Salads, Vegetarian

Winter’s Passing

Much as I love the lengthening and warming days of spring, I feel a pang for the end of winter.  I’m never quite ready for the restfulness to end.  Spring just happens all of a sudden and we’re done with the sleds and skates and mittens and racing headlong into summer projects, gardening, building, making hay while the sun shines.

Not that this winter was uneventful by any means.  Our growing baby has put a fresh outlook on things, inspiring a trip to Disney World that took us all by surprise.  I’m still not sure whose idea that was, but all of a sudden it made sense to get away with our two children for a family trip they will always remember.  And just weeks before that, my sister gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl, an inspiring event that I got to witness and that has certainly enhanced my already-strong feelings about labour and birth and the awe-inspiring power of women.

Certainly I feel my own focus narrowing, taking care of the essentials of work and family and mostly just listening to my body’s natural inclination to rest and let some things go.  It is gut-wrenching to the ambitious woman to admit that she can’t do everything all at one time.  The exhilarating feeling I had in my twenties of building and growing a business while nursing two babies has given way to the realization that I can’t and don’t want to push the limits of my sanity anymore!  I’m not sure what that means for this blog or many of the other projects that may just simmer on the back burner for the next while.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t totally excited over two phone calls at the restaurant this week: one announcing that Den Haan’s had ripe hothouse tomatoes for sale and the other that Waxwing Farm had just harvested spinach, arugula and tiny leaves of kale.  Here’s a salad that can be made almost entirely with local ingredients during a Nova Scotian March.

This time last year: Union Street Salsa

Arugula, Beet and Pecan Salad 

3 medium Beets

1 small clove Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Walnut or Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
freshly ground Pepper

1/4 lb. Arugula
1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (Holmestead is excellent)
1/2 cup toasted Pecans (optional)

First, deal with your beets.  Quarter them without peeling and place in a pot, then cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Or just wrap them in foil and toss them in the oven for a couple hours if you are baking something already.  When they are tender, let cool, then slip off the peels and cut the beets into thin wedges.  Meanwhile, make the dressing: whisk the salt, garlic, cider vinegar, oil, honey and mustard together in a bowl large enough to hold the beets.  Grind in some pepper and stir in the beet wedges.
Arrange the arugula leaves on a large platter, then scatter the beets on top, leaving the remaining dressing in the bowl.   Sprinkle with the feta and optional pecans, then drizzle with the remaining dressing.