Arugula Pesto Dinner

Sliced tomatoes, arugula pesto, feta cheese and flax bread for dinner!

Sliced tomatoes, arugula pesto, feta cheese and flax bread for dinner!

With so much fresh produce exploding out of gardens everywhere it’s easy to create interesting, healthy, veggie based meals.  My dad recently harvested a whole bunch of arugula.  He used it as the base for ‘Salad Lyonnaise‘, in place of the traditional frisee, yum!  And I decided to turn the bunch he gave me into a spicy pesto.  Eaten with sliced garden tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and flax bread, this is a filling meal perfect for al fresco dinning.  I saved all my left over ingredients in glass containers, so it was easy to replicate the next night.

Arugula is full of vitamin A, K, folate, can help guard against cancer and is good for your brain too!  You can use the following ingredients as a guide and enjoy this pesto on flax crackers, flax pizza, as a spread on sandwiches, a dip for crudities, grilled fish…pretty much everything!

Ingredients:

  • arugula
  • garlic cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice, optional: zest the lemon first, then add juice to taste
  • salt
  • grated romano or similar hard cheese
  • walnuts

Method:

Pesto is the perfect food for just using what you’ve got and don’t worry about measuring anything.  It’s hard to go wrong, but if you need some numbers to help you out, I go with about 50% greens and 50% nuts, cheese and olive oil with small amounts of lemon, garlic and salt. I use my food processor but I bet you could use a blender as well.

Start with the nuts and the garlic cloves, use as many as you like, and pulse together until you’ve got fine bits.

Then add the arugula, enough olive oil to cover it well, and pulse again to combine.  You can also add parsley or basil, or both, as a compliment to the spicy, bitter arugula.

Add some grated cheese and lemon juice.  Blend well and taste.

Add salt to taste, more cheese or nuts, basically, at this point I start tasting and adding a little more or a lot more of whatever ingredient seems to be lacking.  And I want the consistency to be thick and smooth, so olive oil is key!  You can add lots of oil and lemon juice to make this pesto into more of a thin dressing for a fresh garden salad.  Or keep it thick and use it as a dip or spread.

Spring Salad! Celery and Radishs With Gorgonzola

Here’s a Candida diet friendly recipe I found in the New York Times and it’s prefect for Spring!  Martha Rose Shulman is the author of The Very Best of Recipes for Healthso check her book out if you like her style:

For this salad, use the delicate hearts, or inner stalks, of celery.  Slice both the celery and radishes very thin; it goes faster than you’d think but you can use a food processor to speed up the process.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Watermelon radishes are pretty enough to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds celery hearts (about 2), stalks separated, rinsed, dried and sliced very thin (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced very thin (if they are very round and fat, cut them in half lengthwise and slice half-moons)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 ounce gorgonzola, crumbled (about 1/4 cup) (you can substitute other blue cheeses like Roquefort)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (original recipe calls for sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the celery, radishes, parsley, chives, walnuts and gorgonzola in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinegar, olive oil and walnut oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve.

Advance preparation: The salad will hold for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving. It is a good salad for a buffet as it will remain crunchy.

Nutritional information per serving: 136 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 4 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 117 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 2 grams protein

Original recipe HERE!

Cabbage Carrot Salad with Sassy Peanut Dressing

Just picked red cabbage, carrots, lettuce and parsley make for a healthy, quick lunch.

Dana made this for us for lunch yesterday, I helped by printing out brochures for the Pittsfield Coop Market Initiative! This is a quick and easy meal- it can be made in advance and keeps well in the fridge.  I think I will be making this for my next pot luck!

For the veggies:

Shred 1/2 a head of purple cabbage, grate a carrot or two plus about 1/3 of  a medium white onion, thinly sliced

Make the dressing by whisking together approximately:

1/2 cup peanut butter

a shy Tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon tamari plus salt to taste

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or 1 teaspoon each: mirin and brown rice vinegar

4 drops of liquid stevia

pinch of five spice powder

1 teaspoon of powdered or juiced ginger

srirracha and/or ground hot pepper to taste

juice of one lime

Add water to desired consistency at the end, taste and adjust flavors.

