Category Archives: Salads

Fresh herbs: Mustard greens with strawberry, thyme, and goat cheese & herb tea


Yesterday I began my first day of class at Stanford! Its called the Ecology of Cuisine: Food, Nutrition and the Evolution of the Human Diet. We went on a walk through campus foraging and taking a look at different varieties of plants, fruits, and edibles that are available in our immediate environment. We went to the cactus garden (pic), the edible garden and walked through the Main Quad. We found California wild flowers, chestnuts, currants, elderberries, kumquats, persimmons, avocados, and tons of fresh herbs! I picked bay leaves off trees and tucked some fresh sage into my bag. Sweet.



Cactus garden at Stanford

Later that afternoon, I went back to SMIP farm for a few hours to help out with transplanting, weeding, and shoveling compost. I brought Mary some homemade gluten free cookies (next blog post) and they sent me home with tons of fresh herbs. I was out there with a knife picking handfuls of wild lavender, bunches of chamomile, fresh thyme (with those lovely purple flowers, see first pic), rose geranium (which smells like perfume), and 3 different kinds of mint: spearmint, bergamot mint, and yes, CHOCOLATE mint!


I love fresh herbs, but they are always so expensive to buy in the store and their flavor and freshness die out so quickly, that it is hardly worth it. Buying this abundance of herbs would have cost me over $40 in the store, but just foraging and having friends, I got my delicious herbs a gratis. So go out and forage, or grow your own at home (I have oregano, parsley, mint, and rosemary plants)…your wallet, health and taste buds will thank you!

Herb tea was the perfect thing to unwind at the end of the day yesterday. I combined fresh mint, chamomile (stems an pods), rose geranium, and a strawberry to make a very light soothing tea. These herbs all have great healing properties too.

Strawberry Herb Tea

A few Mint leaves

A branch of Chamomile, leaves a pods

A Rose geranium flower

A few slices of a sweet, ripe strawberry

Rinse all your herbs and fruit. Bring a pot of water to boil. Reduce to a simmer and add all the herbs. Stir and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add strawberry in the last minute. Turn off, let cool slightly and strain into tea cups. Add ice for a hot afternoon iced tea (or infuse water with herbs, strawberry, and lemon in the sun– sun tea!).



Mustard Greens with Strawberries, Thyme, and Goat Cheese

Bunch of fresh mustard greens, rinsed and chopped into 1-1/2 in pieces

Sweet ripe strawberries, quartered

Olives (black or kalamata), halved

Juice of a lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Goat cheese

Fresh thyme sprigs, remove stem

Sea salt

Optional: toasted pistachios or almonds

Place greens in a large salad bowl and add strawberries, olives, EVOO, lemon juice and salt. Toss to combine. Add fresh thyme to the goat cheese in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Crumble herbed goat cheese on top of salad and add toasted pistachios or other nuts if desired. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.


Happy picking!



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Spring Onion Scramble


This is to follow the farm post, because I have so many sweet spring onions and I think I’ve found the best way to eat them. Grilled on a cast iron pan with a pinch of sea salt. They turn into super succulent sweet onions, almost caramelized but there’s no oil or butter involved. Add other veggies and spices (below) to make into a meal. Super simple and delicious as a side or by themselves!


Spring Onion Scramble

3 Spring onions, halved or quartered lengthwise

1 garlic green halved or 2 garlic cloves whole

1 small red pepper or 1/2 large one, thinly sliced

Spices (salt, pepper, fresh herbs, paprika, cayenne, cumin) to taste

2 tsp Sesame seeds



Separate the stems from the onion bulbs by chopping at the neck. Place onion bulbs, stems, and garlic in a cast iron pan  on medium heat (no oil required, just make sure its not too dry). Watch and stir frequently to prevent burning and cook on med-low. Add a pinch of good sea salt, pepper, and any of the spices/seasonings above. They are done when they are tender and not chewy. Taste test! Serve with rice, grilled meats, in a sandwich, or add eggs for a real scramble. YUM.


Here I put my scramble on top of a salad (organic farm spring greens) with some french lentils I made earlier in the week and farm radishes.

IMG_1221 IMG_1213


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Watermelon Feta Salad

I regret to say I dont have a picture of this one, but it’s so delicious you will just have to trust me. It’s a refreshing summer salad, a savory one with feta, black pepper and watermelon.

