Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes – Two Ways

We’re carrying a fun new (to us) produce item this year – Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes.  These sweet potatoes are unique in a number of ways – they are a patented, certified non-GMO crop that used to be grown exclusively on family farms in Stokes County, North Carolina as an alternative to tobacco.  They are now being grown by a number of different farms and growers, including AV Thomas Produce, the largest conventional and organic sweet potato producer in the US, located in Livingston, CA.

We were very excited when the boxes of organic purple sweets started coming in from our distributor, and produce staff took some home and tried them right away.  We thought it’d be fun to feature them in a Thanksgiving demo because not too many people are familiar with them.  Their flesh and skin are both a deep purple, which becomes more pronounced with roasting (boiling them does take away a bit of their vibrancy, but they are still pretty).  They are such a beautiful  deep purple that they are now being used as natural food coloring, and they are also being studied as having anti-colon cancer benefits.  But first and foremost, my, they are tasty!

I decided to cook them a couple different ways for my in-store demo.  Commonly sweet potatoes are served as a sweet side dish, but they really do work as a savory dish as well.  For my more traditional dish I roasted them with a honey glaze and for the other I roasted them whole and served them with a white miso scallion butter that was surprisingly delicious (I’ve never mixed miso with a dairy product before, but this pairing with the scallions really worked well).  Customers really enjoyed both flavors, and many couldn’t decide which they liked better and planned to make both on Thanksgiving!  I personally loved the savory version with the miso butter as it could be an unexpected dish at the traditional table.  These recipes are so easy you can also make them both and decide for yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 pounds purple sweet potatoes (or any sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 6 T butter or margarine (3/4 stick)
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange sweet potatoes in 13×9 glass baking dish.
  3. Stir butter, honey, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.
  4. Pour butter mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake sweet potatoes until tender when pierced with a skewer, stirring and turning occasionally, about 50 minutes.

Makes 6 servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze PDF

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter

recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 small and slender Sweet Potatoes (or garnet yams) – 4-5 pounds total, washed.  I recommend purple sweet potatoes or Japanese sweet potatoes.
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, well softened
  • 1 1/2 T miso paste (preferably white)
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion (green onions)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with the rack set in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and put on a foil–lined large baking sheet.
  3. Bake until very soft when squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. While the potatoes bake, stir together butter, miso, and scallion until combined.
  5. Slit hot potatoes lengthwise and, using oven mitts, push sides in to puff up the potato insides.
  6. Serve with some scallion butter in the center of each potato, with additional scallion butter on the side.

8 Servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter PDF

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Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad

The end of June is always exciting because it heralds the beginning of cherry season in the Northwest, and this year’s (farmer direct) crop is as delicious as ever.  Although I demo’d a salad for my last blog post, summer is all about salads so I decided to try another one – Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa salad.

This salad is very easy to make, tastes great, and looks pretty as well.  I started with a recipe from the May/June 2012 issue of Eating Well magazine and adapted it to my liking.  I had never had wild rice and quinoa together before, and I’ve got to say that they taste fabulous.  The original recipe had you cooking the wild rice for a half hour and then adding the quinoa and cooking for another 15 minutes, but I’m in the habit of cooking quinoa with short grain brown rice for a full hour when I make it at home (in a pressure cooker, no less).  I cooked both grains together for 40 minutes and they both turned out tender and delicious!

Along with the WA cherries, I also used our locally grown and roasted hazelnuts from Holmquist Orchards in Lynden as well as Beecher’s Smoked Flagship Cheddar, made in Seattle at the world-famous Pike Place Market.  Both added a delicious element to the salad, along with the celery and apple cider vinegar dressing.  All in all, customers thought the salad had a nutty, smoky flavor made richer with sweet cherries…and I heartily agree!

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad

Makes eight 3/4 c servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c wild rice
  • 1/2 c red quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 c halved & pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3/4 c coarse grated aged goat cheese or smoked cheddar (or you can dice it)
  • 1/2 c roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add wild rice and quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, whisk oil, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper in a measuring cup and prep your other ingredients.
  4. Drain grains and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch; make sure you drain the grains well.
  5. Once cooled, add the rice/quinoa mixture to a large bowl.
  6. Add the cherries, celery, cheese, and hazelnuts and toss to combine.
  7. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
  8. Serve at room temperature, or cold from the fridge.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain and was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet.  Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that needs to be rinsed off the grain before cooking (it can upset your stomach).  Rinse quinoa in cool water until the water is clear.  This is easiest done in a very fine sieve.

