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Strawberries have enough tartness to stand out in a salad. The ones you want are the ones that have a little firmness to them still, not the really soft ones.

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This dressing is for a salad of soft lettuces and strawberries, but would go with cold pasta salad with tomato and cucumber, with cold chicken for a hot summer day, poached salmon hot or cold, or something with cabbage or kales, as well as salads made up of Romaine or Little Gems.

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Carrots and mint, carrots and basil, these seem a natural combo. Adding the caramelized Tokyo turnips adds just a touch of bitter to the mix which contrasts nicely with the sweet carrots. If using purple carrots, keep the turnips separate until serving so the color of the carrots doesn’t make the turnips look smudgy. As bunches of everything vary, you want an equal amount, or slightly more carrots than turnips.

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Sort of a cross between a kale salad and a quickle. Allowing time to sit in the refrigerator will soften the cabbage a little without taking away the crunch. Caraway gives the salad a Nordic bent. Use cumin, coriander, and a little lime juice to take this in a South Western direction, or sub lemon or orange for lime and go Middle Eastern/North African. This salad keeps well, and is a great lunch box item as it travels well.

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This is the dressing that goes with the above named recipe, but this, or any number of variants, could go with any salad of dense leaves such as the cabbages, kales, or things like mei quin choi or shredded carrot or celeriac. Lighter in oil, this recipe will not emulsify like a regular vinaigrette. Adding mustard will help the salad thicken, but be careful what mustard you use and how much lest you blow out the dressing and just have a thin and pungent mustard garnish for the salad.

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This recipe is actually based on a chicken dish, but instead the broccoli gets the chicken treatment. This dish can be served hot with dinner or cold in small amounts as salad/snack/appetizer. You could also just blanch the broccoli until just crisp-tender and drop it into ice-water to stop the cooking, and then toss it in the sauce ingredients which were cooked together earlier and allowed to cool.

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Simple in make-up, but the flavors are refreshing and the contrasts of cold and warm and crisp and succulent make for an enjoyable salad. The dressing is made from the butter and oil used to roast the radishes, and are infused with fresh basil flavor.

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Here is a dish that straddles the line between dinner and dessert, sweet and savory. Depending on how you season this, it could go either way. Here I was thinking dessert, but I tend to like not very sweet desserts, so this is not as sweet as you could make it.

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This sauce is meant to go with a carrot custard, but would be wonderful with duck, chicken, or pork. Use with panna cotta or other desserts as well. You can make it sweeter by adding sugar or agave to it, as the sugar in the recipe here is just enough to wake up certain flavors in the berries. You could add liqueur to the sauce to sweeten it as well*. This will also intensify the berry flavor. If you want a perfectly smooth sauce, pureé all the berries instead of three-quarters as called for in the recipe.

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A variation on a theme, only here the butter and oil from roasting form part of a Meyer lemon dressing that garnishes the radishes and dresses the Little Gem lettuce salad this recipe is destined for. This recipe would be nice with fish, chicken or pork, or anything that would go with the word picatta.

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The Provençal accents here are fennel seeds and a hint of lavender to add a mysterious deep and floral note that pairs well with fennel. Make this with any summer squash you have, just try to cut all the slices the same thickness.

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This dish uses ingredients that commonly are found in dishes that get named “Persian”. This is a pretty dish with the white cauliflower tinged with the deep purple of the syrup, and then the scattering of creamy pine nuts and green mint. If you are not a fan of mint, substitute fresh marjoram and some flat leaf parsley.

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Simply flavored, easy to execute, simply delicious. Much of the secret lies in the thickness of the cut, and having fresh squash which are moist and not bitter. The rest lies with finding the sweet spot on the grill, where it is not scorchingly hot, nor where the heat is sort of feeble. The heat should be a 5-second heat, meaning it should take 5 seconds for your hand, 5 inches above the grill, to become painfully hot and you have to pull it away. This would be like medium-high on the stove.

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This dressing is to with the Arugula, Dried Apricots, and Pistachio salad, but it can be used with other components as well. Try with Butterleaf or oak leaf lettuces with plenty of sprouts.

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This is a Provençal inspired recipe with a twist. Some people find that summer squash has a subtly bitter flavor, which is unpleasant for them. This recipe plays that flavor up, and also counters it, by using caramelized sugar on the surface of the cuts on the squash. Caramelized sugar has both a bitter quality and sweetness, as do the squash. Costata Romanesco, Cousa, and tromboncini squash (look for this unusual squash at markets) all have firmer flesh than zucchini or crookneck, and can be seared and browned without getting mushy as quickly the latter. If using a mélange of these, add the zucchini and crooknecks later than the rest. These squash also pick up an almond-like nutty flavor when caramelized.

