Category Archives: Quick

Easy Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Crunchy Veggies

Spring rolls are a snap to make once you get the basics down. You may have eaten them at an Asian take-out restaurant before, or have seen them on a buffet somewhere. They are light and fresh and can be filled with almost anything you like.  I like to add whole grains like Bhutanese Red rice for an earthy, chewy texture which contrasts excellently against the succulent, salty-snap of fresh shrimp. I include powerfully nutritious green herbs in this recipe which will align well with your diet plans, and I hope you will make it and enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (toasted if you can find it)
  • 4 each 8-inch diameter rice paper rounds (you can use brown rice rounds if you can find them)
  • 1 cup cooked Bhutanese Red rice (cook per package directions)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cole slaw mix prepared (you can find it at the grocery store and it has shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 small avocado halved and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Thai basil (regular sweet basil will work if you cannot find Thai)
  • 6 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 8 each cooked and peeled (deveined) shrimp (medium or large) cut in half horizontally
  1. To begin have a bowl or shallow dish of warm water with a splash of the rice vinegar on hand, as well as a clean dish towel or several layers of paper towels at the ready. You will soak the rice paper wrappers to soften them in the warmed water and lay them out on the paper or towel to drain off excess water.
  2.  Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together with a little sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. This will serve as your dipping sauce, which you can divide into four small portions.
  3. Soften a spring roll wrapper until it is soft and pliable enough to wave gently in the liquid. Remove it to the towel gently, and add several slices of avocado, then two halves of shrimp. Next add some of the cole slaw filling and the green herbs.
  4. Leave about an inch and a half at the top of your spring roll and at the sides. Make sure you place the filling toward the bottom edge of the wrapper.
  5. Now fold the sides up and roll your wrapper like a burrito up and around the filling, pressing gently at the seam. Set your spring roll aside and finish the others in the same manner.
  6. When you have finished, slice each spring roll at the center in a diagonal slice.

You should have 4 servings of an appetizer portion of these delicious spring rolls. Now that you have the technique figured out the sky is the limit for what you can add. Steamed or grilled chicken slices and a creamy, citrus peanut sauce would be a filling treat, as would a spring roll chock full of crunchy veggies alone! If you cannot find fish sauce, or do not particularly enjoy it, feel free to omit it and instead substitute 1/8 cup tamari sauce with 1/8 cup of citrus juice; such as lemon, lime or orange, or even some stock if you have it handy.

 

Corn Tomato Chowder

Summer is coming to a close and tomatoes and corn are abundant in the markets for several more weeks. This is an easy and delicious way to utilize nature’s bounty.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions ( Vidalia are good, so are white or yellow)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • fresh ground black or white pepper to taste

In a soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook them, stirring occasionally to ensure no scorching, about 5 minutes until they are softened.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, cut the corn off of the cob, ( if you are using frozen corn about 2 cups-though the crunch and taste of fresh summer corn is ideal) by setting the cob on a cutting board horizontally and slicing the corn off with a sharp knife, rotating the cob as you go. This is easier than setting the corn upright vertically and is easier to control the knife. After the kernels have been removed, you want to scrape out any of the milky liquid from each cobb and use this in the soup as well. Add all of the corn kernels and milk to the pot with the onioins and garlic.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Stir and add the salt and pepper, and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook 5 more minutes. Take off the heat and add the cilantro. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with a dollop of sour cream if you desire.

Serves-4

Kale and Lentil Salad

Red Lentils are quick to cook, and very filling. This salad can be served warm as a side dish, or chilled until cool and eaten as a cold salad. You will need:

  • 2 cups red lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons good vinegar such as balsamic or sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • wedge of lemon
  • 1/4 cup Dinosaur kale, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • fresh basil, minced or chiffonade
  • 3 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or other nuts like hazelnut
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To prepare the salad have your ingredients ready and warm a skillet or sauté pan gently over medium heat and warm the oil and garlic until it softens, about 3 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure no sticking or burning. Add your vinegar and kale and wilt the kale, stirring to coat the greens with the warm garlic dressing. Once wilted remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the basil and nuts and tomatoes while still warm but not hot. Squeeze a little lemon over the salad and toss gently ensuring an even coating. You may serve this chilled or warm as it is and it is a lovely summer dish. This is excellent with a grilled fish as an entrée.   Serves-4

Fish Fumet

So we know that fish and shellfish are a large part of a traditional Mediterranean diet. Typically those cultures will make a broth or stock from the carcass and head of the leftover fish after consuming, or removing the flesh. There is much nutrition yet to extract from the bones of fish.Minerals like calcium, retinol, choline, and fat soluble vitamin A. As well as some Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and protein from the bones.

The French make “Fish Fumet” and it is a delicate and versatile fish stock made primarily from fresh, salt-water, white-fleshed fish such as: Halibut, Sole, Flounder. However you may use any kinds of fish bones that you may have on hand.

To make 1/2 Gallon of Fumet for use, and freezing you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
  • 6 pounds of good quality fish bones
  • 5 ounces of mushroom trimmings (whatever you have leftover from preparing mushrooms), stems, or chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup leeks, washed, and rough cut
  • 1/2 cup parsnips, peeled, and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup celery, washed and roughly cut
  • 2 1/2 quarts of fresh, cold water
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 sachet d’epices*

*(A sachet d’epices is a French “bouquet” used to flavor stocks and soups without overpowering them and allowing the herbs and spices to float freely.)

