Spring Salad

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For lunch today I decided to utilize some of my unique finds from last weekend’s farmers’ market: the radish microgreens and the Peter Rabbit sea salt blend (flavors of radish and dill).  Along with my first picking of fresh spinach and some chives from my garden, I had a great start to a new salad combination.

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Or so I thought.

I put the salad together, drizzled it with avocado oil and lemon juice and sprinkled it with pepper. I took the first bite and thought, “Wow! I’m really on to something special.” And then it hit me.

Fresh greens, onion, radish … this is the salad of my childhood.

My mom and I would pick (see tip below) the most tender leaf lettuce from the long row in the garden and pull a few green onions and radishes before heading inside to make what my family has always considered a special treat. We would wash the vegetables, taking care to gently swish the lettuce in the water to make sure we didn’t break or tear the leaves, and thinly slice the radishes and onions. When the leaves were dry we would combine all three and just before serving, sprinkle it with salt and pepper and drizzle with the dressing.

This dressing was/is incredible. So simple, so delicious. And I don’t remember using it on anything else but this salad. I don’t know why. Maybe that’s part of what made this salad something we craved every spring. It is simply half-n-half (maybe 1/3 cup), sugar (1/2-1 teaspoon), and a small drizzle of vinegar (1/2-1 teaspoon). This dressing is thin enough that it will lightly coat the lettuce without weighing it down. It is just sweet enough to balance with the bite of the radishes. The vinegar provides the acid or the tang that rounds it all out.

Although I more than enjoyed my version of this salad, I think I can improve on it next time. A little half-n-half improves just about everything!

FOOD TIP: When I say “pick” what I mean is to gently pinch off each individual leaf of lettuce. Don’t pull the whole plant because the plant continues to produce after you pinch the bigger leaves. This is an art. You’d think I’d have developed more patience given the lessons I was taught, wouldn’t you?


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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

2 thoughts on “Spring Salad

  1. Seriously, do any of you remember my mom, Alvina’s garden? It is obviously my closest point of reference, but it was arguably one of the best! (at least one of the best looking…. she spent hours and hours out in her garden!) So this week, in her honor, I’m going to buy the freshest greens I can find and try this dressing recipe. (Sorry mom, I don’t have the space or the time for a garden like yours. Maybe some day…..)

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