Posted on: November 9, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011
Beets and goat cheese are a classic pairing. This recipe is simple, yet reliably delivers every time. Dress it up with a sprinkling of pecans for a pinons for a special fare.
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
- 2 to 3 cups fresh arugula, or other young lettuce mixture
- 4 medium roasted beets, greens removed (See How to Peel Beets for instructions on roasting)
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of goat cheese (about 4 ounces), crumbled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine arugula beets, red onion, and goat cheese, in a large bowl.
- Mix lemon juice and olive oil in separate bowl and lightly dress the salad
- Taste and add salt as needed.
- Add pepper to taste.
Posted on: April 27, 2011
Probably the most ubiquitous of all vegetables, the carrot is one that definitely deserves a spot in your garden. I remember the first time I saw locally-grown carrot bunches at the farmers market. Having previously only ever seen the long and perfectly cylindrical variety in bags at the store, I was amused at the stumpy, fat, odd roots that so proudly lay on the farmer’s tables. And then there were the purple ones and red ones and white ones… Purple carrots? I felt a bit naive, but I actually had to ask the weathered man behind the table what it was. My Americanized-supermarket brain could not imagine that a carrot would be any color other than orange. I thought surely, this must be some other kind of root vegetable. But no, truth be told, it was indeed a carrot. Imagine, I had lived nearly three decades and never knew carrots came in colors!
All carrots, regardless of color, can certainly be enjoyed raw— but cooking these garden gems brings out their natural sugars and makes them nearly irresistible. This soup is beautifully simple, and with a hunk of a crusty french loaf, it can easily be enjoyed as a meal all by itself. The spice blend is inspired from Morocan soup recipes— with the warm and nutty hints of coriander and allspice complementing the natural sweetness of the carrots.
If you want to grow your own carrots, now is a great time to sow the seeds. Botanical Interests offers a huge variety of heirloom seeds and you really can’t go wrong with any young, fresh carrot for this recipe. If you choose to buy your carrots at your local farmer’s market, you can bet the carrots will all be fresh. Unfortunately, the common bagged carrots from the supermarket are often older and from some place far, far away— which means they just won’t taste nearly as good as ones that are picked fresh.
Carrot Coriander Soup
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1 pound large carrots, chopped roughly into 1/2-inch segments
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
- Sea salt, to taste
- In large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil until onion is soft and slightly translucent.
- Add chopped carrots, coriander, and allspice, and continue to sauté all ingredients on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add broth and bring to gentle boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth. Return to the same pan.
- Stir in honey and lemon juice.
- Season to taste with salt.
Serve soup in bowls with a small drizzle of yogurt or extra virgin olive oil on top. If you like, sprinkle a bit more ground coriander on top.
Posted on: April 6, 2011
Many of us have led a fairly sheltered life when it comes to edible greens. Aside from spinach, most Americans have probably encountered kale or chard (both of which I absolutely adore), but some of the most delicious greens like gai lan, tatsoi, or mizuna are absolutely foreign to us. If you’ve never cooked with Asian greens before, I invite you to put away your suspicions and open your mind (and your mouth) to these delicious, easy-to-prepare vegetables.
While there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of varieties of Asian greens, because our collective American taste for bitter vegetables (and comfort with exploring new foods) is still being acquired, you may have to venture to an Asian market or your local farmer’s market to find anything other than napa cabbage. (Not at all related to the famous wine valley of the same name.) However, once you discover how wonderful these greens are, I’m guessing you won’t mind at all going a bit out of your way to procure them. But honestly, why go to the trouble of driving across town when you could have them in your own back yard. They are easy to grow and produce a beautiful Spring crop that is definitely worth the effort it takes to poke a few seeds in the ground.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that Botanical Interests offers a wonderful Asian Salad mix that includes an amazing variety of Asian greens. It includes chinese cabbage, Japanese spinach greens, mizuna, mustard greens, mustard red greens, mustard ruby streaks, and tatsoi. You can’t go wrong with this mix.
Here’s a brief overview of some of my favorite Asian greens that can be grown at a garden near you:
Napa Cabbage (Chinese Cabbage) This is a well-known vegetable that is easily found in most American supermarkets. It’s a fairly large, oblong vegetable with significant white stalks and wrinkly, pale green leaves. Napa’s mild flavor and a soft texture make it an excellent ingredient for use in stir-fry dishes or soup. It’s also the starring ingredient in Korean kimchi.
Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) Bitter, and dark green, this Asian vegetable has thick stalks and large leaves. It has small flower heads that look very similar to broccoli (but is unrelated).
Bok Choy Many non-Asian supermarkets carry bok choy. You’ll likely see it in two ways— large heads of mature bok choy, or miniature versions of the same thing, referred to as baby bok choy. The mature bok choy has white stems and dark green leaves while the mini-me version (baby bok choy) has a light green color. Bok choy is excellent in stir fries, and braised dishes. It’s also a fine addition to soups, stews, and can be enjoyed simply steamed.
Tatsoi The round, dark green leaves of this edible green have a slightly bitter flavor. Young tatsoi is fantastic when served raw in salads, and the grown-up version is delicious sautéed, steamed, or stir fried.
Mizuna This leafy green sports dark green, serrated leaves with narrow, white stalks. The leaves and stalks are both edible and have a bitter, peppery flavor. Young mizuna is wonderful in field green mixtures.
