Spring Green Salad

It's Spring in New England and I've been devouring these fresh, crisp, flavorful salads with almost every meal! I'm trying to incorporate more bitter and sour flavors into my diet this season to encourage healthy & gentle internal "spring cleaning." 

ingredients (from the store, farm, or backyard!)

  • romaine lettuce
  • radicchio
  • parsley
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • basil
  • mint 
  • common springtime herbs ("weeds") that I forage*: dandelion, violet, chickweed, ground ivy, bedstraw, plantain, purslane
  • optional: dulse flakes or other dry sea vegetable

dress with olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked black peppercorns & vinegar of your choice

*note: do not forage & consume plants that you cannot confidently identify. Don't harvest plants in toxic areas such as roadsides, beneath power lines, in areas that have been sprayed with pesticides, etc. Check out these articles for more info on foraging, and more resources: Honest FoodThe Kitchn, Peterson's Field Guide

Salmon Salad

I whipped this together when I was really hungry and my pantry felt a little uninspired! It's so quick to make and tastes fresh, delicious, and nourishing. It's wonderful on toast, salad, crackers, or all by itself.

ingredients:

  • canned salmon (I used a 14oz can, but whatever you have/get is fine as all ingredients are to-taste)
  • fresh or dried dill leaf
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • optional umami: splash tamari or shoyu ('soy sauce')

Drain the liquid out of the salmon, and add to a large bowl. Break apart with a fork. Add enough olive oil so it's moist and the consistency of tuna salad (or to your liking). Squeeze in the juice of 1/2-1 lemon, and stir. Add pinches of dill, black pepper, and salt, to taste. Adding a splash of tamari or shoyu brings all the flavors together beautifully, and mutes the brightness of the lemon and dill. 

Spread on toast with butter, serve on a bitter-greens salad with a hard-boiled egg, or eat straight from the bowl! 

Fire Cider: dressing, marinade, winter-immune tonic!

Fire Cider was one of the first 'herbal remedies' I learned how to make. It's very simple, is made from ingredients most will regularly stock in the kitchen, and is a wonderful warming, immune-supporting tonic, especially for the wintertime! It is a traditional/folk remedy--passed down for generations--similar to chicken soup or elderberry syrup. 

The recipe is similar to making vegetable stock, made from whatever you have on hand and whatever you're inspired to throw in! The listed ingredients below are merely a general starting point. Please don't feel that you need to include all of them if they're not something you have access to. It would be potent and delicious with just cider vinegar, onion and garlic!

ingredients:

  • quart-size glass jar with a lid (and wax paper/cheesecloth if possible!)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • onions
  • garlic
  • horseradish
  • {cayenne} pepper
  • ginger root
  • turmeric
  • burdock root (gobo)
  • herbs (fresh or dried) like rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, cumin, pine needles, elderberries, etc.
  • optional: honey, to taste

directions:

  1. Roughly chop/cut/grate all ingredients. 
  2. Add to glass jar and cover completely with cider vinegar (and honey to taste, if you want)
  3. Let sit in a cool/dry/dark place (a pantry shelf is good!) for about a month, giving it a shake whenever you think of it.
  4. When you're ready, strain using a fine mesh strainer (with cheesecloth if you have it). 

suggestions* for use:

  • can be made into a yummy salad dressing! (just add olive oil and salt + pepper to taste)
  • for braising greens
  • in soups, or stocks
  • as a drizzle over meals, rice bowls, etc.
  • taken daily for immune system support: 1 shot glass, taken straight or in warm water (tea)
  • when you're coming down with cold/flu/respiratory symptoms: take throughout the day (since this is a 'food', you really can't have too much!) 

note: Fire Cider is spicy! If you have heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, or other sensitivities with your gut, please use wisely and with caution, and pay attention to your body. 


A few years ago, a company trademarked the name "Fire Cider". This is an issue for many reasons--they are taking credit and ownership of a classic folk remedy and thus preventing small herbal companies from being able to share it. From the "Free Fire Cider" movement: "This type of action opens the door to the trademarking of traditional medicines for profit. The biggest reason that this is dangerous is because herbs and herbalism have always been widely available to everyone. Trademarking traditional terms will change the herbal market into something that looks more like the pharmaceutical industry, with corporations owning words/terms that were previously accessible to the public." For more information, please visit the Free Fire Cider movement, sign the petition, and most importantly--spread awareness and make your own fire cider! 


* Please note that this information does not replace medical advice and is not meant to treat, diagnose or cure any disease. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your medical practitioner.

Black Bean Brownies

ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed

  • 3 eggs (or 3 flax/chia eggs; 1 T ground flax or chia to 3 T water)

  • 1/2 C sweetener, or to taste (honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc)

  • 1/4 C cacao powder

  • 1/3 C coconut oil, or healthy fat of your choice (ghee would be delicious)

  • 1 T vanilla extract

  • 1/8 t sea salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased baking pan or muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out smooth! 

