Paisley Plant of the Week: Tom Thumb and Little Gem

Paisley Plant of the Week: Tom Thumb and Little Gem

The Paisley plant of the week is really two plants. They are very similar and grown almost identically. They are quick to grow, headache free and super fun to grow (and eat)!

So, with out further ado…let us speak of lettuce.

Tom Thumb Lettuce

Tom Thumb and Little Gem to be exact.

These tiny four inch heads of perfectly formed verdant feathers of tasty salad fixin’s are just too easy and cute not to try.

The seeds are tee wincey (technical term for extremely small) so care should be used when it’s time to sow. Make nice straight rows and space 6 inches apart. Barely cover and keep moist. In no time your little guys will be peeking up at you, two blinks after that, you’ll be enjoying a delicious salad.

Tom Thumb Lettuce

A Tom Thumb head with some radish tops from thinnings, add in some borage flowers and dress. You have a scrumptious spring luncheon dish.

Many of the things I grow are small scale. For lettuce, this is a necessity. The quicker you can get lettuce in the ground and out again the better in an area where heat is going to want to make it bolt. Tom Thumb and Little Gems are perfect for my area. By the time they get around to thinking about going to seed, I’m already mixing up the dressing they’ll be served with.

Little Gems, a mix of butterhead and romaine

These guys are so small, each head is just about perfect for one person. They have tremendous flavor as well, nutty and sweet, buttery and mild. If you want to accentuate the nutty flavor, try the Little Gems on the grill. Americans are just about the last group of people to not cook lettuce. It’s time we give it a try! Check out this link for a great recipe for Little Gems.

What else do you need to know? Oh yes. Keep successive sowing going so you’ll have a steady flow of lettuce. Right now I’m sowing four seven foot rows at a time, and I am spacing them four to five days each. In other words, every four or five days, I sow four, seven foot rows. This makes enough for my family of six and a few extra to share with my family and neighbor.

I’m giving you four salad dressing recipes I think you’ll like. I don’t care for bottled dressings unless they are to be used for meat marinade. Salad dressing is so easy and quick to make, it’s well worth the trouble. Plus, you have the added benefit of no extra chemicals, preservatives and excess sodium that can be found in a bottled dressing.

Ranch Dressing Done Right

Ranch mix from scratch

  • 1 cup mayo (not Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tbs chives (finely chopped)
  • 3 Tbs parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. dill
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion flakes
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

In small bowl mix mayo and sour cream, add each new ingredient, mixing after each addition until all is incorporated, chill one hour (or overnight is great also) So easy, the Parsnip could do it = )

Ranch Dressing on Steroids

Ranch made right! (Fresh ingredients)

(Not literally, no steroids are used in the making of this dish, nor are they recommended, condoned, or suggested for the making of this, or any other dish. For Pete’s Sake it’s just the name I chose!)

For the more adventurous types out there, try this slightly more involved but still totally easy dressing.

  • 1 cup mayo (again…NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 buttermilk (or regular milk if you prefer)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (pressed with a press)
  • 15 fresh chives (finely minced)
  • 1 bunch parsley finely chopped
  • handful cilantro finely chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons red onion finely chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

Mix mayo and sour cream, mince all your fresh ingredients add each as you finish chopping them.

This is slightly thicker because of all the fresh ingredients, this is where the buttermilk (or regular milk, if you prefer) comes in. Add the buttermilk a little at a time until you get the dressing to the consistency you want it. Refrigerate one hour (or overnight is delicious as well) before serving. Keep in mind, the longer this dressing sits, the more the flavors will develop. So you may want to back off a little on say the red onions or garlic if you’re not a fan of the pungency. That old adage, “You can add more, but you can’t take it away.” comes in to play here.

Creamy Tomato Dressing

Creamy tomato dressing (Made 3 ways)

You can use different colored tomatoes to make different color dressings! How paisley is that?

This recipe and sweet dill dressing stay in my refrigerator pretty much year round. Try it, you’ll see why.

  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 red onion (finely minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed)
  • sea salt to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste

In blender or with immersion mixer, mix tomato, mayo and sour cream (or yogurt), add onion and garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

* Optional addition to this is a few dashes of Franks (hot sauce) or your favorite hot sauce, changes this dressing in an instant. It also makes a great chicken sauce.

**Option #2 Same dressing (no hot sauce) add a half cup of shelled, salted sunflower seeds. It gives it a crunchy, nutty, buttery yumminess.

***Option #3 Same dressing (no hot sauce) Add 3 generous spoons of your home made pesto (or store bought is fine as well) This sends this recipe over the top of excellent and makes a great sauce for chicken as well.

Last recipe (perhaps) for today is one that I don’t personally eat but I make it because the rest of my family adores it. I’m not a Bleu Cheese fan, but if you are, or have people that are, by all means, enjoy!

Blue Cheese

  • 4 oz. good blue cheese (is there such a thing? = )
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 4 minced chives
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or regular milk if you prefer
  • 2 tsp. parsley finely chopped (or flakes if you prefer)
  • sea salt to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste (my family prefers this without the pepper so I leave it out)

Mix the mayo and the yogurt together, add chives, parsley and salt and pepper. If you want a thinner consistency this is where the buttermilk (or regular milk) comes in, finally fold in the blue cheese. I do this last so it doesn’t get creamed by the mixing of everything.

Have a well dressed, little gem of a Tom Thumb, paisley day!~KeriAnne




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