It was a bright and moist morning as I removed my socks for the qigong class. Six of us were spread out in the dew-laden meadow facing an open field of wild flowers and tall grass, in front of which stood Gar. A heartfelt smile stretched across her face, she guided us through an hour and a half of standing meditation. Rich visualizations accompanied very slow, focused movements to activate and circulate qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital life energy. Though we only moved a few feet during the entire class, by the end of it I felt as though I had run a half marathon!
After class, sipping mint tea fresh from her yard, Gar showed me around her two lush gardens, one of which lay nestled beside an old horse stable. I stood fascinated inside the palate of leafy greens: dark kale, bright arugula, whispy dill, fragrant mint and spiraling scapes interupted by splashes of red strawberries and purple kohlrabi. Everything was vibrating with life! Her home, a renovated barn from the 1800s framed in hemlock and painted a welcoming ash gray, screamed with all the details that she and her husband poured into it. Even their dishes imitating lillies and lotus leaves are homemade, their inspiration most likely drawn from the acre large pond seen from the livingroom. With their drawings, sculptures and painted canvasses flooding the hallways, and their garden sprouting throughout the kitchen and onto their forks, I felt the spark of creativity at every turn. This little taste of their life-experiencing their home built from scratch on land they nourished, and the good vibes they nurtured- convinced me that this is the way to live.
Now that I am done singing my praises to Gar & her husband Ron, on to the feast! Inspired by the fresh dill and crisp lettuce Gar gifted me from her garden, I set out to create the ultimate raw summer salad.
mustard dill summer salad
raw vegan recipe | serves 4
For the salad:
2 cups leafy greens of choice
1 large tomato
2. Peel cucumber and halve lengthwise. Remove seeds with a spoon, then cut each half crosswise into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut tomato in quarters lengthwise and slice out the seeds. Cut each quarter into ½ inch strips. Holding strips together, dice tomato flesh crosswise into ½ inch pieces. Add tomato to cucumber in mixing bowl.
4. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Make parallel cuts lengthwise into avocado without piercing skin. Leave in shell and set aside.
For the dressing:
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup coarse ground mustard
3 tablespoons grapefruit / orange juice
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar in the raw / coconut palm sugar / agave nectar
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1. In a mixing bowl whisk together mustard, vinegar, grapefruit juice, sugar, salt and dill. Add oil slowly while whisking to create an emulsion for a rich creamy consistency.
1. Toss cucumber and tomato with dressing until well coated.
2. Place greens in the bottom of 4 serving bowls. Add a large heaping spoonful of cucumber and tomato mixture onto greens. Use a spoon to gently scoop out a few slices of avocado for each dish. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve.
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