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

Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

I love eating from a wide, shallow bowl.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, any meal looks delicious and inviting all cuddled together against the lazily sloped sides of a pasta bowl.   Never mind one pot meals,  I’ll do some extra dishes to make me a one bowl meal.  bowls

Some of my favorites as of late:

  • steel cut oats, sliced banana, homemade yogurt (recipe soon!) and raw cashews
  • brown rice, herby tomato sauce, fried eggs, steamed broccoli, parmesan cheese
  • shredded romaine, carrot ribbons, sliced red peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, pulled chicken, olive oil

The possibilities are truly innumerable! (echo, echo, echo)

I’ve had this crunchy kale salad on my to-make list for quite some time.  It hails from the Sprouted Kitchen blog, one of my (any many others’) fav sites for creative, super-healthy, gorgeous and invariably delicious recipes.  So on Sunday morning, when my dad texted: “dinner party: 5 PM,” I knew just what I’d be bringing to the table.  dinner table

This diversely textured salad does demand some chopping, but aside from that it comes together pretty quickly.  The only thing you’ve got to plan for is cooking the lentils and roasting the pepitas (raw, green pumpkin seeds) which are both pretty hands-off steps.

crunch kale salad - ingredients

This salad is a keeper, meaning you can keep it in the fridge and enjoy it for a couple days. There’s lots of lemon juice in the dressing, so the apples won’t go brown on you.  I would definitely say this salad gets better on the second day, since the kale breaks down a bit in the presence of the acidic lemon juice and the flavors have time to meld and mingle.  Just remember to leave out the pepitas until you’re ready to dig in so they don’t get soggy.

How to make this a one bowl meal: a couple scoops of this salad nestled in with a hunk of goat cheese or feta and a hard-boiled egg and you’ve got yourself a crazy nutritious mouth party.  Shazam! crunchy kale salad

Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

adapted slightly from Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

3 cups kale, chopped and stems removed

1 bunch parsley, chopped and large stems removed

1 cup cooked black (beluga) lentils: – bring dried lentils to a boil in plenty of water, then reduce heat and simmer until just soft, but not mushy

1 tart green apple, diced

1 sweet pink or yellow apple, diced

1 english cucumber, diced

½ cup toasted pepitas

dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Juice and zest from one whole lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Method:

1. In a large serving bowl, combine the kale, parsley, lentils, apples, and cucumber.

2. For the dressing, put all ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until emulsified.  If you don’t wanting garlic bits, use a food processor instead.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to distribute. Garnish with pepitas and cheese of your choice.

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Soul-Warming Leek and White Bean Soup with Cardamom

On a damp, foggy late fall day there are few things more soul-warming than nestling up to a steaming bowl of homemade soup. The ritual of chopping, sautéing, stirring, and ladling engages your hands and mind. The comforting goodness that results lifts your spirits as you revel in the small accomplishment of feeding yourself and your loved ones from a communal pot. Out of nowhere, you realize the birds outside your window are singing despite the darkness and drear.

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Unfortunate events in our lives can manifest themselves as emotional fog, casting gloom over what might have otherwise been a day of gracious, open-eyed life-living. When something happens to us, when another person wrongs us or hurts us or lets us down, the negative energy can permeate our very fibers. It takes courage and will to rise above the fog, to let the sun burn the clouds away and see the world as it really is: miraculous. And we can’t always do that on our own.

I am one of many students at my university that has recently been wronged: we’ve had money and personal belongings stolen from us, unexpectedly and in the midst of impending exams and holidays – a time when we could all use a big hug rather than a metaphorical punch in the gut. These acts hurt and enrage us and make us feel helpless. This experience made me less apt to trust others and weakened my faith in the unspoken bonds I share with all the hard-working, diverse women that surround me in our beautiful little school.

But then there are the people that burn away the fog, that fortify our belief in humanity, that help shift our outlook back to optimism and love.  Thank you to you. You are my sun today. I am writing this because you changed my thought patterns, something I could not have done alone. This soup is for you, too.

