Trying Something New

This past Sunday I listened to the final episode in Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast series: Magic Lessons. In the episode she talks with Brené Brown, who is well known for her TED Talk on vulnerability, as well as her extensive research on courage, worthiness, and shame. The two women discussed creativity, shame, doubt, and fear. I found myself hitting pause, jotting down a line, and then rewinding to make sure I caught each word. They navigated their way through shame, soul work, and the importance of freeing the maker within us. It was the dialogue on fear that got me thinking. Brown said: “What is worth doing even if I fail”. She did not state the classic line, what would I do if I knew I could not fail; she left failure in. I think that we often get caught up in taking leaps of faith with the big things, the potentially life changing bound into the unknown. Yet, I also think it can be brought down to simply trying new things.

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Two weeks ago I took a Herb Harvesting and Preserving class at the Downtown Market. This summer was my first venture into herb gardening. This garden of mine consisted of four containers of herbs varying from the traditional, well-known basil to chocolate mint (the perfect addition to your morning cup of coffee). I did not, and still do not, have much clue about what I am doing. There are a handful of reasons for my interest in herbs. I love cooking and baking and wanted to begin incorporating more herbs into both. I also secretly glowed at the idea of being able to state that I tend to an herb garden.

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The beauty of these classes at the Downtown Market is that they provide time and space to see if you even enjoy something: whether that be composting, tuscan cooking, crafting infused drinks, or houseplant maintenance. I knew I liked herbs, but did I like them enough to want to dig deeper? While I did not leave the class as an expert, it gave me a small, but helpful base of knowledge: making wise selections between annual and perennial herbs based on what you prefer to cook and bake; purchasing the right potting mix; allowing time to figure out the patterns of each plant’s watering cycle. Harvesting is a way of caring for your plant. It is a part of the process. A herb plant is not your average houseplant that just keeps growing the more you feed and water it. And our instructor mentioned that sometimes you fail. It may not work. You may over water and rot the roots, the plant may wilt, or pests could take over. Then you have to ask yourself are these plants worth saving? It is okay to fail.

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You may sign up, take a class and then find you do not want houseplants, or composting is outside your capabilities, at least now you know without having invested the time and money. You may like houseplants and run home to purchase a windowsill full of them. Composting might be a tangible thing for you to do in your own backyard. These classes at the Downtown Market provide the basics. They also provide a way to explore new hobbies, ideas, and processes in a safe environment. They are the platform where the tools are provided to take the next step. From there you can go to the library to check out books, take more classes, or simply practice through trial and error. My class included a take-home planter of three herbs. Now I can practice what I learned in the class with my page of notes and these new plants. I know I want to continue forward. Of course it is scary, all new ventures are, even simple ones such as herb gardens, but that is okay. If there is something I have learned in the recent months it is to allow yourself time. It takes time to learn, to form habits, and fall into rhythms. And you may fail, but if it means something to you, it will be worth it.

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The Downtown Market has a calendar full of classes. You can browse through them here. They offer have an assortment of classes and activities on a weekly basis. Ever want to make your own terrarium? Here is your chance.

Beets

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Beets are a very versatile vegetable offering generous portions of vitamins A and C and also the carotenes. Beets are long-storing, sweet, and delicious.

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How to Prepare:

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No need to peel. Simply scrub clean and enjoy.

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How to Store:

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Beet greens are best used fresh. However, when storing them wrap in a damp cloth or place in a plastic bag in a drawer of the refrigerator. To maintain firmness when storing the roots, cut off the leaves and stems 1-2 inches above the root crown and store in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer.

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How to Cook:

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Beets can be enjoyed raw, cooked, steamed, baked, or sautéed.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Beet Salad Pizza

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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound fresh pizza dough
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (5-ounce) golden beet, peeled
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 2 ounces shaved prosciutto
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 450°.

