Whole grain salad with root vegetables

grain salad pic

Grains and roots

Whole grain salad with root vegetables

If you love local greens but don’t like the inflated price tag that comes with them in the winter months, try mixing things up with sprouts, grains, kale and shredded winter roots. These nutrient-dense alternatives, with their deep earthy flavors and textures, can be used to make hearty and delicious salads. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but whole grain and root vegetable salads are a tasty way to keep eating healthy even when cold weather limits the availability of fresh veggies.

Cooking whole grains

Some grains, like barley or wheat, rye and spelt berries, can be simply cooked in boiling water for 45 minutes to an hour. This approach is easy in that you do not necessarily need to measure the grain or water. Other grains, like quinoa, bulgur, millet and brown rice, require specific amounts of water when being cooked. Most water to grain ratios are very similar to that of rice. Cook one cup of quinoa, bulgur, millet or brown rice with two cups of water. If you plan to cook more than one grain, cook each of the grains separately in their own pot.

Winter roots

Winter roots, like celeriac, black radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, carrots and cabbage, are sold by the following farms, markets and co-ops throughout the winter months:

Migliorelli Farm
Schoharie Valley Farms
The Berry Farm
The Chatham Co-op
The Honest Weight Co-op

Sweet potato tips and recipe

sweetpotato

Sweet potato tips and recipe

Sweet potatoes, the sweet-tasting tubers found on so many holiday menus, are fast becoming a New York staple as growers experiment with different varieties and growing techniques. While the root is the most commonly eaten part of the vegetable, the leaves and shoots also make for delicious cooking greens. One might expect that sweet potatoes and potatoes are closely related, but they are, in fact, only distant cousins – sweet potatoes are not classified as part of the nightshade family as potatoes are. While one will encounter the standard orange variety in grocery stores, when shopping at farmers markets, there are several varieties and colors to choose from. Whether they are white, orange or yellow, the common orange-fleshed varieties are still prized above all others for their supreme sweetness.

Cooking tips

Recipes for sweet potatoes often pop up around the holidays, usually as baked casserole renditions with tons of brown sugar or honey, butter, nuts, rum, and, of course, tiny marshmallows. Sweet potatoes also make excellent pie – cooked and mashed, they can be substituted for the pumpkin in any pumpkin pie recipe. Although no holiday feast would be complete without them, sweet potatoes have applications and versatility that go past the month of December. From fries to pancakes to croquettes and beyond, there are hundreds of ways to prepare sweet potatoes. Here are a few of our favorites:

Chips

Sweet potatoes make great chips. Shave sweet potatoes paper thin on a mandolin, toss with a little salt and pepper plus a dash of olive oil, and bake overnight in a 200 degree oven until they are crispy and delicious.

Mashed with potatoes and sage

Boil peeled russet potatoes and sweet potatoes together until they are tender. Drain, and whip them with cream and butter. Add salt, pepper and ground sage.

Vichyssoise (potato leek soup)

Hot or cold, there’s nothing more delicious than a bowl of creamy potato leek soup. Try substituting sweet potatoes for part, or all, of the potatoes in any Vichyssoise soup recipe.

Gold and sweet potato gratin

Layer equal parts peeled, thinly sliced gold potatoes and sweet potatoes one inch deep in a casserole dish. Add enough heavy cream to come just below the top of the potatoes. Sprinkle a layer of salt, pepper, and gruyere cheese over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and the cream is bubbly.

Kale, hearty and versatile

sprout-salad4

Kale the hearty versatile vegetable

Winter or summer, kale is a hearty vegetable that can be prepared many ways.  It makes a perfect raw salad that marries well with any number of textural additions like nuts, dried fruit, shredded carrots and shaved cabbage.  When it is lightly steamed or blanched, kale is also flexible enough to be shaped as a wrapper that can be stuffed with rice, cooked meat and vegetables.

Here are two kale recipes that show the versatility that kale offers – Ellie Markovitch’s sprouted lentil and raw kale salad, and sea bream and kale spring rolls that are stuffed with marinated sea bream and match stick winter vegetables.  For the spring rolls, use medium sized kale leaves and slice your vegetables as thinly as possible.  Any root vegetable will make a delicious addition.  Look for Little Seed Gardens’ celery root, Schoharie Valley Farms’ turnips, kale, braising greens, cabbage, parsnips, scallions, and Migliorelli carrots and black radishes at the Berry Farm – who also happens to grow kale year round in their solar heated greenhouses.

Sprouted lentil and raw kale salad

1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 cups of sprouted lentils
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and maple syrup.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the kale, lentils and green onions. Toss the salad, mixing well. Refrigerate 4-8 hours.