Beet Greens, Herbs and Butter Lettuce Salad

The Table Was Set…

IMG_1533

The Harvest Prepped…

IMG_1520

IMG_1521

And An Herbed Beet Greens And Butter Lettuce Salad Was Born!

IMG_1523

If you’re getting a CSA or shopping the farmer’s markets, look for healthy and perky leaves on your beets for a double whammy as beet greens make fabulous salad. They have a wonderful, rich, mellow flavor, and their tender leaf makes for a nice crisp salad chew! I chopped the greens and thinly sliced one beet for a quick salad, but should experiment with the tearing method as the greens may have a better aesthetic that way.

Aesthetics aside, the flavors in this salad were quite complex and enjoyable. One of my weekend menus called for Farm Fresh Spring Rolls that were to include rice noodles, beet greens, butter lettuce, mint, basil, fennel and dill, but I ran into a bit of a materials snafu and had to alter the course. Before I discovered my missing ingredient (forgotten spring roll wraps), I made a spicy sesame ginger dressing which ended up topping the beet greens and spring roll herbs in a wonderful accident. Toasted sesame oil pairs well with the buttery nature of beet greens and the ginger-garlic-spice made for an interesting and delicious surprise flavor.

Here’s an approximate recipe for the dressing. You will want to taste and adjust especially the soy sauce. I don’t like the dressing too salty, so find that I add the aminos slowly.

Spicy Sesame Ginger Garlic Dressing:

  • 1 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chile flakes

This salad was followed by a simple collard stir fry with ginger and garlic,  spicy tofu and jasmine rice.

After All Was Said And Done…

IMG_1531

 

Advertisements

Learning to Love Radish Salad

 

Radish Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

IMG_1415

Let the truth be told…radishes have often found their way into my compost bin! Of course, that was a long, long, long time ago when I didn’t know better! Now that I understand how much work goes into vegetable gardening, I wouldn’t dream of gifting them to the kitchen gods quite so often. Even so, I can only eat so much radish. I like them. I like them a lot, but one or two a year seems to be quite enough for me! Well, after they exploded from the garden the other day, I realized I would soon have quite a number of radishes having dutifully companion planted them with my beans and carrots. Not only would the challenge be to create a highly palatable radish dish, but hopefully use the greens as well.

IMG_1405The last few years I have been making quite a lot of fermented veg, so of course, using the radishes in that manner was the first thing that came to mind, but I am the only one in the house who will eat them. Thinking about the fermenting process reminded me of making kimchi – specifically of grating the veg and soaking it in salt water. This is a great trick for removing the “bglahh” from some of our more bitter friends!

I also pondered a dressing that would highlight the earthy nature of the green knowing that those, too, must be included in the salad. It also occurred to me that a long time ago I used to make dressings with dijon mustard, but have forgone that option for my simple oil, vinegar and honey concoctions as of late. And so, this salad was born!

I grated the radish with a bit of carrot, salted the mix for about an hour. Then I rinsed it and squeezed out the excess water. This was added to the finely chopped radish greens, tossed in the dijon curry vinaigrette and topped with toasted almonds. It is quite delicious if I might say so myself!

The next week… I made the version below with white icicle radishes, massaged collard greens, a few leftover red peppers, the same curry dressing and a sprinkling of mustard flowers.

IMG_1473

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh radishes, grated
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • radish leaves, finely chopped
  • toasted almond slivers
  • kosher salt to sprinkle

Curry Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. rice wine, apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Grate radishes and carrots. Sprinkle the grated veggies with kosher salt, mix together and let sit for an hour.
  2. Finely chop the radish leaves, cover and refrigerate.
  3. Mix all ingredients for vinaigrette. Taste and adjust as needed – some like more salt, more vinegar, more oil, more sweet.
  4. Once the salt has pulled much of the water from the veggies, rinse under cold water in a colander then squeeze extra water out.
  5. Toss greens, grated veggies and vinaigrette. Top with almonds right before serving. This salad can marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

May is Salad Month! Aparagus Salad with Basil Honey Vinaigrette

photo(20)

Did you know that today is not only Cinco de Mayo, but it is also Cartoonist Day, Childhood Stroke Awareness Day, Oyster Day and Chocolate Custard Day? Tomorrow is National Crepe Suzette Day, Nurse’s Day, No Diet Day and No Homework Day! If you were wondering why everyone went around with Princess Leia earmuff buns yesterday, it’s because it was Intergalactic Star Wars Day! This is really important stuff to know. With the lists at http://www.checkiday.com/ I will finally have a purpose, a focus and a guiding light for each day of my life!

