calendar : cooking

On Simply Staying Hydrated: Watermelon-Avocado Salad + {Recipes for the Week of July 2}

I am writing this entry during the hottest hours of the day, looking outside, grateful to be in. Last week the thermostat did not drop below 80 at night, with temperatures rising to above 105 throughout day. On top of this, the humidity hit last week, and if the heat hadn’t felt heavy enough, by Wednesday I was feeling as though I was carrying around an extra weight throughout the day. I would get up in the morning, then have to sit back down. I would run to my exercise class and run back, feeling completely drained. Getting on my bike to pedal to work felt like my muscles weren’t receiving any oxygen at all.  The funny thing is, I didn’t really think much about the way I knew my body to be feeling because, I told myself, “I’m not doing anything that’s out of the ordinary.”

But I failed to take into account that the environment around me had changed. Heat/humidity. The constant flux from hot to cold (outside to inside air-conditioned buildings). The barely-cool air that generates from a swamp cooler trying to operate in humid weather.

Then in the afternoon on Wednesday, the clouds did their usual dance: they moved in heavy over the sky and sat right above my work, dangling the carrot of showers directly overhead. Finally, and just for a pitiful five minutes time, we got a light sprinkling of rain. I’ve been thinking about that sprinkle ever since: so little water came out. For all that effort, after so much expended energy, just a little. The world and all its cogs and roots works so hard. We work so hard. And, if we don’t take the time to replenish and stay hydrated, we work ourselves to the point where we’re able to only squeeze out a few drops. It’s a pretty big production (the gathering of clouds, the lightning, the swell of life and sound) for so little payout.

So this week I’m focusing on the simple task of staying hydrated. And simplicity in general. In fact, all the recipes for this week claim to be “simple.” I would argue that simple shouldn’t be a substitute for “plain” or “easy-to-make.” Rather, I keep reading and coming back to this notion that simplicity allows the items (or persons) involved to be their best. Simple foods paired with other simple foods bring out the best in each other. Simple, everyday practices allow us to stay nourished and thrive.

Enough ruminating. Here’s a recipe I love to make during the summer months. It’s cool, refreshing, and oh-so-simple. Plus, watermelon’s chock full of, well, water. So there you go. Instant summer bliss.

Watermelon-Avocado Salad

Ingredients

1/2 watermelon, seeded and cut into bite-sized cubes

1/2 medium-sized avocado, cut into smaller cubes

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

agave syrup, to taste (optional)

**I’ve also added 1/2 a jalapeno to this mix before–it’s a lovely mixture of spicy/sweet

To make:

Mix watermelon, avocado and cilantro together in a large bowl. In a small bowl or cup, whisk together vinegar, lime/lemon juice, salt and pepper and agave. Pour dressing over fruit and stir gently to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving (to allow the juices to soak in) or refrigerate for 1 hour and serve nice and chilled.

Recipes for the Week:

Monday, July 2: Simple Miso Soup (from Adrienneats)

Ingredients

2 tsp red  or yellow miso
1 c boiling water
1 large garlic clove, halved
Cilantro for garnish
1/2 tsp seaweed gomasio
1/2 tsp lime juice

Tuesday, July 3: Simple Pasta with Fresh Herbs (inspired by Not Without Salt)

Ingredients:

Gluten-free pasta, enough for one
2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, dill, chives, mint, thyme, parsley, etc.
1 garlic clove, smashed
olive oil, salt & pepper, to taste

Wednesday, July 4: Summer Corn Salad Recipe (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

6 ears of corn
1 large shallot, minced

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
very scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil

3/4 cup toasted pepitas
3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

Thursday, July 5: Thai Coconut Cucumber Salad (from Love and Lemons)

Ingredients

dressing:
1/3 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more at end, to taste
juice from 1/2 lime (reserve the other 1/2 lime to squeeze juice on at the end)
1 teaspoon agave
1/4-1/2 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
1/4 – 1/3 cup water

salad components:
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup edamame, cooked
1/2 cup tofu, cubed, (baked, if you prefer, see method below)
1/4 cup scallions, sliced, white and green parts
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped (thai basil if you have it, I just had regular basil)
4 or 5 mint leaves, chopped
1 cup arugula or other salad greens
1 cup rice noodles, cooked (optional)
1/4 cup cashews, toasted & chopped (optional)
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)

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This Week: Guest Post! Laura Owen & The NEW Fruit Salad

This week, I’m excited to share Calendar : Cooking’s first ever guest post. First, a quick bit about our guest: She was born in England and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She spent her childhood trying to hear the difference between “tom-ah-to” and “tom-A-to”. She blogs at www.thoughtsforasunshineymorning.blogspot.com.

