Monday, March 11, 2013

A SALAD FOR THE EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD {+ my little video on how to supreme an orange}


Alice Waters' original Edible Schoolyard is a five minute walk from our house. For years, we've taken early evening strolls through the garden, ogling the vast array of plants, herbs, fruit trees - all inspiring our own tiny backyard veggie garden.

When our boy Otis was getting ready to enter middle school two years ago, we couldn't resist King. We wanted Otis to have the freedom to safely roam our neighborhood, ride his bike to school, have local friends, and be a part of our community school. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the Edible Schoolyard was a huge draw for us in making this change.  King kids are fortunate enough to have classes in both the Kitchen and Garden programs associated with the Schoolyard.  Every time I visit, I'm stunned to see a huge group of middle schoolers not messing around or worrying about being cool, but totally focused and invigorated about cooking, gardening, eating, and learning. I've never seen adolescents so excited about vegetables! Who wouldn't want their child to have this invaluable education... an education which instills a passion for learning that permeates all aspects of the school, way beyond the Garden and Kitchen.

King kids know they're lucky to have the Schoolyard - I see them taking great pride in knowing where food comes from, and how to grow and cook nourishing food for themselves.  I dream of these King kids becoming parents a generation from now, and the joy and knowledge they will be able to share with their own families - the healthful meals they will cook with their own children.

When my amazing friend Phyllis asked if I'd be interested in teaching a class with her at the Edible Schoolyard to benefit our Berkeley Public Libraries, I immediately said "YES!" On Saturday, we had a blast cooking with 11 adorable kids and their moms, dads, and even a few grandmothers. Phyllis, a pastry master, taught everyone to make sumptuous savory tarts - my oh my were they incredibly good. Then, I worked with the gang on making a deconstructed salad and taught the kids how to whip up a simple vinaigrette in mason jars. Watching all their eager little faces as they shook up salad dressing and ate lettuce like it was candy made my heart swoon. While I always feel lucky to cook with my own kids and their friends, it was totally inspiring for me to cook with this group of kiddos I'd never met. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the tiniest taste of the magic the Edible Schoolyard gets to experience every day. I'm savoring it.

CITRUS, FENNEL, RADISH + PISTACHIO SALAD
 serves 4
{printable recipe}

For the dressing:
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • generous pinch of good sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the salad:
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula, or butter lettuce
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 6 radishes
  • 8-10 kumquats
  • 2 oranges: Cara Cara or blood oranges are my favorites here
  • 1 cup roasted salted pistachio, shells removed; or 1/3 cup pepitas
  • optional: arugula and/or fennel blossoms

The dressing: First, place all ingredients in a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until dressing has emulsified. Dip a leaf of lettuce into the dressing and add more salt, vinegar, or oil to your liking.

The salad: Wash, fully dry and place your salad greens into a large bowl. (Keep in mind that fully dried leaves will be key to your dressing adhering nicely to the greens later.) Trim and thinly slice fennel bulb and radishes. Slice kumquats thin, leaving skins on. Remove any seeds.

Supreme oranges. (See video at the end of this post.)

Place fennel, radishes, kumquats, orange slices, and pistachios (or pepitas) into individual bowls.

When all of your salad components are prepped, and you’re ready to eat, lightly dress your greens. (Go ahead and use your hands to toss the salad - it's the best way to get a beautiful even coating of dressing on all the leaves.) Place bowls of chopped goodies on the table and let everyone make the salad they desire. Pass around small pitcher of extra dressing in case anyone wants to add another drizzle to his/her plate.


I decided to make a little video for you guys ( my first ever!) showing the simple way to supreme an orange. If you struggle to slice clean segments of citrus and are looking for a little help, I hope this video makes your life easier....


54 comments:

  1. A splendid dish and awesome combination! Your refined salad looks amazing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    Replies
    1. Rosa, Thanks! I'm loving citrus and buying up Cara Caras by the crateful, while they last.
      xo
      E

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  2. What a beautiful salad Erin! Oh and what a treat to be invited to teach at the Edible school garden - such a landmark for the Bay Area. Speaking of landmarks, I am so hopefully that Chez Panisse will be open again soon. Your photos are lovely and so inviting. Hope you are outside enjoying this beautiful day!!! The weather is amazing!

