It has been hot, and I mean hot. Last summer it was 85 degrees out for like, a week. This spring, we’ve already had two 85 degree days and counting. Plus, I have newly damaged, red skin and a true farmer’s tan. My body is positively flummoxed. I should be picking arugula and radishes and cucumbers and fresh herbs (and I won’t mention the one veggie I am hoping has a stellar year this year) and eating them at 85 degrees, no? No. I’ve got a ton of itty seedlings, seeds, and last year’s potatoes. (After all, our frost-free date isn’t until May 15!) My body is in shock. To top it off, this in-need-of-vegetable-body-shock caused me to commit the sin of all my sins, supermarket produce. Yes, that’s right, I bought fossil fuel produce, shipped from who knows where. I hate to break it to everyone out there, but it certainly is not as wonderful as home-grown produce by a million miles. Seriously, buy local, in season produce this summer or grow your own. Do it for selfish reasons first, think about the wholesome ones later. You won’t regret it.
I was riding home for my lunch break the other day, actually dreading making lunch for all the reasons above, when I remembered the watercress patch in the stream beside our apartment. So excited was I that I leaped off my bike, ran down the steep mucky slope, submerged my sneaker clad feet in water and rushed to the patch. Lo and behold, the enormous patch had a wonderful salad sized handful of just big enough watercress for my greedy little hands to pick. I’ve been eating some everyday since. It’s amazing what one vegetable can do.
I have no pictures to share, but maybe will post some soon, just in case some readers out there have unidentified watercress patches of their own to discover and enjoy.
Watercress and Quinoa Salad
I made this for Sam and myself the other day and couldn’t even focus on our non-food conversation. It’s that good.
2 cups cooked quinoa
2-4 generous handfuls watercress, roughly stemmed
2 TBS salt-brine capers
1/2 ripe avocado
sprinkling of chopped scallions, green onions, or chives (also all in season!!!)
Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
Mix the first 3 ingredients together with Mustard Vinaigrette. Divide between two plates, serve with diced avocado and a sprinkling of chopped scallions.
1-2 tsp agave nectar, maple syrup or honey
1 TBS fine Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
splash of white wine vinegar
3-4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
pinch or two dill, dried or fresh (We have our own home-dried dill, which is great, but I hear that store bought dried dill usually lacks flavor.)
fresh milled pepper
You can just mix it all up, but if you want to be fancy, you can easily emulsify it: mix the agave nectar, oil and mustard together first until well blended, then add the lemon, vinegar and dill. (All dressing made with a liquid sweetener, oil and acid can be made this way and they will not separate.)