Spring Salad Obsession

As Spring drifts into summer, I’m furiously making my favorite spring salad; I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can before radishes, green onions, and garlic scapes are no longer in season.

While I make some variations on the salad depending on the contents of my crisper, on a perfect day I toss together:

lettuce
sliced red radishes
green onions (lots)
garlic scapes (diced small)
black sesame seeds

I dress the salad in rice vinegar and sesame oil, then sprinkle hot wasabi peas throughout. Give it a try – it has a great spring kick!

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Go Phillies! Vegetarian at the Ballbark

Last summer I asked you to submit your favorite vegetarian and vegan options at the PETA award-winning Citizen’s Park ballpark. I’ve been trying to track them down for myself! Last Saturday I went in search of a rumored vegan crab cake, and found it at Planet Hoagie. This HUGE hoagie comes with tartersauce or red pepper and garlic sauce. I added provolone, pickles, mayo, hot peppers and banana peppers, and could only eat about half. At $9.50 it’s pretty steep, but you could easily split this monster. Other discoveries:

1. Veggie wraps and hoagies at Planet Hoagie
2. Vegan steak and vegetarian cheesesteaks at Campo’s
3 .Vegan hotdogs and chicken sandwiches at South Philly Market
4. Southwestern Veggie Burgers at Alley Grill
5. Black Bean Burgers at Cobblestone Grill

Plus all the classic fries, pizza and pretzels you can eat!

A delicious Kohlrabi recipe

One of my favorite things about my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA is the weekly email newsletter I receive. It lets me know exactly what I’m going to get in my share, usually includes an interview with one of the farmers who contributes to my CSA and photos of the farm, and recipes for some of the more unfamiliar vegetables. This week, I got a beautiful bunch of kohlrabi – a cross in flavor between turnips and cabbage. This recipe, included in the newsletter (originally taken from the blog Sustainable Pantry) was incredibly delicious. If you don’t have chard, blanch and add your kohlrabi greens! And make sure to peel the kohlrabi very well – it has a pretty hard outer “shell.”

Kohlrabi Curry

2 kohlrabi, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 onion, choppedcimg3633
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T fresh chopped ginger
3-4 chilis (optional, I like things spicy so I used the Vietnamese chilis pictured)
Garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chard, washed and chopped
1 can coconut milk
2 T red (or green) curry paste
2-3 T peanut butter (I prefer chunky for this, but smooth is fine)
Scallions (for garnish)
Salt

1. In a medium sized pot, Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and chilis in a neutral oil (canola, safflower) over medium high heat until browned

2. Add the kolhrabi, scapes and chard and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the chard wilts and the kohlrabi softens up a little; season with salt

3. Add the curry paste and coconut milk, then fill the coconut milk can about 1/2 way with water, swish it around to get any remaining coconut milk, and add to the pot. Stir until the curry paste is dissolved. After the mixture boils, lower heat to a simmer and stir in the peanut butter until dissolved.

4. Cook for about 10 minutes. Taste and season as necessary with salt. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve over rice.

Hardena…finally!

During my junior year of college, I lived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (on the island of Java) and while there, fell in love with Indonesian food. Hardena, a small warung (or casual dining place) in South Philadelphia has been recieving great foodie press for years, but I’ve been putting off a visit until I could take along another person I spent time with in Indonesia. On a balmy weekday night, my friend Monica agreed to make the journey, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.


While you can order dishes individually (don’t worry, the woman who works the hot food counter speaks English if you can’t read the Indonesian menu posted on the wall), it’s much more fun to just order a “plate” – 3 dishes of your choice for $6.  On any given day, Hardena offers 3 or 4 vegetarian dishes, and 4 or 5 meat-based dishes (think spicy fried fish and goat curry).  Pictured above is a boiled egg curry (one of my all-time favorites) a vegetable and tofu coconut milk curry, and a sweet fried tempeh with peppers over white rice. I just couldn’t resist the tempeh goreng cake (a large, thin slice of tempeh, dredge in egg and flour and deep fat-fried) so I added that to my platter for an extra dollar. I also added some sweet sambal (the orange color), but Hardena’s deep red sambal is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

The set-up is just a step up from the traditional good carts with mini tables that are popular in Indonesia. A small store-front, little tables covered in plastic, styrofoam plates and plastic silverwear, and a cooler of cold water, but you won’t be dissapointed in the food, or the price.  Memberi makan!

Broccoli Polenta from Veganomicon, with Spring vegetables

broccoli polenta

I’ve admitted before that I find broccoli a bit of a chore. I know that it’s good for me, and arrives beautiful and fresh in my CSA, but there just aren’t that many ways that I like it. Whenever I find a recipe I like, I’m thrilled. With a giant head of broccoli on my hands, I finally decided to try the broccoli polenta from Veganomicon. And I just can’t rave about it enough. It was so delicious (even without cream, butter and cheese) that I couldn’t stop eating it, even cold out of the refrigerator in the middle of the night. I served it up with fried summer squash, portobello mushrooms, green garlic scapes (all from my CSA), sundried tomatoes and then a sprinkle of pecorino. Served with a side of garden peas in just a touch of butter with lemon, and I had one of the most pleasant meals in recent memory.

Savory CousCous Salad

I love grain salads, but I often want them to pack a little more punch. This simple salad (really!) included fried chard and garlic, along with chopped carrots, red onions, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, capers, diced carrots and some raw sprouted chickpeas. I added (of course) some oil to the couscous and a special 35-spice blend for couscous that I picked up in Marrakesh. I wish I could tell you what’s in it, but it definitely includes cumin and chili. A dash of red wine vinegar, and this delicious salad lasted for days in the refridgerator.

Anything can go into a burrito – even a weeks’ worth of veggies

I believe that almost anything can go into a burrito or wrap. Arriving home with another huge CSA share, and still swimming in vegetables from last week’s late holiday delivery, I made a mission out of using as many vegetables and odds and ends as possible in last nights dinner. I fried garlic scapes and green onions in a wok, then added dandelion greens and some chopped radish greens. Salt and pepper, a chopped habenero pepper, fresh cilantro and parsley, and a drained can of organic black beans went into the walk. I served the beans on whole wheat tortillas with fresh garnishes – sliced radishes, avocado, sprouts, and green onions.

And then I used even MORE vegetables. Red leaf lettuce, topped with a summer squash salad recipe cribbed from Simply in Season – squash, green onions, fresh basil, and Parmesan marinated in red vinegar and olive oil. It felt great to use up the rest of last week’s veggies, and dinner was delicious.