Browsing Tag:

cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Edamame Salad

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

The unofficial start to summer has arrived, and all I want to be eating are refreshing treats like watermelon, lots and lots of watermelon, and cucumbers, too.

This sesame-seasoned dish gets even better with time. It’s part of what makes it an ideal picnic bring-along. Put an hour aside to let the flavors mingle. And then serve it as a compliment to other summery dishes, whether a cold soba noodle salad, or warm yet light grain bowl.

Note: If you don’t have sesame seeds available, crushed peanuts are a great substitute.

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Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

 

When it’s hot, I love fresh meals like Gazpacho.

An even added bonus with this cool soup is that.

What is needed? A bunch of ripe tomatoes and whatever else your farmer’s market or garden offers up.

Summer Gazpacho

After a nice walk through the woods, a good girlfriend of mine and I refueled with a large bowl of this, utilizing some heirlooms from her garden.

It came together in no time, thanks to the help of a food processor (you could certainly use a blender) and the natural beauty of this type of soup.

Gazpacho is all about the freshness of its ingredients. It’s simple. And absolutely divine on a steamy summer day.

Summer Gazpacho

Keep the soup as chunky as you desire, or pulse it for a little extra time if you want something creamier than what’s pictured above.

Either way, I recommend serving it with a nice slice of crusty bread to sop up some of its flavorful juices and add an element of crunch.

Summer Gazpacho

And definitely don’t skip out on the avocado topping. This provides the richness that this light soup needs to complete it. In fact, you could even drizzle a little olive oil on top once served up for an added element of richness.

Summer Gazpacho

What are you making to tide you over during these early August days? Would love to hear your favorite recipes of the season!

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Summer Rice and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Beets

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

Can we talk about how fast life moves after graduating from college? And I’m not even at a 9-5 job anymore. Nor do I have kids…I can’t image how time will feel when that happens. I’m picturing similar to how this 800 mile per hour high speed train would feel, if it ever gets built.

This summer seems like a blur. Late August and evening sweater weather, how did you creep up so fast? Please leave me be for another few weeks. I need some time to contemplate. (i.e., to lay on my back in a pool, and stare mindlessly up at the sky). Ya feel me?

At least I can say the past few months have been entertaining ones, and packed with a tabbouleh salad full of new experiences. This last week, I had the opportunity to teach yoga to a class of senior citizens, a group of former homeless drug addicts, and Temple University’s volleyball team. Man, was each experience different. And tremendously rewarding. Occasions like this really make me reevaluate life. If only I had more time to ponder over those feelings. In a pool. Or a lake. I won’t be picky, summer, if you just stay a bit longer.

Summer Tabbouleh with Beets

So while life has been busy and all over the place, I’ve been making a lot of no-recipe tabbouleh salads. Ones in a huge bowl that will last for the week, and are packed with farmer’s market veggies to keep me charged and thinking straight.

On these occasions, there are no measuring cups or spoons present, excluding the one I’m using to taste as I go. There is no exact science involved. Or open laptop being splattered with veggie juice, tracking every ingredient’s use. While I love recipe development, more often than not, this is how I enjoy cooking the most. Improvisation based off of the ingredients I have at hand.

I hate to snub you guys of a precise directions here, but I want you to simply use this as inspiration to create your own version of tabbouleh. No stressing if you’re missing ingredients from the recipe, well, because there is no recipe. And no freaking out if it doesn’t look like some photo. Below is simply a loose blueprint to get you started. Also, just an FYI, one beet can go a long way. You don’t need much to add that gorgeous pink vibrancy you’ll see in the bowl above.

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Veggie Summer Rolls with Crispy Tofu

Veggie Summer Rolls with Crispy Tofu

There are two times when I really miss having a TV. One is when any of the major tennis championships are airing. In this case, Twitter is giving me the play-by-play, which becomes more annoying than missing the match all together. The other time is when I get home from a long day and want to do nothing else but mindlessly flip on the Food Network. Like the Bachelorette has become for certain boys I know (yes, boys), the Food Network was once my dirty little secret. I knew the personalities of every one of the networks’ celebs. I acted like Giada and I were friends, and like Ina Garten would one day invite me to one of her fancy dinner parties. I even got suckered into the crazy reality game shows, which are rarely ever my thing.

A year ago I moved into a new apartment, and with it I got rid of my cable bill. What came next was ridding myself of my Food Network obsession. No more cooking sessions spent in front of a screen watching other people’s cooking sessions. No more drooling over greasy Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives eats — most of which, in reality, I’d never actually want to order. (Also, no more gagging over the way Guy Fieri would inhale those eats himself. Thank god.) No more tensing and clenching from watching people compete over…cupcakes. No more going to bed on an empty stomach from too much food-filled TV. No more Food Network.

While my withdrawal symptoms were brief, I still have a guilty pleasure for the Food Network. Any time I’m near a powered on TV, I try to get the FN on the screen. My mom will tell you, if I’m at her house at night, it’s on, meaning she’s often forced to bear some anxiety through an episode of Chopped.

Veggie Summer Rolls with Crispy Tofu

I visited my mom this past Wednesday, and yes, to her slight displeasure, we watched an episode of Chopped. One of the secret ingredients was spring roll wrappers. A competitor on the show decided to cut them up into noodles. Creative, I thought. But like half of what I see on the Food Network, something I’d never do myself. Spring roll wrappers are just too good in their traditional use of packaging up ingredients that I have little desire to transform them into noodles. I do, however, have a strong and frequent desire to utilize them for summer rolls.

These are my favorite. I order them nearly every time I’m at a spot that serves them, and I try to make the rolls at least a few times per summer on my own, when my ingredients are fresh.

Like the Food Network, they are a pleasure (though not a guilty one) of mine. Working with the rice paper takes some getting used to, but it’s not rocket science by any means. Don’t worry about forming the perfect roll. As long as you’ve got a mix of fresh ingredients sealed inside, you’re good to go.

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Cucumber Raita

Raita is an essential part of an Indian meal. With all of the fragrant spices and heat that typically perfuse Indian cooking, a cool yogurt raita helps to chill the palate in between bites. Raita acts as a sort of condiment or chutney, cast on the sideline to accompany the centerpiece of your meal. While just a spoonful or two gets put on the plate, a good raita is hard to forget. So if possible, don’t skip out on this when making Indian for dinner. It’s easy to make and well worth your time.

Cucumber Raita

Serves 6-8 as a condiment

-1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
-1 cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise, then seeded and minced
-1 small tomato, minced
-1 1/2 tsp. black mustard seed
-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 tsp. cumin seeds
-Scant 1/2 tsp. salt
-3-4 Tbsp. cilantro, minced (optional)

Mix all ingredients. Chill in refrigerator at least an hour before serving.