Salad month for me is actually SALAD YEAR. I eat salad everyday. Sometimes my salad is interesting, but often it’s just a handful or two or the various greens from the fridge topped with nuts, fruit and other veggies. One thing is it is always delicious.

We have nothing green yet in Minnesota, but thank goodness for spring in nearby places – eh hum – California and Mexico. If I were posting locally grown fare today, I’d have to serve last year’s applesauce, canned tomatoes or frozen pesto. Longing for green and fresh, I opted for the spring flavors of asparagus and mint. This is a light and fresh salad with a surprise layer of flavors. Perhaps I’ll use the Salad Month idea to inspire more interesting salads!

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 head read leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, steamed
  • 1 handful mint leaves, thinly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped white onion

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Chop and steam the asparagus for 2 minutes. It should be bright green and crisp. Chop the lettuce, mint, red peppers and onion. Mix the mint with the lettuce in a serving bowl. Top with the peppers, asparagus and onion.

Mix all ingredients for dressing in a blender until well mixed. I always taste to see if it needs more salt, oil or vinegar.

Sesame Slaw with Golden Beets and Kale

The only way to get my son to run errands with me is to bribe him. As you can imagine, this can sometimes be costly and frustrating! But getting him to the coop is easy and free…all I need to do is remind him of the samples! He usually lingers by my side in the fresh foods area picking out bananas and other fruits, but as soon as we turn the corner, he beelines to the deli for samples of cheese, spreads, crackers and salads. The other day he came running up to me with a little cup filled with some sort of a kale salad.

“Here Mom, this is for you. I thought you’d like it. It has kale.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a kale and golden beet salad from the deli.”

“Did you try it?” I asked incredulously thinking the coop had cast some sort of spell over the boy who hates vegetables.

“Of course not! It has kale. I got it for you.”

What a sweet boy and what a sweet salad. I knew from the first taste, something like it would need to come out of my kitchen. The coop salad had the same general flavor devised with sesame oil, sesame seeds and ginger that my recipe includes, but did not have raisins. Somehow a little sweet seems like a good pairing for the beets and carrots. I think some fresh fruit like chopped nectarines, mangoes or apples would also cut the bill. (What does that mean, anyway?)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large carrots grated
  • 1 large golden beet, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch curly kale, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • a few splashes of rice vinegar (2-3 Tbs.)

Directions:

Long grate the carrots by cutting them just the length of the food processor feed tube. Empty into mixing bowl. Next grate the beets the same as the carrots. I chose to quickly saute the golden beets in about a tablespoon of sesame oil as they were a titch bitter when raw. Leave them a little crunchy to the bite.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and add to carrots and beets in mixing bowl.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the greens into fine pieces. The kale can be massaged to soften, steamed or sauted.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season to taste. Serve at chilled or at room temperature.

Zucchini Salad

I’ve been staring at zucchini in the crisper drawer for days – and of course, it multiplied. I don’t know how it does that. One minute you have three little demure zucchini hanging out in the fridge, then suddenly there are eight, they are huge and they are staring back at you! There must be an algorithm for this monster…if three go in and eight come out the formula may be 2x + 2, but how does one explain their increase in size?

Not only are the zucchini in the fridge multiplying, but mother nature has determined that running the oven in our house is not an option. With temps in the 90s and dew points in the 70s, there will be no zucchini crusted pizza, gratin, or cake. I just can’t risk the respite of an air-conditioned space when facing these extremes. So the zucchini remained chilled, and it’s growth pattern stopped in a quick zing through the shredder. I tossed this salad in lemon, olive oil and agave like in the Sweet and Sour Slaw with Wilted Kale from a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out very light, refreshing and delicious.

Note: The zucchini will drain quite a lot of water once you put the salt on it, so it should be served shortly after combining the vegetables with the dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium zucchini and yellow squash, grated
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, grated
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • salt to taste.

Directions:

Grate and slice the vegetables. Squeeze the lemon over the zucchini, add the olive oil, agave and salt and mix well.

