Sunday, 21 Apr 2019

Couscous.  Not only is it fun to say but I absolutely love the flavor and texture of this tiny little pasta.  Couscous is amazingly light and fluffy and this salad is just that.  It’s got a simple and refreshing dressing and the bits of sun dried tomato and lightly sautéed asparagus make this the perfect spring or summer salad.  You can serve this dish cold so it’s perfect for a potluck or get together.  Enjoy!

The first time I tried tamari roasted almonds I was hooked. What a simple but wonderful flavor combination. What I don’t like is the price for this tasty treat. Why pay for someone else to put 2 simple ingredients together when you can do it for yourself at a much lower cost? If you like tamari roasted almonds too then roast some up yourself and save some money in the process.

I call this Lazy Fried Rice Salad because it’s like fried rice only not fried because I was in a hurry to get lunch made and threw the ingredients together to make a chilled salad instead. Or else it’s because I was just feeling lazy and had all the ingredients assembled but didn’t want to get out a pan and make fried rice. Whatever the reason I’m glad I did. I like the chewy texture of the rice with the crunchy freshness of the vegetables and the Tamari Roasted Almonds are like tasty little treasures hidden throughout the salad. Perfect for a fast lunch or side dish at dinner. Go ahead be a little lazy today too but still enjoy a delicious meal.

I recently read an article in Bon Appetit magazine about the nutritional benefits of parsley. Actually, the article was about a chef with rheumatoid arthritis who has written a cookbook called Hero Food  and relates how he found that parsley as well as some other of his favorite foods improved his health. I really love parsley and it got to me wondering why I don’t use it more. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory properties it helps boost the immune system as well. One of my favorite ways of eating potatoes are Parsleyed New Potatoes. I’m definitely going to be adding some parsley to my garden, right beside the potatoes. What a perfect pairing.

Remember the infamous broccoli and rice casserole made with instant rice, cream of mushroom soup and Cheese Whiz? I’m ashamed to say I do and that I even made it many, many years ago. What a terrible way to mess up a good healthy vegetable like broccoli! I was thinking about this casserole the other day and decided to get creative and make my own broccoli and rice casserole, Naked Kitchen style. Now this is one healthy recipe with nothing to be ashamed of.

While I’ve definitely been showing the blueberry some love lately, I’ve actually been going through a phase with other fruits as well.  Strawberries, apples, grapes, bananas – I’ve been craving them all.  Years ago when my husband and I were on our honeymoon we had brunch at a small little cafe in downtown Waikiki.  I had the most amazing french toast but even better was a fruit salsa they served with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips.  They used fresh, in season fruits from the island and it was so unbelievably delicious that I licked the bowl clean!  So what better way to indulge my fruit craving than with some homemade fruit salsa?

While working on a recipe recently I needed lima beans and was having a hard time finding them. I looked at 3 different stores and finally decided that I was going to have to make a substitution. I settled on fava beans. I don’t think I had ever had fava beans before but I ended up loving them. They are plump and nutty tasting. I was so taken with them that I started looking for other recipes to make with them. I came across Ful Medames, a traditional Egyptian dish and thought it looked good since many of the ingredients were nearly identical to one of my favorite dressings. For Ful Medames you mash the beans into a spread but I didn’t want to mash the beans  so I added a few additional veggies and made a bean salad. Fava-licious.

I could talk about how I like this recipe because of the nice balance of flavors with the bite of arugula, the sweet oranges combined with the creamy millet. Or I could talk about how eating this makes me smile to think I’m eating bird seed and how I’ve become a Euell Gibbons of sorts (for those of you too young to know who I’m talking about he was a naturalist that appeared in Grape Nuts commercials in the 70′s eating anything from pine trees to cat tails). But really, it’s much simpler than that. I like it because it just tastes good. If you are looking for something new that’s clean and refreshing and has a delicious variety of flavors give it a try yourself. Who knows what you might find yourself eating next?

Lately, I’ve been going through a pea phase.  I’ve been buying up sugar snap peas by the pound and adding them to every meal I made.  They are by far one of my most favorite vegetables. Right now they are blooming in our garden and there was no way I could pass up making a delicious meal with them.While my favorite way to eat peas is fresh out of the garden, sometimes I like to change it up a bit.  By searing or sautéing the peas, their vibrant green color pops even more and you are still able to maintain some of the crunchiness.  When I made this recipe I meant for it to be a side dish but it was so yummy that I ended up eating the whole thing!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

I’m sure almost everyone has had several different kinds of root vegetable chips. Potato, sweet potato, carrot, beet, parsnip are all standard chip material but have you ever had eggplant chips? Before making these crisps I never though of eggplant as chip material. When I think eggplant I think good… but soft and sometimes mushy. Cut in a nice thin slice eggplant can become as crispy as any other vegetable chip and since it can take on just about any flavor you want to give it you can season it with the spices of your choice for a custom design. Eggplant, it’s not just for Baba Ghanoush anymore.