Slowly. Day by day. I’m getting one step closer to turning into a cucumber. A cucumber who’s getting married to a bottle of vinegar. Sometimes the onions walk in, and the tears of joy cry down on this union. I’m just waiting for the tomato to make it official.
Unfortunately, tomato season rarely coincides with cucumber season, except for a few dangling days at the latter one’s end. But that’s okay. I don’t want to be officially wedded to vinegar. And I don’t I very much like the sound of calling myself a cucumber either. Nor do I really like where this paragraph is going. So let’s cut it at that.
However, I have been eating a ton and ton of cucumbers. Averaging 1-2 per day. And still waiting on the perfect tomato to join them in my bowl of vinegar.
Though I’m longing for tomatoes to come join my cukes, it’s hard to say eating gets much better than now, in the late months of summer. Fortunately I live in a city submerged with farmers’ markets, and can also retreat to my mom’s house, currently flooded with cucumbers.
With all of the summer produce coming in, this calls on the need for protein-packed dishes to pair with it.
Nearly as easy as slicing a cuke, hummus forever remains one of my go-to’s.
This particular hummus differs from your classic chickpea version by using black soybeans, a high protein legume that tastes kind of like black beans. For that reason, this to me naturally went very well with guacamole and salsa, too. Feel free to swap the basil for cilantro to stick to a full-blown Mexican theme.
I went with basil because that’s what was in the garden, and I was initially envisioning this spread on a sandwich with thinly sliced cucumbers. Also snapped a few photos of my lovely friend Laura while picking it. You choose what to put it on. Just don’t forget the scallions on top.
Carrots have been my jam lately. As has putting a spritz of lime in my water. (Seriously – this simple step can amazingly brighten up your whole afternoon.)
But carrots came before the lime. Before the warm, spring days graciously showing up this month. Rather, the under-appreciated carrot was my winter staple.
When fresh, seasonal produce is at its lowest, the carrot is good choice to turn to. Like sweet potatoes, carrots keep well and can be stored in your fridge for seemingly weeks on end. I’ve definitely lost carrots to the back of a bottom messy shelf, and after rediscovering them 4 weeks later, was still able to munch on them for an afternoon snack. I am known to often eat the orange sticks by the stick. String cheese, no thank you, but carrot sticks, yes please! Just a simple wash and scrub, and then bugs-bunny-style becomes my own style. It’s something my friends have always busted me about, not seeming to find the same allure in raw carrots as I do.
However, they lend themselves well to easily be spruced up as well. Take the carrot chip recipe you’ll see below. Shortly after making Ginger Pickled Carrots, I came across this recipe on Oh My Veggies. It immediately went on my Pinterest. (Yes, this food blogger finally got on Pinterest, and I may very well be one of the last ones to do so. Forgive my lack of boards. I’m working on it…)
These looked fun, and carrots are cheap, so I figured it’d be a win-win recipe. Which it was. Similar to how I feel with kale chips, the recipe yielded an insanely addictive version of a vegetable. Plus, they were fairly simple to make and would look oh so cute as an accompaniment to a lunch for your friends. Who would’ve thought you’d be impressing company with carrots?
I was pretty much appalled when my friend came over and asked me what exactly kale was. In my world, it’s nearly impossible to understand how someone could not have ever tasted, or at the very least read about, this ubiquitous green.
I did grow up in a family that gardened and harvested a ton of kale, and who also insisted on eating it all times of the day, everyday, breakfast included. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t expect every person to call that normal. But after 2012, when kale became the the Jennifer Lawrence of the food industry, I just didn’t see how her question was possible. I guess it wasn’t too much of a disappointment when she didn’t fall head-over-heels for these kale chips. However, I can happily say I got her to eat not just one, but six of them — even with a potato chip option on the table too.
When baked into chips, I could easily eat a whole bunch of kale in one day. After being popped in the oven, the leafy bouquet you get from the store quickly dwindles down to fill just a medium-sized bowl. Aside from its decrease in size, it’s easy to forget you’re eating a whole bowl of healthy greens when snacking on something comparable to junk food. The friend I mentioned above might call me a weirdo, but I’d take kale chips over potato chips nearly any day of the week. They really resemble little of what you’d expect if given a bowl of steamed kale to compare. Although, I happen to love steamed kale too.
This recipe in particular helps to deliver an even further junk food vibe by adding a traditional salt & vinegar flavor combination. Sure, kale chips have been done a trillion times before. If you follow my blog or are any food-inclined person aside from my friend, you’ve probably heard of/tasted/baked them multiple times at this point. However, there are so many variations you can try that I find they never get old. Kale chips are simply one of life’s greatest snacks, in far more aspects than one. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of vinegar varieties. The balsamic adds a slightly sweeter kick than with your traditional salt & vinegar chips, so if you want your kale to fully compare, consider using white vinegar instead.
Click here for recipe…
With final exams approaching, I won’t have time to do too much crazy celebrating this Cinco De Mayo. But I can always make time to whip up a little celebratory food, like the simple guacamole pictured above.
You really can’t go wrong in the kitchen with ripe avocados. The creamy, greenish-yellow fruit is like natural butter, and unlike the real stuff, I’d be happy topping off almost any meal with it. Not only do avocados taste great, but they’re filled with monounsaturated fats (the good kind that can actually lower your cholesterol when used in place of saturated fats). Combine them with some fresh cilantro and a kick of heat from some chili sauce, and you’ve got yourself a heavenly, healthy version of butter…AKA Cilantro Guacamole. And just like my other favorite butter (shout out to my fellow peanuts), this one’s worthy of a eat-by-the-spoonful approach.
But, if you’re looking for a recipe with which to pair the guac., let’s say, a vegetarian taco recipe in particular, click here. Along with the taco recipe, you’ll also find a brief history of the Mexican holiday that may be inspiring tomorrow’s feast.
-2 small-medium avocados, peeled and pit removed
-1/2 lemon, squeezed
-1 1/2-2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
-2-3 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
-1/2 tsp. salt
Place avocado in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Grab a fork and a pairing knife, and start running the knife through the avocado to start breaking it into pieces. Continue slicing the avocado in the bowl with the knife, using the fork for leverage. Continue this motion until all ingredients are combined with the avocado and guacamole reaches desired consistency. If you prefer an extra creamy guacamole, use the fork to continue mashing out the chunks. Pair with chips, tacos, or any other bean and grain dish.
If you haven’t gotten the gist by now from my other two “green chip” posts, let me inform you now that you can turn almost any kind of leafy green into a delicious and healthy version of a chip. I find that this is one of the best ways to introduce greens into the diets of those who may view these kinds of veggies as foreign, medicine-like substances.
While indeed greens could be praised for what may be perceived as medicinal qualities, boasting of exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, their taste certainly doesn’t have to resemble anything close to that off a chewable medicine. In fact, turning let say, collard greens, into chips makes them almost as irresistible as chips made from America’s #1 favorite vegetable, potatoes.
Collards in particular have exceptionally high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, essential for proper immune system functioning and healthy vision, and providing anti-inflammatory properties.
Swap out those regular potato chips and replace them with collard chips (or any other green of your choice). High in fiber and low in calories, there’s simply no comparison between baked collard chips and standard potato chips, other than their slightly addicting flavors. A perfect green app. for those upcoming holiday parties.
-1 bunch of collard greens, chopped
-Red chili pepper flakes
-Salt and Pepper
-1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil. Spread chopped collard greens on baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Generously sprinkle chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until leaves start to crisp and edges turn brown.