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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Sausage and Crawfish Jambalaya

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

The saga of cleaning out the fridge before the cow is ready (on the 18th, yikes!) continues. This weekend, among other things, I thawed out a pound of crawfish. There are exactly three things that should be made when one has a pound of crawfish, and all of them are Cajun. Today, I decided to make a version of jambalaya, using cauliflower rice. Tomorrow, it might be étouffée (Paleo Comfort Foods has a great version), or maybe gumbo.

The first thing you’ll want is a pound of pre-cooked andouille sausage. Wellshire makes a good brand with minimal fillers. If you don’t like spicy, you can sub some cubed chicken breast–just make sure to cook it in some fat, as you’ll need it later. For the sausage, you can simply slice and fry. Use a big pot, because this is a two-pot meal and it’ll all end up in this one eventually.

When the sausage slices are brown, add one diced onion, one diced green pepper, and two large stalks of celery, also diced. There should be enough rendered grease from the sausage to cook them in. If not, add some fat of choice. When the veggies have softened, add some garlic (four or five cloves, minced) and cook for another minute or so. Then add a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, three cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of Creole seasoning, two teaspoons of chili powder, a few pinches of salt, a half-teaspoon of dried thyme, and cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let this simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat up a tablespoon or two of oil. In that, sweat a small minced onion, a diced green pepper, and a minced shallot. When they are soft and the onion and shallot are starting to turn golden, add a head of grated cauliflower. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Stir in a tablespoon of Creole seasoning. If your seasoning is salt-free, add salt to taste.

By this point, hopefully your jambalaya is done. Add a pound of crawfish tails to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower rice and serve.

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Sous vide flank steak with dairy-free creamed spinach

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

So I finished my Whole30, if you can call it finished seeing as I haven’t gone back to my old ways. I’ve lost 8 pounds, an inch off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips, and gained a great deal of energy and a much better attitude. I don’t even miss dairy all that much, especially when I can find great substitutes like I did tonight.

But I’ll begin with the flank steak, and tell you a little story about the girl with no freezer space. We’re getting half a grassfed cow again next week–something that generally fills up our chest freezer at least halfway. But then on Monday, I noticed that my favorite pastured pork provider actually had availability for the first time in ages. I ordered some skin, chops (best chops on Earth), ground pork, and spare ribs. And I might have gotten a little carried away. I have a freezer that’s…pretty full. And it has to be decidedly less full in a week and a half. Eep. When I put the pork in, I took out some other stuff–a chicken, some sausages I got from my organic grocery delivery service, and a flank steak.

Sous vide is a great way of cooking lean meats like flank steak. For this one, you’ll need some sort of immersion cooker–there are ways to hack a cooler into a decent sous vide machine, but that’s for shorter times than this will require. You’ll want either a Sous Vide Supreme or the less expensive Sous Vide Magic which turns crock pots or rice cookers into sous vide cookers. I asked for the Magic last Christmas, but got the Supreme Demi, because Husband is just that awesome.

To make the flank steak, rub it with a bit of the green stuff or some salt and pepper, put it in a vacuum-sealed bag, and put it in your sous vide at 131 degrees. You can even put it in fully frozen if you want–I did. That temperature gets you medium-rare. If you want rare, try about 127. If you want it more cooked than medium-rare, you’re nuts and should probably just go be a vegan or something. 24 hours later (mine was more like 27, and it would probably still be good up to 48 hours later), take it out, pat it dry, and either sear it on very high heat for a minute per side or take your kitchen torch to the outside of it. When the outside is seared to your liking, slice it thinly against the grain. It ends up with an awesome texture–mine had some gristle in it that I was worried would make it too chewy, but it just pulled right apart, and the gristle was all gelatin.

For the creamed spinach, I used the raw cashew “cream” sauce base from Against All Grain, replacing the basil with dried parsley and ignoring the rest of the (admittedly delicious-looking) recipe. Whiz your soaked cashews and reserved soaking water in the food processor. It’ll look runny, but it eventually sets up. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice and whiz it again until it’s smooth. Add a little bit of it to some sautéed baby spinach and stir until it’s warmed through. You may also want to add some extra salt. The rest of the sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days. I plan on tossing it with some broccoli tomorrow.