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Soul-Warming Leek and White Bean Soup with Cardamom

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. butter

1 very large or 2-3 medium leeks, white parts only, sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

¼ tsp cardamom

4 medium carrots, sliced into ¼” thick coins

1 large potato, any variety, diced into ½” chunks

6 cups stock of choice (or as I did, 4 cups vegetable stock + 2 cups water)

1 29-oz can white (cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

~6 leaves dinosaur kale, coarsely torn

freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste

olive oil for serving

Method:

1. In a 4-quart or larger pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add leeks and sauté until just softened, but not brown.  Add garlic and cardamom and sauté a minute more.

2. To the pot o’ alliums (leeks and garlic), add carrot coins and potato chunks.  Pour in your stock and turn heat to medium-high, bringing liquid to a boil then reducing to a simmer.  Add white beans, rosemary sprig and Parmesan rind, if using.

3.  Continue simmering soup until carrots and potatoes tender, adding more liquid as needed for desired consistency.

4.  Turn heat to low.  Stir torn kale leaves into soup and cover, cooking just until kale is bright green, about 3 minutes.

5.  Remove soup from heat; allow it to cool slightly.  Puree soup with standard or immersion blender until your preferred texture is reached.  I liked it mostly smooth, allowing just a few hearty chunks of potato and flecks of kale to prevail.

6.  Serve with a drizzle of olive oil plus salt and pepper to the soup-eater’s liking.

7. Let the steam from your bowl rise up and give you a mini-facial; listen for birds.

leek and white bean soup 3

Fingerling Potato Salad with Celery, Bacon and Arugula

Over the ramparts you tossed
The scent of your skin and some foreign flowers
Tied to a brick
Sweet as a song
The years have seemed short but the days were long.

-The ShinsJuly 26, 2013 009

This week’s second salad will stick to your ribs if you let it.  It’s busting out with crispy bacon and buttery fingerling potatoes.  It also has plenty of green bits: celery hearts, celery leaves, and baby arugula.  It’s awesome still warm or at room temperature.  I’ve eaten it cold straight from the fridge this week several times too.  The original recipe calls for watercress. I opted for baby arugula because I wanted its bitter bite to perk up the milder flavors of potatoes and celery.potato salad1

We picnicked with this salad on Tuesday evening at Chill on the Hill, an outdoor summer concert series here in Milwaukee.  Also in the cooler:  half a roasted chicken and a bottle of Gnarly Head red.  I sliced up a nectarine and threw a handful of blueberries into whole milk yogurt with a glug of maple syrup and called it dessert.  So fresh.

fruit salad

The food was good; the beats were funky; the mosquitoes weren’t biting; it was summer.

What more could an earthling ask for?

potatoes1potatosaladrecipe

Fingerling Potato Salad with Celery, Bacon and Arugula

modified from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living- July 2012

“Martha” says: Assembling this potato salad while the potatoes are still warm is key. They’ll absorb more flavor from the vinegar and oiil, and the heat will also slightly wilt the celery and [arugula].

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fingerling or other small potatoes

6 slices thick cut bacon (I used venison bacon, you could do turkey or tempeh bacon!)

6 celery stalks, sliced thin

1/2 cup celery leaves

2 cups arugula

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

celery

Method:

Put the potatoes in a big pot covered by 2 inches with cold water.  Salt the water generously.  Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until just barely tender. Check them often by piercing with a fork or knife.  It should take between 8 and 12 minutes depending on your spuds.

While potatoes cook, fry up your bacon in a skillet under crispy, but not burned.  Remove from pan onto paper towel and when cool enough, chop into bite-sized chunks.  Reserve the bacon grease for another use, such as bacon-flavored popcorn!

When the potatoes are done, drain them.  When they’re just cool enough to handle, cut each lengthwise and place in a bowl.  Dress potatoes with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Fold in the celery and leaves, arugula.  Add the bacon if serving immediately, otherwise hold off on adding it until chow time for optimal crispness.

