Category: Vegan

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Kale is a nutrient dense food high in antioxidants, sometimes referred to as a superfood because of these qualities. It’s a deeply colored leafy green with a firm texture that’s used raw in salads, protein shakes and smoothies. However, if you want to maximize the vitamins and minerals in kale, it’s best to eat it cooked. It’s a known fact that eating any food cooked provides access to more nutrients than raw food. But, before using for either a raw or cooked recipe, let’s discuss how to clean and parboil kale.

In this post, we’ll show you how to clean kale and to parboil it to use in recipes like our Creamed Kale and Leeks (coming next week). Toss kale into soups and stews during the final 15 minutes of cooking to add color, texture, and nutrients. Try our Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew, a delicious one-dish meal.

Chicken Kale and White Bean Stew

Kale is usually sold in bundles of leaves that weigh approximately 8 ounces. Once the tough stems are removed, you have around 5-6 ounces of useable greens, which need a thorough rinse to rid them of any grit. It’s much easier to do clean when the stems are removed first.

A pound of kale (stems and all) yield about 2 cups parboiled and squeezed dry kale.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

How to Trim Kale

There are two ways to remove the stems, either by using your hands to pull the green away from the leaf or to cut it away with a knife.

To use your hands, grab the kale with the leafy party toward your palm right where the stem begins. Pull the stem back, but don’t break it. Pull towards the top of the kale and remove the tough upper rib as well.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

To use a knife, lay the leaf on a cutting board and fold it in half so the rib is revealed. Take a sharp knife and start almost at the top of the leaf and draw the knife along the inside edge until the leaf is free.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

If the recipe calls for chopped kale, cut it up before washing.

For salads, cut the leaves in half lengthwise and pile one on top of the other. Roll the leaves lengthwise and cut thinly across top to bottom and then wash.

How to Wash the Kale

Plunge the trimmed leaves into a large bowl filled with cold water. Swish around and scoop the kale into a colander. Drain the bowl, refill, and repeat. Repeat the process until there’s no grit on the bottom of the bowl.

How to Store Kale

Spread the kale out on a large towel (such as a flour sack towel) or a length of paper towel and roll. Place in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

How to Parboil Kale

Fill a large saucepan (7-quart) with cold water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and bring to a boil.

Have a strainer ready to drain the parboiled kale.

Make an ice bath by filling a very large bowl with water and a couple of handfuls of ice cubes to plunge the kale into to stop the cooking.

Place 1/3 of the trimmed and cleaned kale in the boiling water, stir to get the kale completely into the water. Add another third, stir, and then the final third. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Drain the kale and immediately plunge it into the cold-water bath. Stir a couple of times to make sure all the leaves are free. Remove any ice cubes and drain the kale again.

How to Clean and Parboil Kale

Remove the excess moisture from the kale by squeezing in handfuls.

NOTE: If you are using the leaves whole, such as in a stuffed leaf recipe, don’t squeeze dry.

The kale is now ready to be used in a recipe or frozen.

See Other Kale Recipes:

Tuscan Kale and Bean Soup
Curried Lentil and Kale Stew
Winter Greens

How to Clean and Slice Leeks

Leeks are a member of the onion, or allium, family, which includes chives, shallots, garlic, and scallions. They have a strong, unpleasant taste eaten raw, but develop a silky texture and sweet flavor when cooked, the perfect foundation for soups, stews, and side dishes.

Grown in sandy soil, the white portion of a leek is deeply embedded to prevent it from turning green (photosynthesis). As a result, leeks always have dirt hidden between the layers and need a thorough rinsing.

The tough, dark green leafy tops are not used in recipes, however, it’s worth cutting through that top lengthwise to see if there are any usable portions hidden in the middle. As the leek grows, the portion of the leek that’s closer to the surface begins to turn a faint green. Use this portion, some of the inner green top leaves, and the white for most recipes.

Occasionally, however, only the pure white portion is used in a recipe where the green color is undesirable, such as Vichyssoise.

As a rough estimate, for every 3 inches of a leek that’s about 2 inches in diameter you will get 1 cup of thinly sliced leeks.

How to Trim and Clean Leeks

Remove the green tops and slice in half lengthwise to see if there are tender, usable green leaves. Toss the dark, tough greens.

Some recipes, such as poached leeks, cook the leeks in two long halves. To prepare the leek, cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Proceed with the recipe.

