Composed Salad; How to tell a Cow from a Bull

Composed Salad

Between driving to and from the hospital, mowing the lawn and walking the dogs my brain has had rather a lot of downtime lately.

For those of you who don’t know, my mind has a disconcerting tendency to wander down little-trodden paths at the best of times.

Here are a few of the random thoughts and observations that have tripped across the neurons of late:

What happened to the ‘Second World’ countries?
The pundits talk about First World and Third World…. What happened to Second World?

Why do Europeans insist on driving standard transmissions?  Since the technology is available (automatic transmissions) why hasn’t it been accepted?  After spending 15 minutes in stop & go traffic on a hill yesterday…. Why would anyone want to do that when they don’t have to?  It’s only fun for the first day or two, after that it’s a pain in the ass.  All the cars have cup holders; why not automatics? Cows

Farmers keep bovine families together here.  The bulls are right in the same field as the cows and calves.  I’ve never seen that in the U.S.  Yes, they are proper BIG bulls, and, usually, several of them.
On a mountain hike in Andorra, we were passing through a large herd in one of the upper pastures.  A woman walking near me (a proper lady from the American south) was a little afraid and had heard that bulls could be dangerous.  Attempting to be prepared, she asked me how to tell a cow from a bull.  She was 50 years old.
I kindly explained that, from the front they are about 50% more massive than the cows, and from the rear…. Well, LOOK!  (You stupid twit!)
She figured it out.
She blushed.

Europeans (at least, some) take driving seriously. One drives on the right and passes on the left.  If one is in the passing lane, and not passing quickly enough, the driver behind flashes lights to gently encourage one to get the f*** out of the way.  They would never consider moving into the non-passing lane to get around.
The other day a car was merging next to me.  I moved over into the left lane to pass and allow him to merge.  He was already going faster than I was (bad lad!) but, rather than pull ahead, he braked and waited for me to move back into the proper, right lane.  Than he pulled out and passed me like I was standing still… But using the proper lane.
We never see two conscientious drivers going side by side at exactly the speed limit here.

Prescription drug are all sold in small, pre-packaged, dated, blister cards here, 30 days maximum.  There are no loose pills in the pharmacies,  no impossible to open child-proof plastic bottles.
Plus, the pharmacists are trained in mushrooms!  You take your haul in, they’ll sort through, getting rid of the poisonous ones (if any) and give you a mini-lesson.

There will also be a chart of edible, local plants, herbs and flowers… so one can pick a salad whilst walking the dogs and staring down bulls – the country version of multi-tasking.

We eat a lot of lettuce and other greens in spring and early summer. Because we eat local produce (normally, from my garden), we don’t eat salads during the rest of the year.

So, if it seems like I’m stuck in salad gear, it’s because it’s salad season!

We eat salads for first courses, light lunches and hearty dinners.

We add meat, fish, potatoes, rice, pasta and just about any vegetable that’s in the fridge.  They replace risotto as my favorite way to use up leftover bits.

And I always make my own dressing with fresh herbs from the garden, usually tarragon and chives.

Tarragon has a slight anise flavor to it, and it works wonderfully with fish, chicken, and (for me) anything with mustard.  If you want to grow it be careful to get French Tarragon, which you need to buy as a plant.  Most seeds are really Russian Tarragon which is a gorgeous plant but almost tasteless… not worth the effort to snip!

This salad and vinaigrette are being submitted to Weekend Herb Blogging, started by Kalyn, of Kalyn’s Kitchen and hosted this week by Maninas, of Maninas: Food Matters. Visit her blog on Monday for the complete recap.

This is a ‘Composed’ rather than a ‘Tossed’ salad. The ingredients are arranged (artfully) on a bed of lettuce, and the dressing is drizzled over the top.

Composed Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

lettuce Composed Salad
2oz (60gr) ham
2 eggs, hard boiled
6 cherry tomatoes
1/3 red pepper
1/2 avocado
1 oz feta cheese
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Cook eggs. Slice ham into strips. Clean pepper and slice 1/3 of it into thin strips. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Wash and dry lettuce, leaving leaves whole if possible. Cut the avocado in half and remove pit  Wrap half in cling film and place, cut side down, on a plate and refrigerate. When eggs are done, cool, peel and slice or quarter. Make Vinaigrette.
To assemble: Lay lettuce leaves flat on 2 large plates. Arrange ham, pepper, tomatoes, eggs and avocado artfully on lettuce. Crumble and sprinkle feta over the top. Drizzle with 2 tbs of dressing and serve, remaining dressing on the side.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard

2 tsp honey
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
4 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
1 tsp snipped fresh tarragon
1 tsp snipped fresh chives

In a small bowl whisk mustard, honey and vinegar. Add olive oil and whisk until incorporated – this will get very thick. Add tarragon, chives and stir well to combine. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Mon  mari
is home, the girls are happy… And I’m still mowing the damn grass!

