Kitchen Sink Salad

Over Christmas break, my mom and I set out to recreate my great Grandma's recipes after they were mailed to me, packed snugly in a graham cracker box. It wasn't hard for us to figure out the one we should try first, as page one of Good Housekeeping Institute was marked with a handwritten note, "chicken pie 96." Page 96 was the only page bookmarked. Page 96 was also the only one marked with another handwritten note, "good pie." Great Grandma Lauer couldn't have given us any clearer of a sign. 

chicken pie || planting my roots

What wasn't as clear was what side to pair with this "good pie." We knew we'd need something light and with texture to contrast with the warm, soft biscuit topping and vegetable sauce. We weren't totally sure what sides Grandma Lauer preferred, but a chopped kale salad at the salad bar kept catching our eye. It marked all the boxes for us - crunchy, fresh and bright. It also seemed easy enough for us to recreate!

kitchen sink salad || planting my roots

With that as our "launchpad," the salad took on a life of its own with some other ingredients we picked up along the way - a fresh pomegranate instead of dried cranberries, thinly sliced radishes for extra crunch, and crumbled goat cheese with apricot and thyme. One thing that stayed the same was the matchstick carrots - doesn't that seem identical at every salad bar??

kitchen sink salad || planting my roots
kitchen sink salad || planting my roots
kitchen sink salad || planting my roots

This salad is worthy of the title "Kitchen Sink Salad" for two reasons: 1) Essentially all prep can happen over the kitchen sink if you have a big colander and 2) The recipe is forgiving enough that you can toss in everything...but the kitchen sink. You can swap red onions for radishes for a bit of bite and crunch. Kale can easily be substituted with any other leafy green. If you prefer cranberries to pomegranate seeds, go for it! The sky (err fridge) is the limit. 

kitchen sink salad || planting my roots

The first step is to grab a large colander and place it in the sink. Then, chop the kale into bite size pieces and toss into colander. Rinse thoroughly and shake dry. As remaining water dries on kale leaves, prep your other ingredients and toss them into the colander as each one is prepared - peel and matchstick the carrots, thinly slice the radishes, deseed the pomegranate, chop the dates and crumble the goat cheese. This does require a bit of prep work, so think of it as good meditative time or turn on your favorite album. Enjoy the process.

When you're ready to serve, toss in the walnuts and a dressing of your choice. I've paired it with both a raspberry vinaigrette and cherry balsamic dressing. Something fruity pairs well with these flavors, but I think a poppy seed dressing could also work wonderfully. As with the other ingredients in this recipe, the dressing is also chef's choice - it is forgiving!

kitchen sink salad || planting my roots

Kitchen Sink Salad

serves 4

what you'll need:
1 head kale, roughly chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 pound carrots
1/2 pound radishes
seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate
1/2 cup mejdool dates or apricots, roughly chopped
3-4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts
salad dressing, to taste (recommend flavors of raspberry, cherry or poppy seed)

what you'll do:

  1. In large colander, rinse chopped kale. While kale is drying, rinse carrots and finely chop into small matchsticks. Rinse and thinly slice radishes into quarters or bite size pieces. Add both to colander.
  2. Remove seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate, dropping directly into the colander.
  3. Add chopped dates or apricots to colander, then add crumbled goat cheese. Finally, use hands to toss all ingredients in colander. Pour into large serving bowl. 
  4. If eating immediately, toss in walnuts and dressing of choice to taste. Mix thoroughly and serve. If making in advance, add walnuts and dressing when ready to serve. This salad can be made one day in advance. 

November 2017 Deliveries

At times in November, it felt near impossible to eat healthfully when I was surrounded by stuffing and gravy and cookies and pie. I felt like this month I was perpetually swaying between a dessert table and a deep need for fresh fruits and veg. While it felt harder to stick to my CSA routine in between all of the holiday travels and festivities, I was also dying to try new recipes for all the guests my family entertained at Thanksgiving. Clearly, there was a lot of push and pull this month. 

I realized that the ying and yang of this month - if you will - also held true for the flavors I was craving and for the pace I wanted in cooking. When I tried to narrow down my favorite recipes from November, I instantly gravitated to a heaping, heartwarming bowl of sweet potato chili. Then I remembered how much I loved the zingy, bright flavor of the wild ginger green smoothie. I loved the super efficient make-ahead vegetarian bento box lunch as much as I took pleasure in the long, methodical process of creating a new recipe for mizuna with tarragon and capers. I took comfort in the familiar - coconut curry soup - as much as I did new flavors, like broccoli paired with buttermilk.

