Wheatless Wednesday – Arugula Salad with Roasted Corn and Edamame


Arugula Salad8


What does it mean if you see a groundhog in the summer?  A couple of days ago, I spotted a fat, furry little creature stealing strawberries from my garden.  It scurried off into the woods as soon as it saw me but not before I got a good look.  It took me a couple of days to figure out what kind of animal it was since I have never seen one before and I have to admit that I became a bit obsessed.  It looked like a beaver but with a fluffy, bristle brush-like tail.  I finally spotted an internet picture of my new little friend, who turns out to be a groundhog, although here in Maine they are called woodchucks.  I know that Maine had a brutally long winter and Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day dooming the East to six more weeks of winter, so I hope that this means six extra weeks of summer.   Perhaps the fact that the little guy is a Mainer, and therefore, only a woodchuck, maybe it doesn’t mean anything and he is just a cute little neighbor who likes my strawberries…


Photo Courtesy of http://www.teacheratlas.com

So what does my groundhog/woodchuck have to do with Wheatless Wednesday?  Nothing, except that I was carrying all the veggies I just bought into the house when I spotted him and almost dropped them in my excitement.  This week in Maine has been hot and humid so we are eating lots of salads.  You might say I overthink food, and perhaps I do, but here is my take on a Green Salad, which is green (arugula) on green (edamame) on green (snowpeas) on green (avocado) on green (scallions) with just an accent of color (corn and maybe a sprinkle of goat cheese).   The variety in this salad comes from the flavors and textures rather than most summer salads that are generally pretty colorful.

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Corn is just starting to come into season and I have had trouble finding organic, non-GMO corn here in Maine, perhaps its just too early or maybe it’s an indication of how much of our corn is now GMO. 😦 It’s hard to pass up the bins of 10 ears of corn for $4.00 but I just did that yesterday.  Instead I bought 3 hard to find ears of organic white corn for $3.00.  Call me crazy but I really go out of my way to avoid GMO’s!  Since corn was my accent in this salad, I decided to rub it with butter, salt and pepper(and maybe just a tad of Creole Seasoning.  I like Tony Cachere’s) and roast it until it turns golden brown.  I let it cool and then sliced the kernels off into the salad.  Delicious!

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Although this salad is light, it is also pretty hearty. Arugula is a great choice for a green salad. Arugula contains about eight times the calcium, fives times the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, and four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce.  The Edamame provides protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron). and the Avocado is nutrient dense and a source of good fat (which we need to absorb the nutrients so don’t hold back).  Sugar Snap Peas are also a good source of vitamins and minerals including calcium and Vitamin C.   Corn gets a bad rap but is actually pretty loaded in antioxidants and fiber.  The best thing about this salad though is that it’s simple but delicious-a perfect hot summer meal!

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Arugula Salad with Roasted Corn and Edamame

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 cups baby arugula
1 cup edamame (fresh or frozen, thawed)
1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced lengthwise
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2-3 ears of fresh corn, shucked
2 tsp butter (olive or coconut oil)
salt, pepper & creole seasoning (optional)
2 Tbsn goat cheese (optional)

Arugula Salad

  •  Wash corn and remove any remaining strings.  Rub 1/2 teaspoon butter onto each ear (I used my hands which was messy but effective) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  I also like to add a bit of Creole Seasoning.  Put in a roasting pan and broil for 3-5 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Let cool.

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  • Place arugula in the bottom of a large bowl.  Add snowpeas, avocado, edamame and green onions.  Slice the kernels off the cobs and add to the salad.

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  • Top with crumbled goat cheese or serve on the side, if desired.
  • To make a simple vinaigrette, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsn lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Drizzle with vinaigrette or serve on the side.




Meatless Monday – Penne with Braised Greens



Pasta is the ultimate comfort food.  It is simple and inexpensive to make and very versatile.  Most comfort foods are warm and oozing with creamy sauce and cheeses (think lasagne or mac and cheese), but as I am married to a non-creamy food guy, I usually opt for sauces that are broth based with an optional cheese topping. Cooking with broth adds flavor without all the extra calories.    In this dish I braised the greens in a reduced vegetable broth with onions and garlic and a touch of crushed red pepper flakes.  I added baby lima beans for a protein boost, and to help fill up our tummies, although any bean or legume would work fine.  There is nothing worse than finding yourself back at the refrigerator rooting around  for something to eat 30 minutes after dinner.  Braising greens, or cooking them in a bit of liquid just until they wilt,  is a great way to use excess salad or garden greens, even beet or  turnip tops that you might normally throw away.  Using a combination of greens like spinach, chard, kale, collards, mustard, bok choy or  raddichio makes for a more interesting flavor and braising them brings out the intense greens and reds, unless you cook them too long, then they turn to mush.  Don’t worry if it seems like too many greens, as they reduce quite a bit in volume when they wilt.  You can always add a handful more, if desired, since they cook quickly.

