Sunday, 16 Jun 2019

“Why are those people dipping chips in mushy carrots?”  This was the question my 5 year old daughter asked me this weekend while we were waiting for our movie to start (we saw the movie Brave – super cute!).  I explained that it wasn’t ‘mushy carrots’ but a nacho cheese sauce.  She asked if we can have  some and before I could reply, Caleb answers with  ”No!  But she’ll make us some at home.”  Gosh, they know me so well!

Castroville California is known as the artichoke capitol of the world. Did you know Marilyn Monroe was once crowned the Artichoke Queen in 1947? What does this bit of trivia have to do with this recipe? Nothing really but some good to know trivia about artichokes would be that the artichoke is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich vegetable that is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of folate and magnesium. Artichokes also are a natural source of antioxidants.

The next time you score fresh corn on the cob at a great price get some extra and make this bright and flavorful salad. Grilled corn is the heart of this salad but it doesn’t stop there. The tangy basil dressing is the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes. This salad is really simple to make and is a great side to almost any entree.

Most people think of lettuce and boring veggies when it comes to salads but they can be so much more than that.  They can be warm and comforting.  Hearty and flavorful.  And forbidden?  If it’s forbidden you know it must be good!  Forbidden rice is actually very high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron,  zinc, copper, carotene, anthocyanin and several other vitamins. The grain has a similar amount of fiber to brown rice and like brown rice, has a mild, nutty taste.  I’ve been using quite a lot of forbidden (or black rice as it’s sometimes called) rice lately.  My kids think it’s great eating ‘forbidden’ rice and I love it’s hearty texture.  Our nights are still very cool here in Southern California and this salad is perfect for those nights.

I love living in California where just about everyone has fruit trees growing in their backyards.  If you know enough people you can easily have everything on hand to throw together an awesome fruit salad!  This week my friend Kara was kind enough to share some of their peaches with me.  Aren’t they just beautiful?!

While the weather here in Southern California has been mild, reports from family and friends back home in the midwest have been anything but. With the summer heat that much of the country has been experiencing lately this cooling salad is just the thing. The combination of ingredients in this salad were inspired by the fresh offerings found at our local farmers market this past week. Arugula is one of my favorite greens to use in a salad and it’s pungent flavor is the perfect background to the sweet blueberries and crisp cool cucumbers. The bright lemon basil vinaigrette is light and clean and just the thing to combine all the ingredients together in perfect harmony. Enjoy the flavors of summer.

Remember those MONSTER tomato bushes I told you about?  The ones that engulfed my chives, parsley, blackberry and raspberry bushes?  Well, they are now bursting with ripe little cherry tomatoes.  More than I know what to do with.  I’m pretty sure my kids will run away screaming if they see tomatoes on their plate at dinner one more night.   With all the picnics, potlucks and summer get togethers going on I decided to whip up a refreshing salad and share the tomato love.  Plus, this dish is best served at room temperature so no worries with having to keep it cool and refrigerated while at a gathering or outdoor venue.  And if you don’t have a backyard filled with cherry tomatoes – COME TAKE MINE!!!  I’m up to my eyeballs in tomatoes!  Someone save me!

“Summer lovin’ had me a blast. Summer lovin’ happened so fast” (Grease-Summer Nights). I love summer. I love summer salads. I live on salads all year round but I especially enjoy salads in the summer with the fresh seasonal produce that isn’t available in the winter. Corn is one of my favorite summer ingredients so I paired it with a few other favorites like sweet potato and leeks and as if that isn’t enough to cause some summer lovin’ then the creamy, tangy dressing will make you want to break out in a chorus of “Hopelessly Devoted to You”.

It hardly gets any more naked than this. Do you know what ingredients are in sauerkraut? Cabbage and salt. That’s it. You can add other things if you like, carrot, peppers, caraway seed or juniper berries, etc. but those are optional ingredients. I am of German heritage and my dad used to make sauerkraut so I grew up eating it and loving it. What I didn’t know then was how healthy raw sauerkraut is (this not does apply to store-bought pasteurized sauerkraut). Sauerkraut is cabbage that has fermented and fermented cabbage is even healthier and easier to digest than raw cabbage since the fermenting creates a naturally occurring probiotic.

I don’t eat a lot of soup in the summer but I like this one because it’s light yet flavorful. The sauerkraut adds a ton of flavor and since it’s added at the end and not cooked it keeps it’s beneficial raw live probiotic cultures intact. Happy belly, happy tastebuds, happy you.