Ronnie Paul: Flower power, you put a spell on me |

Ronnie Paul: Flower power, you put a spell on me

Ronnie Paul

I’ve always considered myself someone who keeps a promise. I hope this doesn’t taint your opinion of me, but I must admit that this is no longer true.

Although I actually pledged in writing to my husband Jeff that I wouldn’t buy any plants this season, an invisible force forced me to break my promise.

Last week, as I headed home after grocery shopping, I stopped at a red light. I intended to go straight, but when the light changed, the car, as though lured by sirens singing from a rocky shore, turned left. Another left turn found me in front of a nursery whose parking lot was arrayed with an artful arrangement of plants and flowers.

As though under a spell, I left the car, and although I resolutely dug in my heels, I surrendered to the flower section. I staggered towards the Purple Palace Coral Bells, who smiled in chorus at the thought of finding a home. I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, but my right arm quivered, reached towards the waiting flowers, and picked up not one, not two, but five six-packs.

I felt totally overpowered, but at least remembered that it was a day when I earned a senior discount.

I humbly acknowledge that I broke a promise and admit that I need to work on my gardening addiction. I hope, however, that you’ll still trust me and try these recipes.

Radish-Spinach Salad

Serves 4

This is the season that radishes and spinach are ready for picking.

1 cup thinly sliced radishes

½ cup grated carrots

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4 ounces baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (For a DIY method, put the seeds in a dry pan and toast them over a low flame.)


Whisk together:

1 tablespoon tamari

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons honey

Mix everything together and serve immediately.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 generous servings

As summer veggies start to roll in, this is my farewell salute to roasted potatoes.

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1½ tablespoons melted butter

Salt and pepper

1½ pounds sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch thick rounds and then quartered

Whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar, melted butter and salt and pepper.

Toss the potatoes in the sauce, making sure all the pieces are well-coated.

Use a slotted spoon to lift the potatoes and let the extra sauce drip back into the bowl. Spread the potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about thirty-five minutes, flipping them once. They’re perfect when they become soft and browned.

Stir the roasted potatoes back into the leftover marinade and serve.

Orange-Lentil Salad

Serves 4-6

For the promise of a tempting meal, serve this salad with the above two recipes.

1½ cups cooked lentils

½ cup thinly sliced celery

¼ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup raisins

2 mandarin oranges, sectioned and then each piece halved.


Whisk together:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

Mix everything together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Union.

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