Friday, May 29, 2009

My Garden Shed & Simple Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette

If I had to pick a favorite room (besides my kitchen) it would have to be my garden shed. It's not really a room at all, it's a, well, it's a shed. In my back yard and I love it. 

The best husband in the world built it for me. That's reason enough to love it. He built it for me. With his own hands. I painted it so it would bloom year round.  He spotted the pot hangers on a old barn he was driving past and stopped and bought some for me because he knew I'd like them. Hence the pots on the front.  House wrens make their home in the bird houses. I can see the shed from my kitchen window so I am always reminded of the flowers, vegetables and other plants that this shed helps bring forth every spring. 

From these double doors with a leaf shaped handle spring forth the hope and promise of red ripe tomatoes, purple sun warmed eggplants, crazy, boat sized zucchinis, crooked necked yellow squashes, cool green cucumbers, zesty mint, red, yellow, green and hot, hot, hot peppers, a menagerie of herbs, big outrageous orange pumpkins, ornamental gourds that will one day become bird houses, and anything else that the seed catalogs enticed me into spending hard cash on in late January. 

The shed houses all my garden stuff. Rakes and shovels, extra soaker hoses, a pitch fork that's about a 100 years old that TBHITW brought home one day. A small rototiller that I can handle on my own. Compost starter. Fencing, trellises, tomato cages waiting for their next plants to imprison. There are some empty pots waiting for flowers and seed trays sleeping until next year when I will sow a new crop of summer harvest dreams. There is garden twine and potting soil. But the best thing the shed houses is hope

Hope. Inside those double doors is the hope of future plants and the promise of plants now putting down their roots in fertile soil that I tended. Hope for vegetables fresh from the garden to the table. Flowers with blooms the size of dinner plates. Herbs that are so aromatic they make you want to cry for want of them. Life growing in front of my very eyes. 

That's why my garden shed is one of my favorite rooms. It offers me hope that all things can grow and prosper with a little nurturing. A garden, a family, a community, a world. 

Mixed Baby Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette ( the last of them from my spring garden) - serves 4 - this is the stuff of romance. 

6 cups mixed greens, washed and spun dry

Sauce Vinaigrette: 1 1/2 cups

The classic ratio for a basic vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. This ratio can vary according to your taste.  Always taste your dressing with a bit of green.  

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup tasteless salad oil (canola, safflower, corn - your preference)

Whisk together the mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and vinegar. Beat in the olive oil. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Store in the refrigerator like any other "store" bought dressing.

Variations: (store for one week)
Garlic: crush and mix with the slat to make a paste and whisk in
Mustard: for extra zing in the salad blend 1 teaspoon or more to taste 
Fresh Herbs: Tarragon is especially nice. Chop or leave whole and mix with the salad as you toss it. 

Serve with a loaf of crusty bread, some soft, ripe cheese and a cool, crisp wine. Use the wine pairing tool on my blog, then fall in love while you're at it. 


  1. It is always such a sad day for me when the lettuce and greens stop.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, friend. I appreciate your comments there, and share your experiences very closely. Many years in "the office" have left their share of scar tissue, to be sure. Now it is onward and upward. Knowing that there are other souls out there like you helps a great deal. I will be back again soon!


  3. I love your garden shed! You must go see Marlene's at:

    Thanks for the vinegarette - I needed a good one for the summer.

  4. What an awesome shed. This was a fantastic post. It made me wish that I had a shed.

  5. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog.. I love your shed! I also have on on the other side of my property thats needs sprucing.. I love your idea of stenciling and birdhouse (which I collect)..I think I may try it.. what paint did you use for outside.. and does it fade?? My garden shed is still inprogress and I wish I had made it bigger.. everyone that visits wants to sit inside..I am planning on adding curtians next! I love your site.. I am JUST starting to learn to cook.. I have to be on Gluten free I have too. I like your recipies!

  6. All, thank you for admiring my shed. Once the gardens are in full bloom I hope to share more pictures with you.

    Marlene - your shed is gorgeous! Lover of Life pointed me to your blog and I'm so glad she did.

    Happy spring - early summer everyone.

  7. OH Marlene - I'm sorry, I didn't answer your question about the shed. I used regular water based stencil paint, then after letting it cure for 24 hours, sprayed a clear coat over it. It is over 5 years old and hasn't faded yet! I bought all the supplies at a craft store.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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