Friday, June 22, 2007

New Lettuce Leaves for Lunch

Fresh Garden Greens with Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette and Cruton Gratiné au Saint Raymond

I love getting out to the garden in the morning. All is quiet, it’s not yet overly hot, and it’s a good way to start out the day…Unless, of course, you have a school two blocks away that is celebrating its last day of school with hoopla and fanfare.

“Mary, please report to the hot dog stand. Marie au Hot-Dog, S’il-vous-plait”.

My early morning reverie was peppered with announcements like these and then the blaring music started. I soon found myself serenaded with some of the worse popular tunes out there and I surrendered, gathered my lettuce for my salad and retreated inside.
Why the heck they have to blast
“It’s Raining Men” to a bunch of elementary students is beyond me.
Note to self: home schooling i
s a viable and attractive option for the future.

My little garden is starting to give the first produce of the season. A little late, granted, but I got a slow start, and tardy or not, I am just grateful to actually have a garden that is producing something. Last years lesson was that plants don’t grow in the ultra sandy soil that is my garden.
This spring, a friend offered me as much three-year-old chicken poo from her now-silent chicken coup as I wanted, and I jumped at the chance. Free poo, now that’s what I call a good friend!
I turned several bags of the manure into my sandy soil along with some of my own compost and the results have been dramatically better than last year.
So we are enjoying baby spinach, lettuce, and herbs and are looking forward to a small harvest in the fall. This recipe features my red oak leaf lettuce, but can be made with any garden greens you have.

Garden Greens with Cruton Gratiné and Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette.

A large bowl of washed salad greens
Several slices of baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cheese of your choice; I used a mild Quebec cheese, Le Saint Raymond from the Portneuf region
Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in oven. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes. Grate or slice some cheese on top and return to oven just until the cheese is melted.
Toss greens with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette and dress on a plate. Top with cheese crouton and a sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the salad. Serve at once.

Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

½ garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Mince garlic with a chef’s knife, then mash to a paste with salt using the flat side of the knife. Whisk together garlic paste, mustard, vinegar, and pepper, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Chill until ready to toss with greens.


Amber said...

"It's Raining Men" is an old elementary school standard don't ya know?! Ha, that's too funny. We're all about homeschooling too by the way. I was woken up by firecrackers this am before 7 o'clock after being up with Acadia at 5 - not cool. Your garden greens look lovely Aimee! My herbs and flowers have almost recovered from being ravaged by a runaway cow, and I love stepping out my back door to add some flavor and color to what I'm cooking. I especially love fresh dill, mmm.

Zaak said...

Yuck. Raining men. Splat. Splat. Yuck.

Is that 3-yr-old chicken poo on the lettuce there?

Yeah we get loud music here too. But the DJs cut into the music and talk with extra reverb and hyper bass at alarming speeds so no one can understand what they are saying. Then the music resumes. This happens every 15 seconds usually - whenever the DJ thinks of something new to say.

Nora B. said...

Hi Aimee, you herbs and veggies are looking great. I wish I had a friend who had chicken poo to give me ;-) . Our garden is going quite well despite the sudden heavy rain fall we got here. Even though I am not in a salad mood these days because of the weather, the cruton gratiné is a great idea so I will try that soon. Thanks!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Glad your growing is going well. Ours is both good and not so good!
And the following really made me laugh... 'Note to self: home schooling is a viable and attractive option for the future.' - I'm always doing notes to self as I never seem to learn and this one rang more bells than most, especially as it's our School Summer Fete today..

Aimée said...

Hi Amber! Sorry to hear about the wild cow. yes it is a luxury to have fresh herbs on hand.

Zaak! Nope, no poo on the lettuce. :)

Hi Nora! I'm sending some sunshine your way.

Hi Amanda! I was home schooled for part of my education and am more aware than ever of the benefits now that I am a parent.Thanks for stopping by!

Sandy said...

The perfect lunch! Minus the travelling music and announcements, of course.

Patricia Scarpin said...

You have a green thumb, Aimée! :)

Nora B. said...

Thanks, Aimée! We actually got a bit of sunshine two days ago, all thanks to you ;-)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Gosh! I'd love to pick your brains on that one some time. If you ever have a moment e-mail me. littlefoodies AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk.


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