How Does My Spring Garden Grow

The radishes are ready. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. It’s the small things, I know.

You can hate radishes. That’s OK. I used to hate radishes too. They were either bitter or woody. Or just some sort of afterthought on a salad. Once you grow a vegetable, however, you are invested. I it is no longer the produce department reject. It is YOURS. You  coaxed a seed into a sprout into a radish. In May. When the only thing growing is the grass. The peonies aren’t even open yet.

And yet, there it is. A radish. Perfect in its red, white, and green.

Every year I get excited when I plant a vegetable, it grows, and  I can eat it. Some years, I’ve been so amazed, that I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. It was just so amazingly beautiful.

OK. I’m a vegetable geek. I blame it on 6 months of grey skies, snow, and rain.

Anyway, these little guys are delightful paired with a honeydew melon and cucumber salad.

The cucumbers aren’t mine and neither is the honeydew. The cucumbers are local, however. They are grown at Walker Farms in Edinboro. Honeydew won’t be around here for another couple of months. But the mint and basil are mine.

The recipe is pretty simple. Cut up melon (any kind), cucumber (peeled), and toss with basil and mint. Add radish, if you like. Squeeze some lemon juice on top. Salt and pepper to taste.

My garden currently has cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, chard, arugula, kale, eggplant, and beets planted. It will be awhile before anything else is ready. Until then, I make do with whats available.

The recipe I’ve included today has been in my “to try” folder for several months. I finally remembered why I had Tater Tots in the freezer and pulled them out. Essentially, the tots are a shortcut to a thick potato pancake, which can be topped with all kinds of ingredients. I made one with salmon and caviar for my daughter. Mine had prosciutto, brie, mustard, and arugula. We could only eat half – consider that fair warning – but the leftovers worked well the next day for breakfast.

Once potatoes are in season, I’ll be adding a similar recipe (no tots, but sliced potatoes cooked until crisp) to the Meadballs menu for delivery in the fall. Until then … See you at the farm stands soon.

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Tater Tot Waffle with Salmon and Caviar
Instructions
  1. This step is the same for either recipe: Heat an 8-inch waffle iron. Coat waffle iron with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups of the tots on it; sprinkle with salt. Close and cook on medium high until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Open the waffle iron and fill in any holes in the waffle with more tots, then close and cook until golden and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Cooking time will depend on heat of waffle iron.
  3. Place on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven to keep warm.
  4. Repeat with the remaining tots.
  5. Salmon: Top each warm waffle with crème fraîche or sour cream, 3 slices smoked salmon, spoonful caviar, a few small sprigs of dill, capers and a squeeze of lemon juice. Surround with cucumber slices, salted. Repeat for each waffle.
  6. Prosciutto: In a small bowl, toss arugula with lemon juice. In a separate small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and mustard. Spread on top of waffle. Top with 1 ounce of cheese (tear it into 4 bits and divide equally on waffle top. Top with 3 slices of prosciutto. Return to waffle iron and press closed until cheese melts. Remove waffle from iron. Place on plate and top with 1/4 of arugula. Repeat for each waffle.
  7. Adapted from Food&WIne
Recipe Notes

You could, of course, add radishes to either one of these 😉

Adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/tater-tot-waffles-smoked-salmon-and-caviar

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Tips on Being a Domestic Goddess

Tuesdays are the day I embrace my inner domestic goddess. Embrace might be too generous a word. So too would be domestic goddess.

Tuesdays are really a drudgery day. The day when I vacuum. Mop the floors. Dust. Etc. Once a month, I try to iron. Sometimes I throw some real domestic goddess activities into the mix, such as stitching up a new chair cushion, complete with cording. Or play around with vegetarian recipe that doesn’t rely on fat and sugar for flavor.

Heavens, I’d make a great wife.

