Spinach + Apple w/ Nutty Pesto
A small experiment turns really delicious with this salad. I used the spinach we grew in our balcony. And here is the result of that. The leaves were not yet mature; but they were not baby-ish too. So, these are ‘young’ spinach leaves.
- 300 g fresh spinach leaves
- 1 green apple (preferably)
- 4-5 black olives
- 5 cashew nuts
- 5 hazel nuts
- 5 almonds
- Half a handful of parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
– Wash and dry the fresh spinach that you have, and if possible, place the leaves wrapped in plastic or just a brown paper bag, in the fridge, for about 30 minutes. (try not to drain the water completely after you have washed the leaves)
– Wash, peel (optionally), and chop the apple into mediocrely thin wedges
– To make the dressing, wash the parsley and place the leaves in a processor, with all the nuts, garlic cloves, and salt.
– As you process add tspns of water and more tspns of olive oil. When your dressing is completely emulsified in the oil, and looks thick, it is done.
– Arrange you salad by placing the apple wedges, spinach leaves and olives (pitted) in a large bowl, and then pouring the dressing over. Mix well with your hands and serve immediately, with an extra helping of olive oil.
Zucchini w/ Mustard Greens & Flowers
I have quite a standard garden, living in urban Bangalore. Some seasonal and perennial flowers, some herbs, some vegetables, and some non-flowering, easy-maintenance green plants and ferns. Flowers are also pretty standard; Roses, Geraniums, Hydrangeas, Jasmine, Bougainvillea, Allamandas, Peace Lilies, and Dahlias. Some 25 days back we planted seeds of spinach, mint, mustard greens, red chillies and garlic. Even before that, probably 2 months back, we planted carom seeds. We transplanted spinach about 18 days back. It has been a good crop. And without any kind of chemical fertilizers. All I used was mulch, organic manure and lots of organically fertile soil. While this is how it went this time, I would love to use soil a bit rich in nitrogen (probably will start growing beans some time this July). I hope to plant tomatoes and carrots soon too.
So, this is the advantage of growing stuff in your house. You research on so many aspects of both food and gardening. I learnt that mustard flowers are the some of the most edible flowers around.
I just have a small balcony/terrace, as I mentioned. But I have managed to grow what I like; which is more than sufficient.
This is a simple salad with mustard greens and flowers, and loads of Zucchini. Quite a basic salad, I know. But I could not complicate it further, somehow. The salad is more of a little techniques than anything else. I used a julienne peeler on the vegetable to keep some kind of texture. Some more techniques further down.
- 3 Zucchinis, washed and peeled
- A bunch of mustard leaves, washed and dried
- A bunch of mustard flowers, washed and dried
- Selection of salad leaves (1 or more)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
– Start the salad with chopping up the vegetable into small cubes, and keep aside
– Heat up oil in a small wok and switch off. Be sure that the oil has just started smoking. If you are using a reasonably small wok, it won’t take more than a minute or 2.
– After you switch off, add in the garlic cloves, and sauté till the cloves are lightly brown. Take them out on a grease-proof paper to cool
– Next, in the same oil add the mustard leaves and saute them for 30 seconds. And take them out too, and add them to the chopped vegetable.
– Chop the salad leaves into thin strips and add them to the chopped Zucchini.
– Make the warm dressing by adding a tspn or so more oil to the hot oil, and juice of 1 lemon. Whisk well and pour over the vegetable and leaves mixture. Combine well with your fingers, top the salad with lots of mustard flowers, with more on the side. Season just before you serve.