Napa cabbage makes a great slaw; it's both more tender and less juicy than regular cabbage, so it softens easily without making a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. We like to pair it with carrots for color and crunch. You can change the flavor of the slaw, of course, by mixing up the seasonings. Basically you want salt and acid and a little bit of fat, plus whatever herbs or spices strike your fancy. Here are three ideas:
This is a tasty and visually striking combination of tangy, spicy, and sweet. You can substitute a bit here (tangerines and cranberries come to mind...) but be sure to taste and make sure the flavors balance.
This is a delicious, simple use for fennel and a great dish for a potluck! Add pasta and leftover diced chicken to make it a meal, or serve as a side along with a burger or pork chop. Like leeks, fennel tends to get dirt in between its layers. We usually slice it in half, then peel off the first few leaves and rinse, then slice them thinly. You can also quarter it and run under water to clean, then slice. Larger bulbs will have a slightly woody core that you may want to remove and either slice separately or discard.
Makes about 4 cups
1 medium fennel bulb (reserve a few fronds for garnish)
2-3 tomatoes (a mixture of colors looks nice)
1 small handful basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the fennel as thinly as you can. Chop the tomato into small, bite-sized pieces. Stack the leaves of basil and cut into strips. Toss together with a few good pinches of salt and a dash or two of lemon juice and olive oil. Let stand for 10 minutes or so to draw the juices out of the tomatoes, then toss again. Add cooked pasta, diced cooked meat, white beans or chickpeas, if desired. Garnish with fennel fronds, and enjoy!
This versatile slaw is a nice side dish for roasted chicken or grilled cheese sandwiches. The specific vegetables can be swapped based on what looks good at the market or in your root cellar, but it's good to shoot for a balance of sweet and spicy (and a mix of colors never hurts).
Shredded or julliened root vegetables:
2 cups sweet - carrot, parsnip, celeriac, beet, sweet potato
2 cups spicy - turnip, radish, daikon, kohlrabi, rutabaga
Mix to taste with:
Mayonnaise mixed with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt
A vinaigrette made with 1 tsp each Dijon mustard & salt, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, and a handful of fresh parsley (you may not need all of it)
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If you have time, let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Yum!
This is adapted from Shannon Hayes' great book Long Way on a Little, which is about making the most of local and organic meat - if you're a meat-eater, I can't recommend it enough. We roast a chicken every week or so, and this is a great recipe for leftovers, especially in the summer when you may not want to make soup. Of course, you could cook up some chicken (or turkey) especially for the purpose - it's good enough to warrant that. This tastes best if it has a chance to sit for half an hour or so to let the juices mingle.
Serves 4 as a main dish
1-2 heads of garlic (yes, heads - stay with me)
4 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced olives (we use a Greek mix, kalamatas or green olives would work well also)
3 cups diced leftover chicken
1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, parsley, basil or a mix (or 2 tsp dried Italian herbs)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Peel the garlic and blanch in boiling water for about 5 minutes, until tender. This tames the bite and makes it sweet and nutty.
Combine everything except cheese in a salad bowl and mix together. Let sit in the fridge for half an hour, stirring once or twice. The tomatoes and zucchini should release enough juice to make a nice dressing; if it seems dry, add some olive oil. Enjoy!
June is what we call "mandatory salad season" - we eat a salad with or for at least two out of three meals a day. Usually a pile of mixed salad green and pea shoots with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar is plenty, but sometimes one craves a bit more. This dressing is a great use for big bunch of cilantro, especially before the tomatoes come in and you can't make salsa yet.
This is our new go-to for evenings when it's suddenly six o'clock (which happens to us pretty regularly once the season gets into swing). It's quick, light but filling, yummy, and packs a lot of vegetables.
This is a nice way to use radishes if you find them too strong on their own, because the dressing and the creaminess of the chickpeas tames their bite.
This recipe came to us from our friend Kestrel. It's an unusual combination of flavors, but so good!
This recipe makes a great taco filling, a side to rice and beans, or a salad to go with grilled fish or meats. It takes quick pickled onions and adds two root-cellar staples: cabbage and carrots. Change the seasoning to complement your recipe - you could use bay leaves and peppercorns or herbs de provence instead of the spices listed here, for example.
This is an easy Asian-inspired salad. You don’t need to peel the cucumbers, since they are young and tender, but it looks pretty to peel off “stripes” of skin before you slice them. Of course, you can leave out the steak and make it even simpler (or replace it with chicken, seitan, or tofu). With the steak, this should serve 4.
Other Good Places to Find Recipes
WTF is this vegetable?
Eating What We Grow (PDF)
Cookbooks We Like
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Flatbreads and Flavors
The Art of Simple Food
Feeding the Whole Family
Storage Guidelines for Fruits & Vegetables (PDF)
The Zen of Food Preservation (PDF)
101 Jam Recipes