Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

A Thanksgiving Wish

Wishing all my readers a very happy Thanksgiving. My wish for you all is that your heart be filled with love and thanks this day and always.

Since we usually spend Thanksgiving with friends and it is the one holiday I don’t tend to cook for, I’m not including many Thanksgiving recipes. Feel free to share your own, however, by commenting on this blog post. I am bringing an appetizer to this year’s fete that will use up the kale from my share this week. See below for the recipe.

Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto (click here)


Featured Item—Watermelon Radish

If there is such a thing as the “darling of the produce world” award I would have to vote for watermelon radishes. They are so beautiful to behold, yet so tasty as well. Everyone, even those who don’t tend to like radishes, loves these gems. They are the perfect holiday treat, green on the outside with a starburst of pink/red in the center, they make me think of Christmas.

While I personally love to present these beauties as part of a winter crudité platter or in salads, watermelon radishes can also be cooked. Try your hand at braising, roasting, frying, baking, or pickling them (see ideas below). However, don’t expect them to keep their gorgeous color scheme once cooked. They do tend to become delectably sweet and tender when prepared this way, though.

Watermelon radishes pair well with salad greens, apple, fennel, strong cheeses, bacon, vinaigrettes or creamy dressing, noodles (especially hearty ones like soba), and herbs (cilantro, mint, tarragon).

Like most radishes, watermelon radishes have much to recommend them nutritionally. They contain lots of vitamins (especially C), minerals, electrolytes, anti-oxidants, and fiber. They contain high levels of an anti-cancer compound called sulforaphane. Remember to keep the peel on, as it contains lots of important antioxidants.

Choose crisp/firm radishes without cracks. Store in plastic in the crisper drawer of your fridge where they will last several weeks.

Here are some fun ways to try using up your store of watermelon radishes. Please let us know if you try one and like it.

Braised Watermelon Radishes (click here)

Roasted Watermelon Radishes (click here)

Pickled Onion and Watermelon Radish Salad (click here)

Watermelon Radish, Arugula, and Avocado Salad (click here)

Watermelon Radish and Carrot Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette (click here)

Steak and Watermelon Radish Sandwich (click here)

Watermelon Radish Chips (click here)

Fermented Watermelon Radish Pickles (click here)


Some Other Interesting Finds

Looking for some different ways to use up the other items in your share?…check these recipes out!

Radicchio Salad with Sourdough Dressing (click here)

Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter (click here)

Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Egg (click here)

Sausage and Kale Stuffing ( click here)

Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey (click here)

Roasted Root Vegetables with Tahini and Lemon (click here)

Curried Carrot and Apple Soup (click here)


My favorite way to serve winter crudités, especially when I have fresh watermelon radishes, carrots, and white turnips, is with this wintery pesto dip. The farm still has viable sage in the herb garden, but you better hurry and snag it before the snow comes.

Sage Pesto Dip


– 1 large bunch of sage, washed

– about 1/4 cup toasted walnuts

– 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped

– about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

– extra virgin olive oil, to taste

– salt and pepper to taste

– 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise

– 1/3 cup sour cream, or more to taste

– fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste


Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until crumbly. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while machine is running until you have a thick an smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pesto to a small bowl. Mix in mayonnaise and sour cream to desired taste and consistency. Add a bit of lemon juice to taste, if desired.


This recipe is a great way to use up cabbage that is small or to make when you want a comfort dish without all the hassle of stuffing cabbage leaves. This recipe was adapted from a recipe by the same name printed in the Courant one or two years ago.

Unstuffed Cabbage


– 1 pound ground turkey or lean ground beef

– 2 eggs

– 1 cup cooked brown rice

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1/8 teaspoon allspice

– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

– 3/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

– 1 small onion, chopped

– 2 teaspoons canola oil

– 2 small cans tomato sauce

– 1 cup water

– 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

– 3 tablespoons brown sugar

– 3/4 cup raisins

– 1 small cabbage

– 1 apple, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Mix meat with eggs, rice, sugar, spices and salt and pepper. Saute chopped onion in canola oil until golden. Add tomato sauce, water, cider vinegar, brown sugar and raisins. Heat mixture until well mixed and sugar is dissolved. Taste tomato sauce, it should be sweet and sour. Add more sugar if desired.
  2. Shred cabbage into thin strips and mix well with apple. Place half of cabbage mixture evenly across bottom of glass pyrex dish. Pat meat mixture into even layer over cabbage. Cover with rest of cabbage and then tomato sauce mixture.   Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked through (temperature should read 165 degrees or higher).


We absolutely love this way of serving arugula. These flatbreads have all the tastes and aromas of the best foods of the Middle East.

Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you off…they are mostly spices. Further, you can use your favorite ready-made pizza dough if you do not wish to make your own.

Lamb and Arugula Flatbreads with Tahini Drizzle                 makes up to 2


– For Lamb mixture:

– 1 pound ground lamb

– 1 small onion, minced

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 3 tablespoons tomato paste

– 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

– 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

– 1/2 teaspoon paprika

– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 3 tablespoons chicken broth

– For Tahini Drizzle:

– 1/2 cup non fat Greek yogurt

– 3 tablespoons tahini

– 1 clove garlic, crushed

– 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

– 4-5 tablespoons hot water

– salt to taste

– For Flatbread:

– 1 1/4 ounce package active dry yeast

– 1 teaspoon sugar

– 1 cup warm water, (110-115 degrees)

– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

– 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

– 3 large handfuls fresh arugula


  1. Cook lamb in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon as you cook, until meat is browned. Drain off most of fat. Return meat with a little fat to heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add spices and tomato paste. Cook, stirring continuously, until tomato paste has darkened, about 2-3 minutes. Add broth and stir well. Remove from heat and cool. (Can be made 1-2 days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to cook flatbreads)
  2. Meanwhile, make tahini drizzle. Mix yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and hot water until you have a good consistency. Add more water as necessary. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use (Can be made 1-2 days ahead).
  3. About 2 hours before you are ready to bake the flatbreads, stir yeast and sugar into warm water until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy. Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes (alternatively, mix in a stand mixer, then using the dough hook, knead on medium-low for about 7 minutes). Place dough in a large oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours (when you poke the dough with a finger, it should leave an indentation).
  4. Preheat oven to 500. Punch down dough and divide into two pieces. If you have pizza pans with holes in them, spread out dough into each pan using your fingertips until it is a thin as it can get without breaking. If using a pizza stone you will likely need to do one flatbread at a time–sprinkle some cornmeal on your pizza paddle (or a piece of parchment), then spread out dough. Brush top of dough with 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Place pans in oven (or transfer to pizza stone). Cook until crust is lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Remove pans (or if using pizza stone, transfer to work surface). Cover each hot crust with half of meat mixture. Return to oven and bake for about 3 minutes, just until meat is heated through.
  5. Remove hot flatbreads from oven. Quickly top each with half of the arugula. Using a small whisk or a spoon, generously drizzle tahini sauce on each flatbread. Cut and serve immediately. Serve with extra tahini sauce on side.

Note: Sometimes I make only one flatbread instead of spreading the meat mixture between two flatbreads. It you decide to do it this, freeze your second piece of dough for another occasion.

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