June 17th, 2014

Community Salad


Anatomy of a Salad

The arugula and slices from a lone lemon cucumber? I grew those in my garden patch. The impossibly thin green beans were a gift from neighbor Ray. I purchased the onions and baby new potatoes from Barnes’ stand at the downtown farmer’s market. The ruffled purple basil, flat leaf parsley and garlic scapes all came from our friends at the Fresh Harvest Co-op. I picked up the grape tomatoes and a sweet bell pepper at the grocery store, blocks from my home.


Leaves and stalks, pods and seeds, tubers and fruits: All seemingly disparate parts assemble into a lively composition on this plate.

All the sets of hands that played a part in bringing them: A friend and neighbor, farmers whom I’ve met, farmers whom I’d like to meet, growers in a state not too far away, pickers and truckers and sorters and sellers,


even my own hands.

This salad, which will make a fine dinner, also tells a story about community.

All the connections surrounding this one plate.

All the connections we make at the table.

I am mindful of this, especially at this moment, poised as I am, to launch this cookbook into this world.

Today, June 17, 2014, is the day.

It’s been a long road, from pitch to proposal, contract to manuscript delivery, edits, edits, styling and photography, layout, and more edits. Whew. Here comes the Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook.

Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook cover

I couldn’t have done it without my community.

Here’s to Gigi Gaskins, my potluck conspirator and co-host, and all the potluckers who contributed their delectable recipes.

Here’s to my editor, Heather Skelton, who caught the vision for this book, its look and structure. She understood our story, a fluid group of people who meet on the third Thursday of each month, and bring their best efforts, with no assigned dishes, no RSVP.

Together, our recipes and stories travel the arc of the seasons.

Together we celebrate the bounty of the moment.

Here’s to Mark and Teresa and Julie. Mark Boughton‘s extraordinary photography, Teresa Blackburn’s deft styling and Julie Allen’s cover design brought Third Thursday to life.

And, to you all, my dear friends and readers, a community that reaches far and wide.


This is the sort of salad that lends itself well to community. Take what you like, and crown it with a nice dollop of lush green garlic scape aioli.

1 pound young green beans, ends trimmed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound baby new potatoes
black pepper
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 sweet bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 lemon cucumber, sliced
1/4 pound arugula
basil leaves

Blanche the green beans: Fill a skillet with water and place over medium high heat. When boiling, plunge the green beans in to cook for 2- 3 minutes (longer, if they are thicker–you want them tender-crisp) Place the cooked beans into a bowl of ice water to set the color and cease the cooking. Drain well.

Pan-roast the new potatoes: Place a skillet on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and rosemary. Cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, shaking the skillet periodically, until the potatoes are browned and tender when pierced with a knife.

Caramelize the onions and red pepper strips: Place olive oil in the skillet set on medium heat. Saute the onions until browned.
Remove the onions and add the red pepper strips. Saute until tender-crisp with browned edges.

Assemble the Community Salad
Place the salad elements in sections on a large serving platter. Serves 4 generously.

Serve with Garlic Scape Aioli (recipe below)


2 or 3 loops of scapes, chopped
1 egg yolk
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt

Place the scapes, egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse, then process, slowly pouring in the olive oil. The mixture will thicken and emulsify, resembling a spring green mayonnaise. Taste for salt and add a pinch as needed.

Place into a small serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Keeps 3-4 days.
Makes 1 generous cup.


Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Gluten Free, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Vegetables

17 Responses to “Community Salad”
  1. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Today is the day! Yes! Congrats, Nancy!!!

  2. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thank you Denise. Somehow it doesn’t seem possible, but here it is!

  3. Barbara Says:

    Congratulations, Nancy!

  4. goodfoodmatters Says:

    thank you Barbara and Michele!

  5. Michele |Cooking At Home Says:

    The day has arrived. Hooray and congratulations,Nancy!

  6. Joyti Says:

    Oh, congratulations!!! So happy for you!

    And the salad looks and lovely, like that there’s a story behind each of the pieces that went into it :)

  7. ernestine Says:

    Congratulations !!
    and can hardly wait
    to have a copy :)

  8. Beth Says:

    Congratulations on the release of your cookbook! Your community salad looks wonderful.

  9. Tammy Says:

    Love that your book is ready! So excited to get my own copy and your salad is delicious. All the connections…

  10. Laura Says:

    Oh Nancy!! Your book is gorgeous! I can’t wait to sit and savor the stories and recipes. Congratulations!!!

  11. goodfoodmatters Says:

    HI Joyti–thank you so much!

    Hi Ernestine–I hope that you can come to my signing event at Parnassus in Green Hills on 6/25. Would love to meet you.

  12. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Beth–I appreciate your support!

    Tammy–I can’t wait for you to get a copy. Your special “Green Tip” is included in the March chapter.

    Laura–Thank you. I hope you will enjoy it. Miss you.

  13. ernestine Says:

    Writing it on my calendar :)
    thank you for telling me…

  14. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    Nance, this is a beautiful salad and anatomy of making a salad. Those green beans looks so crispy and fresh. I have so enjoyed all the events celebrating your beautiful cook book release..what fun we had making this book and celebrating it afterwards. Thanks for the shoutout in this post as well. See you at Parnassus. T

  15. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    the cookbook is AWESOME! AMAZING! I just love my copy and I already have made the buternut squash and leek lasagna and it is delicious! You have outdone yourself on it and I am so proud of you!

  16. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hey Jess—thank you so much. that lasagna is one of my favorites, to be sure. I hope you will enjoy many more recipes!

  17. elizabethportman Says:

    It’s healthy and keeps your digestive system regular.
    Salad is great and there is so much you can do with it.

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