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things topsy turvy & a new feature at cooking-spree

In earlier posts I’ve alluded to “things about to happen” around our house, but I can explain further now. First there was the joyous birth of our little Drew baby! And even a bit before, and a lot since, we’ve been preparing for a good-sized remodel – two bathrooms and our kitchen.Once work begins on the kitchen, things will get especially interesting. We have a gas grill, and a portable induction burner that’ll hold one pot at a time. And we’ll have boxes full of herbs and spices and plates and forks and knives.

How do I prepare for what has been described to me variously as “completely disruptive”, “awful”, and “just plain hell” (really?!) ? I accept that things will be turned on their heads for a while, and I’ll be here to document it. I’ll photograph the destruction and mayhem.  I’ll play my part in this creative process, from demolition to gleaming completion. I know it’ll be challenging in ways I can’t yet know. But I’m thrilled! And I think I’m ready.

What will it mean here, on these bloggy pages? We’ll discover together. Smoothies? Salads? One pot wonders? Grilled seafood? We won’t go hungry, I promise!

One thing that will make this process less disruptive to food-lovers like us is that Spring is upon us and Summer is coming, and about now Farmer’s Markets are springing up all over the city and in the ‘burbs! Wooden stalls lined with fresh and gorgeous produce, bulging in bright ripeness! The choices we have are exquisitely exhaustive! So, one thing I can predict for the coming months is this: I’ll be carrying my basket to farmers markets, visiting with the growers, photographing fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables and bringing a few choice picks home. Once a week I’ll share my trips with you. We’ll explore old favorites, never-liked and never-tried’s. Most of what will result will be simple, beautiful,  and delicious. And since life around our house will be turned on its head for the next little while, it seemed only fitting to name this weekly feature something like

Wegetable Vednesdays!

and so I have.

(but don’t be surprised to see a few vruits too)

It will be a veritable celebration of things with stems & seeds & roots!

Why not begin with a couple old standby’s and treat them freshly? It doesn’t get more basic than peas and carrots, right?

Well, it could…

~ ~ ~

R a i n b o w    c a r r o t ,  p e a   &   p e a   s h o o t   s a l a d

(about 6 servings)

1½ pounds rainbow carrots (various lengths makes it even prettier)

4 ounces pea shoots (see NOTE)

2 cups sugar snap peas

1 cup snow peas (optional)

¼ cup Meyer lemon juice

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup crumbled sheep or goat milk feta cheese

¾ cup mint leaves, cut into slivers

For protein, add either

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded

2 cups grilled or poached firm fish, in pieces

1 cup cooked & shelled edamame (fresh soy beans)

NOTE on pea shoots – One market I go to stocks them regularly. You may find them at Farmers Markets or Asian markets too. 

~ ~ ~

 Scrub the carrots gently in order to retain most of their bright outer color. With a mandolin or vegetable peeler, cut thin lengthwise ribbons to make about 4 cups. Discard ends or any tough cores. (What worked best for me was to lay the carrot on the cutting board, holding the thin end of the carrot in one hand and with the other, using a vegetable peeler and a bit more pressure than normal, peel from the small end to the large. I discarded both the first and last strip of each carrot since that was mostly peel.) 

Put dark and light carrot ribbons in separate bowls of ice water and soak about 15 minutes to crisp them up. Drain in a colander and roll in kitchen towels. (or line a salad spinner with towel and spin.) 

Go through the pea shoots, discarding thick or tough stems and tearing sprigs into 4- or 5-inch pieces.

Pull the strings from the straight sides of snap peas (& snow peas if using) and then thinly slice lengthwise.

Dressing: In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper.

Add carrots, pea shoots, peas, feta and mint to the bowl. Toss. Add your choice of protein. Toss again gently. (Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.)

~ ~ ~

To print a copy, click here

~ ~ ~

this recipe was adapted from one appearing in Sunset magazine, April 2012

~ ~ ~

47 Comments Post a comment
  1. These photos make me want to dive into a veggie patch. Wait… a weggie patch. (That doesn’t sound right.) Anyhoo, I’m pretty excited about your new feature, and also, I’m hoping that you will promise to show reno photos. Because the demo is bound to make me feel better about the state of disorder in our house right now…

    April 25, 2012
    • oh so it’s mess you want to see Movita? stay tuned, my friend! it’ll be colossal!

      April 25, 2012
  2. I love this new feature and can’t wait to see all the beauty this spring and summer hold. If this gorgeous salad is any indication, it’s gonna be good! And like Movita Beaucoup, I would love to see the dust and craziness in process. 🙂

    April 25, 2012
    • Stay tuned, you’ll see it all here! Dusty piles of drywall, exposed plumbing, smashed tiles and plump little fuzzy peaches oozing juice. 🙂

      April 25, 2012
  3. You probably are already well aware of Chioggia beets but your promise to introduce interesting vegetables made me think of this mention of them I saw a few days ago in Sunset Magazine.

