Roasted Salmon with Fennel Salad & Spiced Honey


Roasted Salmon with Fennel Salad & Spiced Honey

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Meal | Diet: O/GF

This is a quick, lovely dish to make in summer or fall. The oven will only need to be on for around 15 minutes (including preheating), and the result is delicious and unusual. Rice or couscous would make a good accompaniment. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees
  2. Coat a baking sheet with a little oil, and place on the salmon, skin-side down.
  3. Drizzle a little more oil atop the salmon, and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Roast the salmon for 8 minutes, and check it for doneness. Depending on your preferences, you could eat it when it's not opaque all the way through, or cook it until it is. 
  5. Remove from the oven, place on top of the fennel salad, and spread on a couple spoonfuls of seasoned honey. 

Shaved Fennel with Orange


Shaved Fennel with Orange

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: V/GF

A quick way to use fennel, this salad makes a great foil for fatty meat or seafood dishes. 

  • 1 bulb fennel, cut in half and with the core cut out

  • zest and juice of one orange

  • a couple tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 bulb shallot, minced

  • a splash of white wine vinegar

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. If you have a mandoline, use it to slice the fennel. If not, slice the bulb as thinly as you can, using a chef knife.

  2. In a small bowl, toss the fennel with the other ingredients.

  3. Taste for seasoning. Does it need more acidity? How about salt? Adjust as needed.

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Beverage | Diet: V/GF

This quick and refreshing drink is a good way to use up extra cucumbers. You can make it with watermelon, too. 

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and cut into chunks
  • the zest and juice of two limes
  • 2 tablespoons honey, thinned with 1/2 cup hot water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a handful of ice cubes
  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients except the ice. 
  2. Purée until uniform. 
  3. Pour through a strainer, pressing on the solids in the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Taste for seasoning. You could add more lime juice if you want the drink to be more tangy, honey if you'd like it to be sweeter, or salt if it seems to sweet, and unbalanced. 
  5. Chill, and serve over ice. 

Toasted Walnuts


Toasted Walnuts

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Garnish | Diet: V/GF

This same technique can be used to toast any kind of nut. You can also heat the nuts in a sauté pan on the stovetop. 

  • walnuts
  • a drizzle of olive oil, or any other kind of oil you prefer
  • salt to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375, if you feel comfortable keeping a close eye on the walnuts. If not, you can toast them at 325. 
  2. Put the nuts on a baking sheet, and toss with oil and salt.
  3. Cook until the nuts are golden brown, or a deeper brown, if you prefer. Nuts are one of the the things that restaurant chefs are most likely to burn, because they cook very quickly. This is a task to do when you have the wherewithal to be very attentive, for a few minutes. 


    Blueberry Vinaigrette


    Blueberry Vinaigrette

    Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Condiment, Dressing | Diet: V/GF

    A handful of blueberries brings a sweet, unusual flavor to a basic salad dressing. Don't have blueberries? You can substitute another fruit or berry, in their place. 

    • 1 cup sunflower oil, or 2/3 cup neutral oil and 1/3 cup olive oil

    • 1/3 cup white or red wine vinegar

    • 2 teaspoons mustard

    • 1 teaspoon salt

    • 1/2 shallot bulb, roughly chopped

    • 1/2 cup blueberries

    • pepper to taste

    1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until uniform.

    2. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. You may want to add more salt, or a little bit more vinegar.

    Seasoned Honey


    Seasoned Honey

    Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment | Diet: O/GF

    You can stir any herbs or spices into honey to make a sweet and savory condiment that's great for drizzling onto meat dishes, or onto fresh cheese. Here are some herbs you could try: mint, tarragon, thyme, oregano, savory. And a few spices that would work nicely: chipotle chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander. What else can you add? Alliums, such as garlic or garlic or red onion. 

    • 1/2 cup honey (if the honey is crystallized, you can warm it slightly to smooth it out)
    • 1 tablespoon minced fennel fronds
    • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
    • a couple pinches of salt
    • pepper to taste
    • citrus juice, if desired
    1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Taste, and re-season, as needed. 