And, right on time for summer, here she is: ladies and gents: the multi-talented Laura Owen, telling us just how she got over lettuce. Hope you enjoy, and I’ll be back next Monday with more recipes for the week.

* * *

THE NEW FRUIT SALAD

I’ve always been a salad lover who is relatively indifferent to lettuce. At the end of salad, some lettuce always straggles on my plate after I’ve finished eating all the delicious fruits, nuts, veggies, etc. that I basically considered the salad a vehicle for. I’m not even that into dressing, which I use sparingly: it’s the smorgasboard of toppings, the chance to indulge in new and different fruit/veggie/protein combinations, that makes me a salad person.

I discovered the following salad recipe on Hello Giggles, from a vegan-and-gluten-free food blogger, Laura Friendly (no relation). It blew my mind because: Cucumbers! They can serve as a salad base instead of lettuce!

To which you might reply, oh, Laura, what about Greek salad? How have you never figured out that cucumber can be a base? But: Greek salad always struck me as a little same-y; I get bored with all those cucumbers.

This recipe uses cucumbers as a base, but it is far from dull for the following reason:

You see this here recipe is for a FRUIT salad. A savory AND a sweet fruit salad.

Which is an intriguing idea. Why do pinaeapples and melons have the monopoly on fruit salads? I’ve eaten enough boring fruit salad spreads at parties to be sick of underripe canatalope mixed with honeydew forever.  Tomatoes are a fruit, as we all know from elementary school. Why can’t tomatoes be a fruit salad? Alongside blueberries? Why can’t we live a little?

So when I first saw the ingredient list for this fruit salad, I was shocked, then intrigued:

  • 1  pear, diced
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced or diced
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup sweet blueberries
  • 1 avocado, diced

It shouldn’t work, (tomatoes and blueberries together seems fundamentally wrong, somehow), but it does. And the texture and flavor combination—soft and sweet and sharp and crunchy—oh, it is good.

This time ‘round, our CSA had Armenian cucumbers, so I used them. Armenian cucumbers have a thin skin and are basically a lot more cucumber bang for your buck. Plus, they look awesomely weird.

For what it’s worth, I tend to leave out the avocado topping when I make this recipe. Don’t get me wrong: avocados are proof that a beneficent force guided the shaping of the universe, that’s how delicious avocados are. But I didn’t find they added much to this salad.

Maybe this is it: the original recipe calls for a light oil, and suggests avocado oil. I’ve always used sunflower oil instead, because it’s what we have in the house, and it works well. Maybe the avocado adds a note to the avocado oil or something?

The dressing itself was another revelation: I can actually adore a dressing! Even if it, too, appears at first glance to be very weird:

  • 4 tablespoons light oil (avocado)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • juice & zest of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Again, the sweet/savory combo really wins here. The agave nectar makes it just sweet enough, but the other ingredients stop the dressing from being cloying.

My suggestion: the dressing can be quite oily, and the amount suggested here is MORE than enough. I tend to double the amount of fruit and keep the dressing recipe the same, which works well.

And if you do double, you’ll have lots of salad: unlike lettuce-based salads, even if you dress it and keep it for a few days, the salad won’t get soggy and disgusting; it retains a crunch. It can make a whole meal (it’s very filling), or it’s nice and refreshing alongside something spicy.

I would say “the salad is perfect for summertime,” and it is. But it’s really perfect for anytime. I want more of the salad right now, just typing this up. I always want to eat this salad. I exist in a constant state of wanting to eat this salad. Unlike other salads, there is never anything straggling on my plate. I eat it all up. You guys, this salad. This salad. This. Salad. Thissalad.

Plus, it’s pretty to look at.

* * *

Thanks, Laura! See you all next week, everyone!

–J


Chunky Avocado-Mango Salsa with Lightly Fried Tortillas + {Recipes for the Week of June 18}

These tacos really need no introduction. Honestly. Pour yourself a cocktail or lemon-water and just enjoy. Summer officially begins this week: can you believe we are already half-way through 2012?