To make a Sachet d’epices you need some Cheese-cloth, about a 4 inch by 4 inch square. Place ingredients inside the cheese-cloth, and tie off the ends well, or use kitchen twine to tie a good knot to keep the spices from falling out.

  • 3 parsley stems
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 springs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked fresh pepper
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

To make the Fish Fumet

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed, stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the fish bones, and vegetables. Sweat the ingredients until they become aromatic. (Sweat=cook gently until liquid from the ingredients begins to bead up and release on the outside). Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer slowly (important not to boil) for about 35-40 minutes. Skim the impurities which rise up to the surface frequently.

When it is done, strain through some cheese cloth draped over a chinois, or sieve, into another container which will comfortably hold the liquid. Use a large piece of cheese cloth so that it drapes over the sides of the container. I usually use another pot. Ladle it slowly into the new container. Cool and store in the refrigerator  for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Makes 8 cups.

Carrot and Zucchini Fries

I am just going to post the link HERE for this recipe, as I found it on the PBS parents website. It is originally from Voracious Vander. Enjoy. I would add that optimally you want to buy organic squash and carrots as squash needs a lot of pesticides and herbicides and tends to be GMO, and carrots sit in soil that is heavily laden with pesticides.

 

Recipe: Carrot and Zucchini Fries

An unbelievably easy and delicious way to cook carrots and zucchini.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Seasonings of your choice. (See note under “Instructions.”)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut your veg into 3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.
  4. SEASON – Go with the usual salt&pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once. (Today I used salt&pepper, smokey paprika and crushed red peppers.)
  5. Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
  6. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Cranberry Quinoa Pilaf

This colorful pilaf will be a hit on your dinner table. Quinoa is packed with essential amino acids and is high in protein to keep you feeling full.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups low-sugar, dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cups sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon minced, fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cayenne

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and spices, stirring often, until just softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute so as not to scorch the quinoa or spices. Stir in the broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and parsley.

Serves-6.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

  • 1½ cups of unsweetened almond milk (organic is preferred)
  • 1/4 cup organic (preferred) Greek yogurt with live active cultures
  • ½ cup frozen mangoes
  • ½ cup fresh papaya
  • ¼ cups walnuts
  • ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled and cut up
  • ½ inch fresh turmeric root, peeled and cut up
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds


Place the liquid in the blender and add the remaining ingredients. If you don’t have a powerful blender, I recommend grinding the nuts and seeds in a coffee grinder before placing them in the blender unless you don’t mind a little texture with your smoothie. Blend until smooth and enjoy! This makes one good sized smoothie, or two small smoothies to share. If you want to skip the yogurt, you can also use about a teaspoon or less or probiotic powder.

Tangy Chioggia-Jicima Slaw

  • 1-large Jicima bulb, washed, peeled, and julienned
  • 1-medium chioggia beet, washed, peeled and julienned
  • 1-teaspoon grape seed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1-teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch cayenne or chili spice

Serves 2-4

Use a Mandoline with the Julienne blade to shred the Jicima and the Beet. Toss all the ingredients well in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper and the lime juice and herbs. Alternately you could use Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Seasoning instead of salt. There is even a pepper blend now.

This is a tangy, crunchy slaw that pairs well as a side dish for lunch or brunch items. Or as a salad on it’s own with some diced, fresh, avocado added and some minced red onion. The taste of Jicima is similar to a potato, but not nearly as starchy or earthy, and it’s very hydrating as it is full of water. It is full of iron and vitamin C, as well as having 6 grams of fiber per cup. It’s mildly anti-inflammatory and even has 1 gram of protein, which is surprising considering how plain and crunchy it is. Combined with the candy-cane striped Chiogga beet, this slaw is an eye pleaser, as well as being so good for you.

Alternate suggestions: Add a chopped avocado and citrus segments. If you dislike cilantro, parsley or your other favorite soft herbs may be used.

Ginger Spiced Salmon Burger

This recipe is so easy to make, and will serve 4 people. Perfect for on-the-go people who want to eat healthy. You can make these ahead of time, and freeze them, or refrigerate for up to 3 days before cooking.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless salmon
  • 2 tablespoons coarse ground mustard
  • 2 Green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, or organic canola oil

To make the ginger-mustard “mayonnaise”

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy “Mayonnaise”
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated, peeled, fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tamari sauce

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.

To make the Salmon burgers:

Cut the salmon into large chunks and put about 1/4 amount into a food processor with the coarse ground mustard. Process until the mixture becomes pasty, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the green onions and the remaining salmon and pulse the mixture on and off until the fish is chopped and combined to the puree. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and by hand stir in the bread crumbs, capers, salt and pepper.

Shape into 4 burgers. If using immediately, heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Cook the Salmon burgers for 2-3 minutes per side.

You can serve on a bed of greens dressed with the ginger-mustard “mayonnaise”, buns, or with lemon wedges and a dollop of the ginger-mustard “mayonnaise”.