yellow squash and kale salad with figs, pumpkin seeds, ginger & lime


Indian Summer hot days and quickly cooling evenings, plentiful summer squash and ripe figs were my inspiration for this turn of season main dish salad. Bright yellow and deep green, the sweet figs and tart lime, the crunch of the seeds– yum! This is a full and satisfying healthy meal, with good protein from the tempeh and pumpkin seeds, lots of vitamin C, A, and K from the yellow peppers and kale, minerals potassium and calcium from the figs, magnesium and zinc from the seeds.

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ingredients:

  • 12 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • about 6 black mission figs, thinly sliced and halved
  • 1/2 cup raw or dry roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 lime, juice and pulp
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Pour 2 T olive oil into skillet and heat over medium flame. Stir black mustard seeds until they begin to pop, then add cubed tempeh and saute until lightly browned. Set the tempeh aside in a casserole dish with lid. Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and saute the coarsely chopped yellow squash and minced ginger root for 3 minutes or so, then add the chopped yellow pepper, a splash of white wine or water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2 minutes until squash and yellow peppers are bright and softened, but not mushy. Add this to the tempeh.

Cut the thick stems from the kale, then cut the leaves lengthwise in half, roll and slice into thin ribbons. Place kale in large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a scant 1/8 t salt, then massage the kale with your hands for about 3 minutes to soften it.

Mix the tempeh with squash and yellow peppers into the softened kale, adding in your chopped red onion and pumpkin seeds. Lastly gently add the sliced figs. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. Refrigerate in covered casserole dish. Serve chilled or warmed.

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yellow split pea dal with garden hot peppers and rainbow chard


An Indian Summer cool morning then bright sunny hot day with a breeze, ahhhh. “Another trip around the sun”. The changing season and the ripe peppers and chard in my garden told me it was time to revisit making spicy yellow split pea dal– I started in my garden and moved to my kitchen sink.

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Then I looked for a prior recipe post with this as a lead in:

“One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.”

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Then I considered, how would I like to make this today? I tweaked the spices and used coconut milk given how hot and dry the weather has been– following is my revised recipe today.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  •  large jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red Nardello pepper, diced (these are sweeter savory)
  • 1 small Lemon Drop hot pepper, diced with seeds
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 in fresh ginger root, minced
  • 3/4 t cardamom
  • 3/4 t coriander
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 6oz can Thai coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard

instructions:

Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft. Drain then set aside.

Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions just begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add severak tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add coconut milk, yellow pepper, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal. Serve over rainbow chard ribbons, dress with fresh squeezed lemon. Serve in a bowl with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.

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.

 

potato salad with peas, leek, yellow pepper & aged clover gouda


I picked up some beautiful baby yellow potatoes at the market, and thought about making a potato salad on a cool wet day. No, not a gloppy mayonnaise heavy, summer potluck dish to be passed over. I wanted to make a dish that would be a full lunch or dinner by itself, something bright and satisfying. I already had a cup of spring peas to be put to use too, and I picked up a leek and yellow pepper. I knew I had all I’d need and want when I spotted some aged clover gouda cheese. Now we’re talking easy comfort food!

ingredients:

  • 1 cup spring green peas
  • 8-10 baby yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 t sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • mixed greens
  • gouda cheese

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instructions:

Saute leek in a couple tablespoons olive oil ’til just beginning to brown, then transfer to casserole dish with lid. Using same pan, saute chopped potatoes for 3-4 minutes until just starting to brown, then add several tablespoons of white wine, reduce heat and simmer covered for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Stir well, add chopped yellow pepper and another splash of white wine if needed, cover and simmer for 2 mintues until yellow peppers are bright and beginning to soften. Mix in sauted leek and cooked peas, salt and pepper, stir all together well. This will store in an airtight caserole dish for a day or two, and is good served either warm or chilled. Serve over mixed greens– I chose some slightly peppery mizuna with its flowers from my garden, along with baby spinach and arugua– dressed with a spash of balsalmic vinegar and topped with grated gouda. Ummm

 

corona bean salad with lemon, basil & garlic, haricot verts and yellow pepper


Having just returned from a lovely spring trip to Paris then Florence, I am enthused by all the incredibly delicious French and Italian food we enjoyed! I’m also eager to see how I could incorporate more of the wonderful ingredients and combinations of flavors in my home cooking.

First up was my determination to source big beautiful Italian Corona beans– so buttery in texture, and seemingly versatile! After I found them locally, of course I wanted fresh basil and garlic with my Corona beans… It’s a wet Spring here in the Pacific NW, so French green beans — haricot verts– were a logical choice too for this bean salad over hardy mixed greens. A bright Tuscan sun yellow pepper, black olives, and red onion rounded out the picture in my mind, with photo here now for posterity. So simple, and so good. (Having enjoyed so much good cheese on our trip, of course I was tempted to garnish this with Pecorino Romano– now in my fridge. I resisted the urge this time, acknowledging it would be tasty.)

