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Garden fresh items make a tasty cauliflower salad

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By BOB SUNDERMEYER

 I stopped in at the Carroll County Cooperative Extension office last week and was greeted with the most beautiful display of fresh vegetables. 

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You never know what’s behind those doors when you go there, but oh, the most pleasant people, displays and information is right there at your finger tips.  Jim Graves was the person showing his beautiful vegetables and you can try some for yourself if you go to the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday at the courthouse and Saturdays at Hometown Pizza. If you don’t go, you are truly missing out.

While I was there, we got into a great discussion regarding the fresh foods we loved to eat when we were growing up, and we continue to love.  For example, wilted lettuce. Mother usually served it when she made Swiss steak, mashed potatoes and green beans and that was a great Sunday meal.

Rhonda Welch mentioned that she has always loved creamed peas and potatoes.  You know, the “little” new potatoes with fresh peas in a wonderful cream sauce. 

I also mentioned that my Mother would pick fresh lettuce out of our garden, then we would make peanut butter, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwiches. Grace Angotti also mentioned peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Then Jim reminded us that it was almost lunch time and the way we were talking was really making us all hungry, and I was on my way to the grocery store. My bill was going to be really high with this kind of talk.

I purchased a beautiful head of cauliflower and broccoli from Jim that morning and couldn’t wait to have “just picked vegetables” for dinner. I cooked my broccoli in my large metal wok on the grill. I coated the pan with just a little oil, set it on the grill, then added the broccoli spears and some sliced scallions (also from Jim’s garden) and garlic. 

I closed the grill and let it cook until al dente (stirring frequently), then squeezed on fresh lemon juice and a pinch of Kosher salt. It was delicious!

I am delighted to give you:

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

1 head cauliflower, separated into florets

1 pound green beans, trimmed

1 pound small mushrooms

2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks

2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks

1/4 cup capers

1 bunch green onion, sliced

Separately steam cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms and zucchini until al dente (crisp tender). Drain and place in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and green onions after vegetables have cooled a little. Pour on vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows) and refrigerate.

It is best when refrigerated overnight.

Vinaigrette Dressing with Cumin

1 cup canola oil

1 cup garlic vinegar (I used a lemon basil garlic vinegar that Sharon Graves made)

3 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Juice 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake thoroughly, until all ingredients are well mixed. You may not need all of this dressing for your salad, but you decide for yourself. It makes about 2 cups. If it’s too tart for you, just add a little sugar or Splenda to taste.

My husband absolutely loved this salad, so much so that he ate two helpings for dinner, then helped himself to more later in the evening. That’s a true testament to something good.

This will be a great addition to your barbecues and cookouts this summer. It’s also a good dish to get the kids involved in preparing. Enjoy.

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.