We got back from Georgia on Monday night and I’m now ready for my next vacation. I think after you travel, you’re supposed to feel well-rested and satisfied, but traveling only makes me want to travel more. I spent most of the car ride home Googling hotels in Hawaii and the cost of airfare to the Florida Keys.
So I guess I haven’t had my fill of travel this summer. But I did leave Georgia with my fill of fabulous desserts, courtesy of my Aunt Darlene. (You’re watching her on The American Baking Competition, right?!) She made mini-cheesecakes and gorgeous stenciled cookies and brownies topped with gold leaf for my cousin’s wedding. Oh, and there was cake too, of course. And then the next day, we got to eat the rejects–more cookies, more brownies, and orange blossom macarons. So! Much! Food! Bingeing on sweets is always the best motivation for getting back on track with my diet. When we were leaving Savannah, I told Chris that all I wanted was salad.
“No, for the next month.”
I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m really picky when it comes to salads. I don’t like dressings made with dairy, iceberg lettuce makes me cringe, and raw tomatoes are gross. But I always enjoy salads made with fresh berries. It’s like a fruit salad, guest starring greens. I used red and yellow strawberries from my garden in this salad and supplemented them with fat, juicy blackberries and sweet little blueberries.
After buying lemon verbena at Herbfest this year, I found myself unsure of how I could use it, aside from making soap. (And then I started singing “How do you solve a problem like verbena?” whenever I went outside to water the plants. I have issues.) I thought I’d try making it into a lemon verbena vinaigrette; the first time, I chopped the verbena, but since the leaves are a little bit poke-y, that wasn’t the best idea. So I ended up pureeing the dressing in my Vitamix until the leaves were completely pulverized. The vinaigrette has a lemony, slightly herbal taste, with a tart kick from the champagne vinegar–it’s not a sweet dressing, but that’s okay because you’ve already got the sweetness from the berries in this salad.
A light salad made with a mix of fresh spring berries and a lemon verbena vinaigrette.
- 1/3 c. champagne vinegar
- 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c. lemon verbena leaves, loosely packed
- 1 (5-ounce) package spring mix salad greens
- 2 c. fresh berries (I used red and yellow strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
- 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
- Combine vinegar, olive oil, and lemon verbena leaves in a blender. Blend on high until leaves are pureed into the vinaigrette. (If you don't have a high-powered blender like the Vitamix, you may want to strain the dressing through a fine mesh sieve of cheesecloth.)
- Divide greens onto 4 plates. Top each with 1/2 cup of berries and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad (there might be extra--don't feel like you need to use it all!).
My strawberries were from the garden, so they were on the small side. If you're using larger ones, you'll need to quarter or halve them.