strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread

strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread

 

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It started with my annual, have you tried asparagus before? questioning at the high school garden. To all the new students who told me they won’t eat asparagus, I brought them over to the plants, cut off a few stalks, snapped them into smallish pieces, and handed them over.

This always works.

I love converting asparagus haters. Fresh-off-the-plant raw asparagus is the epitome of what spring tastes like. It’s not tough or bitter or slightly limp like some of us have grown used to. It’s alive and green and has a flavor that even vegetable-avoiding high school students can get behind.

 

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Since then, we’ve been eating a few asparagus-filled meals on repeat.

 

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The first is this strawberry, asparagus + radish flatbread. It is perfect for a light meal or can be paired with others for more of a tapa-style selection. The Recipe Redux theme this month is tapas and small bites, so check out the link-up below for more ideas, if you’ve the mind. William and I have tended to make two of these flatbreads at a time, eat one for dinner, and then the other for lunch leftovers the next day. I like mine drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and he leaves his as is. We love them.

 

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The other asparagus dinners we’ve been enjoying and sharing with friends this spring include a quick sauté of asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, and peas over Lindsey’s chickpea mash and then again with her vegan chickpea alfredo pasta, which we serve with asparagus, peas, and any number of other spring vegetables.

 

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Strawberry, Asparagus + Radish Flatbread, makes 2

1 1/3 cups garbanzo bean flour

2/3 cups brown rice flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2-2/3 cup water

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch pieces

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

juice from 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. raw honey

1 lb. strawberries, sliced

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

balsamic vinegar, to drizzle, optional

  • Mix the flours, oil, baking powder, salt, and water. Add enough water to make a dough that can be handled and rolled. Then allow the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes. Divide it in two, and roll out one of the flatbreads on a floured work surface. Transfer to a baking pan or pizza dish and with a pastry brush or your fingers, coat the dough with a small amount of olive oil.
  • In a large bowl, toss the asparagus, radish slices, lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Then top the dough with half the asparagus mixture and bake at 400 degrees F for about 16 minutes. Without removing from the oven, add half the sliced strawberries, a handful of parsley, and a drizzle of honey, and then bake for an additional 3-4 minutes, just to warm the ingredients.
  • Remove from the oven, drizzle with a small amount of balsamic, if desired, slice and serve.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and ingredients.

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Sweet + Tangy Quick Pickled-Radishes

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Currently, I’m smack in the middle of a sweet and tangy quick-pickle phase and thin slices of vinegary vegetables have been going on everything. Seriously, everything. Falafel, rainbow salad, beet and lentil flatbreads, as a taco topping, in lieu of salad dressing, on quick grain and lentil leftover jumbles, and even at a super fancy restaurant meal last week for my birthday.

 

I began this phase by pickling a batch of onions but have had radishes in the vegetable bin non-stop since March. Radishes are one of the quickest, easiest, and earliest of spring vegetables to grow and their vibrant parade of reds, pinks, and neon purples have had me purchasing a bunch each week when waiting for my own to grow. I had been tossing them into just about everything and threw a few thin slices into the quick-pickle jar one day. If I ever had enough beets around for long enough, I’d quick-pickle them as well and am planning to hop on over to pickling creamy spring turnips next because all the spring root vegetables and a jar of slightly sweetly spiced vinegar is a quick and definite thing!

 

Have I convinced you yet?  If not, come on over and I’ll hand you a jar and fork and change your mind forever. But please, don’t even think about smelling my breath–It’s vinegary!

 

The Recipe Redux challenged us to a DIY recipe this month and I’m especilly excited about these quick-pickles because William has gotten on board and he is was not a pickled-anything fan. They are super easy to make and can liven up almost any sort of dish (I’m making fava burgers next–you better believe these are going all up on them!) If you’ve got a few minutes, some sort of vegetable (of the root variety preferred) and vinegar, you’ve got yourself quick-pickles.

 

Okay, I’ll stop chattering now. But only because I’ve got another batch of these to make.

 

For a whole host of other DIY recipes like pizza/pasta sauce version I or version II, an assortment of flavorful dressings, infused oil, vinegar (!), and a must-try pot of creamy black beans, etc., check out the recipe page–I’ve updated it.

 

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Quick-Pickled Radishes

1 1/2 cups apple cider or rice vinegar

3 Tbs. sugar

2 tsp. salt

1-2 bay leaves

3 whole cloves

4 black peppercorns

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

  • Pour  all the ingredients save the radishes into a medium-size pot and stir to dissolve salt and sugar while bringing to a boil.
  • Once the liquid boils, remove from heat and toss in the radish slices.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a jar and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to eat. They should last for up to a week, if not used right away.

