This Year's Salad
This year, I am growing the best salad “fixings” in the basement. The grow lights were put up in September and the seeds planted in the potting trays. I have five different types of lettuces in three trays. They range in type and color from a bright green Bib, to a bronze speckled leaf lettuce. My favorite is a deep red lettuce. It is called Revolutionary Red and adds color to my salads.
The base for all my salads consists of the lettuce and sprout mix. Next comes the sun dried tomatoes, dried sweet peppers, and dried cabbage. I grind them with a mortar and pistol and sprinkle the mixture over the greens. Last fall, I dehydrated a lot of vegetables and stored them in glass jars. This winter, we are enjoying the flavor they add to the salads. My stored carrots are still keeping well, so I usually grate several fresh carrots over the salads. A mixture of dried Basil, oregano, and parsley comes next. Sometimes, I add fresh Rosemary from my Rosemary plant in the kitchen. With the addition a little salt and pepper, a small amount of salad dressing, this is a great salad. Whoever said that salads are boring?
If I want to make a full meal of the salad, I sprinkle the top with cheese or left over chunks of chicken. Sunflower seeds are good too, and add a nice crunch. With a slice of home made bread, or a bowl of soup, this makes a great supper.
This type of salad is sure superior to the limp, washed out lettuce that comes from the grocery store this time of year. In addition, my salad has not been sprayed with pesticides!
Fresh Winter Salad
Today for lunch, we are having a big fresh salad. This is not special unless you understand that the salad was grown in our basement under ordinary shop lights. It is winter in Minnesota and nothing grows outdoors except icicles. We tried one flat of lettuce and to our surprise, it did so well over four months that we where able to transplant these plants out to the garden in the Spring. We could harvest the bigger leaves off the plants and create a tasty bed of gourmet lettuce for just the cost of running the shop lights 14 hours a day. We now grow two flats each Winter season. This gives us about 10-12 large salad servings a week. Our light arrangement could easily hold two more flats.
The salad has five-kinds of gourmet lettuce. I like the taste and visual appeal of such varieties as Revolutionary Red, Speckled Trout Back, and Acorn lettuce. We could also grow spinach, chard or some other greens, but we havent' given that a try yet. It would be best to separate those greens into another flat as they would grow taller than the lettuce. Keeping the plants the same size is important so that the tops of the plants are just under the florescent bulbs. The sprouts are from are grown in simple trays near the kitchen sink. I like mung bean, alfalfa, diakon radish, sunflower and broccoli sprouts.
I ground up some dried tomatoes and green peppers with a mortar and pistle. (These are available in an Oriental grocery store.) The tomato crumbles are sprinkled on top of the lettuce and sprouts. I chopped up a big onion and added some dried basil and parsley. The whole salad was grown here. The tomatoes, green peppers, and herbs, were picked and dehydrated last fall in my Air Preserve II Dehydrator. The dried herbs and veggies keep nicely in big glass jars in the pantry.
The whole salad making process took about ten minutes of my time and costs pennies for an organic salad that would rival those from the finest restaurants anywhere.
I will bake some biscuits to go with the salad. They are good, hot out of the oven, and spread with butter and honey.
FABULOUS WINTER SALAD
- Cut enough basement-grown lettuce to fill your salad bowl
- Add various kinds of sprouts
- Dried tomatoes
- Dried green peppers
- Dried basil leaves
- Toss all ingredients together
- Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Top with feta cheese (or cheese of your choice)
Serve with Ceaser style dressing and enjoy the compliments!