It strikes me that the beautiful thing about cooking is that it's endlessly adaptable to your moods and the seasons. I took full advantage of that freedom this month. 

November 2017 Deliveries
Roasted Carrots and Red Onions with Fennel and Mint || Planting My Roots

roasted carrots and red onions with fennel and mint, bon appetit

Seared Broccoli and Potato Soup Recipe || Planting My Roots

seared broccoli and potato soup with lemon, nyt cooking

Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Buttermilk Dressing || Planting My Roots

broccoli quinoa salad with buttermilk dressing, bon appetit

make ahead bento box || planting my roots

tabbouleh (vegetarian make-ahead bento box), cardamom and tea

november csa deliveries || planting my roots
salmon with mizuna || planting my roots

mizuna with tarragon and capers, planting my roots

sweet potato chili || planting my roots

sweet potato chili, 
planting my roots

wild ginger smoothie || planting my roots

wild ginger green smoothie, 
the first mess

red lentil soup with carrots and sweet potato || planting my roots

coconut curry red lentil soup, naturally ella

November 2017 || Planting My Roots
watermelon radish with tahini dijon dressing || planting my roots

kale salad with chicken and dijon tahini dressing, dishing up the dirt

kale salad with beduoin tea-roasted sweet potatoes || planting my roots

kale salad with bedouin tea-roasted sweet potatoes

red cabbage, dates and feta || planting my roots

date, feta and red cabbage salad, smitten kitchen

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic Recipe | Planting My Roots

crispy jerusalem artichokes with aged balsamic, bon appetit

summer peach panzanella

Twenty-six years old today - another trip around the sun complete! And that's pretty fitting as today also marks the solar eclipse. Also fitting for today is finally posting - on its one year anniversary - my recipe for summer peach panzanella. I made this up on a bit of a whim for my birthday party last year, and have been meaning to write it down pretty much every day since then. So, at long last, my favorite summertime salad! 

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots
summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

So much has changed since my last birthday. I've seen a best friend get married, said see ya later to a handful of dear friends as they started new chapters in their life, and made new friends along the way. Matt and I discovered a deep love for Carmel (and reaffirmed our love of burritos in San Francisco), explored Minneapolis by bike and discovered new corners (and restaurants!) of DC. There's been an election that has caused more than its fair share of turmoil, and as such, I've never participated in more marches, sent more letters, or made more calls to Congress.

I've totally - and officially - taken a deep dive into the world of food too. I've launched this very blog, become much more involved in efforts to support women in food thanks to Pineapple DC, and become completely enthralled with my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA. All of these have had such a massive impact on the way I eat, cook and think about food. And as a result of that deep down passion, I'm about to start a new chapter professionally, so there's no doubt my 26th year will be filled with much more learning, food, new friends and mentors. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

But, if there's at least any proof of the saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same," this recipe can be it. I've been making a variation of it since last year and it never disappoints. The blend of juicy peaches with creamy, rich poppy seed dressing alone is perfect, but pairing it with red onion and goat cheese is just out of this world. I promise this isn't a sponsored post, but Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed dressing is the only one I'll spend money on. For any other salad, I'll make my own balsamic but this one is worth the $$$! 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

This recipe makes excellent use of a cast iron skillet too. First, you'll want to lightly toast bite-size chunks of bread. You can use fresh or day old bread here. In this case, I was using fresh bread that I had baked the previous day. And truly, any kind of bread will do. This was just a basic white bread, but I imagine sourdough would work wonderfully. Rye would also probably be pretty tasty with this flavor combination! After toasting the bread, then you'll cook the peaches in your skillet. They get browned in a mix of honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

From one year to the next, I wouldn't mind at all having it as a staple at each and every birthday dinner. Now...is it time for cake yet?

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots

Summer Peach Panzanella

serves 2

what you'll need:

1 thick slice of bread, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large handfuls arugula
1 peach, cut into large chunks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
heavy 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp honey
non-stick spray
small handful fresh basil leaves, julienned, optional
Brianna's Home Style Rich Poppy Seed dressing, to taste

what you'll do:

  1. In small bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour coated bread cubes onto cast iron skillet and toast until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes). Toss occasionally to brown all sides equally but be careful not to burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  2. While you let skillet cool for a few minutes, in a small bowl toss peach chunks with honey, remaining extra virgin olive oil (1/2 tbsp) and a pinch of kosher salt. Spray cast iron skillet with non-stick spray, then pour peaches onto skillet. Cook peaches over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss as they cook to ensure they don't burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  3. In large bowl, toss arugula with basil, red onion, goat cheese, toasted bread and peaches. Either mix poppy seed dressing directly into serving bowl or serve dressing separately.