Vegetables: It’s what’s for dinner.

I have had gazpacho on the BRAIN. Caps, for emphasis. As in, I mentioned to Michael several times that I might make it, would make it, was planning on making it.

On Sunday, we stopped by a farm stand post-beach, and I bought a pound of tomatoes. These were not just for salads. These were my gazpacho tomatoes.

We also had kale. And Michael was asking for kale chips, again. We really do love them! I know lots of bloggers make kale chips (and green monsters, and overnight oats, and the like…and yes, I like them all!) and it’s KIND OF overdone, but hey. I’m showing mine off anyway.

This gazpacho was inspired by The Curvy Carrot. I like my soups kind of chunky and stew like – even in a gazpacho. Certainly puree yours more if you don’t.

Here’s what I did:

1 pound of tomatoes
1/2 cup cucumber
1/2 cup kohlrabi, sliced into matchsticks
1 ear of corn, with kernels cut
1/2 large avocado, sliced into bite sized pieces
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of water
1 tbsp each: parsley, basil, mint
1/8 tsp each: chipotle pepper, smoked paprika (I used Penzey spices for both)
salt and pepper to taste

In food processor, combine tomatoes and cucumber and pulse until desired consistency. Pour into bowl. Add remaining ingredients, spices and water. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. I let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

For the kale chips:

~ 6 large kale leaves, destemmed and cut into pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
smoked salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400. In a large baggie, throw in all your kale and coconut oil. Seal bag and shake it up to coat all the leaves. Line a baking dish with parchment paper or tinfoil, and invert the bag and spread out the kale.

Cook about 8-10 minutes, and keep checking on them – they go from crispy to burnt very quickly! Remove and top with salt. šŸ™‚

Carrot Tahini Heaven (Or, The Healing Salad)

We should talk about this. Now, this little baby? I make it a lot. The first time I made it for Michael, he asked me to make it again, immediately. As in, for lunch the next day. If you know him, you’ll know he doesn’t like repeating foods that often.

The reason I love this is multi-fold: 1) It’s just really good. It’s crunchy, salty and sweet. 2) It’s versatile. I have subbed out the carrots for everything from kale to cucumber and broccoli and mixed up everything in between and we love it every time. 3) It’s really good for you. The properties in this salad are very healing. Let me extol the virtues.

Carrots are full of vitamins A and C. These are good for reducing inflammation, increasing bone metabolism and of course, it’s good for your eyes. (Remember when Michael had laser eye surgery? I fed him this for sure. It’s no joke that carrots are good for your eyes!).

Walnuts may be high in fat, but it’s “good” fat. And depending on how you like your diet macros to be, you’ll need some fat anyway. It keeps you feeling full longer andĀ fat in the form of walnutĀ is full of antioxidants.

Turmeric is what gives curry powder its distinctive yellow color. The benefit (depending on what you read) isĀ vast. My dad’s oncologist even suggested heĀ eat more turmeric, curry and ginger because of their healing properties, anti-inflammatory qualities, and possible increase in cell reaction to chemotherapy. Studies have shown a reductionĀ in alzheimer’s disease inĀ populations whoĀ consume turmeric, andĀ it’s been known toĀ help with arthritis.

What’s the wonder in tahini? Hidden source of calcium. I know, and I thought it was just a plain old delicious fat source and an ingredient in hummus. Not so. It’s full of B vitamins and a tablespoon is about one third of your daily requirement of calcium. With bones to heal up in our house – we need more calcium!

Aside from that, I pretty much always have these ingredients in the house – including raisins and parsley. I love fresh herbs. So, this is my go-to meal when we have nothing else left in the cabinet. Tends to happen on Wednesday, because Thursday is shopping day, of course.

And if you don’t have carrots, I recommending chopping up whatever you have on hand and just slathering on the tahini dressing. It’s so good, I can’t even really contain myself.

I got the recipe about a year ago from Lunch Box Bunch. I have made it just as directed, with and without tofu, with and without nutritional yeast and so forth. I mainly make it the way I’ve listed below.

Here’s what you do:

  • carrots, cut into matchsticks (how many depends on how many people you want to feed. You can just adjust the dressing accordingly later)
  • raisins
  • chopped walnuts
  • parsley

I kind of use a ratio of 5 carrots to 1/4 of raisins and a couple tbsp of walnuts and a palmful of parsley. That would feed both of us, with a protein of some sort on the side (I usually go for hard boiled eggs. My choice for muscle repair.). Adjust as you need to. Put everything into a salad bowl and get working on your dressing.