19 thoughts on “Composed Salad; How to tell a Cow from a Bull”

  1. First, I love the BBQ salmon!
    2nd, love the lady twit story!
    And composed salad is gorgeous.
    This year I was unable to find French Tarragon but found Texas Tarragon – no idea, never saw it before this year. But it does have a lovely tarragon scent so it must not be Russian 😉
    I would love to have found the lettuce leaf basil again but no luck this year.

  2. That salad looks hearty and filling and good! I have been wanting to use avocado more and adding it to a salad is a great idea.

  3. Congrats on getting ton mari back from the hospital. I assume when you say “the girls are happy, you are referring to yourself as one of the girls.” 🙂 Sorry about the mowing, however – bummer!

  4. Katie, love the meanderings of your thoughts. I have had a few of those myself. Glad ton mari is back home. Love tarragon here. Have you tried making your own tarragon vinegar. Really easy. Put some tarragon leaves in a bottle and pour over some vinegar. Strain and do this again using your flavoured vinegar. Really lovely to use making mayonaise or salad dressings.

  5. I have one of those Russian tarragon plants in my garden — I bought it as a plant, and it was labeled “French tarragon”, but I learned otherwise after it grew and grew to be nearly three feet tall! Almost flavorless, but a nice looking perennial in the garden. This summer I’ve been on the lookout for a real French tarragon to add to the herb garden.

  6. This is a great looking salad and I really like that dressing!It’s too darn hot here in Florida for me to grow lettuce-(I sure would love that in the springtime)-not this bagged crap they have in the groceries here……Oh to grow herbs-don’t get me started!

  7. You know what is really scary is the US is getting more and more “round-a-bouts” and the vast majority of American’s can not figure them out and are simply not courteous to other drivers. I have about 5 near my home and there are daily fender-benders. Americans always want to “win” and “be first”.
    I love that the cattle are kept together as a family 🙂 The pills packaged in 30 day increments are common sense genius!

  8. Katie you’re right…never seen or heard of a second world country one of those little conundrums for us to solve.
    Please send your best wishes to MM glad to hear he is on the road to recovery.
    Loved the snake story (I’ve been catching up tonight) I ate snake in Hong Kong many years ago it did taste like chicken.
    The shot of the cattle was cute, By the way does it calm the bulls, having the ladies with them all day? Another puzzle for us to solve.
    Cheers

  9. Tanna, that same twit was the one that absolutley loved to clean her house….. Need I say more?
    Kevin, I have recently turned into an avocado lover… Now it’s finding it’s way into everything.
    Zoomie, all 3 girls! And he’s already out riding the mower…
    Pam, I could use a little less interesting for a week or so…But, thanks!
    Pat, I love tarragon vinegar but have never tried making it…. Lazy, I guess!
    Lydia, that’s all they are – a big plant! I now taste the leaves before I buy.
    Jann, but can’t you grow it in winter?!?
    LisaRene, roundabouts are wonderful…but you have to follow the rules or they’re disasters: Yield to the left; ignore the right.
    Gilli, the bulls don’t seem so agressive. I’ve had snake… but never this particular one and I wasn’t about to start…

  10. Your photo of your composed salad is beautiful. And having pharmacists trained in mushrooms is brilliant! They should do this in Canada.

  11. Ah, that is gorgeous. You really make me want to move from the states again and live there. Really. I lost my tarragon to heavy rains here, I have to start over for the season. I love tarragon mustard on fish, and in my dressings, too! Lovely.

  12. Natashya, they did it in Andorra, too. Pharmacists are much more useful here ;-))
    Expat Chef, tarragon can be so fussy at times… except the Russian..that’s like mint!
    Maninas, you are ever so welcome…great round-up at your place, too!

  13. So happy to hear he’s home. Very interesting about the mushroom advice at the pharmacy! Of course I always approve of any dish with tarragon, so this sounds wonderful.

  14. Katie, your brain works maravillosamente darling! I love the way your neurons make their synapses. I tried to sound smart here 😉
    Your salad looks like a painting! Take the cheese out and I’ll have it all 😀

  15. LMAO at the BUlls!! At the Salon d’ Agriculture, I keep overhearing “mon dieu, les testicules!” for each animal! ahahahaha. love your salad too, you are an amazing woman!

  16. Kalyn, pharmacists will also do a bit of diagnosis on weekends, etc. and there is always one open.
    Val, we get on a real salad kick this time of year!
    Nuria, you’re not a cheese lover, eh… I’ll leave it off yours.
    Riana, I do love the French and their ohlalalala’s I didn’t realize how common it was for them to actually say that til we moved here!

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