Kristine Kidd

Cabin Life, Cooking, Improving Lives

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Summer Solstice Turkey Dinner;
Griddled Sugar Snap, Cannellini and Radicchio Salad


Summer Solstice week, and it finally felt like Spring in the high Sierra. While the days were warmer than during our last trip, we still craved the heat from our woodstove in the mornings, most of the hiking trails remained buried under snow from the record-breaking winter, and the lakes were still covered with ice. Our favorite welcome-to-the-Sierra walk came to a halt when the path disappeared into an impromptu pond of snowmelt.

Down the mountain, however, cherries were ripe at Apple Hill Ranch, an organic farm that is a verdant oasis in the high dessert. I’ve never tasted Rainier cherries so bursting with sweet juices as these. I picked enough to overflow my bucket, gobbling almost as many cherries as ended up in the bucket, and returned two more times to harvest more.

In celebration of the receding snow, Summer Solstice, and too many fresh cherries to eat by ourselves, we were ready to party with our neighbors. The inspiration for turkey in June was the magnificent bird we were given that had been raised by local kids as part of the 4H program. Because we always grill our turkeys, we had waited for the snow to melt away from our barbecue, and weather to warm to the point where winds blowing off the snowy peaks wouldn’t cool the coals too much for them to do their job. And this was the time.

It was still crisp enough in the mountains to enjoy eating turkey, but how were we going to accommodate enough people to justify cooking that big guy? We moved furniture around and added the two leaves that came with the beautiful oak table we’d found at a secondhand store, decorated it with pinecones collected in the woods, and learned that with some creativity we can squeeze in 10 for a cozy but vivacious gathering at the cabin.

Steve grilled this very special bird to golden yet succulent perfection. I whipped up my luxurious Mushroom Sauce to serve alongside. I fashioned the rest of the menu for the season, serving olive oil mashed Yukon gold potatoes, and green beans layered with handfuls of fresh herbs. I turned some of the cherries into a sweet and spicy salsa by pitting them, and tossing with lime juice and minced cilantro, parsley, green onions, and serrano chile. We put out bowls overflowing with more cherries for dessert, and Katharine’s daughter made decadent dark chocolate, walnut and date bars.

The recipe I’m offering here is for the Griddled Sugar Snap, Cannellini and Radicchio Salad that was as big a hit as the turkey. I created the dish for this meal, and have already served it many more times, offering it alongside grilled salmon and sautéed chicken thighs. It’s quick, easy and can be made ahead. Browning the sugar snap peas before tossing them with cannellini beans, radicchio and a mustardy vinaigrette brings out their sweet flavor. Be sure to save the dressing recipe for almost any salad. It keeps well in the fridge, so I always make a big batch.

We drank a toast to Tony, as he told the story about saving our cabin from a brush fire last fall– the incident which lead to our friendship. The evening ended with a promise to repeat this party next June.

Griddled Sugar Snap, Cannellini and Radicchio Salad

Kristine Kidd
A colorful mix of sweet sugar snaps, spicy radicchio, crunchy romaine, and creamy beans, all held together with a zesty mustard vinaigrette. It’s quick, easy, and can be made ahead. Browning the sugar snap peas brings out their sweet flavor. Add blue or Parmesan cheese, and walnuts or pine nuts to turn this salad into a satisfying lunch dish. Be sure to save the dressing recipe for almost any salad. It keeps well in the fridge, so I always make a big batch.
Servings 4


Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 15.5 oz can cannellini or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ large head radicchio
  • 1 romaine heart


Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Measure the mustard into a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Very gradually whisk in the olive oil. (Whisking in the oil too quickly will cause the oil and vinegar to separate, whisking it in gradually will allow the dressing to emulsify into a homogenous sauce that will coat the salad beautifully.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • Drain the rinsed beans well, and then place in a medium bowl. Add about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and mix. Let marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  • Remove the strings from the sugar snaps by breaking off the stem ends and pulling the strings down the flatter side. Place the stringed sugar snaps in a small bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Heat a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sugar snaps and cook without stirring until they begin to brown on the first side. Using a spatula, turn the peas over. You don't need to turn each one individually. Cook until the second side starts to brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the sugar snaps to the bowl with the beans.
  • Cut the half radicchio head into 2 wedges and cut out the core. Cut crosswise into 1" wide pieces. Add to the sugar snaps. Cut about 2" off the leafy end of the romaine heart. Cut the remainder crosswise about 1" thick. Add to the bowl. Pour enough vinaigrette over the salad to season to taste. Toss to coat. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and vinaigrette to taste.
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