We’ll be driving back into town today, hopefully with beautiful pictures of the Grand Canyon to post in the week to come. Have a great week!

Chunky Avocado-Mango Salsa

Ingredients

1 large mango, peeled and chopped

1 large avocado, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 large red bell pepper, diced 

1-2 gloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or vinegar of choice)

1 tablespoon Mirin rice cooking wine

1 teaspoon lime juice, or to taste

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons olive oil + more as needed

8 corn tortillas

_________

To make

Combine mango, avocado, garlic and cilantro in a medium-sized bowl and mash lightly with a fork. Add bell pepper, vinegar, cooking wine, lime juice, and salt and pepper and stir to mix. Serve with lightly fried corn tortillas: heat 2 – 3 teaspoons of olive oil in a small cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add one tortilla at a time to the oil (you might need to occasionally replenish the oil levels in the skillet), turning over after roughly 30 seconds. Heat on both sides, remove from heat, and add additional tortillas.

Recipes for the Week of June 18

Monday, June 18: Baked Basil-Chard Falafel (from Adrienneats)

Ingredients

2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight (not cooked)
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 swiss chard leaf
1 small bunch of basil, about a cup loosely packed
1/4 cup parsley
2 tablespoons pistachios
1 tablespoon lime juice

Tuesday, June 19: Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad (from Tartelette)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped kale (previously washed and cleaned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
vinaigrette (recipe found here)

Wednesday, June 20: Moroccan Carrot Ribbons and Black Lentils (from Whole Living)

Ingredients

1 cup black (beluga) lentils
2-3 large carrots
1 small red onion
6 prunes
½ cup each chopped mint and cilantro

Dressing
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon green anise seeds
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of cayenne or crushed chilies
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon raw honey or agave
3 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil
pinch of sea salt

Carrot Marinade
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
pinch of salt

Thursday, June 21: Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas & Chard with Tahini Dressing (from Whole Living)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 bunch white or rainbow chard, cleaned and dried
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons olive oil. divided
Pinch black pepper

tahini dressing
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
big pinch black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch cayenne

Local Snap Pea and Young Onion Saute + {Recipes for the Week of June 11}

Eric and I have been getting spoiled lately by our friends at Sleeping Frog Farms: their table at market is loaded with fresh mustard greens, purslane, braising greens, broccolini, homemade caponata, apricots, dates, radishes, heirloom carrots, young onions, and peas.

We come home so loaded with veggies that we have to start cooking right away, preparing lunch–we need to use at least enough so that the rest will fit into our fridge’s bottom drawers. With the heat, we want simple, fast (if we must turn the stove on, it’s to flash-cook on high or simmer on low), and nutrient-dense foods. We experimented with the peas this weekend, and came out with an amazingly simple dish that we polished off in one sitting.

Local Snap Pea and Young Onion Saute

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound snap peas, trimmed but left in their pods

5-6 stalks young onions, sliced thinly

3 tablespoons tamari

smoked paprika, to taste

__________

To make

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-low. Add onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, until skin is translucent. Add tamari and stir for 20-30 seconds before adding snap peas. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring continuously, until snap peas “brighten” in color. Season with smoked paprika and serve. You can also add this mixture to rice or quinoa.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, June 11: Red Rice Salad (from A Wooden Nest)

Ingredients

2 cups water
1 cup red rice
2 tablespoons oil
1 red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red chili, seeded and chopped
1-2 inches ginger root, peeled and minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup peas, frozen or fresh 
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 teaspoon molasses
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh basil 
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) 

Tuesday, June 12: Sprout Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 handful arugula, chopped
1 small bunch chives, minced

8 oz mung bean sprouts (or equiv. cooked mung beans), about 2 cups

a big handful of well-toasted, sliced almonds
1 ripe avocado, chopped
good extra virgin olive oil

to finish: chive flowers (optional)

Wednesday, June 13: Mushroom Ragu with GF Croutons (from Two Blue Lemons)

*original recipe calls for a poached egg–feel free to opt out

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (ex: mix of crimini and shiitake)
3/4 pound gluten-free bread
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
salt & pepper

Thursday, June 14: Tomato-Zucchini Gratin (from Adrienneats)