    Chioggia beets: Still found mainly in farmers’ markets…these red-and-white–striped roots are sweeter than other beets―and so beautiful, they might win over any beet doubters. Beets have lots of fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid, a B vitamin. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their color, is a powerful antioxidant.

    http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/healthy/healthy-energy-foods-00400000061175/page7.html

    Not only do they sound delicious and promise good nutrition, but they are gorgeous and I can just imagine what your camera can do with them.

    April 25, 2012
    • My eyes will be peeled for the beets, which I love anyway, but especially when they’re gorgeous!

      April 25, 2012
  4. The colors and photos are absolutely stunning. Love the combo of interesting flavors, too!

    April 25, 2012
    • Honestly, this is SO tasty!

      April 25, 2012
  5. These are unusually beautiful photographs, Spree. And because I get my vegetable box on Wednesdays each week, I’ll really look forward to Wegetable Vednesdays.

    April 25, 2012
    • Thanks Sharyn! We’ve done the CSA thing for several years, and thought this year we’d spread the love around. Hope I’ll have something timely for you with these posts. 🙂

      April 25, 2012
  6. darlyn912 #

    At Sinji Sushi tonight, we talked about why we have not heard from or seen you in the past few weeks. It is all clear now. Hope all goes well with the remodel.

    April 25, 2012
  7. That is the most beautiful carrot salad I have ever seen! And congratulations on your upcoming house upgrade!

    April 25, 2012
    • Oh thanks so much Emmy! It’s true that’s it’s not the shredded carrot and raisin salad we see at picnics and buffet tables! 🙂 and just for the record, it really was more delicious than it might appear! scrumptious actually!

      April 26, 2012
  8. What a way to launch a series! This salad looks so fresh & colorful, Spree. Who knew carrot curls could look so good? Great idea using so simple a dressing. Let the salad’s ingredients speak for themselves. There are sure to be some trying days ahead during the remodel but just think of the years to come after. And, besides, we’ll be here for support. 🙂

    April 25, 2012
    • Oh so it’s ok if I do a little leaning on you all? It may come to that so thanks for the kind offer! I’m sure I’m not thinking straight because I’m nothing but excited! Sledge hammers may start flying in a week or two so by then I may be singing a different tune. Sing with me and it’s sure to be sweeter by a mile! 🙂

      April 26, 2012
  9. Beautiful execution and photography! Vegetables are so lovely.

    April 25, 2012
    • Aw thanks very much! Lovely critters, vegetables!

      April 26, 2012
  10. So very beeeeeeautiful! I love this idea and will look forward to more gorgeous combos like this – and your photos – amazing as always! I went through a large scale kitchen reno 3 years ago, I remember all about it!! Looking forward to sharing the process with you Spree!

    April 25, 2012
    • Shira, thanks so much for the kind words! For me it all starts with such beauty as comes to us raw, so this will Really be fun for me too! As for the remodel, it’ll be a joy (and probably a comfort too!) to share that with you! xo

      April 26, 2012
  11. We found a wee wittle bunny in fwont of our gawage today.. he must have been bwinging me a sign about things to come for you;) Spree! It will be a challenge.. but I know you’ll be so excited going through choosing colors and design etc for your dream kitchen! And just think of the photos you can do once it’s done!? If anyone can whip up a beautiful dish with the barest of utensils.. it would be you! This is the prettiest wainbow salad ever! And I look forward to your “interim” posts:) xoxoxo Smidge

    April 25, 2012
    • I just read about your wabbit fwiend! Darling! I’m so excited Smidge about the redo! Plans all drawn up, all choices made, demo to start fairly soon! I’ll be writing and photographing and will share with you! On a lot of levels it sounds like the funniest of challenges, with rewards that last and last. Thanks love for your encouraging words! xoxo

      April 26, 2012
      • If you lived nearby.. I broke down and bought a large toaster oven.. I couldn’t bear the thought of not baking for that many weeks. Now it travels to other homes that have broken appliances or renovations going on.. oh, the stories it could tell..

        April 26, 2012
  12. Very nice pics. Good luck with the building works:)

    April 25, 2012
  13. Such a pretty salad to start your Wegetable Wednesdays ! And the best of luck with the kitchen!!

    April 26, 2012
  14. Fantastic! Congratulations! On everything! I’m very glad you’ll still be doing much blogging – this is an incredible post – never leave us! Such pretty photography.