So we all know that greens are good for us but it turns out that the bitter in them actually serves a purpose.  It sends a chemical reaction through our bodies that helps absorb nutrients, cleanses the body, increases metabolism and curbs our sweet tooth, among other things, so feel free to pile them on.  .  Read more.

This is a light but satisfying dish that is pleasing to both the eye and the palate.  For a heartier dish, use white cannelini beans and top with shaved or shredded parmesan.  You can also increase the amount of broth, onions and garlic if you like a lot of sauce.  Buon appetito!


Penne with Braised Greens

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3/4 lb dry penne pasta (preferably whole grain)

1 T olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup baby lima beans, edamame or peas (frozen or fresh)

3 -4 cups mixed greens(chard, spinach, kale)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp salt

1/4- 1/2  tsp red pepper flakes


  • Cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water.  Drain  and set aside.  You can drizzle with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking if desired.
  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Saute the minced garlic, onion and red pepper flakes  for two minutes, until the onion is translucent.


  • Pour in broth and reduce by half, 5 to 10 minutes


  • Add the  beans and cook for about five minutes.


  • Stir in greens and cook several more minutes until they wilt.
  • Add the pasta, lemon zest and salt.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Options:  Top with flaked or grated parmesan or toasted nuts, if desired.  For a heartier meal, substitute or add cannelini beans.



Meatless Monday – Coconut Ginger Quinoa


Coconut Ginger Quinoa8


Somehow 2013 came and went without my knowing that I was missing “The International Year of the Quinoa”  as officially  declared by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. (The World’s Healthiest Foods)  I didn’t ‘discover’ quinoa until December, almost completely missing the superfood’s official year.  I’m on board now, though and always looking to include interesting seeds and grains in my diet.  Interestingly, Quinoa is not a grain but a seed (a Chenopod to be specific) related to  beetroot and spinach.  It is a complete protein and nutrient rich, including a source of calcium. Quinoa is gluten free and easier to digest than many other grains and pseudo-grains.

Coconut Ginger Quinoa is a flavor packed dish, the combination of onion, ginger and coconut providing a great balance of savory and sweet.  In addition to the quinoa, edamame and almonds give it a protein boost.  The apples and raisins add a natural sweetness and help make it kid friendly.  Younger kids might have fun shelling the edamame while you cook the quinoa.   This is a very forgiving dish that can be served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for making ahead or bringing to a potluck. You can even make the quinoa ahead of time and assemble the ingredients at the last minute. Enjoy!

Coconut Ginger Quinoa

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 tsp. coconut or olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped (optional)
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 medium apple, diced
1/4 cup raisins, currants or cranberries (optional)
1/2  cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds (I used half and half)
Dressing (optional):  1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tsp honey
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  • Toast almonds in dry pan over medium heat for several minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool. If you are using flake coconut, you can dry toast it as well for a nice nutty flavor.  Set aside.
  •  Sauté onion in oil 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent.

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  •  Add vegetable broth, quinoa and ginger.  Simmer, covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (Note:  Rinse quinoa to remove any last remaining saponin, a naturally occurring but bitter covering.  If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, just put quinoa in a bowl , fill with water and pour out as much water as possible without pouring out any quinoa.)
  •  Let partially cool and pour into a large serving bowl.