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 of a yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
half of a zucchini, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons parsley, basil, and dill mixture, mince

Strawberry-Tequila Redux + {Recipes for the Week of June 4}

Hope you all had a great, long weekend last week. We were lazy, staying in bed late and going to coffee shops to read and lounge. We did host an impromptu night of BBQ over at our house (veggie burgers and dogs galore), and during the day, I treated myself to this nice, refreshing drink. I love how the strawberries’ sweetness mingles with the kick from the jalapeño: it’s a perfect and healthier alternative to the summertime margarita. As a hint, I’d definitely recommend using frozen strawberries–you get a smoother blend than with ice, plus you don’t have to worry about the ice watering down the flavors.

Strawberry-Tequila Redux

6 frozen strawberries

2 ounces 100% agave tequila

two slices jalapeño, more or less depending on your spice preference

juice of 1/2 lime

________

To make

Muddle frozen strawberries, jalapeño, and lime juice in cocktail mixer, until an almost thick syrup forms. Add tequila and shake vigorously. Drain into glass with ice and serve.

Recipes for the Week of June 4

Monday, June 4: Sesame Kale Salad (from Fresh 365)

Ingredients

1 large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves sliced in thin strips (about 4 c, packed)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2 Tablespoon minced red onion
1 carrot, shredded
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste

Tuesday, June 5: Red Curry and Miso-Roasted Veggie Bowl (from Love & Lemons)

Ingredients

2 yellow pattypan squash (or other summer squash), sliced into roughly 1-inch pieces
3 small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 leeks, white and very light green parts only, sliced, rinsed and dried
1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch of swiss chard (4 or 5 large leaves), chopped
4-5 basil leaves, sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 cup cooked quinoa or rice, to mix in or serve on the side (optional)

vegetable glaze & sauce
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon agave or honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
2/3 cup coconut milk
salt & pepper to taste

Wednesday, June 6: Maple Tossed Puy Lentils, Strawberry, Asparagus and Rhubarb Salad (from Green Kitchen Stories)

Ingredients

1 cup/2 1/2 dl puy lentils
2 fresh thin rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced
1 small box strawberries, sliced
1 small box of pearl tomatoes, halved
10 stalks asparagus, chopped into 1 inch (2,5 cm) pieces
15 fresh basil leaves
150 g feta cheese

dressing
3 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and black pepper, seasoning

Thursday, June 7: Beans and Greens Burritos (from Good Things Grow)

Ingredients

4 large or 8 small whole wheat flour tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and black pepper
1 bunch kale (about 1 pound), roughly chopped
2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained, liquid reserved

Easy Chocolate Cake + {Recipes for the Week of May 21}

When life calls for celebrations (summer is finally here!), you need a go-to cake that’s quick, reliable, and easy to “dress up.” (But only if you want to. There’s nothing worse than a cake that insists on getting all dressed up in frills and layers each time before going out.)

A good cake stands alone. I’ve made this chocolate cake–found in this book–a dozen or so times now, and it’s never failed. It’s quick (start to finish = 40 minutes), reliable (even with gluten-free flour, it still comes out light and airy), and easy to “dress up” (I’ve made a chocolate icing for it, layered it with raspberry preserves, or added peppermint extract to it; I’ve even baked the cake in a convection oven and still had it turn out amazingly).

Hope you have a reason to celebrate real soon…

Easy Chocolate Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free)

**Helpful tip: If you have left-over coffee, save it and substitute a cup or so for one of the liquids in the recipe.

Ingredients

3 cups gluten-free flour of choice (mine these days seems to be a mix of Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Mix and sorghum flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup oil or Earth Balance

1 1/2 cups dry sweetener

1/4 cup water

2 cups soy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a blender or food processor, blend together the oil (or Earth Balance), sweetener, and water. Add this to flour mixture along with the milk and vanilla, and mix together gently until “just mixed.” Pour into a lightly oiled cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a fork to see if done. Serve when cooled.

