Well, it's finally happened.
Almost 3 months after we got the bees, one of the dogs has been stung. Poor little Mariota. Just the other morning, I was letting the boys out- all four of them. I say four because my mother-in-law's Pekingese was staying with us. All of them were sniffing around in front of the bee hives. I hate when they get right in front because I'm always afraid they are going to get stung (obviously for good reason!). So, there I am, hollering away at the top of my lungs for the dogs to get away from the bees. They were all moving my way when I saw Mariota snap at his hind quarters. And then his front quarters. And then... the cries. Oh, I felt so bad for him. He came squealing up to me with no idea what had happened to his little body.
I picked him up, him whimpering the whole way. I checked out his right front shoulder, and there it was. The evil stinger. I scraped it off and took him inside. While he favored his leg the rest of the day, luckily there was no swelling or allergic reaction. He has survived the incident and now has a healthy appreciation for the outdoors. And when I say a healthy appreciation, I mean he is doing his business and immediately wanting to come inside.
I almost wish it had been any other of the dogs who got stung. It's going to take the little guy a while to get over this.
And why am I talking about bees? So I can talk about strawberries! I wish I'd had garden-grown strawberries for this salad, but my strawberry plants have just now started to blossom. I'm growing Alpine strawberries, which from what I've read from the University of Kentucky's agriculture program, fruit in mid to late June in Kentucky. I'm excited! Just Monday, I noticed 3 blossoms. By yesterday, Tuesday, I counted about 20 blossoms. By the same logic, I should have a ton of blossoms today. I haven't got outside yet, so we'll see :-)
I'm expecting a good crop from pretty much everything in my garden by the end of the season. It's only June, and I have so many little fruits on my tomato plants. This is the first year I've had fruits on my tomatoes in June. I'm crediting the glut of bees we have running around the property. I hope they are as diligent with my strawberries!
The other is growing on the outside of my herb garden. You know what they say about mint. While the hubby enjoys killing this mint whenever he can, I kind of appreciate it. The potted mint tastes more savory to me than the mint growing near the herb garden, which has a distinctly more sweet flavor. I call it my "dessert mint". As for this recipe, I used my savory potted mint.
Use whatever kind of pasta speaks to you that day. I pulled a box of Gemelli from my lifetime supply, ha ha.
I made this salad several times before I was satisfied. The right dressing, the right pasta, and surprisingly, the right lettuce really make this salad work. The first time I made this, I made it with a white balsamic dressing.
The dressing should taste mostly like balsamic. My white balsamic dressing was too sour and the overly dijon-y flavor of it did not pair well with the strawberry or the gorgonzola cheese. As for the right pasta? I tried farfalle too, or bow-ties. I found I liked the curly pasta better. And finally, the lettuce. I tried romaine and felt it was far too hardy for this delicate salad. Mixed gourmet salad greens work much better.
Another addition to this salad I really liked? Poppy seeds!
Oil and vinegar. A good shake emulsifies the dressing. You could also make the dressing in the food processor.
I told y'all I've mostly been eating salads :-) Between you and me, this hardly feels like salad with all the tender pasta, the sweet strawberries, the creamy avocado and gorgonzola cheese... Yeah, this salad is just happiness to me. I can't wait to make it with my own strawberries!
I hope everyone is having a great week!
Recipe adapted from: Diethood
Ingredients (serves 4):
8 ounces gemelli pasta, cooked to package directions (sub your favorite curly pasta, such as Rotini)
4 cups gourmet salad greens
10 ounces strawberries, halved
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp fresh mint, minced
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1. In a large bowl, combine pasta, greens, strawberries, avocado, mint, parsley, and poppy seeds.
2. In a mason jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, Dijon, and garlic. Shake to combine.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy these-