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herbs

Spring Greens & Herb Fritters

TIME: 30 MINUTES, SERVES: 6+
Adapted from Market Cooking by David Tanis

David Tanis’s original recipe calls for fennel fronds and spinach, which are also seasonal Spring veggies, and delicious in fritter-form. For this gluten-free version, I had an excess of pea shoots after our weekend farmers’ markets, and a bunch of dill and parsley. Truly, any combination of herbs and greens is delicious mixed with sharp cheese, egg, and then lightly fried. These are made with almond flour, but feel free to substitute equal amounts of bread crumbs.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. mixed herbs and greens (I used pea shoots, dill, & parsley)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup packed Parmesan, Pecorino, or other sharp cheese
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sumac (opt.)
1 tsp. lemon zest
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Avocado oil, or other high-heat oil for frying

METHOD

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

  2. Add the herbs and greens and blanch for a minute to wilt. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water. Squeeze dry and finely chop. You should have about 1 cup of packed greens.

  3. Transfer chopped greens to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, minus the frying oil. Form into 2-inch diameter patties. If you don’t intend to serve all of them at once, save the mixture in the fridge for future frying.

  4. Pour the oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan to coat. Working in batches, fry the patties, turning once until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.

  5. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel. Serve warm alongside a mixture of crème fraîche, lemon zest and salt.

Roasted Carrots with Fresh Herbs & Spices

TIME: 30 MINUTES, SERVES: 4
Adapted from NYT Cooking

Carrots are sweetest during Spring and Fall—look for them with tops still attached at your local farmers’ market. However, when storing them, remove the tops because they continue to draw moisture out of the root. Fresh, organic carrots are a completely different beast than the bland storage carrots you find bagged at grocery stores. The fresh herbs pair beautifully with the pungent spices, and the butter (or coconut oil) balances the earthy sweetness of the carrot. Feel free to roast other roots alongside, or even in place of carrots. I’ve made this recipe with a mix of radishes, salad turnips, and other Spring roots. In the Fall, try parsnips, turnips, & rutabagas—anything that takes on the glorious golden hue of turmeric.

INGREDIENTS

2 bunches carrots; halved if young, or chopped into similarly sized, 1” chunks
1 - 2 tbls. high-heat cooking oil (Avocado, sunflower, etc.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbls. butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. each cumin seed, fennel seed, nigella seed, black mustard seed
1/4 tsp. each ground coriander & red pepper flakes
1 tbls. fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tbls. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbls. fresh mint, finely chopped (opt.)
Half of a lemon or lime (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Toss carrots with the oil, salt, & pepper and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring and rotating halfway through. They should be slightly browned and caramelized.

  3. While the carrots are roasting, melt the butter/ghee/coconut oil in a small pan. Add the dry spices and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

  4. When the carrots are tender, remove from the oven. Pour the spice mixture over and stir to coat. Add more salt if necessary and spritz with the lemon or lime, to taste.

  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the freshly chopped herbs over top. Alternately, mix everything together for easy serving.

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Sweet Corn, Sungold, & Cilantro Salad

TIME: 15 MINUTES; SERVES: 4

In the dog days of Summer, heat can make it difficult to grow tasty salad greens. This can be bothersome because we oftentimes crave a refreshing, crunchy, raw salad when it’s so dang hot out.

Cue the “Summer Salad!” This is one of my favorites because it epitomizes everything about the season, and takes just a few minutes to prep. For a more savory spin, substitute regular ol’ red cherry tomatoes or chopped plum tomatoes for the super sweet Sungolds. If you don’t like cilantro, use basil! Parsley! Dill! I love to add a little feta in there, but this can also be 100% vegan.

INGREDIENTS

3 ears very fresh sweet corn, kernels shaved off (save cobs for stock)
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, or herb(s) of choice
1 pint Sungold cherry tomatoes or red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbls. red onion or shallot, minced
1 oz. feta cheese (opt.)
Vinaigrette
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

METHOD

  1. Mix together the vinaigrette ingredients.

  2. Gently toss together the salad ingredients.

  3. Dress with half the vinaigrette. Taste, and add more if necessary.

  4. Serve alongside grilled fish, chicken, or a couple hard boiled eggs. Or try half an avocado spritzed with lime if it’s just too dang hot.

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Zucchini Noodles with Walnut Pesto

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 2

Zucchini noodles, or ‘Zoodles’, have become somewhat of a mascot within the low-carb food community. I have a tendency to approach most food trends with a level of skepticism. Food marketing generally operates from a profit-forward standard, rather than nutritional or ecological. So when a fancy new super food promising “antioxidant-rich!” “sugar-free!” or “healthy!” pops up, I have three main standards on whether it’s worth investigating: 1. Can I grow this? 2. If not, can it be purchased locally? 3. If so, is it grown or raised organically/responsibly?