I use this ratio for one serving of dressing. Increase as you need to.

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sweet curry powder (I prefer Penzy’s, but you can use any kind you like – even hot curry)
  • salt and pepper
  • water (to fluff the tahini)

Add tahini, maple syrup, curry, salt and pepper (a pinch of each) to a small bowl. If you haven’t fluffed tahini before – it’s FUN! Add a little water and wisk it up. If it seems like nothing is happening, just keep going. The color will get lighter and the tahini will become thicker and…fluffier. Ha. I add as much water as I need to get a thick dressing consistency. Pour over the salad and mix it up.

That’s about it!

Lucky Fish Tacos

If you live anywhere except under a rock, you know that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last night. We also happened to have fish tacos for dinner. Husband has of course dubbed these “lucky fish tacos”.

A few notes on the fish: I’ve mentioned before about our fish share, which is Cape Ann Fresh Catch, out of Gloucester. CAFC delivers sustainably caught seafood, and they don’t overfish. I feel really good about that.

I will admit I was never a fan of fish as a child. I’ve come to seafood later in life, introduced to it by Michael. He’s a life-long seafood fan, and assured me that I’ve probably not had it prepared the best ways, and that would account for my aversion to it.

He was so right.

We tried out the fish share, and I loved it. I didn’t know that I would, so it was a shock to me. Over the winter I made all kinds of stews and right now, I’m interested in exploring summer fare. I’d never made fish tacos until recently, and they’re looking like a total win at our house.

Onto the details! I served these with a side of beans (no rice), which is a recipe from the Grajales family. Old friends. More credit where credit is due – I got this idea from Jen at Peanut Butter Runner and Bakin’ and Eggs (yep, she’s at both!). I adore so many of her recipes.

For the tacos:

  • 1 8oz fillet of white fish of your choice (I used Hake)
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • red leaf lettuce, cut into ribbons
  • taco shells (I like Little Bear Organics Yellow Corn shells)
  • sour cream
  • lemon juice
  • cilantro
  • cajun creole seasoning (I prefer something salt-free)
  • pat of butter, drizzle of olive oil

For the beans:

  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup of red pepper, diced
  • 1 can of red beans, rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • black and red pepper
  • dried oregano
  • dried parsley
  • salt
  • cilantro
  • cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp or less of butter

I would make the beans first since the fish cooks very quickly.

Melt a little butter over low heat. Add scallions and red pepper. Cook about 10 minutes, until very soft. I didn’t put any amounts for the seasonings, because I generally go by how it looks/smells. Add a good pinch of dried oregano and the same for parsley. Add salt and pepper. I then added about a teaspoon of cumin. Add the beans and tomato paste. Once the beans begin to soften, I use a potato masher to flatten down some of them. Top with fresh cilantro. Cover and let sit while you make the tacos.

I start by prepping all my toppings. Cut the tomatoes and lettuce and place into bowls. Then, make the baja cream. Combine 1/2 cup sour cream with juice of half a lemon. Chop cilantro and fold into sour cream. Set aside.

In a sautee pan, place a pat of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. You just want to coat the pan, and not really fry the fish. It should be a quick sautee. I have found adding a spot of butter helps with sticking, but you can use a nonstick pan or another method if you prefer that.

Coat each side of the fish with cajun creole seasonings and a little salt. I use a brush to really rub the spice in. When the pan is really hot, add your fish. It will cook pretty quickly. When the edges start to curl, you should check to see if it’s ready to be flipped. When it is easily flipped, it’s ready. (Read: you won’t have to scrape it off the bottom of the pan.)

Cook through on the other side, remove and place on a plate. Rest for a minute or so before cutting into pieces that will fit into the tacos.

Assemble as desired. That’s all folks!

A Little Surprise Inside

I made these for no other reason than 1) I like corn muffins and 2) I thought these were really cute. I only made 6 of them because honestly, I bake a lot, and we are only two people.

Here’s what I did, based on this inspiration:

  • 6 broccoli florets (you’ll want them to be shorter than the muffin tin and have a study base so it doesn’t fall over, even without batter in there)
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp kefir

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients until well mixed. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients , and then blend into the dry mixture. You don’t need to overmix, but just enough to get rid of the dry cornmeal globs.

Pour batter 1/2 way up each muffin tin. (Note: I lined with silicone muffins liners first, which I simply LOVE. They make my life so much easier.) Put a broccoli piece in each one, tree side up. Fill with more batter until broccoli is completely covered.

Cook 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and finish by cooling on a rack. Enjoy!