Radish Tartine with Pea Butter and Lime

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

I sort of feel like we’re about to embark on one of those slideshows your great aunt made you come over and watch. She’d lure you in with the promise of something delicious and then before she fed you there were slides of her latest vacation. The beauty of the Internet is you can go right on and scroll through the slathering of photos I’m about to share and jump right into the recipe.

If you are about to do that sort of thing let me first get you excited about the sandwich that tastes of a spring-flecked field. I’m not even sure what that means but I do know that one bite in and I was whisked completely out of winter and well into spring where things taste of green, of new life, of subtle sweetness, of timidity and a bubbling hope of things to come. All through my travels in London and Paris there were faint hints of spring; flower stands showing off their pastel hued wares on every corner, little buds breaking free from their cocoons and dotting the bare branches with signs of life, plump white and green asparagus, small strawberries with ruby flesh all the way to their core, peppery radishes and green peas that pop in your mouth like the sweetest candy.

As I often do with travel inspiration I took bits and pieces from our experiences throughout the trip and turned it into one dish. But I have to say that it was a simple radish salad from Spring that really set me on the path that led here. It wasn’t even my salad, it was Ashlae’s vegan option that she so kindly let me sneak a bite. It was the frilly pile of chartreuse lime zest on top of quartered radishes that lured me in. Radish and lime? Yes.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

A few days before the trip I recounted the itinerary  to some of my closest friends. I skimmed over a few words and places quickly moving passed just how amazing the following week was to be because frankly, it sounded too good to be true.

“I want to see you scream ‘I’m going to Paris!'” My dear friend told me. She wanted my face to light up and to acknowledge the crazy goodness that was this trip. I wanted to scream it too because of course I was ridiculously excited but vulnerability held me back.

Brené Brown talks about joy being the hardest emotion to experience. Seriously. I didn’t believe her at first but I totally get it because I do it; I always mask joy. If you have children I’m sure you’ve exhaustedly put them to bed only to wander back into their room to watch them sleep about 20 minutes later. You look down at their face; angelic and still, and your whole body feels tingly and on fire with love that overwhelms. That joy is abruptly halted when you play through all the horrific scenarios in which you could lose that love. Okay, moving right along before I puddle onto my keyboard at the thought.

Brené (I feel like we’re on a first name basis at this point) says, “We try to dress rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.”

I thought so often of my friend’s comment throughout the trip and I thought why I minimize my joy. In part I think I do it to protect those around me. I mean, my girlfriends that following week were all going to be home taking care of their babes while I was off prancing around Europe – that didn’t seem fair. But hiding my joy in the trip, I realize now, doesn’t protect them.

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There’s another story Brené shares about a 60 year-old man who spent his whole life trying to beat his expectations to the punch. He said he was just going to stay right in the middle, that way if things didn’t work out he wasn’t devastated and if things went better than expected he was pleasantly surprised. And then his wife died and his immediate regret was that he didn’t live into his joy during their life together. Curbing his expectations and living in the middle did not protect him from the pain he felt at the loss of his wife of forty years.

I’m terrified when things are going so well because then I’m just waiting around knowing that at any moment somethings gotta give. At any moment I’m going to experience great pain or loss because life simply cannot be this great. You know what? That’s kind of true. Life is hard and things break and people we love die and we experience pain. That’s the truth. But the other truth is that numbing the joy in moments of happiness will not save us from experiencing great loss. Never fully experiencing  joy will not keep us from suffering.

Knowing that truth and walking into this trip with that reminder helped me to experience it with utter gratitude. It was such an amazing gift and even the whispers of fear that creep in as I’m typing this: “They’re going to hate you for gushing so much about how much fun you had. Why rub it in? The moment you hit publish on this post something’s gonna give but at least you wrote down the happy moments so you will always have that. Live it up now, girl because imminent doom is approaching quickly.” I want to actively practice gratitude and feel the joy because that is just the sort of life I want to live.