Right … Did that once. Wasn’t all that great at it. The whole women can have it all – work, mother, take care of the house, wife – just didn’t pan out. For me, too many balls kept getting dropped. Panic attacks popped up unexpectedly. I pretty much felt like a failure at everything.

Start your day with a walk to appreciate all of nature’s beauty. It somehow makes cleaning up the mud tracked in by the dog a little better.

That’s in the past. I made a few changes along the way. Still a mother. My work is a, well, work in progress. No longer a wife.

Alas, the take care of the house piece remains. It’s a much smaller house, a condo with half the square footage of my prior residence. The wonderful Dawn, friend and house cleaner extraordinaire, retired. Because I am developing a business instead of working full time, I clean now.

One adult, one teen girl, and one large dog all contribute to the clutter, mud, spills, and dust that manage to settle into the space each week.

Why Tuesday? Because I’ve tried Saturdays – and that just ruined the weekend. Over the past year, I’ve settled into Tuesdays, in part because if I don’t get it done, there’s always Wednesday or Thursday, or next week.

So today, a Tuesday, I am sharing 5 goddess tips:

  1. Don’t drink too much coffee before you clean the toilets. Nothing worse than getting a toilet all nice and clean, complete with blue bowl, and then you have to pee in it.
  2. If you are looking to entertain yourself and have pets, try some lemon Pledge on the dust mop on the wood floors. Then I let in the dog, an 85-pound mixed breed, who slides from front door straight to the back, complete with mud path, which is so much easier to wipe up courtesy of that Pledge shine.
  3. Keep a microfiber cloth and bathroom cleaner in the shower. Kills two birds with one stone if you can wipe down the bath after you shower.
  4. Magic Erasers are a gift to the domestic goddess. They clean white sinks like nobody’s business, not to mention finger marks on doors and walls.
  5. I’m all for the environment, but a glug or two of bleach in the toilet about an hour before you clean it makes all the difference in the world.
    Bonus tip: Send your kid over to the neighbor’s house after school so you can bask in the cleanliness for an hour or so.

Oh, and don’t expect dinner tonight. I just cleaned the kitchen.

However, there is some leftover Cowboy Caviar (bean salad) in the fridge from yesterday. The goddess is going to surrender her toilet wand and kick back with some well-deserved Netflix.

Ta-ta

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Day of the Domestic Goddess
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, stevia, lemon and lime juices, cider vinegar, chili powder, and salt. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine. Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
  2. Let sit at least an hour before serving.
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Meatless Monday Salad

Easter break means a trip to visit my parents in Florida. We’ve been heading to Indian Rocks Beach, on the Gulf Coast, since my daughter was 3 or 4 – or about a decade.

It’s always like hitting the reset button. The changing colors of the water and sky; family connections; sun; even rain. It all adds up to recharging of batteries.

It’s also a great time to reset my taste buds as well. While I have great anticipation for the bounty that will come starting in late June – I’m get stuck in a rut when it comes to food after months of seeing the same items in the grocery store visit after visit.

But in Florida, the strawberry season is just starting the close. Fresh local citrus is still available. Fish is on every menu, and in the grocery store. I see the recipes my mother has posted on her refrigerator, and stacked on my father’s desk.

I’m surrounded by inspiration.

The very act of taking a trip, of seeing things in a different (literally) light, recharges my synapses. They start firing again.

This happens whenever I have a change of scenery – and why doctors suggest taking walks outside. The very act of getting out of a rut can help change how your brain thinks. This is why I walk the dog on different routes. If I see the same thing every day, even the act of taking the walk becomes routine. Although when it’s 20 degrees outside, it is hard to find the inspiration to walk a new route.

Today – the day after Easter – as I look at the colorful hard-cooked eggs, I am seeing something different. Instead of dreading them in egg salad, I am inspired to make a blueberry and spinach salad.

This is because of what my mother clipped out of People magazine and put on the fridge. I get People, but totally missed the salad. She saw the magazine with a different eye, and, as a result, we enjoyed a delightful salad that I’m sharing today.

