Another Farmers Market Summer Salad
Israeli Couscous, Wilted Kale, Grilled Corn, Nectarines
Pickled Red Onion, Fresh Mozzarella, Toasted Pecans
Labor Day has come and gone… it was the official end of summer you say? Not so fast! We still have a bounty of lovely summer produce at our Farmers Market; juicy sweet aromatic nectarines and corn that is at its best just-picked, when it is high in sugar and low in starch. These beauties are the inspiration for this colorful fruit & vegetable summer salad.
Israeli couscous is airy, toasty, and kind of fun. Perfect for summer. This roasted pasta is shaped like little balls, it makes a pasta salad that’s light and not too pasta-y. Fruit and vegetables are the stars, but the couscous makes it into a pleasingly varied and balanced meal. A vibrant healthy meal for summer’s waning hot days…
Chicken Chorizo Stew
Baby Spinach, Kale, and Chard
A golden roux with lots of vegetables and kidney beans is the backdrop for this southern-style Chicken Chorizo Stew. This gumbo-esque meal is hearty but not thick. Instead of okra and sassafras, it is chock full of baby greens – spinach, kale, and chard. It’s served with steamed brown rice on the side. A splash of vinegary Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce adds zippy notes and brightens the flavors.
Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?
Let me tell you why we do.
First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.
Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?
Edamame Spaghetti with Kale Cilantro Pesto
Carrot Ribbons, Toasted Coconut, Fried Ginger
Compare this Edamame Spaghetti to common pasta and you will be amazed. Generally, dried pastas have 5 to 7 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving. This spaghetti – made exclusively of organic edamame (green soybeans) and water – has 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving.
The nutritional facts are hard to believe, until one realizes that this spaghetti really isn’t pasta at all, but soybeans masquerading as noodles. And as it turns out, beans make a super substitute for wheat flour to make those noodles. Edamame spaghetti’s taste and aromas are mild and pleasantly vegetal in nature, and the tooth is delightfully chewy. Love the natural green color, too.
I dress the noodles with kale cilantro pesto – the kale and almonds in the pesto adding their fair share of nutrients. Inspired by edamame and its Asian roots – I add toasted coconut for a little crunch and its toasty exotic flavor and a few shards of one of my favorite garnishes – fried ginger – which brings an unexpected zing to the dish. Raw carrot ribbons add color, texture, and more nutrients. This is definitely a feel-good pasta dish – one that is organic, naturally lower in carbs, and gluten-free to boot. Win.Win.Win.
85th Academy Awards Governors Ball Menu Kale, Grilled Artichoke, Radicchio, Pine Nut, Golden Raisin Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
With 19 Oscar menus under his belt, Chef Wolfgang Puck has created another inventive bill of fare for the 85th Academy Awards Governors Ball including old favorites, signature smoked salmon creations, and several fashionable new dishes. This year’s menu includes many vegetarian and vegan offerings, as well as items like Kobe Burger with Aged Cheddar & Remoulade and Chicken Pot Pie with Black Truffle. The Chef shares his menu in photos on a page called “A Taste of the Oscars”here. (Check out those Huckleberry Macarons!) But it was the vegan Kale Salad that immediately caught my attention ~ bright winter color and various textures pair with smoky artichoke and a sunny sweet Meyer lemon vinaigrette. I served the salad as a meal, unlike at the Governors Ball, where some 30 to 35 dishes will be served as small bites to over 1600 people.
And The Oscar Goes To:
Raw kale is a bit chewy and not exactly tender, so it is best sliced thin, taking care not to press down and bruise the beautiful curly edges. Mildly bitter and peppery radicchio is also thinly sliced. I used fast & fabulous packaged grilled artichoke hearts from Monterey Farms which are available at Whole Foods Market. Without a recipe, I prepared this salad from the photo ~ tossing kale with radicchio, artichoke hearts, lightly toasted pine nuts, and golden raisins with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The plate was garnished with a few Meyer lemon wheels and a sprinkling of nuts and raisins.
Organic Kale with Dried Cherries & Shirataki Noodles Garlicky Chili Lime Dressing
I’m not usually a fan of those free food samples at the supermarket. Seen too many “grazers” with poor manners and questionable hygiene, I suppose. But every once in a while, when there is a conscientious host passing out tastes of a unique offering, I might give it a try, as was the case this past weekend at Whole Foods.
A charming older woman was enthusiastically portioning out little cups of this interesting raw kale salad. It turned out to be an outrageous combination of flavors and textures, so fresh and bright, with an unexpected umami note. I put a bag of her shirataki noodles in my cart, and went home to create a salad inspired by that sample.