Doesn’t that look awesome? I can attest that it was. I don’t miss the dairy in the least.

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Mofongo with ropa vieja

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

One of my coworkers just got back from a vacation in Puerto Rico and raved about a dish she had there called mofongo. She described it as a garlicky mashed plantain mound with whatever meat you wanted. I adore plantains–they were my favorite carb even before going paleo–ahead of bread, potatoes, rice, you name it. So I googled for a recipe. Turns out it’s pretty simple–fried then mashed slices of green plantain mixed with ground up pork rinds and minced raw garlic. It’s usually topped with some sort of stew. I HAD to make this.

I’ll start with the stew, because it takes the longest to make. I altered a version of the crockpot ropa vieja recipe from PaleOMG. First, remove the bones, if any, from your chuck roast, and save them for stock. Salt and pepper both sides of your roast and brown it on both sides in your pressure cooker.

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Remove the meat and add your peppers, onion, and spices–I added minced garlic here instead of inserting the garlic into the roast.

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When your vegetables soften, add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, along with some sliced pimento-stuffed olives (I don’t have the aversion to them that PaleOMG does, and they are really, really good in this dish) and the bay leaves. Put the meat back in, submerging it as much as possible, and cook on high pressure for an hour, allowing the steam to release naturally before opening the lid. Alternatively, you can do it in a crockpot, as PaleOMG suggests, or covered on the stovetop in a Dutch oven on a low simmer until the meat pulls apart easily.

When the meat is almost done, start the mofongo. Peel four green plantains. This is easier said than done–you’ll likely have to score the peels with a knife to remove them. Slice each plantain into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal and soak the slices in a bowl of salted water for 15 minutes. Drain them and dry them before frying.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with a layer of either olive or coconut oil, using medium heat. Add the plantains in batches and fry for five minutes per side. They should be golden but not brown. Put each batch in a large mixing bowl when it’s done.

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While the plantains are frying, grind up pork rinds or chicharrones in a food processor. You’ll want a cup of crumbs–just keep adding more until you get what you need. I think about 2-3 ounces will do it. Add the crumbs to the plantains.

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Using a potato masher or a food processor, mash together the plantains and pork rind crumbs. Add some olive oil if necessary. Mix in 4 cloves of minced raw garlic. Using your hands, mash the mixture into balls.

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Shred the meat from your stew into small chunks or strands and ladle it over the mofongo, making sure to get plenty of veggies and liquid.

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This was ridiculously good. All the flavors go together perfectly. If you want, you might want to try garnishing it with some sliced avocado, but it’s not at all necessary. It’s dense and filling–a little goes a long way. I doubled the recipe and it made enough for two dinners, a Preschooler plate, and eight good-sized lunch portions. And sorry, Coworker, but I’m not sharing!

Cold sesame kelp noodles

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

I heard recently that kelp noodles are low-carb, low-calorie, and taste pretty decent, so I made Husband order some. It’s 90 degrees outside today, and I took Preschooler to the playground this morning while Husband mowed the lawn, so both of us were not interested in a hot lunch. I also had some leftover sliced cucumber and some cold salmon that needed to be used. Cold sesame noodles seemed like a great treat.

Start with a one-pound bag of kelp noodles. Rinse them off, shake them dry, and toss them with a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Put the bowl in the fridge while you make the dressing.

Put six tablespoons of tahini in a small bowl. To that add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition. Do this until the texture is thick and creamy. I used probably five tablespoons of water total, but it depends on how oily your tahini is–mine was pretty thin to begin with. You’ll notice it actually thickens with the first couple of tablespoons of water, before eventually thinning out again as you add more.

In another small bowl, whisk together three tablespoons of coconut aminos, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar or white vinegar, two cloves of minced garlic, and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root. If you can’t find coconut aminos, use an equal amount of wheat-free soy sauce (also called tamari) with a teaspoon or so of honey added. Whisk that mixture into your tahini. Add two minced scallions. Toss this with the kelp noodles and add half a sliced cucumber.

