No lemons were harmed in the making of this post…

By now you know that I looooove my new CSA.  One of the fantastic things about Waltham Fields Community Farms is the pick-your-own herbs.  They have a lovely flower and herb garden, with everything planted in pretty little bunches instead of neat little rows.  It’s lovely.

On our first day at the farm, we were instructed to pick “one small bunch of herbs or flowers” per share.  How to choose?

Mint…I grew that on my porch last summer and most of it went to waste. Next!

Thyme…I love it, but I’ve got plenty growing on my porch right now!

After a little wandering, we came across this apparently unlabeled growth.

It’s a mystery!

I rubbed a bit between my fingers and smelled the fragrance. Lemony! I popped a leaf in my mouth. Fresh and light!

At this point someone said, “I hope that’s edible.”
Hmmm…so did I.

I had a “small bunch” of the stuff already snipped and in my hands, and my stomach was turning with the idea that I had just eaten catnip, or something else not really meant for me.

Finally, we had the good sense to look through the greens for a label. Eureka!

Hmm...Salad dressing sounds like a mighty fine idea to me!

Hmm…Salad dressing sounds like a mighty fine idea to me!

By Sunday, my CSA haul had been reduced to lettuce, lemon balm, and bok choy. Let’s ignore the bok choy for the moment, shall we?

I looked online for a few lemon balm salad dressing recipes, but none of them really flipped my lid. Back in college, I spent some time at my friend Sarah’s parent’s house in Maine. Sarah’s mom had a huge garden, almost the size of a small farm. And, every night Sarah would be tasked with making a salad dressing.

She’d float around her mom’s kitchen, grabbing bits of this and dollops of that. She’d throw everything in a little bowl and mix it up. Every night the salad dressing was different. And most nights it was delicious.

Sounds like a plan for my lemon balm, yes?

I threw the leaves into my little food processor, along with a bit of dijon mustard, some red wine vinegar, a little bit of vidalia onion, some lemon juice, a dab of honey, and a stream of olive oil. Yum!

I needed a little substance to my salad, so I hardboiled a couple of eggs and made up some Lemon Basil couscous. Delish!

Yum, yum, yum.  Wait...do I say that about all my food photos?

Yum, yum, yum. Wait…do I say that about all my food photos?

Lemon Basil Couscous

1 pkg Israeli (or pearl) couscous
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
fresh basil
juice of two lemons
salt and pepper

Toast the couscous in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken broth and simmer until al dente. If there’s still too much liquid left, pour off most (not all) of it. The couscous will continue to absorb the water as it cools.
Add the onion and stir well. Stream in another tablespoon olive oil.
When the mixture is mostly cool, add the garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Voila!

Dinner...deconstructed.

Dinner…deconstructed.

I have a confession to make. I didn’t have any chicken broth, my basil plant still hadn’t recovered from the last time I hacked away at it, and my fridge was uncharacteristically empty of lemons.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, I had some Better than Bouillon, which is…better than bouillon. Barely.
I had some fresh basil in a tube, which is really quite a lot better than the dried kind.
And I had this…

Hmm...how long has that been there?

Hmm…how long has that been there?

I have to admit. I have no idea where that came from. I don’t remember buying it. But, since the real lemons were somehow all gone, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

In the end, I’m glad I did. Super tasty and super filling!

Dinner...constructed.

Dinner…constructed.

I finished the evening with a full tummy, a new recipe, and the feeling my friend Sarah would be impressed with my new salad dressing making skills.  Or…at least I am!

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