Girding For The Lettuce Onslaught

The farm is starting up again next week, and I’ve heard that there will be lettuce included in the first week’s pick-up. This isn’t surprising, because lettuce is the silent building-block of my farm share. I talk a big game about all the tomatoes we get, but I think the thing we get the most of over the course of six months is lettuce. Gazillions of heads of it, bazillions of varieties of it — way more lettuce than I ever remember from the previous season. This year, just the way I do every year, I’m vowing to be better about eating more of it. Normally it serves mainly as a stalwart component of our composting, but it shouldn’t be, because it’s crazy delicious. And more than that, salads are a fantastic vessel for two of my favorite things on Earth: croutons and salad dressing.

Of course, the crux of my problem with keeping up on eating lettuce is that my grocery store doesn’t seem to carry the croutons I love anymore, and I keep buying expensive bottles of salad dressing, doling out one serving, and then leaving the bottles to languish on the inside of the fridge door for months and months before being thrown out. My solution this summer is to make my own dressing and croutons. With Farm Opening Day looming, I decided to ready my croutons today.

I would never have thought of doing this if I hadn’t made this garlic bread soup a few months ago. That recipe made me realize something shocking: croutons are just dried-out bread with seasoning on them! Who knew? (Okay, everyone knew. But it made me comfortable with the notion of drying out bread with seasoning on it.) Armed with this new knowledge, today I cubed up a crusty baguette into small pieces…

…tossed them with olive oil and garlic powder, and then set in a 300-degree (F) oven…

…and about 35 minutes later, I had an aromatic tray of garlicky croutons.

They look like croutons, taste like croutons, and crunch like croutons — only a few more days before I get to see if they perform like croutons under salad dressing! (In the meantime, I guess I should start looking at some recipes for dressing…)

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11 Comments

Filed under Baked Goods, Zesty Seasonings and Crazy Condiments

11 responses to “Girding For The Lettuce Onslaught

  1. Sarah

    I’m getting ready for our lettuce pickup tomorrow too! I did buy a bottle of some new dressing :Bolthouse Farms yogurt based Asiago parmesan. I deem it delicious. Even if it does make me uncomfortable to buy their products due to the company’s being Christian and I read some fishy stuff about them. I am also prepared to dress my salads with some hazelnut oil. Paul is prepared to crumbled blue cheese in his salad tomorrow and I am going to put strawberries in mine. Bring on the lettuce!!

  2. Dude, you guys are SERIOUSLY ready, aren’t you? That all sounds hugely scrumptious, and suitable capable of rendering all nutritional value of the lettuce moot. Which is my main goal when putting together a salad, to be honest. I’m looking forward to making my own mustard dressing. I’ve done some preliminary research into that, and dammit, I will not buy another one of those bottles (you know the one — with the wide black cap and the picture of the avocado on the label) to end up throwing it away, 95% full, in November. This is the year it stops! :D

    I can’t wait to hear how the new farm goes!!

  3. Liz

    We joined a CSA but it doesn’t start until mid-June. I can’t wait. And making your own dressing? Easy peasy and oh so fulfilling.

  4. Oooh! You’ll have to tell us how your CSA goes! I’m so excited to hear how other people’s farms are!

    And Liz, you’re going to have to let me know more about these easy peasy dressings you speak of. I have literally never made my own, so I’m totally in the dark here.

    (And going back to your comment on the radish post — I hope your radishes are delicious!)

  5. Sarah, I’m totally picturing you and Paul waiting by the door, bleu cheese and strawberries in hand, ready to attack the lettuce as it dawdles around the corner!

    Liz, you joined a CSA?! AWESOME! You must give us a report of how it goes this summer!

  6. Those croutons are making me hungry. They look delicious!

  7. HG

    My suggestion for a nice crisp butter lettuce type or Boston or what have you, is to make lettuce wraps. I suggest cooking up some pork (in strips) with hoisin sauce and place some in a leaf, roll, and eat. Even adding some shredded carrots would be yummy. The end.

    (and I think that first comma is wrong but I’m too tired. House hunting is sapping my energy levels to the point where I can’t think. We’re taking a break for two weeks. The real end. xoxoxo)

  8. Lettuce wraps are a great idea! We’ll totally have to try them this summer!!

    I think you deserve a break from the Great Casa Search. It’s getting RIDONK. How have you not found a place yet? I can’t believe it hasn’t presented itself to you yet. :(

  9. HG

    It is BEYOND ridonk. Beyond. I don’t know how it hasn’t shown up yet but I’m thinking when it does it will be soooooooooooooooo perfectly awesome with a giant flashing sign with an arrow saying, “NBL! NBL!”

  10. I love salads but I hate assembling them. Some people think I’m crazy but my favorite things to add in a salad are cottage cheese and raw zucchinis. I hate cottage cheese by itself but it tastes so good with salad dressing and other veggies. Also, I think some sort of nut is a great topper. I’ve only bought slivered almonds, but I love salads that have candied walnuts and strawberries.

    Lately I’ve been too lazy to make my own dressing so I’ve been using a Paul Newman low fat vinaigrette. But there are some super simple vinaigrette recipes out there. When I don’t feel like using a recipe I’ll just mix champagne vinegar, yellow mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together and then whisk in extra virgin olive oil.

  11. Oooh! That sounds so good, kms2! Thanks for the salad dressing tip! And I think cottage cheese would be delish in a salad, as well. I have a friend who will eat any salad that has nuts in it. If she’s at a restaurant and sees nuts in a salad on the menu, that’s what she’s ordering. So you’re in good company with her. :D

    I also hate assembling salads. I think the number one reason I tend to let a lot of our Farm lettuce go to waste is because I just can’t keep up with washing and trimming it all.

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