MEL × RIVERBEND: Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

Quick pickling

Quick-pickling is one of those things I discovered out of necessity. I love red onion you see, however for Tom they are indigestible in their raw form. So, I started looking into ways I could incorporate them into our salad without giving him indigestion. After much googling and pinterest-ing, enter quick-pickling.

The first time I attempted it, I did it with white vinegar. I chopped the red onions finely, set them at the bottom of a bowl and tossed them with a splash of vinegar. I let them sit a bit while I prepared the remaining components of our meal. When I returned to them and did a taste test, I thought they turned out a little too far on the tangy side and made the whole experience a little abrasive. However, I knew it was on to something. It just needed some finessing.

My preferred quick pickling vinegar

These days, I tend to reach for wine vinegar, rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar for quick pickling. They all have a slightly different taste and are somewhat softer and more rounded out in flavor than white vinegar. Since they all have different tastes (and this is also true when you change from brand to brand) this may require some experimentation of your own, but for the sake of this recipe, I used the slightly fruitier Bragg apple cider vinegar.

Moving on from red onions, I figured if this works for them it must work for other things as well (and it does)! I’ve now quick pickled carrots, garlic scapes, cukes, zucchini and most recently kale.

 
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
Quick-pickled kale & new potato salad
 

About this recipe:

It’s simple. Much like the rest of my kitchen.

However, it’s the small details and technique which elevate this dish past being another simple salad. The kale gets softened by the vinegar & salt, as do the red onions. The potatoes are quickly boiled then pan seared to create a golden exterior and a fluffy soft middle.

Topped with the nutty roasted pumpkin seeds and the crunchy salt flake finish, it makes for the perfect side dish on a barbecue night or a fantastic base for a weekday bowl.

 
QUICK-PICKLED KALE & NEW POTATO SALAD
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THE RECIPE


SERVES 2

1 bunch kale
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 golf ball sized red onion
1/2 C pumpkin seeds
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
Sea salt for finishing

10 min PREP + Cook 20 mins

  1. Rip the kale into bite size chunks, reserving the stems for later use.
  2. In a medium bowl, place kale, thinly sliced red onion, apple cider vinegar, 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Mix well by hand making sure all the kale & onion is well coated.
  4. Place potatoes in a pan with enough water to cover half way up the potatoes.
  5. Boil for 10 minutes, turning halfway then drain.
  6. Add butter & remaining olive oil then pan fry over medium for 5 minutes.
  7. Chop the kale stems to the size of a large pea,
  8. Flip the potatoes over, add the pumpkin seeds & kale stems.
  9. Once the potatoes are golden on both sides, remove from the pan, chop them up (careful not to burn yourself) and toss with the kale.
  10. Serve warm or cold, enjoy!

more kale recipes

MEL × RIVERBEND: Zucchini Cornbread
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

The thing about seriously good baking is this. It's more like the horizon "forever receeding" than a goal. Or as Tom would put it "the more you know, the more you know you don't know"

I inevitably become painfully aware of my shortcomings as my skills develop and then it becomes a matter of chasing the dragon so to speak.

I find myself akin to some back alley addict looking for the next high. The exception being that my particular form of high comes in the form of an expertly executed dish.

 
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
zucchini cornbread - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

Whether that be Appalachian hillbilly chicken and dumplings or a single bite from a molecular pastry chef at the edge of his game makes no difference. If the dish sings to me.. it usually results in a hedonistic memory I can never shake.

My path into baking has been one of dragon chasing. Where I would eat savory and sweet baked goods crafted by other peoples talented hands and be left with a longing to recreate it in the kitchen. I would then return home with high hopes and no real plan, because I knew deep down that I can't bake. Until now.

I've equipped myself with a scale & some delicious flours. I'm starting at the bottom of the hill with the lowly but divinely delicious zucchini cornbread.

I've gone ahead and adjusted it to remove white flour & processed sugar and called it good. Perhaps my inability to follow a strict recipe is to blame for the flop of my more complex baking projects.. but this one is truly difficult to mess up.

So if you're like me, longing for a homemade treat but convinced your hands cannot produce such a thing, don't fret friend. I've got you. You've got this.

 
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THE RECIPE


INGREDIENTS

MAKES 6-8 PORTIONS

2 T coconut oil
1/4 C red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t pimenton paprika
1 t fresh thyme
1 C grated zuccini
3/4 C cornmeal
1 T whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
2 t honey
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C plain yogourt
1/2 t salt

DIRECTIONS

15 MINS PREP + 30 MINS BAKING

  1. Grease an 8 inch cast iron skillet with coconut oil & place it in the oven while it preheats to 400.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together your cornmeal, flour, salt, thyme, pimenton paprika & baking powder.
  3. Beat the yogurt, honey & egg together, then incorporate it to the cornmeal mixture.
  4. Once there are no more clumps, squeeze the zucchini to remove as much water as possible then add it, the garlic and the red onion to the batter.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven & pour in the batter.
  6. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. 

more zucchini recipes

MEL × RIVERBEND: Roasted Beet + Berry Hummus
beet and haskap hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS


 

The first time I had homemade hummus was in Montreal, standing in a friend’s kitchen as his mother began preparing the evening meal.

It was one of the first times in my life that I had experienced family life in a multi-generational home. There was tension, for sure, as everyone was grown up, had their own opinions and schedules. Yet, among all of these fine lines that needn't be crossed and unspoken rules, there was a sort of balance I had never felt before. A sense of deeply rooted belonging that permeated every word, every action and every dish.

Daily meals were prepared for twice as many people than there were sitting down at the table. It was understood and expected that a friend or family member might pop in, unannounced, to share the meal. There was always more than enough food to go around, and in the very unlikely occasion that food should run out, there was always a full pantry and capable hands ready to make more.

To me, this level of hospitality is heart expanding. It is one of the underlying notions of how I run my own kitchen today. In our home we jokingly say to our friends “It’s simple enough to add another stone to the soup. You are always welcome here”.

So, back to hummus.

Her’s was a traditional recipe, made of chickpeas, lemon, tahini & olive oil. She had been making this recipe long enough that her grandchildren, who were now adults were eating it. I couldn't help but think that part of the reason why her hummus was as bright as sunshine in the early morn', was that her hands were steeped in lemon from years and years of pressing.

 
haskap hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
beet hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

This recipe is something else altogether. While it still contains some of the soul and simplicity of the dip I tasted in my friend’s kitchen, it is vibrant in ways unrelated to the juice of those sun-kissed citruses. It celebrates the coming of summer with the season’s very first roasted beets and the end of the cold season with the last of their pickled companions.

The acidity comes from vinegar in the pickles and the color, oh the color, comes in part from the beets and in part from this little northern berry that ripens on the summer winds. Fresh haskap berries bring a lovely acidity of their own to the mix. Their flavor is akin to raspberry meets tart green apple, and they round out the earthiness of the beets just perfectly.

If you cannot find haskaps, don’t fret, this recipe will be delicious without them. But if you can find them fresh, add them in and you won’t be sorry.

 
 
beet hummus - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
 

THE RECIPE


MAKES 2.5 CUPS

1 C cooked and drained chickpeas
½ C roasted beets
½ C pickled beets
½ haskap berries
2 T olive oil (more if needed
½ t salt

30 ROAST + 10 min PREP

  1. Remove greens from 4-5 small beets if there are any.
  2. Place on a baking tray at 400 for 30 minutes
  3. Once cooled add everything in a food processor & blend until smooth.

more beet recipes