How are all your New Year’s resolutions holding up? Are you still walking 10,000 steps a day? Are you still eschewing alcohol (this has been a tough Dry January, but you can do it!)? Are you reading more? Are you still keeping a notebook handy for thoughtful jottings and ruminations? And what about your vegetable intake? I wish someone would sneak more vegetables into my diet, but being the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer around here, I can’t very well surprise myself with well-disguised broccoli or imperceptible beets. Therefore, I must suspend my disbelief and will finally surrender to adulting, and winter salads might be the best way to go.
I love a nice leafy, crunchy salad. I was raised on iceberg lettuce salads, so the discovery of romaine lettuce in college shifted the tectonic plates of my tetchy palate. I used to eat sun-warmed tomatoes out in the garden every summer, but grew up eating tasteless, refrigerated, hothouse tomatoes in my salads all winter long. Luckily time does march on, and we can avail ourselves of healthier greens all year long. Our local farmers have also come into the twenty-first century and are ready to nourish us with their winter bounties. Look for parsnips, garlic, turnips, rutabagas, leeks, lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, potatoes (sweet and regular), and cabbage.
The Ware family was going nuts on the Table Manners podcast this week, waxing poetical about “massaged kale”. Honestly. This was news to me, so off to Google I trotted. https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-massaged-kale-salad-15-minutes/ And as we all have delicate constitutions in this house, even omnivore Luke the wonder dog, I guess we will be massaging kale from now on. Put that hint in your handy notebook.
The dark of winter is a good time to introduce hints of color and sparkle to your salad. Cranberries! Apples! Cheddar cheese! Pomegranate seeds! https://www.foodiecrush.com/kale-salad-with-cranberries-apple-and-cheddar/
You can throw everything in a main course winter salad, by cleaning out the produce drawer in the fridge and adding shredded cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, roasted squash, or chunks of apples. You will be cutting down on clutter while eating in a healthier fashion – surely that will be two more New Year’s resolutions you are attending to, because you are marvelously efficient and thorough. https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a104726/ultimate-winter-salad/
We still haven’t touched upon quinoa, grilled cabbage, or sweet potatoes. You can go meatless for weeks, and feel very smug about your resolutions. And since we can’t socialize anyway, none of your friends will know how smug you have become. Finally, a silver lining for our pandemic times: you can be insufferable in private. And when the good times roll around again, you will show off your toned legs, flat abs, and your newly bookish nature to great effect. https://www.saveur.com/best-winter-salad-recipes/
Here is a great chatty, weekly newsletter: Emily Nunn and The Department of Salad can guide you through the rest of the winter: https://eatsomesalad.substack.com/p/welcome-to-the-department-of-salads
We have almost gotten through January. The first daffodil has bloomed in my front yard – I think it is regretting its rash and hasty decision already. Nonetheless, time is inching forward. Put down your phone, walk the dog, wear your mask and eat all your winter veggies. You’ll feel better. It’s almost time to plant seeds, and then the rest of the daffodils will start blooming, right on schedule.
If you are going to plant your own garden this year, now if a good time to go through some of the seed catalogues that have been arriving weekly. It’s almost time to start sowing seeds to nurture inside, while waiting for spring to arrive. https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/MD/Easton#
“On Saturday afternoons when all the things are done in the house and there’s no real work to be done, I play Bach and Chopin and turn it up real loudly and get a good bottle of chardonnay and sit out on my deck and look out at the garden.”