Cold Beet, Daikon Radish, & Carrot Salad

beet daikon carrot grated root vegetable cold salad radish

I didn’t know I liked beets.

At least, not until this past winter. I didn’t have anything against them—I’d just never eaten them growing up and my only experience theretofore had been encountering those gelatinous maroon cubes in the dining hall salad bar. ICK. But when I joined a winter CSA, beets abounded, and I had to come up with something to do with them all because I sure hate wasting food (and money—CSA’s ain’t cheap!).

I probably would have roasted the whole winter’s share once I discovered how amazing warm, sweet beets taste, but my husband got a little tired of that format, so: onwards. My final share also included a boatload of daikon radishes which—although I pickled a solid pound—never seemed to diminish in volume.

How to use up these sturdy roots, especially at the end of a long, snowy winter when oven fatigue has set in? Optimistic and cheerful thanks to the first stirrings of spring (50 degree days, omg!), I banished the thought of cooking with heat and decided that a cool, crunchy salad was in order. Rounding out the daikon’s peppery sharpness and the beet’s earthy sweetness, I threw in mild orange carrots and concocted a tastebud-popping dressing. If you prefer more or less of one of the vegetables—or even something else altogether—go wild. Substitute mint and basil for cilantro, lime zest (or juice) for lemon, and use a fish sauce at your preferred pungency.

I used a food processor to grate all the vegetables, thank God. Doing this on a box grater would take forever and the beets would stain your hands Lady Macbeth style—not recommended. DO use a microplane for both your lemon zest and your ginger though, and don’t worry about peeling the ginger—I promise no one will notice the teeny bits of skin.

grated beet daikon radish carrot salad cilantro sesame oil fish sauce vinaigrette

Cold Daikon, Beet, & Carrot Salad

Ingredients:
– 2 cups beet, grated
– 2 cups daikon radish, grated
– 2 cups carrots, grated
– 1/3 cup vegetable, corn, or canola oil
– 1 Tbs sesame oil
– 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
– 1 Tbs fish sauce
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 1″ knob of ginger, finely grated (use a microplane!)
– zest of 1/2 lemon
– 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:
In a large bowl, whisk both oils, vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and lemon zest until emulsified. Stir in grated vegetables and allow to macerate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to two hours. Just before serving, stir once more and garnish with cilantro.

 

 

Sun Dried Tomato and Black Olive Tapenade

sun dried tomato tapenade black olive capers

I’ll admit it: I get lazy about cooking sometimes. There are nights that I get home from work and want nothing more than to change into sweatpants and crack open a beer. These are the times I turn to that old meal-substitute standby—crackers and some sort of topping (cheese, sausage, schmear, dip). As summer approaches, and the sweaty, smelly commutes increase, I’m having more and more of those nights.

Happily, crackers (or, if you have access to a good bakery, baguette) lend themselves to all sorts of low-key add-ons, from fresh sliced tomatoes with mozzarella and a basil leaf to sweet fruit compote with sharp cheddar. If you have hummus lying around, perfect. Greek yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice, and dill make a quick and delicious tzatziki. All things that require minimal effort and no turning on the stove.

This tapenade makes another great ready-to-go spread, and keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Feel free to use green olives if you prefer them, and if you’re using oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, you may want to decrease the amount of olive oil added.

Black Olive Tapenade with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1.5 cups black olives, preferably Kalamata, pitted
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked 5 minutes and drained (no soaking necessary if using oil-packed tomatoes)
1 Tbs. capers, drained
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Pulse first three ingredients in food processor until roughly chopped.

2. With food processor going, add olive oil in a thin stream until well-blended.

Serve with crackers, sliced baguette, or crostini. Keeps up to one week in the refrigerator.