Thursday, October 18, 2012

Salads and Giant Turnips

I know Tomten Farm is doing something right, because I'm not a big salad eater, but have been eating them nonstop for the past few weeks. Our fall CSA has been very enjoyable so far, and this week's share seemed extra plentiful because of the GIANT turnips we received. Or maybe not the turnips as much as their green tops. They're longer than our dishwasher! Check them out:

Tonight I'm going to utilize the turnip greens (or some of them) in Smitten Kitchen's pancetta, white bean and chard pot pies. Yum.

But back to the salads... 

I wrote about the radish salad in my last post, and have since made it again with mizuna and salad turnips instead of arugula and radishes. I love how simple and adaptable it is.

The October issue of Bon Appetit is one of my favorites in awhile, and I marked several recipes in it. I've already managed one - Roasted Pepper and Onion Salad with Blue Cheese - and it's definitely a keeper for autumn and winter. We ate it with feta instead of blue cheese, because neither of us are too fond of blue cheese and I had feta, and I thought it worked nicely. It would be great for an easy lunch or light dinner with a good loaf of bread.

For the first time in awhile, I made homemade dressing that wasn't just olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar. In fact, this dressing didn't even have olive oil in it, and it's a new favorite. 

Of course, after I put it together on Sunday to bring to Shannon and John's for dinner, I left it at home. We ate the salad itself (butter lettuce salad with tahini-agave dressing from Sprouted Kitchen) with the dressings Shannon had, and it was still tasty. Avocado makes everything better. 

I used agave instead of honey and parsley instead of chives in the dressing, omitted the sprouts, and finished off our head of butter lettuce and used frisee to fulfill the needed quantity of leafy greens. The dressing is garlicky, slightly sweet with a sour edge from the lemon, and nutty from the tahini, and none of the flavors overwhelm each other. I made the amount suggested in the recipe, which is twice what you need (or just a substantial jar full to have on hand if you forget it in your fridge), and have been enjoying it all week.

Normally I associated salads with spring and summer, but they're totally having their moment at our house this fall. Hopefully the above recipes will inspire you to join in on the fun!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Growing up, my mom always made my brother and me feel extra special around our birthdays. Partly because all of her family members were late getting us cards and gifts, and partly because it made the celebration that much more fun, we had a "birthday month" surrounding the actual day. This involved the aforementioned delayed gifts and cards, special dinners, and treats scattered throughout the month. I made a point of carrying that tradition through college and into my life with Davy, and happily acknowledge all of my friends' birthday months as well.

Now that my wedding anniversary falls six days before my birthday, there's another reason to love October, and this year in particular, it's been especially wonderful. Below are pictures of some of the many highlights I've already experienced so far this month, and I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of it.

Baby Paige, my 11-month-old soulmate, who loves dinnertime as much as her mom and I do

Veramar Vineyard, a winery Davy and I visited during a weekend trip to Berryville, VA in honor of our anniversary

Fantastic anniversary dinner prepared by my husband: grilled halibut, grilled potatoes, and this delicious arugula and radish salad that I can't wait to make again

anniversary gift label (by Davy)

Costco cake to end one of my most favorite meals ever - a surprise birthday dinner at Accanto

birthday dinner at home: fresh fettuccine with local spicy Italian sausage, ricotta, and CSA broccoli raab