A few months ago I discovered the backlog of podcasts available from the NPR show The Splendid Table, and I’ve been listening to archived episodes like it’s my job, mostly while in the kitchen. (How cute.) One show from a couple of years ago had a call about lemon balm – the woman had a glut of it in her garden and didn’t know what to do with it. Lynne suggested, among other things, adding it to salads. I filed that little piece of information away, since I didn’t expect to see it around these parts, yet, lo and behold, as friend Jessica and I were taking a walk the other day and trying to identify plants, we found… lemon balm! I added it to a white bean salad and it was lovely. Bright, citrusy, green, just a bit wild. I’m still rather a zombie today after Artmospheric, but I did make myself get a little exercise to go back up to that hill for some more of this slightly addictive herb to make the dish again; it’s a great can’t-be-arsed salad that’s as full-flavored as it is healthy. I’m going to pull a grilled cheese and not really give a recipe. This is a chop-and-toss deal: don’t think about it too hard.
The cheese is optional, if you want it vegan, and I think next time I may add some finely diced dried apricots. (Edit: The apricots are excellent.) I just ate some of this with a nice slab of dark bread, and I feel happy.
Either cook up a cup of dried white beans, or drain a 15 oz can of them into a bowl. Add the zest and juice of a lemon or two, chop up the leaves of a few sprigs of parsley, mint, and lemon balm, and add some powdered garlic. Crumble in some sirene or fresh goat cheese, add salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with olive oil and maybe a little vinegar, and top with some thinly sliced scallion. Spring bliss is yours.
In other news, I’ve been tagged for my first award!
Many thanks go to Diva at The Sugar Bar. It’s nice to know that people are starting to pick up on this blog after I’ve only been at it for a couple of months. I’m passing on the love to five folks whose blogs I always get a kick out of:
Zen at Chefs Gone Wild
Annie at Bonappegeek
Nupur at One Hot Stove
Marc at No Recipes
Jen at Eat Real Butter
It’s quite possible that all of yall have already gotten this award already. If so, you deserve it again. 🙂
Finally, I am facing a Dilemma! I’m torn right down the middle in the decision to move to either Minneapolis or Portland (OR) in late summer/early fall. I’ve decided I want to try cooking for a living, and I want a cheap happy city to do it in. So if you are reading this and have a pull towards one place or another, give a shout. I’ve heard bunches of reasons for and against both places – give me bunches more.