I love having a creative salad on Saturday for lunch. I have the extra time to put together a dressing and use more unique ingredients. I had pickled some beets earlier today, so decided to make use of some of the leftovers for a salad.
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped (I’m sure arugula or spinach would also work well)
- 1 roasted beet, sliced and cooled
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 grapefruit, segmented
- 2 tbsp crumbled feta (or more to taste of course!)
For the dressing, I used the following recipe, which is a staple. This is my default recipe – I rarely buy store bought salad dressing, because this is so much tastier.
- 1 tsp brown mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 shallot chopped (I used the shallot I had roasted with the beets)
- pepper to taste
I’ve been eating a lot of beets lately – I go through these phases all the time where I forget about certain ingredients and then I totally overdo it.
I had gotten some beautiful beets in my CSA delivery – they are so much tastier in pickled form. I decided to refer to good ol’ Alton Brown for a recipe, and of course, he never disappoints. I did make a few variations to his recipe though – his recipe called for a lot of sugar which I modified.
The first step in his recipe called for roasting beets in the oven with some shallots and rosemary (yay! I got to use the rosemary that has been growing beautifully in my garden). He recommends making a foil pack with all the ingredients in it and roast the beets at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes. In typical form, I was out of aluminum foil (who runs out of aluminum foil?!?!), so I made do with some parchment paper. Here’s a picture of the end result of the roasted beets.
I then followed Alton’s recipe, but
- 5 to 6 roasted beets
- 1 large red onion, frenched
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Slice the roasted beets and prep the onions.
- Grab an empty jar and create layers of beets and onions until the jar is full.
- Boil all the rest of the ingredients and pour the liquid into the jar.
- The recipe says the beets should be ready in 3 to 7 days…can’t wait!
This week, I’m most excited about the fava beans in my delivery. I love using them to make a lovely dip, but this time around, I might be a bit more adventurous. I have some beets in the refrigerator right now that I’ve been using for my beet juice detox, so these beets may just turn into a pickled concoction to serve with salad. The shiitake mushrooms will go perfectly in a miso soup…so much yummy goodness in this delivery!
I came across a salad recipe on a twitter post today that had chickpeas and mangoes in it, which seemed like a perfect dinner tonight, especially since I had some leftover cooked chick peas from my hummus yesterday. I went back to try to find the post at dinner, but I couldn’t find it for the life of me, so decided to improvise.
- 1 cup chick peas, cooked
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 mango, cut into small cubes
- 1 stalk green garlic
- 2 green onions
- 1 lime, juiced
- arugula (or any one of your favourite salad greens – I prefer arugula because of its peppery nature)
- In a bit of olive oil, toast the spices and add the chick peas until they are fully coated and warmed through.
- Add the juice from half a lime.
- In a small bowl, mix the mango, green garlic, green onions and the remaining lime juice. On a bed of arugula, add the chick peas and mango mixture.
I love the combination of warm ingredients on arugula – I’ve also made a salad with roasted potatoes coated in a mustard dressing on a bed of arugula that is absolutely deelish.
Here’s a review of last week:
- My dietary choices have almost become second nature because I’ve grown comfortable with the ingredients I need to focus on.
- I think that adding a tablespoon of Udo’s 3-6-9 Blend to my morning smoothies has helped with my dry skin issues
- My cravings for cheese have gone down quite a bit – although, I still am looking forward to my first greek salad with loads of feta.
- I’ve noticed that my olive consumption has gone down – probably because I’m not eating cheese. I love cheese and olives as a snack. I don’t think I’ll go back to that habit, but some olive tapenade is sounding really good right now.
- Nutella is not vegan – oops – that one slipped through the cracks. Just another reason why it would have been good to do a purge in my kitchen before starting this.
- Another couple of pounds gone…woohoo!
- I tried sprouted wheat bread last week. I’m a fan.
- I crave a lot of flavour in my food now – spicy thai curries are high on my craving list. I already used to eat a lot of ginger and garlic in my food, but now it is absolutely essential.
- I have been eating a lot more vegetables now – sounds a bit silly since as a vegetarian, you’d think they were such a big part of my diet. I think it is because I’m trying to eat smaller meals and snack more often – when you limit yourself to vegan options, fresh fruits and veggies start filling in the blanks.
- I no longer feel the need for caffeine. I do like to have a cup of green tea in the morning, but my coffee and earl grey tea cravings are gone. That being said, I love the taste of a Peet’s latte, but it is a treat nowadays instead of the norm.
One more week to go!
I’ve been buying hummus quite a bit over the last few months and decided that it is now time for me to take control of what is in my hummus. Costco carries Pita Pal hummus which is organic and I am impressed with the ingredients they use (and they only manufacture vegetarian products…bonus!). That being said, I still want to get into the habit of making my own hummus (and adding some extra goodness to it).
This week, I decided that I was going to put that beautiful oregano from my garden to use, along with some raw kale. The kale in my garden is doing beautifully (not that it takes much to grow kale – it grows like a weed). I need to start coming up with new and unique ways to incorporate it into my meals, and why not start with hummus!
