Head by Head

A group of people from my online writing class decided to eliminate the anonymity of the electronic blackboard and have a Saturday meet up. “Carry a copy of  Bird by Bird,” was the instruction given so that we’d recognize each other. It worked and that book will always remain on my writer’s shelf. The title comes from a story eloquently told by Anne LaMott about her brother’s struggle with a homework assignment and her father’s enduring advice that he tackle the avian research report by writing about one bird at a time.

IMG_0881

Carry a copy so that I will recognize you

It’s a stellar suggestion along the same lines as Bill Hogan’s overused elephant eaten one bite at a time. As a writer, it educates us to keep writing in order to produce and as a life lesson it reminds us that we can endure by moving forward step by step. In fact, the world famous productivity consultant, David Allen suggests that we organize our lives by keeping a list of the single next actionable steps we must take in order to accomplish our goals. Big audacious dreams can be intimidating and also set us up for disappointment but broken into single-action steps, they’re more reasonable and it’s much easier to correct if we get off track.

My single next action? Open the fridge. Count the heads of lettuce. Seven! It’s in season and abundant and while I enjoy a green salad, I can’t consume them in the quantity it will take to use this up. So I’ll heed to the advice of Anne Lamott’s dad, Bill Hogan and David Allen and start with a single head.

Head by Head

7 Ways to Use up lettuce

1. Lettuce juice – My juicer is my go to gadget when I need to use something up fast. Throw in a head of lettuce, a few oranges and a carrot or two and presto, I have a lovely healthy morning beverage.

IMG_0858

2. Lettuce sauce – Whip up this Emeril special to accompany eggs, fish or in our case, roasted vegetables. There’s no ingredient inside this recipe that I don’t enjoy. In a food processor: a head of lettuce, an egg yolk, 2 tsp capers, juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, 2 Tbs red onion, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp dijon, basil to taste, 1/2 cup good olive oil, salt and pepper. Slather it on.

IMG_0871

3.  Lettuce salad – We enjoy dense chopped salads that can be eaten as a meal. Frankly, they’re worthy of a post on their own but lettuce can is a key component.

IMG_0862

4. Lettuce soup – was a five thumbs up hit with no two hands on any one body. Easy, delicious, not thought of. Try it.

IMG_0873

5. Lettuce wraps – Use lettuce like a taco shell or a tortilla. My husband and kids fill them with seasoned ground beef (locally raised), tomatoes and cheese. I love to slather it with some of Ani Phyo’s Ginger Almond Paté. I won’t give you the recipe though – you’ll have to buy her book!

6. Lettuce grilled – I didn’t feel like going outdoors and so did these on the griddle but they worked very well. I served them with crumbled blue cheese, balsamic and cherry tomatoes halved.

IMG_0876

7. Lettuce Smoothie – Efficient, easy, full of goodness. Throw a couple of cups of lettuce into your high-speed blender with other morning treats like a frozen banana and some berries. If it’s too bitter, add a couple of drops of stevia.

Green Goodness

Green Goodness

What’s in front of you that needs to be dealt with one step at a time?

Next Post
Leave a comment

71 Comments

  1. Bookmarking this for use when lettuce is in season here – in about 3 months. :)

    Reply
  2. I’m with Kellyann, feeling a bit “green” about your fresh lettuce, which is still a pipedream in my part of the world.
    And I LOVE “Bird By Bird” – I use it in every writing class I teach, and it inspires me on a regular basis. I might have to reread it this weekend – thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  3. Fresh

     /  March 1, 2013

    Yum… And great advice on writing and other endeavors!

    Reply
    • I was honestly surprised at things like lettuce sauce and lettuce soup but they were both delicious.

      Reply
  4. 7 heads is better than one . . . right? ;)

    Reply
  5. Tammy,
    I’ve bookmarked this, as we will be a household of 3 for the CSA season and I still plan to get a large share. I know I can put up so much of what I’ll be getting, but the salad greens were the one thing I was worried about. Yes, I have the composting pigs that will wheek for food, but in the spring our farmers do an amazing job of growing greens and while I’m happy to give the remnant of last week’s wilted greens to the pigs when the new box comes in the house, I’d prefer to eat them as much as I can.