Vindaloo Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower

When Jeff tried this dish, he said, “Mmm, tastes like candy.” The Vindaloo I used comes from Penzeys, and it is a spice mixture made with coriander, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, mustard, hot peppers, cardamom, turmeric and cloves. Any curry powder roasted with veggies would taste great, but I particularly enjoy the cinnamon in this version. Roasting it brings out its’ sweet rich flavor and it pairs nicely with sweet roasted cauliflower.

When large quantities of root vegetables start rolling around in the bottoms of the CSA boxes, roasting is a great way to quickly work through the veg. The veggies can simply be tossed in a titch of olive oil, spread out over a cookie sheet and baked until they are tender or beginning to brown. In the roasting process, natural sugars begin to caramelize, and for veggies with a low water content, a lovely crunch develops on the outside. You can prepare a mixture of veggies on one sheet as long as you cut the pieces to the same size. I felt comfortable roasting both the potatoes and cauliflower together as the potatoes were babies – already creamy and soft to start, and I wanted to allow the cauliflower to crisp and caramelize.

Fennel is the next veg that will take a ride through the roasting cycle. I’m thinking thin slices of fennel, onion and apple tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper to be served on toast…

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin seeds
  • Vindaloo Curry

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, drizzle olive oil over the veggies. They should be lightly coated. Then generously sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Next add cumin seeds and curry to lightly coat.

Spread the veggies out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until browned and crispy – about 35 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Slaw with Wilted Kale

I’ve really been moving towards simple lately; cleaning out the basement, organizing cabinets, and sending excess stuff off to the thrift store. It’s such a liberating feeling for me to see a basement storage shelf empty, old things out with no new to replace, and clean uncluttered lines as I look around the house.

The same goes for my food. I love the surprise of layered flavors, but lately I’ve wanted to shed a few pounds. To do this I have opted for simple, unadulterated and mostly raw. I figured, it’s so easy to over-eat when food is rich and delicious, so I thought if I keep my food simple, I won’t be overly preoccupied with it. I’m trying to cut my addiction to a high calorie and high-carb diet by changing my thinking and simply focusing less on food. To get my mind off food, I’ve lowered my carb intake to about 30 percent of my daily calories. I’m staying away from grains and sugars, and am eating mostly salads and beans. I’m also eating most of my calories in the early part of the day and staying away from food after four in the afternoon. I think summer and having the CSA veggies has made this really easy to do.

Basically what this means, is I am doing lots of veg prep and very little cooking. I’m spending little time in the kitchen or dining room, and having very few dinner parties. I’m doing everything I can to stop thinking about food so much – have you noticed?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • salt

Directions:

Saute the kale in a large skillet in just a bit of olive oil. Lower the heat, cover and let it steam for a few minutes until bright green and tender.

Mix the red cabbage, kale, lemon juice, olive oil, agave and salt in a large bowl. Allow the salad to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Mint Mock Duck Soba Salad

When husbands complete chores on the “Honey Do List,” it’s so satisfying to thank them with their favorite foods. In preparation for a backyard pizza oven, we are also working to reshape the backyard gardens, but the ground had become so hard-packed, it was very difficult for me to dig. I needed the leverage of the big guy, and so with his help got the garden reshaped, dug, double dug and implemented with peat moss this morning all before 8:00! After I divided and rearranged all the plants, and got the whole thing mulched, I enjoyed the new view out the kitchen window while chopping and prepping one of Jeff’s favorite salads.

This salad comes from Pho 79 – a little Vietnamese noodle place on “Eat Street” in Minneapolis. There they serve “Bun,” a rice noodle romaine salad with mint and mock duck with an eggroll on top, and the whole thing gets covered in a light spring roll sauce. I can’t remember if they also serve crushed peanuts on top, but I think I will try that with this one.

Since I am working with CSA vegetables, today’s salad not only has romaine, but also includes a red leaf, napa and grated turnips. I think as long as you have the nice crunchy romaine, any other greens could be added. My prefered Japanese Soba noodle replaces white rice noodles most often as I like the added health benefits as well as the saltier taste and lighter texture.

Salad:

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • napa cabbage, chopped
  • red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 4 turnips, peeled and grated
  • 2 cans mock duck, sliced
  • soba noodles, cooked (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Prep all the veggies and arrange in a large bowl. Mix the soba noodles in a separate bowl with a little of the dressing to keep them from sticking together. Top the salad with noodles and chopped peanuts.

