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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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INGREDIENTS:

1 small clove garlic, peeled

½ teaspoon minced/pulverized shallot

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pinch of fresh thyme leaves, minced, or a smallish pinch of dried thyme leaves

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The mushrooms are sautéed until crisp and contrast with the onions and beets. The mushrooms strike a high note that contrasts with the earthy and sweet beet and sweet and funky onion. All of these together harmonize into a thoroughly enjoyable dish.

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By French lentils I refer to the ones that used to be grown in Puy, France and were known as Lentille de Puy, but are now grown all over. I still think the Puy lentils are better, but the others are still excellent. This lentil holds its shape and has a nice meaty texture and flavor. The fennel and onions are cooked with the lentils and separately so you have two textures and the flavors differ as well.

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This salad has plenty of crunch along with lots of flavor thanks to the quickled leeks, arugula, and dressing. You could add beets and/or a cheese like feta along with some pistachios maybe, but don’t add too many extras or the salad will become confusing to the palate and the flavors will be muddied.

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This dressing will have plenty of garlic flavor without the heat raw garlic can lend to things. Garlic chives are a flat bladed chive which pack plenty of garlic flavor. Use this dressing with sturdy lettuces and bold flavors.

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This dish takes a bit of prep, but the results are worth it. Serve hot, warm, or room temp, as an appetizer or a light main course with a salad. It makes excellent picnic food also.

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The topping is what makes this a special dish, and that is due in great part to the unexpected hit of the lavender playing with the fennel. Clean and delicate with a light funk from leeks and green garlic, the topping brings out the meaty qualities of halibut without muzzling the sweetness. If you have the topping done ahead of time this is a dish that might take as little as 15-20 minutes to make.

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Simple, but the flavors play so well together. The slow cooking of the carrots really sweetens them and brings out the “carrot-ness” of them, while the Allium Topping contrasts with funk and top notes. This topping goes well with other things such as steak, salmon, potatoes braised with tomatoes and pimenton de la vera.

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This topping grew out of another recipe used on salmon. This is a little more subtle, and more floral with the addition of the fennel seeds and lavender. While made initially for seared halibut, it would go nicely with pork chops, chicken, or other firm fleshed white fish. It can be tossed with kale or other greens as well, or stirred into grains such as farro or barley.      

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The flavors of potato and artichoke go so well together, and the textures are similar as well, so there is a flavorful surprise possible with each bite. Crisping the outsides gives a wonderful contrast to the interior creaminess, and the mild spring garlic adds a gentle garlicky note without any of the heat bulbed garlic can. If you don’t have spring garlic, spring onions, scallions, or no alliums will work also.

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