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This is one of those salads similar to the Moroccan type, where there is no lettuce, the dish can be served to start a meal or as a side, or can make part of a light supper with a little soup and a more traditional salad of lettuces. Next time you are out for Chinese or Japanese food and they have the better quality bamboo chopsticks that are almost pencil thick, ask for a set to use for dishes like this, where you need to slice down without cutting all the way through something.

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Fattoush, often considered Lebanese in origin, is one of those ubiquitous salads found pretty much anywhere flatbread is eaten and tomatoes grow. Like the Italian salad called Panzanella it was probably a way to not waste bread after it had gone stale. Of many iterations, the two constants it seem to be flat bread and tomatoes. The greens vary from romaine to butter lettuce to arugula to none at all. Cucumber? Peppers? Radishes? Some use pomegranate seeds, some have pomegranate syrup in the dressing, while some have none. Like so many dressings of the Middle-East, this one is “slack”, meaning it is not a fully emulsified vinaigrette, so be sure to mix it up one more time just before pouring it on.

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Fattoush dressings, like many other Mid-East dressings are loose with a higher acid to oil ratio than French influenced vinaigrettes. There are many, many variations, just as the salad itself varies from place to place. The main difference between v.1 and v.2 is the addition of pomegranate molasses. This brings a deep flavor that has a haunting/addictive tart and almost smoky note to it. Some brands have a little caramel added, and this will lend a little sweetness and a little more of the smoky note. Look for Mid-East and Cortas brands. The latter is tarter.

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Fattoush dressings, like many other Mid-East dressings are loose with a higher acid to oil ratio than French influenced vinaigrettes. There are many, many variations, just as the salad itself varies from place to place. Use this dressing on tabbouleh, Israeli Salad, fish, chicken kebabs, or shrimp.

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A slightly chunky vinaigrette with a bright, funky aroma, this dressing works on salads and is excellent as a topping for grilled fish such as snapper, tilapia, or halibut. Use with pork medallions, chicken with cumin and oregano, or even on noodles like ramen tossed with vegetables and leftover shredded meat.

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The flavors here are inspired by the Middle East, although I suppose this would work just as well with Mexican or South West fare as well. You could add a squeeze of lime to the mix and sub out the cilantro for mint and the dish would still work quite well.

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Another item inspired by a trip to a taqueria. This time it was a plate of tacos, with the charred meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and green onions that led to this. I really like the surprise of grilled lettuce with the hot/cold contrast and the play of flavors the lettuce gains from the light charring from the grill. There are plenty of fun options that can be added to the salad listed to add interest as well. Having a spritzer for your oil makes this dish simpler, and keeps it lighter.

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A colorful dish with a range of flavors. Serve as a side or a main for a light supper with poached eggs, or add some white beans and a grain such as farro, spelt, or barley and grate some cheese over the top for a complete protein.

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I like to make berry infused vinegars which I use as parts of marinades or sauces, and of course I also use them for salad dressings. When using them for dressing, I tend to either use them to contrast with sharper, bitter leaves such as escarole, dandelion, rocket, and the like, or I pair them with more delicate lettuces and then add some fruit and or nuts to the mix. I could see a salad of butterleaf lettuces with strawberries, slivered roasted almonds, and maybe a little bit of crumbled blue cheese with a strawberry vinaigrette made with the vinegar, a little agave syrup, some shallot, a little ginger juice, black pepper, and a light oil such as grapeseed with a touch of almond oil. Garnish the salad with candied ginger bits and a little black pepper that has been dry roasted in a pan-this neutralizes much of the heat and leaves the pepper fruity-and freshly cracked.

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I hesitate to call this a jam as it is useful for more than toast. Try this with pork, chicken, or turkey. Good on sandwiches or as a smear, and would be nice on a cheese plate. This would be good made with berries that are a little over-ripe or starting to look less than perfect.

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This soup is a riff on borscht, with kale filling in for the cabbage, and the vinegar on the roast beets filling in for the things that are often pickled in borscht. Some borscht uses sauerkraut, some have chopped pickles, some use a soured broth or kvass as the base. Although written as a hot soup, it could easily be chilled and served cold with yogurt or labne.

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This is a very pretty dish if you can get the rainbow carrots, but it will still taste great if all you have are monochromatic carrots. It is important to watch the sugar as it browns. It only takes a split second and it can go from caramel to charcoal. Feel free to remove the pan from the heat to slow it down, and have your butter cut and ready to toss in. Do it a couple times and it is no big deal. Besides basil, you could use cilantro or mint. Might even work with shiso. Many rainbow carrots have color that is mostly on the outside, so scrub rather than peel.

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This dish can be made with cauliflower just as well. The one thing not to do is over-cook the Romanesco or cauliflower. It should be just tender, with a bit of crunch still to it. If you wish, you can pan sear the wedges of vegetable to add caramelized flavor.

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This could be considered a hearty miso soup, or a stew. To add more depth of flavor to the dish, make your dashi using “blond” vegetable stock (see recipe on site). They type of miso will also affect the flavor a lot, with white miso being lighter and sweeter in flavor, whereas red miso tends to be deeper flavored and saltier. For a flavorful contrast, you could quickle the stems from the turnip greens if they are thick and use them as a garnish. Adding dumplings of some sort will certainly make the dish more substantial, as would adding noodles.