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad PDF

Shanghai Cucumbers

One of my favorite dishes that I’ve had at a restaurant is PF Chang’s Shanghai Cucumbers.  The first time I had them, I went home and recreated them.  It is a quick and easy recipe that is delicious with a number of dishes.  All you need is a cucumber, toasted sesame oil, tamari or shoyu, and gomasio (toasted sesame seeds).  I found out recently that PF Chang’s also adds a small amount of white vinegar to the sauce, but I don’t tend to do that when I make it, although it does add a slight amount of tang (that isn’t unwelcome) to the dish.

Shanghai Cucumber ingredients

I believe that cucumber choice is the key to success with this recipe.  I am a huge fan of the local Dominion Organics Middle Eastern (or Persian) cucumbers and feel that this variety tastes the best, especially for this recipe.  English cucumbers are my second choice, when the Middle Eastern ones are not in season, and the nice thing is that those are generally local year round (they are grown in BC in a hot-house).  If neither of these varieties of cucumbers are available to you, then you can of course use your standard cucumber!

Another key ingredient that I use is the Ohsawa brand organic gluten-free tamari.  We don’t carry it at the Co-op, but owners can special order it in quantities of 3 (it works out to be about $9.60 a bottle – I saw it for as much as $21 a bottle on Amazon!).  It is much pricier than other tamaris on the market, but it is vastly superior so it is worth the extra cost.  We carry Ohsawa Nama Shoyu at the Co-op (if you can tolerate wheat) which is also pricier than other shoyus, but again, it is vastly superior.  It is the only unpasteurized (and therefore raw)  shoyu on the market – and neither the shoyu or the tamari is made with grain alcohol.

Anyway, back to the recipe!  Start by peeling strips off the cucumber – this is more for looks than anything else!

Once you have done that, hold your knife at a 45° angle to the end of the cucumber and slice into bite-sized chunks.  Rotate cucumber a 1/4 turn and slice again – repeat until you can’t cut any more off!

Next, mix your sauce ingredients in a small measuring cup or in a small bowl.  Pour over your cut cucumber, sprinkle with gomasio, and you’re done!

This dish takes about 5-7 minutes to make (depending on how quick you are with your knife!) – if you make it ahead, I like to reserve the sauce and add it right before serving.  If you have leftovers, they will still be delicious (and slightly more intense!) the next day, although they won’t look as pretty.  I make these at home to go with steak, Asian cuisine, and just for a snack.

Shanghai Cucumbers

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Middle Eastern or English Cucumber
  • ~ 2 T GF tamari or shoyu
  • 1/4 t toasted sesame oil
  • Gomasio (to taste)
  • Optional—1 t white vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash your cucumber of choice.  With your vegetable peeler, peel strips off the cucumber, being sure to leave some of the skin.
  2. Holding your knife at a 45° angle to the end of the cucumber, slice cucumber into mouth sized pieces, rotating a 1/4 turn after each cut.  Place cut cucumber into a bowl.
  3. In a small measuring cup or bowl combine tamari/shoyu and toasted sesame oil.  Add vinegar if using.
  4. Toss cucumber with the sauce.  Sprinkle gomasio to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

To make your own gomasio:

  1. Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add raw sesame seeds to pan, and shake continuously until the seeds become slightly browned and become very aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from pan; Optional—sprinkle sea salt (to taste) over seeds and mix well.
  4. Keep in airtight container in the fridge.

You can use any kind of cucumber in this dish, but Middle Eastern/Persian and English cucumbers work the best.  If you use a regular cucumber, then you will need to peel the whole thing and deseed it first.