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 inch chunk ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. chopped lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the ginger and garlic are finely minced. Drizzle over salad right before serving.

Potato Salad with Herb Yogurt Dressing

I’ve never really been a huge fan of creamy potato salad as I’m not too fond of mayonnaise, but I’m crazy about Greek Gods Traditional Yogurt, and it is finding its way into much of my cooking lately. This yogurt works well in place of sour cream with a livelier flavor and a denser texture. We love a little dollop on top of burritos, in a bowl of soup, or just plain off the spoon! It’s also been on sale at the co-op for the last couple of weeks, so has become a new staple in our household. With garlic and fresh herbs, this potato salad dressing also makes a great dip for crudites. My Foxtail Farm CSA provided broccoli, garlic scapes and herbs to the dish.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 4 garlic scapes, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 4 sweet pickles, minced

Yogurt Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed (use only the part that comes out of the garlic press holes, and toss the fibrous part)
  • 1 handful fresh herbs, slivered (I used basil, chervil, rosemary, oregano, and thyme)
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Dice potatoes and rinse them in cold water to remove excess starch. Boil in salted water until just tender and drain in a colander. Run cold water over them to stop the cooking.

Steam the chopped broccoli until just tender – about two minutes. Mix all vegetables together in a large serving bowl and refrigerate until cool.

To prepare the yogurt dressing simply mix all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. When the potatoes and broccoli have cooled, gently mix the dressing into the potato mixture.

Brown Rice Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a new grain for me. I’ve used it a few times, but it has not found its way into my fall-back vernacular. I have to force myself to think about things that aren’t in my normal repertoire, and I am sure glad I thought to play around with this little nugget of goodness. This stuff is a major yoga workout for the mouth. The spoon makes a delivery and the tongue and teeth get a good workout chasing down each little curlique and chewy ball. I can imagine texture people would not want to bother with this one, but I find it quite a lovely little pose. Quinoa eating could become the new workout craze to replace facial plastic surgery. I find it’s particularly helpful in tightening up the neck muscles! Don’t be a slacker through the routine, however or you’ll end up with bits between the teeth!

The wonderful thing about this dish is the lemony queen and mint the king. It’ll deliver a flavorful workout and leave you wanting more!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tsp. lemon grass, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Cook the two cups of quinoa in three cups water with a pinch of salt. Cook the rice the same way. Once the rice and quinoa are cooked, fluff with a fork and mix together. Allow to cool before you add the remaining ingredients. In a food processor, chop the mint, basil, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and lemon grass. Mix into the rice and quinoa. Last add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and let the flavors mingle for a couple of hours before serving.

Ensalad Petite Bouquet

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard screeches and yelps coming from my crisper drawer, but this morning a perky bunch of leaf lettuce sang delightedly and asked to be rolled up with fresh veggies like a little petite bouquet. Or perhaps a nosegay in honor of prom? After cutting the bottom off the leaf lettuce and washing it in the colander, I saw that each lovely piece could be rolled and somehow tied. Fortunately Kate was here to save the day. I was about to send Jeff to the co-op for leeks which I knew would work well to tie the bundle, when Kate suggested I use flat peels of carrot. The carrot added a splash of color, and when speared diagonally with a toothpick, held the salad bouquets together nicely.

Another reason I chose to venture into the realm of salad rolls is that the Lemon Walnut Dressing I made for the salad came out very thick and spreadable. I knew it would hold up well as a salad slather for this project as it had little liquid to cause the greens to break down and would allow me to make the rolls ahead of time.

One head of leaf lettuce will probably have enough leaves for ten to twelve rolls.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 English cucumber thinly slice
  • 1 orange or red pepper, thinly sliced
  • jicama sticks, thinly sliced
  • Lemon Walnut Dressing
  • 1 carrot peeled into long, flat ribbons

Directions:

Wash the leaf lettuce and allow it to thoroughly dry in a colander. Prep the veggies and make the dressing.

To assemble the rolls spread the dressing on the leaf and fill with two or three slices of each veggie. Roll up the lettuce and wrap the carrot peel tightly around the middle. Spear the end of the carrot peel at a diagonal from the top of the bouquet to the bottom so it does not poke through the opposite side.

