Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shoots, Greens & 'Shrooms

Is there anything better than fresh greens in the spring after a long winter of nothing leafy from the farm? maybe the first ripe tomato of summer is equally as exciting....or the deep rich sweet taste of roasted
winter squash in the fall....and then there's that blueberry pie full of juicy purple deliciousness....but spring greens are pretty high up on the list.  The Wednesday farmer's market in Chattanooga is back in full swing and the gettin' is good right now. Dinner tonight was delicious, quick, easy and almost all local. I picked up some pea shoots (my 14 year old son asked me to please NOT call them pea tendrils because it sounded like tentacles) from Williams Island Farm, some fresh beautiful spinach from Sequatchie Cove Farm, some Shiitake mushrooms from Crabtree Farms and some fresh milled grits from Riverview Farms. Spring food has so much flavor it doesn't need much seasoning- especially those crisp sweet pea shoots!

Shoots, Greens & 'Shrooms

I sauteed the shiitakes with a couple of cloves of garlic in olive oil, added in the pea tendrils and spinach at the last minute (it only takes them a couple of minutes to wilt down to perfection). Added a couple of splashes of tamari and some cracked black pepper. I cooked the grits in water and added a bit of half & half after they were done for some richness. I served the greens & shrooms over my grits and topped with a little shaved parmesan and some cracked black pepper. We also had some left-over black beans in the fridge (with Sequatchie Farm sausage) that we added on the side. This dish would also be delicious topped with a poached egg. It was some kind of yum.

Thank you farmers for a spectacular and nourishing meal!

Search for a farmer's market near you here:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dress up your green salad with a good vinaigrette.

There's nothing better in warm weather than a salad made with fresh crisp salad greens and drizzled with a home-made vinaigrette. Bottled salad dressings often contain low quality oils, artificial flavors or ingredients, added sugars and preservatives. Fear not! It's quick and easy to make your's how:

Basic Vinaigrette
this is the basic formula that you can build all your vinaigrette flavors from

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (good quality- we recommend Olio Beato)
3 T (or more to taste) good quality vinegar (like red wine, white wine or see below for other ideas)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

*I almost always put about a teaspoon ( or a little more) of dijon mustard. Add a drizzle of honey for a sweeter flavor if the vinegar flavor is too tangy....Add both honey & mustard and....Voila! Home-made honey mustard vinaigrette....aren't you fancy?

Put all ingredients in a jar and shake until blended (you can also do this in the blender). Let sit for about 30 minutes before serving- taste a few times and adjust flavors.

Variations on the basic:

Lemon Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon, black pepper
Ginger Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed), 1 T sherry vinegar, 1 T lime juice, 1 T warm water, 1inch grated fresh ginger
Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 T balsamic vinegar, 1 t dijon mustard, 1 shallot (minced)
Chili Lime Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed), 3 T lime juice, 1/2 T chili powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 t oregano
Nutty Oil Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup walnut, hazelnut or other nut oil, 3 T sherry vinegar, 1 minced shallot

Try experimenting with fresh herbs: parsley, basil & dill are all delicious and have a mild and cool flavor. Add up to 1/4 cup of these herbs minced. Also try rosemary, tarragon or thyme- these have stronger flavors so start by adding 1 t and adjust from there.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ideas to Make Your Salad Sexier!

How sexy is your salad?

We all need to eat more greens.


Even those of us who eat a lot of greens can benefit from adding more into our daily diets. Spring is a great time of year to start eating more raw and cleansing foods. This helps detox the body from the heavier foods eaten during cold weather.

Here are some of Greenlight's favorite ideas for spicing up your green salad.....we suggest you add your own spin- be creative!

  • black olives, green peppers, feta cheese (drizzled with lemon vinaigrette)
  • cherry tomatoes, roasted corn, toasted sunflower seeds (drizzled with red wine vinaigrette)
  • dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese (drizzled with sherry vinaigrette)
  • sliced tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella (drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
  • granny smith apple, toasted pecans, Parmesan cheese (drizzled with cider vinaigrette)
  • roasted beets, orange slices, toasted walnuts (drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
  • avocado, sliced carrot, red pepper, pico de gallo (drizzled with chili lime vinaigrette)
  • carrots, scallions, snow peas, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds (drizzled with ginger vinaigrette)

Our suggestion:
think outside the green box and get your sexy salad on!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Kale

I had the pleasant surprise of kale from around the corner show up in my refrigerator today, and I was already planning to make this cool quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) salad, so I threw the kale in with it. It's a nice spring dish to get me through this seasonal transition.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 bunch of kale leaves pulled away from stems and torn into bit size pieces
3 carrots, shredded
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen green peas or shelled edamame
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1 teaspoon local honey
salt and pepper to taste

Place rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan with tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and set timer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, shred carrots in a food processor, cut onion, and place in large bowl.
Make vinaigrette by mixing together last  6 ingredients in a jar with tight fitting lid and let sit.
Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of water in a skillet with tight fitting lid on medium heat. When water begins to steam, place kale in skillet, cover, and cook for about 1.5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When timer goes off for the quinoa, put the frozen green peas (or edamame) in the pot on top of quinoa to defrost. Replace lid and remove from heat.
Let quinoa cool and peas/edamame defrost, then combine with carrots, onion, and kale. Add vinaigrette and mix thoroughly. Eat immediately or chill and serve later over salad greens with walnuts sprinkled on top.