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Asian Cabbage Slaw

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables. And especially the purple variety.

It will always lend a touch of beauty to your dinner table.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Here, it takes the center of an Asian-influenced coleslaw, which swaps mayo for olive oil and a touch of sesame. A splash of rice vinegar adds some acid, while soy sauce creates a salty component.

And one of the best parts? The crunchy, salty peanuts on top, cut with the freshness of chopped cilantro.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

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Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I’ve been eating my weight in greens, thanks to this new community garden plot of mine. Some slightly poor planning has left me with little other than kale, collards, swiss chard and tatsoi. I’m waiting with patience for cucumbers and tomatoes, and am in the meantime throwing down a greens party nearly every night in the FoodFitnessFreshAir kitchen.

I really haven’t any serious complaints about it though.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

I do have some little baby carrots and radishes growing, which make an appearance in this recipe. And some lettuce from a friendly neighbor. Both worked well to construct the bed of salad that’s placed beneath the real stars of this dish: salmon and collard green pesto.

Since crispy broiled salmon speaks for itself, let’s get straight to the pesto.

Currently, I have no basil in sight, aside from a few slow growing plants on my back porch. Likely you don’t either.

What there is an abundance of this time of year, however, is greens. And as mentioned above, thankfully I’ve got a ton with which to work. Regardless of whether you’re reaping the same harvest or not, I’d encourage you to give this a go. This time of year, I guarantee it’ll be cheaper, and just as tasty, as traditional basil pesto. And even a little healthier, too.

I tell you, collard greens make for one nutrient-packed pesto.

Salad with Salmon and Collard Green Pesto

If you do have basil laying around, feel free to throw it in with the greens. You could also swap the collards for other greens, such as swiss chard or baby kale. Stay away from greens that are on the more bitter side or are more matured, which will reap a heavier flavor. These could have their place too in pesto, but not aside the delicacy of roasted salmon.

If you have any other green-loaded recipes, please share! I’m looking to freeze a bunch of this pesto for the winter, but would love to hear your ideas, too. Let me know how you’re using kale/collards this year!

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Pickled Carrots and Ginger

Pickled Carrots

Whenever I go over to my friend Katie’s house, she’s always cooking up something interesting. A few weeks ago, it was fried pickles with a spicy aioli sauce. Last week, I was sampling fresh pickled carrots she popped out from the fridge and jarred pickled green tomatoes from last fall’s crop. Both briny occasions were delish in distinctly different ways.

Like myself, Katie grew up with two foodie parents, so naturally we get along quite well. She is the one to convince me why fiddlehead ferns will be an essential crop of our small, urban garden. And why the banning of raw milk is downright silly.

Katie lives, with ten others, in an old, colossal Philly row-home.  Equipped with more bedrooms than I can count, and a Butler’s staircase leading to the kitchen, they’ve fittingly deemed it “The Mansion”. If I could handle that style of living, you know I’d be there living and cooking with Katie. Dawn to beyond midnight, someone’s always stewing something on the stove of The Mansion. I could definitely get into that.

Anyway, as I’ve said, there’s been a lot of pickling going down after Katie got her boyfriend a whole book on the subject. His latest project: homemade sauerkraut. They introduced me to the fact that fresh pickles (aka, the kind that don’t involve any canning), are actually incredibly simple to make. Naturally, it didn’t take long till I was at home making my own.

After sifting through the internet, most recipes I found stuck strictly with dill. However, for me it was the cumin in Katie’s carrots that made them stand out, which is how this recipe was born. I ended up combining the two flavors, and then added some ginger to create one heck of a winter-themed pickle. If you can handle the heat — which does get dulled by the pickling process — the ginger slices make a great after-dinner, digestive-aiding treat.

For more on the subject, check out Katie and Greg’s post on DIY pickling!

Click here for recipe…

Roasted Ratatouille Pizza

Pre-cheese phase

“Homemade” anything, and it’s usually 100 times better than its pre-packaged counterpart.  Except for pizza.  I almost always find homemade pizza to be subpar.  It’s comparable to the frozen version, which is almost never as good as your neighborhood delivery.  Or better yet, that brick oven joint whose pizza stone you dream of.  Nope, never had a homemade pizza that tasted like that.  Then again, maybe that just means I need to introduce some more dough boys into my life.

But I still enjoy making a homemade pizza from time to time.  They’re fun to make, and the possibility of combining whatever toppings one could desire always gets me excited.  When you have quality toppings, homemade pizza can actually turn out better than delivery.  Even when your crust skills are terrible and the store-bought one doesn’t pull through.  Take the previous pizza I made before this one, which included an avocado so ripe I was tempted to devour the whole pie in one night. (Wouldn’t want a good avocado to go wasted…that always merits a few too many “I shouldn’t eat anymore” bites, right?)

And then there’s this one— a ratatouille pizza filled with so many roasted garden veggies, there’s virtually no way it could be deficient in flavor.  In fact, this was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, and certainly one of the best I’ve ever made, even with the store-bought, whole wheat crust.  The roasted veggies create an all-in-one, caramelized topping/sauce combo. that is heaven in a slice.  Add some Daiya for an extra creamy pie, and don’t be shy on going heavy on the veggies.  I may not have the dough-stretching, pizza-tossing skills of a multi-generational pizza-making family, nor will I likely ever, but man do I have the top half covered.  More pizza please.
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