Tofu Vegetable Salad

Today for dinner with friends, I am in charge of bringing a cold dish. I have no idea what else will be served, so I am kind of going out on a limb here with this Asian flavored tofu salad. Not feeling particularly inclined to grocery shop, I went to the fridge to see what was on hand and found an abundant supply of cucumbers, broccoli, tofu and a few snap peas. Next I went straight to Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks salad section and found her Miso Vegetables and Tofu idea from a few weeks ago. Using what was available in my pantry without a trip to the co-op, this is what I came up with.

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbs. red miso
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbs. Brown Rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce

Oven Browned Tofu:

  • 1 pound super firm tofu cut into cubes
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • hot pepper flakes

Toss the cubed tofu in the oil and spices and bake in a single layer at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. You will want to flip the tofu cubes once while baking.

Veggies:

  • Cut broccoli, to bite size pieces and steam until just tender. You can use any combination of veggies you like, but steam each vegetable type separately as some cook more quickly than others. I started with the broccoli which needed a few more minutes in the steamer than the snap peas. Once the veggies are just tender and bright green, run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Toss all the ingredient together, decorate the plate with sliced cucumbers and chill.

Candy Cane Beets and Toasted Almond Salad

DSCN2419

Here’s a simple and hearty Fall dish both beautiful and tasty. I roasted the beets yesterday when I made the rigatoni, so whipping up this little salad was a breeze today. Buy beets and throw them in the oven whenever you get a chance. They are so delicious.

Candy Cane Beets and Toasted Almond Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 large beets, whole roasted 40 minutes
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds, dry toasted

Directions:

Brush the bottom of a baking pan with a little olive oil. Trim the leaves and roots from the beets, wash and place in roasting pan. At 400 degrees it takes about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the beets. After the beets cool, peel and dice. Dry toast the almonds until they begin to brown. Turn them out onto a plate to cool. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. So easy – so delicious!

Roasted Pineapple and Black Bean Salad

Roasted Pineapple and Black Bean Salad

IMG_2685

Beans may very well be at the center of many people’s food psychosis. Often bean consumption can cause anti-social behavior, anger management issues, or even severe emotional response to deep-seated traumatic childhood bean experiences. Many people refuse to eat beans for fear of gas while others refuse to eat beans because they are a pain to make. Every time I make beans I have to work through the trauma of the day the lid blew! Growing up, my mom used the pressure cooker method to prepare beans, and I remember avoiding being indoors while the beans softened under extreme pressure. I always feared the pot. The pot that looked somehow militaristic with its’ gauges and locks and submarine-looking lid – the pot that induced talk about whether there would be an explosion or not. These were scary images and ideas for a little girl and I’m surprised not to have permanent psychological scars.

Even though I was traumatized, it ended up being the pot that caused the fear for me and not the beans, so I have spent much of my adult life fine-tuning the cooking of the bean without using the pressure of a militaristic submarine. There are a couple of tricks I have discovered. You know how on the bag of beans they tell you to wash them? Well, not only does this remove little bits of dirt, but washing them helps eliminate some of the gas inducing enzymes. Wash away your fears!

How you wash a bean is important, too. I use a colander and the cooking pot. I put the beans in the pot and cover them with water. Then I swirl them around with my fingers to break up little clumps of dirt and force any spoiled beans to float to the top. I remove the damaged legumes and then dump the good beans into the colander. I repeat this process two or three times until I am sure the beans are clean. Check under the colander for dirt or debris. Then I cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. I usually let them cook for about ten minutes and again drain the water, bathe and rinse. This wash is to help eliminate gas. Finally, I fill the pot again and let the beans cook until they are done – here they get a final wash and rinse.

By now I’m sure you have discovered my other trick to cooking beans: cook in large volume! Cooking beans is a time-consuming process, so I never make a paltry little pound. I usually cook four pounds in a large stock pot, and once I complete the final wash, I divide the beans into freezer containers and have many easy meals to come! It’s worth it. If you go through this process, you will not only avoid the gas found in canned beans, but you will also save money as dry beans are very inexpensive. Once new healthier habits and behaviors are formed, you will forget you ever had a bean psychosis!

Now on to the salad.

