Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl
with
Toasted Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Mint, Basil
Olive Oil, Balsamic Syrup, Edible Flowers
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea

Hey! How’s your summer going? Hot enough for ya? Try this Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl  – it’s a bright, light, and simply delicious summertime meal. Perfect for these sweltering days…there is no recipe per se, just a combination of healthful ingredients that have a particular affinity for each other, all arranged in a bowl. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan too.

Enjoy the salad/grain bowl al fresco along with refreshing Lemon Verbena Iced Tea – the high levels of essential oil contribute to a delightful citrusy aroma and lovely lemony flavor.

Peach, Quinoa, and Almond Milk Ricotta Salad/Grain Bowl

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Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza
Baby Zucchini, Epazote, Garlic, Monterey Jack Cheese

Two months ago my garden was bursting with arugula and borage, now the epazote has gone wild. This unique sawtooth herb with the curious aroma produces tons of seeds, so it is everywhere. Not to worry, in another month, it too will fade and be replaced by something else. I plant everything I like to cook with, and see where it goes…

Epazote

In Mexican cooking, squash blossoms (flor de calabaza) are often paired with epazote. It is a heavenly match where the mild slightly-sweet nectar taste of the flowers is complimented by the petroleum-like aroma and the complex flavors of the herb.

In Oaxaca, cheese quesadillas are often flavored with epazote, so it naturally pairs well with the cheese on these flatbreads.

Squash Blossom Flatbread Pizza Recipe

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Beets N’ Roses

Beets N' Roses

Golden Beets and Disneyland Roses

With its apricot-orange-pink coloration and delicate spice fragrance, the Disneyland Floribunda is the official rose of the magical kingdom. See this fabulous rose planted at the main gate turnstiles and throughout the park.

After a trip home from the farmers market, I noticed how similar the color of my golden beets were to the Disneyland roses blooming in my garden. They were begging to be photographed together.

Then I roasted the golden beets and this is where they ended up:

Golden Beets, Blistered Haricots Verts, Marinated Blackberries
Vanilla Skyr, Dukkah, Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Golden earthy beets, tender green beans with a hint of smoky char, and sweet-tart blackberries all pair surprisingly well with creamy vanilla skyr. The nutty, toasty Egyptian spice mix adds depth and exotic notes to this savory-sweet, veggie-fruit combination.

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Move Over Avocado Toast!

Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Lodge Bread German Style Rye

Sometimes we want a different kind of toast for breakfast, especially when there are fabulous hand-shelled, sweet and tender, English peas available. So, no disrespect, but move over avocado, and make room for Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts.

Fresh sweet peas and crunchy pea shoots, fresh basil and mint, and lemony ricotta top an extraordinary German style rye by Lodge Bread.  This heavenly bread is bold and sturdy – made of 100% whole grain dark rye, buttermilk, local beer, sprouted rye berries, and filled with seeds – sesame, nigella, sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy.

Serve this breakfast with tea. English peas, and tea. Of course it’s lovely.

German Style Rye Bread

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts Recipe

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Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.

The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.

Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.

It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition

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Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Hummus and Pita

Take ordinary (high quality) store-bought hummus and pita to another level. Easily jazz it up for guests with a few items from the garden and the pantry. Edible flowers, lemon, herbs & spices, olive oil, nuts – with very little effort, anything colorful and tasty can take the ubiquitous dip over-the-top for entertaining.

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