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Posts from the ‘Vegetables’ Category

Kohlrabi & Walnut Salad


Less is more. I find this is often true with recipes and ingredients, and this recipe has a short ingredient list with big flavor and texture.

Kohlrabi is in the Brassica family along with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, and is a rather amusing looking little devil.


It has a subtle, earthy flavor, and its texture is versatile: great crunch raw, or sweet tenderness roasted. In this salad, from Michael Anthony’s terrific book “V is for Vegetables”, it is sliced super thin and dressed with toasted walnuts and walnut oil & lemon juice dressing.

The trick to a salad like this one, or any where a vegetable is called to be thinly sliced, is a mandolin. I very much enjoy weilding a knife on a regular basis and can’t deny the consistent and ultra thin results from a kitchen mandolin. My favorite is a simple, light, Japanese one from Benriner ($23 on Amazon). Once you trim and peel the kohlrabi, slice, very carefully, onto a cutting board.

A little whisking and then gently fold in the kohlrabi and walnuts. The recipe calls for toasted walnuts, which is I know sometimes feels like an extra step, but it is always worth it. A hot oven at 400F for 3-4 minutes or a 2-3min in a hot, dry pan on the stove will bring out their best flavor.

Loveliness, crunchiness, tenderness.


Crunchy Salad of Kohlrabi and Toasted Walnuts, serves 4

Michael Anthony, V is for Vegetables


1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup walnut oil

2 T olive oil

salt & pepper

1 or 2 kohlrabi, peeled and sliced paper thin

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Whisk together the lemon juice, walnut oil and olive oil in a small bowl, then add lots of salt and pepper. Combine the kohlrabi and walnuts in a medium bowl. Gently toss with enough of the vinaigrette so that the salad is quite moist, separating the kohlrabi slices.

I also like to add freshly grated Parmesan right before serving.


Salade Nicoise

A Salade Nicoise is a classic French salad named after its birth city of Nice (pronounced neese). I have always loved it for sentimental reasons, but it’s perfect hot-weather fare because every ingredient can be prepared in advance and kept cool, and then you simply assemble the plate. It’s crunchy and salty and zippy, and when you add a pinch of nostalgia, I could make a case that it’s the greatest salad of all time.

In typical French fashion, there is often great debate about what is traditional and what is not in certain classic dishes (in this case, raw or blanched green beans, tuna or anchovies), but I will simply represent the first one I had over twenty years ago, as a college student in Grenoble at an outdoor cafe table, as it remains the one I still make today. There are easy alterations but this is my standard.

The salad is quite simple, it’s roughly six or seven ingredients and a dressing, but it’s about each ingredients’ quality and preparation that makes it a classic.

3T Good olive oil
1T good white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1T good Dijon mustard
good salt, preferably fleur de sel
freshly cracked peppercorns
Whisk & taste – This is the magic.

Ingredients, for one salad:
Several leaves of lettuce – dark romaine or soft boston lettuce
Ripe tomato, one small or several cherry tomatoes
3-5 Nicoise olives (small, jet-black cured olives, may also be Moroccan olives, never pitted)
One organic hard boiled egg (instruction below)
Several blanched green beans (instruction below)
1-2 anchovy fillets, room temperature (buy jarred if you can find them and don’t be afraid!)
One or two fingerling or small potatoes, boiled – Optional, but since I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like, I add them; also, you can boil the potatoes and add the green beans for the last minute to save time.

When you are ready to plate, tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and top with peeled, sliced egg, sliced potato, sliced tomato, anchovy fillets, green beans, Nicoise olives at the center. Add one or two tablespoons of dressing (always start with less). Et voila! The best extra ingredient, if you’ve got it, is warm alfresco weather to sit and enjoy it outside.

Perfect Hard Boiled Egg:
Place 1-2 eggs in water in pot, bring to full boil, put the lid on, turn the heat off, remove pot from burner and allow to steep for ten minutes. Drain eggs and run under cold water.

