Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's in your Salad?

Yesterday we had company over for dinner. Walt invited a business associate and I had a half day notice. First I reached into the freezer and pulled out some beef suitable for a pot roast. After defrosting, I sprinkled it with house mix - garlic powder, sweet smoked paprika, celery seeds, pepper and salt. Then I browned it in a dutch oven in some bacon grease. I added a cup of water and a cup of red wine and simmered it on the stove. After awhile, it was placed in a 300 degree oven until it was tender. We also had "mashed potatoes" which was about 7 potatoes , 1/2 rutabaga and a parsnip boiled then mashed together with some evaporated milk and salt. The parsnip was found in the garden. having escaped the great harvest last fall.

I went to the cold frame and picked a small bowl of spinach. This was supplemented with some violet leaves, and some nice chickweed. The salad was garnished with a chiffonade of salami, sliced hard boiled eggs, minced parsley and scallions - all from the garden.

Chickweed (Stellaria mediais) an annual widespread "weed" found in many gardens. It is small, succulent, has white flowers. They are very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals, can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb, tasting somewhat like spinach.

Chickweed exhibits a very interesting trait, (they sleep) termed the 'Sleep of Plants,' every night the leaves fold over the tender buds and the new shoots. Gather fresh edible plant between April and July, as soon as flowers appear, it can be used fresh or be dried for later herb use.

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