Add the dressing to the shredded veggies and toss to coat evenly.

Serve on a bed of lettuce and garnish with chopped parsley and salted, toasted sunflower seeds.

To make this into a more filling meal add cooked chicken, tempeh or tofu!

Dressing Up

This past weekend Dana and I followed our friends Mike and Becca to Falmouth on Cape Cod for the Harborside Music Festival; we sold Fire Cider and enjoyed the music, they silk screened tee shirts to go, you don’t see that everyday!

Mike silk screening tee shirts for his nephews, the ones they were wearing!

As part of our four days on the road, we drove to Springfield where we went to another Big E meeting; we are going to be exhibiting at the Massachusetts building for sure, we just have to figure out the dates.  From Springfield we went to Boston and got a chance to get out on the water, it helps when your sister is a sailing instructor!

Captain Elise with Dana, showing off her skills and the coolest Coast Guard approved P.F.D.’s

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod for the Festival and then back home to Pittsfield.  Dana and I were fairly well prepared as far as food goes but had to rely on some local grocery stores from time to time.  It is definitely more challenging getting enough green veggies to eat while on the road.  One of my favorite things to do is buy a box of spinach, slice up an avocado and add dressing- my kind of fast food.  We forgot to bring salad dressing so decided to buy some Annie’s Goddess dressing.  This used to be my favorite but I haven’t bought any in a long time.  You know me, I hardly ever buy something I can make myself so I was kinda looking forward to this but it was…disappointing.  Homemade is the way to go.  Not only because it tastes better but it’s fresher, has no ‘natural flavors’ or other mysterious ingredients in it and is way more cost effective.  So, here are some salad dressing ideas you can make in just a few minutes and have on hand for days.

Fresh Herb Dressing

I have been making variations of this all summer since we have lots and lots of parsley, basil and cilantro in our garden. Herbs are so easy to grow, they just need a sunny windowsill and some water.  Grow your own and skip the high priced packaged bundles in the store.

Chop up a handful or more of your choice of herb, feel free to mix them up too!

Use a ratio of 3 to 1 Olive oil to vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar if you are on a strict Candida elimination diet, otherwise red wine vinegar is a good choice.

Add salt to taste, a mashed clove of garlic (this will help preserve the dressing if you want to save some for later in the week) and pepper, black or red hot, to taste.

Mix well, use a wand blender if you want a smoother, emulsified dressing.  Taste and add more of the above ingredients until the dressing is flavored to your liking.

Basil Balsamic

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, parsley, a pinch of dried or fresh oregano and garlic.  Salt to taste. Hot pepper optional.

Creamy Tahini Dressing

Start with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of Tahini (sesame seed butter) and mix with some sesame oil or olive oil.

Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Add your choice of one of the following combinations:

1. chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipolte pepper

2. minced ginger, chopped parsley, mashed garlic clove

Fire Cider Dressing

Mix 3 to 1 Olive oil to Fire Cider, salt to taste, a couple teaspoons of spicy Dijon mustard and mix well to emulsify.  Add a mashed clove of garlic for extra health booting properties!

New Spring Salad

Dana and I literally made room for our yoga practice.

I’ve been a bit pressed for time since there are a lot of exciting changes going on right now; the garden is growing, there are houses to bid on (woah!) and we converted an extra room in our house to a yoga/meditation room.  I have been naturally waking up consistently early for the past few weeks, a change I attribute to the new season and a sign that my health continues to improve.  The combination of getting up earlier and our yoga room means I’m able to do an hour of Kripalu yoga, mediate and start my day having already accomplished two of my most important goals for the day. Or I can work in an hour of yoga later in the day.  Either way, having hour long classes, on line, that range from gentle restorative yoga to more vigorous, challenging classes, right on the Kripalu home page, makes a daily practice pretty easy to incorporate.  If you have space for a yoga mat and an internet connection, you too can incorporate yoga into your daily routine.  Give it a try!

One of 4 post cards designed to promote the market. This one is my favorite. You can see the other designs on the New Amsterdam Market Facebook page.