Boil potatoes & green beans: Add two or three potatoes to pot with pinch of salt and bring to boil, allow to boil steadily but not furiously for roughly 20min, checking after 15min (especially if potatoes are small) with a fork for tenderness; add green beans for last minute and drain.

Endive & Avocado Salad


This is one of my favorite winter salads (or spring, or summer, or fall) because it can be chopped and whisked together in minutes and has a short ingredient list: endive, avocado, olive oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper.


My affection for it has increased since it is also raw, and as we continue our family’s kitchen remodeling and have no working kitchen (or more importantly no kitchen sink), recipes that are quick and cold are a plus. It begins with the lovely relationship between crispy endive and smooth avocado…


See how they nuzzle? I love contrasts – in life, in opinions, in friends – and this is no exception. Endive is such a treat: if you’ve never worked with it, buy one and toss into your next salad for a great crispy crunch. Or slice in half lengthwise, braise in a bit of butter and olive oil, then sprinkle with a touch of sugar. Delicious. And avocado adds silkiness and a bit of good fat to the marriage. For this salad, slice the endive lengthwise and then cut into half moons. Halve the avocado (remove pit), make grid with a knife, then scoop out with a spoon. Both can head into a medium sized bowl.




In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette (a basic french one always has zesty Dijon mustard), and pour over the endive and avocado, stirring gently. Enjoy!

Endive & Avocado Salad

One head Belgian endive, sliced lengthwise and cut into half moons
One ripe avocado, halved, pitted, cubed and scooped
Add both to medium sized bowl, pour vinaigrette over top, stir gently.

Basic French Vinaigrette:
4T olive oil
1/2t Dijon mustard
1T vinegar (I typically have champagne on hand, but sherry also fine)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional, and only if you have lemons handy)
1T minced shallot (optional)
Pinch salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whisk all together in a small bowl

Enjoy immediately (both avocado and endive brown quickly once cut or sliced).

Sweet Potato, Green Apple & Celery Salad


Here is a perfect dish for trumpeting Spring: crunchy vegetables, bright lemon juice, spicy grated ginger and sweet honey – like a deep breath of fresh air after a long winter. I stumbled upon this recipe on Food52: I stopped on this one when I read ‘raw sweet potato’, intrigued, and made it that afternoon. Yum! Indeed, the starchy sweet potato acts like jicama might: sturdy and crunchy, as the backbone for the other sweet and spicy components.

The only labor for this raw salad is the dicing, which I find enjoyable, but which can be easily done with a mandolin.



This recipe can officially kick off picnic season, with the extra scarf and sun hat of course. Welcome Spring!

Sweet Potato, Green Apple & Celery Salad (adapted slightly from

2T lemon juice

1T freshly grated ginger

1/2T – 1T honey

2T extra-virgin olive oil

coarse salt and freshly grated pepper

1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely julienned into matchsticks

1 tart Apple like Granny Smith, cored and finely julienned into matchsticks

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced, with leaves

2 scallions, thinly sliced

3 radishes, quartered and finely julienned

3T toasted sesame seeds

1/4c packed fresh cilantro leaves


1. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, ginger, honey and olive oil; season to taste with salt & pepper

2. In another bowl, combine sweet potato, apple, celery, scallions, radishes, sesame seeds and cilantro. Pour dressing over and toss gently.


Cucumber Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger


Happy new year! I really enjoy this time of the season, the lull after the holiday excitement, and the refocusing on the new year ahead. The weather is cold and bright here, so I see this zesty, fresh salad as a nice accompaniment to January: crisp, spicy and comforting.


Red onions get a bit melbowed by a rice wine vinegar, sugar and sunflower oil dressing, but keep their crunch to contrast with the snappy cucumbers and spicy ginger.


Enjoy and best wishes in 2016.

