Monthly Archives: July 2012

Brown Rice & Lentil Salad

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I got the inspiration for this recipe while channel surfing one afternoon. Giada De Laurentiis was making a similar salad on her show Everyday Italian. I switched it up considerably to make it my own. I am always thankful for the inspiration of the Cooking Channel though!

Into the rice cooker goes one cup texmati brown rice with two bay leaves and one and three-quarter cups of vegetable broth. I believe in my rice cooker this take about a half hour to cook. Once it clicks to cook, allow to sit an additional ten minutes or so. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool. The rest of the components for the dish can be ready while the rice is cooking.

Heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove top. One turn of olive oil goes into the skillet. For this recipe I used my favorite sun-dried tomato infused extra virgin olive oil.

Rough chop one large sweet onion and six garlic scapes. Into the skillet to saute they go.

Rough chop four medium carrots and add to skillet when the onion is just starting to get tender. Saute another few minutes until the carrots begin to get tender.

Add into the skillet one and a half cups of your favorite lentils, along with two and a quarter-cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook twenty minutes or until lentils are tender.

Strain lentils when one and add to rice.

Rough chop two cups of kalamata olives and nice size bunches of fresh (just cut from the garden is always best!!) parsley, basil, spicy oregano, and lemon thyme. Add into lentil rice mixture.

Toss well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad is delicious all by itself as a light lunch or as a side dish to almost any meal!


Shrimp & Scallop Kabobs

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In the summertime, I start craving light and refreshing meals. Who wants to eat a heavy meal when the temperature is climbing to 100*, or worse, more! Not me! This meal was born of that craving.

We picked up a pound of shrimp and a pound of scallops. Now, what to do with them??

I went through the cupboard and came up with quick easy marinade with a little kick. Into a dish large enough for the shrimp and scallops goes one cup of serrano honey vinegar, a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a liberal squirt of sriracha, sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and some red pepper flakes. Using a microplane, grate two cloves of garlic into the mixture. Whisk up, and place the shrimp and scallops into the dish.

If you don’t have serrano honey vinegar, go get some! I am loving this vinegar right now. It is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. If going out and getting some is not an option, any white or light tasting balsamic would work. A dark or heavy balsamic would overpower the shrimp and scallops.

Sririacha, what can I say about sriracha? This is a MUST have ingredient in my house. If you don’t have sriracha, another hot sauce would work.

Allow the shrimp and scallops to marinate for about an hour. Occasionally, toss them gently to ensure that they are well coated in the marinade.

Once they are done marinating, it’s time to put them on skewers! I put all shrimp and all scallops because the shrimp cook a little faster than the shrimp.

Have them all skewered? Time to go out to the grill. Over medium heat, place the scallop skewers on first. The scallops will require about three minutes per side, the shrimp only required two minutes per side.

If it rains, as it threatened to here, these could easily be pan-seared and be just as tasty!

While they are grilling, there is time to mix up a fabulous dipping sauce. Whisk together one cup of vegenaise (or mayonnaise would work), one-quarter cup of sriracha, and one-quarter cup of honey. Perfect balance!

We served them up with an edamame salad and asian broccoli slaw. Light, refreshing and delicious! This is summer eating at it’s best!


Edamame Salad

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It is said that we eat with our eyes first. If that is the case, than this salad will definitely satisfy. This colorful salad is an amazing accompaniment to any meal. It can also be enjoyed as a delicious and healthy snack on its own.

Start by preheating the oven to 375*. Clean six to eight medium beets, and cut them into small cubes. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Into a baking dish they go to roast in the oven for twenty minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, rinse and strain twelve ounces of shelled edamame and two fifteen ounce cans of garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. Toss into a large bowl.

Clean two large carrots and slice into match sticks. Chop one large sweet onion, one red pepper, one orange pepper, and one yellow pepper. Add the veggies in with the edamame and garbanzo beans.

Once the beets are cooked, allow them to cool and add them in to the edamame mixture.

Pour one-half cup or so of vinegar into a small mixing bowl. For this batch I used a serrano honey vinegar. Honestly, I think I could drink this by the glass!

Over the vinegar  bowl, grate three cloves of garlic and a one inch piece of ginger which was peeled. Add in some fresh ground sea salt and pepper. Right now I am loving using mixed peppercorns. It gives things a slightly different taste than black peppercorns alone. Whisk well.

Pour the seasoned vinegar over the edamame mixture and toss well to combine. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Allow to sit in the fridge a few hours to really allow all flavors to marry.

This salad is a colorful treat that you can enjoy with several of your senses…..sight, taste, and don’t forget smell!


