All hail the return of the supper salad! It’s produce season again in the Big Stone County area, and while the farmers markets don’t start for close to two weeks, there’s produce to be had if you know where to find it. Soon, it will be at The Granary Coop–hopefully as soon as tomorrow or Wednesday!
I snuck on over to Milbank to Rocky Gardens roadside stand to pick up their advertised asparagus, lettuce, and radishes on Saturday afternoon. I’d seen the signs up last week, and I was dreamin’ and droolin’ over the prospect of some green (and red) goodness. It has been too long!
Saturday night, I brought steamed, buttered, and lemon-juiced asparagus spears to my friends’ house for supper (and the next day I returned to help clean their chicken coop–don’t underestimate my desire for free manure!). There were a few spears left over (I made a lot), so I added them to lettuce, sliced radishes, and a sliced-up Pastures A Plenty mild Italian brat for a big supper salad all for me.
When I do a supper salad, I don’t mess around. I just go ahead and use a big serving bowl to create the thing because a stingy little soup or cereal bowl won’t be nearly enough. And because I live on the prairie (OK–and because I admit to liking it a good deal), I dressed it with a little Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch dressing from the Granary.
So, you may think this is effete or silly or whatever, but one of the things I replaced pretty quickly after getting back into a home place after last summer’s fire was my salad spinner. I am really not a fan of all the latest kitchen gadgets and gewgaws and especially of tools that take up a lot of space and only do one thing, but a salad spinner is a tool that does one thing really, really well. It helps wash and dry leafy greens quickly and neatly.
True story: back when I was married and we moved out of our very first co-residence, we had to leave a lot of stuff behind as we traveled across the US. One of those things was the salad spinner I bought at Orange Tree Imports in the Monroe Street district of Madison, WI. I bought that spinner after I joined Vermont Valley Community Farm CSA as a worker-member, and I realized that it would make my life about a bazillion times easier.
So, I brought that spinner with me back to South Dakota, and then I left it in a storage shed to be plundered by friends the second time I left the state. Who knows what ever happened to it. The next spinner lasted a bit longer–bought at a drugstore in the same town where I abandoned my first spinner, and I kept that second one through thick and thin (and living on the rez, and the divorce, and later moving to Minnesota) until arson claimed it.
Along the way, I also acquired a 5 gallon salad spinner–used for dealing with big batches of greens coming out of my market gardens. I tell you–once you are spinning salads and greens for twenty CSA members of your own plus your farmers market customers with a single-family spinner, the big investment in a professional model doesn’t seem so bad.
That spinner also melted down in the fire, and I’m not sure when or if it’ll be replaced.
Anyhow, my point about all this is that there are some kitchen tools that only do one thing that are still worth having if you can swing it. Even with a limited amount of storage space. Even though they might seem effete or silly or whatever. The best thing about a salad spinner is simply this: it will encourage you to eat more leafy greens.
And though I’m not as happy with the new spinner as I was with my old one, I’m sure happy to be eating greens again!
PS–The Big Stone Lake Area Farmers Market starts soon! Ortonville: Saturday mornings starting May 12th. Clinton: Tuesday evenings starting May 15th.