Dianthus Salad and Tuna Burgers


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This is the season for lettuce in Houston, so why not enjoy salads from your own garden.

My wife enjoys salad. She wonders why we do not eat a salad with every meal. She points to the fact that my aunt in Spain always served an elaborate salad at the beginning of each meal. I counter with the fact that I love soups, and I would love to have them with each meal, but that she would be happy with no soups at all. I do not have anything against salads. I make them often enough. I am not sure having them with every meal is the way to go.

    For dinner the other night, I headed out to the garden to see what I could prepare for a side dish. The girls came out with me, zooming in on the lettuce. We harvested a good deal of different types of lettuce from the garden. Then I went after the herbs: parsley, lemon balm, and cilantro. Although they do not like to eat onions, the girls picked a few green onions, knowing that this is a good addition to the salad. My tomato plants have set flowers, but I do not have any yet. Same goes for the pepper plants. I wanted color, so I went after a few red chard leaves; however, I wanted color that would pop on the plate. The dianthus was in full bloom next to a lettuce bed. This flower is edible. I prefer nasturtium with its peppery taste. I treat dianthus as a dessert flower, but I picked quite a bunch. Katya became worried that I may be going after all of these blooms, so she asked me to stop. Sakura and Katya were inspired though. They asked if they could harvest the flowers of the broccoli that I was letting go to seed. I said sure. With the vibrant pinks, reds, and whites, we added the pale yellows of another flower.
    Coming into the kitchen, I had already started the process of baking two loaves of bread, so I was wondering what I could do with the end piece of the last loaf. I was thinking croutons, but I changed my mind. I diced up the bread. I mixed it with a large can of tuna packed in water. For the adults, I added adobo )smoked jalepeno in a tomato sauce) and green onions. For the children, I had another bowl with green onions and tomato sauce. I mixed an egg into each bowl. I made burgers from these mixtures, which I fried up like crab cakes.
    For the salad, I made a miso dressing (miso paste, sugar, oil, vinegar, and soy sauce). The girls happily ate the meal. They even ate the onions. (Katya has taken to a no onion policy, and Sakura will follow her lead, when she remembers that Katya has this stance). I think that harvesting the greens themselves helped, but seeing all of the flowers to eat was new to them. They have eaten flowers before, but I had never used so many in a salad before this occasion.
    The children were rather aggressive in their harvesting, so I am hoping that I will get a second growth for another cutting. I like pulling off larger leaves, instead of snipping the whole plant down. I find that this careful harvesting gives me more produce from the plant. The one thing I would remind new lettuce growers is that your lettuce may not grow to be the big huge head that you see in the grocery store. I think people wait too long expecting to have these heads, when it may be that you have purchased a variety that does not grow to big. In any case, I never wait for a head to form, even in the varieties that do produce a head.
    When summer arrives, the lettuce will be gone. Maybe a salad with spinach leaves will appease my wife. I know a tomato, basil, and feta plate will make her happy. The one fact that makes me happy is harvesting the green stuff with flowers will cause the girls to eat aid dish. My wife laughs when little Sakura emphasizes how each meal has vegetables, but this is good for her.

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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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