Simple Swiss Chard Salad with Shrimp Scampi

This meal is very easy to create.  To make the salad thoroughly wash fresh swiss chard in a colander.  Line a large bowl or pot with paper towels and allow the lettuce to dry.

Take a fresh cucumber and cut into slices. Cut the slices into halves.  Transfer the swiss chard to a salad bowl and add the cucumber.  Also add dried cherries, cooked chicken (I usually bone out leftover chicken thighs) and a simple dressing.  Toss together.

To Make the Dressing

Coat a small, heated up pan with a little bit of olive oil.  Add five cloves of finely chopped garlic.  Allow the garlic to cook for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the anchovy filets.  Use a spatula to mash the filets.  Allow the anchovies to cook until dissolved into a paste.  Set aside.  Take a small bowl and add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 TBSP brown mustard, and the anchovy/garlic filet.  Take a fork and whisk together.  Pour the dressing on top of your salad and toss.

How to Make Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is one of my favorite meals.  It’s so easy to make.  Make sure you get the fresh, raw shrimp. The difference in taste is unbelievable.  I usually use a non-stick teflon skillet.  Make sure your spatula is not metal.  Teflon scratches very easily.  I generally use an entire bulb of finely chopped garlic.  I also make my scampi in small batches.  Add about 2 pats of butter to a warm pan, set the heat for medium.  Make sure the butter has melted before you add the garlic. In fact, the butter should be foaming.  Allow the garlic to cook for 1 minute.  Add finely chopped shallot tops.

Add the shrimp.  Add 1 TBSP. lemon juice.  Allow the shrimp to cook for three minutes on one side.  A good indicator to look for is how pink the shrimp looks.  Flip the shrimp over and allow the other side to cook for three minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp.  You want the shrimp to turn pink and shrink slightly.  Transfer the shrimp and liquid to a small serving bowl.  Here’s the final product below.

Enjoy.  The fresher the shrimp scamp the better.  You can also add some crushed, dry cilantro  a few minutes before you pull the shrimp off.  Your imagination is the limit!

Why I Garden

Today’s world is crowded with articles about how terribly screwed up our food supply is.  The food industry is filled with cheap fillers, chemical additives, and highly addictive sugar.  It can feel overwhelming, depressing even, to think about how little any of us can do about our toxic food.  This is why I garden

I garden because it forms a personal bond between me and food.  It’s not a processed piece of crap coming out of a box.  The spinach I harvest from my garden is produced through my own efforts.  It’s a decision I can feel proud about making.  And in today’s world, any little victory is worthwhile.

I also garden because it makes me a happier, more active person.  I live with clinical depression.  When my depression was at its worst it was difficult to get up every morning, to leave the house,  to even get off the couch.  I felt like the world was void of light, void of brightness.  My garden reminds me of how wonderfully productive nature is.  I can walk out and smell my lavender or see a bee pollinating the salvia plants.  It’s a spot of bright, untarnished happiness. So, in addition to my ramblings……here’s some pictures.

The really huge, leafy plant grew directly out of my compost pile.  It’s starting to produce some fruit, either cucumbers or watermelons, not quite sure which.

This is my “salad patch.”  I planted marigolds as a border.  There is also broccoli, spinach onions, swiss chard, cilantro, and basil.

I guess to sum it all up, all I really have to say is, I really, really, love my garden.  I love the feeling of personal power even better.  I’m not passively consuming processed foods.  I’m doing something about how my body feels and looks.  And that’s an incredible feeling.