Five or six years ago, my parents’ newspaper changed, and not for the better. The wonderful, large pages got smaller, and the bylines all read AP. Now, the Associated Press is an important news source, and do a much better job at covering Washington politics and major events around the country then the small writing staff in Springfield, MA, but I miss garden writers gardening in the same weather and soil that I am and reporters intimately knowledgeable of local politics.
The local Gazette and Penny Saver, still employing staff to cover local politics, sports, business and schools, have become local publications of record. While DC’s local paper is a national paper of record, we are also blessed with smaller papers employing writers who are embedded in our city. They cover the issues that impact our neighborhoods and the people who make them special.
Last week, we had the opportunity to host a writer from DC’s Hill Rag at #testkitchen. She joined us as we refined a recipe I had presented at an American University health and wellness event the day before. Annette joined right in helping to taste recipes and suggest ingredients and, as always, many palates make a stronger dish. Look for Annette’s write up in the May issue of the Hill Rag. In the meantime, enjoy this salad, and many thanks to the students, faculty and staff at AU for tasting it last Wednesday afternoon.
Lemongrass Fennel Orange Salad
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup Lemongrass or other light, sweet vinegar*
- 1 tbs honey
- 2/3 cup Avocado or other neutral flavored oil*
*This is another chance to shop online or in person at Sapore Oil and vinegar. A strong olive oil will overpower these ingredients, so use something neutral like avocado, grapeseed or vegetable oil. For a vinegar, use something light and sweet. Unseasoned rice wine vinegar is easily available. This is also a good opportunity to break out the gift bottle of Pear Chardonnay or other fruit-wine vinegar that’s aging in your pantry.
- 1 head fennel, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
- 2 heads butter lettuce, gently chopped in pieces*
- 1 orange, peeled and sectioned, sliced or chopped
*My big meathooks rough up easily bruised butter lettuce, so I chop mine gently.
- Make dressing. Whisk together shallot, vinegar and honey with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Whisk in oil in a thin stream to form a creamy emulsion.
- Toss together fennel, orange and cherries. Lightly dress with 1/4 cup dressing.
- Lightly dress lettuce with 1/4 cup dressing.
- Plate lettuce, topped with fennel mixture.