spring salad with dill croutons

one of my favorite cycling advocates (zero per gallon) makes fun bicycle icon t-shirts with a subtitle claiming '53 miles per burrito.' last summer i did a 60 mile bike ride after a delicious slice of quiche from my favorite bakery in seattle. i determined that made me more fuel efficient, right? perhaps it's more accurate to say i'm solar powered. sunshine feeds me energy more than anything else. i am insanely productive and active in the summer time - those short couple of months in seattle where we are graced with sunshine and a cool breeze. this week has been gorgeous in seattle. i hopped back on my bike for several long rides of sleeveless cycling! wonderful! post cycling, i was craving some carbs and some bright flavors. a friend had left a half a loaf of crusty rustic bread at my place after a lunch date, so i decided to make some croutons!... why do people buy croutons in a box? seriously. i love croutons to have a bite to them, crisp on the outer edges and chewy at its center. drizzled in olive oil and speckled with herbs. you can't find that in a box. this is a wonderful spring salad, and would make a great addition to an easter dinner served along side your deviled eggs! hurrah for spring time!

spring salad with dill croutons ~ serves 2

butter lettuce, enough for two
4 radishes
1/4 red onion
white balsamic vinegar
3oz sheep's milk feta cheese
1/4 - 1/2 loaf rustic bread
small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper

preheat oven to 350. cut onion as thinly as possible into half-moon slices. trim ends of radishes, and slice thinly as well. place onions and radish in a small bowl or jar and submerge in white balsamic vinegar. place in fridge until ready to serve, or at least 20 minutes to pickle. 

cut bread into large cubes. place on a baking sheet, drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat. sprinkle with lots of salt, pepper, and a tablespoons of finely chopped dill. bake in oven until edges are nicely crisp and brown but not burnt. stir croutons at least once while baking. let cool while you assemble the salad. 

tear butter lettuce leaves into halves or quarters. pile the lettuce on a platter or individual plates, top with pickled radishes and onions (drained from vinegar), crumbled sheep's milk feta and croutons. drizzle the salad with a nice olive oil. salt, pepper, and a few more sprinkles of fresh dill. 

tahini yogurt with cardamom blood orange supremes

it is officially spring. while there is still a wait before all the wonderful spring time crops come into season here in the northwest, the citrus right now (albeit from california) is amazing! i've been plowing through grapefruit after grapefruit, oozing between my fingers and dribbling down my chin. they are so juicy right now! but i decided to branch out this morning and enjoy a blood orange. my simple intention was to have a slice of toast with tahini and yogurt with slices of blood orange. turns out the tahini i bought was incredibly thin and runny - still delicious, just not a practical spread for toast. so! this is what i came up with. 

really this post is just an excuse for me to daydream about iceland... first, let me tell you about icelandic yogurt. "skyr" is the traditional yogurt of iceland: thick, creamy in texture but tangy in flavor. if you like greek yogurt, you will love icelandic yogurt, as it has even more protein! [look for siggi's brand at whole foods or other specialty shops.]

pardon me while i gush about iceland for a moment. beside icelandic yogurt, i also love icelandic chocolate. nói síríus to be specific. this might be one of my favorite plain chocolate bars in existence. but beyond the promising culinary allure, and besides the fact that several of my favorite bands are from iceland, iceland looks extraordinary! see what i mean?

ok now back to the recipe... 

tahini yogurt with cardamom blood orange supremes ~serves two
3 blood oranges
1/2 teaspoon cardamom 
1 tablespoon honey 
2 cups plain icelandic (or greek) yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini

juice one blood orange. cut the remaining two blood oranges into 'supremes' ... basically trim off the peel with a sharp knife all the way down to the flesh. then gently hold the peeled citrus in your palm and cut each segment of flesh out from between the pithy membranes. squeeze the remaining juice from the piths into a small saucepan and combing with the juice from the first blood orange. add honey and cardamom and gently heat for 3-4 minutes. remove from heat and add the supremes. let cool completely for about 20 minutes to let flavors combine. 

in small serving bowls, swirl together 1 cup yogurt with 1 tablespoon tahini for each person. top with blood orange suprimes and drizzle with a bit of the cardamom-infused sauce. enjoy!