    Cherry Tomato Salad with Pesto & Labneh


    Cherry Tomato Salad with Pesto & Labneh

    Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: O/GF

    This salad is a great way to use up cherry tomatoes. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the refreshing taste of herbs, and the tangy yogurt, make a great combination. 

    1. Toss the cut cherry tomatoes with pesto, to coat (you won't need the whole batch).
    2. Season with salt and pepper. 
    3. Top with spoonfuls of strained yogurt.

      Mixed Herb Pesto


      Mixed-Herb Pesto

      Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Condiment | Diet: V/GF

      This pesto can be made of a mix of herbs, or of herbs and greens (such as arugula, or spinach). You can make it without any nuts or other thickeners, which will mean that the herb flavors will really pop. Or you can add walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts, or throw in a little bit of bread, to give it a thicker texture.

      • 1/2 bunch parsley leaves, picked off the stems and rinsed
      • 1/2 bunch basil leaves, picked off the stems and rinsed
      • the zest of 1 lemon
      • the juice of 1 lemon
      • a few tablespoons olive oil
      • salt and pepper to taste
      • nuts, if desired. Walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, and cashews all go nicely in pesto. 
      1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Purée until the mixture is a smooth paste. If needed, you can add a little bit of water, or more oil, to thin out the pesto. 


        Wilted Spinach & Turnip Greens


        Wilted Spinach & Turnip Greens

        Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Spring, Summer, Fall | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: V, GF

        It doesn't get much easier than this! You can use this recipe for any greens you'd like. Wilted greens can be served as a side dish, piled onto a sandwich, added to a quiche or frittata, or stirred into soup.

        • olive or sunflower oil, or another oil you prefer
        • 1 bag spinach, rinsed
        • greens from 1 bunch turnips, rinsed
        • salt
        • pepper
        1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
        2. When the oil is hot, add the greens, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until they're bright green and wilted. 
        3. Done! 

        White Bean & Kale Dip


        White Bean & Kale Dip

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment, Dip | Diet: V, GF

        When you start with canned beans or Vermont Bean Crafters' frozen white beans, this recipe is a snap! You could use pretty much any wilted green if you don't have kale, or leave the veggies out altogether. This can be used as a dip for raw veggies, or as a sandwich spread.

        • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into strips
        • a little oil for the pan
        • water
        • salt & pepper
        • 1 container cooked white beans
        • 1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
        • 1/2 of a small red onion, roughly chopped
        • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
        1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan.
        2. When it's hot, add the kale, about 1/2 cup water, and salt and pepper. Cook until the water is evaporated, and the kale is tender. If you need to add more water, go for it! 
        3. While the kale is cooking, put the white beans, oil, onion, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
        4. When the kale is done, add it to the blender. Purée until the mixture reaches dipping texture. Some people might want it a little more rough, others might want it a little smoother. You can add more oil, if needed.
        5. Taste the dip. Does it need more salt, or acidity? If so, adjust as desired. 

        Chilled Cucumber Soup with Garlic & Olive Oil


        Chilled Cucumber Soup with Garlic & Olive Oil

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer | Type: Soup, Chilled | Diet: V, GF

        This quick, cold soup is a delicious way to use up cucumbers. You can dress it up with a dollop of sour cream or a little heavy cream, add a few sprigs of dill, or throw in some tomatoes. I like to leave the cucumber skins on, but you can peel the cucumbers, if you'd like. 

        • 2 slicing cucumbers, cut into chunks
        • 1/2 cup olive oil
        • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
        • 1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
        • salt and pepper to taste
        1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until the mixture is smooth (a little texture is ok...check out the picture!).
        2. Taste the soup...does it need more salt? More acidity? More zing from pepper? Do you want to add some herbs, or some cream? 
        3. Chill until nice and cold. 

        Pan-Seared Zucchini


        Pan-Seared Zucchini

        Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: V/GF

        Another basic recipe that you'll use all summer long. Because zucchini is mild tasting, cooking it in a way that develops some browning is a great flavor-building strategy. 