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This is a dish of bolder flavors with hints of bitterness to it, so it goes well with fattier dishes such as pork chops, chicken thighs, or things with cheese or cream in them. If you wish, you can dice the chard stems and use them, but they will add more of the “fuzzy teeth” feeling to the dish. Save them with the turnip greens for a stuffing for ravioli or pork chops instead.

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You could do this with the vegetarian dashi, but the smoky aroma and depth of flavor from the hana-katsuo really make this dish. Although it is not quite the same, and it will tint the dish red, you could use smoked paprika if you wish to go vegetarian. Use this dish as a base for seared fish or roasted King Oyster mushrooms. You could also use this as a base for noodles/pasta.

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A sort of culinary pun on the theme of peas and carrots. Usually the peas carry a sweetness that matches the carrots, but here the favas act as a foil to that inherent sweetness with their almost cheesy nutty flavor and slight bitterness. The basil bridges the sweetness and earthiness of the carrots and the earthy and sharp notes of favas with sweetness and the slight edge that basil has. If you do not have basil, oregano would be great here, or even mint.

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Very simple, but lots of flavor. Watching the broccoli blanch so it does not overcook, and cutting it to the right size, is key here. Don’t overdo the mint or it will overwhelm the dish. Use just enough to taste as an accent. Also, try to use as little oil as you can get away with for this dish as it helps the broccoli to stay firm and bright.

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A simple salad with a contrast of flavors and colors, as well as a contrast of textures. Going light with the dressing is key so as not to overwhelm the strawberries. The idea is that first you get the heat from the dressing, then the berries take it away.

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This dish is a pretty jade green color flecked with gold and velvety black and white. The flavors seem to appeal to everyone and the dish tends to disappear rapidly. The key to this recipe is restraint; use a light hand when blanching the broccoli, adding the sesame oil, as well as the candied ginger. Prep for this dish could be done ahead of time.

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This is another salad inspired by the contents of a taqueria. Using a mandolin or Ben-Riner is best for the carrot and radish slices.

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This dressing goes with a salad of strawberries, lettuce, and pepitas, as well as with a dice of corn, red onion, bell peppers, and cilantro. Sauté it or use raw and dress with this vinaigrette. Use this vinaigrette to dress fish tacos or pulled pork sandwiches. Although the roasted garlic is an extra step, the flavor really is subtler than raw garlic, and the roasted garlic adds a creamy texture to the dressing.

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Here is a salad with lots of contrasts, as well as room for lots of variations. If you have cilantro instead of basil, use that. Use a dressing with lime and cumin, or coriander and Meyer lemon. See Chef’s Notes for further ideas. For the pepper cress, use a really sharp thin bladed knife to “whittle” the leaves off the stems if your cress is in a bunch.

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This grew out of my liking for carrots and orange juice. Mint often appears with carrots at my table, and basil and mint often swap places in recipes, so it just seemed natural. Using bigger chunks of carrot allows the flavor of the carrot to develop while keeping it from getting really soft. 

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Sometimes I have artichokes and am not sure when I will get them into a menu, so I will just cook them when I get the chance whether I intend to serve them at that moment or not. They are good cold, can be re-heated, or worked into something else, as happened here. The combination of artichoke and potato is a great one, especially with sweet waxy potatoes such as Yukon Golds or a fingerling type. This salad would be good with some cauliflower florets blanched and dressed while hot, then cooled and added in.

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This salad is indeed inspired by traditional tabbouleh, and resulted from a hurried “tour du fridge” one night. For the cucumber, be sure to avoid any with waxed skin, or peel it, especially if the skin is thick. Smaller Japanese cucumbers are ideal. Any squash will do, but Costata Romanesco or Cousa are great because they take on color without getting mushy or bitter better than most other summer squash, and this salad is about the contrast between the chewy farro and the crisp cucumber and squash.

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Another dish in the Moroccan “salad” style. If you wanted to make it more of a Western style salad with lettuce, use romaine. Remove the darker outer leaves and cut the pale inner leaves across the length into thin ribbons and lay them down as a bed for the carrot ribbons. A Ben Riner or mandolin is best to make this recipe, but if you do not have one, slice the carrots on a diagonal with your sharpest knife, or use a really sturdy peeler.

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This gratin is quite simple to assemble, and easier to cook. It can be assembled earlier in the day and then cooked, or you can cook it off and serve it at room temperature or re-heat it. It is even good cold. It makes a great vegetarian sandwich-just smear a soft roll with tapenade and lay in some of this gratin. This gratin is really fun if you have various colors of squash to play with as it yields a nice colorful dish. Although the instructions seem long, they are not really, and once you have done this you will find a hundred variations spring to mind.

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Favas and Romano cheese are a classic Italian combination, from simply eating small early favas and slices of young Romano to mixing them in dishes. I recently had company that did not eat dairy, but I wanted to use pesto. If you taste a fresh young fava it has a cheesy taste, with a little tang and that hard-to-define eau de barnyard funk, along with a slightly gritty yet creamy texture. Just like Romano cheese. Turns out that tender young favas make an excellent substitute for Romano cheese in pesto. Use this vegan pesto as you would a regular pesto.

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Since the main components of this dish are large, this is a knife and fork dish. It can serve as a base for something larger like fish, or you can use it as a side. Add some slices of pork and some noodles and it can be a one-pot full meal.

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