Two salads: cress, pink radish and dill + shaved carrot with black sesame seeds and mint

Some summer mornings call for something delicate and fresh with crunch. Today was one of those mornings; hence these two salads, one slightly bitter and the other slightly sweet.

cress, pink radish and dill salad

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serves 1

INgredients

1 bunch of upland cress (or watercress)

2 pink breakfast radishes

a sprig of dill

2 Tablespoons umeboshi plum vinegar

pinch of sea salt

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Process

Wash the cress, radishes and dill, all separately.

Slice the radishes very thin.

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Place them in a bowl and pour the ume plum vinegar over them.

Let the radishes sit in the vinegar for about 10 minutes (note: you can marinate them for up to an hour or two; they will be slightly pickled).

Remove stems from the cress, if desired, and place in bowl.

Place the radish rounds on top of the cress.

Chop the dill and scatter on top.

Pair this with soft polenta porridge and savor each mouthful, chewing well.

shaved carrot and black sesame seed salad with mint

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serves 4

INgredients

4 medium sized carrots

3 teaspoons sesame seed

1 tangerine or juice orange

5-6 mint leaves

Process

Heat a stainless steel or cast iron skillet on a medium flame for about one minute.

Place the sesame seeds in the pan.

Use cooking chopsticks or a wooden spoon to turn the seeds to expose each side of each seed to the bottom of the pan.When you begin to smell the richness of the sesame seeds, they are almost done. Do not burn them!

They should be roasted in about 3 minutes.

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Wash and clean the carrots well, removing any tiny hairs from the roots.

Use a Japanese vegetable knife to shave the carrot, chipping small pieces off at the bottom point, almost like sharpening a pencil.

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Place the carrot pieces in a bowl.

Squeeze the orange and pour the juice over the salad.

Top with roasted black sesame seeds.

Chop the mint and scatter atop the salad.