Watermelon Feta Salad

One small seedless watermelon

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse ground black pepper

Feta for crumbling

1/4 cup Mint, chopped

Cut up watermelon in to 1/2in cubes, or use a mellon baller. Drain excess water on paper towels. Place in a large bowl or return to watermelon by cutting a flat surface on bottom so it stands upright. Add vinegar, evoo, and black pepper to taste. Add half of the chopped mint. Toss gently. Crumble a generous amount of feta onto the salad and sprinkle the rest of the mint on top. Goes well with spicy mexican food or any greek dish. Enjoy!

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Raspberry & Goat Cheese Beet Salad


I’m so sad to hear you got sick. Was it the lunch place at your work? I hope you’re feeling much better now. I’ve never gotten food poisoning but I hear its a disaster. I also checked out that new blog, what a find! Did you see the newest post? Fresh doughnuts, yum! I’ll also have to try that beet dumping recipe… and finally get out my pasta maker. Speaking of beets, I made myself an awesome beet, raspberry, and goat cheese salad a couple days ago I based off something I had recently at my local co-op (the picture above). They didn’t add goat cheese, chives, garlic, or orange, but I have to give them credit for pairing the awesome two-some: beets and raspberries. I’m so surprised how well these flavors go together, especially to liven up a root vegetable like beets for spring! This is my new favorite side dish, a must-try!

Spring Beet Salad

6 medium red or striped (red/white) beets with skin on

8 cloves garlic in shell

Red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp raspberry vinegar

touch of balsamic vinegar

Grated orange zest (optional)

Salt/Pepper to taste

Small log fresh, soft goat cheese

Bunch fresh chives, chopped

Place beets in baking dish with some water to cover bottom, cover with foil, and bake in the oven at 400F for almost an hour. For the last 10 min, toss garlic cloves on a different baking sheet with olive oil and salt and bake until brown and tender. After cooling, peel beets and garlic cloves. Combine olive oil, vinegars, red onion, orange zest, and S & P to taste. Add beets/garlic and toss gently. Cover with plastic and chill in refrigerator while preparing goat cheese (below).

Place goat cheese and chives in a large bowl and using hands (or a fork) mix until well combined. Roll into log, cover in plastic, and chill in refrigerator until firm. Crumble into  pieces or slice thin rounds and add to beet mixture. Sprinkle fresh chives on top and serve with warm bread or main dish. Bon Ap!

Note: You can do so much with the leftover goat cheese, so make extra!! I made it with eggs this morning, and I’m also planning on making some goat cheese & chive biscuits (below) and maybe experiment with grits, corn, goat cheese and chive pancakes! I love this combo on anything… I bet pizza could be good too, with some fingerling potatoes and garlic, yum!

Feel better soon! Good food always quickens the healing process. Inspirational quote of the week: “COOK with LOVE,  EAT with PASSION!” 

Love, K

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Green Sushi Salad

So I finally got a chance to try Green Kitchen Stories’ Green Sushi Salad (we talked about it a few weeks ago) and I have to admit, I’m not SUPER impressed, for a few reasons.

First of all, here it is!

First of all, I totally took out the seaweed about five second after snapping this picture. I thought that this would make me warm to it, but honestly, seaweed tastes super gross 😦 hahaha.

Also, I’m not really into the whole raw mushroom thing. They’re soooo much better cooked. I think next time, I would cook the mushrooms down a bit, just like they blanch the broccoli.

There ARE serious upsides to this salad, though. I used raw leeks instead of green onions, and they were fantastic. Also, the tofu marinade/salad dressing was SUPER. Here’s a picture of the tofu marinading:

Marinated Tofu
300 g tofu
5 tbsp sesame oil
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 red chili
2-inch (6 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and minced

And then you just let that chill in the fridge for two hours or so.

So I think in the future, I would make this more like a stir fry, with a bunch of raw components. (Snap peas, avocados, cucumber)

I also was a little more into this recipe yesterday than I am today. It was good when I was eating it, but I couldn’t quite get myself to take the leftovers with me to work today for lunch.