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Place dough in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at medium (50{6be771524f35e681d5eb1711abbe9ad08f29540a742404ae9fff00be7e8f65de} power) 45 seconds. Let stand for 5 minutes. Roll into 14-inch circle. Place on pizza pan; pierce with fork. Brush with oil. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes. Wrap beet in parchment paper. Microwave at high until tender (about 2 ½ minutes). Thinly slice. Combine arugula, shallot, beet, vinaigrette, and pepper; arrange on crust with cheeses and prosciutto.

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Recipe courtesy of my recipes

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Beet Greens

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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound beet greens
  • 1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a Tbsp of bacon fat)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅙ cup of cider vinegar
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Preparation

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Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

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In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

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Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar.

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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Beet and Brown Rice Sliders

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Ingredients

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  • 16 thin slices sourdough bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup cooked, cooled whole-grain brown rice blend
  • ¾ cup grated cooked beet (about 1 medium)
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 6 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, sliced crosswise into 8 slices
  • 1 cup watercress
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Preparation

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Preheat broiler to high. Cut each bread slice into a 3-inch circle using a round cutter; reserve scraps for another use (such as breadcrumbs or croutons). Lightly coat bread rounds with cooking spray. Arrange bread rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted. Cool on a wire rack.

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Reduce oven temperature to 400°. Place a baking sheet in oven to preheat. Combine rice and next 7 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Combine mustard and egg, stirring well. Add egg mixture to rice mixture; stir until well blended. Spoon ⅓ cup rice mixture into a (2 ½ – inch) round cookie cutter; pack mixture down. Remove mold. Repeat procedure 7 times to form 8 patties.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Carefully add 4 patties to pan; cook 2 minutes. Carefully transfer patties to preheated baking sheet, turning patties over and arranging in a single layer. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 Tbsp oil and remaining 4 patties. Place pan in oven; bake patties at 400° for 9 minutes. Top each patty with 1 cheese slice; bake an additional 1 minute or until cheese is soft and patties are set. Place 8 toasted bread rounds on a flat surface; top each round with 1 patty. Divide watercress evenly among sliders; top with the remaining toasted bread rounds.

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Recipe courtesy of my recipes

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Arugula Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

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Ingredients

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Salad Ingredients:

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  • Beets – (boiled until a fork easily goes in it, about an hour), peeled, sliced into strips
  • Fresh arugula – rinsed, patted dry with a paper towel
  • Goat cheese – chevre
  • Walnuts – chopped
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Dressing ingredients:

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  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Dry powdered mustard
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper
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Preparation

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The amount of ingredients depends on how many people you are serving and how much salad you intend to serve them. The important thing is that this is a good blend of flavors. I didn't try tossing this salad; each plate was composed individually.

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The dressing for three individual salads was ¼ cup of olive oil, ½ lemon, ¼ tsp of powdered mustard, ¾ tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Actually, it is all to taste. These are only approximate measurements. Assemble the salad according to how much you want. A handful of arugula leaves, a few beet juliennes, some crumbled goat cheese, garnish with chopped walnuts. Use a vinaigrette salad dressing or what I've described above.

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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Marinated Beets with Pistachios and Tarragon

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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound baby yellow or red beets, trimmed, scrubbed
  • ½ cup Sherry or red wine vinegar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp plus ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup raw pistachios, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 425°. Combine beets, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 Tbsp oil, and ¼ cup water in a baking dish; season with salt. Cover with foil and steam until beets are tender, 40–50 minutes. Let cool slightly. Rub off skins with paper towels; cut beets into quarters (or ½” wedges if larger). Toss beets with shallot, thyme, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, and remaining ¼ cup oil in a large bowl; season with salt. Let sit at least 2 hours. Toss with pistachios and tarragon just before serving.

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Do Ahead: Beets can be marinated 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

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Recipe courtesy of bon appétit

150+ Exhibits Hosted by Local First Members at ArtPrize Seven

Your guide to all things Local First at ArtPrize Seven is right here. This year’s event presents more than 1,500 works of art, and you can get a taste of the whole experience by visiting some key Local First locations that address all of your ArtPrize needs.

