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Sarah Lawrence

Seasonal Salad Dressings

If you're anything like me you won't be able to pass up the incredible bounty of tree ripened fruits that are available at this time of year.  In New England, apples and peaches are plentiful.  Weekend apple picking means a week full of applicious eating.  I've been dicing my red beauties and adding them to salads, oatmeal, smoothies, muffins... and salad dressing.  Flavoring with whole foods is an adventure because moisture content/juiciness varies as well as sweetness/tartness.  So, I can guarantee that your dressing won't taste just like mine... but it will taste great and recipes like this one give you license to play with your food!  You need to taste and adjust and experiment.  The dressings I'm sharing today showcase the beauty of whole food dressings.  You'll get nutrients and healthy fats from the nuts and avocado, so additional oils aren't necessary -- the dressing will come together in a beautifully emulsified and creamy way. Dress salad greens and veggies or change it up and dress a cabbage slaw mixed with apples and serve over naked greens.  Top with a sprinkling of pecans or walnuts and a tsp of chia seeds per serving for that boost of calcium.  [caption id="attachment_484" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Harvest Salad with Apple Dijon Dressing"]Apple Dijon Dressing[/caption] Apple Dijon Dressing (yield 1+ cup, depending on size of your apple) 1 macintosh apple or other tart apple ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ½ cup avocado 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp ginger, fresh 4 brazil nuts, optional 1 medool date, optional Combine all ingredients in Vitamix, other blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.   If your apple is quite tart and you need to balance the dressing, adjust the flavor by adding a date and blending again.  The brazil nuts add a hint of creaminess and a ton of selenium, but don’t really effect the flavor.  Use them if you have them for that nutrient boost.   Spicy Peach Dressing [caption id="attachment_485" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Apple Celery Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Spicy Peach Dressing over romaine"][/caption] (yield 1+ cup, depending on size of your peach) 1 ripe peach, cut in half, pit removed ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ½ cup raw cashews 2 cloves garlic 2 Tbsp ginger, fresh 1 tsp Bragg’s Amino’s sriarcha, to taste, optional Combine all ingredients in Vitamix, other blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add ¼ cup of water, if necessary, to loosen the consistency of the dressing.  Everything depends on the juiciness of the peach, so if the dressing is too thick just add that water and blend again.  Spice up the dressing with sriarcha… I reserve a portion of dressing to toss with greens for my boys and then liven up the remaining dressing by starting with 1 tsp of sriarcha.  If you’re not feeding kids or if you prefer things spicier, start with 1 tsp and taste, then adjust if you want more heat.

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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

Avocado "Ranch" Dressing

For the love of avocado, you have to try this!  And do yourself a big favor by adding fresh tomato and carrot to the salad that you're dressing because avocado has been shown to dramatically boost absorption of beta carotene and lycopene (check out the link above for more info!). Notes: I found the garlic bite to be quite intense when I first mixed up the dressing.  Letting it stand definitely helps to mellow that flavor, but if you intend to serve this to kids shortly after making it you might want to half the garlic, try 1/4 tsp garlic powder or omit it all together.  The chives give a really lovely subtle onion flavor.  The dill flavor takes time to develop, so if you have a chance to let the dressing sit before serving, you will be rewarded.  I dressed some garden fresh greens for dinner tonight, but you can try this on baked potato, with fresh veggies or steamed veggies or as a dip for artichoke (yum!)  If you prefer a thick dip texture, or know some kids who do, cut the almond milk back to 1/2 cup but leave the remaining ingredients the same.  You could also leave the almond milk at 1 cup and add 1/2 a block of silken tofu to firm up the dressing into a dip.  If you go this route you will want to increase the chive to 1/2 cup and dill to 2 Tbsp to boost the flavor and balance the mellow tofu. Have you guessed yet that I adore avocado and need no special occasion to play with it in the kitchen!?  Talk about a creamy and versatile fruit!  I'm charmed. [caption id="attachment_427" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Avocado "Ranch" Dressing"]Avocado "Ranch" Dressing[/caption] Avocado "Ranch" Dressing 1 cup unsweetened almond milk juice of ½ a lemon (approx ¼ cup) 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar 1 ripe avocado (about 1 cup) 1 clove garlic 1 bunch fresh chive (used a handful/ about ¼ cup, adjust to suit your taste) 1 Tbsp dried dill or ¼ cup fresh dill, finely minced ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper Place everything in your Vitamix, blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Adjust for seasoning and then pour into a bowl and cover.  We want to chill this dressing for an hour or longer so the flavor develops. [caption id="attachment_428" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Garden Fresh Greens with Avocado Ranch Dressing: the orange tomato came from our garden, but there were only 2 so we each got 1/2!"]Garden Fresh Greens with Avocado Ranch Dressing[/caption]

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