        • Olive oil, or another cooking oil of your choice
        • 2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced into rounds, or on a slant
        • salt
        • pepper
        1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is great).
        2. When it's hot, add enough oil to liberally coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil shimmers, add one layer of zucchini. It's best to keep the pieces from touching.
        3. Sprinkle the first side with salt and pepper. 
        4. When the first side is brown, use tongs or a pair of forks to flip each piece.
        5. Sprinkle the second side with salt and pepper.
        6. Cook until the second side is brown.
        7. Remove from pan.
        8. Repeat with remaining zucchini slices. 

        Seared Chicken Breast


        Seared Chicken Breast

        Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Main Course | Diet: GF/DF

        This basic recipe is useful in so many ways! Seared chicken breast can be served as an entrée, sliced and used in sandwiches, cut into chunks and made into chicken salad, or tossed into a grain bowl. 

        • 1 package chicken breasts
        • salt
        • pepper
        • a couple tablespoons olive oil, or another cooking oil you prefer
        1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
        2. Remove the chicken from its package and pat dry (you can use a clean kitchen towel if you'd like, or paper towels). Season both sides of the breasts with salt and pepper. 
        3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is great for this). When it's hot, add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken breasts.
        4. Cook the chicken until quite browned on the first side (see photo above). Not only does the browning build flavor, it also makes it easy to detach the chicken from the pan.
        5. Flip the chicken, turn off the burner, and place the pan in the oven.
        6. Cook the chicken to 165 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you can check the doneness by pressing on the meat -- it should feel firm, not springy -- or by cutting it open to see if it's opaque, and cream-colored rather than pink.
        7. When done, put on a plate, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 

        Strawberry-Cucumber Simple Syrup


        Strawberry-Cucumber Simple Syrup

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Basic | Diet: V/GF

        If you have any berries that are less than perfect, you can use them in this recipe! And, once you know how to make a simple syrup, you can make it with almost anything. Change up the fruit, add spices, mix in herbs...the sky's the limit. 

        • 2 cups water
        • 2 cups organic sugar
        • 5 ripe strawberries
        • a few hunks of cucumber
        • a smidgen of salt
        1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to the consistency of maple syrup. (In classic recipes, they'll say that you want the liquid to be thick enough that it coats the back of a spoon). 
        2. Remove from heat and let cool. When it's cook, strain out the strawberries and cucumber. I like to save them, and mix them into yogurt. 
        3. Use the syrup to make homemade soda, or cocktails. You can also drizzle it over ice cream.

        Arugula Salad with Strawberries & Lemon-Honey-Yogurt Dressing

        Salad Done.jpg

        Arugula Salad with Strawberries & Lemon-Honey-Yogurt Dressing

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: GF  

        You can make this salad with any dressing that you'd like. Toasted nuts or sunflower seeds would be a great addition, if you have them. 

        1. Wash and dry arugula (if it needs it, if it's already clean, I don't bother)
        2. Rinse and slice strawberries.
        3. Toss the arugula and strawberries with the dressing. 


        Lemon-Honey-Yogurt Salad Dressing


        Lemon-Honey-Yogurt Salad Dressing

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment-Dressing | Diet: GF

        This simple salad dressing is great with spicy greens, such as arugula.

        • 1 cup whole milk yogurt
        • 1/2 cup olive oil
        • 3 teaspoons shallot
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
        • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
        • 2 teaspoons honey
        • a few shakes black pepper
        1. Combine all ingredients, and stir. Taste for seasoning. If it needs more salt, lemon juice, honey, black pepper, add them. 

        Swiss Chard Wraps with Spiced Rice & Black Beans


        Swiss Chard Wraps with Spiced Rice and Black Beans

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: All | Type: Main Course | Diet: V/GF

        Don't have rice? You can wrap all kinds of other things up in chard leaves! Quinoa, sweet potatoes, refried beans, cheese, the list goes on. 