Sautéed Asian Spring Greens with Garlic Ginger Sauce
- 1 1/2 lbs Asian greens
- 2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
- 1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon mirin (Asian rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- In a glass measure stir together the broth, the soy sauce, the mirin, and the cornstarch, until the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Heat oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat (Make sure pan is hot, but not smoking).
- Add garlic and ginger and cook until lightly browned, 30 seconds.
- Add Asian greens to wok, stir-frying until greens are slightly wilted.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture, add it to the wok, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the greens are tender (but still bright green) and the sauce is thickened.
- Serve warm over rice.
Posted on: March 30, 2011
Beets and goat cheese are a classic pairing so it’s no wonder this sandwich is nothing short of outrageous. Inspired by this week’s Grow Food newsletter from Botanical Interests, which featured one of my favorite vegetables— beets, this simplified gourmet feast is a beautiful homage to the early spring garden. Last week I featured arugula in a delicious arugula linguine recipé and knowing how well arugula and beets go together, it seemed perfectly acceptable to bring it back this week for a duet with the lovely and versatile beet. More
Posted on: March 23, 2011
Arugula is a magnificent green. A member of the mustard family and a close relative to the radish, this spicy green is much more versatile than most of us realize. These days, it’s commonly sold as part of mixed salad packages — which I think is a crime because its unique peppery flavor is completely masked by the other greens. I’m not saying that mixed salad greens are bad, I’m saying if your only exposure to arugula is from a plastic box as part of a conglomeration of greens, you are missing out on one of Mother Nature’s most unique and delightful plants.
What many people don’t know is that arugula’s jester personality when raw, is instantly elevated to regal status when cooked. Playing off its Mediterranean heritage, arugula is a fantastic addition to pizza, pasta, and risotto. Typically, the younger leaves are milder, and used in salads, while the more mature, late-season leaves tend to develop a spicy-hot-mustard flavor that can never be mistaken. Arugula pairs beautifully with goat cheese, fruits and berries, oily nuts such as the pinon, and of course prosciutto. (What doesn’t pair well with prosciutto?)
If you’re interested in foregoing the plastic clamshells and saving the planet, Arugula is an easy green to grow at home. Being a reliable cool-weather crop, arugula seeds can be planted three to four weeks before the average last frost in your area, offering an early taste of Spring, and can also be planted in succession until the hottest part of summer. As the weather warms, you’ll find your plant “going to seed”— which is a delightful part of the growing process since you can harvest and eat the beautiful arugula flowers as well.
And here’s a great tip for your abundant harvest— arugula makes wonderful pesto!
Linguine with Spring Arugula and Prosciutto
- 1 lb arugula (4 bunches), washed and torn into medium pieces
- 1 lb linguine
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, finely grated
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt (to taste)
- In large stock pot, boil pasta in salted water until al dente (tender, yet firm). Reserve 1 to 2 cups of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta in a colander.
- In large pan or Dutch oven, sauté the shallots and garlic on medium heat in a 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- When shallots and garlic are slightly caramelized, add in the cooked pasta along with the prosciutto, arugula, and lemon zest. Toss gently and add in some of the reserved pasta water to obtain a slightly brothy, but not soupy, dish.
- Salt to taste.
- Drizzle oil over pasta, and serve with fresh Parmesan.
Posted on: March 16, 2011
This week’s recipe was inspired by Botanical Interests Early Spring Green Fix Seed Collection. As a novice gardener and self-proclaimed foodie, I’m anxious for the first fresh vegetables of the season. This early Spring mix includes some of my favorites— broccoli raab (a.k.a. Rapini), young tender dwarf blue kale, fragrant parsley, sugar snap peas, and a lesser known salad green, called mache— just to name a few. I can think of no better way to kick off the first week of Spring than featuring a recipe that pays homage to the first delicious greens of a new growing season.
Posted on: March 3, 2011
Compliments of Chef Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this recipe is simple, and elegant— the perfect way to celebrate Spring.
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion (small chopped)
1 garlic clove (small chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (small chopped)
3 cups fresh spring peas
4 cups vegetable stock
Small mint sprig
1/2 cup blanched spinach
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper as needed.
- Using a medium sauce pan saute the onions, garlic and ginger in the oil, cook until soft and no color
- Add the vegetable stock and simmer to ½. Chill in ice bath. When cooled combine with the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve. Keep chilled until needed.
Posted on: February 23, 2011
In honor of the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share a fun twist on a classic Irish dish. Colcannon is a simple, hearty dish traditionally prepared using Ireland’s most famous staple food, potatoes, mashed with a good measure of steamed cabbage.
Posted on: February 16, 2011
Delicata squash is a winter gem. Not as common as its butternut cousin, the delicata is pleasantly sweet with hints of nutty earthiness. In addition to being a delicious staple during cooler months, it’s one of the easiest winter squashes to prepare. Perhaps this is because, while it is generally considered a winter squash, this species is actually related to our familiar favorite summer squashes, like the patty pan and the ubiquitous zucchini. Translated: you don’t have to peel it before cooking.
Compliments of Chef Vitaly Paley of Paleys’ Place Bistro and Bar in Portland, Oregon, this bisque pairs two unlikely, yet surprisingly agreeable ingredients— the butternut squash and the similarly-shaped Bosc. More