Farmer’s Market Kale Salad

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Every ingredient in this salad came from our Sunday farmer’s market, except for the dressing.   This salad radiates summer.   The yellow tomatoes have the perfect sweetness.  I am not usually big on tomatoes but I was popping these into my mouth like candy.  We tried to tell the kids they were nature’s version of a skittle in hopes that they would try one.   They were having nothing of it.   Big surprise.

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I could eat this salad everyday.   You can’t help but feel healthy after a salad like this.

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I am sure the Farmer’s Markets in California are going to blow me away.    In two weeks we leave Crested Butte with a little heaviness in our hearts for our year in Northern California.   We are ready.   I love change and it’s definitely something I got from my dad.  Even though it makes me a little uneasy, the new experience is always worth it.   I can’t think of a more fitting place to study natural and holistic cooking.    I look forward to writing about our adventures in California and teaching you what I learn along the way.

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My blog is getting a makeover and hopefully by my next post you will see a new and improved Greens and Sweet Things.

Enjoy!

Farmer’s Market Kale Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients
    • 5-6 Large Kale Leaves
    • 5-6 leaves of basil, chiffonade
    • 1 cup of green beans
    • 1 cup of  yellow grape tomatoes
    • 1/4 cucumber, sliced and quartered
    • 2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
Dressing
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Good Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions-

Steam the green beans for 2-3 minutes and then place in a bowl with ice water.

Cut off the thick stem of the kale. Layer the leaves on top of each other and roll them up. Thinly slice the leaves.

Place the kale in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green beans and basil.

Add the dressing and toss.

Crispy Artichokes

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I watched David Rocco make a raw artichoke salad on his show months ago and my mouth dropped.   “That is so easy,” I thought.   He removed most of the outer leaves of the artichoke and then thinly sliced the remaining part, added some olive oil and parmesan and ate it raw.    I immediately tried it but his artichoke must have been a lot fresher than mine.   Probably picked that day from an artichoke plant in his yard.     I threw my raw artichoke salad into a skillet with some olive oil and garlic cooked it for about 5-10 minutes.  Viola, a wonderful salad.

It reminded me  of a late night meal I had in New York City a few years ago with my husband and a friend at a restaurant in lower Manhattan.   Our friend, Bryant, was just getting off work and was eating a late dinner.  Eric and I had just come from an earlier dinner with friends and weren’t the least bit hungry but before we knew it, we had ordered a couple appetizers.  We couldn’t resist.  They sounded too good.   And the two things we ordered from the menu both stick in my mind to this day.   Crispy Artichokes was one of them.   Best thing ever.   Fried of course.  And in thin strings.  I couldn’t put my fingers on how they actually made this.  Until now.   And the other item was pasta with onion sauce.   They must have cooked those onions for 2 days.  I have tried to replicate it and will continue to try.  I just never seem to have the patience to wait that long for onions to cook.

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These crispy artichokes are so quick and easy.   Gone are the days that you have to boil an artichoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   Although, dipping those leaves in butter is so comforting.   But this is quick and delicious.   Perfecto!

Here is a loose recipe.   A little of this, a little of that.   You need to peel away most of the outer leaves until you get to the softer center.   Eating those tough leaves will not be a pleasant experience.   And of course, the fresher the better.  If your artichoke has been sitting in the fridge for a couple weeks, turning brownish, don’t use it for this recipe.   I love how the parmesan gets crisp when it fries in the pan.   It’s like that part of a grill cheese sandwich where a little piece of the cheese is hanging over the bread and it gets fried in the pan,   That is the best part of the whole sandwich.

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Parmesan Quinoa Cakes with Homemade Pesto

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OR with Homemade Marinara and Whipped Feta.

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Before I go into this recipe I have to share some photos from my hike this morning.  I mean, come on.   They don’t call Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado for nothing.

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This was our camping spot last weekend at the blue mesa where we played in rafts and hung out with friends all weekend.   And then we came home to a beautiful rainbow!