        1. Wrap the chard leaves around the rice and black beans, as described in the chard leaf recipe. 
        2. Combine the tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Thin with water until the sauce reaches a drizzle-able consistency. Taste the sauce....does it need more salt, lemon juice, or garlic? Add 'em! 
        3. Drizzle the sauce over the wraps, and serve. 

        Blanched Chard Leaves


        Blanched Chard Leaves

        Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Summer/Fall | Type: Basic | Diet: V/GF

        This recipe is a simple technique for cooking big green leaves just enough that you can roll them around a filling, and eat them! It's a great strategy for those who are avoiding gluten.

        1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
        2. Wash chard leaves, and trim the stems just below the bottom of the leaves. You can save the stems for another use. 
        3. Dunk the leaves in the boiling water, and let them cook for 30 seconds. 
        4. Scoop out the leaves, and place them in a large bowl. Immediately run cold water over the leaves, to stop them from cooking. 
        5. Using the point of a sharp knife, cut out the bottom third of the stem. The cut will be in the shape of a slender v.
        6. To wrap a filling in the chard leaf, place around 1/2 cup filling in the center of the leaf. Fold up the bottom of the leaf (the place where the tough stem that you just excised used to be), and the fold in the sides. Once the sides are folded, roll the leaf the rest of the way, to the tip. Voila!  


        Spiced Rice with Dried Fruit


        Spiced Rice with Dried Fruit

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Starchy Side | Diet: V/GF

        This makes a perfectly lovely side dish on its own, but can also be used as a filling for chard or cabbage wraps, or as a base for a casserole. If you have a robust selection of spices in your cupboards, you could add anything else that you think would be complementary. 

        • 4 1/2 cups water
        • 2 cups jasmine or Basmati rice
        • 2 teaspoons salt
        • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
        • 3/4 teaspoon coriander
        • A few grinds of black pepper
        • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
        • 1/3 cup dried currants, raisins, golden raisins, or cranberries
        1. In a medium pot, bring the water to a simmer. Stir in the rice, seasonings, garlic and dried fruit, and turn the heat to low. 
        2. Cover and let simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir after 15 minutes, and add a little more water, if needed. 
        3. When the rice is done, taste it. Does it need more seasoning? You could add additional salt and pepper, stir in more garlic, or drizzle on a little vinegar or lemon juice, if you want a bit of acidity. If you eat dairy, you could add some butter, which would give it a creamy mouthfeel.

        Garlicky Cucumber, Dill, Lemon & Goat Cheese Spread


        Garlicky Cucumber, Dill, Lemon & Goat Cheese Spread

        Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment | Diet: Veg/GF

        This goat cheese spread is infinitely malleable. In place of the lemon zest, cucumber, dill and garlic that are used in this recipe, you could substitute any allium (chive, red onion, scallion), any herb (parsley, cilantro, thyme, mint), and a wide variety of spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, etc.). 

        Its uses are as broad as the ingredients you can throw into the mix. It can be tossed with hot pasta as a light, creamy sauce. It's great as a sandwich spread. You can dollop it onto a salad as a garnish. Use it to top an omelette or frittata. Or simply use it as a spread on raw or roasted veggies. 

        • 1 tub goat cheese
        • a couple glugs of olive or sunflower oil
        • 1/8 cup diced cucumber (you want the cubes to be pretty small)
        • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
        • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
        • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (I like to use a microplane for this)
        • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • a few grinds or shakes of pepper
        1. Put the goat cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
        2. Add a couple tablespoons of oil, to make it creamier. You could also mix in softened butter, if you prefer.
        3. Add all of the flavoring ingredients, including the cucumber cubes, dill, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper.
        4. Stir the goat cheese with a fork or a wooden spoon. Taste the goat cheese, and figure out if it needs anything else. If you want it to be more tangy, add more lemon juice. If it tastes a little flat, try some additional salt. Is there anything that would make it more wonderful than it is?
        5. Once you're happy with the flavor, you're ready to spread, dollop and dot it onto anything you desire.