Bringing in the Greens

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Kohlrabi, lettuce and chard.

Kohlrabi, lettuce and chard.

This is the time of year when salad makings abound. Being the lazy gardener that I am, I tend to just throw seeds on the ground in wide bands or swathes for many plants. I wind up with a thick planting that must be thinned, but the thinnings make great salads. Some veggies readily lend themselves to this method. Lettuce, of course, is a natural. If you just mix up different kinds of lettuce seed, you automatically get mesclun, with lots of different colors and flavors. Kohlrabi is another; thin the extras and let the remainder develop their characteristic above-ground bulbs. Carrots also take well to this method, as does chard. You can do the same with cabbage, if you want to, or mustard greens, radishes and tyfon.

All chopped up, ready for additions.

All chopped up, ready for additions.

So for tonight, it was roast beef sandwiches and a salad. We added in green onions, carrots, olives, some jicama and cherry tomatoes. The jicama and olives were not produced here, although my stepmother has an olive tree and I want to try my hand at brining some olives this fall. Jicama is an occasional treat. Your choice of salad dressing; we’ve used a simple vinagrette, home-made Thousand Island and home-made ranch. All taste great. I wound up with so much topping that I rescued half of it. The next night it became a main course salad mixed with diced cooked chicken and mayonnaise.

This goes on top of the greens -- jicama, olives, tomatoes, carrots, green onions, celery.

This goes on top of the greens — jicama, olives, tomatoes, carrots, green onions, celery.

The roast beef was from a baby beef we just butchered — our first, but probably not our last. Baby beef is anything up to about 12 months and 600-800 pounds. Although you get less meat overall, it is extremely tender and has excellent flavor. You also have the advantage of feeding the animal for 12 months less, so it costs less. I’m seriously considering going the baby beef route from now on. Rump roast, for example, which is from the animal’s hindquarters, is typically rather tough, and must be braised, marinated and slow cooked. This one got a quick sear on all sides and then went into the oven at 250° for about 2 ½ hours (this method generally produces much better meat than cooking for a shorter period at higher temperatures). It sliced thin and practically melted in the mouth.

What’s on your dinner table tonight?

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