Serves 6-ish.  Or two at a picnic and in several lunches throughout the week.

potatosalad2

Lemony Kale Pesto with Walnuts

I wanted to write something profound about how I often miss the way I felt in church as a kid on Easter Sunday.  The way the trumpets and lilies and hymns stirred my kid soul and made me joyful.  I want to pay homage to those memories, those experiences, but couldn’t find exactly the right words to do so.  So I will simply offer that as a grown up, I’ve gladly realized closeness with the divine has no boundaries. We all just have to find our temples.

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No matter how you choose to celebrate it, Easter can mark a day of renewal, of rebirth.  Check in with your New Year’s resolutions.  Do some deep-belly breathing before you get out of bed.  Let the sun shine on your face for an extra minute or two.  See the beauty in being alive today.  Make a healthy meal to nourish your body and share it with loved ones to nourish your soul.

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I offer you this pesto recipe which you can whip up and use as the base for a springy salad to bring to tomorrow’s festivities.  In this way, you will effectively help counterbalance the salty ham, cheesy potatoes and Cadbury cream eggs.  Don’t even get me started on Peeps.

Lemony Kale and Walnut Pesto

This pesto is great on lots of things.  I used it as the dressing for a cold farro salad studded with golden raisins, currants, toasted walnuts, and chopped roasted red pepper.   Try it on your leftover hard-boiled Easter eggs.  Stir it generously into penne pasta, or slather it on boiled potatoes and throw in some chopped black olives for a quick, greened-up potato salad.

Ingredients:

2 bunches kale (any variety will work but let’s be honest, most of us prefer dinosaur, right?)

2-3 cloves garlic

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup toasted walnuts or other nut of choice

Juice of one large lemon or two small guys

2/3 cup olive oil …ish

salt to taste

water as needed

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Method:

Bring a large (3  quart or bigger) pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

Wash your kale.  Cut off the thick, lower portion of the stems and discard or save for another use. Roughly chop the leaves.

Peel your garlic and drop the cloves into the boiling water.  This will take the bad-breath edge off, amazing!  Then throw all the chopped kale into the pot and use a wooden spoon to make sure everyone is dunked under the water.

Continue cooking kale for about 30 SECONDS, and then quickly retrieve it along with the garlic cloves using a slotted spoon or strainer and drain well.  Save the kale cooking water!

*blanching the kale in this way will denature the enzymes that will eventually turn your kale pesto that nasty shade of olive green/brown as well as tone down the “grassy” flavor, which is nice if you’re serving to a diverse audience (read: picky)*

Use a clean dish towel or paper towel to blot the kale dry and then put it all in a blender along with the garlic, grated cheese, walnuts, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Blend until the consistency resembles a milk shake, adding some of the kale cooking water as needed to move things along.

Once you get the desired consistency, taste the pesto and add salt until it tastes just right.

Pour your pesto into a jar for later use or directly onto some farro or other hearty grain for a great salad/ side dish for your Easter feast!

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Curried Sweet Potato Dip

Noticing my last post was a sweet potato pie recipe, you might be inclined whisper redundant under your breath and run away. Well, not only would that be a little weird of you, but you would also miss out on this great dip you could share with your new found (or age-old) friends.  Friendship and sweet potatoes: two vital components of a well-lived life.

Since starting the dietetics program at Mount Mary last fall, I’ve been steeped in fascinating nutrition knowledge and surrounded by a strong, smart, diverse group of women. I’ve had the privilege to get to know some of these ladies as friends and on Saturday, we celebrated life, food, and friendship.  We brought dishes to share and sipped (gulped?) wine, started a book club, and mulled over life’s big and little questions.  If you would have told me a year ago I’d be writing those words now, about new friends and all, I might not have believed you.  I’ve never been the most gifted friend-maker, and I know a lot of us say that, but anyway, it’s been a blessing, and that is all.

I brought this smooth, spicy, sweet potato dip accompanied by sliced radishes and blue corn tortilla chips.  Whole grain crackers or flatbread would also work quite nicely.  If you leave out the curry powder and swap in some cinnamon, I’d imagine graham crackers would be an excellent dipping vehicle as well.

sweet potato dip 008

So, I changed it some: chickpeas for white beans, more olive oil, no feta, add garlic and cayenne pepper, but I owe the blog Mary Not Martha for the soul of this dip. Topping it with pepitas was a game changer. Thanks for the inspiration ladies!