Shanghai Cucumbers PDF

Bouchées Parmentier au Fromage (potato-cheese “mouthfuls”)

A few weeks ago I read Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I enjoyed it so much more than the movie – the “real” Julie was so likeable to me in the book (maybe it’s because I love that she loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer – in our opinion one of the best TV shows ever!), whereas I wish they had just made the movie all about Julia Child and left the Julie parts out because she just rubbed me the wrong way!

The one recipe that I just had to make after reading her book was for Bouchées Parmentier au Fromage – decadent potato-cheese “mouthfuls” that made me salivate just reading about them. My husband read the book after me (and surprise, surprise) guess which recipe he wanted to try? Yup – the one and the same!

I went to the internet and found a copy of the recipe, although you can also find it in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, of course. It seemed simple enough, so the next weekend I prepared a batch to go with our steak and braised carrots – YUM!

Photo © 2011 Sassy Sampler

I substituted sharp cheddar cheese for the Swiss called for in Julia’s recipe. We aren’t nutmeg fans at my house (and I can’t eat cayenne) so the flavor profile is slightly different from in the original recipe, but they were super fantastic and I knew that I would be sampling them at the Co-op very soon.

Well, that day was yesterday, and they were a hit with customers and staff. I usually try to avoid recipes that are too technical so they will appeal to the broadest audience (this one uses a pastry bag to pipe the sticks), but I don’t have a ton of experience using pastry bags myself and I got along fine, so I figured it was worth the “risk”. This recipe does take a lot of elbow grease (I got a doozy of a blister the first time I made them – I wore an oven mitt when I beat the dough this time and avoided another dreaded blister), but I feel that it is well worth the effort.

While I do own pastry bags, I ended up using a plastic freezer bag with a corner cut out to pipe the cheese sticks because it was larger, and it worked pretty well for me. Be sure to exert even pressure or the seams on the bag could split, and if you have plastic gloves to wear (so you can pipe while the dough is still really warm) they are also helpful. I had some minor blow-out trouble the first time I made these (I was squeezing the bag too hard!), but by the second time I was piping like a pro.

Bon Appétit!

photo of potato cheese sticks

Bouchées Parmentier au Fromage © 2011 Sassy Sampler

Bouchées Parmentier au Fromage

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 # Russet Potatoes (2 medium potatoes)
  • 1 c sifted all-purpose flour or GF flour blend
  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

The original recipe created by Julia Child has the following differences:

  • Replace the cheddar with Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 t white pepper (instead of black pepper)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F and place oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle positions. Butter two baking sheets or cover with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, then put through a ricer (or mash them by hand—just be sure to get all the lumps out!) back into the saucepan. You should have about 1 cup of potatoes.
  3. Stir the potatoes over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes until they form a light film on the bottom of the pan, indicating that most of their moisture has been evaporated. Turn heat to low.
  4. Beat the flour into the potatoes; then the butter by fractions; then the egg, cheese, salt, pepper, and seasonings (if using) in order. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  5. Fill dough into a fluted pastry tube 1/4” in diameter, and squeeze the mixture into 2 1/2” lengths spaced 1/2” apart onto the baking sheets. You should either let the dough cool a moment first, or wear gloves so you don’t burn your hands.
  6. Bake both sheets at the same time for about 15 minutes, or until the sticks are lightly browned. Halfway through the cooking time reverse the sheets so they cook evenly (switch racks and turn them 180°).
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature (I think they are best served hot, my husband likes them best at room temperature – you decide!).

Bouchées Parmentier au FromagePDF

You can find Julie’s blog from Julie and Julia called The Julie/Julia Project, here and her post about the potato cheese sticks here.

As a side note, I took Arabic (in elementary school) and German (in high school), although I can only speak a few words of either anymore, so I was a little daunted to say the name of the recipe out loud to customers. After a little dictionary.com verbal translation recon and practicing on my co-workers, a French-Canadian shopper told me that I did a pretty good job with my pronunciation! Say “boo-shay pahr-men-tyey oh fro-mazh and you’ll sound like you’ll know what you’re doing too!

Yup, burdock root tastes good – a kinpira recipe to please everyone.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a picky eater. It started in childhood, and coupled with my food allergies and sensitivities, it has caused some boring dinners for my very understanding and much more adventurous husband.