To serve, put the noodle and cucumber mixture into bowls and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and another minced scallion if desired. Add any cold leftover meat you want; I used salmon, but it would be great with shrimp, chicken, or sliced pork.

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Roasted leg of lamb and roasted radishes with radish greens

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

This is technically a Game of Thrones feast, but as the recipe was not a reworking of one specifically found in the book, I won’t count it as such.

You’ll want a 4-5 pound bone-in leg of lamb. About two hours before you plan on cooking it, mix three tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon and a half of coconut sugar, a tablespoon and a half of minced garlic, a teaspoon of crushed dried rosemary, a teaspoon of salt, and a half-teaspoon of black pepper. Coat your lamb in this mixture and put it in the fridge until it’s ready to go on the grill.

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You’ll want to cook it over indirect heat at 350 degrees until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reaches 125 degrees.

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For the radishes, you’ll want a bunch of radishes with greens attached per person. Trim the radishes at root and stem, reserving the greens. Wash both radishes and greens carefully, then coarsely chop the greens. In an ovenproof skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil until it shimmers, then toss in the radishes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Pop the whole pan in the oven and roast for fifteen minutes, turning the radishes once halfway through (I didn’t and probably should have). Put the pan back on the stovetop on medium heat and toss in two tablespoons of butter, stirring to coat the radishes. Then add the greens and toss until they’re wilted, about two minutes. Finish with a splash of lemon juice, about 1-2 tablespoons.

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Serve the radishes alongside thinly-sliced lamb, and enjoy eating your Dream of Spring.

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Crab and fried green tomato salad

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Today, thanks to my in-laws borrowing the preschooler for the day, we got a lot of work done around the house. For the couple of hours before they took her off on a grand adventure, I took her to the farmer’s market. At one booth, four lovely green tomatoes glowed at me like the Holy Grail of produce. I had to buy them. I knew my husband was at home chopping and stacking firewood in 90-degree weather (because really, what better time to do it?) and he’d be working up an appetite. But he’d also be hot and sweaty and wouldn’t want to eat anything hot or heavy. I recalled a fried green tomato and dungeness crab appetizer at a restaurant we’d gone to in Seattle, and I knew we had a couple of cans of crabmeat in the fridge. An idea was born.

First, since I’d just bought a bunch of cool new oils, I decided that I wanted a mayonnaise-based crab salad. First, I drained a one-pound can of wild-caught crabmeat, to which I added three diced stalks of celery and half a diced green bell pepper (red or yellow would make the salad more colorful). Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, pepper to taste, and a bit of Old Bay if you like. I made my homemade mayonnaise with some avocado oil along with the safflower and olive oil. I used four rounded tablespoons of mayo in the salad, and finally added a few healthy glugs of Tabasco sauce. And back into the fridge it went.

For the fried green tomatoes, I didn’t mess with perfection. I used the wonderful recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods, altering it only to use a different kind of chili pepper, since I didn’t have chipotle. Just look at those beauties!

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To plate it, just pile your crab salad on top of whatever greens and veggies you prefer, then put the fried green tomato slices around it. I put some chèvre crumbles on the tomatoes because I’m not dairy-averse, but it would be delicious without them.

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Scallops with Shiitake Sauce (and Chocolate Avocado Pudding)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Today was a gorgeous day–one of those foggy late spring mornings that clears to a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon. I got a text from my husband that we absolutely needed to eat dinner outside on the back patio. Thankfully, I’d planned to make something that would go well outside and in. I am working my way through a freezer full of seafood to make room for a side of beef in July, so scallops it was. And I had some shiitake mushrooms from our organic produce delivery service, Green Bean Delivery. Some googling around and I had a plan.

First off, even the best scallops are likely going to be treated with a saline solution that makes them really difficult to sear. It also gives them an off taste. So unless you’re lucky enough to get dry scallops fresh off the boat, you’re going to want to brine them. For two pounds of scallops, soak them in a mixture of a quart of water, two tablespoons of salt, and a quarter-cup of lemon juice for 30 minutes. After that, put them on a plate between paper towels (I use 10) with a weight on top for another 30 minutes.