Here’s the recipe I used:
2 cups dried garbanzo beans (hey, I’m making sure this batch lasts the week!)
8 to 10 kale leaves with stems removed
10 to 15 fresh oregano leaves
5 small cloves of garlic
2 to 3 lemons, juiced
3 dried chilis (or more if you like living on the edge)
1/2 cup tahini (if you don’t have tahini in the house, use any nut butter you have – I’ve used peanut butter and almond butter in the past with great results)
sea salt to taste
I cooked the garbanzo beans in my handy-dandy pressure cooker and then threw all the ingredients into my food processor. I like my hummus to be quite thick, but you can always add more lemon juice if you’d like to thin it down. This recipe yielded just over 4 cups of hummus.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to indulge in some hummus on toast.
While other folks most likely trek across the Golden Gate Bridge to head to wine country, I choose to head up there for the olives. I’ve been to the Olive Festival in the past and enjoyed visiting the various farms that participated in the event.
Although McEvoy Ranch isn’t a sponsor at the Olive Festival, I have tried a few of their products. I don’t know if my palette is mature enough to tell the difference across higher end olive oils, but I have enjoyed all of the products I have bought, whether it be for dipping bread, or using for a tomato, olive and feta salad.
A few weeks ago at the Green Festival in San Francisco, I was browsing through the area of natural body products. I have mild eczema, so my skin tends to be very dry – the large olive oil sign at the stall intrigued me. Sapothecary makes handmade soaps using extra virgin olive oil – the company is a spinoff from McEvoy Ranch. What fascinated me was the ingredients they used in their soaps – I knew what almost all of them were and they were all words I could pronounce. The salesperson did a good job of getting me to use my green dollars I had received at the registration desk on her products.
I’ve been using the soap for a few weeks now, and my skin feels great – I rarely need to use lotion, which saves me one whole step while getting ready in the morning (translation: one additional snooze when the alarm rings). I bought their Orange Cinnamon with Olive Mud, Grapefruit Lemongrass with Oatmeal and Peppermint with Mint Leaves. We’ll see how this goes, but I may just be a permanent customer!
I’m sure everyone has heard of the dirty dozen, but this is a list I tend to refer back to quite often to make sure I’m getting the best bang for my buck. It isn’t necessary to always buy organic products as this list illustrates, but for the following, it is definitely important
- Grapes (Imported)
- Kale / Collard Greens (we grow our own greens when the season allows for it)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Blueberries (Domestic)
- Strawberries (I’ll be signing up for the strawberry option in my CSA this year)
- (Worst) Celery (This is a staple in my CSA delivery)
To see the full list on the Environmental Working Group’s website, check out this link: http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php
Strawberry season is here! This year, I’m going to sign up for the strawberry option in my weekly delivery. These smaller, darker berries are so much better than those large oversized berries normally found at the grocery store.
I added romaine lettuce to the list this week because sometimes, all I want is a good Caesar salad (with a creamy tofu dressing of course). Green garlic (again), avocados and broccoli – I kept the list simple this week because I stocked up at the farmers market.
My love for polenta started at Aqui’s Mexican Restaurant – I really love their entrees that are served with polenta, but it always seemed to be something that I would never consider making at home. Then I discovered Food Merchants ready made polenta at Whole Foods – I could cut the log into slices and grill them, or break down the polenta with some milk or water to turn it into a creamy polenta. This isn’t the cheapest way to make polenta, but a good ingredient to have the in the pantry to throw together a quick dinner (and doesn’t require dirtying up lots of dishes!).
I picked up a bag of cornmeal to try making my own polenta a while ago – be warned, your first attempts may create very gloopy (yes, that’s a real word) messes. I usually look to Alton Brown or America’s Test Kitchen for a more scientific approach to cooking basic foods, but Alton Brown recommends baking your polenta, with constant stirring, and that seems like too much work for me for a weeknight dinner. The best option I found was the following recipe:
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Bring the water to a boil and add the salt.
- With a wire whisk in one hand, slowly stream the cornmeal into the water and whisk constantly.
- Allow the mix to rise up in the pot at least once and then transfer the contents into a double boiler.
- Simmer it on low for about 8 to 10 minutes until fully cooked (some folks say it is done when it starts to come away from the side of the pot).
I love this recipe because it is so versatile. You can add so many other ingredients while adding the polenta to the cooking water – here are some of my ideas, but I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!
1) sundried tomatoes and red onions
2) dried basil and garlic
3) ancho chilli powder and ground cumin for some Southwest flavour
4) use a mushroom or vegetable broth instead of water
I made polenta last night and served it with a mixture of black beans, kale, zucchini, celery, onions and garlic seasoned with cumin, chili powder and sea salt. And as I’m posting this picture, I’m realizing that I need to buy some new dishes to showcase my meals, because my good ol’ bowls are getting kinda boring (don’t tell the huz!)