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    1. Lisa, it really was an honor to teach in the Kitchen - such an amazing place. Have you visited? You can take a tour and it's so worth it. And the garden... man oh man.
      We were all sad about the fire, but it seems like reconstruction is already underway. Hopefully all will be well soon.
      xxoo
      E

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  3. You have my heart on this one. I love teaching kids to cook and the mason jars are now how I make my dressing. Bravo to delicious.

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    1. Angela, aren't kids the best! All that unfiltered enthusiasm and playfulness is so energizing.
      And yes to making dressings in mason jars. I do it too. Who needs a whisk?
      xo
      E

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  4. I've never heard of the Edible Schoolyard before. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

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    1. Jane, the Schoolyard is so inspiring. Not sure where you live, but if you ever come to northern California, it's worth a visit. I love that place.
      xo
      E

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  5. Erin,

    What are lucky kids! The photograph of your salad makes me calm and peaceful. I just want to sit there and admire the natural beauty on the plate. Thank you for sharing, Erin. xo

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    1. Emi, they are so lucky. The joy, calm, and focus of all the kids at the Schoolyard is incredible. I was asking Kyle, the director what the secret is and she says "fairy dust." If only kids everywhere could have a sprinkle...
      Hope you're well!
      xo
      E

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  6. I too have been enjoying Cara Caras by the crateful; they are just so lovely.

    Nice video - it's cool to finally be able to put a voice to all the words of yours that I've read. And it looks like I'm going to have to sharpen my knives!

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    1. Emma, do you juice the cara caras too? So delish!
      Thanks for taking time to look at the video - I'm a newbie and some of the technical issues bug me, but I wanted to reach out in a new way.
      Enjoy your last stretch of winter...
      xo
      E

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  7. Beautiful salad! What a great program to have for the kids - all schools should be so lucky. Your neighbourhood sounds really great :)

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    1. Thanks Renee. Berkeley is far from a perfect place, but we have so much good stuff going on.... I do feel extremely lucky. And like you, I wish all schools were as lucky as King. All kids should be able to have such an education! We'd be a much healthier country.
      xo
      E

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  8. I loved the video! And what a great opportunity for kids. I bet it was so cool to teach them and now they something they can try at home!

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    1. The class was such fun. I'm still riding high from all that exuberance. Those cuties worked hard cooking for 3 straight hours and they didn't even seem tired. Kids always impress me.
      xo
      E

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  9. What a wonderful thing you did to volunteer like that. The Edible Schoolyard is such a great program. And so pioneering, too, for its time.

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    1. Carolyn it was such a treat for me! I love that place.
      xo
      E

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  10. What a fun thing to do with kids! I want to take my son to one of these clases, I think he will love it. I love the salad and the video too! xx

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    1. I'm guessing your boy is already pretty darned adept in the kitchen with a mamma like you!
      xxoo
      E

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  11. Erin,

    I love this post! How wonderful that your son gets to learn about cooking and growing vegetables in middle school. Edible Schoolyard sounds like such an enriching program for the kids. Great recipe too, as always. My son will love shaking up the dressing in the jar :). Cheers!

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  12. Kristen, thanks so much! We do feel lucky. The Schoolyard is incredible.
    Hope your son will whip up salad dressing you for tonight:)
    xo
    E

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  13. How awesome is that? Having their own garden to learn from sounds amazing!

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    1. Stephanie, it is awesome! There are chickens running around, an amazing variety of produce.... That is one happy garden all around.
      xoE

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  14. What a great project; I really like the fact that learning and fun are combined, that's usually the most effective way to teach. And the salad looks absolutely delicious, vibrant and healthy!

