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Strawberry-Cucumber Simple Syrup

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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

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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

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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. 

Blanched Chard Leaves

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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

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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.

Mad River Grain Toast with Goat Cheese Spread, Lettuce & Smoked Salmon

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Mad River Grain Toast with Goat Cheese Spread, Lettuce & Smoked Salmon

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Snack/Appetizer | Diet: Omnivore

This simple but elegant toast makes a great snack, but you can also pair it with a nice salad and some soup, and make it a meal! 

  1. Preheat your broiler on high.
  2. Cut the bread into slices that are as thin or as thick as you'd like.
  3. Put the bread slices on a sheet pan, and brush with a little bit of oil.
  4. Broil until slightly toasted on one side. Turn, and do the same to the other side. 
  5. When the bread is cool, spread with goat cheese. 
  6. Top with lettuce. If the leaves are bigger than the bread pieces, you can cut them down to size. 
  7. The smoked salmon from Starbird fish is not pre-sliced, so you could make it into big flakes with your fork, and place the flakes on top of your toast. If you happen to have sliced salmon, instead, just drape a slice or two over the toast. 

Garlicky Cucumber, Dill, Lemon & Goat Cheese Spread

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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. 

Roasted Radishes

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Roasted Radishes

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: SpringSummerFall | Type: Veggie Side Dish | Diet: Vegan/GF/DF

If you get tired of eating them raw, radishes can also be roasted. In the oven, their bright red skin changes to a vibrant fuchsia. Serve with fatty meats, as a bit of a palate cleanser. 

  • Radishes
  • Olive oil or another oil you prefer
  • Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse the radishes, and cut off the tops (if you haven't already for storage), leaving about an inch of stem. 
  3. On a baking sheet or in a baking dish, toss the radishes with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Roast until just tender, and slightly wrinkled, around 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

 

Scallion Vinaigrette

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Scallion Vinaigrette

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment/Dressing | Diet: Vegan/GF

A slight variation on a basic vinaigrette, this one uses scallions on place of the usual shallots. 

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup neutral or nutty oil (such as grapeseed or sunflower)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, or another vinegar you prefer
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup scallion (the green part), chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. If you’re using a blender, combine all of the ingredients, and purée. The mustard will act as an emulsifier, which means that it will allow the oil and vinegar to mix, and it will make the resulting dressing seem creamy, even though it isn’t.
  2. If you’re making the dressing by hand, you could combine all of the ingredients in a jar, cover it with a lid, and shake it. Or, you could combine everything except the oil in a bowl, and drizzle in the oil while whisking. (If you are making the dressing by hand, cut the scallions into smaller pieces). 
  3. When you are dressing a salad, start with less dressing than you think you’ll need, add it to the bowl with the greens, and toss gently with tongs. Taste a leaf, and add more dressing, or salt, as needed. 

 

Raw Radishes with Compound Butter

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Raw Radishes with Compound Butter

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Spring, Summer, Fall | Type: Appetizer, Snack | Diet: Veg/GF

In France, it's common to eat raw radishes dipped in butter. If the butter is flavored, it's even more fun! 

  1. Quarter the radishes (or cut them in slices, if you'd prefer), and dip them into the butter. If the butter isn't heavily salted, you could sprinkle the radishes with a little bit of salt. 

Compound Butter

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Compound Butter

Recipe Level: Basic | Active Time: Quick | Season: Any | Type: Basic | Diet: Veg/GF* | Labels: N/A

Compound butter is incredibly simple to make. You just soften butter, and stir in another flavorings you like. You can serve it warm, or chill it in rolls so that you can cut it into pretty slices. 

  • Butter, softened
  • Flavorings, such as: 
    • Alliums: such as chives, garlic, shallot, or red onion; minced. You could also use roasted garlic or caramelized onions. 
    • Spices: such as smoked paprika, black pepper, 
    • Fresh herbs: such as dill, basil, parsley, sage, thyme, or tarragon; minced
    • Salt: smoked salt is excellent in compound butter

Mix your chosen flavorings into the softened butter. You can spoon it into a crock and serve it as-is, or you can wrap it in plastic wrap, form it into a log shape, and refrigerate it. Then, once it has set, you can cut it into slices for serving. 

Uses for compound butter: 

  • a spread for sandwiches or toast
  • a dip for fresh, crunchy vegetables
  • put it on top of a grilled or seared steak
  • rub chicken with it before you pop it in the oven to roast.
  • any other place you'd use plain butter, but think flavored butter would be better! 

