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

Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

Mizuna is new to me. Fresh tarragon...oddly enough, pretty new to me too. Take the two of them together and you've got a new recipe for me and for you! I first came across mizuna when it arrived in my CSA box last week. I starred at it a bit quizzically because I've been on a bad "veggie identification" streak as of late. I've mistaken Jerusalem artichokes for ginger, watermelon radishes for rutabagas, rutabagas for turnips. Not great. At first I was thinking the mizuna was some sort of arugula. Turns out that wasn't too far off (albeit, still wrong), but arugula does have a slight peppery taste like arugula. Though in comparison, it has a much thicker stem and to steal a phrase from Serious Eats, the leaves are more "frond-like" in appearance.

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

After some more digging, I learned that mizuna is native to Japan and considered a mustard green. It's typically pickled, but I've also found several recipes that call for it tossed in salads. The first time I dipped into my mizuna CSA stash, I simply sautéed it with salt and coconut oil, then tucked it underneath salmon . Inspiration struck as I piled my fork high with sautéed mizuna, plus the dijon and tarragon crusted salmon. In one bite, there were hints of bitter greens, some acidity from the dijon and sweet, anise-y tarragon. They balanced each other in such a wonderfully unexpected way, and thus, a new recipe was born. 

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Since mizuna struck me as a much lighter - almost feathery - green, I wanted to avoid weighing it down while sautéing with something like dijon. To replicate the brininess and acidity of the mustard, my brain went to capers. It may seem a bit strange to mix the sweet and salty flavors here, as both capers and tarragon have very distinct flavors, but they really do complement each other beautifully in this dish. Pairing with a side of salmon certainly doesn't hurt either!

I'm still learning my way around mizuna, but I like to think that hopefully this first attempt would make Samin Nosrat proud. I could almost hear her voice in my head repeating "Salt Fat Acid Heat" as I tried to pull through those elements. A pinch of kosher salt, a spoonful of coconut oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and hit of capers - sautéed over heat to perfection. Salt, fat, acid and heat. We've got the whole gang here!

mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots
mizuna with tarragon and capers || planting my roots

Mizuna with Tarragon and Capers

serves 2

what you'll need:
1 bunch mizuna (about 8 oz), roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
kosher salt, to taste
juice from 1/4 - 1/2 of a fresh lemon

what you'll do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in medium frying pan for one minute over medium heat. Add in minced garlic, stirring frequently for about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic. 
  2. Add mizuna to frying pan, stirring frequently to coat greens with garlic and oil. Reduce heat to low and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until greens begin to wilt. 
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in capers and chopped tarragon. Add pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon to taste. Serve immediately. 

slow roasted tomatoes, burrata, pesto n' polenta

i am a creature of habit in all aspects of life. nowhere is this more pronounced than in my morning routine. alarm sounds at 5 a.m., out of bed eight minutes later, brush my teeth, toss my hair up and head straight to the gym. bike for 40 minutes or run for 40 minutes. shower, make-up, hair x repeat every morning.

now, that's an early morning. but, what grounds me each and every day is coffee, more coffee, podcasts and morning news round-ups. each day it's a steady rotation of bon appétit foodcast, radio cherry bombe, this american life or stuff you missed in history class. (ps - the latest TAL podcast "act v" is hands down one of the best). i love the act of starting every day picking up new tidbits of stories or things i quite literally did miss in history class. 

slow roasted tomatoes, burrata, pesto and polenta || planting my roots

once i settle into my office, then begins the morning e-mail round-up. it's the same three e-mails that greet me every weekday morning - nyt daily briefing, politico playbook and the skimm. politico gives me all the wonky, insider-y baseball dc news. skimm makes me lol and feel like i'm chatting with my friends. nyt is the most straightforward and i love seeing what photo they pick each morning. 

but the real nyt e-mail gem rolls in around 10 a.m. each morning - nyt cooking. there is nothing more calming in the morning than reading sam sifton's very pointed view on exactly what i should be cooking that day and why. i am obsessed with his writing style and cannot think of a better crew of recipe developers than those at nyt (hi, melissa clark!). the inspiration for the dish included in this post came from a nyt cooking recipe, "amazingly sweet slow roasted tomatoes."