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This salad originated as a substitute for the salad that goes on Elephant Ears (see recipe on site), but has found its way onto grilled chicken, crisp multi-grain or mochi waffles, toast, mixed with seared scallops, and used as a side salad. Switch to hazelnuts and use hazelnut oil, do the same with almonds. Use fresh apricots when you find some that are fragrant, flavorful, but still a little firm.

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For this recipe you will need to find a Japanese market or a good fish market. In the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area you can find what you need at Yamashita Market in Watsonville. As the tuna is served raw, be careful in your selection. This recipe is a contrast of crunches and a synthesis of flavors. The tobiko pop, the cucumber crunches, and the tuna sort of melts and has a little chew to it at the same time. The clean wet taste of cucumber harmonizes with the briny roe while acting as a foil to the saltiness. The sweet, slightly oily, and umami flavors of the tuna are set off by the other elements. The dressing is used sparingly, as a surprise accent that pops up as a little jolt of bass-line to the rest of the salads higher notes of flavor. This is an appetizer, or part of a string of dishes. The recipe is written as a small appetizer-just a few bites, as in 3-4. If you wish a bit more, double the volume.

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I was having lunch out where a piece of steamed broccoli on the plate had gotten into the sauce from my chicken. An inspiring accident. I played with the idea a bit and landed here.

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This is a further experiment in the “vegetable as sauce” category, and takes salsa verde and pesto as inspiration, along the idea of Moroccan “salads”. Use this on fish, chicken or meats, spread on sandwiches, use as a side or in a salad.

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Westernized variations of traditional Japanese dips and sauces. For the Tuna Tobiko Cucumber dish, use sparingly. You can use this for sashimi, as a noodle dip, or on a salad.

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This salad of sharp and/or bitter greens is cut with a sweet-ish dressing made with port wine as part of the base, along with roasted almond oil to link to the nuts and the microgreens. If you can’t find the broccoli greens, use some others, but the broccoli micros from New Natives have a wonderful sweet and nutty flavor cut with a bit of sharpness that is perfect here. This salad would be good with rich foods or simple dishes such as a roast chicken cooked with little other than salt and pepper, some oil or butter rubbed on and maybe thyme. It will also play well with roast winter squash dishes.

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Use port you are drinking, or buy a mid-range port if you wish. Don’t buy a great vintage just for this dressing, but don’t buy something really cheap, and NEVER buy “cooking” port or wine. Typically, any wine product labelled “cooking” will have salt in it. This was to discourage chefs of old from drinking the wine, but it was also made with inferior wine You could use hazel nuts and hazel nut oil if you wish as well.

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This is a riff on a recipe from NoMAd by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. I like how the dish explores the different textures of broccoli and different flavors based on temperature. The recipe takes a little bit of work, but no more than most people lavish on a meat course for a weekend dinner. So why not spend that attention on vegetables? Much of this work can be done ahead of time, with the cutting and fricco being done the day before, along with the steaming of the florets. You want broccoli with long stems for this recipe.

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This is a simpler version of a sauce from my sushi bar that was known as Venus sauce. Its origins lie in an old traditional Japanese fair dish known as “dengaku”, where it was painted onto tofu and vegetables and grilled over coals. Use this in a similar fashion, but use the broiler as it is less messy. Try it on marinated firm tofu, blanched vegetables, and fish.

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This dish will work perfectly with Tokyo or Harukei turnips as well as the scarlet turnips, although I would be less sanguine about success with full-sized red-topped or white turnips. If the greens are present and tender, you should add them to the dish. This dish is sort of a 2 for 1-the roasted turnips for 1, the sautéed  greens for 2.

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A salad with some substance, and a good amount of crunch. If you can grill over wood, the salad will taste even better with a bit of smokiness. Be sure not to cook the squash and lettuce through. Your Little Gems just want some charring, and the squash wants only to be cooked until no longer raw and a bit charred outside. This salad could be a starter, part of a mezze/antipasti table, or buffed up with some other vegetables and some proteins to make for a light dinner.

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Here a Middle East staple is given an American Southwest treatment, although the flavors really are standard for the Mid-East as well.  Look for bulghur in bulk bins instead of boxes. It is usually fresher and tends to be a slightly larger grain which I prefer.

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Simple, basic, and full of flavors. Eat this as a salad off a plate or pile it onto very hot crostini so the heat can melt the cheese a little and wilt the arugula. Use using oil with a soft bite but big fruity flavor is a good idea here so it softens the bite of the arugula and doesn’t mask the nuttiness of the favas.

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This is a riff on a classic of Italian cuisine, only it has kale in it, because, y’know, it’s kale, and besides being good for you, it tastes good raw. As long as it is fairly tender and young. I find that crumpling kale leaves seems to result in a reaction that makes the leaves sweeter, so be vigorous while prepping the kale here. This is a salad that can be done quickly, especially if you are practiced at stripping the stems out of kale with your fingers, and your favas are already done or you skip them.

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When you want the refinement and acid of sherry vinegar, but want a little sweetness too, this is the dressing.

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