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Spice up your winter with colorful veggies 

After the holidays, many of tend to eat cleaner and lighter. After all that year-end indulging, our bodies seem to yearn for freshness. So, why not tap into the colorful bounty that vegetables provide. Their color brings some cheer to these days that are often cold and dark. The Beet Relish and Winter’s Greens Salsa Verde can be brought out and served with tortilla chips or paired with baked salmon, chicken or a grilled steak. Mix and match and use your imagination!

Baked Potato with Beet Relish, serves 6

The fuchsia color of the beets brings cheer to the cold and gloom of this time of the year. This recipe can be made vegan using vegetable oils and plant-based sour cream. This can be made into a main dish by adding chunks of cooked chicken, pork or black beans. Bacon bits will make it heartier and more decadent.

 INGREDIENTS

·        4 Russet potatoes, washed and scrubbed

·        About 1/3 c. avocado or grapeseed oil or melted unsalted butter

 GARNISH

·        Beet Relish (Recipe follows)

·        Chopped green onions

·        Sour Cream

·        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Poke the potatoes with a fork, place on a rack and bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes feel dry and prickly. Brush with oil or butter evenly on all sides and sprinkle with salt. Place potato back on wire rack, opposite side up, and bake for another 30 minutes. With an oven mitt, squeeze potato to test doneness. The potato is done when it is nice and soft when squeezed.

 Squeeze potato to break up the insides. With a knife, make a slit lengthwise into the potato without cutting through. Top potato with Beet Relish, sour cream, green onions and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

 Beet Relish, makes 5 cups

 ·        2 t. avocado or grapeseed oil

·        1 t. brown mustard seeds

·        2 large beetroots, peeled, grated

·        1 large apple, peeled, grated

·        5 T. red wine vinegar

·        1 T. brown sugar

·        1 t. curry powder

·        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Heat oil in a medium frying pan or saucepan. Add mustard seeds and cook briefly until they crackle and pop. Add beetroot and apple and sauté 5 minutes until vegetables soften slightly. Add vinegar, sugar, curry and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until flavors combine and vinegar evaporates slightly. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Winter’s Greens Salsa Verde, serves 4 to 6

Roasted cauliflower makes for great tacos, and the florets are a good addition to salads. This is another dish that can have other additions such as carne asada, grilled halibut or pulled pork, as well as pinto beans. The Winter’s Greens Salsa Verde goes beautifully with a bowl of tortilla chips or alongside smoked salmon. For a vegan option, try adding tofu or quinoa.

INGREDIENTS

·        1 pound cauliflower, about 1 medium-large head, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

·        2 T. extra virgin olive oil

·        1 t. ground cumin

·        1 t. ground coriander

·        1 t. ground paprika

·        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

·        1 dozen corn tortillas, warmed

 GARNISH

·        Winter’s Greens Salsa Verde (Recipe follows)

·        Chopped fresh lettuce

·        Fresh cilantro leaves

·        Crumbled queso fresco

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. Add cumin, coriander, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

Lay cauliflower pieces out on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until they are tender and caramelized on edges, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Place two tortillas together. Top with lettuce, cilantro and cheese. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Winter’s Greens Salsa Verde

Makes 1½ cups

·        4 c. packed winter greens (kale or spinach work well), torn leaves

·        ½ red onion, diced

·        ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil 

·        2 cloves garlic minced

·        1 lemon zested

·        2 T. lemon juice or to taste

·        2 T. capers

·        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water for blanching. Add chopped greens and stir, letting cook until bright green, about two minutes. Quickly strain from water and submerge in ice water to lock in the color. Strain the greens and set aside.

Into a food processor, add onion, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and capers. Squeeze greens dry and add to processor bowl. Coarsely chop. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Asian Inspired Mushroom Avocado Toast, serves 2

The mushrooms cooked in soy and sesame oil provide the savory notes to the toast. I call for shitake mushrooms but regular, portabella, oyster or a mushroom of your choice would work fine. The key is using the mushrooms as the vehicle to hold the Asian flavors. The breads of choice for this toast are Samurai Sue’s Everyday Foods Shokupan or milk bread, and Le Fournil’s baguette. The Shokupan carries sweetness and richness when toasted and the baguette forms a crispy outside shell.

INGREDIENTS

1 T. avocado or grapeseed oil

2 c. sliced shitake mushrooms, about 4 ounces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. soy sauce

1 t. sesame oil

1 ripe avocado

1 t. lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

GARNISH

·        Chili garlic sauce  

·        Chopped chives  

·        Toasted sesame seeds

·        2 slices bread, toasted

In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are browned. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another minute or until sauce is absorbed. 

Mash avocado in a bowl and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon avocado onto toast. Top with mushrooms. Drizzle with chili garlic sauce, garnish with chives and sesame seeds and enjoy!

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