slow roasted tomatoes || planting my roots

the slow roasted tomatoes here are nestled on top of a bed of warm, rich polenta, creamy burrata and fresh pesto. it's a multi-step process - make the polenta, roast the tomatoes, whip up the pesto, but oh my is it worth it. perfect for a lovely summer outdoor dinner, and let's be real, i'll take any excuse to eat burrata. 

due to the fact that i was making a big batch of pesto for our weekly friend potluck dinner and i have a best friend with a nut allergy, this pesto is nut-free. it delivers all the freshness of your classic pesto, but strips it down to just five ingredients and one simple recipe instruction. 

slow roasted tomatoes, burrata, pesto and polenta || planting my roots

slow roasted tomatoes, burrata and pesto on a bed of polenta

serves four

what you'll need:

amazingly sweet slow roasted tomatoes
1 pound small plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
kosher salt, to taste
 a tiny amount of sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

basil pesto
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt

classic italian polenta
3 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup corn grits (polenta)
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated

12 oz burrata
black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
fresh basil leaves (optional, for garnish)

what you'll do:

  1. preheat the oven to 300 degrees. line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. put the halved tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. sprinkle with salt and a tiny amount of sugar. place in the oven and roast for 2 hours. remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. 
  2. while tomatoes are roasting, prepare pesto. place all pesto ingredients in food processor and blend until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes). set aside.
  3. to make the polenta, in a large, deep pan over high heat bring water and salt to a boil; gradually stir in polenta. reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick (about 20 minutes); use a long-handled spoon because mixture pops and bubbles and can burn. stir in butter and more salt if you'd like. transfer to serving bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  4. top each bowl of polenta by arranging roasted tomatoes, a spoonful of pesto and burrata, finish with black pepper and kosher salt, and a pinch of fresh basil leaves, if you'd like. 

sweet pea, apple of my eye

last we caught up, i was bouncing all around georgia and mississippi in search of the perfect peach pie and fried green tomatoes. little did i know that mississippi is the land of sweet potatoes, and i returned home hooked on sweet potato coffee of all things! i had an absolutely wonderful time during my campus visit and hope to return very soon. stocking up on more sweet potato coffee being only one of many reasons. 

sweet potato coffee || planting my roots

following my weekend in the south, i headed back home to pennsylvania for easter weekend, then baltimore for a friend's birthday. it's been non-stop, go go go. fast-forward to last weekend, and it was packed with drinks on the stoop, a merdian hill park day, the new infinity rooms exhibit at hirshorn, botanical garden exploring, iced coffee at the farmers market...all good things, very, very good things. and all things that make me want to take a nap once i list them all out. can you tell it's finally nice and we're taking advantage of the beautiful weather? 

stoop drinks || planting my roots

but you know what's perfect in the early days of spring, when it's sunny and lovely late but there's still a bit of a chill in the air? or, days like today when it's just been a massive non-stop downpour? soup. more specifically, a soup that's colorful and bright and light. a pea and mint soup, to be exact.

sweet pea and mint soup || planting my roots

there are many things i love about this recipe, and not only the fact that it makes me want to play amos lee on repeat: 1) few ingredients, but the flavor is spot-on and super fresh, 2) the color is gorgeous, 3) it makes for easy meal prep, 4) it's super speedy to create, and 5) it is perfectly dunkable with freshly baked bread. the two greens - mint and peas - complement each other perfectly and together, they make for a wonderfully light lunch on a cool or dreary spring day. 

sweet pea and mint soup || planting my roots
sweet pea and mint soup || planting my roots

mint and pea soup

serves 4

what you'll need:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed garlic
1 pound frozen or fresh peas
5 - 6 sprigs fresh thyme (about 3/4 tbsp)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
juice of half a lemon
kosher salt
black pepper

what you'll do:

  1. in large saucepan, melt butter, then sauté onion and garlic. add a generous pinch of kosher salt and stir periodically. 

  2. once onions are translucent (about 6 minutes), add in peas, thyme, 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and black pepper, to taste. stir over heat for about 5 - 6 more minutes, then pour in stock. simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. remove from heat, add in fresh mint and lemon juice. pour soup into blender or food processor, blend for 2 minutes, then pour in milk. blend for another 3-4 minutes, or until completely smooth. serve immediately.