Working at a food co-op for so many years has made me much more open to trying new things – I will actually try things now that I never would have dreamed of as a teenager, and cooking the things that I don’t like has really helped open me up to all the delicious possibilities out there. Kinpira is something my husband Michael made a lot when we first started dating because he really loved it, and for the last decade I have effectively banned it from our household – until yesterday, when I made a batch of Burdock, Carrots and Leeks from Debra Daniels-Zeller’s Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook.

Her recipe for Burdock, Carrots and Leeks (otherwise known, minus the leeks, as Kinpira gobo) intrigued me because it was a different flavor profile than I was used to regarding this dish. I still wasn’t sure that I was going to like it, but Michael was excited at the prospect of eating kinpira again so I went for it.

I decided to julienne the root veggies, as this is how he always made it (and, honestly, we’ve been watching the Food Network show Worst Cooks in America and I wanted to prove to myself that I could julienne with the best of them!).= I used mirin (a sweet cooking sake) instead of regular sake or white wine, and omitted the honey and (optional) butter so it would be vegan.= I was still skeptical until I put that first bite in my mouth and it was perfect – lightly crunchy, and slightly sweet while still being savory. Ooops, I had just made something I don’t like, and it was delicious!

Customers were also skeptical at first, but I am proud to tell you that I (and Debra’s recipe) changed a few minds yesterday when I sampled the dish. Not everyone knew what burdock was (until I explained how it grows all over the place here in the summer), but I didn’t have a single person who tried the dish tell me that they didn’t like it, and half of my tasters walked away with the recipe and plans on how they would trick their families into eating the plant that inspired Velcro!

photo kinpira burdock carrots leeks

Kinpira © 2011 Sassy Sampler

BURDOCK, CARROTS and LEEKS (aka Kinpira)

Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook (used with permission)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 medium burdock roots (1/2—3/4 #)
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T butter (optional)
  • 1 medium leek, white part only, sliced into matchstick and washed thoroughly
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 c sake, mirin or white wine
  • 1 t honey (optional, omit if using mirin)
  • Nutmeg
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Finely chopped curly parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine the water, salt and vinegar in a bowl.
  2. Peel and julienne (cut into matchstick-sized pieces) burdock root and place it in the bowl of water to soak while you prepare your other vegetables.
  3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, butter (if desired), and the leek. Stir and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Drain the burdock and add to the skillet, along with the carrots.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the wine/mirin (and honey, if using).
  6. Cook until the alcohol has mostly evaporated and the burdock and carrots are tender, but still have some bite and texture to them.
  7. Season with nutmeg to taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

You can also grate the burdock and carrots for a quicker cooking time, although if you will be eating this dish with chopsticks, julienning the vegetables will work better in the end.

Traditional Kinpira uses sesame oil instead of olive oil (and no butter), and is seasoned with shoyu and mirin. Try adding the following to your dish if you use traditional ingredients (carrots and burdock, minus the leek): lotus root, arame, hijiki. You can also make this into a main dish by adding tofu, seitan, and/or pork.

Kinpira (Burdock, Carrots, and Leek Salad)PDF

Thanksgiving Recipes

We are nearing the biggest holiday in the grocery industry, and you can feel the excitement at the Co-op already.  The Shelton’s turkeys arrived today and are being priced as we speak, so that means only one thing – it is almost Thanksgiving!

In anticipation, I thought I might share some great recipes for the holiday.  I am a big planner when it comes to Thanksgiving – I have a folder at home with all my receipts, recipes, and time lines/checklists  from holidays past to aid in my planning.  I am a little obsessive about it, but it makes for a really smooth day when I’m using every inch of available space in my tiny kitchen!  I also like to make everything I can in advance, and the green bean casserole recipe can be made a day in advance and then just popped in the oven on the big day.

Here are some tasty recipes and handy tips.  Enjoy!

