quinoa tempeh salad with plums, Serrano, mint, lime & pistachios


An extended heat wave wears away my energy in so many ways, including my desire to cook other than minimalist stovetop prep early in the morning. I find I have less appetite beyond munching on veggies and cool berries, yet know I still need to get good protein. I’ve been enjoying  wonderful nectarines recently for breakfast with plain yogurt, a handful of fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts. Seeing beautiful plums at the market made me think it was time for this quinoa salad with plums, cooling mint and fresh lime, and quinoa, tempeh and pistachios that make it a protein powerhouse while still being light. Served over a bed of fresh lettuce from the garden, it’s a full nutrient, light yet satisfying meal. This salad will be best when made with a variety of plum that is firm and tart to sweet-tart, rather than super sweet and juicy.

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 package tempeh, cubed and sauted in 2 T olive oil
  • 4 large dark plums, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6-8 fresh mint leaves, diced
  • 1/2 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 lime, juice and pulp
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, as garnish immediately before serving.

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instructions:

Rinse quinoa very well. Bring 2 cups of fresh water with a pinch of salt and quinoa just to a boil, then simmer on low heat for about 18 minutes until all fluid absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, allow to cool uncovered. Saute chopped tempeh in 2T olive oil, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Chop all remaining ingredients, then stir all together with cooked and cooled quinoa. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. If desired, press or finely mince 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root, add to scant 1/8 cup olive oil with a bit of fresh ground pepper for dressing. Refrigerate in air tight container. Serve garnished with pistachios, or another good alternative for garnish would be crumbled feta or roquefort cheese.

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yellow squash, snap peas, peppers and mint quinoa salad


Hot and Hotter: our ten day forecast shows high’s in the 90’s or 100’s, two of those days expected to be record breaking at 107F. That’s too hot for me! With an overnight low of 70F, the house and I don’t have a chance to cool off much. Early morning is clearly the time for me to get my food prep done, also walk my dogs, and water the garden.

Early yesterday morning I harvested from the garden too, before the excessive heat took its toll: lettuce and broccoli, yellow crooked neck squash, snap peas, basil and mint. One blessing of the heat is that my tomatoes and hot peppers will ripen so I can start to enjoy those too! For today and tomorrow, I’ll make some light cool and cooling meals from the garden– complemented with cooling hot peppers, mint and lemon. Ahhh…

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ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped thinly
  • 2-3 shallots, diced
  • 1/2 medium Serrano pepper, diced
  • 1 t fresh ginger root, diced
  • 4-6 medium mint fresh leaves, diced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • walnuts or feta cheese

instructions:

Rinse quinoa well, cover with a generous cup of fresh water and dash of salt, bring to boil then simmer covered over low heat about 18 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Saute chopped shallots in 1-2 T butter or olive oil for 2-3 minutes until just starts to lightly brown, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same pan, saute chopped yellow squash for 3-4 minutes, then add the diced ginger root and Serrano pepper with a couple tablespoons white wine (I used an open bottle of Pinot Grigio), cover and simmer until the squash softens a bit, but is not mushy, about 2 minutes. Remove squash to casserole dish. Turn the heat up a little and saute the chopped yellow pepper for about 2 minutes, just until it brightens. Add to casserole dish, mix all together well, and dress with juice and pulp of lemon. Refrigerate. I served this chilled over a bed of lettuce, topped with walnuts and sheep feta, with a cool glass of Pinot Grigio for dinner, then with fresh mint infused water for lunch the next day.

 

green pea soup with turnip & leek, mint and lemon thyme


This record setting long and wet Spring dovetailed with my lovely vacation in Paris and Tuscany, which means my vegetable starts were germinated and transplanted late. My garden is now boldly trying to catch up and/or make it through these periodic brief mid- to upper-80F days that are brutal for the earlier season vegetable varieties. I gambled and planted sweet peas late, will simply have to wait and see how the season comes on and if they can thrive…

I spotted plump fresh organic green peas at the market only a few hours after I had assessed my garden; I couldn’t resist picking those up, and rounded out my purchase with a leek, turnip, and large red potato. It was a cool and wet day, and I was thinking soup– Yes, I adore soup, warming and nurturing when it’s cold out, cooling and refreshing on stellar hot days. Reflecting, I realized I’d never made a fresh pea soup, only dried split pea soup! Here was my opportunity… I liked what I created; my partner’s first thought with a taster spoon from the pot was “Good! but perhaps less mint next time?” But when I served dinner, his bowl was quickly emptied. I especially liked mine drizzled with a little European style plain tart yogurt. I expected this would be great served cold on a warm day too, and that this batch along with the current weather forecast would allow me to test both warm and chilled serving options. Sure enough, when I tried it served chilled, I thought it was delicious.

