I hope this final week of June, and the first full week of summer, has been a good one!
Last week, I traveled to New Hampshire and Maine - my first New England trip of the summer. Historically, this has been my favorite week of the year! Here's the routine: my daughter and I fly to Manchester airport and then drive to my sister's home on the coast of southern Maine. We spend a few days getting ready for camp - last minute shopping for necessities, repacking duffel bags, and eating some traditional New England fare. My sister and I take my daughter to camp on Friday afternoon, we see our friends there and help her get settled-in for the 7 weeks that she lives there each year. After a quick tear-less goodbye, we leave camp and head directly to Portland.
Portland, Maine, is a culinary mecca. Some of the best restaurants in the country are located there, along with plenty of bars, breweries, and foodie spots, making this one of my favorite places to spend some time with another food-obsessed lady (my sister). Because we're creatures of habit, our first stop is always Urban Farm Fermentory, where we tasted small-batch kombucha and jun made with local & seasonal flavors. Last week, we were blown-away by their Rose Petal Kombucha, it tasted just like drinking roses! My sister bought a growler of the Rose Petal Kombucha before we left, promising to share it with me.
By the time we left Urban Farm Fermentory, it was time for TGIF cocktails. Actually, it was past the time when I like to kick-off the weekend with a celebratory beverage, so we headed to a new bar, Blyth & Burrows, to meet-up with one of my sister's friends. The menu at this fun watering hole was so creative, I had a difficult time choosing which cocktail to order! I settled on the Valenthia, a drink which featured strawberry-Campari ice cubes, because I love Campari. By the time we left Blyth & Burrows, the temperature had dropped significantly, there was a chill in the air and my tummy was growling. Dinnertime. With so many options in Portland, it was tough to pick just one destination. But we did.
Pai Men Miyake is a casual Japanese restaurant in a quieter area of Portland, not along the coastline where the tourists congregate. My sister has been to Pai Men several times and knew that I'd love the cuisine as much as she does. After a quick glance at the menu, we picked a few items to share, including a Daikon & Carrot Salad. OK, I know you may be thinking that ordering a salad at a Japanese restaurant sounds wrong. But this was no ordinary salad! Daikon, a type of radish, is a vegetable that I often use when making ferments in my kitchen. It has a sweetness to it, though, which I prefer to other types of radish. This salad was a huge bowl of shredded daikon and carrots, covered in a rich sesame sauce. It was so addictively delicious, the flavors and textures all complemented each other so well. I knew that I needed to recreate this salad at home.
This week's recipe is my attempts at recreating the salad at Pai Men Miyake, but with my own twist. First, I'm using kohlrabi instead of daikon. Do you know kohlrabi? It's a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. I started cooking with kohlrabi several summers ago, when I joined One Straw Farm's CSA and decided to try this odd-looking vegetable. Over the years, kohlrabi has become a frequent ingredient in my summertime salads, as it is crisp, light, and delicious raw. My salad relies on tahini for the sesame sauce, rather than an Asian sesame sauce, as was probably used at Pai Men. I gave the sauce a little Middle Eastern kick with the addition of ground coriander, which pairs so harmoniously with the tahini. Rice wine vinegar is the acid that is needed to pull the sauce together, allowing it to thickly coat the shaved kohlrabi and carrots.
My Shaved Kohlrabi Salad will likely become a staple in my kitchen this summer, as it's easy to put together with minimal ingredients. I invite you to give it a try - find a gnarly kohlrabi at the farmer's market this weekend and make this salad to serve alongside any summertime meal. As a side dish to my Easy Baked Beet Falafel, this salad would provide a bit of crunch that we all love. As always, please let me know when you try my recipes, I enjoy hearing from you!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Shaved Kohlrabi Salad
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 large kohlrabi, leaves removed
1 large carrot
2 T tahini
1 T unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3 T warm water
1/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t sea salt, or more, to taste
1 T sesame seeds, toasted
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Cut the kohlrabi into quarters and peel with a sharp knife. Scrub the carrot (no need to peel), and remove the ends. Using a mandoline or a handheld slicing blade, carefully shave the kohlrabi and the carrot into a large mixing bowl. Toss the vegetables together and set aside.
Using a small whisk or a fork, blend the tahini, rice wine vinegar, and warm water in a small bowl until smooth. The mixture may seize-up at first, but continue to stir until it becomes uniform and smooth. Add the coriander and sea salt. Stir to combine. Pour mixture over the kohlrabi and carrots, toss to coat the vegetables with the sauce. Cover and chill for an hour, if time allows.
Prior to serving, toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet. Toss the salad again, making sure that all of the vegetables are covered with the sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding more sea salt, if needed. Pour the salad into a serving bowl, top with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
recipe yields 5-6 generous servings
sauce can be made in advance, cover and chill until ready to mix with the vegetables. once dressed, the salad will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator.
substitute thinly-sliced turnip or zucchini for the kohlrabi, if desired