Carve Turkey like a Pro PDF

Let’s talk turkey safety PDF

Turkey 101 PDF

Brining a turkey – I usually use 1 cup  sugar and 1 cup of the least expensive salt that we have in bulk for a 12# bird.  I put the sugar and salt in a heavy plastic bag and mix in enough water to dissolve as much of it as possible (just squoosh it around in the bag).  I then add the turkey and enough water to cover it, put it in a large stock pot (in case the bag leaks) in the fridge.  I usually let it sit for 10 – 12 hours.  You can find some more information here.

gluten-free = GF

Classic Green Bean Casserole PDF (GF option)

GF Southern Cornbread PDF (from www.glutenfreecookingschool.com)

GF Cornbread Dressing PDF (from www.glutenfreecookingschool.com)

Wild Rice Stuffing PDF

Suzanne’s Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie (GF if you make a gluten-free pie crust)

Apple Turnovers (The apple filler recipe can be used in an apple pie – see the original post for a recipe for a streusel topping.  The best GF pie crust I have found is made using Pamela’s Products GF Bread Mix Easy Pie Crust recipe)

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Pie (GF option if you make a gluten-free crust or use Glutino’s GF wafer cookies)

Cookie Crumb Pie Shell (from www.dianaskitchen.com)  You can use GF cookies in the recipe.

You can also try the GF Graham cracker recipe, but instead of making crackers, roll out the dough and treat it like pastry dough – the edges might fall if you make it too thin, but in theory I can’t see why it wouldn’t work as a pie shell!  It would be great for pumpkin pie (especially with the Vegan Pumpkin Mousse) or for chocolate cream pie…

Raw Caramel Dip – Yum!

Apple season is upon us, and it sure seems like they had a good growing season. All of the new crop apples I have tried have been crisp and delicious. For this week’s recipe demo, I wanted to be sure to include them for that reason. I check Ali Segersten’s blog (of Whole Life Nutrition cookbook fame, written with her sweetie Tom Malterre, which you can find at the Co-op) www.NourishingMeals.com from time to time, and came across her post for a raw “caramel” dip recipe and it sounded so good (and easy!!) that I had to try it.

I was not disappointed. The recipe calls for fresh Medjool dates, raw cashews, and a little bit of maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. You soak the dates and cashews (separately) for 2-3 hours and then throw everything into a blender or Vita-Mix and presto – a delicious vegan, gluten-free dip that smells like cookies and tastes like caramel!

I sampled the dip with locally grown Bellewood Acres Jonagold apples – they are slightly tart and very crisp – a perfect complement to a locally created recipe! FYI – they give farm tours at Bellewood September 1st – December 31st between 10am-6pm. I spoke with a customer who just went out there with her kids and she said that they had a lot of fun, and so did she!

photo honeycrisp apples raw caramel dip

Raw Caramel Dip © 2010 Sassy Sampler

RAW CARAMEL DIP

http://www.nourishingmeals.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c raw cashews *
  • 1 c medjool dates, pitted (about 8-10 dates)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 t vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Date soaking water as needed

* cashews are technically not raw because they are heated to remove the shell.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the cashews into a small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Place the pitted dates into a separate small bowl and cover with water.  Let soak for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews, then place them into a blender or a Vita-Mix, along with the drained dates (save the date soaking water).
  4. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  5. Add about 6—8 T of the date water and blend all ingredients until ultra smooth, scraping down the sides if needed.
  6. Scoop into small bowls and serve with sliced, fresh apples.

Raw Caramel Dip PDF

Tom Malterre and Ali Segersten wrote the Whole Life Nutrition cookbook.  Tom is the Co-op’s nutritionist — you can find him twice a month at the Co-op. Check the most recent Co-op newsletter for dates/times.  He will be here to answer your questions about healthy eating, nutrition, and diets.  We are lucky to have them so accessible – a customer told me today that she learned about Tom and Ali while she was living in Arizona and followed her blog, and was so excited when she moved here and found out they were local!

Alissa Segersten received her Bachelor’s of Science from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She is the previous owner of a Personal Chef business in Seattle, Washington that successfully addressed the health and lifestyle needs of many families with her delicious, healthy cooking. She is currently a cooking instructor and author of the food blog http://www.nourishingmeals.com, empowering people with cooking skills and knowledge of whole foods so that they may reconnect with the pleasure in eating delicious, nourishing food.

Tom Malterre received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and is licensed by the state of Washington as a Certified Nutritionist. Tom travels throughout the United States and Canada lecturing at conferences on topics such as Vitamin D, Gluten Intolerance, and Digestive Health. He empowers people through classes, seminars, and private counseling with his insight and depth of knowledge on the biochemical interactions within our body and their relationship to our diet .

