Before this year all of my gardening attempts have been successful. All of them. Why, you ask? Because I had very low expectations. I was thrilled with what we harvested. Some beets, some carrots, lots of tomatoes, raspberries, chard, too much zucchini, enough strawberries to give away, so many potatoes we let some rot. Really successful. This year is different. The expectations are grand. This year I want to be able to provide The Kitchen at Middleground Farms with vegetables for most of the cooking classes. I want students to wander to out to the garden to pull beets from the earth to learn how to turn into a salad. I want tomatoes to be ready (and free of rot) at just the moment I have the class on preserving tomatoes scheduled. For the first year ever, I want to grow all of my own cucumbers for our annual Picklepalooza. I can’t be caught buying fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market and burying them in dirt in my garden. Or would I get caught? *insert evil grin*

Do you feel it? The pressure. Expectations. And what have I done? Just bought the seeds. Thanks to the Seedsavers catalog, I have the seeds. Tomorrow is April 1st. I’m about three weeks late to get them in the greenhouse, so I better get moving. At least we’ll have lettuces. They don’t take long. And the strawberries come back on their own go to website. At least we’ll have a salad class.

I think I’ll make this:

Mixed Greens with Fresh Strawberries and Pecan-crusted Goat Cheese

Serves 4

½ lb mixed greens
½ medium red onion, sliced thin
½ cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped & salted
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

In medium bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, shallot and mustard. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking constantly until well combined. Add sugar and season to taste. Set aside.

Cut goat cheese into fourths and pat each portion between your hands to form a disk. Pat pecans all over each disk to coat. Bake on a small baking sheet in middle of oven until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately on greens tossed with red onion and dressed with vinaigrette. Garnish with additional chopped pecans and strawberries.