Zippy Radish Salad with Green Onions and Lemon Zest

Zesty, peppery, biting – the flavor of a freshly picked radish is anything but tame.  For this reason, many people tend to shy away from this surprisingly versatile veggie that also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse.

I must admit, radishes hold a very special place in my heart.  On the night we were engaged, my husband Brandon and I ate at a farm to table restaurant in Door County, where we had a perfect appetizer of jewel-toned radishes served with smoked sea salt. In celebration of this simple, yet unforgettable dish, we served radishes as a starter at our wedding as well.  So yeah, I like radishes.

This weekend, my best pal and fellow dietetics student Chetney and I teamed up to do a cooking demonstration at our local farmers market.  We shared and handed out samples of two recipes that showcased some of the season’s best produce, donated by one of the market vendors, Kettle Rock Farm. Our “Zippy Radish Salad” was a big hit, as was the Kickin’ Kale Hummus that’ll be popping up on Chetney’s blog soon.  Under our paper lantern-adorned tent, we prepared this salad from scratch amidst eager market patrons and handed out samples, in response to which many people commented, “I don’t like radishes, but this is delicious!”

Here’s us all apron-ed out in between demos:

Chetney and I at the market

Not only are radishes de-lish, but they’re also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and some pretty amazing phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, which are also found in broccoli, kale, and the other cruciferous veggies we’ve all come to love.  Isothiocyanates (try saying that three times fast) are known to help rid the body of carcinogens and to inhibit the growth of cancer cells by essentially causing them to self destruct. Read more about these fascinating compounds here.

But now onto the recipe: the reason this super-simple salad was beloved even by the radish-averse is because it tames the vegetable’s bite while allowing just enough of its “zip” to shine through.  It’s like that one perfect dress that plays up all your nice parts while hiding your less-favorite spots. The bulk of the salad is raw chopped radishes and green onions. The “dressing” is plain, whole milk yogurt, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.  The creamy, tangy yogurt plays so well against the sharp flavors of onion and radish while lemon zest brightens everything to just the right flavor-hue to please nearly every palate.  Enjoy with all your favorite picnic foods this summer, replete with pride in your ability to say “isothiocyanates” with a mouthful of zippy radish salad!

radish salad

Zippy Radish Salad
serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups radishes, chopped into matchsticks
3-4 green onions, sliced into thin rounds, green and white parts
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1 tsp lemon zest
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp salt, added just before serving

Method:

Combine chopped radishes and green onions in a medium serving bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together yogurt, lemon zest and pepper in a separate bowl, then pour over vegetables and stir to combine. Just before serving, stir in salt.

Note: if you stir in the salt right away and allow the salad to sit before serving, the radishes will lost their crunch and the salad will become watery.

***Try adding chopped fresh dill, basil, mint or other seasonal herbs for a new flavorful twist!***

zippy radish salad

Nutrition Information – Thank you Chetney for calculating these out!
serving size = ¼ salad

Calories: 18
Fat: 1g
Carbohydrate: 2g
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 1g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 157mg
Vitamin A: 8% DV
Vitamin C: 8% DV
Calcium: 4% DV
Iron: 8% DV

Sage, Arugula and Leek Omelette for Two (and one more CSA-inspired recipe!)

Happy first day of summer. I’ve issued myself a challenge: one blog entry per week showcasing the produce from our weekly CSA box. We’re two boxes in and I’ve yet to write a post about the awesomely fresh, local, organic veggies I’ve been cooking, eating and loving lately , so looks like this one’s gonna be a two-fer folks. These recipes will be more loose and versatile than others I’ve posted; they’re meant to inspire you to grab whatever’s fresh at the market and make from it something simple and delicious, that showcases the flavors of the season. Please interpret these with your own creative twist, and leave a comment about what you came up with, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s share some local love!

From some of the shining stars of our first box, which we conveniently pick up at the nearby Tosa farmer’s market every Saturday morning, I whipped up a tasty midday omelette filled with leeks, sage, baby arugula (not from the CSA ) and goat cheese.

sage, arugula and leek omelette

I’m no omelette pro, but the key to keeping it together seems to be touching the eggs as little as possible while they’re cooking. I’m sure they are plenty of excellent omelette-making tutorials on YouTube so I won’t go into great depth with the instructions.

Sage, Arugula and Leek Omelette for Two

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (divided)
5 free range eggs (bonus if you can get them at the market)
salt to taste
1 tablespoon half and half (or whole milk, heavy cream, or coconut milk)
two handfuls baby arugula
about 8 sage leaves, chopped
1 small (spring) leek, sliced into half moons, rinsed
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Heat ½ tablespoon of the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted or oil runs loosely in the pan, add the leeks and stir until slightly softened. Next, add the arugula and sage, cooking until wilted. Turn off heat and remove mixture to a separate plate; cover with a bowl to keep warm. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl. Add another ½ tablespoon of fat to the skillet.