If you want to use strawberries instead of blueberries, go ahead. Don’t like nuts – skip them. Or try roasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. The crunch is nice. You can add shrimp, chicken, or salmon if you need more protein. Do try the dressing. It is delightful.

This is what I leave you with today – a salad for a meatless Monday. It’s a snap to make. Use whatever time you save to take a walk. It’s beautiful out there.

XOXOXO

marnie

marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Spinach, Blueberry, Avocado, and Cucumber Salad
Instructions
  1. Whisk together honey, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in lemon juice. Slowly add in olive oil in a steady stream. Whisk constantly until mixture is thick. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  2. In a large bowl, toss spinach, blueberries and cucumber. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Toss to combine. Top with avocado, hard-cooked egg slices, and nuts
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Thanksgiving Salad Days

thanksgiving2There is no right way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Growing up, we had everyone – grandparents, parents, children – all around one or two tables with bottles of Champagne, an overcooked turkey (not when my mother and father were cooking), stuffing, gravy, and my grandmother’s grapefruit and avocado salad.

As our family changed – kids moved, grandparents died, marriages dissolved – so has the celebration. My brothers and sister and their families celebrate in their respective home states. My parents bought a second home on the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the weather is warmer and the beaches are open all year.

That became a sanctuary for Thanksgiving six years ago when liver disease nearly took my life. I was in the hospital until just before Thanksgiving (and again after Thanksgiving, and again in the week leading up to Christmas). I made a small Thanksgiving dinner at home for my then-husband and I  – our daughter had gone south with my parents. I flew down the day after and reveled in the sun, sand, and club soda.

Since then, my daughter and I have been in Florida for five of the past six years. That one year in Erie was because my job demanded being at a desk the day after Thanksgiving. We enjoyed celebrating with friends, but there’s nothing like a walk on the beach without a hat, gloves, and down jacket after the meal.

Other friends have had to change their celebration as family members have aged into nursing homes, children have moved away, or divorces dictate times with children. Then you have to improvise. Last week I celebrated Thanksgiving a week early because circumstances allowed this blended family to be together. A death brought them together, but it allowed them to sit down at a family heirloom dining table. We had vegetarians, picky eaters, and omnivores. The menu reflected this – standing rib of beef along with a butternut and spinach lasagna. And everyone united around a flourless chocolate cake with caramel sauce.

Typically, my contribution to Thanksgiving dinners is a salad since the hosts take care of the main dishes. With pears and chestnuts in season now, it seemed an ideal combination. My pears, a variety called Concorde that are delicious, made the dish quite sweet. I haven’t been able to find them this week, so I used red pear in today’s photos.

Happy Thanksgiving.

XOXOXO

Marnie

marnie@marniemeadmedia.com

Print Recipe
Roasted Pear and Camembert Salad
This salad combines some of the best fall ingredients - pears and chestnuts - into a celebration of flavors. Perfect for vegetarians, too.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. For the relish: Bring the cider, honey, shallot, and raisins to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the chestnuts, vinegar, rosemary, and salt. Cool the relish to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 week.
  3. For pears, if ripe to semi-ripe: Halve and core the pears. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large nonstick skillet. Place pears cut side down and saute over medium-low heat until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes depending on the pear. Flip over and saute about 5 more minutes. Lay a slice of cheese on top of each and remove from heat. It should melt using the residual heat of the pear.
  4. If pears are not ripe (quite firm): Bake cut side down in a baking dish in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn them over and continue roasting until tender, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  5. To serve, toss the arugula with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of the lemon and divide it among 6 salad plates. Place a warm pear half over each and top with a spoonful of the chestnut relish.
  6. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

If you don't want to make the chestnut relish, simply top with toasted candied pecans and golden raisins.

 

Adapted from http://usapears.org/recipe/roasted-pears-with-camembert/

 

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