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ingredients:

  • 3 cups fresh peas
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 1 large red potato, chopped
  • 4-5 cups fresh water
  • 12 medium leaves fresh mint, diced
  • 3 large sprigs fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • European style plain tart yogurt

instructions:

Cover peas with 4 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 2-3 minutes, just until peas are bright and becoming soft. Set aside. Meanwhile, using large soup pot, saute chopped leek, turnip, and red potato in 2T butter and a drizzle of olive oil, until leek is translucent and potatoes are beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add several tablespoons or so of white wine, cover and reduce heat; steam about 3 minutes, until red potatoes and turnip have softened, but are not mushy. Then combine cooked peas and all of their liquid into the soup pot, mix all together well, and allow to cool. (This is an important nutrient step: When you cook vegetables in water, much of the vitamins are lost into the water. Thus you want to retain the steam by covering while cooking, and use the cooking water in the recipe.) Once cooled some for safe blending, puree in blender in small batches, and return to soup pot. Assess thickness, and adjust as necessary with additional water just off boil. Add the juice of the lemon, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. I wanted my soup fairly thick yet smooth. You may like yours not quite as thick and with a cup or so of fresh cooked peas added after you’ve pureed? If so, cook more peas and set some aside. I served this drizzled with a little European style plain tart yogurt and fresh thyme leaves, together with a mixed green salad with walnuts, currants, and daikon radish, and white wine.

 

 

Quinoa cucumber mint salad with black beans and serrano pepper


“There’s mosquitoes on the river Fish are rising up like birds
It’s been hot for seven weeks now,
Too hot to even speak now, Did you hear what I just heard?”

Well maybe not yet seven weeks, but it has been many weeks now of daily temps over 90F, and with the 4th of July and Fare Thee Well concert streaming potluck dinners to attend, it’s been a time to come up with easy to make and cooling, protein rich main dish salads…

ingredients:

  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 2-3 medium cucumbers, thick sliced into half rounds or quarters
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced, including seeds
  • 10-12 leaves spearmint, diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed for dressing
  • organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for garnish

instructions:

Rinse quinoa well, then place in 1 1/2 c fresh water with a dash of salt, bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Rinse beans well, chop and dice all vegetables and combine all. Dress with squeezed lime, and store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for additional protein.

quinoa tempeh salad with cranberries, jalapeno & mint


Too many deaths in the family recently, and thus too long since I posted here… It’s time now to prepare for a Winter Solstice gathering– time for me to create again, and for new traditions to come into being.

My thought with this recipe was to incorporate the heat, light and brightness of summer– with the hot pepper and cooling mint, bright yellow bell pepper– and also the traditional winter bright cranberry– in the grounded base of a quinoa and tempeh salad. I found this to be both light and satisfying; feta would compliment and add additional protein if desired, or pistachios to remain vegan.

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ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (include seeds for heat)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 10-12 leaves mint, diced
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed

instructions

Rinse quinoa well, then cover with 1 1/2 cups water, add dash of salt, bring just to boiling then reduce heat and simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork. Saute chopped tempeh over medium high heat in a couple tablespoons olive oil for 3-4 minutes, then reduce heat to medium low and cover, checking and stirring frequently; cook until browned and cooked through, but not dried out. Add tempeh to quinoa. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to pan, then saute shallots, hot pepper and celery until fragrant and shallots start to become translucent. Add yellow pepper and fresh cranberries, stir well, cover and simmer about 3-4 minutes, just until yellow pepper and cranberries are bright and just beginning to soften. Combine all well. Dress with freshly squeezed lime.

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.

two hot weather salads: cucumber, mint & lemon salad with jalapeno black bean salad


Cuc & Black Bean Saladingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • 1/8- 1/4 cup plain yogurt, greek yogurt, or milk
  • 1 T fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • feta cheese

instructions: Too hot to even think about turning on any heat source to cook? Refresh with these simple cooling main dish salads. Chop and grate first 5 ingredients. Measure yogurt or milk, squeeze lemon, and stir in chopped mint, add pepper to taste. Dress cucumber salad and refrigerate in air tight container.  Rinse canned black beans well, add next 4 chopped and diced ingredients.  Lightly dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top with crumbled feta cheese.  If you’re so inclined, toast some Ezekiel pocket bread or chapati with Parmesan to use as bread crumbs on cuc salad. Serve with cold local IPA, refresh and relax.