    April 26, 2012
    • Not leaving ’til they drag me out! 🙂 thanks very much Nick!

      April 26, 2012
  15. What a vibrant post… 🙂 It perked up my day.

    April 26, 2012
    • So happy I could do that! 🙂 thank you!

      April 26, 2012
  16. Enjoy the journey 🙂

    April 26, 2012
    • I think I mostly will! Lesley, I’ve SO missed your blog and can’t wait to get caught up again. These have been some crazy crowded days (but all good!) miss you!

      April 26, 2012
  17. peasepudding #

    Good look with the renovations, I remember knocking the kitchen and a spare room into one and ending up with an oven and chopping block to work with….didn’t stop me though. Have fun!

    April 26, 2012
    • Ahh, another success story from the sounds of it! Thanks for the encouraging word!

      April 26, 2012
  18. Dust will be everywhere no matter how hard you seal it. But you know it will be worth it in the end. Great looking dish!

    April 26, 2012
    • I know that you’ve been through it Greg and your own kitchen is quite fantastic! Dust schmust! 🙂

      April 26, 2012
  19. Congrats Spree 🙂
    I love the photos here, the colors are so spectacular!
    I was going to tell you that finally I shot a picture of food that I actually liked, you can find it on my blog, and I would appreciate a lot if you can tell me something about it, like about the composition, colors or just what you think is missing.

    Have a great weekend!

    April 26, 2012
    • I loved your food shot Pablo! Bravo!!! 🙂

      April 29, 2012
  20. It looks delicious Spree! good luck with the remodeling it sound exciting!

    April 27, 2012
  21. Oh, your photos are so beautiful. I can taste the deliciousness of the vegetables through the screen 🙂 I can not wait for summer and the gardens to be in full force! Wegetable Vednesdays sounds like a great idea! I can not wait for next Vednesday 🙂 beautiful as always Antoinette, absolutely gorgeous 🙂 You kitchen sounds like it will be a dream and the trips to the market are right up my alley, can’t wait to see them through your lense 🙂

    April 27, 2012
    • Sydney, I’m so happy to “know” you! I have a feeling there will be lots to share with one another! Thank you so very much for you ever-kind words! 🙂

      April 29, 2012
  22. Spree good luck with all the renovations. yes it will be a pain, but it’s going to a whole basket full of awesome when you are done. And in the mean time bring on your basket full of wegetables!

    April 28, 2012
    • Brydie, thanks! I’m of the opinion that it’s a good and healthy thing for us humans to have our worlds shaken up a bit. Complacency and expectations of normalcy don’t get us anywhere much. Life around here’s about to be turned on its head, but honestly it excites me so much I can hardly stand it! 🙂 Hoping so much that all is well in your world with soft-skinned kiddos! xo

      April 29, 2012
  23. Wonderful weggies! Love the recipe and look forward to hearing about the refurbishment adventures – my, you don´t do things by half in your home do you?!

    April 29, 2012
    • Oh Tanya, it’s true isn’t it? Or at least that’s how it appears. Things hum along at a sweet and predictable pace, nothing changing much, and then….when it changes…man does it change! And you know, every once in a while, you’re at a place and time where that feels so right and you feel so ready to take it on. You know? That’s where we are. And I know you’ve been there! 🙂 xo

      April 29, 2012
  24. Deb schneider #

    Know you will keep a grateful heart throughout – that’s who you are :). Enjoy the ride! I’m on it w you. As always, exquisite everything.

    April 30, 2012
  25. I love the new feature Ani and look forward to it. I hope your remodel goes as smoothly as possible

    May 3, 2012
  26. Hi there! Congratulations on your blog. Only a few can make a blog this beautiful. The photos are deliciously beautiful. Your words are easy to digest. You know, I am not a cook. I don’t know how to. I try and I fail. But I do love reading recipes, cooking escapades, watching cooking shows and of course, experiencing fine food. I’ll keep going back to your site. Maybe someday, I get to cook a single dish. Keep sharing. Keep living.

    May 3, 2012
  27. Ohhhh, I’ve been lonesome for you for too long. No time for necessary things lately!! And the sort of beauty and joy found all over today’s post is exactly why I am thrilled to get any chance to pop back in. Sounds like the most positive kind of topsy-turvy is what lies in your future, and may it be a great, fulfilling delight both in process and product. Yes, it’s laborious and messy, but it doesn’t have to be soul-eating or any such nastiness, with a little creativity and forgiveness and adventurous spirit sprinkled hither and yon upon it all, and the result can be ten times richer if it has a little memorable craziness thrown into the mix as you go. 🙂
    xoxo
    Kathryn

    May 20, 2012

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