Here is literally everything I grow my tiny beachside garden in a bowl, the Ventura Highway Garden Salad-on the fresh and healthy road, of course a little jewel.
I live along the 101 freeway, up north, dubbed the Ventura Highway, but no, this is not the real name of the highway, but many of us know it by this name. Of course the band America made it known in the famed song “Ventura Highway”, which still resonates with many of us, a desire for freedom and moving on.
So, with the “free wind blowing in my hair”, I made my way to new home in this beloved beach town. Newly minted is my raised garden bed a friend built for me, a garden no matter how small is a must. It’s diminutive size called for a major paring down of the list of the things I could grow. I opted for lettuces and herbs, just things I use daily. Fresh lettuce for my salads and herbs for cooking. Recently inspired by the lovely book Plantlab by Matthew Kenney, I threw literally everything I grew in a bowl- lovely.
Plant based is cooking a beautiful trend and Mathew Kenney’s cookbook really illustrates the inventive ways plants are crafted in beautiful food, yes, dare I say it, Beautiful Food By Design. Although I am still on the beginner recipe section, I was inspired for this salad by the Venice Beach Salad served at his Plant Food + Wine restaurant in Venice. Organic produce growing in the restaurant gardens are used to create the dishes served, they are indeed beautiful.
This salad can be created of course without having your own garden. Mixed lettuce and baby chard, along with a few bunches of herbs from the famers market and you are there. i like to include greens such as mizuna or baby arugula, they add spice to the salad. Look for colorful edible flowers at framers markets or health food stores, we eat with our eyes. Meyer lemons are abundant here by the beach and my neighbors share their crop generously, more than many here can use. I am pleased how well my garden grows removed from the blistering heat of the interior valleys that I once knew.
The salad components are placed in a pool of lemon vinaigrette, then tossed together when ready to serve. Leaves all glistening and green.
Always ready to embrace the new, I enjoy my new life at the beach and working on many new cooking ideas.
Happy Summer from Bijouxs.