Ingredients:

1/2 fresh pineapple cored and diced

4-6 cups black beans

1 red pepper diced

2 cups corn cut from cob

5 scallions thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

2 hot peppers minced

1 tsp. salt

2 limes juiced

3 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Dice and slice the red pepper, scallions and pineapple. Place the pineapple on an oiled cookie sheet under the broiler. Let the pineapple brown on one side, turn it and let the chunks brown on the other side. Meanwhile, start a pot of water on the stove to boil the corn. Once the water is rapidly boiling put the cobs in and time it – two minutes is all they need. Remove the cobs and run under cold water to cool. Slice kernels from the cob. Mix beans, corn, peppers, scallions and pineapple together in a bowl. Next, mince the garlic, cilantro and hot peppers in a food processor and add to the salad. The salt, lime juice and olive oil can be added directly to the salad and mixed well. I like this salad to have at least an hour to marinate and bring all the flavors together.

CSA # 6

Week Six

This is the week I gave my CSA away because I was traveling. I was in Middle America missing good food and dreaming about Foxtail Farms and “the box!” Well, as it turns out, we came home a couple of days early, and my darling friend Kate, knowing we would be home, split her share, so I could have some of the week’s bounty! Not only did she split the share for me, but she washed and bagged everything and hand delivered it! I’m not sure I am worthy of such a friend!

IMG_2557

This week brought napa cabbage, cucumbers, yellow squash, scallions, beets, baby field greens, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas. As usual, everything was perky and bright! Max helped me unload the bag and when his eyes fell on the giant cuke, he turned to me and said excitedly, “Refrigerator pickles, Mom?” After a week of eating lots of junk food, I dreaded the idea of adding more salt and sugar to our diet, but if you had seen those eyes, you would have conceded as well! Actually, all I had to do was chop the cucumber and Max mixed up the brine. We put the cuke into a glass pyrex container, topped the vegetable with about 1/2 cup white vinegar, 4 Tbs. of sugar and 1 Tbs. kosher salt. The lid got put on and the whole thing shaken until the salt and sugar dissolved. Then we put it in the fridge and ate them with our lunch of black bean burritos.

Max spent most of the day shooting marshmallows out of a tube that ran through a ladder he set up in the backyard. He used a ten foot length of PVC and placed it through a hole in in a bucket and one of the tool holes in the ladder to brace it. He then attached his dad’s air compressor hose to the bottom of the tube. He climbed the ladder, filled the tube with marshmallows and then went below for the launch. Needless to say, after this very creative day he worked up a substantial appetite and decided to make noodles for dinner. I decided to make a napa cabbage salad to serve along side.

Max’s Spicy Soba Noodles

IMG_2562

IMG_2563

This napa salad recipe comes from one of my co-workers. It’s a salad that is normally served with crushed ramen noodles and dried cranberries, but having neither in the pantry, I decided to experiment. Having lived in Latin America makes it very difficult for me to eat local. I love tropical foods and flavors, and especially in the summer. This salad included the CSA napa, snap peas, summer squash and scallions, but also sported a nice topping of toasted coconut! I’ll post both recipes for you to try. They need to marinade a little before serving as napa can sometimes be a little bitter if it is really fresh.

Napa Cabage Salad – Original Recipe

  • 1 small head napa cabbage chopped
  • 1/2 head red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 cup whole almonds or walnuts toasted
  • 6 Tbs. sesame seeds toasted
  • 1 package ramen noodles crushed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup canola oil (olive is a little heavy, but fine to use)
  • 4 Tbs. sugar
  • 6 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (I like a lot)
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • splash of water

The Experimental Recipe

  • 1 small head napa cabbage
  • 3 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut toasted
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts toasted
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 small summer squash

To be honest, this salad is a little bit of a pain to make. After cutting the napa, scallions and mint, I prepped the snap peas by removing the strings and diced the squash. I tossed the peas and squash in a hot pan with just a titch of oil for a few minutes just to soften a little. I set those on a plate in the freezer to cool. Then I set to toasting. I toasted the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat stirring and tossing constantly. As soon as I see them begin to brown, I remove to a plate to cool. I did the same with the coconut. Toast it in a pan until it turns from white to golden brown and then immediately turn out onto a cool plate. Once the salad ingredients are made, it’s a good idea to toss everything except the nuts in the vinaigrette and refrigerate for about an hour. This salad improves with a little rest time! Sprinkle the top with the toasted walnuts or almonds just before serving. Jeff didn’t like the summer squash, and I thought almonds would have been better than walnuts. Overall, it was quite tasty and a great accompaniment to Max’s Spicy Soba Noodles. The Soba Noodles were tossed in the same vinaigrette as the salad only we added 1/2 tsp. of crushed red pepper and topped the dish with basil.