Other recipes ask for sliced leeks. Remove the greens as instructed above and cut off the entire root end. Slice the remaining leek in half lengthwise and again lengthwise.

Thinly slice the leeks and place in a cold-water bath.

Swish the leeks around and rub them against each other with your hands to loosen any grit.

Use your hands or a hand strainer to remove the leeks into a strainer or clean bowl.

Drain the water, rinse the bowl, and refill with cold water.

Repeat the above steps until there is no grit left in the bottom of the bowl.

How to Julienne Leeks

Cut off the roots but leave the center core to keep the layers together. Slice the leek in half lengthwise stopping just before the core. Rinse thoroughly and dry. Remove one layer and fold in half lengthwise if small or in quarters if long. Thinly slice the leek.

This shape is perfect for frizzled leeks, which are dipped in a little flour, deep fried, and used as a garnish.

Other leek recipes:

Potato, Leek, Turnip and Bacon Soup
Rosemary Pea Soup
Leek and Zucchini Casserole
Celery Root and Leek Soup

Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

This Sesame Vinaigrette has an intoxicating aroma! I’ve made sure that the sesame flavor is prominent by using toasted sesame oil, toasted black and white sesame seeds, and a little tahini (sesame paste). The addition of lime for tang and garlic for additional savoriness makes this a great dressing for  peppery lettuces and anise flavors.

Try this vinaigrette with our Celery, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad for a light and refreshing side dish or vegan meal.

sesame vinaigrette with arugula, endive and grapefruit

Substitute Belgian endive (above) in lieu of the fennel. This was an accidental discovery and a delicious one! My husband bought an endive instead of fennel. He gets ingredients confused sometimes, but likes to do the grocery shopping (and clean up after dinner – isn’t he a love?) and sometimes we have to make adjustments. 😋

sesame vinaigrette on arugula and endive with grapefruit

Sesame Vinaigrette

Pop the sesame seeds in a small skillet over high and toast for 1-2 minutes. Toss or stir frequently to prevent burning; remove to a mixing bowl or jar immediately to stop the toasting.

Add the sesame oil, lime juice, peanut oil, tahini, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper and whisk or shake until combined.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Shake well before using.

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Sesame Vinaigrette

sesame vinaigrette in a bowl

This vinaigrette marries well with peppery lettuces and anise flavors, try it with our Celery, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: one-half cup vinaigrette
  • Category: Salad Dressings & Vinaigrettes

Ingredients

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 small clove of garlic grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Pop the sesame seeds in a small skillet over high and toast for 1-2 minutes. Toss or stir frequently to prevent burning; remove to a mixing bowl or jar immediately to stop the toasting.

Add the sesame oil, lime juice, peanut oil, tahini, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper and whisk or shake until combined.

Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Shake well before using.

Keywords: Asian-style dressing; sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, tahini, salad dressing,

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

We’re big fans of food with an anise-like flavor, such as fennel and tarragon. This recipe for Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon has a subtle anise flavor that nicely complements the couscous and the peas. It’s a quick and easy side dish that goes particularly well with fish or chicken.

Israeli couscous is a pasta, made from durum wheat semolina, which is rolled into balls, similar to its tinier cousin couscous. However, Israeli couscous is toasted, which gives it an appealing nutty flavor and is prepared in boiling water. You can prepare it using the pasta method or using the risotto method as I do here: bring the couscous to a boil in a measured amount of seasoned water or stock, stir frequently until all the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy. Once the cooking is done, the dish is table ready.

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the couscous and scallions and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes; the lightly toasted aroma of the wheat should be apparent.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in pan with scallions

Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 12 minutes; the couscous is done when the water is completely absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon showing absorbed water

Add the peas, stir, and cook until the peas are heated through.

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

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Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon

Israeli Couscous with Baby Peas and Tarragon in a bowl

Use the risotto method to make this quick and easy Israeli Couscous with Peas and Tarragon by cooking in a measured amount of liquid with the aromatics. A great side for chicken and fish.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the bias (include green tops) about 3/4 cup
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (ounces
2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

Instructions

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Stir in the couscous and scallions and sauté, stirring frequently for 2 minutes; the lightly toasted aroma of the wheat should be apparent.

Add water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for 12 minutes; the couscous is done when the water is completely absorbed and the couscous is tender, but not mushy.

Add the peas, stir, and cook until the peas are heated through.

Finish off by stirring in the tarragon and serve immediately.