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Looking for a way to jump-start your day in Grand Rapids? Feel the impact of the stunning photography exhibit by artist, Robert Morrill at Bagel Beanery while you perk up with some gourmet coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Bagel Beanery is happy to announce that the ArtPrize Blend Coffee is back!

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Interested in tasting a little bit of everything? Visit The Downtown Market and the 8 artist’s exhibits hosted there this year. There’s a lot to love when it comes to flavor and community engagement at The Downtown Market. The Downtown Market is ideally located downtown and within walking distance to hundreds more exhibits.

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Wrap up your ArtPrize experience with one of the many Local First restaurants hosting artist’s exhibits this year. Head over to the West Side and treat yourself to a fresh beer at The Mitten Brewing Company (14 artist’s exhibits) or a locally distilled cocktail at Long Road Distillers (2 artist’s exhibits).

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Be sure to check out more than 100 artist’s exhibits hosted by Local First members at this year’s ArtPrize! Full list below:

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Bagel Beanery
nOne Indoor/ Outdoor Exhibit

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Bistro Bella Vita
nSix Indoor/Outdoor Exhibits

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The B.O.B.
nSeventy-Four Indoor/Outdoor Exhibits

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CityFlatsHotel
nOne Indoor/Outdoor Exhibit

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Cottage Bar
nOne Outdoor Exhibit

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Downtown Market
nEight Indoor/Outdoor Exhibits

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Founders Brewing Co.
nSix Indoor/outdoor Exhibits

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Grand Central Market
nSix Indoor/outdoor Exhibits

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Grand Rapids Pizza Delivery
nFour indoor/outdoor Exhibits

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Long Road Distillers
nTwo indoor/outdoor Exhibits

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McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon
nEight Indoor Exhibits

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The Mitten Brewing Company
nFourteen Indoor/Outdoor Exhibits

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One Trick Pony
nThirteen Indoor Exhibits

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Propaganda Donuts
nOne Indoor Exhibit

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Rockwell Republic
nSeven Indoor Exhibits

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Photo credit: WoodTV8

Winter CSA Options

October is rapidly approaching and while summer CSA's are starting to wind down, that doesn't mean that you have to wait until next spring to eat delicious, fresh food! There are still plenty of ways that you can eat locally during the winter months. Winter CSA's are a great way to celebrate the changing of the seasons while experimenting with different root vegetable recipes. Below we have compiled a list of some nearby farms that offer winter CSA's. Check them out, sign up for a share, and send any questions that you have about winter CSA's along to your growers, they love to hear from you! 

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Grandson's Garden

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Grandson's Garden offers a diversified vegetable share out of West Olive, Michigan that runs through November. Click here to learn more

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Green Wagon Farm

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Green Wagon Farm offers a diversified vegetable share that runs out of Ada, Michigan from November through December. Click here to learn more

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Groundswell Community Farm

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Groundswell Community Farm runs a diversified vegetable share out of Zeeland, Michigan from November through December. Click here to learn more

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Mudlake Farm

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Mudlake Farm runs a salad green share out of Hudsonville, Michigan that runs from November through March. Click here to learn more

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Save the Season 

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Save the Season provides share members with a monthly share of frozen fruits and vegetable sourced from local farms and runs from November through March. Click here to learn more

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Two Sparrows Farm

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Two Sparrows Farm runs a raw milk share out of Lowell, Michigan year round. Click here to learn more

Kohlrabi

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Kohlrabi offers generous amounts of vitamins A and C, and emphasizes the minerals potassium and calcium. It is high in fiber and contains only 40 calories per cup.

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How to Prepare:

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After washing, trim away any woody or tough portions of skin. Kohlrabi does not have to be peeled after cooking.

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How to Store:

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Store kohlrabi globe and leaves separately. The globe will last for 1 month refrigerated in a plastic bag. Wrap leaves in a damp towel or place in a plastic bag and keep in hydrator drawer of refrigerator. Use greens as soon as possible.

