Lindsay Maitland Hunt

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Raw Spring Salad with Asparagus and Radishes
 
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Perfectionism has been getting in the way of this blog. I have been working on a German Chocolate Cake cookie that has gone through FOUR iterations, and it still has one last test to go. I’ve been missing writing, and I’ve been missing sharing recipes with you. ("You" meaning hopefully someone in addition to my mom.)

I’ve been obsessing about how to get that cookie right, (this seemsto be a habit by now…) and along the way I forgot that sharing a simple salad recipe in the vein of Nigel Slater is sometimes enough. Do you know Nigel Slater’s books yet? They are so beautiful and give a sense of place without the visual clutter of unnecessary props and stylized backgrounds. His easy-going, natural prose draws me in each time I open Ripe or Tender, and Jonathan Lovekin’s photographs offer a sultry complement to Nigel’s (can I call you Nigel, Nigel?) personal recipes.

Other places to find the same lovely qualities are on Molly Wizenberg’s blog, Orangette and in Luisa Weiss’s blog The Wednesday Chef. They are all personal but not self-obsessed; open but not over-sharing. Plus, their photographs are moody and gorgeous. (I’m also a big fan of their memoirs, which you can find here and here, respectively.)

Anyway, have you ever read food writing that describes a food "as begging for" something? Like, the bread was begging to be toasted. The ramps were begging for a slick of olive oil. I have never heard my food beg me to do anything other than scarf it down with haste, but this is as close as it’s ever gotten to human-plant ESP.

Finally, fresh vegetables line the farmers’ market stalls, practically begging to be tossed into a fresh spring salad. Oops — did I say begging? Well like I said, magenta radishes, snappy asparagus stalks and fuchsia scallions got as close to a whisper in my ear that any food as ever gotten.

So yes, this recipe is easy. Slice the radishes, asparagus, and scallion thinly to let them soak in the olive oil and lemon juice. Play with the proportions as you like. More quinoa and add lettuce for a stronger salad vibe. Swap the blue cheese for goat cheese. You get it.

Lastly,a question for you: Do you like casual, easy recipes like this? Or are you looking for more specific directions. Please share your thoughts and comments below!

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Raw Spring Salad with Asparagus and Radishes Serves 1 to 2

4 radishes, thinly sliced 6 stalks asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias 1 small scallion, thinly sliced A few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Juice of half a lemon Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 10 to 15 mint leaves, torn 1 cup cooked quinoa 2 ounces soft blue cheese, crumbled

Toss the radishes, asparagus, and scallion in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the lemon juice and toss to coat. Add more olive oil if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and fold in the mint leaves. Serve over cooked quinoa and dollop with blue cheese.

 
Spiced Cardamom and Rye Waffles
 
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There's something magical about having waffles for breakfast. Starting the day with such a luxurious tone can only lead to good things, I think. Typically, I am the happy recipient of whatever waffles my mom whips up when I am visiting -- usually crunchy, Belgian-style grids that are light and airy. This Christmas when I was home, I decided to mix it up.

The result is something a little denser, with a toothsome bite from whole grains and ample spices to toast a gloomy winter day. Cardamom's fragrant notes match up perfectly with earthy rye flour. True, there's only 1/4 teaspoon in the recipe, seemingly not enough to either perfume the batter or give it top billing in the title. I promise that little bit will shine through in just the right way before hitting that metallic too-much-cardamom taste. As for the rye, Bob's Red Mill sells dark rye flour if you don't have some already on hand.

These make for the perfect wintery weekend brunch, preferably with fat snowflakes falling slowly outside, but I'll leave that part up to the weather.

Spiced Cardamom and Rye Waffles Serves 4

6 large eggs, separated 1 ½ cups buttermilk ½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled ¾ cup dark rye flour, spooned and leveled ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom Salted butter, maple syrup, and sliced banana, for serving (optional)

Special Equipment: Waffle maker, egg white beaters (optional)

1. Preheat a waffle maker on highest setting.

2. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl with an egg beater, whisk, or an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. You should be able to lift your whisk or beater, turn it upside down, and the egg whites should stand straight up. Set aside.

3. Whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

4. Whisk the all-purpose flour, rye flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk in the egg yolk mixture until almost incorporated—it’s okay if some lumps remain. Add the egg whites and fold with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix!

5. Spread about 1 heaping cup on the heated griddle, spreading from the middle outwards. Cook until done according to your waffle maker’s instructions. Repeat with remaining batter and serve immediately with butter and maple syrup, or your favorite accompaniments.