    Especially that sauce–that so speaks to me now.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • The sauce is terrific and takes 2 minutes to make. I know what you mean – I can always compost but if we can eat them, that’s my preference.

      Reply
  6. I LOVE that book so much, how fun that you met up and recognized each other by taking a copy of Bird by Bird with you :)

    Those are some great suggestions for how to use up lettuce. That morning drink is right up my alley. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Estrella, the sauce is right up your alley also. I remember making mayo from your blog and also an eggplant dish that was much like this.

      Reply
  7. Bird by Bird is one of the all-time great writing books. I discovered it in the mid-90s when I had dreams of making a living as a writer. Haven’t given up on that, so Bird by Bird is still on my bookshelf!

    And, of course, I love all things green so lettuce everything sounds wonderful to me.

    Reply
    • It sounds like the book is a favorite of everyone! I’m surprised although I shouldn’t be.

      Reply
  8. Every one of these recipes makes me long for “greens season” here in northern Michigan. It’s still a bit far into the future for us here! I love Bird by Bird…I think one of the best ever down-to-earth books on writing. Thanks, Tammy!

    Reply
    • Yes, greens are off your menu for a while. We really are having a great season of them here.

      Reply
  9. You have given me so many ideas. I love the idea of drinking a lettuce and that lettuce sauce would be awesome. Great that you are making the most of the season’s produce xx

    Reply
    • Charlie, I think you’d really like the lettuce sauce and of course, you could make it with other things but it really suits grilled items.

      Reply
  10. Lettuce soup sounds good. Today is baking day, one recipe at a time.

    Reply
    • I didn’t expect it to be as well accepted as it was. It’s very very good. I made it with 2% milk instead of cream to lighten it up.

      Reply
  11. I knew a few ways to use up lettuce! I also love to use it in soups & I loveit grilled too! thanks for the other tasty alternatives!

    Reply
  12. Elevating the lettuce we too often take for granted, yay! I love them grilled and braised. I love Bird by Bird too. Nice post!

    Reply
    • I only tried it for the first time recently and I like it. Not all the time but it’s a really nice alternative.

      Reply
  13. Oh Tammy, you always serve us something great! I have never read Bird by Bird, but heard of it .. .and now I think I should get it! :)
    And all the great ideas with lettuce .. .thank you! I have been eating more salads, but sometimes still can’t use it all that way. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed lettuce as a wrap! You reminded me!

    Reply
    • You’ll like the book Deb. Anne Lamott is a Christian writer who came into her faith the hard way – like some of us do.

      Reply
  14. I love Bird by Bird — such an enduring classic. I think every writer should have a copy!

    Thanks for all the lettuce ideas. I am not much of a salad person, so I’m always stymied by lettuce.

    Reply
    • Then these are great recipes for you. I was surprised at how well the sauce and the soup worked.

      Reply
  15. I would never have thought of drinking a head of lettuce. I would maybe try it to be able to freeze it, as freezing lettuce in the solid form, as you probably know just doesn’t work.
    Bless You

    Reply
  16. Bird by bird. A sage piece of advice, and I think a recipe for happiness. And I would never have thought of using lettuce in so many different ways! Thanks, Tammy…I just need to run this post off and keep it on my fridge….

    Reply
    • These recipes are all so simple too Kate. Perfect for tackling things one step at a time.

      Reply
  17. I had never heard of this book “Bird by Bird”, sounds very interesting. I like the idea of writing lists to better approach an intimidating goal. As for the lettuces… not yet in Season but I will remember your delicious suggestions. Thanks Tammy.

    Reply
    • Isa, I think you would love this book. Anne Lamott is very real and this book she reveals much about herself.

      Reply
  18. You are so inspiring.

    Reply
  19. You know what? I can actually eat lettuce just like that. I am marking all your lettuce recipes specially the sauce. That and dukka spice fried chicken. YUMZO.