Recipe: Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi
Cucumber salad with smashed garlic and ginger
3T rice wine vinegar
2t sugar
2T sunflower oil
2t toasted sesame oil

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1t Maldon sea salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 small (or 8 mini, or 2 English) cucumbers, peeled
1T toasted sesame seeds
3T chopped cilantro

1. To make dressing: whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

2. Add sliced red onion, mix well and leave aside to marinate for about an hour.

3. Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add the garlic and continue pounding until it is also well crushed and broken into pieces (stop pounding before it disintegrates into a paste). Use a spatula to scrape the contents into the bowl with the onion and dressing. Stir together.

4. Cut the cucumbers lengthways in half, then cut each half on an angle into 1/4″ thick slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl, followed by the sesame seeds and cilantro. Stir well and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

5. Before serving, stir the salad again, tip out some of the liquid that may have accumulated, and adjust the seasoning.

Fresh Lima Beans


Looks can be deceiving: this is the Lima Bean story. If you see them in the market or store, they are completely unassuming:


But what sneakily hides inside these flat pods is a treasure. They are one of the legumes that requires shelling, like soy beans (edamame) or fava beans, which is another way of their trickery (aah, another deterrent). But shelling takes very little time so don’t despair.


Once shelled, they still have a quiet presence: smooth and pale green staring back at you.


After several therapeutic minutes of shelling (even little hands like to help with this part), you will have scores staring back at you.


Let me tell you: it is all worth the wait. Freshly cooked lima beans, tossed in just a little bit of salty butter, are SUBLIME. They have a smooth bite, a nutty flavor, almost like pecans, but have their own earthiness, and they are an absolute treat. Don’t pass them by!

Local Fresh Lima Beans
1 1/2lbs beans in pod will yield roughly 2cups shelled beans
Shell by gently twisting pod, enough to open and remove beans, discard pod
Set large pot of water on stove to boil
Once boiling, add generous pinch of salt
Boil lima beans for 8-10minutes
Check often after 6-7min with a larger sized bean, texture should be smooth
Do not overcook, look for bright green color
Drain and run cool water to stop cooking
Toss with butter and salt to taste.

Bok Choy, Carrot & Apple Salad


This is a perfect salad! Five ingredients and the only work required is some matchstick dicing, (which can be quite a calming task) grating and squeezing. The ginger and lemon juice mellow each other and result in a lovely dressing, bright and spicy, tossed with the crunchy, snappy fruits and vegetables. This is basically all you need:


Bok Choy, Carrot & Apple Slaw (altered slightly from Food Everyday)
1lb baby bok choy (5-6 heads), halved lengthwise
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 large carrots, peeled & shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1. Rinse bok choy under cold water to remove grit, let drain. Cut crosswise into thin strips; place in a large bowl.
2. Add apple, carrots, lemon juice, oil and ginger; season with salt & pepper. Toss.
3. Serve right away, or you can also refrigerate for a few hours to allow flavors to marry; toss before serving.


Sweet Potato, Pear & Bacon Soup


I love when a soup like this comes together! I found myself with a handful of sweet potatoes and a few juicy Bartlett pears, both which needed action before being past their prime. When I discovered a recipe for a sweet potato, pear & bacon soup, I happily plucked some bacon from my freezer and got right to work!


In this Mark Bittman recipe, he calls for browning the bacon, removing it to a paper towel lined plate and adding the shredded potatoes and pears to the salty hot grease…yes, an excellent start…


Then to the softened shredded vegetables and fruit, add allspice, cayenne, stock or water, and cream and let it bubble away for a quick 10 or 15 minutes. Once the squash is tender, whirr the immersion blender to carefully puree. Taste for seasonings – it should be a lovely mix of earthy sweet potato, fruity pear, a little smoky, with the perfect amount of kick from the cayenne. Garnish with the crunchy bacon and you will be one happy camper. Here’s to surprise victories while cleaning out the extras!