Serve warm with Banana Ice Cream for a blissfully delicious and vegan (if you use the flax egg) dessert!

Homemade Apple {Cider} Vinegar

ingredients:

  • whole organic* apples (or apple cores), in large cubes OR uv/un-pasteurized apple cider 
  • filtered water (if using cider, don't add water)

Place cubed apples (cores, stems, seeds & all) in a large glass jar. Cover with filtered water & gently cap (don't seal too tightly, perhaps use a dishcloth & rubber band; see below). Let sit in a cool, dark place until the "mother" forms--an opaque-white, gel-like disc floating on the surface of the liquid. When you think the vinegar is ready, smell & taste check it. If it smells good** & tastes like vinegar, strain into a dark glass jar. Save the mother (covered completely in the vinegar you just made) for future vinegar making, or start your next batch right away. 

notes: I used about 2 apples and a 1/2 gallon mason jar. I lightly screwed on a plastic cap, and put it on the top shelf of my cool, dark pantry for about a year. I imagine I could have strained it sooner as the vinegar "mother" formed about 5 months in. 

*Using organic apples is important as pesticide residue could potentially interfere with proper fermentation. 

**Many people--especially in our modern Western culture of expiration dates, refrigerators and antibacterial everything--are hesitant to try making fermented/cultured foods at home. The advice I follow in my kitchen is that our noses & tastebuds know the difference between productively fermented and rotten/moldy. If you open up your jar of kraut or vinegar and are repulsed by what you smell, that's a good indicator that it's not meant to be consumed. 

Parsley Salad

ingredients:

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • handful of walnuts (or pine nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc)
  • fresh lemon/lemon juice or splash of apple cider/ume plum vinegar
  • olive oil
  • cheese (I've tried & loved: parmesan, pecorino, or creamy chevre)

Coarsely chop parsley & nuts. Squeeze in lemon, drizzle with olive oil and top with cheese of your choice. 

Lately, I can't get enough of this tangy-delicious salad. It's kind of like a pesto but without the garlic. I eat it plain, but I imagine that it'd be delicious on pasta, salad, soup, bread... 

Parsley is a wonderful source of Vitamins C & K (as well as many other vitamins and minerals)

Salmon Cakes

ingredients:

  • 1lb potatoes, boiled & cubed
  • 14oz canned salmon
  • lemon (zest or juice)
  • 3T chopped parsley
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 7oz homemade breadcrumbs or panko 
  • 4t all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2T oil or butter (if frying)

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl. Mash potatoes & salmon, and mix well. Form mixture into cakes (size is up to you, but I find the smaller the cake, the better it stays together). Divide flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip cakes first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Cook cakes in a frying pan until golden OR bake at 425 for 15 minutes & broil until golden. 

I love these Salmon Cakes on a bed of greens dressed with olive oil & freshly squeezed lemon. 

 

Miso-Tamari Sauce

ingredients:

  • 1 part miso paste
  • 1 part miso tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 part rice vinegar
  • 2 parts toasted sesame oil
  • optional 4 parts olive oil (for a more liquid consistency)
  • opt. dash of freshly grated ginger or ginger powder, 1 clove minced garlic, sesame seeds, dulse seaweed flakes, green onion or chives

Combine all ingredients & mix. I use this as a glaze for fish, a sauce for a vegetable stir-fry, or in a rice bowl.

Banana Ice Cream

ingredients:

  • bananas
  • blender or food processor
  • optional: spices, vanilla, other frozen berries/fruit, etc!

Slice bananas & freeze on a cookie sheet.

{It's easier on your blender if you take them out of the freezer before they're frozen solid, but I often forget & it's fine! If you have an old or fragile blender, let them thaw slightly first!}

Blend until soft-serve consistency is attained. (They'll go through several stages--be patient!)

Enjoy & store leftovers--if any!--immediately in the freezer.

Superfruit Ants on a Log

ingredients:

  • celery "logs," rinsed & cut to size
  • dried Goji berries, Incan (golden) berries, mulberries, or dried superfruit of your choice
  • tahini, cashew butter, or nut butter of your choice

Spread a luxurious amount of nut/seed butter onto your celery log, top with superfruits & enjoy!

Coconut Cream

ingredients:

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part honey

Combine coconut oil and honey in bowl and whip until blended. I make small, portion-sized amounts using about 1 T of each ingredient, and just blend with a fork. If you're making more, or if your coconut oil is chilled, put in your blender or food processor to combine.

Pro-tip: Freeze in ice cube trays for a delightful frozen treat!

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

ingredients:

  • roasted garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Add your roasted garlic to a small bowl. Cover with oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mix with a fork until the consistency is creamy but pour-able. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Roasted Garlic

ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • aluminum foil
  • grill or oven

 

Slice the top off the head of garlic so each individual clove is exposed. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil, and place in indirect heat on grill for approx. 30 minutes, or until soft.

Once cooked, cloves should be creamy & spreadable. Use for dressings, hummus, dips or just spread plain on toast. Delicious!