Oh well! I AM going to try their lasagna tonight when Bill gets back from Iowa, and I think later in the week I’ll also have a post about something called “Mexican Lasagna” that we had this weekend at a friend’s house. It will blow your mind!

Also, on the non-food front, I’m knitting a sweater! I don’t have any pictures right now, but I’ll show you when I’ve made a little more progress. It’s super cool.


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The Weekend

So, this weekend I couldn’t really post a recipe, because I didn’t cook! Bill and I went out to dinner, just the two of us, on Friday, and then Saturday was our monthly “Restaurant Club” with Raisa, Andy, Beata, Brett (not this month), Simon (not this month), Matt Chan, and various other friends.

This month, the restaurant was my choice, and I chose this ADORABLE restaurant in Pilsen, Chicago’s latino neighborhood, called “La Casa de Samuel.”

It. Was. Amazing. There is a woman who stands at this little station near the door and hand presses and makes all the corn tortillas. They’re so delicious, I can’t even describe. Here is what I got: (Carne Asada Tampiqueña)

Steak with roasted whole jalapeños and green onions, guacamole, beans, rice, and a tortilla cooked in mole. The tortilla on the left is one of the ones made fresh by the woman at the door. They were so fluffy and fantastic.

Bill took a video (see next post).

Well, because this was so good and rich, we needed to tone it down on Sunday, so we made a lovely salad which we ate with our bread (which we made again this weekend, but this time with 1/3 wheat flour) and some boiled peanuts, which I totally love. (Boil peanuts in salt and pepper for 4 hours). This stuff is easy, so you don’t need a recipe, but here’s a picture:

Then we played scrabble… which I won!

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Filed under Eating Out, Salads

Field of Greens

My goodness, this week has been crazy. Not only because of what I already mentioned to you, but I’m now in San Francisco and leave tomorrow for Napa! I’m also trying to juggle these internships, classes, and eat healthy meals along the way. Not so easy, but I did manage to crank out this amazing platter of veggies and other good stuff last night so my precious greens wouldn’t go to waste while I’m away. 

I love these nutrient-packed meals for a few reasons 1) they are super easy and 2) they are beautiful and you can mix and match tastes, textures, just like a cheese plate… except you can eat more! and 3) It reminds me of the kinds of dinners mom used to make all the time when we sat and watched movies/tv while we ate (which was not often, but surely memorable)

As you know, you can put any myriad of different things. Here is what I put, and I paired it with my homemade french loaf and aged cheddar cheese… and a beer of course. Can’t get too healthy now.

Field of Greens

greens dressed with olive oil and lemon, raw heirloom tomatoes, chopped carrots, raw salted cucumbers, artichokes marinated in olive oil and herbs, kalamata olives, and pan-fried chicken tenders with lots of spices, chili and fresh italian parsley

So thats it! Super simple and very delicious. I recommend keeping lots of canned vegetables in the cupboard (hearts of palm, red pepper, artichokes, olives, beans) so you can pull them out to make a spontaneous and plentiful field of greens! 


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TV Dinner done right

I whipped this up on Friday night before plunking down on the couch to watch one of my favorite go-to movies, The Princess Bride. I don’t know what to call this meal, mainly because it’s so simple to put together. It has great flavors, with guacamole and mango/papaya salsa, but what I love most about this dish is its vibrant color! I’m totally a believer that food is better when it looks fantastic too.

In case you want to make the salad for this dish, it’s really simple and delicious. I got inspired to use my sesame oil after eating this amazing lunch at a local organic cafe (below) which was a bowl of brown rice, spinach, baked tofu and grilled asparagus with a warm miso and shiitake mushroom vinaigrette. So, keeping with the Asian theme, I jazzed up these mache greens with some sesame oil, a sprinkle of good sea salt, and some shaved fresh carrots- which have a funny likeness to spaghetti… Mmm… are you thinking what I’m thinking? So, that’s it. Long gone are the days of Hungry Man. Now its just hungry Karla looking for a TV dinner done right.

Mache and Sesame Spaghetti Salad

Mache or micro greens, rinsed

Sesame oil

Sea salt, just a touch

carrots, shaved with peeler

Toasted sesame seeds

Asparagus Miso Bowl by Choco Canyon Cafe

Here’s to the joy of cooking and to us! -Karla

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