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How to Cook:

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Kohlrabi can be eaten or prepared raw, cooked, grated into salads, steamed, sautéd, sliced or cubed for soups or stews, or stuffed.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Celery Root, Kohlrabi, and Apple Purée

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Ingredients

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  • 2 pounds celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into ¾” cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-½  pounds kohlrabi, peeled, cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (½ pound), peeled, cored, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 Tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh chervil sprigs
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Preparation

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Add celery root to a large pot of boiling salted water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 11-13 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer celery root to a large bowl. Return water to a boil; repeat with kohlrabi, then potatoes, cooking each separately until tender, 14-16 minutes for kohlrabi and 10-12 minutes for potatoes; add to bowl with celery root.

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Meanwhile, bring apple and 2 Tbsp water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until apple falls apart, 6-8 minutes, adding water by Tbsp if dry.

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Working in batches, pass celery root, kohlrabi, potatoes, and apple through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Pass mixture through ricer again if a smoother texture is desired. Stir in butter. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and chill. Rewarm in microwave in 30-second intervals until heated through. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Garnish with chervil sprigs.

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Recipe courtesy of epicurious

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Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw

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Ingredients

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  • 1 pound kohlrabi (about 2 small heads, leaves included)
  • 1 medium turnip (about 8 ounces), peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
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Preparation

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Separate stems from kohlrabi bulb, trim, and discard tough bottoms of stems. Half leaves lengthwise then thinly shred crosswise. Trim root end from bulb and peel away tough outer layer; halve lengthwise. Fit a food processor with a shredding blade (or use a box grater) and shred kohlrabi bulb and turnip.

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In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, peanut oil, honey, and sesame oil; season with salt and pepper. Add scallions, kohlrabi leaves and bulb, and turnip to bowl; toss to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

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Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

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Shaved Kohlrabi with Apple and Hazelnuts

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Ingredients

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  • ½ cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 medium kohlrabi (about 2 pounds total), peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 tart apple (such as Pink Lady or Crispin), peeled, cored, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup torn fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces Pecorino di Fossa or Parmesan, shaved (about ¼ cup)
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Toss kohlrabi, apple, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt. Add ½ cup mint and gently toss to just combine. Toss toasted hazelnuts and oil in a small bowl to coat; season with salt. Divide kohlrabi salad among plates and top with seasoned hazelnuts, Pecorino, and more mint.

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DO AHEAD: Hazelnuts can be toasted 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature.

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Recipe courtesy of epicurious

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Fridge Pickled Kohlrabi and Carrots (1 quart)

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Ingredients

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  • 4 small kohlrabi
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp pickling or kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dill seeds
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 dried chili de arbol
  • 6 black peppercorns, crushed
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Preparation

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Start by peeling and slicing the kohlrabi. Place in a colander and salt with 2 Tbsp salt. Allow the kohlrabi to sit for an hour. In the meantime peel your carrots and cut into sticks. Combine all other ingredients in a sauce pan. When kohlrabi is done draining, rinse and pack with carrots into a quart jar. Boil remaining ingredients until all of the salt and sugar are dissolved and pour over carrots and kohlrabi. Cover and allow to cool on the counter then refrigerate. Let this sit in the fridge for two days before jumping in. I read that fridge pickles are good for about three weeks.

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Recipe courtesy of The Root Cellar’s Garden

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Kohlrabi Fritters

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Ingredients

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  • 1 medium to large size kohlrabi
  • 1 red or yellow onion
  • ½ cup all purpose flour (or gluten free all purpose or whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • olive oil for frying
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For Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

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  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Preparation

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Using a food processor with a grating disk, grate the kohlrabi and onion. You’ll need 3 cups, so if your kohlrabi is on the small side add more onion or another vegetable. If your kohlrabi is on the larger side, reduce the amount of onion. Wrap the kohlrabi in a clean dish towel and squeeze as much water out as you can. Transfer the kohlrabi to a mixing bowl, and combine with remaining ingredients.