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Flowers, farmer’s markets, camping, hiking, outdoor music concerts and rafting have been filling up our summer.   I have missed several Sunday Farmer’s Markets because we have been camping.   Max asked me about them the other day.  He likes to go and get treats and it’s nice to know everything is organic and free of dyes.  A coupel local moms started a great Popsicle stand where they make homemade fresh fruit pops and they put a cucumber slice on the bottom of the stick so it doesn’t drip.   I mean really.  How cute is that?

I think our market might have more food vendors than farmers selling fresh produce but the vendors are making delicious and healthy fare.

The other week when I was there, I was waiting for the chef to cook the falafals  for my falafal plate and saw him fry them in a big pot of oil.  I though, well, there goes my healthy lunch. I looked down at the big pot of oil and I wondered what kind of oil he was using.   I debated in my head for a moment if I should ask him- and wondering if at this point if I even wanted to know.  I had, after all  just paid a good amount for a plate of greens, hummus and falafal so I was going to eat it either way.   Is ignorance bliss?  I decided to ask.   When he told me we was using organic coconut oil I was surprised.  And relieved.

A few years ago I probably wouldn’t have given a thought about the oil that was being used to cook food I was going to put into my body.   I used to always have a bottle of canola oil in my cabinet and used it for baking.  But when he said Organic Coconut Oil, I smiled.  It is the healthiest oil he could be frying my food in.

If you want to read about oils and which ones are healthy to cook with and which can be toxic click here for an article from food matters, here for an article from Marks Daily Apple and here for an article from Integrative Medicine at University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Now for the recipe.  Read the rest of this entry

Watermelon, Feta, and Basil Bites

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I am not the cutesy type but these little bites are a pretty perfect addition to  a 4th of July BBQ.   I added blueberries simply to make them more festive but if you are making this for another occasion, you could leave them out.

The recipe takes about 10 minutes to assemble.  It doesn’t get much easier than this.

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Watermelons are so refreshing on a hot day.  Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top and it brings it to a whole new level.

These bites look like tomatoes and might confuse someone (my husband, possibly) as they wonder how a tomato could possibly be so crunchy.   A curious and confused expression might paint their face until they realize (or are told) that they are eating a watermelon.    Confusion clears up and a content smile appears.   Ah.   That’s good.

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That little round cookie cutter pictured above is what I used to make my watermelon circles.  It’s about 2 inches in diameter.

If you really want to get cutesy, use a star shaped cookie cutter.   I just couldn’t go there.

Crested Butte might be a tiny town, but we throw one heck of a parade.  It used to be so small that all the floats would go around twice.    There’s everything from Rocky Mountain Biological Lab scientists covered in leaves dancing down the street to people biking through a circle of fire.  It’s entertaining for sure.

The 4th is a hang out type of day.   Wherever you are hanging out for the day, these little bites are perfect to bring along.

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To chiffonade the basil, stack about 5 piece of basil on top of each other and roll lightly.  Thinly slice the roll and you will get lots of thin strips of basil.

If you don’t like basil (gasp!  Who doesn’t like basil?try substituting mint. Read the rest of this entry

Orange Almond Muffins

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I should call these my procrastination muffins.   What do I do when I have a house full of drawers to clean out?  I bake.   I know how to bake.  Cleaning and organizing, however are not my strong suits.    We have about 2 months before we move to California for the school year and we are renting our house for that time.

Cleaning and organizing are going to be my MO …next month.

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Things will happen.   They will all come together.   And so for now, I bake.

I had a bowl of oranges that had to be used and two little mouths that love muffins for breakfast.   It made perfect sense.

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My kids were very eager to help, which isn’t always the case.  They actually followed through until the very end and were so good at taking turns pouring and mixing.  Their attention span used to last through the first couple steps and then they were off playing with their toys.   I used to pretty much get a –you’re doing great mom.  Let me know when they are ready to eat.     So this was a nice change.