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So having said all of that let me tell you a bit about my crazy, wonderful trip.

I told my kids I was going on this trip to go make sure London and Paris was ready for our family trip in June. They all had a bit of nerves about the idea of a train going under the water so I assured them that I’d go check it out and make sure everything was up to snuff. I thought at this age they would pick up on the sarcasm but they didn’t. In fact it was that high speed under water train, Eurostar, that took me on this trip. London to Paris in just over two hours! I was a bit disappointed when the train didn’t dive into the water and flip its tail like a dolphin but I got over that the moment we arrived in Paris. Well, I think I actually was over it when we were drinking champagne on the way there.

Right before leaving another friend had texted, “Don’t worry about curbing your expectations because Paris is going to blow you away.” My friends know me so well. She knew that I was terrified of being disappointed by my first trip to Paris and she knew that that was such a silly fear. The moment I walked out of the train station I knew it too. Every where I looked beauty overwhelmed me. Butter colored buildings with black cast iron details that outline the windows and balconies and the smell of sizzling butter as we walked passed the waffles on the street. Cobble stone streets pave the way for market stands selling perfectly plump red currants. Every sense was open and I was taking it all in.

Look at that, somehow I skipped right passed London and am already talking about Paris. I love London. We toured the streets of Portobello and ate everything along the way, made traditional English scones and shortbread in a flat in Notting Hill , bought and sampled tea at Borough Market, and ate some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tried at Dishoom. On top of all of that Ashlae, Bev and myself took an epic walk all over the city taking in all the sites one must see when in London (hello, Big Ben!) We ate breakfast on top of the city at the Sky Garden  before getting on to the train and heading to Paris.

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In Paris we took another food tour all through Montemarte learning how to shop and chose the right places for baguettes, cheese, and chocolate (those stickers on the window? They actually mean something – like how many awards they’ve won. The French take that seriously). We had a private lunch/cooking class at Spring (remember the radishes?!), saw the waterlilies at the Museé de l’Orangerie and I cried big fat tears of joy. We ate macarons for breakfast at Ladureé  and ate fries and drank wine at the Cafe des 2 Moulins (otherwise known as the Amelie cafe) and Bev cried big fat tears of joy.

Notice a theme? Joy. And I lived it and felt it and am so incredibly thankful for it. Thank you to Eurostar for planning an epic trip. I also don’t know how you managed to choose the funnest group of folks to travel with but you did. Thanks.

Here’s the run down of most of the places we went. The highlights for sure:

London

Portobello Garden Italian Cafe
https://www.facebook.com/Portobello-Garden-Caffe-654459517967701/

R. Garcia & Sons (The UK’s best Spanish grocery)
http://rgarciaandsons.com/

Fabrique Swedish Bakery
http://fabrique.co.uk/

Books for Cooks
http://www.booksforcooks.com/

The Spice Shop (London’s tiniest, most fragrant shop!)
www.thespiceshop.co.uk 

Ceramica Blue
www.ceramicablue.co.uk

La Cave a Fromage (cheese & wine)
http://www.la-cave.co.uk/home.php

Melt Chocolates
http://www.meltchocolates.com/

Caroline Hope – Cooking Instructor

http://www.teaandscones.co.uk/

Dishoom

http://www.dishoom.com/

Sky Garden

http://skygarden.london/

Great Northern Hotel (LOVED this place)

http://www.gnhlondon.com/

Ace Hotel London

https://www.acehotel.com/london

Paris

Secret Food Tours

http://www.secretfoodtours.com/

Spring Restaurant

http://www.springparis.fr/

Museé de L’Orangerie

http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en

Ladureé

https://www.laduree.com/en_int/

Café des 2 Moulins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caf%C3%A9_des_2_Moulins

The Latin Quarter – just go, all of it is lovely.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

 

*This trip was sponsored by Eurostar but the photos and gushing words are all mine.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter and Lime

Serves 2

 

2 to 3 tablespoons pea butter (recipe below)

3 to 4 radishes, thinly shaved

1/4 cup radish sprouts (optional)

1/4 cup pea sprouts (optional)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

a few mint leaves, roughly torn

flake salt

olive oil

thick cut bread, toasted (crispy on the outside with a soft interior)

 

For the tartine:

Slather the toasted bread with a good bit of the butter. Top with the thinly shaved radishes then the sprouts and mint. Finish with lime zest and flake salt and a light drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy right away.

