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

District of Port Hardy considering allowing modular homes and short term rentals. (North Island Gazette File Photo)
Port Hardy considering short term vacation rentals and modular homes

Check out the online public hearing on Jan. 26

Creekside Apartment building. (Kimberley Kufaas Photography)
Half of the Creekside Apartment building reopens for tenants

Owners will be looking to rent out the other half of the building’s units tentatively by the spring.

Chris Voller with Gwa’sala First Nation hereditary chief Willie Walkus at a farewell gathering for Voller. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
North Island First Nations nominate RCMP officer for Reconciliation Award

Chris Voller nominated for work in the community over past nine years

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building to save their lives

‘multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

Most Read