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Salad Dressing of the Week: Avocado, Lime and Cilantro

avocado lime cilantro dressing


I made this quickly in the blender this week, to go over a cold rice salad with shredded poached chicken, local corn, a few early tomatoes and chunks of avocado.  Mostly the goal was to distribute the little bit of avocado I had on hand as much as possible throughout the salad.  We loved the result, and I expect we'll be drizzling this all over salads, soups, sandwiches, and all sorts of grilled things all summer long.




Creamy Avocado Lime and Cilantro Dressing


By Catie Baumer Schwalb

makes about one cup.

1/2 avocado
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one large lime, or a few smaller
1/4 cup, packed, fresh cilantro (include stems too if they are young and fresh)
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
salt, to taste

In a blender, combine avocado, lime juice and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Through the hole in the blender lid, slowly pour in the olive oil, with the blender on low. Start with a half cup, and taste for balance.  If it seems too tart, add a little more gradually, tasting as you go. Season with salt, to taste.

Serve immediately, or chill briefly.



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Meet Matthew Goldfarb and Petra Page-Mann, from Fruition Seeds.
Matthew Goldfarb and Petra Page-Mann

Matthew Goldfarb and Petra Page-Mann, co-founders of Fruition Seeds.



Through the marvelous thing that is this internet, though email, mutual blogs, and a mutual friend's Kickstarter encouragement, I have very recently been put in touch with this wonderful couple, Matthew Goldfarb and Petra Page-Mann, co-founders of Fruition Seeds.  Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, they are a certified organic, open-pollinated vegetable, herb,  flower, grain and cover crop seed company doing something pretty remarkable in a very scary time for our global seed supply.  
 
As I've said in recent facebook and twitter posts, I can think of no more worthy Kickstarter campaign (with better pledge rewards) that I have come across.  And, I am incredibly excited to know about this seed resource and cannot wait to try their beautiful varieties next spring in our gardens. 
 
Below is a great guest post from Petra and Matthew.  Though having not yet met them in person, I am so thrilled to have crossed paths with these new friends, couldn't have more respect for what they are doing, and am so happy we all get to be the fortunate beneficiaries of all of their tireless work.
 
(And there are just FIVE DAYS LEFT in their Kickstarter drive.  Get over there and get yourself some seeds!)
 Arugula seed, freshly screened.

Arugula seed, freshly screened.


How does seed saving fit into your understanding of ‘sustainability’?


Matthew:  The ideas surrounding and daily practice of ‘sustainability’ have long been a part of our lives in the thirty collective years that Petra and I have been farming.  Energy, food, transportation, waste, social life:  we have not gone a day without considering and acting on what is best for us, our community and our world.


Yet we were always uncomfortable with ‘sustainability’ because it assumes the world is static, neglecting an appreciation for shift and adaptation.

Petra:  Seeds offer the perfect metaphor for what it is that we are truly after: resiliency.  Even as climates change, diseases evolve and cultural trends shift, seeds adapt and encode this resilience in the next generation.   At Fruition Seeds we select plants for these resilient qualities for our region through only growing open-pollinated varieties that can be saved and shared for generations to come.

Why did you start Fruition Seeds?

Matthew:  Buckminster Fuller observed, “you never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” (more…)


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11
Salad Dressing of the Week: Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette (with a hint of white pepper)

Roasted Strawberry Balsamic vinaigrette-2


 

Make this right now, with all those plump ephemeral strawberries lurking around.   (If you are making this out of season--gasp--consider adding a small pinch of sugar to the berry puree to help boost the flavorless winter berries).

If you can make it past eating it directly from the mixing bowl, serve this dressing over a spinach salad with toasted pecans or walnuts and some crumbly goat cheese.  Or dip some grilled chicken into it.  Or grilled pork.  Or duck.  Or heck, put that on the salad too.

Oh, and do yourself a favor: get some really good balsamic vinegar.




Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Vinaigrette
by Catie Baumer Schwalb

yeilds about 1/4 cup, for two servings.

2 tablespoons roasted strawberry puree, from about 6 medium strawberries (Make extra.  Trust me.)
1 1/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
white pepper, ground, small pinch, to taste
salt, to taste

Heat the oven to 375º F.  Halve washed strawberries and roast on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until soft and fragrant.  The time will depend greatly on the ripeness.  Watch the berries closely so they don't burn.

Remove the berries from the oven and puree in a blender or food processor.

In a small bowl combine berry puree, balsamic vinegar, a slight pinch of ground white pepper and salt.  Whisk to combine.   In a very thin, slow and steady stream, pour the olive oil into the berry mixture, while whisking continually.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Serve immediately or chill briefly.



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08
Vanilla Rhubarb Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

rhubarb chocolate chunk ice cream


With rhubarb's glorious reign quickly coming to a close, I wanted to give it one last hurrah, before it is replaced in the fruit bowl with stone fruit of a multitude of dizzying hues.  I made this rhubarb vanilla ice cream with (generous) dark chocolate chunks to bring to dinner with friends recently, and was giddy with how it came out.  So giddy in fact, that I fell ill (no relation) and my husband had to courier the ice cream over to the gathering on my behalf.

A testament to this great recipe, in all the "hellos", "she's not feeling well", "she'll be fine", and "yes, thanks I'd love to stay for one glass of wine", he forgot to tell the ladies what flavor of ice cream it actually was.  So when dessert rolled around, and he had long made his exit, there was a marvelous guessing game, as I was told, as to what they were actually eating.  The chocolate chunk part, fortunately, was obvious, but the tangy, slightly fruity, slightly vegetal, very rich and creamy rest of it elicited guesses from mascarpone to peach to lemon curd, in an email steam entitled "Mystery Ice Cream". (more…)


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03
Salad Dressing of the Week: Sherry Vinegar and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
sherry vinegar and hazelnut vinaigrette

Last night I was having dinner with some of my favorite lady friends, and we were talking about salad dressings, as you do with your lady friends.  They were saying that they each always make their same standby dressing, and were enjoying this new blog feature to help get out of their ruts.

We shared what each of our quick, don't have to think about it, dressing recipes are, and I had forgotten that for the longest time this one was mine.  The mellow rounded sweetness of the sherry vinegar and the rich roasted nuttiness of the hazelnut oil are a combination that is tough to beat.  It also makes one of my favorite birthday or hostess gifts.  A bottle of each, and perhaps some great salad servers, have yet to make anyone unhappy.

Use this dressing as an excuse to use up any hazelnuts that are left over in your pantry from some long-forgotten holiday cookie recipe.  I love subtly mirroring the dressing in the salad ingredients.




Sherry Vinegar and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
by Catie Baumer Schwalb

1 part sherry vinegar (Get the best you can find.  This is one of those ingredients it does make a difference, and does last a long time.)
3 parts roasted hazelnut oil
salt, to taste

Combine vinegar and salt in a bowl, stirring gently to combine.  In a slow, thin, even stream, drizzle the oil into the vinegar while whisking constantly.  Taste by dipping a salad leaf into the dressing.  Adjust salt, if desired.



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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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