Trade paradise at the beach in Southern California for a humble abode in Arkansas? Yes, we do. And not nearly often enough. If you’ve never been to the area known as the Ozarks, you should go sometime, especially if you have an affinity for the great outdoors and enjoy water sports – other than surfing, of course. Lakes abound in the Ozarks making it a playground for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, and fishing.
This past week we were chillin’ in Northwest Arkansas and blessed with a preview of summer, which made delivery of a shiny new pontoon fishing boat particularly exciting. Emerald green as far as the eye can see, clear azure skies, marshmallow clouds, sunny days, late night thunderstorms, trolling the lake, fishing and fun with family and friends – just what life is supposed to be about!
Born in Chicago, Illinois but growing up in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I have always returned to my roots to visit my parents, particularly my mom who found herself divorced and alone after 30 years of marriage.
Every season possesses a special allure: the stark serenity of winter, verdant life renewed in spring, sizzling heat of summer soothed by cool dips at dusk, relief arrives as cooler days ignite the hills with a blanket of fiery color.
I probably cook more when we’re here than at home in Huntington Beach because we’re in town for only a week and have friends or family over nearly every night. The absence of a fully stocked pantry and somewhat limited produce (compared to Southern California) calls for simple fare, grilling on the deck and the occasional fish fry, if the bass and walleye cooperate.
On this trip, we ate particularly well. The fish were biting, the grill was hot, and we had stashed some goodies from home in our carry-on bag. Among those goodies – a clamshell of sweet organic strawberries which were the star of this quick and easy salad that complemented grilled ribeye steaks beautifully.
Just three ingredients and a simple homemade vinaigrette creates a visually appealing and deliciously nutritious salad. The addition of Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries lends a nutty flavor and satisfying chew to the colorful melange of Organic Girl Super Greens and ruby red strawberries. (Plus, all the magical nutrients and fiber in whole grains.)
- 1 pint organic strawberries
- 8 ounces organic salad greens
- 1 cup cooked Bob's Red Mill Wheat Berries
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- Cook the wheat berries according to package directions. Remove from heat and refrigerate. Can be made a day ahead.
- Whisk together the orange juice, oil, shallot and spices.
- Mix 1 cup of wheat berries with half of the vinaigrette. Reserve the remainder to drizzle over the salad.
- Mound the greens on a plate. Spoon the wheat berries around the greens and gently mix some into the greens. Arrange the strawberries on top. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
My Mother’s Day dinner: a fine bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, juicy Ribeye steaks perfectly grilled to medium rare, and this lovely sweet and savory Strawberry Power Salad.