corona bean salad with asparagus, artichokes, leek and lemon


There are times when things go according to plan, and times when mixing things up on the fly is the better way to achieve your objective… Before I last went grocery shopping, I had checked the weather forecast and my calendar; I had plans in mind and a list in hand. Then my intended dinner guest declined to join me for dinner this weekend, and the weather forecast changed significantly– now calling for a 90F day or two. Hmmmm… Knowing it was going to be hot today, and that I needed to prepare my asparagus today if I was going to enjoy eating it, I decided to prepare a dinner salad in the cool of the morning. Yes! a perfect opportunity also to use the remainder of the corona beans I tucked into the freezer last week.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked corona beans
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 large bunch asparagus
  • 1 large jar artichoke hearts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • a little Italian Pinot Grigio
  • 1/2-1 fresh lemon
  • fresh ground black and green pepper
  • mixed salad greens

instructions:

Snap each asparagus spear near its base to remove any woody ends, then delicately pare away any thick skin. Chop coarsely into 1-2 inch long spears.¬†Saute chopped leek for 1-2 minutes in 2T butter and a drizzle of olive oil, then add garlic and asparagus, stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons white wine, cover, reduce heat, and steam for 2 minutes. Do not overcook, asparagus is never good soggy. Rinse artichoke hearts well, then slice. Mix the cooked corona beans (a logical substitute on the fly would be a can of white kidney beans or garbanzos) together with the leek, asparagus, and sliced artichoke hearts in a casserole dish with airtight lid. Refrigerate ’til meal time! When ready to serve, dress with the juice and pulp of the lemon, also a drizzle of olive oil, and finish with a little fresh ground pepper.

When it’s super hot tonight, I know I’ll be happy I prepared this earlier, and that I met my objectives of preparing healthy, tasty meals, without wasting ingredients. I’ll pour a glass of the chilled Pinot Grigio I’d intended for the weekend, maybe making a little hors d’oeuvre dish of a couple dried apricots or cold orange slices with a large handful of walnuts. Then I’ll serve this over mixed greens including baby spinach, chard, kale, and radicchio. Buon appetito!

edamame and ricotta quinoa summer salad with hazelnuts and mint


Forecast for hot weather and two busy days ahead… calls for something easy, light and fulfilling too.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 2 cups edamame
  • 1/2 c nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 T fresh mint, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Rinse quinoa well, then cover with 1 1/2 cups fresh water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Drain any residual water. Meanwhile, cover edamame with water in a small pan, bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 5 minutes or just until tender, then drain. Stir ricotta cheese into cooked edamame and mix well. Chop all veggies. Combine everything except the hazelnuts and mix together well, store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve cold or warm, topped with hazelnuts.

beet, carrot & ginger hot summer salad with ricotta & radicchio


IMG_4062I was standing looking over the beautiful produce and thinking about the weather forecast for the hot summer days ahead. What to make? “I want pasta”, the man next to me said to his companion. “Again?”, she asked. I’m not a big pasta fan- I don’t really ever do noodles. But the classic cheeses, olives, Italian spices…yum. And the ambiance created by those simple little red checkered table clothes, the good wine, yes. So there I stood, thinking of simple, red, and ricotta, and the desire for a hot summer salad. Here’s what I came up with– not Italian, but we enjoyed it! Next time I think I’ll serve it on baby spinach (to make it prettier, not so overly red).

ingredients:

  • 2 red and 2 yellow beets
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
  • fresh ginger root, finely minced
  • 3/4c low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • walnut pieces as garnish

instructions:

Cut off beet roots and tops (setting aside greens), then cut into 4ths. Place in pot with lid and just enough water to cover, bring to boil then turn down heat to simmer covered for about 15 minutes- until beets pass the fork test. When beets pass the fork test, remove from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water to arrest cooking. Use a sharp knife to peel away the beet skins, then chop into medium bite sized pieces. Return chopped beets to pan, then mix in ricotta while beets are still warm. Stir to mix well. Add chopped red onion, coarsely grated carrots, and finely minced fresh ginger root. I like the heat of the ginger, so I used 2 1/2 generous T of minced ginger (about 5 slim slices of peeled fresh ginger root.) Mix all together well, then transfer to glass serving dish with air tight lid (or cover tightly with plastic wrap). This gets even better after sitting and chilling for an hour, or next day; keeps in airtight container in refrigerator for 3 days. Serve cold- or warm- over radicchio with walnut garnish.

summer picnic salad- fava bean, carrot & yellow peppers with garlic & cooling mint


IMG_3984My most favorite time of day is early morning, especially cool early mornings on hot
summer days when the sky is soft blue, and the leaves are gently swaying on the willow tree beyond my back deck. I love enjoying my coffee as the sun stretches its morning reach. Knowing it was going to be a hot day yesterday, while I made coffee I also essentially made dinner, simply by turning on the stovetop burner for 5 minutes– no residual heat in the house for me! Another favorite time of day for me is enjoying a homemade picnic outdoors, which is so easy to do with a recipe like this.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 1 cup peeled fava beans
  • 2 medium size carrots, julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh mint sprigs, diced
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • plain European style yogurt topping or feta cheese, if desired to add more protein.

instructions:

Place 3/4 bulgur in large glass bowl with lid, pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over it, stir well, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain any excess water. Using a small pan with lid, bring 1/2 cup water to boil, then reduce heat and steam fava beans for 4-5 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Drain, rinse in cool water, drain and set aside. Chop, dice and mince all remaining ingredients, using more garlic and mint as desired to add more heat and cool sweetness, respectively. Dress with squeezed lemon, and a little olive oil if desired. Stir all together well in airtight container with lid, then refrigerate. Tastes even better several hours after made as flavors meld.