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While they’re soaking and draining, get your veggies prepped. I served these over zucchini noodles. Using a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler, cut zucchini into thin strips. Once you start to see the seeds, stop. This bowl is the end result of five medium zucchini.

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Prep your shiitake mushrooms. You’ll want to cut off the stems if yours came with them, as they’re pretty woody. You’ll want to end up with about this much, which will yield about two cups when sliced.

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Finely mince a shallot until you have about two tablespoons of them. Set them aside with the mushrooms. You’ll also want 3/4 cups of sparkling white wine (I used vinho verde, because it’s what I had on hand), a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of dried tarragon, two pinches of kosher salt, and 1/3 cup of sour cream.

Now you’re ready to cook. In a large Dutch oven, heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put your zucchini strips in the coconut oil, and your scallops, which will likely require 2 batches, in the skillet. The zucchini will just need to stir until it takes on the texture of cooked pasta, at which point you can salt it to taste and add a bit of Parmesan or garlic if you want. The scallops should sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

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When the scallops are done, put them on a plate. Add the shiitakes and shallots and sauté them for three minutes or so, until the mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates.

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Add the wine, Dijon, tarragon, and salt. Scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Let it boil a bit, then turn the heat all the way down to low and whisk in the sour cream. Serve scallops with the sauce over the zucchini noodles and enjoy a nice spring evening.

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For dessert (and I apologize for getting no pictures of this), I had an avocado to use up, so I decided to finally experiment with chocolate avocado pudding. It really couldn’t be easier. For two adults and a preschooler, you’ll want to blend together one ripe avocado with two tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond), 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Once it’s blended, put it in your ramekins or bowls and stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to eat.

Middle-Eastern Meatballs with Saffron Cauliflower Rice

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I just got back from an awesome vacation in Seattle. I spent five days walking at least three miles every day, and ruining that by eating piles and piles of the best seafood in the world. One of my walks involved the obligatory trip to the Pike Place Market, where I stumbled into a spice store, and bought (among many other things) a small bottle of saffron salt. My brain spun a bit as I imagined what I’d do with it, and I came up with an adaptation of a recipe I used to make when I did not eat Paleo.

For the meatballs, first heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven. While your pan is heating up, in a small bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of almond flour with a tablespoon of cumin, a teaspoon of turmeric, a half-teaspoon of cayenne, a teaspoon of salt, two thirds of a cup of finely minced onion, and 8 cloves of garlic. In a larger bowl, mix that spice mixture with two pounds of ground beef, ground lamb, or a mixture. Roll into small meatballs (you should get 25-30 of them) and brown on all sides in the olive oil. You’ll probably need to do this in batches.

When the meatballs are browned, put them all back into the pan and add two 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce and a cup of water. Stir, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes.

While the meatballs are browning, you’ll want to get started on the rice. For this, you’ll want two heads of cauliflower. Remove the stem and core, and shred the florets with either a box grater or the grater attachment to your food processor. Heat two tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan. While your oil is heating, heat up a cup of chicken stock until it’s boiling (I use the microwave so as not to dirty yet another dish) and add 1/4 tsp of crushed saffron threads to it. Let that sit for five minutes, while you fry the grated cauliflower in the coconut oil. After five minutes, add the saffron-infused broth and a half-teaspoon of turmeric (that’s how you get the nice yellow color). Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the liquid is almost all absorbed, salt to taste. I used that saffron salt here, but you can use regular salt if that’s all you have.

This recipe is more filling than it looks! I got four meatballs, thinking I’d get seconds, and I didn’t need them at all.

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Pan-seared pork chops with mushrooms and Dijon cream sauce over caramelized cabbage “noodles”

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I’ve been gone a while. A good portion of that while involved gutting my kitchen and basically doing a first-floor remodel. The good news is that now I have a bitchin’ kitchen (I bet somewhere there’s a blog with that title–if not, I should totally change this one) and can start posting here again. And my pictures no longer all look orange!