Sautéed Shaved Asparagus

Asparagus

Shaving asparagus makes it even quicker to cook. This makes a lovely side dish, and can be used as a garnish for pasta, rice, couscous, on top of soup, or anywhere else you would use asparagus. And, because of the shape, it also makes a great sandwich topping. 

  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • Butter or olive oil, or another oil you prefer
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the asparagus spears. Cut off the tips, and reserve for another use. Sometimes the thick end of the stalk is woody. If this is the case, trim that section off, leaving the tender part of the spear.  
  2. Follow these directions for shaving asparagus
  3. Heat the butter or oil in a pan, until the butter sizzles, or the oil shimmers.
  4. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. 
  5. Add asparagus ribbons and cook, stirring, until bright green and tender. 
  6. Use in any way you desire. 

 

Blueberry Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote

Blueberry Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote

Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: Spring | Type: Main Dish | Diet: Vegetarian

Yum, pancakes! The sweet maple syrup and the tangy rhubarb are a great combo. 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, oat milk, or buttermilk
  • Frozen blueberries (as little or as many as you'd like)
  • Extra butter for cooking
  • Rhubarb compote
  • Maple syrup
  1. Heat the oven to 200-degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients, including melted butter, egg, maple syrup, and the milk of your choice. 
  4. Add frozen blueberries.
  5. Let the batter rest for five minutes.
  6. Heat a heavy pan or griddle over medium heat. 
  7. Melt a pat of butter, and pour batter into skillet by quarter cups. 
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until you can see bubbles on the sides and center of each pancake. 
  9. Flip, and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1-2 minutes. 
  10. Place cooked pancakes on a plate in the oven while you cook the remaining pancakes. 
  11. When all of the pancakes are done, serve with rhubarb compote and maple syrup. 

 

Rhubarb Compote

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Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Spring | Type: Condiment - Flexible | Diet: Vegan/GF/DF

The tangy sweet flavor of rhubarb makes a perfect topping for sweet baked goods and pancakes, but it's also great in sauces for roasted meats. This compote can be used as a dessert sauce, mixed into mayonnaise for a tangy sandwich spread, or added to our basic vinaigrette. If you'd like to jazz up the compote, you can add: apples, strawberries, raspberries, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or vanilla. 

  • 1/2 pound rhubarb
  • 1 orange
  • maple syrup to taste
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Rinse the rhubarb and slice the stalks into chunks (the size of the pieces isn't super important because the resulting sauce will be a puree). 
  2. Put the rhubarb pieces in a small saucepan.
  3. Rinse the orange, use a microplane or small grater to zest it. (Click here for more info about zesting citrus fruit). Add the zest to the rhubarb.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the zested orange, and add it to the rhubarb, as well.
  5. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup to start. It's likely that you'll add more, later. 
  6. Add a pinch of salt, and any other spices or complementary fruits that you desire.
  7. Heat the pot over medium heat, and cook until the rhubarb has disintegrated into a sauce. 
  8. Taste the sauce: if it's too tangy for you, add more maple syrup to sweeten it. You can add vanilla if you wish. 

Sautéed Asparagus & Bok Choi

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Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Spring | Type: Side - Veggie | Diet: Vegan/GF/DF

  • 3-4 stems asparagus
  • 1 -2 heads of bok choi
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil (I use this to add flavor, but you can use your cooking oil of choice)
  • salt and pepper
  • optional tamari sauce
  1. Rinse the asparagus and cut off any woody bits at the bottom. Slice them in half the long way, then cut into approximately 2 inch lengths
  2. Cut the base off of the bok choi. Rise the leaves. Slice each leaf in half so that you separate the green top from the white bottom part of the leaf. Slice the white pieces into thin strips and set aside. Then, chop the green leafy tops, and set aside. 
  3. Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan for a couple of minutes. Add the asparagus pieces and the white bottom pieces of the bok choi with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook until they are just becoming tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 - 7 minutes. These pieces need more cooking time than the leafy greens, which you'll add next.
  5. Test a piece - when the bok choi and asparagus are just a little bit less tender than you like them, add the leafy green tops in to the pan. Stir well, and cover for about 2 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and serve - season to taste with salt and pepper and tamari.

Recipe & Photo by Kendall Frost

Easy Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: Spring | Type: Soup - Hot | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

If you have some chicken or veggie stock kicking around the house, you can make this quick, easy, and elegant soup in no time! 

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces chicken or veggie stock
  • white wine vinegar, to taste
  1. Rinse the asparagus and cut off any woody bits at the bottom. 
  2. Cut the asparagus into segments, setting the tips aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a medium-sized saucepan, when it sizzles, add the asparagus pieces, minus the tips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until bright green.
  5. Add the stock, and simmer until tender.
  6. Purée in a blender or food processor, or in the pot using an immersion blender. 
  7. Taste the soup for seasoning, and add vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. 
  8. If you wish, you can sauté the asparagus tips and use them as garnish. You can also add a bit if heavy cream, if you'd like. 