Dana, Brian and I are also expanding Fire Cider to a weekly market in New York City called ‘The New Amsterdam Market’ which opens next Sunday at 11 am in the Old Fulton Fish Market.  This is such an exciting next step for us and there’s a lot  to do to get ready!  So, I find I have less time that I would like to spend writing new recipes and playing in the kitchen.  In the interest of time, mine and yours, I’ve come up with a new way to write recipes so I can continue to share with you on a weekly basis…

The ingredients will be listed in the order they are added to the recipe.  Simple instructions will appear throughout the list and the meal should take about 5-15 min to assemble or cook, sound good?  Healthy meals fast, yes please!

One dish dinner with the daffodils my mom picked for us, thanks mama!

New Spring Salad

In a large bowl combine:

1 can tuna

3-4 T mayo

2 T spicy dijon mustard

2 T raw apple cider vinegar

2 T each: Kalamata olives halved and chopped oil cured olives

salt and pepper to taste

Mix well then add

Salad greens of your choosing: baby spinach and dandelion greens are especially nutritious.

1 grated carrot

Mix again and top with

grated cheese, I used some Vermont cheese from the co-op that’s part cheddar and part Romano

a small handful of toasted, salted sunflower seeds

Serve and eat!

Sesame Spinach Salad

I know spring is finally here when I start craving things like dandelion greens and spinach salad, even if the weather has different ideas.  This salad is really easy to make, it takes about 5 minutes and will feed two people as a side and one hungry lady as a meal.  The toasted sesame seeds are the only time-consuming thing so make more than you need and keep them on hand!

Sesame salad with baby spinach, mesclun greens and black and white sesame seeds

Ingredients for Sesame Dressing:

1 Tablespoon each: apple cider vinegar, tahini and sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic mashed/pressed

Few drops of water.

This dressing can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to make some to have on hand.

Here’s what you do, whisk all the ingredients together in your salad bowl and then slowly add a few drops of water, whisking in between to your preferred consistency, usually all it takes is a teaspoon or two.

Add in greens: baby spinach is awesome, dandelion greens are a delicious detoxifier, mesclun mix, or all three!  Toss to coat evenly with the dressing.

Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, swirl them around in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until they start to pop and smell super sesame, about 5 minutes.

Done!  The dressing only has about 200 calories and will cover several big handfuls of salad greens, a quick and easy way to add some green to your diet.  I made this yesterday for lunch and added a chopped hard boiled egg and some hot sauce for a complete meal.  I bet it would be good with grilled spicy shrimps, chick peas or left over roasted chicken, ect, you get the idea.  Enjoy eating this healthy and delicious salad and if you have variations, I’d love to hear about them!

Calamari Salad

This is one of my favorites and I finally got the recipe from my dad while he was making some for us over the Christmas holiday.  This salad is really yummy served over a bed of thin sliced crunchy romaine lettuce.  If you don’t have any calamari, shrimp would be a good substitute or try a mixture of the two.

 

Calamari, green olives and celery with lemon garlic dressing

 

Ingredients

1 pound squid, thawed if necessary, sliced into bite sized rings and tentacles

use a 2-1 ratio of olive oil to lemon juice.  For 1 pound of squid it’s about 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 cup lemon juice

1 hot pepper, chopped small.  Use a dried red pepper, a small jalapeño or any other hot pepper you’re fond of!

2 large cloves garlic, pressed or mashed fine

1 celery heart (or about 4 regular stalks) chopped leaves and all.

1/2-3/4 cup green olives with pimentos, roughly chopped.  You can also use good black Greek olives.

The Procedure

Put a pot of water on to boil.  Make sure it will hold all the squid and while the water is getting hot, make the dressing.

Start with a salad bowl that will accommodate all the ingredients.  Add everything but the squid and mix together well.  Add salt to taste.

Cook the squid quickly in the large pot with boiling water.  Add the squid to the boiling water and cook for no more than 2 minutes, you don’t want rubbery calamari!  Drain into a colander and add to the dressing.  Mix well and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, tastes even better the next day!  Serve over salad greens.

I am working on perfecting a coconut yogurt recipe since my dad got me an awesome yogurt maker for Christmas!  If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  I’ll post what I’ve come up with in a week or so, I have a few different formulas I want to test out.

 

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