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:

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!


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.

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.

Stir-Fried Cabbage and Lettuce, Tofu

Stir-Fried Cabbage, Lettuce, and Tofu
Stir-Fried Cabbage, Lettuce, and Tofu

The Philadelphia area has a bumper crop of lettuce right now, and frankly, I’m getting sick of it. Not that I don’t like lettuce – I do, I do – but this sort of classic green leaf variety is about my least favorite. What do? Shake it. This meal was very loosely based on the Stir-Fried Garlic Lettuce recipe from The Breath of a Wok. I also had a bunch of cabbage, so I added some of that, used a whole bunch of CSA garlic scapes instead regular old white garlic, and added tofu, fried in a bit of chili oil with salt and pepper. Really, it was remarkable. You could serve it over rice, or just eat a giant bowl all on your own.

Stir-Fried Cabbage, Lettuce and Tofu
serves 4

4 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tbs. chili sesame oil
1 12 oz. block firm, organic tofu, cubed
salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 garlic scapes, diced
3 cloves of white garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups of napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium head of green lettuce, sliced
chili sesame oil

Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. In a large wok, heat the sesame oil on medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Add the tofu cubes, stirring quickly to coat in oil. Turn every few minutes, until lightly browned. Salt and pepper generously, stir, and put tofu to the side (draining on paper towels if desired). In the same, hot wok, heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic scapes, stirring to coat, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced garlic cloves, and cook until they barely brown – about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, toss well to coat, and cover the wok. Uncover and turn the cabbage every few minutes, replacing the lid to steam in between turn, until the cabbage begins to soften and wilt. Add the tofu and toss. Add the lettuce and sauce then lightly toss. Cook until the lettuce just begins to wilt (one or two minutes) and the tofu is heated through. Remove from heat immediately. There should still be additional sauce left in the pan (if not, add a little extra soy sauce and rice wine). Serve over rice, drizzling lightly with chili sesame oil.

Rainbow Chard, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Fresh Egg

Rainbow Chard, Heirloom Tomatoes, Organic Egg
Rainbow Chard, Heirloom Tomatoes, Organic Egg

I didn’t get home until 8:30 last night, just in time for the last light of the day. I walked out back to check on my garden – something, I suspect the alley cats that keep kicking up my baby lettuces, is gnawing at my parsley – to pick some fresh mint for a soda and St. Germain, currently my favorite early summer drink.

By nine, I realized that I had yet to eat any dinner. This simple meal is made straight from my refrigerator, currently bursting with CSA vegetables and goodies from the Fair Food Farm stand. Just a garlic scape, diced and fried in local salted butter, with rainbow chard, diced stems and all. Some baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced and salted, and a local organic egg fried in more of that delicious salted butter. Fast and perfect.