“Zoodles” pass through all these hoops for me. Even though I wouldn’t label summer squash a nutrition powerhouse, it is yummy and we do grow it. Zoodles have become a gluten-free answer to that slurpy, noodly craving that can hit without warning.

Granted, I’ll eat grilled or roasted zucchini any day alongside a rich pesto dip, but this is a fun way to mix it up. Zoodles can also shine in a light, savory broth, or with a cream-based sauce. I purchased a 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer, and even though it takes up a fair amount of kitchen space and is a little bulky, it’s so easy to use and clean, I have no hesitation busting it out.

I use the word “pesto” very loosely in this recipe. Feel free to make it dairy-free by cutting out the optional Parmesan, or substitute different nuts, seeds, or herbs.

INGREDIENTS

Zoodles
1 large zucchini or 2 medium (Even though the smaller squash generally taste better, I’ve found the larger ones easier to “spiralize")
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. high heat oil, bacon grease, or butter/ghee
(Dairy-free) Walnut “Pesto”
2 cups packed Italian basil (I use the whole plant: leaves, tender stems, flowers, etc.). You can substitute parsley or arugula for some or all of the basil.
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup walnuts or favorite nut (pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
1 - 2 tbls. water to thin, if necessary
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (opt.)

METHOD

  1. For the pesto, put all ingredients except water into a food processor and process until very smooth. If not using Parmesan, it is important to use a generous amount of salt—start with less and add to taste after blending. If it’s too thick, add a tbls. at a time of water. You will need to use enough oil to coat the noodles in a smooth sauce.

  2. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a mandolin with a julienne blade or a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons. You can even julienne by hand if you’re confident in your knife skills.

  3. Sprinkle the zoodles with salt and let sit for a few minutes in a colander.

  4. Heat cooking fat in a large skillet. Sear the zoodles in a single layer. Do not stir, rather let them slightly brown on one side and then flip over. It is very important they don’t crowd the pan so that they sear quickly. Crowding results in soggy, overcooked zoodles. Transfer to a wide serving dish.

  5. Top with the pesto and mix very gently to incorporate. Serve topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and chicken, or alongside a few slices of bacon and crumbled goat cheese

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Turmeric-Cauliflower with Smashed Garlic & Herbs

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 5 - 6
Adapted from Alison Roman

I make a version of this dish at least once a week when cauliflower is in season. The herbs add a fresh, grassy flavor that compliment the more pungent garlic & spices, and the cauliflower takes on a beautiful golden hue from the turmeric. Don’t fret if some of your cauliflower slices crumble apart—they become the highly sought-after crispy bits.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head cauliflower
6 - 8 cloves garlic (depending on size), smashed
3 tbls. olive oil, plus more for serving
1 tsp. each fennel & cumin seed
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground turmeric
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mixed herbs: parsley, cilantro, dill, mint; roughly chopped
1 - 2 oz. feta cheese (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.

  2. Slice cauliflower from top to bottom into 1/2 inch thick slices, including the core and inner leaves.

  3. Place cauliflower and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with fennel & cumin seed, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Roast until cauliflower has turned a deep golden brown and is slightly crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Flip the larger “steaks”, stir the smaller bits around and continue to roast until completely browned, another 8 - 10 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and top with herbs, optional feta, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds, Lemon & Parsley

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 5 - 6, as a side dish
Adapted from NYT Cooking

Peeking through the leaves of a cauliflower plant in October and finding its white, creamy center is one of the best Fall surprises a grower can experience. Toasted nuts, lemon & herbs haven’t failed me yet, and they surely do justice to a beautiful head of long-awaited cauliflower.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head cauliflower, florets & tender inner leaves chopped
3 tbls. olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbls. Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice & zest, plus more to taste
2 tbls. capers or chopped green olives (opt.)
1 - 2 oz. feta (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower & leaves with olive oil, salt, pepper & optional crushed red pepper flakes. Spread evenly onto a large baking sheet and roast until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes (the really crispy bits are the best), stirring & rotating the pan halfway to ensure even browning.

  2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes to avoid burning. Remove from heat, roughly chop, and set aside.

  3. Once the cauliflower is roasted, toss it in a large, shallow bowl with half the almonds and 1 tbls. parsley. Mix in capers/olives and feta if using. Top with remaining almonds, parsley, lemon juice & zest, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt to taste.

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