Creamy lemon mint salad dressing

creamy mint salad with blueberriesBaby lettuces from our deck garden. Mint foraged from between the weeds in the front yard. Island blueberries. What a refreshing summer salad!

salad greens, washed and dried
the juice of 1 lemon (1 tbls.)
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 c. half and half
about 2 tbls. chopped fresh mint
a handful of blueberries

 

  1. In a jar with a lid, shake salt and lemon until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Add half and half. Shake.
  3. Mix mint with salad greens.
  4. Toss your desired about of dressing with salad greens.
  5. Top with berries.

Massaged Kale Salad for a Picnic

I am loving this salad in various forms these days. It’s a great traveler – drop it off as a surprise for a busy friend, take it to the park, make it minutes before dinner and add some quick green to your meal.

massaged kale salad

Even though this is an easy dish, many hands make light work, right? This is one that the four year old likes to help make. (In the photo, he is helping by snipping the leftover kale stems, which he’ll take out to the chickens for a treat.)

kale for chickens

one bunch kale
a dash of apple cider vinegar
a drizzle of olive oil
two sprinkles of kosher salt
one grind of pepper
any raw veg that you may have: grated carrots or radishes are especially nice
optional: chickpeas fried in olive oil

  1. Tear kale leaves from the stems. Chop the leaves roughly and place in a large bowl.
  2. Pour vinegar and oil over kale. Sprinkle with salt. Now, massage those leaves! (This is a great job for a kid!) Squeeze and rub the leaves until they are broken down and soft.
  3. Add the veg on top and….done!!
  • To add protein to this dish, go ahead and saute some chickpeas. Use freshly cooked or canned. Rinse and then dry on a kitchen towel. Next, on medium heat in a large skillet, toss olive oil and chickpeas. Stir often until the chickpeas are brown on all sides. If you’re using them in this salad, do not salt. (If you’re making them for a separate snack, I’d recommend fine salt sprinkled on after cooking.)
  • I learned the trick of massaging kale from this recipe.
  • A crinkle cutter makes a wonderful chopping tool for a small child. It’s easy to use, fun, and begins to teach about being aware of knives in a safe manner. This is the same brand as the one we use, which I picked up at a Montessori conference.crinkle cut carrots

 

Cauliflower Hazelnut Hand Pies : Perfect Picnic Prep

This cauliflower hazelnut hand pie is a perfect vegetarian entree to prepare ahead of time for a picnic. If you’ve got a bag of these in your freezer, you’ll be ready for that unexpected, sunny, and carefree day!

roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower is plentiful at the market now. We got a beautiful, reasonably priced bag of it from Persephone Farm last week. I turned the first bit into this interesting soup and still had a lot left over. I love these little hand pies for quick, eat it on the go fare. Paired with hazelnuts from Holmquist, this makes good use of our local ingredients that are ready right now.

Makes 16 4-inch hand pies

Filling: photo 3 (6)

1 pound cauliflower
2 handfuls of whole hazelnuts
1 clove garlic
grated zest from half of a lemon
3 oz. spunky, dry white cheese (I used Beecher’s white cheddar – yum)
olive oil, salt, pepper
2-3 tbls. cream to finish dough

Dough:

3 3/4 c. AP
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbls. sugar
12 tbls. butter
3/4- 1 c. buttermilk

  1. Wash cauliflower and trim stem. Cut florets into equally-sized pieces. Toss on baking sheet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 375F for 10 minutes, stirring once during that time.
  2. Add hazelnuts to baking sheet and bake with the cauliflower for 2 more minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. To complete filling, you’ll use the food processor. Try this sequence to get everything to the right texture:
    -Add garlic clove and whole nuts. Run until fine. Empty in bowl.
    -Add cheese. Pulse until crumbly.
    -Add cauliflower to cheese. Pulse about 6 more times. Empty into bowl.filling
  5. In the bowl with the cauliflower mixture, add zest, 1 tsp. of salt, and a dash of pepper to filling. Stir.
  6. Using a food processor, prepare the dough. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl. Cut butter into cubes and pulse with dry ingredients until roughly blended. Slowly pour buttermilk through top. Turn this mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Squish together and flatten into disc. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or as long as you like.
  7. Roll dough out thinly. Using a glass (or crumpet ring), cut circles that are about 4 inches. photo 3 (5)
  8. Scoop 1/4 c. filling for each hand pie. (I found it helpful to lay one circle on the measuring cup and flip the filling over onto it.)photo 2 (12)
  9. Place the second circle on top of the filling and pinch around the edge completely.
  10. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • If you’re going to freeze them, underbake by about 5 minutes.
  • When ready to remove from freezer, bake at 375F for a few minutes until brown. Serve at room temperature or warm.

Take some time to find and try The Wandering Goose

If you approach eating with care and intention, it’s awfully fun to find someone who does the same. Off the island and at loose ends in Capitol Hill this week, the boy and I came upon the Wandering Goose. Wandering GooseServing breakfast and lunch, it was the perfect place for a midday snack. They have beehives on the roof and choose all of their ingredients with care. Their food is down-home, come on in, southern inspired.  And what struck me most about this neighborhood spot, was that it was a place that you were drawn into and welcomed to stay awhile. Their menu had many affordable options – humongous, crumbly biscuit sandwiches, coffee, and beautiful baked goods. More involved plates include fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and daily, seasonal specials.

