Category Archives: side dishes and salads

Easy Pickled Daikon & Carrots

Daikon and Carrots

If you’re a fan of Portlandia you’ll know the joke behind pickling, but pickling really is an easy way to transform food and extend its life in your kitchen. Daikon in particular is wonderful pickled, as anyone who is a fan of banh mi sandwiches can attest to.

This recipe made exactly one pint jar, which in my mind is the perfect amount for fridge pickles, especially if you are unsure about what you’re doing or the flavors of the end result. You can omit the spices if you’d like, but be sure to not reduce the vinegar. By the way, I find pickling works best if you use a wide-mouth jar, but regular jars work fine too, and you can even use a Tupperware if you don’t have jars on hand.

Pickled Daikon and Carrot
makes 1 pint jar

1 pound total daikon and carrot
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (or use fresh grated if you have it!)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Peel daikon and carrot and slice into thin rounds. Place in a fine sieve or colander set over a bowl, and sprinkle salt over vegetables. Stir to coat, and let sit for at least 20 minutes while the salt draws excess water out. (This will speed up the pickling process.)
Mix together the rest of the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Pack vegetables tightly into a clean jar, and pour liquid over the top, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar. Place lid and ring on jar and store in the fridge. Let ferment for at least 4 hours before eating, but preferably overnight.

Note: You might have liquid left over, but don’t worry about it. As long as your veggies are covered they should be fine.

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Mashed Rutabagas

Rutabagas are coming! Rutabagas are coming! We’re expecting a big shipment of these nutritious root vegetables from Just Peachy Farms in Palestine, Texas next week.

Rutabagas are in the brassica family of vegetables, along with turnips, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts.  They’re one of our favorite winter items, since they cook up well in recipes with potatoes, carrots, beef and other hearty fare.

Just Peachy’s rutabagas are small and tender, with a mild flavor. They are still in the ground as we speak, and farmer Billy Moore will be harvesting them for our Local Box over the weekend. In preparation for the harvest, Billy shared with us one of his favorite rutabaga recipes:

Mashed Rutabagas and Onions (serves 4-6)
4-6 cups peeled, diced rutabaga
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook rutabaga and onion in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash; add butter, salt, and pepper. Mash rutabaga and onions well.

Mixed Green Salad with Garlic Honey Vinaigrette

When it comes to holiday entertaining, it doesn’t get any easier than mixed greens and vinaigrette. This base recipe is ultra-simple and pared down to keep the budget low, but you can easily make the dish your own by adding chopped fruits, nuts, raw vegetables, or whatever you have available in your pantry.

Substituting three heaping tablespoons of raspberry preserves or orange marmalade for the honey and garlic in this recipe is a simple way to transform the dressing to a fruity vinaigrette. You can use a flavored vinegar to mix things up.

This recipe yields just over a cup of salad dressing– twice the portion than you need for a dinner party of eight. The extra dressing will keep well in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator. Just be sure to allow the dressing to come to room temperature before serving, since the olive oil will thicken when it is cold.

Mixed Green Salad with Garlic Honey Vinaigrette (serves 8)
Salad:
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, stems removed
1 bunch leaf lettuce, stems removed
1 bunch arugula, tough stems removed
Dressing:
3/4 cup organic olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup local honey
2 garlic cloves, pressed into a paste
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Chop the spinach, lettuce, and arugula into bite sized pieces and place them in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss salad with half of the dressing and serve immediately. Store the remaining dressing for another use.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Image by Norwich Nuts. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

Stuffed mushrooms are an easy appetizer and a holiday classic. This recipe calls for local mushrooms and Parmesan, fresh spinach, and our kitchen’s signature Garlic Herb Butter. We’re sure you won’t be able to just eat one.

Although this recipe calls for local white mushrooms and spinach, which are the most budget-friendly option now, it will work will equally well with other small mushrooms and winter greens– just choose whatever  is handy.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms (yields about 18 mushrooms)
1 pound white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon organic olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Garlic Herb butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 bunch spinach, including stems, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush dirt off of mushrooms and remove stems from the caps. Mince the stems and set aside for later use. Coat a baking sheet with a teaspoon olive oil. Bake the mushroom caps, stem-side down, until just tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the herb butter and remaining oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushroom stems and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until spinach is just wilted.

Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Once mushrooms are par-cooked, remove them from the oven and use tongs to turn each mushroom cam stem-side up. Spoon the spinach mixture into mushroom caps, and top each with a pinch of parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

This dish is part of our Organic Entertaining on a Budget series. A complete menu of recipes is available here.

Parmesan Crisp

Image by London Annie. Licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

These parmesan crisps are a quick and easy appetizer to prepare for a holiday party. They can be made a few days ahead of the meal and stored in an airtight container, if desired. To keep the crisps from sticking together,  layer a sheet of waxed paper between Parmesan crisps during storage.

Parmesan Crisps (yields 16 crisps)

1 heaping cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheet with a silpat or baking parchment. (Don’t skip this, no matter what!) Place a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter on the baking sheet, and then press a tablespoon of shredded cheese into a the cutter. Press down on the cheese to shape, and gently remove the cutter.  Repeat until there are 8 mounds of cheese on each baking sheet. Sprinkle black pepper on top of each mound.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, until crisps have set and before they turn golden. Remove from oven and let crisps cool on pan for 3-4 minutes.  The crisps will firm up as they cool. Gently lift each crisp off of the baking sheet with a spatula and transfer to a wax-paper lined rack to cool completely.

This dish is part of our Organic Entertaining on a Budget series. A complete menu of recipes is available here.

Zucchini Hummus

I am in awe of anyone who is able to work through the copious amounts of zucchini we are (still!) getting every week in the Local Box. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, and yet once we get past a certain point in the season, I find the need to hide it in my food.

zucchini hummus

This hummus was inspired by a local raw-food restaurant. As it turns out, zucchini hummus is big in the raw-food world, so you can feel extra virtuous eating it. Plus it helps eliminate that possible bean-on-bean overload you might get from eating things like falafel with hummus. I love the bright flavor, and considering I have zucchini on hand more often than chickpeas, this might be my new go-to dip-slash-spread.

When you are selecting zucchini to use, in this recipe size doesn’t matter. However, if using a larger squash, discard the seeded center and use only the outer part. You can peel if you like, but I like the flecks of color the skin adds to the hummus.

zucchini hummus

Zucchini Hummus
makes approximately 1 cup

2 cups diced zucchini
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Blitz everything together in a food processor until smooth.

The zucchini will create excess liquid, so be sure to stir the hummus to reincorporate before serving.

Nopalitos with Tomatoes & Onions

From SimplyRecipes.com

Nopalitos with Tomatoes & Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 lb nopalitos, nopales prickly pear cactus paddles that have been stripped of spines, cleaned, and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add red onion, garlic, and jalapeño.

Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally, then add the nopalitos. Cook for several more minutes. Then add the chopped tomato. Continue to cook until all vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 3 to 4.