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Gettin' down with real food.

Tarragon and Lemon Potato Salad with Artichokes and Olives

Mindful eating, or offering full awareness to the food on our plates by bringing all five senses to the table, is a skill we can all sharpen.  Each and every bite won’t suddenly be elevated to some ethereal experience, but you may find that tuning in, especially to those first couple tastes, changes your eating habits in subtle, yet meaningful ways. Taste memories become stronger, smells and textures richer and ultimately you may feel more satisfied, more filled and fulfilled, with the amount of food your body needs.  

Mindful eating is a way to connect with yourself, your body, your needs, and your food. Start small: take three deep, conscious breaths (inhale, exhale) before your next meal or snack. Smell your food as your breath in, ground yourself in the moment as you breathe out. Three breaths. It takes no more than 30 seconds. Give it a try. Oh, and this recipe too.

Salty olives, bright juicy lemon, bittersweet licorice-y tarragon, and tender artichokes join perfectly cooked, creamy yellow potatoes in this refreshing riff on a picnic staple, best enjoyed with the sun on your face and a breeze in your hair.

 
Tarragon and Lemon Potato Salad | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Tarragon and Lemon Potato Salad with Artichokes and Olives

Adapted from Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant

Makes about 8 servings as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds small yellow organic potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 1 cup jarred marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 2 or more handfuls baby spinach or other tender green, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dressing:

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot, meow!)

Method

1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Salt water generously.  Place pot on stove over high heat and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes to soften onion and garlic flavors.

3. Check potatoes for doneness every couple of minutes by piercing one with a knife.  Potatoes are done when knife slides in, but potato does not fall apart. Air on the side of slightly hard, as they continue to cook after removing from the heat. Drain potatoes and set aside. Prepare remaining ingredients.

4. Once slightly cooled, cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks and peel if desired (my potatoes’ peels were practically sliding off after boiling).  Combine still-warm potatoes with the dressing in a large serving bowl. Fold in artichokes, olives, and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: This salad tastes best after a little time so the potatoes can take on the flavors of the dressing and the spinach can wilt slightly. A couples hours in the fridge should do the trick.

 
Tarragon and Lemon Potato Salad | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com

Happy Labor Day weeeeeekend!

Class has only been in session a week, but I already feel I need this little break. My final semester before practicum aka internship, promises to be dynamic and full of opportunities for self-growth. (Read: crazy busy and emotionally demanding.) At times I find myself getting caught up in the scholarly whirlwind and losing sight of what’s most important: sharing healthy, delicious food with people from all walks of life. Thankfully that’s just what I was able to do today: with my very best friend and fearless classmate at my side, I took part in cooking and sharing a fresh, seasonal recipe with the lovely folks at the Wauwatosa Farmers market.

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com

Our Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil was a success. I loved listening to market goers' comments as they sipped the mint green, basil-flecked, chilled soup from Dixie cups.  They remarked on the light, herbacious flavor and how cool and refreshing it was amidst the heat and density of the late summer air. Not only did Chetney and I get to share our love of food and nutrition, but we were also able to promote our beloved blogs, yet another way to spread the healthy eating love around. And a special thanks to Kettle Rock Farm, who graciously donated all of the produce for today's recipe demo!

This recipe is a fantastic vehicle for using up some of the season’s plethora of zucchini and cucumber, which provide the base of our gazpacho. The flavor-soul of this soup comes from basil and lemon, which elevate the other ingredients with their botanical brightness while scallions lend a gentle allium scent and olive oil and whole milk yogurt bring richness and depth. To add visual appeal and textural variation, we topped the soup with diced heirloom tomatoes, so pretty! Serving this at home, I streaked the soup with yogurt, olive oil and coarse sea salt: abstract art in a bowl.

 
Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Lemon and Basil | funkybeetsblog.com
 

Talking through this recipe with market goers, we noted that any summer squash (pattypan, yellow squash, etc.) would work well in place of the zucchini.  We also tossed around the idea of using other herbs like cilantro, lemon thyme, or parsley.  Chetney even mentioned blending in some honeydew melon; I’d love to try that version! As with many of the seasonal recipes I’ve been sharing here lately, I encourage you to make this your own, add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Share your creations in the comments below.  And be sure to pop over to Chetney's blog for the full story of our market cooking adventure as well as to follow along with her day to day food journey, an always inspiring read.

doing what I love - photo credit Chetney Dudzic

Now dear reader, your mission should you choose to accept it: grab your best knife and a blender and whip up this soup in 15 minutes or less.  Then let it chill and share it with the ones you love; the weekend is just beginning!

Zucchini and Cucumber Gazpacho with Basil and Lemon

adapted from Real Simple
Makes about 8 half-cup portions

Ingredients

  • 4 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 1 lb cucumbers, seeds removed if desired, sliced
  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced
  • 3/4 cup  olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  fresh basil leaves, plus more for topping
  • 1/3 cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup  plain whole milk yogurt, plus more for topping
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, diced, for topping

Method

  1. Puree the scallions, cucumbers, zucchini, oil, basil, and lemon juice in a blender, or in bowl using an immersion blender, until smooth.
     
  2. Add the yogurt, salt and pepper to taste (half teaspoon of each to start) and pulse to combine.
     
  3. Serve cold or room temperature topped with yogurt, torn basil, and diced heirloom tomatoes. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.

Collard Greens and Chicken Chorizo Tacos

"The cheese stands alone." I always felt kinda bad for the cheese. And sometimes I feel bad for the greens too, because they too often stand alone as a side dish, a supporting act. Collard greens in particular have been pigeonholed into the token green(ish) food on our plates of barbeque pulled pork and mac n' cheese. Well, no more! Today, collards get to grab a partner, do-si-do, and star in the show. 

collardgreens

Collard greens are thick, some might even called them tough.  They're typically cooked for a long time, with some kind of fatty animal product, like bacon or ham hocks, during which they lose much of their beautiful dark green color and come out of the pot bearing more of a putrid olive shade. 

When I got a bunch of collards in my CSA box last week, I vowed to give them the treatment they deserved.  And I came up with this quick and tasty recipe for collard greens and chicken chorizo tacos. 

collard green and chorizo

Collard Greens and Chicken Chorizo Tacos

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. humanely raised ground chicken chorizo

1 bunch (about 4 large leaves) collard greens, stems removed and medium-chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1/4 cup tomato sauce

4 soft corn tortillas

For topping:

thinly sliced scallions (green onions)

avocado

charred tomato salsa

sliced limes


Method:

Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat.  Add the garlic and the chopped collards.  If the pan seems a little dry (this will depend on how much fat is in your chorizo), stream in some olive oil to allow the greens to saute without charring.

Continue to cook the collards and chorizo together until the chicken is no longer pink and the greens have wilted and turned dark green in color.  Taste a piece of the greens, paying attention to how they chew: you want some texture remaining but not the raw roughness they started with.  If you like how things are going here, add the taco seasoning and tomato sauce, stirring to incorporate.  Cook a few more minutes over medium low heat to allow the flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, heat your tortillas over a stove flame or in the microwave wrapped in damp paper towel, then serve the tacos immediately, topping the collard and chorizo mixture with salsa, avocado, green onions, and a squeeze of lime.

collard greens and chicken chorizo tacos