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Magic Salad Ingredients

Palisade Peaches, garden tomatoes and basil

If you are lucky enough to live in Colorado, as I am, you may know that Palisade Peaches show up in the grocery store once a year around August or September.  The first Palisade Peach of the year is just about as delicious as the first tomato out of the garden.  (Well, almost.)

Every year at the hubby’s school they do a fund raiser, and he gets a case of these babies straight from the grower–the Cox family. 40 perfectly round, fuzzy, juicy, sweet orbs of love.  Yum.   The western slope of the Rocky Mountains apparently has the perfect conditions for growing peaches—hot and sunny during the day, but nice and cool at night.  BTW—this is also the perfect venue for growing certain types of grapes, and there are some fantastic vineyards out on the Western slope–go wine tasting.  Do it now.

At the exact moment the tomatoes in the garden began to ripen, Palisade peaches arrived, and thus the Magic Salad, as the hubby calls it, was born.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large peach, chopped into ½ inch pieces.  If you can get a Palisade peach for this, do it!  If you sadly live in a different part of the country, do your best to get a locally grown peach in season.
  • 1 – 1½ cups of tomatoes, chopped ½ inch pieces.  You can use any kind of salad tomatoes—I usually use a mix of different colors and sizes, just to add a bit of visual appeal.
  • Drizzle of good balsamic vinegarWe happened to have some excellent aged balsamic flavored with black cherry from Seasons Taproom in Bethlehem, PA. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil
  • Arugula  – 1 to 2 ounces, or enough to make a bed for each salad.  From the garden, of course!
  • Good feta cheese, crumbled – about 4 ounces.  If you live in Denver, get the Greek feta at Pete’s Market on Holly & Cedar.  They have four varieties there—Greek, Domestic, Bulgarian, and French.  They are all good, but I prefer the Greek for a crumbly texture and Bulgarian for a more creamy texture.  Greek is good for this salad, because it crumbles nicely, and it’s a little sharper and saltier—counterbalances the sweetness of the peaches and tomatoes nicely.
  • Basil chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons.  Chiffonade is a really pretty French word that means “made of rags”. How does everything sound prettier in French?

Make it:

  • Put the peach and tomatoes in a medium bowl.  Drizzle with just enough balsamic vinegar to coat.  Toss.
  • Season with salt and pepper.  Toss.
  • Drizzle with olive oil to coat.  Toss.  If you have other stuff to work on, this can sit, refrigerated, for about ½ hour.  Just stir it up every ten minutes or so.
  • Lay a bed of arugula in four wide bowls.
  • Spoon the peach/tomato mixture over arugula.
  • Top with feta, then basil.

Happy Hubby

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My world doesn’t abide by standard 9 to 5 rules.  I run a small business, work as a freelance graphic artist, and have a large crazy dog who needs more supervision and attention than a 9 to 5 family could provide.  (Boy did he luck out finding suckers like us!)  In addition, the Hubby works four nights a week, so much of our quality time happens in the afternoon.  Rather than having a nice dinner out once a week, which seems to be the American norm, we tend to do lunch out instead.

For us, eating lunch out is actually quite nice.  Unlike 9to5ers, we are generally not in a hurry during lunch.  We aren’t running out between phone conferences, grabbing the fastest thing on the block.  We don’t have business meetings over lunch–there are no laptops and no sales pitches.  Instead, we have the luxury to take our time and read the paper, maybe do the crossword puzzle.  Our tabs tend to be pretty low, since we aren’t tempted by the wine list, and since lunch is served in smaller portions, it’s cheaper. Often we spend less on lunch out than we would have spent buying lunch fixings at the grocery store.  It’s also a great way to try that trendy new spot you have been curious about, or that crazy ethnic restaurant with the menu you can’t pronounce (the one you are a little afraid of, but still intrigued by) without blowing a lot of money or time on dinner.  I am a big fan of lunch.

On the days when we eat at home, however, our fallback plan is sandwiches. (more…)

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Let’s celebrate Earth Day by greenifying our garden and getting some seeds in the ground!

Pea Sprouts

Pea sprouts from seeds planted two weeks ago. Yum. Peas.

We have two tasks this week:
1. Plant outdoor seeds.
2. Transplant indoor seedlings for larger plants to larger containers.

This week we are ready to plant these seeds outdoors:

Arugula
Beets
Carrots
Leeks
Swiss Chard
Turnips
Watercress

If you are doing successive planting, you can also plant some more of these:
Lettuce
Radishes

Radish Sprouts

Radish sprouts from seeds planted two weeks ago. (Despite my “no thinning” policy, I am going to have to thin these a bit–they should be at least an inch apart.)

We are done planting indoor seeds, but keep babying the ones you have planted until we are ready to get the seedlings in the ground.  If you have any seedlings that look like the are outgrowing their containers, this is a good time to transplant them to larger pots.  Larger plants, like tomatoes and peppers, are good candidates for repotting.  The more room they have to grow, the better developed their root systems will be.  The better developed the root system, the healthier the plant.  Smaller plants, like onions and lettuce, will be fine where they are for another couple  of weeks until we put them into the garden–their root systems don’t grow as large.  Think about it this way–if a plant will be large above the ground, its root system will be large below the ground.  These are the guys that can use a little more room to grow.

Transplanting is pretty easy.  Look for a container maybe twice as wide as the one your seedling is in now.  Fill it about half full with potting mix–it’s not as important to use mix specially made for seeds here (if you have some left over, though, you might as well use it up), but do use a good, moisture-retaining potting mix.  Then pop your seedling out of its current container and into the new one.  Fill the rest of the way up with potting mix.  Water.  The hard part is finding the room for the bigger containers in your already-plant-filled kitchen.

If you are transplanting tomato seedlings, it’s a bit different–tomatoes like to be buried deep in the soil, because they will develop roots all along the part  of the stem that is buried.  For tomatoes, start with an empty container.  Put the seedling in the container, and bury all but the very top set of leaves in the soil.

Happy gardening!

repottingafter

After

repottingbefore

Before

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