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mustard

Spinach and Komatsuna with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

I recently teamed up with my friend Nicole over at Vestige Home to create this fresh and easy spring meal. Nicole makes gorgeous hand-carved wooden creations, like that walnut bowl pictured above.

Photographing food is always ten times easier when you have beautiful dish-ware to work with!

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Inspired by a CSA bounty, we settled on a greens and shiitake saute over this brown rice mix that Nicole picked up from a local New Jersey farm. I had nooo idea that rice could be cultivated on the east coast, let alone right next door to me in New Jersey. Apparently the farm, Bloom Moon Acres, uses a dry farming technique, allowing them to produce rice on a local scale.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

The rice was quite tasty and the perfect nutty and chewy compliment to the tender spinach and mustard that came to top it. I’d recommend using a black rice or a black and brown rice mix yourself if making this recipe.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Both Nicole and I were quite pleased with how quickly and easily this recipe came together. After cooking the rice, you can just about?pull this all together in 10 minutes or so.

That’s one of the perks to working with spinach, which cooks up fast in comparison to other greens, as does the komatsuna.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

What is komatsuna? Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard green with a flavor profile that lays in between spinach and mustard. It’s definitely a bit milder than regular mustard greens.

Most Asian markets should carry it, as will Whole Foods. However, if you can’t find it, you could swap it for mustard greens, but definitely seek out a baby variety so that you don’t end up with something too bitter for the delicate flavors of this dish.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

We chose toasted almonds to top complete the meal, adding a crunch and a subtle nuttiness that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the dish.

To toast, simply heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the almonds. Stirring regularly, cook for 5 minutes or so, until the almonds begin to brown. At this point, you’ll want to remove them from the pan so that they don’t continue to cook and end up burning.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

A squeeze of lemon finishes everything off, drawing out the brightness of all of the ingredients.

Serve among two to three people for a light lunch or share among many (six) as a side. Nicole has some nice serving dishes that can help you with this step…!

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Dijon Herb Salmon

“There’s a worm in this kale,” I say rather nonchalantly as I prepare to plate myself a healthy portion from the pan. When dining in the early fall at my parents house, don’t be surprised to find a dead worm in the steamer basket. “Oh, it’s that time of year. Just pick it out, it won’t hurt you,” my dad likes to tell me. Just another natural part of living from the garden, I suppose.

But then I find another worm.

And another.

And another.

I don’t know why I even continued to take the prongs and move the leaves around in the pan because by the third worm, there was no way I’d be putting any kale onto my plate. My parents on the other hand, they went right on munching on the leafy greens. A little “protein” they like to say, just in case one slips into their stomach.

Luckily, I prepared the rest of the meal for the last family dinner occasion we had. And I made certain there were no insects anywhere near the ingredient vicinity. I like bugs in my photography, not my food.

Below, a simple, standby salmon dish that I use time and time again. This can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled for a larger crowd.

Click here for recipe…

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

The fruitiness and the sweetness of pomegranate juice makes it the perfect ingredient to lace slightly bitter arugula greens.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

-1/2 cup pomegranate juice
-1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons mustard
-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 generous tsp. salt
-Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Whisk all the above ingredients together.

Salad

-1 part arugula to 1 part romaine lettuce
-3-4 sliced strawberries
-Crumbled feta or goat cheese, or diced tofu
-Fresh ground pepper, to taste
-Pomegranate dressing, to taste