Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Lettuces

The best tasting salads are made with the freshest farm stand ingredients in the summer. Living in the Hamptons for two months, I frequented the farmer's markets as often as I could. This became the ultimate lunch in our house. Served over crispy, warm bread topped with smashed avocado and red chili flakes. It has all of the elements for a perfectly light meal. 

serves 2

heirloom lettuces, torn into bite-sized pieces
handful heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved 
1 corn, grilled and cut off the cob
2 pieces fresh multi-grain bread, toasted 
1 avocado, halved and pitted
red chili pepper olive oil
Maldon sea salt
fresh black pepper
juice, from a lemon
extra virgin olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes
sliced almonds, toasted

Toss the lettuces, corn, tomatoes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of a lemon, salt and pepper. Smash the avocado onto the toast with a fork and spread evenly. Drizzle with red chili pepper olive oil, lemon juice and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and red pepper flakes. Place toast on center of plate and top with the tossed lettuce mixture. Drizzle more red chili pepper olive oil and sprinkle toasted almond slivers.  Serve immediately.

Ginger Miso Stir-Fry

Stir-frys have long been my one-pot weeknight go-to meal. With all of the fresh local veggies that are available these days, I constantly have an overload lying around, which leads to dishes like this one. I  made a ginger miso dressing that really amped up the flavor. Drizzled with a little Sriracha for spice, it's perfection in a bowl. I made mine with nutty tempeh and sauteed some shrimp to add to my husband's. Depending on your preference, any protein will really do. Feel free to play around with different vegetables, depending on the season. Baby bok choy would also work really well in this.

Ginger Miso Dressing
1 cup water
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup mellow white miso
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup shoyu
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, blanched and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces and blanched
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup shitake and/or oyster mushrooms
1 cup tempeh, cubed and marinated over a simmer in shoyu, water and kombu 
2 cups kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup sesame seeds, or Gomasio
mung bean sprouts (optional topping)
scallions, sliced (optional topping)
cilantro, chopped (optional topping)

To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. This will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Heat oil in a wok, or large saute pan over high heat. And garlic, ginger and pinch of red pepper flakes and saute for about 2 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables (except for the kale) and the tempeh and toss to combine. Continue to saute until desired doneness, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the Ginger-Miso dressing, water chestnuts and cashews and stir-fry for another couple of minutes. Stir in the kale and cover for a minute or so until it turns bright in color. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or Gomasio and serve immediately over brown rice or soba noodles. Top with fresh mung bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro and drizzle with Sriracha for a bite.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mate Iced Tea

Ahhh...this has become my ultimate "feel good" summer concoction. It's better for you than coffee yet still has a nice caffeine high. Mate is a traditional South American infused drink, made from steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. You can find tea bags of mate infusions in most local grocery stores now to make the brewing process easier. Yerba mate tea contains significant levels of antioxidants, with slightly higher levels than green tea and studies have shown that it may exhibit significant cancer-fighting activity. It has more caffeine than a cup of coffee, yet does not give you the "jitters" that coffee can. This summer I pour it over ice and add a splash of lime and agave. Simple. Refreshing.

Mate Iced Tea

5 yerba mate tea bags
1/2 gallon hot water
juice from a couple of limes
agave, to liking

Boil water. Pour into a pitcher and steep tea bags until desired strength. Remove tea bags. Once cooled, add juice from limes and agave to taste.  Pour over ice and enjoy.

This can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.