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    1. Denise you should see the meals the kids make in that kitchen! Veggie stews, salads galore, frittatas - all simple and packed with veg. They even learn how to thresh their own grains. If only we all ate so well!
      xo
      E

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  15. What a lovely enterprise. And what a beautiful salad. Yum :-)

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  16. Isn't it fun that they get all excited about veggies? How wonderful! Great Pictures. Yummy looking salad that is a must try.

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    1. Oli, King blows away the stereotypes for middle schoolers. I know veggies did nothing for me for me at that age;)
      Good to hear from you!
      xo
      E

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  17. Thank you for the introduction to the edible schoolyard - what a wonderful (and important) way to teach children about the fundamentals of food. Such a great thing to be part of and this salad sounds just perfect.

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    1. Kathryn, I'm thrilled to have introduced you to the Schoolyard. I'm guessing you have some great programs in England, thanks to Jamie Oliver and friends?
      Always good to hear from you. xo
      E

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  18. I love a mixed green salad and the addition of citrus truly makes me think of freshness and spring. the addition of Dijon to the balsamic dressing sounds like a winning combo too. Great job on the video. As usual for your site the photography on the video is top notch.

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    1. Thanks Alan. Much appreciated!

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  19. It's such a great program, and I'm so glad to hear the kids really enjoy it. What a beautiful salad to share with them! The sliced kumquats and orange wedges are so pretty.

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    1. Lisa, I felt so lucky to get to spend the day in that Kitchen. And having Otis at school there is such a treat. The recipes he comes home with are amazing, veggie packed meals that I'm not sure he would ever try (or at least with that much enthusiasm) if it weren't for the Schoolyard.
      Hope you're well Lisa!
      xo
      E

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  20. Great video, I love that technique. And the salad is gorgeous!

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  21. What an incredible community project, Erin. I would certainly want to send my kids to King if I lived close. If only my schools had offered gardening and kitchen classes, maybe I would have fallen for whole foods sooner. Beautiful salad, too.

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  22. Kathryne, too true. If we start early, whole foods feel basic, normal and not the least bit intimidating - just as they should. You cannot imagine the easy confidence these 11, 12 and 13 year olds have in the kitchen and garden. Damn they can cook!
    xoxo
    E

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  23. Lovely light salad and anything with citrus always tempts me to try! Great work on the video, I have been thinking of trying my hands on video but then it intimidates me!

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    1. Hey Kankana, me too. Citrus in salad always make me happy.

      And I hope you'll try video. It's really fun, though I know what you mean... I feel like I'm starting over with a whole new medium, making tons of mistakes. Oh well, what are blogs for if we can't experiment and have fun!
      xo
      E

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  24. Good recipe, This looks absolutely fabulous, and includes so many of my favorite flavors…..delicious!

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  25. A great way to help young generation lead a healthy lifestyle ans inculcate healthy food habits .
    This salad looks fabulous. The flavors bring out the kid in me and dig in this ASAP!! yum yum...

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    1. Hey Mike, yes I so hope for healthier food habits for this next generation. Getting them cooking seems to make all the difference.
      Thanks for your nice comment,
      E

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  26. Edible Schoolyard is such a wonderful program. Here in Colorado, I invite friends and their kids to my garden at every opportunity- it's so fun to see them discover where their food comes from and dig in the dirt! Your salad looks so refreshing. I'm a big fan of the citrus/fennel combo.

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    1. Jess, that's so cool that you invited friends and their kiddos to your garden. Don't they love it! And it's amazing what they are willing to try when they see veggies in their natural state. I'm sure the kids will remember your garden for a long time.
      xoxo
      E

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  27. the colors are absolutely stunning in this salad. I am definitely a believer in kids getting involved in their food as close to it's roots as possible!

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    1. Totally. "Close to its roots"... well put!

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  28. Easy and fun and kids are thrilled. Love it!

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  29. What an invaluable education your son and his classmates are getting! Love the video. xo

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    1. I do feel lucky every day that these kids are getting to have such a positive experience with growing and cooking food. I think it will stick with them for a lifetime.
      Always nice to hear from you Laura!
      xo
      E

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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