Yesterday, despite the cold and heavy rain, my friend Jeanne came over for a garden tour and lunch. Only the best of friends would be willing to take a long walk through a garden under the circumstances.
For lunch we had:
GREEN GODDESS CHICKEN SALAD. Serves 2.
* Green Goddess Dressing (recipe below)
* 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced (I used store-bought broasted chicken. Could also substitute cooked peeled shrimp or fresh crabmeat.)
* Mixed greens (I used mostly arugula, my favorite.)
* 1 ripe avocado, sliced
* Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* Sliced almonds, toasted
* Garnish: edible flowers, tarragon sprigs, snipped chive, etc. (I used lovage for an added flavor boost.)
In a large mixing bowl, toss the salad greens with some of the dressing until well coated. Divide the greens among 2 dinner plates. Arrange the slices of chicken on top of the greens in a fan shape and fan the avocado slices beside the chicken. Sprinkle cherry tomatoes and almonds over all. Drizzle salads with additional dressing and garnish. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.
GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
* 1/4 cup (gently packed) fresh French tarragon leaves
* 1/4 cup (gently packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
* 2 anchovy fillets (I used anchovy paste.)
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
* Dash of garlic salt
* 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (whole or fat free)
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Puree the herbs, anchovies, lemon juice and salt in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow stream. Scrape down the sides. Add the sour cream and pepper; process until smooth. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Now is the time to get out in your garden to pull rhubarb. I have two Chipman's Red Rhubarb plants which are sweeter than the more common varieties. The following recipe is from Penzeys Spices (THE best place to buy your herbs and spices!).
RHUBARB COBBLER. Serves 8-12
Preheat oven to 350º. In a mixing bowl, combine the following:
* 1 cup flour
* 3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup melted butter
Mix well and press half of the mixture into an 8x8 baking pan for the crust.
In a saucepan, combine the following:
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup water
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cook over medium heat until very thick and transparent, stirring frequently, about 4-6 minutes. Add:
* 4 cups chopped rhubarb
Stir, then spread over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Bake at 350º for 1 hour.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Best eaten first day.