Friday, 24 May 2019

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”.

Say hello to my newest obsession.  I have eaten this salad every single day for almost 2 weeks now and some nights I even have it again for dinner.  I just can’t stop eating it!!!!  It needs it’s own Facebook page where people can come and say nice things to it and how much they enjoy it’s crunchy texture and delicious balsamic glaze.  If Bull Testicles can have a Facebook Page then my Krunchy Kale Salad can too!  And it’s such a polite salad, letting you add in your favorite veggies or seasonings – it doesn’t mind, it’s cool like that.  It just wants to fill your belly with yummy goodness – isn’t it sweet?!  Maybe it will trend on twitter – #krunchykalesalad.  Make it happen people!

Purple pepper, purple pepper, purple pepper!  I like saying it as much as I like eating them.  This last week my local grocery store was bursting with peppers- red, green, orange, yellow and of course, purple.  I might have gone a little pepper crazy but I put them to good use!  I had some limes that I needed to use up so I threw together this delicious pepper inspired salad.  I put some on top of salad greens for lunch one day, later my husband and I enjoyed it as a dip with tortilla chips and the other night I used the last of the salad in quesadillas.

It must be that I know the end of summer is upon us because I have been having this weird craving for cucumbers.  I bought 3 of them at the market the other day and less than 2 days later they were gone.  I’ve been eating them with everything and sometimes I just chop them up and eat them raw.  My husband has been obsessed with Chef Matthew Purnell’s Raw Tacos and we’ve been eating them almost every night for dinner.  I wanted to get my cucumber fix in so I decided to whip up this light and refreshing cucumber salsa.  I used the last of the cherry tomatoes from my garden and got the other ingredients fresh from the market.  It made for a delicious end of summer meal.  Enjoy!

It might be the end of summer but it’s the peak of many fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market. Cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, onions, apples, peaches, pears and so much more. This salad is comprised of many of the seasons peak ingredients tossed with the most creamy, mouthwatering and to die for vinaigrette that you will ever taste.