Watermelon Tomato Salad – say what?

That’s right, you read that correctly!  I made a huge batch of Watermelon Tomato Salad (Tomelon Salad?) and it wasn’t even a Friday the 13th punk!

I knew the weather was going to be warm today, and since we have such glorious local produce, I knew a refreshing salad would be the ticket.  I know what you’re thinking – how could watermelon and tomato (with green onions no less!) be combined into anything that anyone would want to eat?  I found the “recipe” in this month’s Bon Appétit magazine and had to try it.  I figured that since it was Bon Appétit that it had to be good, right?

Everyone who approached my sample station today was skeptical (well, except for the one customer who got all excited when he saw what I was sampling – he said his mom used to make a salad like this), and it was really fun to see their looks of wonder once they had tasted this unique concoction.  A coworker even told me that he doesn’t like watermelon OR tomatoes, yet was pleasantly surprised that he liked this salad.

Here is the recipe – I think it would be riot to take to a potluck with no explanation (it is technically a fruit salad after all, and it does taste great!).  It got a big thumbs up from the more than 40 people who sampled it, so take a chance!  I used local organic tomatoes from The Growing Garden, local organic green onions, seedless watermelon from Oregon, and goat feta cheese (which is a little milder).

Watermelon Tomato Salad Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Watermelon Tomato Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 c Watermelon

2 c Tomatoes

~ 1/4 c  green onions

1 T Lemon juice

2 T Extra-virgin olive oil

Feta cheese (to taste)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

1. Cut (seeded) watermelon and tomatoes into equal sized chunks until you have 2 cups of each.

2. Finely chop green onions until you have about a ¼ c.

3. Gently toss the watermelon, tomatoes, and green onions together in a bowl.

4. Refrigerate salad until you are ready to eat (chill at least a ½ hour or so).

5. Measure olive oil in a measuring cup and whisk in the fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Gently mix into the salad.

6. Sprinkle feta cheese on top (either on top of each serving or over the whole dish).

7. Enjoy!

Leftover watermelon?  Make some easy watermelon ice pops!  Simply fill your blender with chunks of watermelon (there is no need to remove the seeds).  Puree the fruit then pour it through a sieve, discarding the solids.  Add fresh lemon juice and sugar to taste, and then freeze them in molds.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad PDF

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad

I have been sampling a lot of sweet things this month, so I wanted to sample something today that would be a little lighter (and a little more healthy!).  It was an easy decision to sample a salad, since we have so much beautiful local produce in stock right now!

I found a tasty sounding recipe in the August edition of Redbook Magazine that fit the bill, and I was off.  I used local, organic zucchini (both green and yellow) from Broad Leaf Farm, organic carrots from Hopewell Farm (always a popular item at the Co-op), and beautiful gigantic bunches of organic basil from The Growing Garden (owned and operated by one of our very own Board members).  I got out the vegetable peeler and went to work!

The salad is tossed with an anise seed balsamic vinaigrette, and with the basil, the anise added a subtle, refreshing spice to the salad. This was extremely easy to make, and looks like you spent hours creating a gourmet dish worthy of any restaurant.  Customers loved how refreshing and light it was, and it would go great with about anything you would throw on the grill!

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad (all local!) Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 small zucchini

2 small yellow summer squash

2 large carrots

24 basil leaves, slivered

3 T balsamic vinegar

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 t anise seeds

1/2 t sea salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Trim ends of zucchini and squash.  Using vegetable peeler, shave each squash into long, wide, very thin strips.  When you reach the center of the squash (where the seeds are), give the squash a quarter turn and continue slicing.  Repeat on all four sides until you only have the center column left.

2. Shave the carrots in the same fashion.

3. Toss zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons with the basil in a large serving bowl.

4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, anise seeds, salt, and pepper.

5. Drizzle over vegetable ribbons and toss.

6. Serve immediately.

This salad is not only pretty, but a snap to make utilizing local vegetables!

Serve it with almost anything that you BBQ for a refreshing side.

Summer Squash and Carrot Salad PDF