Pea Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup fresh or frozen peas, blanched until tender

1/2 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon (or more) sea salt

 

Process everything in a food processor for at least a few minutes. You want to get the peas as smooth as possible.

For the best texture pass the butter through a fine mesh sieve.

Taste and add more salt if you’d like.

Store the pea butter in the fridge for up to one week.

 

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Roasted Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce

Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce // Notwithoutsalt.com

Originally I was just going to come here and tell you about green sauce. Because the sauce alone is worthy of a post but in the process of shooting the photos for the sauce I whipped up some roasted carrots, slathered some thick yogurt on a plate, topped it with green sauce and then threw on some frilly cilantro leaves and chunks of salty feta. Now I’m here with green sauce AND roasted carrots with yogurt.

I’ve had the recipe for the sauce in my back pocket since last summer when I served it with charred vegetables and grilled leg of lamb. It’s a riff off of a sauce they sell at my favorite Lebanese grocer in Seattle (I love that I live in a city where I can say that I have a favorite Lebanese grocery store). At the market it’s simply labeled green sauce with a few of its more obvious ingredients listed below the telling title along with the dreaded phrase “and a secret mix of spices”.

Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce // Notwithoutsalt.com Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce // Notwithoutsalt.com

Determined to reveal their secrets my friend Julie and I set out to create our own version. Of course we knew there were a lot of green things and a good bit of heat. There’s also a tartness but not just from citrus. Our version has a bit of lime zest, rice vinegar and tamarind paste which is fruity and delightfully sour. Feel free to substitute lime juice for the tamarind paste if you can’t find it. I always grab some when I’m at our asian grocery store or the aforementioned Lebanese market and I’d recommend that you get into the same habit.

Our green sauce is still not quite the same as the original version but I do have the same desire to put my green sauce on everything. In fact this morning breakfast was leftover potatoes from our roast chicken dinner a few nights back fried up with an egg along with avocado and yogurt. That fried chicken I just mentioned? There was green sauce with that too. I think you get it.

Also, can I just say that I’m so glad spring is here. I mean I say that now while Seattle is experiencing a near heat wave (70° tomorrow!) and next week I’m sure we’ll be back to rain. But I’m loving that last week’s post was rhubarb, this week carrots and next week I’m playing with peas! So I think it’s safe to say spring is here – at least on the blog. Happy Spring! (Thanks to Sam for telling me about this gem. If you’re in Seattle, check out Goodies for the original green sauce.)

Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce // Notwithoutsalt.com Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce // Notwithoutsalt.com

Roasted Carrots with Yogurt and Green Sauce

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main

1 large bunch carrots, washed

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt

1 cup Whole Milk Greek yogurt

1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro or parsley

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1/3 cup spicy green sauce (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Cut most of the greens off the carrots leaving about two inches still intact. They roast in the oven and give the dish a lovely crunch.

Place the carrots on a sheet tray and toss with the olive oil and a hefty pinch of salt.

Roast until deeply caramelized and tender. About 30 minutes or so. It all depends on the size of your carrots.

Spread the yogurt on the base of your platter then top with the carrots. They can be warm or room temperature to serve.

Finish with the green sauce, cilantro, and feta.

Spicy Green Sauce

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1 jalapeño, seeds and veins removed, roughly chopped

5 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 ½ cups EACH, fresh parsley, mint and cilantro

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

¼ cup water

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Serve right away or refrigerate for up to one week.

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