I just got my bimonthly delivery from Green Bean Delivery, which contained, among other things, four lovely boneless pork chops, a head of cabbage, and a bag of white button mushrooms. I also just bought a half-gallon of lovely heavy cream from the grassfed cows at Snowville Creamery. Gears started spinning in my head, and I whipped together one of my better whip-together meals in quite some time.

Here’s what you’ll need.

4 boneless pork chops, 1″ thick
Salt and pepper
Fat of choice for cooking (I used a mixture of grassfed butter and olive oil)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic or 2 tbsp minced shallots
1/4 cup cognac
2/3 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (I used half regular Dijon and half seeded Dijon)
1 head cabbage, thinly sliced
Bacon grease for cooking

For the cabbage, very thinly slice a head of cabbage.

Sliced cabbage

Heat bacon grease over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the cabbage and salt to taste. Cook the cabbage, stirring frequently, until it wilts and begins to brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Caramelized cabbage

Salt and pepper both sides of your pork chops. Sear them over medium-high heat for five minutes per side, using your fat of choice.

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When they’re done, remove them to a plate. Throw in your mushrooms and cook them until they release their liquid. Add the garlic or shallots and cook for another couple of minutes, until the mushroom liquid begins to evaporate.

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Add the cognac and cook down until all the liquid is almost evaporated. Lower the heat, stir in the cream, and bring it to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard. Add the pork chops to warm them back up.

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Serve over the cabbage noodles.

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Plank Grilled Salmon with Ramp Pesto and Roasted Sunchokes

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Today was the first farmer’s market of the year. I look forward to this day to a ridiculous degree, and very rarely does it live up to my expectations, as there’s just not too much in season right now. But this year? AWESOME. I found a bunch of stuff I rarely ever see, including the world’s most perfect ramps. Ramps, for those of you who don’t know, are a wild spring onion, also referred to as wild leeks, even though they look nothing like the leeks you’re familiar with. If you can only find the bulbs, use them in the same way you’d use garlic. If you’re lucky enough to find them with the leaves still attached, they look like this.

fresh ramps

Whole wild ramps make awesome pesto. Take 10-15 of them. Remove the bulbs and chop them coarsely. Chop the stems and leaves coarsely as well. Make a pile of bulbs, a pile of stems, and a pile of leaves.

cut ramps

Over medium heat, saute the bulbs only in olive oil for about two minutes, until they start to brown a bit. Add the stems and saute it for another minute, then add the leaves and saute until wilted, about another minute more.

cooked ramps

Put them in the food processor with about a half cup of toasted walnuts or pine nuts. Pulse a few times. Add a half-cup of Parmesan cheese and a pinch of Kosher salt. Pulse again a few times. Slowly add a half-cup of olive oil, pulsing occasionally. You don’t want it to be a puree–you want some chunkiness to it.

ramp pesto

Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem), are a nice low-starch tuber. They’re ugly as hell, though, and they supposedly make you quite flatulent, although I ate mine about 3 hours ago and have yet to get that particular symptom. You can eat them raw or cooked–they’re quite versatile. To roast them, start with two pounds. Peel half of them, and leave the skins on the other half–you’ll want to scrub those with a sponge under warm water to get all the dirt off. Cut them in bite-size chunks.

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Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. I did mine for 30 but they could have gone 10 more minutes and been a bit creamier. But like I mentioned, you can eat them raw, so it’s not like they’re gross if they come out a little undercooked.

For the planked salmon, heat your grill to about 450 degrees. Soak an alder or cedar plank in water for at least an hour. I let mine soak for most of the afternoon. When your grill is ready, put the plank on it for 10 minutes, lid down. Flip the plank and put your salted and peppered salmon filets on it, skin side down. A standard-size plank should fit 4 salmon filets–if you’re making more than that, you’ll need more planks. Close the lid again, and let the salmon cook on the plank for 12 minutes. Remove promptly. The skin should stick to the plank, leaving a nice soft salmon filet to put on your plate.

Serve it with ramp pesto and the sunchokes. Eat it outside, take a bite before you take a picture, and marvel at the new leaves, the birds and sunshine, and all the bounties of another wonderful spring.

salmon sunchokes pesto

Speaking of the bounties of another spring, tomorrow I’ll show you the morels.