Tag Archives: organic

Mediterranean Salad with Toasted Walnuts

30 Jun
Perfect summer side dish

Perfect Summer Side Dish

My muse for this dish was a Turkish recipe I saw in Organic Gardening magazine. I added more vegetables, replaced the parsley and dill with mint and chives and removed the sugar. However you choose to modify this dish, do not omit the toasted walnuts. Just saying…

 

Ingredients:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 bunch asparagus

1 pint snow peas

3 chives, minced

1 scallion, chopped

4 zucchinis

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup raw walnut pieces

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

black pepper to taste

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

fresh mint, to taste

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°. Clean vegetables, place tomatoes in a large glass mixing bowl (after patting them dry) and set aside the remainder of the vegetables.

2. Fill large stock pot with 1 inch of water and place metal steamer inside. Bring water to a boil. While water is boiling, cut asparagus in half and chop snow peas’ tops off. Place in pot and steam for 6 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath or run under cold water. Pat dry and place in mixing bowl.

3. While asparagus and snow peas are steaming, mince the chives and chop the scallions, placing them in the bowl.

4. Using a mandoline, slice the zucchinis in 1/8 inch thick rounds. Place in a separate mixing bowl and mix with 1 tsp sea salt. Let them sweat for 10 minutes. Pat dry and place in large mixing bowl with the other vegetables.

5. While zucchinis are sweating, place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Then, cut kalamata olives in half and add to the mixing bowl.

6. Add olive oil and black pepper to the bowl. Mix well.

7. Serve garnished with toasted walnuts and ribbon-sliced mint.

 

Serves 4-6

Advertisements

Organic or Bust?

17 Feb
Farmer's Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Farmer’s Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Eating organically grown fresh vegetables and fruits is the bee’s knees, no question. But does your produce always have to be organic? Eating conventional broccoli always beats eating a brownie any day of the week. If eating organic produce doesn’t fit your budget or isn’t available to you, here is a handy-dandy list for what fruits and vegetables are the cleanest (least amount of pesticide residue) and which are the dirtiest (most contaminated produce) and worth the extra organic cost.

 

Clean:

asparagus

avocados

cabbage

cantaloupe

eggplant

grapefruit

kiwi

mangos

onions

papayas

pineapples

sweet peas

sweet potatoes

 

Dirty:

apples

celery

cherry tomatoes

cucumbers

grapes

hot peppers

nectarines

peaches

potatoes

spinach

strawberries

sweet bell peppers

kale/collard greens

summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)

 

Information adapted from EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

Fresh Herbs Any Thyme

23 Sep
My very own green goddesses.

My very own green goddesses.

I love going out to my garden and picking fresh cilantro for guacamole or basil for homemade pizza sauce. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have fresh herbs all year long to dress up your favorite dish? Here are some tips for year round herbs that trump grocery store dried varieties any day of the week.

Indoor Garden. Many herbs like oregano, marjoram, chives, basil, cilantro, thyme, mint, rosemary and lavender do wonderful indoors if started from seed or a starter plant. Invest in good potting soil and a nice clay pot (plastic doesn’t work well). Keep these green beauties trimmed, well watered and cozy in bright direct light and warm temps above 60°. If you are looking at bringing the outdoors in, it is best to transplant your herbs in September before the first frost hits. Cilantro and basil do not work well as transplant herbs, but the others do just fine. Again, place them in clay pots with good potting soil and slowly acclimate them to lower light levels before moving them indoors for good.

Dry Out. My dad dried basil last winter and it worked beautifully! All you need is some string and brown paper bags. First, clean and pat dry the herbs keeping leaves on the stems. Once herbs are dry, tie the stems together, place them in a paper bag and hang them upside down to dry for 4-6 weeks. Pick the dried leaves off the stem and place them in a tightly sealed container. Do not crush the leaves until you are ready to use them in your recipe. Crushing them will release their aromatic oils which adds all of the flavor and aroma to your tasty dishes.

Freeze In Fat. Freezing your herbs in a fat such as olive oil helps preserve the lovely oils that add so much flavor to your wintry stews. For this method, you’ll want to pick the leaves off the stems, wash and dry them in a salad spinner or pat dry with a paper towel. Place the leaves in a food processor with olive oil (1/3 cup olive oil for every 2 cups of leaves). Process the herbs until they are finely chopped and place 1 cup of the herb-oil mixture into a 1-quart zip-top bag and lay the bag flat in the freezer so the mixture will freeze in a nice, even layer. Use within 6 months by cutting off as much of the herb oil you need for pestos, soups, stews, salad dressings, hummus and more.