Fresh and Green

Fresh and Green

Recipes for renewal from Chef Heidi Fink

  • Mar. 25, 2020 7:30 a.m.

– Words and recipes by Chef Heidi Fink Photography by Don Denton

I am starting to get tired of winter fare. My appetite for rich stews and rib-sticking carbs has turned to a craving for fresh, green, crunchy, bitter and sour — flavours that remind me of spring and renewal. We might still be in the throes of winter, but my palate is reminding me that West Coast spring is just around the corner.

The notion of seasonal produce at this dreary time of year has always been fascinating to me. What is still considered “in season” in these hushed and cold months at the beginnings of spring? Many winter-storage vegetables and fruits are getting past their prime (although still delicious); many spring greens have yet to emerge or are in their earliest stages. How can I concoct something that satisfies my need for freshness without departing too much from the rhythms of our local growing season?

We can honour this time of year with a combination of local foods, greenhouse fare and a few imported seasonal items. For the last, citrus has always been my February go-to. The markets are overflowing with beautiful grapefruits, sweet limes, tangelos, Meyer lemons, blood oranges. Their sour, sweet or bitter juices taste of freshness and renewal, and perfectly complement winter vegetables than run to peppery, bitter or sharply green.

For the rest, I rely on a combination of greenhouse herbs, in-season greens (kale, arugula, chicory and the like), along with crunchy winter-storage vegetables and fruits (green apples, cauliflower, fennel, celery and pomegranate, to name a few).

Foods like this ignite a sluggish digestion, liven up a bored palate and possibly help to shed some winter pounds. More than that, they taste absolutely delicious. They satisfy my need for fresh and green.The flavour hit of fresh herbs, peppery greens, crunchy vegetables and sour citrus in late winter gives me the same feeling as when I emerge from a slow hibernation into the weak sunlight, to feel the fresh air and taste it.

I like to create simple dishes from these basic ingredients. Salads, soups, side dishes, plates of raw veggies or perhaps a smoothie. The recipes I’m sharing here are among my favourites in terms of flavour, texture and visual appeal. From a tart yet creamy green smoothie to the sweet crunch and bitter juice of a shaved fennel and grapefruit salad to the garlicky herbaceous hit of a re-imagined Green Goddess dressing, these “Recipes for Renewal” have got you covered. Spring, we are ready for you!

GREEN SMOOTHIE

Serves 2

Refreshing, slightly creamy and not too sweet, this smoothie is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack. The unsweetened oat milk provides a lovely mouthfeel and light sweetness; feel free to substitute another milk of your choice.

1 medium ripe banana, peeled

¼ ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

2 cups (500 ml) packed spinach leaves

1 small or ¾ large green apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 to 1½ cup (240 to 370 ml) unsweetened oat milk

Optional – ½ scoop unflavoured protein powder

Place all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.

Iam starting to get tired of winter fare. My appetite for rich stews and rib-sticking carbs has turned to a craving for fresh, green, crunchy, bitter and sour — flavours that remind me of spring and renewal. We might still be in the throes of winter, but my palate is reminding me that West Coast spring is just around the corner.

The notion of seasonal produce at this dreary time of year has always been fascinating to me. What is still considered “in season” in these hushed and cold months at the beginnings of spring? Many winter-storage vegetables and fruits are getting past their prime (although still delicious); many spring greens have yet to emerge or are in their earliest stages. How can I concoct something that satisfies my need for freshness without departing too much from the rhythms of our local growing season?

We can honour this time of year with a combination of local foods, greenhouse fare and a few imported seasonal items. For the last, citrus has always been my February go-to. The markets are overflowing with beautiful grapefruits, sweet limes, tangelos, Meyer lemons, blood oranges. Their sour, sweet or bitter juices taste of freshness and renewal, and perfectly complement winter vegetables than run to peppery, bitter or sharply green.

For the rest, I rely on a combination of greenhouse herbs, in-season greens (kale, arugula, chicory and the like), along with crunchy winter-storage vegetables and fruits (green apples, cauliflower, fennel, celery and pomegranate, to name a few).

Foods like this ignite a sluggish digestion, liven up a bored palate and possibly help to shed some winter pounds. More than that, they taste absolutely delicious. They satisfy my need for fresh and green.The flavour hit of fresh herbs, peppery greens, crunchy vegetables and sour citrus in late winter gives me the same feeling as when I emerge from a slow hibernation into the weak sunlight, to feel the fresh air and taste it.

I like to create simple dishes from these basic ingredients. Salads, soups, side dishes, plates of raw veggies or perhaps a smoothie. The recipes I’m sharing here are among my favourites in terms of flavour, texture and visual appeal. From a tart yet creamy green smoothie to the sweet crunch and bitter juice of a shaved fennel and grapefruit salad to the garlicky herbaceous hit of a re-imagined Green Goddess dressing, these “Recipes for Renewal” have got you covered. Spring, we are ready for you!

GREEN GODDESS DIP OR DRESSING

Makes 1 ½ cups (375 ml)

An updated spin on the classic herb and mayo salad dressing, this one pumps up the ratio of herbs and uses avocado for creaminess. Tangy, green and flavourful — you will love this. It can be used either as a salad dressing or as a dip for crudités.