    Reply
  20. Love lettuce wrap. Now I’m not sure about lettuce smoothie. It does looks healthy. I’m mizzing Kale , spinach and carrots with fruits and I really enjoy the taste as well as the health benifits.

    Reply
  21. the writing group sounds great. I need a critique group, how did you go about finding a good one? You can email me it is a longer story (thelettuceedge @ gmail .com). I loved Bird by Bird.

    Reply
    • I found one at my local community college but you might also try Shewrites or meet up.

      Reply
  22. Lisa H

     /  March 4, 2013

    I never thought of grilling lettuce! I will have to give that a try. You always inspire me to try new things…Thanks!

    Reply
    • Use a hearty romaine for grilling and then use it as the basis for a caesar – yum.

      Reply
  23. Hi Tammy, for me right now it’s Recipe by Recipe.
    I’ve had delicious grilled caesar salad—the romaine is sturdy enough to withstand the char.
    And, I’ve had lettuce in soups. I have yet to drink it!

    Reply
  24. Loved the whole post. It was fun to read about meeting up with your writing group with Bird by Bird in hand. I’ll have to remember that idea. Lettuce soup? I never dreamed. Lettuce in my smoothie or juicer? Why did I never think of that? I just bought spinach today for those purposes, but not resourceful enough to think of lettuce. Thanks for all the tips, Tammy.

    Reply
    • I prefer spinach in a smoothie but if you have 7 heads of lettuce to deal with, it is a fine substitute.

      Reply
  25. A superb post! Love the “one bite at a time” approach, a lesson I need to remind myself of. And som egreat suggestions there, haven’t tried lettuce sauce before, so will have to check that one out. I make an Endive letuce and bean soup that is light and summery. Yum!

    Reply
  26. It’s snowing again here–I wish I had 7 heads of lettuce in my fridge! I just cooked up the last of fall’s cabbage pretty much one head at a time however! These are great ideas–lettuce can be a challenge since it doesn’t keep for months or freeze. Grilled lettuce sounds positively gourmet!

    Reply
  27. ATOOO

     /  March 5, 2013

    This is one of my favorite books! What a fun group of writers you have. And great suggestions for cooking with lettuce!

    Reply
  28. Great use of lettuce. Have to great creative, right? :)

    Reply
  29. Step by step is *the* strategy for me! I used to make the mistake that I planned to do something but missed to account for the steps of implementation. And you know I’m currently working on getting myself right again, which won’t work if I don’t take it stepwise.

    I love your lettuce ideas! And I’d like to add a #8, which I might call “Throw-in Lettuce” (an idea from a friend). It’s my favorite way to eat lettuce and works the best with Romaine lettuce (for me). For that, you need a soupy stewed dish. We usually made a big, deep pan full of veggies (onions, carrots, red bell pepper, and usually something like chicken) and then added a can or two of chopped tomatoes with juice and stewed everything. We ate it from bowls and in the end threw handfuls of Romaine lettuce pieces into it. They get warm from the stew but still remain crunchy and give a nice flavor and texture to the dish. I think it would also work great with a bean chili. Soupy tomatoey dishes work the best with it! :)

    Reply
  30. Sally

     /  March 8, 2013

    This post particularly important to me right now. I am reading at the exact right time to implement your ideas! Thank you. And the sauce and soup sound lovely. I am on a three day juice fast, and lettuce part of the ingredients. Great ideas and tools.
    Thank You Tammy! Yum

    Reply
  31. Hi Tammy, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am so glad to have found your wonderful blog and am looking forward to reading more. I live on two acres in the Sonoran Desert and am in the research and planning stage for starting a garden. We have citrus and fruit trees, herbs and tomatoes and are so excited to have a full garden. Thank you for the great ideas!

    Reply
  32. Great post.
    I use the Salami method, one slice at a time :-)

    Reply
  33. I could totally have used this mid-summer….I had so many damned cos lettuces that many of them turned into cos trees and got fed to the worms. They were pretty happy with that outcome though!

    Reply
  34. Excellent advice for life.

    Reply
  1. Our Growing Edge… Edible All-Stars | Keeping Up With The Holsbys

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: