Two Spring Salads
This past weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting a Farmers’ Market at a local Agricultural Center. There were a lot of vendors selling things like handspun yarn, honey, cheese and fresh produce. We were inspired to create a simple recipe consisting of some of the gems from the market. A salad showcasing the fresh ingredients seemed to be a natural choice.
We bought some lovely produce from James Durr Wholesale Produce* of Chesterfield, NJ. They had a fantastic variety of vegetables, and we picked up a bunch of them for a great price. They were very sweet, and kindly gave us permission to take and post photos of their booth. They supplied the lettuces for our salads.
From Cherry Grove Farm* of Lawrenceville, NJ, we sampled and got some delicious raw milk cheeses. We bought two; their Full Nettle Jack, and their Lawrenceville Jack. They were also very friendly, and had a lot of information about the farm, and their cheese. The cheese tastes very fresh, and you can tell that it is made with care. You can visit their website here: http://www.cherrygrovefarm.com/
Farmers’ Markets supply a wholesome perspective of food, and it’s great to know that non-processed foods are still easily accessible.
Thank you, James Durr wholesale produce and Cherry Grove Farm, for allowing us to take photos and mention you in our post!
*We aren’t speaking for these companies; we just appreciated their service, and wanted to share it!
Spinach and Beet Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing-
For this salad, we used a combination of some beautiful spinach and green leaf lettuce. Because of the nettle raw milk cheese, beets and balsamic dressing, this salad has an earthy, rustic flavor.
Creamy Balsamic Dressing-
¾ of a cup of mayonnaise
1 TBS + ½ tsp.balsamic vinegar
3 large cloves of garlic (you can adjust more or less to taste)
1 ¾ tsp. water
Put the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar into a bowl, and mix them together. Put the garlic through a garlic press. If you don’t have a garlic press, mince the garlic finely. Add the garlic and water to the mixture. If the dressing is too thick, you can add a little more water to it.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of dressing.
Sticky glazed walnuts-
1 cup of halved walnuts
¼ cup of granulated sugar
1 TBS of honey
½ cup of water
Preheat your oven to 325°F. In a small saucepan, put the sugar, honey and water over a medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low-medium. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The result should be a slightly viscous liquid syrup. Add the walnuts to the syrup. Prepare a small cookie sheet with aluminum foil, or a silicone baking mat. Put the nuts and syrup on the cookie sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the walnuts from the oven, and allow them to cool. Take caution not to touch the hot sugary syrup until it has cooled.
The once thin syrup should set up, and coat the walnuts in a sticky glaze.
The beets for this salad, if you choose to have them, are prepared quite simply. Peel and cut the greens* off of three or so beets (this depends on how much you need). Cut them into cube-like pieces. Fill a saucepan up with water, and lightly salt it. Bring the water to a boil, and add the beets. Cook the beets until they have your desired consistency; we like them tender, but not too soft. Strain the beets and allow them to cool. Chill the beets until the salad is ready to be served.
*Don’t discard the nutritious greens… they’re delicious sautéed to go with any meal.
Serve the salad with Cherry Grove Farm’s Full Nettle Jack (it has a delicious green, and nutty flavor), beets, glazed walnuts, croutons and the creamy balsamic dressing. Enjoy!
You can also add anything you wish. Hardboiled egg and grilled chicken would be a nice addition to this salad.
Radish and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette-
For the second salad, we used a combination of some lovely bibb and green leaf lettuces. The slightly astringent honey mustard vinaigrette pairs nicely with the sweetness of the pears, the well balanced Lawrenceville Jack, and the spicy radishes.
Honey mustard vinaigrette-
2 TBS + 2 tsp. honey
2 TBS of whole grain mustard (we used mustard made with Irish Whiskey)
2 TBS malt vinegar
2 TBS distilled white vinegar
1 TBS olive or canola oil
½ tsp. of water
A pinch of granulated sugar
Put the honey and whole grain mustard into a bowl. Add the malt vinegar, white vinegar, oil, sugar and water to the bowl. Mix it thoroughly, and adjust anything to taste. The vinaigrette should be thin, but viscous enough so that the mustard seeds can be suspended throughout.
This recipe makes about ½ cup of dressing.
Serve this salad with thinly sliced radishes and green Anjou pears, Cherry Grove Farm’s Lawrenceville Jack, croutons, fried onions and the honey mustard vinaigrette. Yum!
Again, you can add anything you’d like. Dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds would be nice on this salad as well.
Cherry Grove Farm's cheese can stand alone too, and would make a great addition to a cheese board.
Buying local is a nice way to support your agricultural community. Look for farm stands and markets this season.We're pleased every time we find a small family business off the beaten path. It feels like a treasure hunt! It's good to find farm-fresh foods; even if you have to travel a little further...the results are worth it!
As always, we hope you like these recipes! Have fun experimenting with different seasonal ingredients; the flavor will be noticeably fresher!
-The Greys Posy Team