Posts in Snack
MEL × RIVERBEND: Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens



I could basically survive off of bread and cheese ( or some other form of wheat and dairy combination ) but we all know that’s rather unsustainable and can quickly become quite boring. Well, that is, if you’re only exploring the basics. Thankfully this recipe is quite a few steps beyond good old cheddar on crackers, but it remains in the same realm of quick, satisfying and delightful.

You can have this herbed yogourt + crackers on its own, but also keep it in your arsenal for the next time you have friends over. This recipe would make a great addition to a charcuterie board or as part of a tapas spread. Also, given that they have a similar acidity to plain yogourt, you could easily experiment with goat cheese or labneh for the base of this recipe if you’re craving something a little bit more spreadable.

Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

A little bit about fennel

Fennel is one of those vegetables that people seem to either love or hate. The bulb has a slight anise-like flavor which I personally find quite refreshing when it’s eaten shaved and raw. It becomes milder as it cooks, so if you’re on the fence about trying fennel, I’d say start with a recipe where it’s cooked like this one or this one.

The fronds on the other hand can be quite stringy and tough, like a celery stick but denser, so I prefer cutting it against the grain whenever possible. The wispy fronds also hold a bit of licorice-like flavor, but in a somewhat subdued form which is perfect for today’s recipe.

Fennel Fronds + Herbs Yogourt - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens



1 C fennel fronds, minced
6-8 large basil leaves
10-12 mint leaves
Small bunch of parsley
½-¾ C plain yogourt

30 ROAST + 10 min PREP

  1. Cut all your herbs, place them in a bowl
  2. Mix in yogourt + a good pinch of salt
  3. Cover and let sit in the fridge at least 15 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust salt before serving with your favorite crackers or as part of a charcuterie board

more fennel recipes

MEL × RIVERBEND: kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

RECIPE Sponsored by riverbend Gardens


Bowls are quite fashionable right now. If you look at any foodie’s Instagram feed long enough (mine included) you will begin to see little pops of bowls everywhere. Breakfast bowls. Lunch bowls. Dinner bowls. Poke bowls. Bowls bowls bowls.

So, why am I trying to get you on the bus with me on this one? So we can be fashionable friends together? While that seems like an alluring proposition, and I’m all for fashionable friends, there’s more to it than that. Bowls to me are an easy way to get a variety of foods onto the table with very little effort. Laziness, my friend, is at the root of this one. You can call it strategic or even cleaver, but between you and I, I don’t have a million hours a week to put food on the table (and neither do you I assume). I’m also not willing to compromise on a simple principle. I want fresh food fast, not fast food.

kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens

How to build a bowl

My approach to bowls is a simple one. Start with what’s available right now. Sure we can get whatever we want from big box stores (or small local grocers) these days, but I like to start at the farmer’s market and look around to what’s available. Right now, there’s a myriad of produce available, because it’s the end of july, so you can easily pick a handful of produce that inspires you.

I try to aim for at least one green thing and then I add as many colors as I can.

From there I make sure there is a good source of protein & some fat so that I’m not hungry 5 minutes after I’m done eating. That could mean cheese, eggs, beans or leftovers from last night’s rotisserie chicken. Easy enough right?

It’s all in the dressing

One of the key ways to make a bowl taste divine, is to make sure that you have a tasty dressing. I suggest keeping on hand a couple of dressings (perhaps one oil-and-vinegar and one creamy style) that you really enjoy to make bowl making a breeze.

For this particular bowl I went with an Asian-inspired dressing made from sesame oil, tamari, and rice vinegar. it's one of the combinations that you find often in my cuisine (it’s the base for my ginger beef and sunomono salad) and it has all of the flavors that I enjoy. It's slightly salty, perfectly acidic and a good amount of umami.

kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens
kohlrabi, kale & carrot summer bowl - the nomadic wife - riverbend gardens


MAKES 2 bowls

2 eggs
2 medium carrots
1 baseball size kholrabi
1 bunch kale
3-4 garlic scapes
(or garlic cloves)
2 t butter
1 t sesame oil
1 t toasted sesame seeds
1 t black sesame seeds


1/2 C labneh
1 T fresh mint, chopped
1 T fresh dill, chopped
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 t himalayan salt
1 T avocado oil

15 min PREP

  1. Remove greens from kohlrabi and chop them in ribbons along with the kale (stems included)
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add half the butter.
  3. Chop the garlic scapes, add them to the pan. Stir until the scapes becomes fragrant.
  4. Then add the greens & 1 t sesame oil, stir and remove from heat.
  5. Peel and julienne the kohlrabi. Grate the carrots and place both in your bowls.
  6. Give one last stir to the greens and remove them from the pan into the bowls.
  7. Add the remaining butter and fry your egg to your desired doneness (scrambled worked well too).
  8. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork, then drizzle over your bowl.
  9. Top with egg & sesame seeds and enjoy!

more kohlrabi recipes

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



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