Salad Days

Photo by Alex Finley

South Carolina’s wintertime is a great escape from the usual intolerable heat, but sadly, this new chilly air also brings far fewer choices of fruits and vegetables at the Soda City market (open each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) If you’re like me and you love farmers markets, you go despite the cold just to see what’s in season. But when you arrive, your only choices are as random as pecans and mushrooms or as foreign as bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage. Some may see this and give up, turning instead to Top Ramen noodles or coffee. But others can see this as a challenge, a chance to prove their food creativity. Yes, some of the produce seems just as strange as Columbia getting a snowstorm, but everyone knows that college is the best time for experimenting. So get out of your comfort zone and into the kitchen.

Photo by Alex Finley


What’s in season in this dish: Sweet potatoes, pecans, cranberries and kale. Tips: Sweet potatoes will stay fresh for much longer if left unwashed until ready for use.



6 cups of kale

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, diced

2 tbsp dried cranberries

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup halved pecans

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper


1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ ginger


1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay evenly on baking sheet. 

2. Roast 30 minutes.

3. As sweet potatoes bake, chop up kale and make dressing by mixing all ingredients together.

4. Add roasted sweet potatoes on top of the chopped kale. Then add cranberries, pecans and drizzle the dressing.


What’s in season in this dish: Bok choy, carrots and mushrooms. Tips: Mushrooms are best stored in a paper bag in the fridge.



½ head of bok choy

1 ½ tbsp canola oil

1 cup chopped shiitake (you can really use whatever type you like)

1 carrot, shaved with vegetable peeler


3 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup white vinegar

3 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tbsp honey 


1. In cold water, rinse bok choy and then drain.

2. Cut bok choy by removing bottom part of the stem, then cut the leaves in half lengthwise.

3. Heat up pan to high heat, add oil.

4. Add mushroom and carrots, let cook for a bit.

5. Add bok choy and stir fry until leaves are wilted, but stems are crisp. Turn off heat.

6. Mix together all ingredients for vinaigrette. 

7. Add to stir-fried vegetables.

8. Serve immediately.

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