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ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried Corona beans
  • 1 lb haricot verts, chopped 1 in long
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 large leaves fresh basil
  • 1 t fresh lemon thyme, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • black olives, quartered
  • fresh ground green pepper to taste

instructions:

Cull then rinse beans, cover with fresh water and allow to soak for 24 hours. Rinse, cover with fresh water, bring to boil, then simmer uncovered for about 1 1/2-2 hours, until beans are soft. Turn off heat, allow to cool in water. Drain, set aside in casserole dish. Saute  garlic for 1 minute in olive oil, then add haricot verts and continue to saute, stirring over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, cover, reduce heat and simmer until beans are bright green and just slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove haricot verts to casserole dish. Saute chopped yellow pepper with lemon thyme and basil for about 3 minutes, until bright yellow and slightly soft, add to casserole dish, together with chopped red onion and black olives, stirring all together well. Dress with lemon juice and pulp, a drizzle of olive oil, ground green pepper to taste.

 

golden beets, ginger & kale salad


ingredients: IMG_0905

  • 3 medium golden beets, chopped
  • 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into thin ribbons
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

instructions:

Coarsely chop beets in half, then each half into thirds, so pieces are approximately equal in size (so will cook quickly while also still being easy to pare after cooking). Place into saucepan, barely cover with water, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Do not overcook- check frequently with fork for doneness. Drain and rinse in cold water. Using sharp paring knife, remove and discard tough skin, then chop into bite sized pieces. Transfer to deep serving dish with lid.

Using 2 T olive oil in a large skillet with lid, saute diced shallots for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then add minced garlic, mined ginger and chopped yellow pepper; continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add a splash of water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 2 minutes, until the yellow pepper is bright and only lightly cooked. Transfer to serving dish with beets. Remove tough middle stems from kale, then slice into thin ribbons. Using the same large skillet, saute for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add a splash of water, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright and lightly cooked, not mushy. Transfer to serving dish, mix all together well. Dress with juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Will store well in an airtight container for a couple days.

I served this with tofu baked in a spicy peanut sauce on a cold wintery day– bright and complementary flavors, and wonderfully warming.

next gen boyfriend’s one pot roasted brussels sprouts with maple syrup pecans & tempeh


As I grew up, every dinner my mother prepared included a side serving of vegetables– and that was what we had to eat to get dessert. A small pile of mushy green peas, corn, or carrots from the freezer, string or baked beans from a can were the norm. When my mother and I were a little older, she would occasionally serve fresh asparagus (steamed to mushy) or an artichoke (served with mayonnaise, another horror). Given that my mother truly didn’t like vegetables, I’m sure now she never chose to serve brussels sprouts, which is probably good fortune…  Sometime in my young adulthood I tried cooking brussels sprouts in my own kitchen, but my results weren’t great, so …. yea, brussels sprouts. Nobody I knew liked them.

A generation later, one of my daughter’s friends self identified as a brussels sprouts lover. Really? “Just roast them in a little olive oil and maple syrup.” So I thought I’d give it another try. Here’s what I came up with– and enjoyed! Easy prep and satisfying. With the brussels, broccoli, and yellow pepper, this is very high in vitamins K & C. By including the tempeh, it becomes a great ‘one pot’ main dish that is great for leftovers to take on-the-go for lunch.

ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz package tempeh, cut into cubes IMG_3331_2
  • 18 Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2T maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup or more pecans, toasted
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 good sized stalks of broccoli, chopped
  • 1t thyme
  • 2t fresh ginger root, minced
  • champagne vinegar
  • black pepper to taste

instructions:

Turn on oven to 375F. Remove ends of brussels sprouts and any yellowed or browned leaves, then cut in half or quarters depending upon size. Pour 2T olive oil and 2T maple syrup into large frying pan, then add chopped brussels sprouts and stir to coat well. Wipe roasting pan with a little additional olive oil, then spread brussels sprouts onto roasting pan, also yellow pepper cut into 1/4 inch slices, and peeled garlic cloves. Roast for about 20 minutes, checking several ties to flip yellow peppers and stir brussels sprouts. The peppers will finish roasting first…roast brussels sprouts until lightly browned but still moist inside. When done roasting, transfer to casserole dish, and press the roasted garlic.

While the brussels sprouts roast, use that same frying pan which is now coated in olive oil and maple syrup to toast the roughly chopped pecans over medium heat, stirring constantly. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant. Set pecans aside in serving dish.

Using the same frying pan with an additional 2 T of olive oil, saute the chopped tempeh over medium heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes, then reducing the heat to medium low and covering to continue to cook. Check frequently every couple minutes to stir to prevent burning. Continue to cook until tempeh is nicely browned and cooked well inside without becoming dried out. Transfer to the casserole dish.

While tempeh cooks, cut away the tough outer stem of the broccoli, then chop the broccoli stems into large bite sized pieces. Then transfer broccoli stems to that same frying pan to saute — add 2-3T of water as necessary. Add minced ginger and thyme, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes, then add 2-3 T of champagne vinegar to pan, stir, cover, reduce heat and simmer for another 2 minutes before adding chopped broccoli flowerettes. Cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is bright green and tender but still has plenty of body. Transfer to the casserole dish, stir all together well. Add ground black pepper to taste. Serve garnished with toasted pecans.