Garden Lunch Salad

My garden is still producing tomatoes and cucumbers and herbs and all kinds of good things. But the beginning of the school year always means that I have less time for cooking in the evening than I would like. My solution? Toss a whole bunch of delicious things in a tupperware, take them to work, and chop them all up there. If you don’t have a work kitchen, don’t worry. You can throw a salad like this together in just a few minutes. Measurements and amounts don’t really matter, either. Just try to balance out the your salty and savory with the sweet and the crunchy. The salad pictured above (along with a whole-grain bread heel and some hummus):

Amish paste tomatoes, halved
Small Kirby cucumber, sliced
fresh parsley
fresh basil
low-fat feta, crumbled
kalamata olives
sea salt and black pepper
white wine vinegar
olive oil

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Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

This soba salad pulls no punches. Piles of fresh cilantro and basil, mango, fried eggplant (and I added tofu) hot peppers, sesame oil, red onion, rice vinegar and fresh garlic (I’m not afraid of fresh garlic. Love me, love my garlic). It has four major components – sauce, noodles, fried things and chopped things – so it takes a little bit of effort. But the flavor is bright and sharp, with a nice earthy balance from soba noodles. The salad itself is so colorful, my camera phone picture is just not doing it justice.

Me being me, I added an extra hot pepper from the garden, some fried tofu, and used some really big garlic cloves. You could adjust as is your want. Another great recipe from Plenty.

Anything can go into a burrito – even a weeks’ worth of veggies

I believe that almost anything can go into a burrito or wrap. Arriving home with another huge CSA share, and still swimming in vegetables from last week’s late holiday delivery, I made a mission out of using as many vegetables and odds and ends as possible in last nights dinner. I fried garlic scapes and green onions in a wok, then added dandelion greens and some chopped radish greens. Salt and pepper, a chopped habenero pepper, fresh cilantro and parsley, and a drained can of organic black beans went into the walk. I served the beans on whole wheat tortillas with fresh garnishes – sliced radishes, avocado, sprouts, and green onions.

And then I used even MORE vegetables. Red leaf lettuce, topped with a summer squash salad recipe cribbed from Simply in Season – squash, green onions, fresh basil, and Parmesan marinated in red vinegar and olive oil. It felt great to use up the rest of last week’s veggies, and dinner was delicious.

September GRID: Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Goat Cheese and Basil Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

The September issue of GRID is hitting the stands today with a special, larger than ever, “Back to School” issue.

Ever conscious of in-season produce (both me and GRID!), I contributed a recipe using September’s still-bountiful crop of bell peppers. The fresh basil and goat cheese ravioli with roasted red pepper sauce, pictured above, may seem complicated, but it’s really just all about multi-tasking. If you’re in a big rush, just use wonton wrappers instead of making your own pasta!

I’ll add the full recipe later tonight.

Tomato Salad with feta, cucumber, and capers

Tomato Salad with cucumbers, goat cheese, and capers
Tomato Salad with cucumbers, feta, and capers

I love tomato salads, and I love the heirloom tomatoes that I’ve been receiving n my CSA. They are so delicious, and perfectly ripe, that they make me wonder why I ever even bother eating tomatoes out of season – its like an entirely different food. During hot spells, I like to keep my refrigerator full of fresh produce and put together simple salads, even multiple salads, for quick and easy meals. While I love Mark Bittman’s recent article on 101 salad ideas, I prefer to just make my own up, based on what I have around the house and my mood. This simple salad was just a large chopped heirloom tomato, some small chunks of cucumber, a crumble low-fat feta, capers, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Not even any oil. Right before I ate it, I walk out to my front porch and grabbed a few leaves of fresh basil, tore them up and threw them in. And you know what? It was perfect.

One Local Summer: Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu

Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu
Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu

I love cabbage slaws – all kinds of cabbage slaws – except those that involve mayonnaise. This slaw has some asian flavor, and I topped with a few wedges of very basic grilled tofu, marinated in lime, peanut oil, garlic, and just a dash of soy.

I have to admit that this meal wasn’t entirely local. The cabbage, green onions, basil and tofu were. The peanuts, well, I have no idea, since I found them in the back of my cupboard and gave them a quick roast in my toaster oven. The jalepenos – I really doubt it. But it was quick dinner that utelized my CSA. Slaw leftovers were delicious the next day on baby spinach with some black beans and a lime and yogurt dressing.

Thai Cabbage Slaw
serves 4

6 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 cup basil, torn

1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs. lime juice
zest of one lime
1- 2 jalepeno peppers, finely diced
1/2 tsp. sugar

Thinly slice the savoy cabbage into narrow ribbons. Place in a large bowl with the green onions. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the cabbage. Mix well with your hands until the cabbage wilts slightly (30 seconds to one minute). Add the peanuts and basil. Toss. Top with grilled tofu and serve.

Chili Basil Mayonnaise

Chili Basil Mayonnaise
Chili Basil Mayonnaise

Just in time for BBQ season! Mayonnaise is really not that difficult to make, and much tastier, healthier, and more delicious when you make it yourself and add fun things – like chili and basil, to the mix.

Chili Basil Mayonnaise

one egg yolk
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. olive oil
1 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
2 red chilies, finely chopped
1 Tbs. basil, finely chopped

Put the egg yolk and the Dijon in a large mixing bowl and stir them together. Get your whisk ready! Add the oil (combined in a Pyrex liquid measuring cup or something else with a spout)a teaspoon at a time, fully whisking in each teaspoon before adding more oil. This part is essential- be patient! It might seem like it’s taking forever, but in the end, you should have added all the oil in about 6 minutes. The mixture should be orange or yellow in color, and glossy. Gently stir in the vinegar, and then the chili and basil (or any other addition that gets you excited). Keeps for at least a week, covered, in the refrigerator.