Winter Kale Salad

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Yes, yes. Another one. But what can you do, when your garden still produces armfuls of fresh kale, despite constant sub-freezing temperatures and a decent snow cover? We throw together kale salads all the time, and only rarely do we follow any kind of recipe (not even our own, to be honest). Because kale salads are almost like those I-need-to-clear-out-the-fridge-soups – you grab whatever needs to be used up and put it all in a bowl together with massaged kale and a dressing (preferably a simple, creamy one). We usually think like this: kale – legumes – starchy vegetables – onion – something sweet – something crunchy – dressing. Use that formula, and you’ll be golden! This time, the combination looks like this: kale – chickpeas – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes – roasted red onion – crispy apple cubes – toasted sunflower seeds – rosemary tahini dressing. I can’t really think of any combinations that wouldn’t work… except maybe roasted carrots. Or am I crazy to say that? It might be good. Yes, it probably is (I apologize, carrots).

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Lentil-Potato Dal

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Dal – spelled daal, dhal and dahl as well – is a term used for legumes (that is, lentils, beans and peas) in the Indian subcontinent. It also refers to a variety of soups or stews prepared with any of the said ingredients. Most commonly, one tends to associate dal with a curry-laden lentil concoction, and that goes for us too. In our opinion, that’s just the best. Sometimes we make it without potatoes and serve it over rice instead (which, we’re not going to lie, is ridiculously yummy), but with potatoes already in there, it turns into a one-pot complete meal AND a much more eco-friendly alternative (naturally, buying locally grown potatoes is a far better choice than imported rice). Another great alternative is to serve it over wheat berries, which gives you some rice-like chewiness from a far more sustainable food source (at least for us up here in the north).

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Vegetarian Borscht

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Before moving to NYC, I thought maybe I’d find an awesome bagel spot that I’d make “mine”. Or a pizza place, or a coffee shop. I wasn’t expecting becoming a regular at a Ukrainian/American eatery serving up pierogi, borscht and blintzes next to eggs Benedict and chocolate chip pancakes as if the most natural thing in the world, but I did. And while Veselka, as this cultural landmark is called, was a favorite of Michael’s too, I’m proud to say I’d been there multiple times already, when meeting him! (I believe this scored me some extra points there, early on you know) We’ve enjoyed more delicious meals at Veselka than we can count – for example, the thought of a large plate of potato pierogi was the only thing that could get Michael out of fetal position and up from the couch after his first half marathon distance run. It was also the place I took my parents for brunch when they came to New York for the first time, and they did in fact order said chocolate chip pancakes… Whenever we go back to visit these days, a dinner there beats any temptations the fancy restaurants throw at us – and we’re lucky that our brother/brother-in-law doesn’t turn down an opportunity to get his Ukrainian food fix, so we can combine seeing Max AND eating potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream. Win-win.

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Late Summer Salad

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One of the things we daydreamed about as we built our vegetable garden last fall, was being able to step outside and harvest enough stuff to make a meal out of. We thought – best case scenario, we’ll be able to do that a handful of times in one season (somehow this still felt worth all the hard work for us, which some might say is an interesting topic in itself). Never in the wildest of dreams could we have imagined the quantities of food our humble number of square meters of land would produce, and – thankfully – we never stop being grateful. It feels like Christmas every day. This is a late-summer-bounty kind of salad that really celebrates the act of grabbing the basket, stepping outside and harvesting whatever looks good (and also what’s begging to be brought inside – I’m looking at you, you zeppelin sized zucchini). This recipe should be treated as a guide and an inspiration source, rather than a rule book. In order for it to be filling enough to serve as a main course, there sort of needs to a starchy ingredient though. We never turn down an option to have potatoes, but winter squash, carrots or parsnips are other great choices (when in season, that is). We like to throw in a legume for protein, and the small and unassuming white bean is our favorite. Again though, any kind would be fine. And then – just work with what you have on hand. Pole beans offer a nice crunch, tomatoes some sweetness, chard a dose of… green (and lots of nutrients). A simple, herb-laden dressing mixed in and – voilà. Dinner is served. We usually go heavier on the amount of potatoes and beans than the recipe suggests, simply because we need to pack in lots of energy in our meals. Keep that in mind when reading through the list of ingredients, if you think it seems a little thin. This truly is a celebration of the variety of produce available this time of year, and the creativity in the kitchen that it brings with it. Happy cooking 🙂

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