You can use a blender, immersion blender or food processor to bring this dip together.  If you don’t have any of these, you can whip up a slightly more rustic version by just mashing with a potato masher.

Ingredients:

3 large sweet potatoes

½ cup olive oil, plus as added for thinning dip

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 Tbsp fresh curry powder (I used Penzey’s Hot Curry Powder)

½ Tbsp garlic, minced or pasted

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

coarse salt and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for sprinkling

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Method:

Preheat oven to 450°.  While it warms up, wash sweet potatoes and wrap them in aluminum foil, then place directly on the middle rack and roast for an hour, or until very tender, like borderline mushy.

Let sweet potatoes cool, then remove from foil and working over a large bowl, or food processor, peel away skins, letting the orange flesh slide lusciously into the bowl below.  Mash the flesh with a fork to get out any significant lumps.

Now, add the olive oil, chickpeas, curry powder, garlic, and cayenne, blend with your appliance of choice.  If dip is too thick, add more olive oil.  You’re looking for a consistency around that of a hearty hummus.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Spoon dip into your serving bowl of choice.  Sprinkle with coarse salt, pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), and more cayenne pepper just before digging in.

Leftovers will last a solid week in the ol’ fridge.

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Blissin’ out on Baked Oatmal

We’re hurdling toward the end of autumn.  I’m waist-deep in my new schooling, a couple of part-time jobs, and the joys of being a new wife. There aren’t many mornings when I’ve got time to concoct more than a couple fried eggs or a bowl of jam-swirled yogurt for breakfast.  Gone are the summer days when I would rise without an alarm clock, wander into the kitchen and get creative with my day’s first meal.   My camera is filled with photos of breakfasts past: French toast topped with smashed raspberries and basil, buckwheat waffles with sloppy strawberries sunk down in their squares, and cinnamon swirled baked oatmeal…

Oh, the baked oatmeal.

It’s the breakfast that keeps on giving.  You enjoy it once, arguably at its best right from the oven, and then it tamely sits in your fridge and offers itself as an after workout snack, a midnight treat, or an on-the-fly breakfast throughout the week.

Make it on Sunday evening, when it starts to get dark way too early.  It’s just the right time for comforting wafts of vanilla and cinnamon to rush to in and let you know that you’ll make it through another week.  That the holidays will be delightful, not stressful.  That shorter days mean longer nights to cuddle with loved ones and sip spiked eggnog and watch Office reruns. That sounds about right.

As I mention below, any kind of fruit will work in this forgiving dish.  Just make sure if you’re using frozen berries that you let them thaw (or microwave them if you’re impatient like me), and then drain off some of the juice.  Pear and apple would be really nice right around this time.  You could also dream of the tropics while tossing in pineapple chunks and dried mango.  Happy weekend!

Baked Oatmeal

Prep: 20 min     Bake time: 35-40 min

Serves 8- 10… or 1 or 2 for a week or so

Dry ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup raw pecans, roughly chopped

½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ cup raw cane sugar

¼ cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

Wet ingredients:

1 ½ cups milk, any variety

½ cup whole milk yogurt

1 cage-free egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted

¼ cup maple syrup

Mix-ins and Toppings

2 bananas, sliced crosswise into ¼ in thick rounds

3/4 cup fruit of choice – I used frozen blue, black, and raspberries

Flax and/or sunflower seeds and more dried coconut for sprinkling

1 ½ tbsp more butter or coconut oil, melted

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter or coconut oil the inside of an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.

In another medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the wet ingredients.

Line the bottom of the greased baking dish with banana slices. Top bananas with ½ cup of the fruit.

Pour the dry ingredients over the fruit, and then slowly drizzle the wet ingredients over the dry ones.

Smack the dish on each side a few times so milk mixture seeps down to the bottom and gets in all the oat-y crannies.

Scatter remaining fruit on top, then sprinkle with flax seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut.  For an extra sparkle, finish with a few pinches of coarse sugar.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is gorgeously golden and the oatmeal has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve with a side of additional maple syrup and milk.