Last night Lucia and I were home alone for dinner. I asked her what she wanted to eat and she said "salad." Ahhh, the happiness of a child after my own heart. If I had only one food to live on for the rest of my life, it would be salad. Salad in all its different variations and seasons.
This time of year, the blood oranges come out and I believe they are especially suited to making yummiful salad dressings. It's hard to find them organic, but I buy them if I can find them. I almost always make my own salad dressings! It is so easy, and so much fresher and tastier than store-bought. The only exception is the occasional ranch dressing. I still haven't figured out an easy way to make that. But blood orange vinaigrette is one of my seasonal favorites.
Lucia likes to help make salad, too. She loves to spin the salad spinner. I always like to wash lettuce a lot and make sure it is clean and perfect. One rotten piece of lettuce can ruin the taste of a whole salad.
After we sat down to dinner to eat it, she had three servings.
For the salad, I use whatever salad greens I have around; this time I was fortunate to have two delicate heads of organic butter lettuce and some fresh-from-the-farm microgreens, which made a nice pale-and-dark combination of colors. And I had some carrots that were purple on the outside and orange on the inside and also some radishes. So already there was a festival of color going on!
If I am serving salad as a main course (and sometimes even when I am not), I always like to add nuts. Toasted nuts. This salad is great with toasted almonds. But last night I made toasted sunflower seeds. When I told Lucia we were going to have sunflower seeds on our salad she said, "Mom, you can't eat sunflower seeds, you have to plant them!" My little know-it-all!
Here's the dressing recipe. I don't make it because it's cheaper than store-bought. I make it because it tastes so much better. But I think it is cheaper, too.
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Juice from ½ blood orange
Big pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Squeeze the juice from half a blood orange into a bowl.
2. Add salt
3. Add vinegar.
4. Let this sit until you are ready to serve.
5. Just before tossing, add the olive oil and mix the dressing with a fork to emulsify--mix it enough so that the vinegar and oil merge.
6. Toss and serve!
Cut up the blood orange and either put it into the salad or eat it just for fun. This amount of dressing serves a salad for 4 people. And salt is essential to make a good dressing.
Sweet-and-Sour Tomato-Pepper Salad Recipe - Maria's Farm Country Kitchen
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The Perfect Fall Muffin - Organic Authority
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.