 

Miso Quinoa Polenta

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The other day, a girl in my high school group asked what I was like when I was her age. She asked what I did when upset, my teenage equivalent to eating a tub of ice cream in front of a sad movie. I thought a moment and suddenly remembered sitting on the floor in my room with the green carpet and sea foam walls, back pressed up against the bed, journal out and angry music turned up loud. I’d write poetry.

 

I wrote a lot of terrible poetry. I also wrote some poems that were quite good, words that I still have and to this day, can bring chills in their ability to convey a feeling, to put me back in the exact moment of their writing.

 

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My AP English teacher singled out a particular poem one day during my senior year. Standing at his podium, he read it aloud to the class. I still recall the moment because I was incredibly embarrassed. I mostly reserved my poetry-releases to funny bits in birthday cards, never sharing the serious ones. Though he didn’t say my name, I sat there petrified, afraid I’d be called out. I don’t know why I’d chosen that particular poem to submit for a class assignment; perhaps because it was powerful, those words having been torn from somewhere I didn’t know existed. Having them on paper was a vulnerability and the very act of sharing with my teacher was scary enough; having them read aloud to a room full of peers was unnerving. If only those words were safer, lighter-hearted, less mature, I would have been more fine in sharing.

 

Mr. Colley having done reciting, he and the others praised those words, commending their particular arrangement. As I listened, I allowed myself to momentarily separate, treating the words as if they were the work of another. In some ways their ownership wasn’t mine as in the throes of writing, I never really had a choice in putting them down.

 

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I share this memory because it’s exactly what I felt in writing and sharing my last post.

 

I cannot begin to express what it is like to sort through all the words, thoughts, and feelings inside and pull them out, one by one, getting them down on a page exactly as they were meant to be, and then having them composed, opening a window and flinging them out to the world haphazardly, not knowing why or what will become of them, knowing only they need to be flung.

 

I’m only just recovering from the result.

 

I am overwhelmed by the response; by the amount and depth of public and private messages received. The summary, if I can summarize, is that it is important to be real, to be vulnerable, to share the highs and the lows and to help each other out in our improving.

 

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My dear friend Kari shared a mantra on her blog that she spent a year striving to live by. I was so inspired by Kari’s mantra that I wrote it down and plastered it to the back of my phone. When it wore off, I tucked it away in my purse. On the days I am furthest from living by them, I seem to randomly pull that wisp of paper out and gain an instant paradigm shift.

 

Kari’s words:  Be brave. Be kind. Be true.

 

I don’t have preconceived notions that anything I say here is particularly important in the grand scheme of things or even inspiring to others, but I do know that Kari’s words stuck with me. I’ve been pondering them, applying them, being brave with them. In passing them along, I hope Kari’s mantra can serve as a guide for you, just as it has guided me. In whatever ways that apply, I hope you can be brave. I hope you can remember to be kind. And when life brings little nudges, I hope you can be true.

 

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Miso Quinoa Polenta, serves 3-4

I’ve been making a mess of polenta this spring and one day, realizing I was short on cornmeal/polenta, I grabbed the quinoa and my coffee grinder and inspiration was born. The result is a nice change from both quinoa and polenta, and combines the best of both. I used a tri-colored quinoa, so the result is a touch gray, but any type will do. Grind it down to a fine meal in batches. As for the miso, I have only tried this with a soy-free chickpea miso that I purchase from a big bulk container at the co-op. I think it is this kind, but I’m not entirely sure. Regardless of what you choose, I recommend a lighter type. 

1 cup quinoa

2 + cups broth of choice or water

1 Tbs. light miso

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

3-4 spring carrots, finely grated

a big handful of salad greens

spring onion greens, sliced

4 eggs, fried, or protein of choice

sunflower seeds for garnish

salt and pepper to taste

  • In a medium pot, bring water or broth to a boil. Slowly, whisk in the quinoa polenta, making sure no clumps form, and turn down to medium-low. Cook until it is as thick as you desire, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more liquid as needed. Turn off the heat and stir in miso and salt and pepper to taste.
  • While polenta is cooking, prep the vegetables and fry the eggs.
  • Spoon the polenta into plates or bowls, toss on the vegetables, sunflower seeds, and eggs. Enjoy!