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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
 

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

For me, receiving fruit in a CSA basket is the equivalent of getting a king size candy bar during trick-or-treat at age 10: so special. That's why when organic apples appeared in our veggie box two weeks in a row, I hoarded them away like a greedy squirrel and started searching for a recipe to honor these rosy, perfectly imperfect gems.

local apples

The farmer's newsletter said he wasn't sure what variety these apples were, but that they were organic and therefore slightly blemished, but mighty tasty. A mystery apple! Joy! Their flavor was tart but not pucker-inducing, the flesh was firm and robustly textured, they were generously juicy, and perfect for making applesauce. 

This recipe hails from the infamous Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.  I borrowed it from the library after seeing several of my favorite cooks and bloggers site it as one of their must-haves. So far it hasn't disappointed.  This applesauce is nothing like the kind that comes in a jar at the supermarket.  It is at once chunky and silky, and absolutely sings with apple flavor.  My mouth is watering as I write this and so are my eyes because my apples and the sauce I made from them are long gone.  I ate it plain, also in oatmeal and swirled with plain yogurt and cinnamon.  I loved every bite. If you have any apples hanging around, you betta' make this applesauce toot sweet.

Recipe note: If you don't have 4 pounds of apples, scale the recipe back and adjust ingredients accordingly.  It's still worth it to make a small batch.  The sugar is pretty minimal, letting the apples' flavor shine and making it a versatile sauce for serving with anything from ice cream to pork chops. 

rustic roasted applesauce | funkybeetsblog.com

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

adapted slightly from the Zuni Café Cookbook
makes about 3 cups

Ingredients
 

  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Up to 1 Tbsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness of you apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
     

Method

Roasted apples
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the apple chunks in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss to coat. 
  3. Shave butter into thin slices and "drape" over the apples (cookbook wording, beautiful).
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the apples begin to soften slightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove apples from the oven and carefully uncover the pan. 
  5. Raise the heat to 500 F and return apples to the oven.  Roast until the apples begin to turn golden brown on their edges, about 10 minutes.
  6. Let the apples cool slightly, then slide them into a bowl and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon until you have smooth, yet chunky sauce,  Taste the sauce and season with more salt and sugar to your taste.
  7. Add the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor if desired. (Judy Rodger's advice: try a drop of cider vinegar on a spoonful of the applesauce first to see if you'll like it.)
  8. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
 
rustic roasted applesauce | funkybeetsblog.com