Last Friday, Michael and I escaped the city and drove 2 hours north to go skydiving on our way to the cabin. The experience was exhilarating, to say the least. We went to The Ranch in Gardiner, NY, which is surrounded by beautiful greenery, farmland, and rolling hills. On the way down, I couldn't stop exclaiming, "THIS IS SO COOL," as we gradually floated downward with the very recognizable Gunks in the distance and farms at our feet.
Though our weekend began with much excitement, the rest was much more low-key. I'm late to the game, I know, but I just began reading The Goldfinch and can't put it down. We hiked and fished for brook trout, which are probably the most beautiful fish I've ever seen. We spent a good amount of time in the newly planted orchard where Michael lovingly wrapped each baby fruit tree with wire mesh so that the vermin don't gnaw on the bark come winter. We mulched and weeded for hours - the trees, blackberries, and blueberries. I hope this means in 3 years we'll have a healthy first harvest.
With each passing week, our CSA has yielded us an amazing (and almost unmanageable) variety of leafy greens, which means that I've got to get more creative with salads. This one is my go to, my house salad, if you will. It never fails, the ingredients are easily found all year round, but the quality is considerably improved with the availability of flavorful, fresh greens.
For a big House Salad (serves 4):
- 1 small bunch spinach*
- 1/2 head regular lettuce*
- 1/2 head red lettuce*
- 1/2 cup (uncooked) red quinoa. This will expand to about a cup's worth.
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
- 1 small log (8 oz) goat cheese, crumbled
*For the salad, the lettuces are mere suggestions. Of course, any mesclun mix or seasonal greens would work, although I would avoid using dark cruciferous vegetables such as kale.
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar glaze OR use honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
First, cook and cool the quinoa according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Prepare your grapes and red onion.
Place all of the dressing ingredients into a jar and shake. I've found this is the easiest way to combine everything.
Tear and chop the spinach and lettuces into small, bite sized pieces. Place into a large bowl along with the quinoa, red onions, and grapes. When ready to serve, add the dressing, and lightly toss the salad with tongs or your hands. Lastly, add the crumbled goat cheese and give it one more toss to distribute.
We ate this alongside ribs and my go-to beer at the moment, Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Here's to summer.