Sweet Potato Soup with Pears & Bacon
By Mark Bittman

8 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes
2 large pears
1 small onion
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt & pepper
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
1 cup cream

Chop 8 slices bacon into 1-inch pieces.
Add bacon to large pot over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5-10 minutes.
Peel & trim sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces to feed into food processor.
Peel & core pears.
Trim, peel & quarter the onion.
When bacon is crisp, transfer it to paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Turn heat to low.
Shred vegetables & fruit in food processor with grating disk; empty work bowl into pot as it fills.
Raise heat to medium-high; add 1t allspice, 1/4t cayenne, sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about one minute.
Add five cups stock or water and one cup cream.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that it bubbles gently but steadily.
Cook until squash is fully tender, 10-15 minutes.
Turn off heat and run an immersion blender through the pot, or working in batches transfer it to an upright blender and carefully puree.
Reheat the soup for one or two minutes if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide soup among four bowls, garnish with bacon and serve.

Spring Potato Salad


My thoughts this week are drifting to Spring’s arrival on Friday. It was a great winter for cooking, lots of new recipes, lots of tinkering with past ones, but the sun’s angle has shifted, clocks have been changed and the snow is finally melting a bit. So this week as I gaze at fingerling potatoes, I’m seeing Spring colors in the form of one of my favorite, simple dishes: potato salad. Violet hued shallots, light green celery, and dark green parsley. Lots & lots of parsley.


Of course, you’ll want some good sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.


Potatoes, steamed & smashed, skins on, crispy celery, crunchy shallots, mayonnaise, champagne vinegar, and a little salt & pepper. Preferably, all of it still a bit warm from the steaming.


For me, potato salad is not a summer thing, it’s a spring thing and, if I may speak on behalf of all New Englanders, we are ready for a little Springtime.



Parsnip Soup with Leeks, Apples, Pecans and Nutmeg


‘Tis the season to embrace the season. We are in the deep winter now. Here in New England, we are buried in snow, with snowbank peaks and valleys higher than our heads. By these involuntary or voluntary means, it’s time to slow down, reflect a little more often and cozy up. It’s also a great time for Parsnip Soup.


This soup starts with a pound of parsnips, which may look like a lot, but between their thick heads and spindly bottoms, you’ll peel and chop down to the right amount in no time. Same goes with the apples and potato: a quick peel and chop, and suddenly you’ll have a beautiful blend of white wintry colored chopped ingredients: parsnips, apples and potato.


It’s simply a one-pot process after that. Start with browning the leeks, add the chopped ingredients, a little broth, a little water, boil and simmer. Then puree, add a bit of cream, salt & pepper and garnishes.

Creamy Parsnip Soup
Serves 4, prep time 20min, cook time 45min

2T unsalted butter
1 lb (2 cups) prepared sliced leeks
1 lb parsnips, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium baking potato (about 1/2lb), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.5oz) reduced sodium chicken broth
3T heavy cream

K’s added garnishes:
1/2c chopped apple
1/3c chopped pecans
fresh nutmeg

A quick note about broth: I often use Better Than Boullion Chicken Base for any recipe calling for broth; it’s has a great chicken broth-y flavor and because it’s a paste you mix with water, you can adjust potency for a recipe, like this one, which calls for reduced sodium.

1) Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks (reserving 1/2c for garnish). Cook, stirring for five minutes.

2) Add the parsnips, apples, potato, broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, 20-25 minutes.

3) Working in batches (or with a handheld immersion blender), puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream. Taste for salt & pepper, and season accordingly. Top with your preferred garnishes.

4) Garnish: Make just before serving: In a large skillet, heat 1T butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add apple and pecans, stir together, cook for 2 or 3 minutes (goal here is a quick warming and mixing of ingredients – be careful not to overcook). Sprinkle salt and a bit of pepper, and generous grate of fresh nutmeg.


The end product will be a hearty and comforting soup with sweet apple, crunchy pecans, crispy leeks and fragrant nutmeg. Enjoy!