Excerpted from The Earthbound Cookbook, Copyright 2010 by Myra Goodman. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. NY. All Rights Reserved
"The subtle anise flavor of fresh fennel partners perfectly with sweet-tart apple, and the radish slices add a spark of peppery heat." That's how the recipe starts for this easy salad with complex flavors from The Earthbound Cook by Myra Goodman. It's summer and I'm tossing salads more than heating up the kitchen these days and I admit my fallback: greens with tomatoes, basil and peppers from my garden gets tired. So I pull out this cookbook for inspiration. The toughest part is deciding which of the enticing recipes I'll try next.In the cookbook, Goodman, co-owner of Earthbound Farm, the largest producer of organic produce, who previously wrote Food to Live By, tells what to shop for, how to make it and why. Her concept for this fresh-tasting salad is really simple: Cut an assortment of seasonal raw vegetables into paper-thin slices (with a mandoline), toss them with a light dressing, and "add a shower of fresh herbs."
For weekday vegetarians (or weekend) or as a side dish, here's the recipe for "Apple, Radish and Fennel Salad: (Serves 4 to 6):
1 large fennel bulb
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
½ teaspoon snipped chives or minced scallion tops (green part)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large crisp apple, such as Fuji or Gala
12 large radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1. Snip enough of the fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon (for the dressing). Set the fennel bulb aside.
2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fennel fronds, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. (Any leftover vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week. Let it return to room temperature and then shake vigorously before using.)
3. Trim the fennel bulb, cut it in half lengthwise, and then thinly slice the halves. Quarter and core the apple, then thinly slice it. (It's suggested to toss some dressing immediately on the fennel and apples so they don't discolor.)
4. Place the fennel, radish, and apple slices in a large bowl and add three- quarters of the vinaigrette to the vegetables. Toss to lightly coat the salad, and then taste to see if more dressing is needed. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the salad to a platter or individual salad plates. (The salad will lose its crunchiness over time, but it can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.)
How about serving this balanced mélange of color, texture, and flavor over Earthbound Farm's organic Mixed Baby Kales. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse at the top of the ANDI (Aggregate Nutrition Density Index) list, with a score of 1,000 out of 1,000 points. A cup of kale is full of minerals and vitamins, delivering more than 1300 percent of the daily value of vitamin K and 89 percent of the daily value of calcium.
Cookbook with a Conscience
The Earthbound Cook cookbook features 250 recipes from soup ("Red Lentil and Coconut") to sustainable fish ("Thai-Style Salmon Cakes") desserts ("Lemon Macaroon Pie"), breads and breakfast ("Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread") - to mention a few favorites, and loads of veggie dishes.
Goodman also discusses a ton of tips on keeping a green kitchen in each chapter: food miles, composting scraps, praising the electric teakettles, microwave vs. the oven, deciphering eco-label claims, eating less meat, sorting out sweeteners, and, of course, the far-reaching reasons to choose organic--for healthy soil to avoiding GMOs. It's more like a bible to responsible eating - that will make your mouth water and inspire you to dive into the kitchen -- even during these dog days of summer.