Keywords: pasta side dish, couscous, Israeli couscous, cooking couscous using the risotto method, peas, tarragon, scallions

Hummus

Hummus with celery

Hummus is a great party food. It’s got a lovely, smooth texture and great flavor from the tahini, garlic, lemon, and smoked paprika. It’s perfect any time of the year and is usually liked by all!

Recently I’ve been seeing some recipes that recommend peeling the chickpeas to make a very smooth hummus. After much experimentation, I find this a needless and tedious task. Simply let the food processor run a little longer and you achieve that same silken texture without the bother of peeling each individual chickpea.

Hummus with veggies

Hummus is perfect for a crudité platter or serve with toasted pita chips or mini pita cut in half. It also makes a great sandwich stuffed into a pita with some chopped parsley.

METHOD

Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika in a food processor and purée until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Once you think it’s perfectly smooth, scrape the sides again and puree for another 5 seconds.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and dash of smoked paprika.

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Hummus

Hummus with celery
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Appetizer

Ingredients

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drain, but don’t rinse
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large smashed clove garlic
generous ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Garnish
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of smoked paprika

Instructions

Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, garlic, salt, and smoked paprika in a food processor and purée until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Once you think it’s perfectly smooth, scrape the sides again and puree for another 5 seconds.

Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and dash of smoked paprika.

Notes

Recipe doubles well.

Keywords: dip, chickpeas, chickpea dip, snack, spread, Middle Eastern, appetizer

 

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted acorn squash makes a delicious side dish. For this recipe I served this with a pan-roasted pork tenderloin, seasoned solely with salt and pepper, seared in a skillet and finished in the oven to 145 degrees F. A slightly pink interior. Try our Rosemary Honey-Mustard sauce over the pork, it’s perfect for this dish.

I chose to leave the skin on for a different presentation. I’ve been told the skin is edible, but I find it to be tough, especially when roasted, it gets a little firmer. But, the skin on add a beautiful presentation to any dish and the sweet pulp is easily scrapped off with a fork.

This recipe is easily adaptable to any number of people. And, the squash can be cut in half or in quarters in lieu of slices. Add a few more minutes of cooking time. The squash is done when fork tender. One-half acorn squash is usually a perfect serving, unless you have many other sides, then figure ¼ squash per person.

chopped thyme

This recipe is a great example of using both dried and fresh herbs. The dried thyme is best when roasting – the flavor permeates the squash but doesn’t burn and there are no fussy twigs to get rid of. The fresh thyme is the perfect garnish; it brings a pure, fresh taste of the thyme to the dish, as well as a lovely contrasting color.

Roasting the Squash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Scrub the outside of the squash with a vegetable brush and dry.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

The acorn squash is ready to be seasoned and roasted in this form, or cut in half again for quarters, or cut each quarter into 2 or 3 more slices. The squash is very adaptable to cooking in any format.

Sliced Roasted Acorn Squash

If cooking the squash in half or quarters, trim a small piece off a center rib so the squash sits flat when place skin side down.

Combine the salt, dried thyme and pepper in a small bowl.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Brush the inside and outside of the squash with the oil. Sprinkle the squash with the spice mix.

Place the half or quartered acorn squash skin side down or strew the slices of squash across the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Garnish with the fresh thyme and use the sprigs to garnish the serving platter.

Roasted Acorn Squash

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Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash

This recipe is easily adaptable to any number of people. One-half acorn squash is usually a perfect serving for one, unless you have many other sides, then figure ¼ squash per person.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 - 8 servings
  • Category: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Roasting

Ingredients

2 acorn squash
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Garnish
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
Thyme sprigs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a Line a 13 by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Scrub the outside of the squash with a vegetable brush and dry.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds and discard.

The acorn squash is ready to be seasoned and roasted in this form, or cut in half again for quarters, or cut each quarter into 2 or 3 more slices. The squash is very adaptable to cooking in any format.

If cooking the squash in half or quarters, trim a small piece off a center rib so the squash sits flat when place skin side down.

Combine the salt, dried thyme and pepper in a small bowl.

Brush the inside and outside of the squash with the oil. Sprinkle the squash with the spice mix.

Place the half or quartered acorn squash skin side down or strew the slices of squash across the baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the squash is very soft when pierced with a fork.

Garnish with the fresh thyme and use the sprigs to garnish the serving platter.

Keywords: squash, acorn squash, roasted squash, roasted acorn squash

Apple-Pear Sauce

apple and pear varieties

Here’s a little twist on traditional applesauce, Apple-Pear Sauce.

