Tag Archives: Recipes

Raw Sprout Salad

Last week was the first week we brought Brussel Sprouts to the market. It’s hard to find a vegetable that creates quite the same buzz, both positive an negative. It’s an old family joke. My dad hates sprouts so much, my mom never looks at them, let alone bring them into the kitchen. Needless to say, I didn’t have my first Brussel sprout experience until I was an adult.

First go-round, I just sliced them in half and put them in a pan with a roasting chicken. Whoa, new favorite food! They sucked up the chicken juices and caramelized where they contacted the pan. Wow. My poor dad. My poor MOM! Such a sacrifice.

Having enjoyed a raw kale salad over and over this past summer, this recipe caught my eye. All the comments raved, which is not the case for most of the recipes I look at, controversial vegetable or not. Before I got a chance to try it, we had them at the market and I mentioned it to a customer. The woman standing next to her had just eaten a raw sprout salad in Napa at a fancy restaurant from a fancy chef. She was buying two baskets. Her memory of the fantabulous salad included a citrus vinaigrette and prosciutto. May this one is a base from which I invite you to spring.

Raw Sprout Salad    serves 4
1 lb. brussel sprouts
2 cups toasted walnut halves
1/3 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Working over a large bowl, shave brussel sprouts into very thin slices on a mandoline, starting from each sprout’s top while holding it between thumb and forefinger by its stem. Discard stems.
Add walnuts, pecorino, olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the cheese, season lightly with salt to taste.
Toss with a spoon until just combined and divide salad between 4 bowls or small plates. Using a peeler, shave more pecorino over the top; drizzle with more olive oil and add more

pepper to taste.

Coarsely chopped walnuts

I choose to chop the cheese rather than grate it.

It's a salad that improves being made in advance, perfect for a holiday meal.

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Rutabaga Fries

I just had to try this recipe. We have the most beautiful rutabagas in the CSA boxes this week and this treatment spoke to me.

I peeled the big tuber and cut it into batons.

Then I let the slices soak in water for the whole day because I wanted to cook them tonight, yet I cut them up in the morning…my screwy schedule. (They should be soaked for at least 30 minutes.)

Toss the dried batons with olive oil and a little salt and put them on a baking sheet and into a 400 degree oven. The most difficult part of this was to turn them so a new surface was face-down, every 10 minutes.

And voila! Yes they are great! I topped them with minced rosemary and chunky salt. Paul better hurry home…

Thank you Deborah Madison. A truly reliable inspiration.


Provencal Ratatouille

I salted, let sit for 30 minutes and rinsed these cubed squash and eggplant. Here they dry on a towel.

Ratatouille is a wonderful way to use summer vegetables. This recipe is different than my usual, long-cooked style. It calls for cutting summer squash and eggplant then salting it, letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, then rinsing and drying it. I’d never done that before and I think it must allow the dish to cook a little faster.

The onion and peppers cook first.

The onions and peppers saute in olive oil. It called for just sweet peppers but I added a poblano not only for the deep green color but also I wanted a bit of heat. They cooked for about 7 minutes. Then I added saffron with the prepared eggplant, garlic and squash.

Chopped garlic, julienned basil leaves

Everything simmers together.

The recipe said to cook it a few minutes but I don’t like undercooked eggplant so I cooked it about 10-12. It suggests deglazing the pan with Pernod and Voigner neither of which I had on hand, nor did I have any white wine so I splashed in some Mirin once and a couple splashes of water. Everything softened nicely.

It's a wonderful sidedish, hot or room temp.

At the last minute I added some seeded tomatoes and basil. And more salt and pepper. Oh it’s good.


Playing with Herbs

I cut a variety of herbs this morning…dill, tarragon, parsley, sage and thyme.

Herb vinegars are easy to make. Shove herbs of choice into a jar and topped it off with a white wine vinegar. Let it will sit for a week, then strain out the herbs and voila! I used dill and tarragon this time.

Some of the herbs that didn’t make it into the vinegar were chopped up and added to a rice salad, along with sweet antohi peppers and chopped  red onion (salted first to soften the “bite”). Parsley, a little tarragon and dill season the salad along with salt and pepper and pomegranate olive oil.

Another way to use an overflow of herbs is to make a simple herby sauce. Parsley, capers, shallots, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper are the essentials. Proportions are up to your taste. I make enough to freeze into herb [ice] cubes for use specially on fish, but this sauce perks up everything!

Then the rest of the herbs will just sit for a week and dry. Give them some air… a fan will speed up the process… or just put them in a wide basket and carefully turn them over everyday until they are thoroughly dry.

Taragon and sage drying.


Spring Food

It’s what’s for dinner. A vegan gluten-free crust (not that I have a choice), Paul’s leeks and spring onions and a bag of last-year’s frozen spinach, sauteed with a little dried thyme and nutmeg. Then a couple of Jackie Aubin’s eggs and Gary’s Spring Hill Goat Cheddar from yesterday’s farmers’ market. Add a little ground lamb patties from Adam at Victorian Farmstead and you’ve got a wonderful local meal. We are sure lucky here in Sonoma County.


Brussel Sprouts

It is rather easy to turn this crop of brussel sprouts into a field of stick figures, walking into the distance. This is what brussels look like in February. We have been harvesting sprouts off these plants for months now.

I am sometimes asked for a whole stem, like you see at the grocery store. They are so wonderful to look at. I remember my mom describing a huge floral display at a fancy department store featuring brussel sprout stalks. I suspect that it is very difficult to grow stems like that, organically. They are loved by aphids. The lower leaves are snapped off to give the pests less opportunity to set up shop. And if they do move in, the soap spray is more effective.

Brussel sprout seed is planted in the greenhouse in June and July.  The plants are transplanted in August and September. Harvest begins in late October or November. This field is nearly finished and will be tilled in soon. Especially if this warm weather keeps up. Believe it or not, lots of things, including these sprouts, are pushing to flower now. These plants are in the ground a very long time. Keeping them weeded takes vigilance.

And how do you cook them? Think of them as the small cabbages that they are cook them with that in mind. I like them cut in half and put in a hot skillet with a little oil or bacon fat or ghee. Keep them cooking for 10-15 minutes on low heat until they get a little brown on the bottom. Some people, like my dad, just don’t like them. They’ll never like them, no matter what. I think they pair well with lots of flavors, mustard and lemon, in particular.


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