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Heat a thin layer of oil over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet. Pan-fry kohlrabi in ¼ cup scoops, about 2 minutes per side until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve with desired sauce or Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce.

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For Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce:

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Combine yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and dill in a small bowl. Mix to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Recipe courtesy of Early Morning Farm

Potatoes

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The potato is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and minerals and is a fairly good source of vegetable protein. Potatoes form a complete protein when eaten with meat, dairy, or grains. Potatoes are an excellent storage crop and are often a staple in a seasonal winter diet.

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How to Prepare:

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Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush under running water to remove garden soil. No need to peel an organic potato. Most nutrients are in or near the potato skin. Trim off any green spots and eyes (where the toxic solanin concentrates), and any damaged areas.

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How to Store:

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Refrigerate baby new potatoes if not used within 2-3 days. Use within 1-2 weeks. Most potatoes will keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Store away from light. For longer storage, potatoes will keep best at 45-50 degrees, high humidity, and in darkness. If their environment is too warm they will sprout and shrivel; if too cold, the starch will turn to sugar.

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How to Cook:

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Potatoes can be baked, boiled, mashed, scalloped, fried, grilled or roasted.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Dinosaur Kale with Baby Potatoes

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Ingredients

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  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound baby potatoes of various colors
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound dinosaur kale or Swiss chard, chopped roughly
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Grated zest of a lemon
  • Lemon juice to taste
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Preparation

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Bring the stock and water to a boil and add the potatoes. Turn the heat down to simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain (you can reserve the stock and water to cook rice or polenta with later) and coat the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Salt well and set aside.

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Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the kale and turn to coat with the oil as it wilts. Add the garlic and toss to combine, then add the red pepper flakes and some salt and black pepper. Stir-fry this for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover the pan. Wait 2-4 minutes before uncovering. To serve, mix the lemon zest with the kale. Lay down a “nest” of kale on the plate and arrange the baby potatoes in the center. Squeeze some lemon juice over everything right as you serve.

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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Roasted Fingerlings

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Ingredients

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  • 1-½ pounds fingerlings, halved lengthwise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, rosemary and oil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast until golden and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network

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Spicy Chili Potato

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Ingredients

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  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) drained black beans
  • ¾ cup water
  • 4 baked potatoes
  • Shredded Monterey Jack
  • Sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
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Preparation

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In a skillet, heat olive oil and chili powder until fragrant, 1 minute. Add chiles, beans, and water and cook until slightly thickened; season. Top potatoes with chili, cheese, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

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Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

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Curried Potato and Vegetable Soup

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Ingredients

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  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower florets (about ½ a head)
  • 1-½ teaspoons salt (more to taste)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
  • 2 small yellow summer squash, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley) for garnish
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Preparation
nIn a large pot (6-quart), melt butter over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and the bell pepper is lightly browned. Add the turmeric, mustard seed, and curry powder and cook for a minute more. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. 

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Add the potatoes, the broth, water, cauliflower, and salt. Increase the heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high or medium, enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.Add the corn and summer squash, cook for 10 minutes more, until the vegetables are cooked through. Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to purée about half of the soup. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.

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Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes

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Leek and Potato Gratin

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Ingredients

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  • pinch of salt
  • 3 lb. potatoes (such as red or Yukon gold)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 10 medium leeks
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks and garlic until leeks are tender, about 7 minutes. Set aside.

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In a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish, arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1 cup cream and ½ cup milk over top and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour remaining cream and milk over potatoes and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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Recipe courtesy of Country Living

B Corps: Using Business as a Force For Good

On the last Friday in August, employees from six B Corporations in West Michigan could be found socializing in small work groups, sweating, elbow deep in purple loosestrife, pulling trash off the side of the road and from deep thickets, and generally beautifying Millennium Park.

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We are thankful to this group of over 20 people representing those businesses (and even a crew of kids!) for dedicating their afternoon in the name of doing good. Special thanks to Brooks Twist (Brewery Vivant) and Evan Groendyk (Gazelle Sports) for serving on the planning committee for this event. See more pictures from the event on our Facebook page.