Fall is upon us and apples and pears are in season and in abundance. To create a complex flavor and varying textures I like to use three varieties of pears and apples. I used Bartlett and Starkrimson, which are sweet and juicy pears with a softer pulp, and Bosc, which is less sweet and firm in texture. The apples, which I sourced from The Whittier Fruit Farm during my recent trip to Rochester, included SweeTango, crisp with good acidity, Jonagold with a sweet honey flavor, and a Macoun, with a firmer texture. To highlight the vanilla undertone of the pears, I add a vanilla bean and a little lemon zest for acidity.

The recipe comes together easily and with few ingredients. Simply peel and core 6 pears and 6 apples and cut into about 1-inch cubes, the smaller the size the shorter the cooking time.

To core apples, use a melon baller. The stems of the pear extend down to the core. Quarter the pear and use a paring knife to slice top to bottom to remove inner stem and core.

coring pears

To get to the seeds of the vanilla, make a slit at the end of the bean, but don’t cut through to the bottom. Slide the knife between the pod and run the knife down the bean to split it in half lengthwise.

splitting a vanilla bean

Scrape out the seeds with the edge of a paring knife.

scraped vanilla bean

Add 1/4 cup cold water, the vanilla bean seeds and the lemon zest. Cover and cook over a very low flame. Low and slow is the way to go – high heat only scorches the fruit and that flavor permeates the entire sauce.

chopped pears and apple in saucepan

Stir every 3 minutes or so to move the fruit on top to the bottom. Once the fruit starts to break down, raise the heat a bit, just a little bit, and leave the cover askew. These are juicy fruits and it’s good to let a little of the liquid evaporate. A loose apple-pear sauce isn’t as tasty or pleasing to the palette.

The sauce is usually done in 30 to 40 minutes, again this depends on the size of the fruit. An unripe, extra-firm fruit can also take a little longer to cook. To test, push a few fruit cubes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. The sauce is ready when easily smashed.

Mash with a potato masher. I like my apple-pear sauce to have a little texture and leave some small chunky pieces. Don’t use a blender, food processor or immersion blender, however, the harsh processing destroys cell structure and the sauce becomes a soup.

Cool, place in jars, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

apple-pear sauce in jars

Serve warm or at room temperature.

apple-pear sauce in a bowl

Recipe doubles easily and freezes well.

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Apple-Pear Sauce

apple-pear sauce in a bowl

Here’s a little twist on traditional applesauce, Apple-Pear Sauce. Use a variety of pears and apples for complex flavor and texture.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups; 10-12 servings
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

6 assorted pears
6 assorted apples
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
zest of one lemon

Instructions

The recipe comes together easily and with few ingredients. Simply peel and core 6 pears and 6 apples and cut into about 1-inch cubes, the smaller the size the shorter the cooking time.

To core apples, use a melon baller. The stems of the pear extend down to the core. Quarter the pear and use a paring knife to slice top to bottom to remove inner stem and core.

To get to the seeds of the vanilla, split it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the sharp edge of a paring knife.

Add 1/4 cup cold water, the vanilla bean seeds and the lemon zest. Cover and cook over a very low flame. Low and slow is the way to go – high heat only scorches the fruit and that flavor permeates the entire sauce.

Stir every 3 minutes or so to move the fruit on top to the bottom. Once the fruit starts to break down, raise the heat a bit, just a little bit, and leave the cover askew. These are juicy fruits and it’s good to let a little of the liquid evaporate. A loose apple-pear sauce isn’t as tasty or pleasing to the palette.

The sauce is usually done in 30 to 40 minutes, again this depends on the size of the fruit. An unripe, extra-firm fruit can also take a little longer to cook. To test, push a few fruit cubes against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. The sauce is ready when easily smashed.

Mash with a potato masher. I like my apple-pear sauce to have a little texture and leave some small chunky pieces. Don’t use a blender, food processor or immersion blender, however, the harsh processing destroys cell structure and the sauce becomes a soup.

Cool, place in jars, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Recipe doubles easily and freezes well.

Keywords: apple sauce, pear sauce, condiment, Thanksgiving dinner,

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean Salad in a bowl

When my husband came home from the store over Labor Day weekend, he said Terry, the produce manager at the Village Market, told him this was probably the last weekend for corn. I’m always shocked how quickly corn season passes. I hadn’t even made my Corn and Black Bean Salad yet!

