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creativecalligraphy

A Duo of Quick and Tasty Salad

Salad and greens are the mainstay of my daily diet.  What's phenomenal about greens are their versatility.  The variety of flavors that you can grow in a window box or sprouter is equally impressive.  So, while some might think "boring" when they think salad, I think of the possibilities and the freedom! I made this for lunch today and used about ¼ of the beautiful green papaya that I bought at Lanni Market.  To feed more than one person just double or triple the recipe.  It’s quick, easy and full of flavor!  I love Som Tum, the Thai Green papaya Salad and while it’s not difficult to make according to traditional recipes which include fresh chilies, palm sugar and fish sauce, I love my speedy vegan version that uses local ingredients from my pantry.  Jicama can be substituted for the green papaya if you can’t get your hands on one.  And if you really want to keep it local, try using a produce item from your area that is crisp and mild.  I’ve used local apples and slightly under-ripe green melon with nice results.   The kelp granules give that hint of the sea flavor that fish sauce imparts in traditional Som Tum recipes.  Not critical, but it is nice and adds a sprinkle of nutrients and iodine as well. [caption id="attachment_457" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Quick Green Papaya Salad"]Quick Green Papaya Salad[/caption] Quick Green Papaya Salad 1 cup green papaya, thinly sliced (as thin as you can make it!) 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 1 medium sized tomato, about ¾ cup sliced 1 small knob ginger, grated, about 1 tsp grated ginger 1 tsp maple syrup 1 tsp braggs aminos ½ tsp kelp granules (optional) ¼ - ½ tsp chipotle chili powder Put all ingredients into a bowl and use your fingers to combine everything well.  Eat! *************************** Our dinner salad was an experiment in balance.  The garlic ginger dressing was sweet and spicy.  The romaine was sweet and crisp; blueberries, tart; tomatoes, creamy; cucumber, crunchy and green; plums, lusciously sweet and creamy.  Next time, I would add a bitter green to the bowl... a handful of arugula or watercress would be perfect!   Ginger Garlic Dressing (yields 1 + cup of dressing) 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root, grated 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/3 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup mirin 1/4 cup Bragg’s aminos or soy sauce 2 Tbsp rice syrup (or 1 Tbsp honey if you prefer) 1/4 cup water, optional Mash the garlic using your mortar and pestle or mince very finely.  Combine with remaining ingredients and thin with water if you like.  [caption id="attachment_458" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Balanced Salad"]Balanced Salad[/caption] Balanced Salad (makes 4 entree servings, 2 adult and 2 kid portions) 2 romaine hearts, chopped 1 cup kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 leaves) handful of arugula, watercress or dandelion greens 1 cup blueberries 2-3 local tomatoes, quartered 1 local cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced 4 local black plums, quartered Make sure your hands are washed before you start prepping your salad, because you're going to use them! Cut the greens into bite sized pieces to make them more appealing and easier for kids to eat.  Toss all ingredients into a large bowl.  Ladle 1/3- 1/2 cup of dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly with your hands.  Rubbing the dressing into the greens will coat them beautifully.  Pay particular attention to the kale bits... rubbing them tenderizes them a little... it's magical!

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creativecalligraphy

Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” and Greens

I confess, I used to love cheese.  Back in the day, I enjoyed more than my share of pizza and I admit to having an affair with feta one summer.  Risotto was something that was easy to make and scrumptious to eat because it satisfied both vegetarian and non alike.  But that was then!  Cheese really hurts me now and anything that hurts just isn't worth having.  While I don't miss the cheese, I do love things with a creamy texture and that hint of salty goodness that pairs well with a great glass of wine and some fresh bitter greens.  I toyed around with a few different rices and quinoa (quinoa is a great high protein sub for brown rice in this dish, BTW, though you have to adjust the liquid way down), and my kids like the brown rice the best both for the slightly chewy bite and the nutty flavor. What's nice is that this pan of delight, when dished up and on the table is about $1 a serving when you have the greens fresh from the garden and tomatoes a plenty!  The indulgence is the Daiya, which at nearly $5.50 for 2 cups, is only a sometimes treat on my menu.  If you haven't tried Daiya yet I recommend it.  It is the first vegan cheese I've had that melts well and stretches and doesn't taste like glue!  The Daiya cheddar is versatile and adds that bit of cheesy umph that some dishes need. Great 1 cup add-in's per your palate: diced mushroons, peas, asparagus, red pepper, artichoke, minced kale, spinach Leftover risotto can be shaped into patties or croquettes, coated in gluten free breadcrumbs (or panko if you're not GF) and baked in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp.  Truly lovely served with artichoke hearts and raw baby spinach.  Consider this a two-fer!  Enjoy! (and let me know what you think if you try it!) [caption id="attachment_408" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Vegan Brown Rice Risotto"]Vegan Brown Rice Risotto[/caption] Vegan Brown Rice “Risotto” (40 min, serves 4-6 as entrée w/salad) 2 cups brown rice 1 cup dry white wine 6 cups vegetable broth 1 onion, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp olive oil 1 cup Daiya Cheddar shredded vegan “cheese” ½ cup almond milk pepper, to taste 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced ¼ cup fresh sage or basil, minced Heat your olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and garlic.  Stir to coat with the oil and let them work over medium low heat for a few minutes.  You will smell them and they will become soft without browning. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it with the oil, onion and garlic.  Turn the heat up to medium high and pour in the white wine.  Cook until the wine evaporates, then add 2 cups of broth.  Stir well and leave the pan for a few minutes.  You will be stirring frequently to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.  However, this is not as labor intensive as traditional risotto because it doesn’t require constant stirring.  Plan on adding 2 cups of broth, stirring and checking the pan several times before the next broth addition.  You don’t want the rice to do dry in between additions of broth, so watch your pan and add the 2nd dose of broth while the rice is a bit saucy.  I checked the pan every 8-10 minutes and that was perfect, but you will need to get a handle on your stovetop to know what is the perfect balance for you. Add the 3rd and final dose of broth along with the daiya cheese and stir well to combine.  The cheese will make the sauce very creamy.  Daiya contains enough salt that you will not need to add additional salt. After 10 minutes or so, check the texture of the rice by tasting a bite.  If it is cooked, you can stir in the almond milk and shut off the heat.  If it is not, continue cooking for a few more minutes, check it again and then proceed with the almond milk. Season with pepper and serve topped with the tomato and herbs. *To make this a great meal serve this alongside a salad of fresh greens.  I especially love arugula and endive with this because they have such a bright bite to them! [caption id="attachment_409" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato"]Arugula, Escarole, Endive, Basil and Tomato[/caption]

