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