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Good Eats

Mark Bittman talked on the radio today about his new book, and he mentioned chopped salad. I'd been wondering what to have for lunch, and though I realized I didn't have everything I needed at home or in the garden, a couple of additions would make a tasty treat for me.

I had to stop for cream cheese for the bagel-heads at home, so I got an organic red pepper, cucumber, and zucchini on the way.

Right beside the driveway, I pulled two Italian Yellow carrots out of the front, "neighbor" bed, since no one is taking carrots out of it, which drives me crazy, but is beside the point. Added to that were three leaves of ruby chard from the same bed, and two sprigs of mint, well-washed, from the curbside bed. A lime from the tree ended the front yard harvest.

Then I wandered out back, got a few sprigs of the parseley which is busy bolting, and some leaves from an old onion plant. Too late, I realized that chives would have worked, also, but I already had my onion component.

Some tricolor quinoa, well-rinsed, went into a pot with some water and I got busy chopping. I figure that no matter if I don't love a vegetable (zucchini squash, I'm looking at you), if it's a small enough piece, surrounded by lovely bits of Things I Enjoy Eating, the less-admired things will slip right on by. So I carefully chiffonaded the green things, trying to simultaneously dilute the chard and spread the mint around, chopped the harder veggies up into less than bite sized pieces -- the absoloute largest are about 1/2" -- and squeezed the lime over them.

Quinoa done, I added it to the bowl, and topped everything with some salt and a few grinds of pepper. The bulk of the salad will be improved for waiting, but it's lunchtime, so I served myself up a bowl. Full of flavor, and with enough crunchy things to signal to my mouth that I'm really eating, I'm going to try to remember this sort of approach all summer, and keep things like it in the fridge for the kids to grab as snacks.

After they eat all the bagels.


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