Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sumptuous Seaweed

I love the small Japanese restaurants in the Porter Exchange mall, in particular the one across from the bakery. They serve an amazing tofu appetizer with a pretty topping of brown and green seaweed-like flakes. I had a craving the other day, so I decided to make it at home. I headed to the international aisle in Whole Foods and found these:

Bonito flakes are actually dried fish, usually skipjack tuna (according to Wikipedia). Skipjack tuna is fished sustainably and does not have high mercury levels.
Wakame is seaweed. It is a delicious ocean plant that has been nominated as one of the top 100 invasive species, so I figure it's actually good for the environment to eat it all up. It also contains antioxidants that prevent cancer and packs a lot of nutrients in a small serving. (But careful, it's also really high in sodium. If you're pregnant or hypothyroid, stay away.)  

And with these, I made this:


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Savory and Sweet Summer Salads

Farmer's Markets are open and my salad greens are growing - it's time to make some salads.

Cannelini Bean, Red Onion, and Arugula Salad
Courtesy of Dave Lieberman at the Food Network

1 can of cannelinni beans I found in my pantry
1/4 red onion that may have been my roommate's
A bunch of mesclun greens cut from my garden
Handful of basil leaves
2:1 EVOO and balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

I learned something about myself - I'm not a huge fan of cannelinni beans. If you are, though, give this one a try.

Parts of Plant Coleslaw
(For this recipe and others, see Tai's blog, Growing Stories) 
I learned this one while volunteering at an after-school garden club in Somerville. The kids get a snack before they come to us, but they always ask, "Are we cooking today?" One day, the answer was yes. To teach them the parts of a plant, the garden club teacher, Tai, chose one of each:

  • cabbage, chopped finely (leaf)
  • raisins (fruit)
  • carrots, shredded (root)
  • celery, chopped (stem)
  • broccoli, chopped (flower)
  • sunflower seeds for sprinkling on top  (seed)
For the dressing, we combined a little mayonnaise with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

When I think of cole slaw, I think of the mayonnaise-y, goopy mess you get ready-made from the grocery store. But when you're making your own, you can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you'd like. This salad balances different tastes - sweet, salty, creamy, and sour - for a delicious and refreshing summer snack.

Blueberry, Almond, and Gorgonzola Salad
This recipe is mine, made with what I had in the fridge.

Ripped up greens from the garden
Toasted sliced almonds
A cup of blueberries
Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
2:1 EVOO and balsamic vinegar
Sea salt

Toasted almonds release more almondy flavor and have a better crunch. To toast, I spread a handful in a dry frying pan. Set the heat to medium-low and leave for about four minutes. If I weren't so lazy, I would toss them halfway through. Remove from heat when you're just starting to smell the lovely almondy aroma.

Have a delicious salad recipe you want to share? I'm always looking for new ideas!