Up next on my list for chocolate cakes to try: this one, sans egg. Doesn’t it look delicious? The beets just lend an incredible color.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, May 21: Otsu (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

grated zest of 1 lemon
fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles (or rice noodles if you prefer)
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Tuesday, May 22: Tortilla Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

3 cups cooked beans, room temperature or warm
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)
1/4 cup favorite vinaigrette, or to taste

2 cups / big handfuls of chopped cauliflower (stems, leaves, florets), boiled in a bit of salted water for just 20 seconds, then drained under cold water

2-3 big handfuls of tortilla chips
1 small (watermelon) radish, sliced paper thin
1/2 avocado, sliced

Wednesday, May 23: Carrot, Dill, and White Bean Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

more olive oil for cooking
2 cups sliced carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick on deep bias
3 cups cooked white beans
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Thursday, May 24: Lemon-Walnut Quinoa & Chickpea Salad (from Love and Lemons)

Ingredients

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups of arugula or other leafy greens
3 or 4 radishes, sliced
1/4 cups sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chives
1/4 cup basil
salt and pepper to taste

lemon walnut oil dressing:
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon honey (or agave or brown rice syrup)

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger + {Recipes for the Week of May 14, 2012}

Do you ever have those days when you’re suddenly able to clear all of those backlogged to-do items off your list in a single day? Perhaps you’re caught by surprise at the end of the day, but for some reason, one thing leads naturally to the other, and suddenly, you look back over the last twelve hours and think, “Wow. That feels pretty good. (But where did my day go?)”

I like to call these particular points in time “maintenance days.” They’re the days when some sense of order just needs to be restored. The floor must be swept. Your hair really is starting to resemble a mullet in the back. And that fridge? It won’t shop for itself. Sunday was official “maintenance” day in our household:

–Maintaining the food supply: morning farmers market run

–Maintaining the yard: watering, repotting plants

–Maintaining the clothes pile: do laundry, sort laundry, change bed sheets

–Maintaining the house: vacuum and mop all floors, dust furniture

–Maintaining the clutter: sort, put away, give away

–Maintaining the person: haircut, shower

–Maintaining sanity: read, relax, read, workout, see a movie with friends

It was a good day overall, and in the midst of it, I managed to dig out this book and finally use it as inspiration to create this very flavorful (garlic and ginger lovers, unite!), deliciously cool salad. It’s my new go-to, bring-to-a-potluck dish, although, as Eric pointed out, I might want to try roasting the garlic next time to tone down the taste for conversation’s sake: this salad is not for the garlic/ginger faint of heart.

Cucumber-Grapefruit Salad with Smashed Garlic and Ginger

The original recipe called for red onion. We did not have any on hand, so I opted for grapefruit. I’m not disappointed in the least; in fact, I’d argue the substitution is an improvement.

Dressing

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon maple syrup (or to taste)

1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, and seeded

1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 grapefruit, wedges separated and peeled (try to get off as much pith as you can)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To prepare

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add garlic, and continue pounding until its well crushed, but stop before you get to the point where you have paste. Add the garlic-ginger mix to your dressing and stir to combine.

Take your seeded cucumbers and cut each half on an angle into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl followed by the cilantro, grapefruit, and sesame seeds. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, May 14: Cucumber-Peanut Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)

Speaking of cucumbers, here’s one from 101 Cookbooks, published around the same time last year.

Ingredients

3 medium cucumbers, partially peeled
1-2 green serrano chiles, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup  peanuts, toasted
1/3 cup dried large-flake coconut, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil (original recipe calls for sunflower oil)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
a handful cilantro, chopped

Tuesday, May 15: Tomato, Squash, and Coconut Milk Bisque (from Honest Fare)

Ingredients

13-ounce can coconut milk, well shaken

10 roma tomatoes

3 cups worth of butternut and/or acorn squash

1 tablespoon agave syrup

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

kosher salt to taste

pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

cracked black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

olive oil

handful fresh basil chopped

1 cup water or vegetable broth

Wednesday, May 16: Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta (from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients

For the pesto

2 garlic cloves

20 grams fresh basil leaves (1/2 cup packed)

about 7 oil-packed sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

6-8 tablespoons water

3-4 tablespoons walnuts (toasted, if preferred)

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste + pepper

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

For the pasta

your choice of pasta

walnuts, chopped and toasted if preferred

fresh basil, chiffonade

sundried tomatoes, chopped

pesto

Thursday, May 17: Green Enchiladas with Cashew Poblano Crema (from Love and Lemons)

Wow. This recipe looks amazing. Totally vegan, gluten-free, with the crema made from ground cashews. Follow the link to view the ingredient lists.