Welcome to our 2nd What’s Cooking blog post! This time around, we thought we’d let one of our GOOD members share their culinary adventures in their own words. This week we’re featuring Harley member Stacey Rowe who is constantly inspiring us through social media with her colorful, vivid images of the delectable dishes she makes using her Good Food Collective share.
photo credit: Michael Ross
Take it away Stacey…
Like many chief culinary officers (a.k.a. home cooks), I was getting tired of the sticker shock at the end of my grocery store visits. I also felt like I was constantly grabbing the same items week after week. With an interest in getting out of my boring food rut and gaining some variety and value while supporting local farmers, I recalled several of my friends had enjoyed being Good Food Collective (GFC) members. So, about two years ago, I started with a summer share just to see how I liked it. My GFC membership has since evolved into a four-season produce extravaganza, complete with regular social media posts of my savory delights.
I should note that I’m self-taught with no formal culinary training other than two random classes I’ve taken locally, and those were mainly for the wine – um, I mean “socialization.” I have an educational background in fine art and a professional background in marketing and public relations. I have a lifelong passion for food, starting with the first batch of scrambled eggs I made as a kid as well as regular viewings of Julia Child. Don’t judge me - we didn’t have cable until I was 12! My love of cooking and baking continued into adulthood within the confines of a tiny studio apartment that had one square foot of counter space and no dishwasher. I dabbled in recipes from hoarded Gourmet and Martha Stewart Living magazines that were once used as inspiration for paintings.
The experimentation is still what I love most about cooking today. I enjoy the challenge of a new ingredient, researching what might work best with what I have readily available, and then I get down to business. Of course, I have the occasional flop, but I learn from it and I don’t get discouraged. When picking up my GFC share, I like receiving an obscure item that I probably would not select if I were at the grocery store. It allows me to play around and expands my palate. My latest ingredient challenge occurred several weeks ago in what I’ll call the “choose your underground adventure” bins, where you can create an eight-pound combination of that week’s root vegetable stash. While carefully avoiding what I thought were turnips, I inquired and discovered these were actually watermelon radishes. I had never tried them before, but I figured they’d make a great salad addition.
The unused radishes were still knocking around my refrigerator drawer last Sunday, and I figured a healthy side salad would put me in the mood for spring and also offset the hearty meat sauce I was concocting. Based on last week’s share, I came up with something easy that both looked and tasted great. Feel free to substitute with what you have on hand - regular radishes will be fine if you don’t have these pretties. You can enjoy it with a pasta dish like I did, but it would pair nicely with fish, chicken, soups, risotto, or simply enjoy it on its own. This should serve 2-4, depending on how big a salad you prefer.
Healthy Chopped Side Salad:
- 3/4 cup of grated carrots
- 3/4 cup of grated beets
- 1 1/4 cups of chopped cabbage (you can grate this as well if you prefer)
- 1 apple, diced (I used Empire)
- 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (or 2-3 regular radishes)
- 2 cups of pea shoots, coarsely chopped (baby greens or watercress would make a great substitute)
Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Juice of one lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla balsamic vinegar (or any balsamic of your choice)*
- 1-2 tablespoons of blood orange olive oil (again, any olive oil of your choice)*
* Both of these are local and available from F. Oliver’s, and I left the amounts flexible because I tend to like more vinegar in my dressings.
With a grater or food processor, grate the carrots and beets and place in a medium-sized bowl. Here’s a handy tip: I usually grate a bunch of beets and carrots at once and save the leftovers for smoothies or other salads. Follow with the cabbage (grated or chopped) and add the diced apple and sliced radish. In a small bowl whisk together the honey, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar; then slowly whisk in the olive oil until your desired consistency/ taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the chopped items in the bowl and combine. Assemble and serve over the pea shoots (or greens) and add cracked pepper and salt, to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!