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. I either steam it on the stovetop or grill it.

Prepare the Corn

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Corn and Black Bean Salad prepped ingredients

Finish the Salad

Pop those kernels into a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Corn and Black Bean Salad with avocado

Lots of flavors and textures in the Corn and Black Bean Salad and it goes with everything – burgers, kabobs, chicken, fish, beef, pork, or seafood, and it’s vegan/vegetarian!

Happy Labor Day!

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Corn and Black Bean Salad

This salad comes together easily. The only ingredient that is cooked is the corn and even that is optional. Steam it, grill it, our use it au naturel. It’s colorful, tasty, and the only side dish you need for a meal.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish

Ingredients

6 ears corn
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Kirby cucumber, diced, or about ¼ cup cucumber, remove seeds if bitter
¼ red onion, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch cilantro chopped, reserving a couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado

Instructions

To steam the corn, fill a large saucepan with a couple of inches of cold water and a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To grill the corn, preheat the grill to high. Brush a little olive oil on the corn, set on the hot grill, reduce the heat a bit, and cook for 5 minutes, turning the ears 3 times.

Let the corn cool for 5 or 10 minutes for easier handling and then cut off the kernels with a sharp knife.

Pop those kernels in a medium serving bowl along with the black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, but be sure to hold back of couple of tablespoons for garnishing the salad, salt, and lime juice. Toss to combine thoroughly.

Notes

I like the salad to sit at least an hour to let the flavors meld, so I omit the avocado until just before serving to prevent it from oxidizing. The oxygen in the air reacts with the avocado flesh and turns it brown. Nothing unhealthy about it, just not eye appealing. You can also make the salad the day before without the avocado. Take the salad out of the fridge a good 30 minutes before serving to warm a little.

Keywords: summer salad, salad, black bean salad, corn salad, black beans, corn, side dish, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, vegetarian, summer recipe

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in a mason jar

Quick pickles are popular lately, especially if you watch the food show competitions. It’s a quick and easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and/or spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

The pickles can be used within 20 minutes or so of a quick brine – use an ice bath to chill before serving. Store remaining pickles in jars with the brine and seasonings. The pickles continue to soak up flavors and the vegetables soften a little over time.

Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles in mason jars

I created this quick pickle recipe to go with the Za’atar Chicken and Quinoa Salad, the pungency of the pickles complements the dish nicely as does the crunchy texture.

Watch the Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickle video here.

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Cauliflower and Red Onion Quick Pickles

Quick pickles are an easy way to add a crunchy texture and boost flavor using acid, salt, sugar, herbs, and spices. Ginger, chili peppers, cumin, and coriander give this recipe a Middle Eastern flavor.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups
  • Category: Pickles

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups cold water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup coarsely chopped cloves garlic, about 6 cloves
3 serrano chilies, halved or dried chilies
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon diced fresh ginger, about a 1-inch piece

Instructions

Combine water, vinegar, sugar garlic, chilies, salt, coriander and cumin seeds, ginger and salt in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower and onions, return to a boil, then turn the heat off and let steep for 10 minutes.

Ladle the vegetables and brine into jars, make sure the brine come to 1/2-inch below the top of the jar.

Strain the remaining liquid and divide the garlic, chilies, seeds and ginger evenly between the jars.

Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Notes

To use immediately, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, place a smaller bowl in the center and fill with the quick pickles. Stir frequently to chill evenly.

Keywords: pickled cauliflower, pickled red onion, brined vegetables, dairy-free, gluten-free, pickle condiment, vegan

Grilled Vegetables

Do you get carried away by the beautiful produce at the farmers’ market? It happens to me all time. From one stand to the next there are more and more tantalizing vegetables. Fear not, you can toss them all on the grill and make a medley of Grilled Vegetables!

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful side for any meal or a meal in and of themselves. The leftovers make great wrap sandwiches the next day or dice them for a salad.

grilled vegetables on grill, zucchini, red onions, eggplant and corn

Cooking times vary depending on the whether the vegetable is cooked whole or sliced. I like my eggplant cooked well. I don’t find the taste of undercooked eggplant or its spongy texture appealing. However, a well-cooked, silken eggplant is perfection.

Corn takes a couple minutes per side, so 6 – 8 minutes. Cook over high heat for charred corn, which also makes a wonderful chowder. To cook gently, place it on the indirect heat side and cook for the same amount of time.

