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Monday, July 11, 2011

Fruit and Grains Salad w/ Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette inspired by Garden Spells

Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette
This isn't my first post inspired by the enchanting novel Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.  I love to sit down with the Waverly family and conjure up a little of my own inner magic when I see bushes bursting with beautiful berries, trees dripping with ripe fruit, and colorful flowers shouting and waving in the bright sun.  I want to host an intimate ladies luncheon and serve "biscuits with lilac jelly...lavender tea cookies...and tea cakes made with nasturtium mayonnaise".

Or perhaps an outdoor garden party in the evening shade, sitting under a canopy of bougainvillea and serving "fried dandelion buds over marigold-petal rice, stuffed pumpkin blossoms, and rose-hip soup" which ensure that my company ignored any flaws at my home and reveled in its beauty.  Or maybe a picnic with people who are on shaky ground with each other and a basket heavy with rose geranium wine that ensures a return to happiness.
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Thinking of Garden Spells makes me want to stir the petals of a velvety, purple violet into silky white cake batter.  It makes me want to eat an apple thrown from a feisty tree and fall asleep to dream my future.  Getting lost in a world of enchantment is something I've done easily since I was a little girl.

If you like getting lost, too, grab a plate of this salad packed with lettuces, herbs, fruits and edible flowers straight from the earth around my yard and community garden with some added grains and nuts to make it a satisfying meal.  The combination of nasturtiums and marigolds should guarantee your affection of the book in hand.
Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette

Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette
This magical salad loaded with whole grains, fresh lettuce, fruit and berries, toasted nuts, beautiful edible flowers and tossed with strawberry vinaigrette will put a spell on you.
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Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: salad vegan berries lettuce nuts

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    for the strawberry vinaigrette:
    • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
    • 1 shallot, chopped
    • pinch sugar
    • 3 strawberries (or 2 if very large)
    • 1 tablespoon lemon balm, chopped
    • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil, or another neutral oil
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • sea salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    for the salad:
    • 4 cups mixed lettuces, ripped or sliced into big-bite-sized pieces
    • 1 cups cooked brown rice
    • 1 cups cooked barley
    • 1 cups blueberries
    • 1 cups strawberries, halved if large
    • 1 cup chunked sugar kiss melon (or cantaloupe)
    • 1 cup mulberries
    • handful of edible flowers/petals (nasturtium + a few of their leaves, marigold, yucca, strawberry, thyme)
    • 1/4 cup chopped, mixed herbs (basil, lemon balm, thyme, mint, chives)
    • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped nuts (macadamia and/or pecans)
    • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    To make the Strawberry Vinaigrette:
    Place everything in the jar of a blender (a big pinch of salt and pepper) and puree until smooth.

    To make the salad:
    Toss your lettuces together if you're using more than one kind and then cover the bottom of the bowl. Spread the grains and fruits over the lettuce in any way that you want. Sprinkle everything with the herbs, flowers/petals, and nuts.

    Toss with strawberry vinaigrette and black pepper to taste.
    Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is the current Cook the Books selection, chosen by CTB host Rachel of The Crispy Cook (thanks, Rachel).  Submissions are due on 7/25/ there's still time to read this book and join in.

    *More enchanting Sarah Addison Allen selections... The Sugar Queen (my favorite)The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper (not as food centered as the others, but equally charming)*

    Fruit and Grains Salad with Edible Flowers and Strawberry Vinaigrette