Sunday, April 28, 2013

Varietal Leafy Lettuces are Here

Lots of delicious organic lettuce
This is a different variety.  I bought red lettuce also.

  Yesterday, my daughter visited and we took a trip to a distant town, she to buy a Japanese Maple tree for her new house, and I went to get some varieties of lettuce in some flats.   Last year, I did the same thing.  I bought different varieties of lettuce and planted them in window boxes which I placed just inside the railing all the way around on our large front porch.  The lettuce got bright sun at some times, and filtered shade at others. I could not keep up with harvesting them by cutting off what I needed for salad, and also watering as much as they needed, especially in July.  This year I bought less, and I will be better about harvesting the organic lettuce more often.  I invested very little, and now I will have lots of leafy lettuce for salads and sandwiches through the summer.  Of course, you could grow these from seed also.
        It's well worth the work it takes to have fresh organic lettuces of different varieties for your lunches and dinners.  I think I will make a homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
        One of my few extravagances is buying dark Balsamic vinegar which comes from Modena, in Italy.
I buy it at Foods of All Nations, where I make some rare trips.  They also sell some of their products online. I highly recommend them, and they have an amazing chef.  There is no need to buy salad dressings. There is no reason you cannot make your own.

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  Jane's Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

   Combine the following.

  one quarter cup dark balsamic vinegar
  three tablespoons water
  one third of a cup extra virgin olive oil
  one teaspoon chopped garlic  (or pre-prepared from jar, if you have it)
  one small chopped wild onion  (or two tablespoons of a finely chopped onion you have)
  two tablespoons minced herbs  or if you don't have it, one tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  one teaspoon of sugar or one package of stevia (the sweet plant which grows naturally), or a
         teaspoon of honey
  salt and pepper to taste

  Pour into carafe and shake vigorously.  Keep closed and refrigerated.  You can use it at once, although it is best when it has marinaded for a week.

Is also a great marinade for chicken or for beef.

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        If you have medical issues which preclude eating lots of the green leafies, then get yourself a juicer.  A strawberry  juice or a strawberry smoothie can make blended lettuce leaves, or even cabbage leaves, disappear within a strawberry flavored drink.  You get the vitamins, but are spared the grief of all that roughage.


Sandy said...


Like you, I've planted several varieties of heirloom, organic lettuce. Mines in the garden. I love just having the ability of going out and clipping exactly what is needed for a dinner salad.

Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite treats. I love using it to make salad dressings, cooking and for soda. There is a place in town called Teaoli they sell tea's, all kinds of olive oils from various locations and vinegar's. My last purchase, I picked up a raspberry balsamic vinegar and I use it in 7up (teaspoon) omg is it delicious.

I will try your salad dressing the next time I make up a beautiful salad. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

JaneofVirginia said...

Sandy, I have never heard of using it in soda. It's likely very healthy, so definitely something to try. Thanks for sharing what you do.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I saved your recipe for the salad dressing, vinegar is such a wonderful ingredient in the kitchen. I planted lettuce seed directly in the garden and this rain will bring it close to ready, nothing like fresh leaf lettuce. People who only buy the head lettuce are missing a lot of taste and vitamins.

JaneofVirginia said...

When I was younger I used to prefer iceberg lettuce. I don't know what happened, but a few years ago I just stopped eating iceberg and now I like all the unusual lettuces. Maybe I simply needed more of the nutrients. Thanks for your posts.