As an interesting bonus, they serve Benton’s country ham. Watch this fascinating short film about the gentleman who makes this ham and the story and heritage behind this ingredient. (Thanks to Alice for introducing us to these short films years ago.)

So find some time to wander in and stay awhile. If you’re looking for fried chicken done well or if you hail from a place where it’s hot in the summer and people actually need screen doors, you’ll find a little piece of home here. (And even if you’re a born and bred Seattleite who hasn’t thought about the remarkable similarity of grits and polenta, you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.)

Bainbridge Island Farmers’ Market Opened Today

Another winter is over and the market has reopened! We, on this island, are so rich. It’s only mid April, and we are already gifted with such variety. Fresh today: rhubarb, cauliflower, pea shoots, kale, chard, sorrel, leeks, radishes, arugula, spinach, green garlic, spring onions, and much more. The market is open until 1.photo (19)

Looking for some inspiration and ways to use what’s available this week? Here are a few of our favorites recipes from the archives:

 

Squash and Parsnip Soup

We’ve reached the bottom of the barrel. Of all  the squash that we zealously purchased at the pumpkin patch in the fall, only this one lonely squash remains to await its fate.

bottom of barrel

But the good news is that the market opens on Saturday! A day of celebration in our house, we’ll be there at 9 for the ceremonial tossing of the cheese that officially marks spring as returned.

Here’s a good soup to get that last bit of chill out of your soul. It’s fairly sweet but also has a nice layer of flavors. Serve as appetizer portions at the beginning of your meal.

Squash and Parsnip Soupsoup2

1 large winter squash, weighing about 1 1/2 pounds (I used butternut, but anything you’ve got left will work.)
4 large parsnips
1/2 onion (Winter onions tend to be stronger, so I’d just recommend half. If your onion is milder, adjust according to your taste.)
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 tbls. fresh ginger
2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk
2 tbls. butter
olive oil
salt, pepper
half and half (optional drizzle on top)

Preparing the ingredients:

  1. Halve squash. Remove seeds with spoon.
  2. Peel parsnips and chop off the top. If they are woody, quarter lengthwise and slice to remove the woody center.
  3. Place squash, cut side down on a piece of parchment on a baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil on the prepared parsnips and place on the sheet, as well.
  4. Roast at 425 for about 1 hour. At about 30 minutes, check and remove parsnips when they look golden. (They will be done cooking before your squash. Alternatively, you can toss them on the sheet a half hour after you put your squash in.)
  5. When the squash is tender, cool, and remove skins.

Time to put the soup together!

  1. Dice onion. Melt butter in the bottom of your soup pot. Saute of medium low for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute more. Add stock and squash. Simmer for a half hour.
  2. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  3. Add milk.
  4. Keep on low heat until serving.

Notes:

  • You may want to thin the soup with additional water or stock, per your taste.
  • Roast extra squash and save it in the fridge for baking.

Cabbage and Potato Piroshki

cabbage and potato piroshkiEat as if you were in Sochi. Bake up these “buns” and enjoy them with friends as you take in some Olympics coverage. Serve a little borscht on the side and you’ll feel like you’re right there in Russia. Maybe.

This recipe makes a soft, yeasted dough which will pair well with the filling of your choice. I chose to make a traditional filling of potato, cabbage and cheese. (It’s winter! My remaining vegetable stash is mostly cabbage and potato.) They were wonderful right out of the oven, but I think this recipe could have a lot of potential for travelling – planes, snowy road trips – it’s a meal in your hand.

Potato Cabbage Piroshki

Dough:

3-4 cups AP flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 tbls. butter
1 tsp. salt
poppy seeds, egg wash (one egg + a little milk) for top before bake

  1. Warm the milk. In the bowl of your electric mixer, whisk the whole wheat flour, sugar, and yeast together. Add milk. Let sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Melt butter. Add this, the eggs, and the salt to the bubbly milk mixture.
  3. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and insert the bowl with your ingredients. Begin mixing on low. Add flour gradually, one cup at a time, until the dough looks stretchy, but not sticky.
  4. Knead for another five minutes.
  5. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Filling:cabbage piroshki

2 cups mashed potatoes
2 tbls. butter
2 cups chopped cabbage (about half of a large cabbage)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup mild white cheddar, grated
3 tbls. chopped fresh dill (or 1 tbls. dried)
1 tbls. chopped fresh chives (or 1/2 tbls. dried)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. caraway
1/2 tsp. white pepper

  1. In a skillet, melt butter. Saute onion over medium low for about five minutes. Add cabbage. Stir and leave covered for five minutes.  (Cooking with the lid on will sweat the ingredients a bit and create a bit of delicious browning on the bottom of the pan.) Remove lid and stir. Cook for a few more minutes until the cabbage is tender. Cool.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together.

Assembling

  1. Butter a 13 X 9 pan or line with parchment.
  2. When your dough has risen, flour your counter and cut it into five equal pieces. Cover the pieces that you are not working with.
  3. Roll one piece out into a flat circle. Cut across middle into six triangular pieces. Place a heaping 1/4 c. of filling on the large side of the triangle. Stretch the large side of the triangle over, seal, and roll. Add each piroshki to your 13 X 9 pan.
    (For a beautiful and detailed tutorial about shaping baked piroshki, please see this article.)
  4. Let rise for 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
  5. Paint with egg wash. Sprinkle on poppy seeds.Cabbage and potato piroshki
  6. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.