Shaved Spring Vegetables with Garden Herbs

shaved spring vegetables Paper thin slices of shaved raw vegetables makes up this light, bright salad that has tons of color and crunch, it’s the perfect springtime and summer side! Imagine a piece of grilled fish served along side this salad, it just screams healthy and good for you!

colorful salad ingredients This recipe is specifically related to spring but it can be easily adapted by using fresh summer, fall or winter vegetables as well.

shaved spring vegetables What is a must for this recipe is the use of a mandolin, that’s the only way you will achieve thin and delicate slices, if you don’t have a mandolin I highly recommend getting one, I’m surprised how many times I use mine and it was very reasonably priced.

garden herbs I actually just recently tasted this salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, Quartino, where small plates of freshly made Italian food is served and meant to be shared, this was one of the things we ordered and it was delicious and Chef John Coletta was gracious enough to pass on the recipe.

shaved spring vegetables I got carried away in the produce department as I often do and bought three different colored beets and three different colored carrots but you really don’t need to do that, using just one of each would be fine.

Don’t let eating raw beets scare you, they have a natural sweetness to them in their raw state, along with a nice crunch.

shaved spring vegetables Arugula and fresh garden herbs get tossed into this salad which enhances the flavor of all the shaved vegetables.

shaved vegetable salad with lemon olive oil Chef Coletta recommends a nice lemon and olive oil dressing for this salad but I was fortunate to receive some wonderful lemon infused extra virgin olive oil from Sorrento, via a wonderful company olio2go, that represents Italy’s finest olive oils. The intense flavor quite frankly, took this salad over the top!

Shaved Spring Vegetables with Garden Herbs
  • Adapted from Chef John Coletta
  • 1 small bunch of radishes, sliced paper thin
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, sliced paper thin
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced paper thin
  • 1 yellow, red and orange carrot, peeled, sliced paper thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced paper thin
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced paper thin
  • beets, 1 striped, 1 yellow and 1 red, peeled, sliced paper thin
  • a generous handful of arugula leaves
  • 4 TBLsp, chives, cut into 1 inch sticks
  • 4 TBLsp, Italian parsley leaves
  • 2TBLsp, fennel tops
  • 4TBLsp celery tops
  • 2 TBLsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 TBLsp, extra virgin olive oil, (or use lemon infused olive oil as I did.)
  • sea salt or kosher and ground black pepper, to taste.
  1. Wash the vegetables well, peel beets and carrots with a vegetable peeler. Slice and prep all vegetables before, using a mandoline. Place the vegetables, herbs and arugula into a bowl. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil onto the vegetables and herbs, toss and season with salt and pepper. Arrange salad on a platter or bowl. Put the dressing on 15 minutes before serving to infuse and soften the vegetables slightly.



Summer Veggie Slaw

Here’s another way to start using up all the zucchini and other veggies and herbs that your garden is producing, just gather everything together and make this Summer Slaw!
It’s quite easy to do if you have this handy julienne peeler, otherwise a mandoline slicer would work as well.
Note: I cut my squash in the middle so that when I used my peeler I wouldn’t have long “spaghetti” like strips but rather shorter ones like in coleslaw.
The ingredients I used were:

  • Yellow squash
  • Zucchini
  • Red pepper strips
  • Match stick carrots
  • Radish, sliced and cut into strips
  • Green onions sliced diagonally
  • Red onion strips
  • Very fresh shucked corn or precooked
  • Fresh picked basil and parsley
  • Torn spinach leaves

No exact amounts here, just use what you have and place everything in a big bowl like I do, tossing and adding until you have a nice color balance with your veggies and herbs.

For added flavor I tossed in strips of Parmigiano Reggiano, but you can get creative and use any aged cheese you like, Fontinella and Provolone work as well because the cheese can easily be cut into strips.
For my dressing I used a simple olive oil and fresh lemon juice but if you wanted something creamier that would work also.
All the ingredients are raw except for the corn, I had two cooked cobs leftover, but feel free to use super sweet fresh corn straight from the cob uncooked.
Gently toss everything together, taste for flavor adding salt and pepper and a little grated cheese if you like, then pile high on a platter.  If I had pine nuts I would have added them.
After I took the photo I added in some slivered almonds and a little crumbled feta.This was a great side dish to my cedar planked salmon!
The perfect summer meal on a very hot day!



I Made Kale Chips, and Hated Them!

I knew I was going to make these chips sooner or later, recipes have been floating around the blogosphere for a while now and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. You see I have a daughter who loves kale, she convinced me to try it, and now I too love kale. In fact we’re growing two different kinds in our garden this year and it’s growing like crazy!

I sent her home with a huge bag of raw kale last week so she could make her salads with it, I tried giving her the kale chips, and she “No thanks!” This is coming from a kale loving person, and even she didn’t like them!
I guess it’s a love hate thing but to me it tastes like crispy seaweed that turns into dust in your mouth. Maybe I should have flavored them up more or done something different, or maybe I should just let it go and eat it the way I really like it, in salads and braised.

The way I made them was simple. Wash your kale real good and then make sure it’s nice and dry. Cut your kale leaves off the stem and tear them into bite size pieces. Toss in olive oil, place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake until crispy about 20 minutes in a 300F oven.
If any of you kale chip lovers have some tips you want to share please feel free to do so, maybe there’s still hope!

My husband who has the green thumb pulled our first eggplant and my favorite tiny clustered tomatoes today and the basil is growing out of control!

It must be all that watering he does! Enjoy your short work week, and Buon Appetito.


Grilled Pizza and a Garden Salad

Making pizza on the grill has become a summertime favorite for us. The dough cooks up in a matter of minutes, and it always creates a nice crisp crust. Whether you have a good source for buying fresh pizza dough or you make your own, if you haven’t tried this yet put it high on your list!

I like to roll my dough out a little, but when you put it on the grill it changes it’s shape, but that’s the beauty of it! Make sure your grill is nice and hot. Brush the top with olive oil and put that side down on your hot grill. Brush the raw side with olive oil and then flip the dough when you see grill marks underneath.

Have all your ingredients ready because now you will be adding them to the first cooked side, it grills up very fast so have things precooked, mostly light and fresh ingredients work best. I have tried so many combinations, as you know when making pizza the possibilities are endless!

For this pizza I tried something different. Pancetta with caramelized red onions, creamy bocconcini, fresh tomatoes and roasted artichoke hearts, a great combination that I would do again. Here’s a couple of my other favorites.

This is great for a leisurely weekend dinner while you’re sitting outside enjoying the weather, pour yourself some wine, make a salad, and you have a great meal!

Speaking of salad! This all came from my garden, doesn’t it look so nice and fresh? I can’t wait to dress it up with my best olive oil and favorite vinegar.
Buon Appetito!