Scallions cook quickly and char easily – keep an eye on them, but it’s well worth grilling them for the sweetness they exude right off the grill.

To cook zucchini and summer squash I remove them while they have a little firmness. They contain lots of water and can turn to mush easily. A little texture in the bite is nice.

To grill, simply drizzle with olive oil and good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Additional dressings or herbs can be added after cooking.

Grill up some thick, bone-in pork chops to go along with your grilled vegetables!

Let yourself be tempted – bring those veggies home and grill them up!

Watch our video on How to Grill Vegetables here.

Herb Croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutonsCrispy and delicious Herb Croutons add texture and a salty/herby flavor to salads or soups. Try with our Rosemary Pea Soup.

To Make Herb Croutons

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, large enough to hold the cubes in one layer. Drizzle half of the oil over the cubes, toss, drizzle with the remaining oil and toss again.

herb croutons
Bake preheated oven (400 degrees F) for 10 minutes or until crispy, giving a toss halfway through the cooking.

Finely chop the herbs and combine with salt. Sprinkle the herb of choice and salt over the hot cubes and toss.

herb croutons

Watch the Herb Crouton Video here.
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Herb Croutons

pea soup with homemade herb croutons

Make these delicious Herb Croutons to add a crispy texture and salty/herby flavor to salads or soups. Finely chop the herbs, mix with salt and toss on toasted bread cubes.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups
  • Category: Bread/Garnish

Ingredients

1 small loaf country-style bread, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced herbs
pinch of coarse salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, large enough to hold the cubes in one layer. Drizzle half of the oil over the cubes, toss, drizzle with the remaining oil and toss again.

Bake preheated oven for 10 minutes or until crispy, giving a toss halfway through the cooking.

Finely chop the herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or sage and combine with salt. Sprinkle the herb of choice and salt over the hot cubes and toss.

Cool.

Notes

For a hearty herb like rosemary, think dust when mincing for even coverage and flavor.

Rosemary Pea Soup

pea soup shooters with herb croutons

pea soup shooters with herb croutonsSpring is around the corner and that means young sweet peas are beginning poke through the dirt ready to begin their climb up the vines and ripen into tiny green beads of deliciousness. This is the time to make a delicious chilled or warm Rosemary Pea Soup.

The velvety texture and the sweetness from the leeks and peas is nicely tempered by the earthy flavor and aroma of fresh rosemary. This soup is delicious chilled or heated, but please note that the amount of salt for each style varies.

chilled soup with croutons

Cold foods require a little more salt to amp up flavor and this is done while the soup is hot. It takes a little finesse to get it right – as soon as the salt is a little too prominent for a hot mixture, stop. Chill. If you aren’t sure what temperature you want to serve the soup, season it for the hot version.

To fix an already chilled soup that isn’t properly seasoned, take a ladle or two of soup and heat, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, and add the salt necessary for the cold version. Stir to dissolve and add back to the cold soup.

Use our herb crouton to make a garnish and use finely minced rosemary, serve with a chilled Rosé, and celebrate the arrival of spring – finally!

To Make the Soup

chilled soup with croutons

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan. Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

chilled soup with croutons

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

chilled soup with croutons

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender.

chilled soup with croutons

The texture should be smooth and velvety.

chilled soup with croutons

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each for a lovely appetizer or starter course.

chilled soup with croutons

See our video on how to safely blend hot ingredients.

Watch the Rosemary Pea Soup video here.
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Rosemary Pea Soup

chilled soup with croutons

A delicious, versatile Pea Soup that can be served chilled or hot. Top with crunchy rosemary croutons and celebrate the arrival of spring and spring produce!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts
  • Category: Soup/Appetizer

Ingredients

Chilled Pea and Rosemary Soup

¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (whites and light greens), thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 2 leeks)
½ cup minced shallots (about 3 shallots)
½ cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
¼ cup rosemary leaves only
1 tablespoon coarse salt*
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups vegetable stock or water
6 cups fresh shelled peas or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen peas

Garnish                      

Rosemary Croutons

Instructions

For the Rosemary Pea Soup:

Heat the oil over medium heat in a covered 7-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan

Stir in the leeks, scallions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cover and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring once. If the vegetables are browning, lower the heat a little.

Stir in the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes more.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender – be careful of the steam, or in the pan with an immersion blender. The texture should be smooth and velvety.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool

Serve in small cups with three croutons each.

Notes

*Reduce the salt by 1 teaspoon if serving warm or hot