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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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A riff on what seems to me a natural combination of flavors. The orange chases the beets chases the avocado chases the lettuces chases…The dressing sets everything off as well as ties all the flavors together gently.

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A bit of a fusion combing some Western technique and Japanese, and pretty much all traditional Japanese flavors.

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The sweet here comes from the combination of the onions, bacon fat, and the wine, and the sour from the red wine vinegar. Slow cooking is a key part of this.

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Quick and easy, the sauce is actually made with starchy pasta water and a little butter, the way they do it in Italian restaurants when not using cream, or tomatoes. See bottom for variations using meats/chili flakes/nuts.

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The cress and quickles have a sharp quality the acts as a foil to the richness of the fish, and the sweetness of the quickles adds extra depth to the flavors. Crunch from the pine nuts and the creaminess they possess rounds everything out and talks with the butter used on the fish to link the two together.

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Good as an appetizer using diagonal slices of baguette, or use larger slices topped with the salad and a fried egg with a runny yolk or two for breakfast or a light lunch.

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This is more of a condiment than a salad dressing, and has salsa verde as its inspiration. Try it on toasts with arugula, avocado, and radishes, or on grilled chicken, or eggs.

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The root of this dish would be a stir-fry with daikon and mei-quin, but the flavors are more European. This would qualify as a California “fusion” dish. This dish is quite simple, but the looks are elegant with the cool jade and pale reddish pink.

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This dressing was concocted for the Arugula, Radish, and Strawberry salad originally, so calls for good quality ingredients as well as a neutral flavored oil such as grapeseed.

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Early crop strawberries have a tart edge while still being sweet. This creates an interplay with nutty spicy arugula, and the sharpness of the radish is first mitigated by a short ice-water bath, and then the sweetness of the berries.

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This variation of rémoulade uses juice from grilled lemons, and adds some sharper mustard to add a smoky quality while adding to the zip. The marjoram adds a sweet freshness that counters the earthy qualities of celeriac and asparagus and brings out the sweetness of these vegetables.

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Grilling a lemon just adds a certain je ne sais quoi to lemons where juice is going to be used. There is a certain smoky char that is faint but there, and the juice seems sweeter. This dressing was made for a salad with grilled zucchini and tomatoes and mint, so the bit of sweetness acts as a foil to the acid in the tomatoes and the slight bitterness of the squash.

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It seems I’ll try grilling anything at least once. This worked! As in a restaurant with a beef steak, the celeriac is started on the grill and finished in the oven. The asparagus acts as a garnish, and you can go with a few different dressings for your “sauce”.

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