When butter is melted or oil runs loosely in the pan, pour the eggs into it and swirl to cover the surface of the skillet. Let the eggs sit for a quick minute, until the bottom of the omelette is just firm. Then, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently peel back the cooked eggs and tilt the pan so the runny eggs run into the open space in the skillet. Continue this process maybe one or two more times until the eggs are mostly cooked but still soft.

Add the arugula mixture to the center of the omelette in a loose line, then sprinkle the filling with about half of the goat cheese. Carefully fold the omelette edges over the filling. Cover the skillet and cook for one more minute if you are concerned there may be some runny egg lurking.

Remove omelette from the skillet and serve topped with remaining goat cheese crumbles, pepper, and a sage garnish if you’re feelin’ fancy. Cut in two and enjoy with a loved one or save half for tomorrow’s lunch (cold omelette = delish).

sage, arugula and leek omelette

Week two’s box brought us strawberries, kale, leeks, radishes, asparagus, and more! Today, I whipped up a simple cooked salad of sautéed kale and asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and parmesan which we enjoyed alongside a rotisserie chicken and some good crusty bread (wine too).

fresh loca asparagus

Roasted Kale and Asparagus Salad with Nutmeg

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
1 bunch red Russian (or any other variety) kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan or other hard cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
salt, pepper to taste

sauteed kale and asparagus salad

Heat half of the oil in a large skillet, medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté until bright green and still very crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the chopped kale leaves and sauté until bright green and tender. Add the sun dried tomatoes, cooking minute or two longer. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parmesan and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste, add addition olive oil as desired.

In a large bowl or on a serving platter, first make a layer of the sautéed kale, then top with the asparagus, finishing with more parmesan and pine nuts for garnish.

Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.

IMG_0454

Red Leaf and Scallion Salad with Olive Bread Croutons & Feta

In the reflection of my laptop screen I can see thousands of leaves blowing in unison against a perfect ratio of cloud to sky.  With a quick change in focus I can see the words forming, black on white, a blog post, finally, after too many months of silence.

This summer rushed in and blessed me with a new job, a new home, and plenty of occasions for cooking and sharing meals with family and friends.  I’ve been tying up swimsuit strings, catching toads, and playing Candy Land with the two little girls I’ve nanny-ed for since June.  Also, I’ve picked out curtains for all the windows in our new apartment, organized my cookbooks on the nifty built-in bookshelves, and explored the neighborhood on new running routes with my husband as we train for our first half-marathon.  I’ve cooked and baked for birthdays and picnics and enjoyed every bite of my summer.

My husband Brandon enjoying his birthday gift: a king crab leg feast

My husband Brandon enjoying his birthday gift: a king crab leg feast

And now it’s time to dedicate some moments to sharing something here.  This week, I’ll offer up two humble summer salads. They’re eager for outdoor concerts, potlucks, or nights when the grill is off-duty.  I recommend chasing them with a bottle of red or white under the blue and cheers-ing every last drop of summer.

At a bonfire with friends from the dietetics program. (yes, we roasted vegan marshmallows!)

At a bonfire with friends from the dietetics program. (yes, we roasted vegan marshmallows!)

The first salad I’ll share is something I whipped up with the contents of our first CSA box.  It’s built on a tender mound of red leaf lettuce and dressed with a classic shallot vinaigrette – but there’s more to love – thinly sliced sweet-pungent scallions, crunchy rustic red peppers, salty feta, and… olive bread croutons(!!!).

olive bread croutonssalad1

Red leaf and scallion salad with olive bread croutons and feta

ingredients:

half a loaf olive bread

head of leaf lettuce

4-5 scallions (green and white parts)

rustic red pepper (aka long pepper)

good feta cheese, crumbled

olive oil

white wine vinegar

shallots or garlic

Dijon mustard

s & p

 

Throw it together:

To make the croutons, I sliced day-old olive bread (you can use any kind of chewy, artisan bread) into 1 inch cubes. I put the bread cubes on a sheet pan, thinly coated them with olive oil, and baked for 10 minutes at 425° F.  *Check your croutons frequently*  We’re looking for browned edges with crispy outsides and chewy insides.  Friends, trust me on this, you’ve got to have the chewy insides.

From there, roughly chop up a head of leaf lettuce (mine was red, yours might be green, or purple!), thinly slice 4 or 5 scallions (aka green onions), and slice a rustic red pepper into strips.  Then, put all the veggies in a nice bowl, surround them with a halo of croutons, and top with feta.  (I also added toasted sunflower seeds after I took the photos.)

For the dressing, glug your preferred ratio of olive oil and vinegar into a jar with a tight fitting lid, mince some shallots or garlic and thow them in the pool.  Squirt in a dollop of Dijon mustard and grind in salt and pepper.  Shake the jar vigorously (with the lid on, silly!) until the dressing is emulsified.

salad2

I served the dressing on the side so the croutons wouldn’t get soggy.  You can thank me later for their chewy insides.  😉