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If you are interested in finding out more about B Corps and how to get involved, or how take small steps toward becoming a better business, click here for more info.

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Packing Sustainable Lunches

School is here! To celebrate the occasion, we pulled some tips from Margaret Badore's “10 ways to pack your kids a more sustainable lunch” to get you ready to pack lunches that are healthy for your kids as well as the environment. Modern school lunches are typically filled with convenience foods that have a high impact on the environment. Although throwing together a meal of pre-made packets is quick and easy, it results in a pile of trash and comes with a heavy helping of carbon emissions. Keep your students fueled throughout the day and ready to learn by packing lunches that promote healthy kids and a healthy environment. Taking small steps towards more sustainable eating can make a big impact! Here are some steps to get you started:

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Skip the individually wrapped foods and reach for reusable sandwich bags and containers

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Why is food that takes less than a minute to eat packaged in wrappers and containers that last for hundreds of years? Because much of our modern food industry was developed to get rations to the front lines!

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But for children who are marching off to school, skip the super convenient packaged foods. Not only do processed foods contribute heavily to landfills, ocean pollution, and air pollution (think of the carbon footprint of all those garbage trucks), they are often less healthy.

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On a related note, there’s no need for single-use plastic sandwich bags. Instead, consider a waxed fabric sandwich bag, or one of the many reusable lunch containers on the market. From bento boxes to tiffins, there are loads of choices, although glass jars may be a bit too breakable for some kids. Here’s a collection of some great plastic-free lunch containers.

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Buy locally and seasonally

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If you buy food that’s grown locally, you’re not only supporting your own community, but you’re also reducing the carbon footprint of your food by cutting down on the distance it’s shipped. 

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Buying seasonally is often more cost-effective, but it also goes hand-in-hand with the goal of buying local. If asparagus isn’t in season where you live, that usually means it’s coming from somewhere so far away they have different weather. Changing what you pack for lunch with the season can also help prevent kids with getting bored with the same lunch fare.

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Compost peels and pits

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If you have a compost pile at home, encourage kids to participate by bringing their apple cores and cherry pits home. Unless their school has a compost program, it’s likely these items will end up in garbage where they’ll contribute to landfills and their associated methane production. Instead, why not teach kids about avoiding food waste while giving back to the soil?

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Ditch the idea of “kid food”

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The idea that children should eat differently than their parents has meant that kids eat more processed food and less healthy fresh stuff. “Kid food” is by and large a marketing ploy—one that encourages less healthy eating. Last year, a study found that kids who eat the same foods as their parents tend to have a healthier diet.

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To read more, click here for Margeret Badore's list.

Radishes

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Radishes vary in size, shape, color, and pungency, from the classic cherry-size red to a variety of finger-size icicle radishes. The radish root is 94 percent water and claims modest nutritional value, offering a smattering of minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. Radish greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and the Bs. 

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How to Prepare:

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Radishes may need a good scrubbing to remove garden soil, but do not need to be peeled. Trim off any damaged areas.

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How to Store:

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Store radishes for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag or damp-wrapped in the refrigerator. Store green tops separately, wrapped in a damp towel in the hydrator drawer. Use as soon as possible. For longer-term storage, daikon and winter radish varieties may be packed in moist sand and kept in a cool but not freezing location.

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How to Cook:

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Radishes can be enjoyed raw, sliced, or grated into salads and slaws, or sliced into sticks for dipping. Can also be eaten cooked, steamed, or stir-fried.

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Information adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini

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Recipes

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Greens with Radishes and Snap Peas

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Ingredients

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large head Boston lettuce, leaves torn (about 10 cups)
  • 1 medium head radicchio, leaves torn (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bunch radishes, cut into thin wedges
  • ½ pound snap peas, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
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Preparation

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In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the lettuce, radicchio, radishes, and snap peas and toss to combine.