1 cup (250 ml) packed flat leaf parsley

¼ cup (60 ml) sliced chives

1 ½ Tbsp. (22 ml) white miso (e.g. Hikari brand)

½ avocado, chopped

½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) chopped cilantro

1 small clove garlic, peeled

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

3 to 4 Tbsp. (45 to 60 ml) lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a blender and purée. Taste to adjust seasonings. Transfer to a bowl for serving, or a glass jar for storing in the fridge. This dressing keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.

WINTER CRUDITÉS

Serves 6 to 8

This extra-crunchy, complex and refreshing take on a classic veg-and-dip platter is just what the doctor ordered at this time of year. Allow the underdog vegetables to shine here. Pay special attention to how the vegetables are prepared and arranged. The platter will wow your guests.

Choose three to four of the following vegetable options:

6 small carrots

Hearts of 2 bunches celery (“hearts” means the small,

yellowish centre stems)

1 bunch red radishes OR ½ large daikon radish

1 bulb fennel

1 whole endive

1 bunch broccolini or sprouting broccoli

½ head cauliflower, separated into florets

½ purple cabbage

Green Goddess Dip (recipe above)

Carrots: peel and cut into very long thin sticks.

Red Radishes: stem, rinse and serve whole or cut in half, depending on size.

Daikon Radish: peel and cut into either rounds or long sticks.

Fennel: slice into the thinnest wedges you can.

Endive: slice off bottom end and separate the leaves; cut large leaves in half lengthwise if desired.

Broccolini: cut the bottom 2 cm of stem off; blanch broccolini for 30 seconds in boiling water and cool before adding to the platter.

Cauliflower: separate into florets; cut some florets in half. Blanch like the broccolini, if desired.

Purple cabbage: cut into thin wedges.

Choose your vegetables based on flavour, shape and colour. You can pick a mono-chromatic colour palette (e.g. pale yellow-white with daikon, endive, cauliflower and celery hearts) or go for vibrancy with purple cabbage, broccolini, carrot and red radishes. Or focus on the shape: all long thin crudités; or contrasting shapes for a different visual appeal. The choice is completely yours.

Arrange your selection of vegetables on a beautiful platter and place a bowl of the Green Goddess Dip in the centre or on the side. Another option is to arrange the vegetables in different sizes of Mason jars around the dip.

CELERY, GREEN APPLE AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

Serves 4 as a side

One of my favourite winter salads, this comes together easily with its simple honey-mustard vinaigrette. Make sure to slice the cucumber and apple as thinly as possible. Use a mandoline for the celery if you have one.

Dressing

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) honey

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Dijon mustard

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt

¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) minced chives

Salad

4 to 5 large stalks celery, sliced very thin

1 large green apple, quartered and sliced very thin

Seeds from ½ pomegranate

Several handfuls of arugula leaves

¼ head radicchio, sliced

Dressing: whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well mixed. Transfer to a small Mason jar or glass dressing cruet. Dressing can be saved in the refrigerator up to one week. Shake or mix well before using.

Salad: place arugula and radicchio on a large platter, evenly mixed. Arrange celery and apple over the greens. Scatter pomegranate seeds over the top. Drizzle with dressing. Serve.

FENNEL & GRAPEFRUIT SALAD

Serves 4 as a side

Slightly sweet, slightly bitter, super refreshing, this is a sophisticated salad, wonderful for use as a starter or palate cleanser for a meal of rich roasted meats. Make sure to slice the fennel very thin; use a mandoline if you have one.

Salad:

1 large fennel bulb, quartered, cored and shaved thin on a mandoline

3 large ruby grapefruit, peel sliced off and sections cut from the membranes

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) grapefruit juice

2 tsp. (10 ml) honey

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground black pepper

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) Dijon mustard

¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Dressing: whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well mixed. Transfer to a small Mason jar or glass dressing cruet. Dressing can be saved in the refrigerator for up to one week. Shake or mix well before using.

Salad: place shaved fennel and sectioned grapefruit in a large salad bowl. Add about ¾ cup (180 ml) of the dressing. Toss well to mix. Taste to see if it needs more dressing. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

For more recipes from Chef Heidi Fink visit her site www.chefheidifink.com

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

FoodRecipes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Principal Marie-Claude Carrier has overseen the opening of the Cowichan Valley’s first francophone school. (Citizen file)
Registration now open for Duncan Francophone school

École francophone de Duncan opened last fall with six students

Reggie went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park on Jan. 3 and owner Brittny Bukva is hoping for his safe return. (Submitted)
Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Have you seen Reggie? Dog went missing in Duncan’s McAdam Park

Workers prepare to take down 28 large trees on private property on Mill Bay Road this week after they were intentionally poisoned almost two years ago. (Submitted photo)
Still no charges over poisoning of trees in Mill Bay

It’s been almost two years since incident involving 28 large trees

Cory Harrington has been found. (Submitted photo)
Missing Lake Cowichan man located

Cory Harrington was last seen on Dec. 11

Alistair MacGregor will have Pharmacare on his mind for a Thursday, Jan. 21 virtual town hall. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Cowichan Valley Citizen)
Cowichan MP hosting town hall on universal pharmacare

“Pharmacare for All: A Prescription for Your Wallet”

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Most Read