 

 

Baked Mashed Potatoes

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Recipe Level: Creative | Recipe Speed: Average | Season: All | Type: Starchy Side | Diet: Vegetarian

I know, I know...it's not the most beautiful picture. But, I promise that these baked mashed potatoes are totally delicious! Baking them makes a little bit of a brown, crispy crust on top, which adds a pleasing texture. This is a quick and easy version of a dish called "Duchess Potatoes," which involves piping the mashed potatoes into cute little piles and baking them. If you want to see the fancy version, click here. The truth is, I was going to put them in a pastry bag and pipe them, but then I realized I'd have to peel 'em, and I wanted to keep the skin on. 

  • 6 golden potatoes
  • salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
  • more salt and some pepper
  • a smidgen of ground nutmeg, if you'd like
  • 6 egg yolks, whisked
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse the potatoes and cut them into eighths. 
  2. Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and return to the pot. At this point, preheat the broiler on high. 
  3. Add butter, cheese, salt and pepper, and nutmeg (if desired). Mash the potatoes. If you don't have a potato masher, you can use a whisk. That's one of my favorite chef tricks. 
  4. Thoroughly mix in the yolks.
  5. Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish, add the potatoes, and smooth them out. 
  6. Broil until the top is dotted with brown. Serve. 

Spiced Yogurt with Cucumber & Garlic

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Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

This is a riff on Greek tzatziki, which has some things in common with Indian raita. It's a combination of yogurt and cucumber, with some spices mixed in. As with many of our recipes, it's very flexible, and you can change it to suit your palate, and your mood. This is a very basic, rustic version of the recipe, but if you'd like, you could make it a little more elegant by starting with strained yogurt, or by salting the cucumber, letting them sit for a while, and squeezing them out a bit before adding them to the yogurt.

I use this as a topping for potato pancakes, as a cooling ingredient on spicy meat or bean dishes, or eaten alone, as a snack. 

  • 1/2 of a slicing cucumber
  • 2 cups yogurt, or strained yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive or walnut oil
  • Herbs and spices to taste: I used dill, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Cayenne would be a great addition if you like heat. Ground caraway seed would be excellent, too. 
  1. Rinse the cucumber, and grate it on the largest side of a box grater. 
  2. Mix the cucumber and yogurt. 
  3. Add oil and season to taste. 

Goat Cheese with Scallion & Lemon

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Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: All | Type: Condiment | Diet: Vegetarian/GF

This delicious concoction has many uses. Toss it with hot, fresh pasta and it will turn into a light, creamy sauce. Spread it on sandwiches, or slices of toast. Use it to stuff ravioli. Put it on an omelette, or on a salad. Eat it with a spoon. 

  • 8 ounces chevre
  • a glug of olive oil, or walnut oil
  • The zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 scallions (I actually used the leaves of wild leeks when I made this. You could also use shallot, chives, or garlic, in place of the scallion).
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Dump the chevre into a bowl. 
  2. Add some oil, I use about a tablespoon, and the lemon zest and juice
  3. Rinse the scallions and slice the green leaves into little rounds, reserving the white bulbs for another use (or throw it all in...it will be great either way). If you're using another allium, such as garlic or shallot, mince it before adding.
  4. Add some salt and pepper, and stir it all up. 
  5. Taste the concoction. Would you like it to be more tangy? If so, add more lemon juice, or a splash of vinegar. Does it need salt or pepper? Add some more. You could even get really wild and mix in some hot sauce, or kimchi brine, or anything else you desire. 

Wilted Collards

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Recipe Level: Basic | Recipe Speed: Quick | Season: Spring/Summer | Type: Veggie Side | Diet: Vegan/Vegetarian/GF/DF

This technique can be used for pretty much any green: think mustard, kale, chard, spinach, etc. I like to make batches of wilted greens, and put them on omelettes, add them to soup, or freeze them for later. They can become one of the layers in a cottage pie. I also eat them as a simple side dish.  

  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice or vinegar
  1. Wash the collards and strip them from their stems. Cut them stems into pieces.
  2. Roll up the leaves in one big bunch, and cut across the bundle to form strips (the fancy French term for this is "chiffonade.")
  3. With the burner on medium, heat the butter or oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. 
  4. When the fat is hot, add the stems and a sprinkling of salt, and cook until tender.
  5. Then, add the leaves, and continue cooking until the leaves have turned an even, deep green, and are also tender. 
  6. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
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