Dairy Free Flounder Florentine

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Sometimes I crave old school  dishes, they sooth and comfort me like no other dishes can. This is my updated version of traditional flounder florentine. Of course, it is dairy free. Other than that, I don’t think I’ve changed it much. Some recipes call for rolling the flounder, but I prefer casserole style.

I started by melting two tablespoons of Earth Balance (my favorite butter substitute) in a medium size skillet over medium heat while the oven is preheating to 350*. Two yellow onions and five cloves of garlic that have been diced join the “not butter” once it has melted. Saute until the onions begin to get tender.

I defrosted two ten ounce packages of chopped spinach ahead of time. Next it needs to get drained well. You want to remove as much of the moisture as possible. I put it in cheese cloth and squeezed it well to drain it. Once drained, layer the spinach in the bottom of a nine by eleven inch baking dish.

Six flounder fillets which have been washed and dried get placed on top of the spinach. Now it’s time to turn your attention back to the stove top.

Once the onions are tender (five minutes or so), sprinkle in three tablespoons of flour, sea salt, black pepper, white pepper, and nutmeg (about one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons each of the remaining spices, adjust according to taste). Stir well to combine.

Slowly add in one and a half cups of plain soy milk (almond or rice milk would work well too, regular milk if you are not dairy free). Stir constantly to combine well. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. You need to be paying attention from this point on or the sauce will scorch on the bottom. Stir, pretty much constantly, until the sauce thickens. Probably about two or three minutes.

Pour the sauce over the flounder filets. Top with a generous sprinkle of paprika and place in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes until the fish is nice and flaky. All that is left is to enjoy!


Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

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Inspired by these beautiful mushrooms and some left over artichoke hearts, I decided to make some vegan stuffed mushrooms for lunch one day. The oven gets preheated to 350*, while you prep the mushrooms and all the other ingredients.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. One turn around the pan with olive oil, for this I decided to use a sun-dried tomato infused olive oil to add to the flavor. Add one tablespoon of non-dairy butter substitute.

While the butter melts, chop one onion, three shallots, and two cloves of garlic. No need to be particular, for these mushrooms, rough chopped works. Once the butter melts, saute the onion, shallots and garlic until softened. This take three to four minutes.

While the onion, shallots and garlic work, chop one-half cup of artichoke hearts, one-half cup of sun-dried tomatoes, one red pepper and the stems from the mushrooms. Once the onion mixture is tender, add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and saute another one to two minutes until the pepper is tender.

Mix in on-half cup of panko and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Stuff the mushroom tops and sprinkle the rest of the mixture around the baking pan. This stuffing is too yummy to waste!

Bake covered for twenty minutes and uncovered another ten until nicely browned. We enjoyed ours with some fresh sliced tomato.


Whole Grain Berry French Toast

Not long after I wake up on a Sunday morning, I start thinking about what to make for Sunday breakfast. One Sunday morning, there was a loaf of fresh, organic whole grain bread just waiting for me on the kitchen counter. This was a no brainer, french toast!

The loaf of bread got sliced up into eight nice size pieces while a skillet gets heated over medium-high heat on the stove top.

Whisk together six eggs, a cup or so of plain soy milk, and a splash of vanilla, grate some whole nutmeg and cinnamon bark into the egg mixture. Be generous! Maybe a tablespoon or so of each….the kitchen smells fabulous already!

That’s right….whole nutmeg! It is so worth the flavor to grate it yourself!

Cinnamon bark…think cinnamon stick, only larger!

Into the skillet, a tablespoon of non-dairy butter (I like Earth Balance, but whatever you have).

Dip the bread into the egg mixture and allow it to absorb a healthy amount.

Into the skillet it goes. Cook a few minutes per side until nicely browned.

Topped with some honey, strawberries and blueberries it is a savory sweet delight just waiting to be enjoyed!


First Tomato Sandwich of Summer!

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I guess this is really to simple to be considered a recipe, but it is one of my favorite summer treats. While shopping the farmers’ market, I was super excited to see….the first tomatoes of summer!!!!

First, the bread. Also a find from the farmers’ market. Organic honey whole wheat. This bread is perfect just the way it is, no need to toast. Crispy crust with a soft inside. Slice off two pieces.

Onto the bread goes a thing layer Vegenaise (my favorite is the grape seed oil one), or what mayonnaise like product you prefer.

Next? Two nice, thick, juicy slices of tomato. The first tomatoes of the summer, fresh picked off the vine, have a taste unlike any other.

No need to get fancy, just a sprinkle of fresh ground sea salt and pepper and this sandwich is ready to enjoy! Simple and scrumptious!


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