24-52-2014: Fresh from the garden

June 15, 2014 – I can’t wait until the renovation is over and I can wash salad greens in a kitchen sink rather than in the bathroom. What a pain! But we are getting there. The granite is in, though I’m unhappy with the cutouts for the posts. It turns out that the slab we paid a small fortune for, had some serious flaws in its integrity that caused the granite cutter some serious difficulties. He reinforced the overhang with steel bars that he ground into the stone, and the rest has a metal mesh for reinforcement. Apparently cutting out for the sink was a nightmare since the brown veining that ran through parts of it literally blew apart. He also screwed up and cut one part on the wrong side and cut into a white sweep that we wanted intact. But the biggest part that made me unhappy was one of the cut outs and the fact that the piece that was cut out couldn’t be used to fill the space, so a different piece had to be inset, and I hate it. I wanted to cry when I saw that bit and since I hate it, it’s all I can see. Realistically I can put something there, it’s a very tiny section, but I’ll always know it’s there and it will always bother me, even if no one else ever notices it. πŸ™

I suppose something had to go wrong somewhere and at some point, and I’m grateful it was something so minor in the grand scheme of things.

Oh well, it’s close to finished… the appliances come tomorrow, and the final cabinetry should go in early this coming week.

In the meantime I can take pleasure in the fact that all the greens in tonight’s salad were grown in our garden. Still can’t get used to the fact that we have enough garden space to actually grow some food items. Several kinds of lettuce, tons of herbs, my pepper plants actually have peppers on them, one close to ready for picking, and my tomatoes are growing happily up their spiral supports. All of it was just an experiment to see what would grow and what wouldn’t, and so far it’s going very well.

Also today, I finally had the chance to try that pomegranate whacking technique. And it worked like a dream! I have always loved pomegranates, yet I never ever buy them because they are such a pain to get the seeds out of. No longer will I walk past pomegranates at the grocery store though! Those sparkling little nuggets of deliciousness will forever be on our list of produce when they are available. Since I stumbled onto that video I’ve been waiting for them to show up in the grocery store again, and the other week a friend let me know he’d seen them in the market down the road from me. So tonight, with fresh greens from the garden, a pomegranate in the fruit bowl, a fresh baguette from Cobs, and some fresh goat cheese from the market, a fabulous salad was definitely in order!

Spring greens with pomegranate, pear and goat cheese

1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups spring salad greens, lightly packed
1 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. In a small bowl combine the shallot, pomegranate molasses, vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk until the salt is dissolved.

2. Whisk in the olive oil and let vinaigrette stand at room temperature until salad is assembled.

3. Combine the salad greens, pear and half of the pomegranate seeds in a large bowl.

4. Crumble half of the goat cheese over the ingredients in the bowl.

5. Whisk the vinaigrette until uniform and add all but 2 tablespoons of it to the bowl.

6. Gently toss the salad with your hands or salad tongs, coating the ingredients well with the vinaigrette. If the salad seems dry, add the vinaigrette in small increments until it is dressed to your liking.

7. Crumble the remaining cheese over the salad and sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds and the pistachios over the top. Serve immediately.