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creativecalligraphy

Citrus Salad with Beet, Blackberries and Avocado (Raw Gluten Free Vegan)

Dinner tonight was inspired by a recipe that Annmarie Gianni prepared on the Renegade Health Show earlier this month.  I modified it to suit the ingredients I had on hand (some luscious blackberries and a ton of mixed greens) and also to meet my Father in Law’s dietary restriction; he can’t have grapefruit.  So unlike the Renegade recipe which features grapefruit, I went with citrus that my Father in Law can have… the amazing orange!  I tried the dressing per the Renegade recipe and while it has a super fresh zing that I loved... but I know that my kids prefer a creamy dressing.  So, I played around a bit and incorporated some avocado and a date to cut the tang of the lime juice vinagrette from the original.  I am SO pleased with the results and all 5 of us sharing dinner tonight enjoyed this salad.  I had a dinner portion and the guys had side salads with their meal. Let me know if you try this one.  The raw beets might surprise you with their sweetness.  So, so good.  Also, I can easily see the dressing as a dip for raw veggies of almost any variety.  It's a little tart and a little sweet, but the creamy factor is what makes it special. [caption id="attachment_320" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Citrus Salad with Blackberries, Beet and Avocado"]Citrus Salad with Blackberries, Beet and Avocado[/caption]   Citrus Salad with Beet, Blackberries and Avocado (makes 2 dinner salad portions or 4-6 side salads) Salad 1 ½ ripe avocados (you need 2 total for this recipe; the other half is used in the dressing) 3 organic oranges (you need 5 total for this recipe) 1 organic grapefruit (optional) 4 raw beets 1 pint organic blackberries 4 cups spinach 4 cups romaine 2 cups arugula
 6 fresh mint leaves 
 Dressing 2 organic oranges, peeled 1 medool date, pit removed 2 organic limes, juiced dash of sea salt a few grinds of pepper ½ avocado, pit removed 2 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil (optional) 
 To prepare the salad: Wash all of the greens and spin them dry in your salad spinner or lay them on a clean kitchen cloth for a few minutes to dry. Fold the mint leaves in half lengthwise and use your knife to make thin strips (julienne).  Alternatively, you can minced the leaves or tear them into very small pieces.  Just be sure not to leave big pieces of leaf because it can be a strong flavor! Zest your citrus fruits with a zester and reserve the peelings.  Next, remove the citrus peels and cut the fruit into bite size pieces.  How you do it is up to you.  I usually quarter the fruit and then slice each quarter into 4 pieces.  If you’re peeling the fruit by hand you can just add the segments… whatever works! Give the raw beets a quick wash under cool water to remove any sand or dirt.  Slice off the greens and then peel the beets.  This is a messy task that will stain your fingers (and anything else) reddish purple for a while.  Consider this your red badge of courage.  You’re trying a new salad and it is making you commit!  Once the beets are peeled you have a few options.  You can grate them using a hand grater (uber messy!) You can cut them into small pieces with your chef’s knife (also uber messy). Or you can employ your food processor and either grate, slice or chop finely depending on the nifty blade attachments that you have.  I chopped the beets into a fairly tiny shred using my food processor and we all loved them.  Do what works for you. Let’s deal with the avocados.  Slice each one in half lengthwise and twist to get the pit to release from one side.  To get the pit out you can either scoop it out gently with a spoon or, if you’re confident with your knife, you can tap the knife blade into the pit (it will stick in there) and twist the handle until the pit pops out.  You really need to be confident to do the knife tap, so please don’t try it if you’re nervous.  I don’t want you to get hurt!  I’m going to go with the notion that you’re able to get the pit out and all.  Time to score the avocado flesh in lines lengthwise and then again width wise so you end up with a grid pattern on each piece of avocado.  Take a soup spoon now and work it in between the skin and the flesh as you scoop out as much avocado as possible.  As you do this, the cute little pieces will pop right out!  Fun. [caption id="attachment_321" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Avocado Citrus Dressing"]Avocado Citrus Dressing[/caption] To prepare the dressing: Put everything into you blender and whiz until smooth.  It took me about 30 seconds of blending in the Vitamix to achieve a smooth and creamy texture. To assemble: Toss the mixed greens into a large bowl or lay them out on a platter.  Sprinkle with the minced or julienned mint.  Spoon some dressing over the greens.  Use the amount that makes you comfortable.  For my dinner portion, I used 1 Tbsp of dressing.  Next, top with shredded beets, orange pieces, grapefruit pieces and berries.  Serve!

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