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Quinoa Salad with Beets and Cucumbers

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Happy Fathers Day!   I hope you are all celebrating the amazing father’s and men in your life.  After a filling family breakfast and looking at all the cards the kids decorated for Eric, we sent him off for a long hike with some of his good friends.   The kids absolutely adore their dad, as do I.

I think about my father often, but especially today.  This is my fourth father’s day without him.   I picture him playing bridge somewhere and passionately discussing politics while eating chinese food, or maybe a big plate of onion rings.   To this recipe he would say keen-what?  And I would reply, Keen-WAH, Dad – Try it, it’s really good for you.  You’ll like it .  And by the way, you would have loved the hike I went on today.   The Lupine were just incredible.  If only I could tell him about it.   If only he could hike with me again.

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I am not sure if I had even heard of quinoa four years ago.

This is a great summer meal.  It is perfect for lunch, dinner or potlucks.  It keeps well so you could make it on Sunday and take it to work for lunch over the next several days.  Also great to take camping for the weekend.

I had just roasted some beets and hadn’t decided what I was going to do with them yet.  I looked in the index under beets in this fabulous cookbook called La Tartine Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre and came across a beet and quinoa tabouli, as she calls it.   Perfect.

Roasting the beets takes about an hour and the quinoa needs to cool down so this is not a last minute type recipe.   You need about an hour and a half- even though it’s really only 15 minutes of active cooking time.

I changed some of the ingredients, adding basil and cucumbers, and omitted a few others, but otherwise  followed her recipe.   This cookbook is truly one where every time you turn the page another delicious recipe appears after another.  I used red quinoa because it is what I had on hand but I think it would look prettier with white quinoa  (as Beatrice uses) and the beets would turn it a light pink.

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Enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad (serves 6)

adapted from La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook

1 Cup Quinoa (red or white)

2 Cups Water or Vegetable Broth

1 Large Beet, Roasted and diced

1 Cup diced Cucumber

1/4 Cup Feta crumbles

2 TBSP Pine Nuts (optional)

Vinaigrette

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP Basil, chopped

1 TBSP Mint, chopped

1TBSP Parsley, chopped

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Wrap the beet (unpeeled) in tin foil and in a 400 degree oven and roast the beet for 45min.-1hour.   Let cool and then peel off the skin with your fingers and dice it. 

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh colander.  Add it to a pot with 2 cups of water or vegetable broth and a pinch of salt.   When it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, let it stand for 5 minutes and then put it in a bowl to cool. 

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and stir well. 

Add the beets and cucumbers to the quinoa and stir well.   Pour the viniagrette over the salad and mix together.   Then add the feta crumbles and pine nuts on top.

 

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Avocado, Grapefruit and Watercress Salad

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As the temperature warms up, we tend to crave more cooling foods.    This salad is a perfect summer salad.

Tomorrow Max graduates from Miss Jenny’s Friendship House Preschool.    Next Fall he is Kindergarten bound.  Luckily he gets to go to summer camp with the same kids and teacher, also a good friend of mine, or there might be lots of tears this week.    He told me the other day that he liked school better than TV.   Enough said.   Miss Jenny is pretty much a rock star in my house.   Jake is his best buddy and if we could just bring him with us to California next year, everything would be peachy in Max’s world.

Next week will officially feel like summer around here as school is out and camps begin, flowers start to bloom and flip flops and tank tops become the daily apparel.

This salad should be on the summer menu.   We have been getting the sweetest grapefruits lately.   If you are find grapefruits are more on the sour side, use can use oranges instead.

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This salad is refreshing and light with bursts of flavor from the sweet juicy grapefruit, the bitter watercress, the crunchy hazelnuts and the creamy goat cheese and avocado.     Watercress is so good for you and just  like parsley, it shouldn’t just be a garnish.   Hippocrates is said to have built his hospital near water so that watercress would be in abundance and he could use it to treat his patients.  It’s naturally anti-aging  and is a vitamin C powerhouse.

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