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Recipe courtesy of Charlyne Mattox

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Herby Black Rice Salad with Radishes and Ricotta Salata

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Ingredients

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  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup black rice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups mixed radishes, sliced, quartered
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped unsalted, roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
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Preparation

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Combine oil and vinegar in a small airtight container; cover and shake well. Season with salt and pepper. Combine rice and 1¾ cups water in a medium saucepan; season with salt. Bring to a boil on stove over high. Reduce heat, cover saucepan, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 45–50 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff rice, and let sit, covered, 10 minutes. Let cool. Just before serving, toss rice and radishes with dressing in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add ricotta salata, almonds, dill, and chives and toss.

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Recipe courtesy of Chris Morocco

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Radish and Arugula Crostini with Brie

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Ingredients

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  • 16 (½-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette (6 ounces)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1-½ cups sliced radishes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
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Preparation

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Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until golden brown and toasted; cool. Combine radishes and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, and toss to coat. Spread each bread slice with about 2 teaspoons cheese; top with a single layer of arugula and a layer of radish slices.

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Recipe courtesy of Adam Hickman

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Radish Raita

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Ingredients

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  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup coarsely grated red radishes, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil and fresh cilantro leaves (for serving)
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Preparation

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Mix together yogurt, mint, chile, onion, and lime juice. Gently fold in radishes; season with salt. Serve raita drizzled with oil and topped with cilantro and more grated radish.

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Recipe by Dawn Perry

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Radish and Avocado Sandwich

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Ingredients

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  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Sliced avocado
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Finely grated lemon zest
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Preparation

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Toss radishes with oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Repeat with avocado, and mash onto bread. Pile on radish mixture, and sprinkle with lemon zest. Drizzle with oil.

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Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

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Collard Green and Radish Slaw with Crispy Shallots

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Ingredients

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  • 2 small shallots, sliced into rings
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens (about 10 oz.), center ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 small radishes, trimmed, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
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Preparation

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Cook shallots and oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel–lined plate; season with salt. Transfer oil to a small bowl and let cool. Combine collard greens, radishes, and vinegar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with shallot oil and toss to coat. Top with crispy shallots.

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Recipe by Dawn Perry

Ideas for a Local Labor Day

For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer. School has just begun, or is about to begin. It is a day off from work, many places close, or limit their hours in order for their workers to celebrate their achievements in the workforce. We use the day to celebrate time together, to travel, sleep in, or take a day stay-cation. As you make your morning pot of coffee this Labor Day take a minute to remember the reason for the day, a day “dedicated to the social and economic achievement of American workers.” Then, head to beach, bake some cookies, explore your nearest park, or jump in the car and let the open road take you on an adventure.

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West Michigan is home to open spaces, cityscapes, shorelines, and dense woods. This Labor Day try something new, rather than make your usual bowl of cereal, treat yourself to a morning out for breakfast. Good Earth Cafe in Holland’s downtown is a favorite mine. Or meet a friend for a morning cup of coffee. I would suggest The Sparrows on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, their Honey Lavender Latte is a must.

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For low budget options head to the park. This Labor Day is promising warm temperatures and clear skies. Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers a stroll through the woods, with Lake Michigan as your endpoint. Bring a book along, your dog, or the whole family for a picnic lunch.

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If staying in sounds like your tune consider baking a batch of cookies to bring to work the following day, or drop off a plate at your neighbors, just make sure to save a few for yourself. Invite friends, family, or neighbors over for a potluck. Having everyone bring a dish to pass means trying out new foods, gathering new recipes, and we all know one person always brings a delicious dessert.

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My favorite way to end the day is with a campfire and a gooey mess of s’mores. But for you, maybe it will be enjoying a glass of wine with friends as you watch the sunset, or curled up in a bed with your kids as you read bedtime stories. What matters most is that you take the day to celebrate, to toast to the end of summer and the beginning of a new season. Fall may be right around the corner with its knits sweaters, apple laden trees, and cranberry crisps, but take this day to soak in the last of the summer rays.