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  • Shell the edamame and boil in salted water for 4  minutes. Drain.  (Or you can add the edamame to the quinoa for the last few minutes of cooking)
  • Add edamame, almonds, apple, raisins and coconut to quinoa and toss to mix. Salt to taste.  Drizzle with dressing if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Seared Ahi Tuna & Sunomono


Ahi Tuna Dinner

Wheatless Wednesday – Seared Ahi Tuna with Sunomono, Edamame & Ahi Poke

With Guest Chef, Eric Porter

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 We are filled with great joy to have all three of our sons home for Christmas, the first time we have all been together since June.  Our oldest son, Eric, has been interested in cooking since he was a toddler, standing on a stepstool and helping me make peanut butter cookies, pancakes and other kid favorites.  When he was older, he learned cooking basics from me and grilling techniques from his Dad.  Then he moved out and has taken cooking to a whole new level.  For the past several years, Eric and I have engaged in what I think of as friendly ‘cooking wars’, where we take photos of whatever gourmet meal we just made and text it to each other. Eric has created quite a reputation as a great cook among his friends and rightly so.  I have had the pleasure of Eric’s famous Seared Ahi Tuna several times and am pleased to have him as the first guest chef for Good Mother Diet.

Notes from the Chef – A dish like this is delicious, beautiful and looks decadent but is actually very easy once you get comfortable working with Ahi.  Ahi is a fish that is generally served raw to rare. People are sometimes are afraid of working with raw or rare fish, however if you buy your fish from a reputable local source, the fish should be good.  Keep in mind that most if not all tuna is flash frozen on the boat which is a means to preserve the flavor and keep it fresh.  Pickling the daikon takes out all the sharpness and adds a pleasant sweetness.  This is best done days before but in a pinch, it can be done that day as well.  Kept in the refrigerator, it only gets better and will last for 2 weeks.  In making the dry rub for the tuna, I find that dry ginger works best in this dish rather than fresh, because it’s easier to blend evenly with the rest of the dry spices.  The hardest part of this dish is in removing what I call ‘the horn’, the fibrous tip on each piece of tuna. It’s easy to see what to remove when you look at the grain of the fish.  There are two parts of the Ahi steak, a large piece where the grain goes one way and a small piece where the grain goes the other direction.  You need to remove the small piece which is too fibrous for this dish.  I hate to throw it out so I usually use it to make Ahi Poke.  You can also make poke with a prime piece of tuna, which makes a prettier dish, but for our purposes, we are going to make use of the less desirable bits. If I have one thing to say about Ahi tuna, less is more, because it is so good on its own. I believe that everything on your plate should look good and I like to use edible ingredients in my presentation.

Seared Ahi Tuna over Marinated Daikon

2 cups fresh Daikon radish

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced or ginger paste

¼ cup carrot or beet juice to color (optional)

Up to ½ cup rice vinegar

2 lbs fresh Ahi tuna

1 Tbsn salt

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsn Wasabi powder

Pickled ginger

  • Using a mandolin or grater, shred the radish into long strips.
  • Combine radish, ginger and juice in a container. Add ½ to ½ rice vinegar and water to cover.  Cover and refrigerate. (The longer it marinates, the better)
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl, or a pie plate.

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  • Place Ahi tuna on a cutting board.  You need to remove the tough fibrous part of the tuna (the small tip section).  Using a knife, beginning at the ‘knotch’ where the grain of the fish changes, cut, as shown, taking care to remove the fibrous tissue.  Reserve the small piece of fish to make Ahi Poke.  Recipe below.
  • Dredge each piece of fish in dry rub on both sides, including edges, and brush off excess.
  • Add sesame oil to bowl and toss fish to coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. You don’t want it to come to room temperature before cooking.


  • Make wasabi paste by combining one Tablespoon wasabi powder with 1 Tablespoon water. Mix and shape into a cone.  Let sit ten minutes.
  • Heat a heavy pan until it’s almost smoking.  Sear the tuna 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  Remove from heat and put in the freezer for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer.  Press sesame seeds into both sides. Slice and serve.

Ahi done

Ahi Poke

½ lb Ahi Tuna (whatever scraps are left from the Ahi steaks)

½ tsp sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

½ Tbsn lemon zest (from about half a lemon)

1 firm avocado

  • Working from the long end toward the tip of each piece, run the knife between the sections to remove the white fibrous tissue.  You will need to use your hands to pull the meat off as well. Some of it will be small scraps.  Cut the longer pieces into cubes.
  • Put tuna pieces in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and toss well.  Cover and refrigerate. (Best if marinated overnight or 24 hours).
  • Cut slices of avocado and arrange tuna mixture on top. Serve

Ahi Poke


1/2  lb salad shrimp

2 cucumbers

2 large carrots

¼ cup rice vinegar

½ tsp salt

8/8 oz package thin rice noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add rice noodles and let stand 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain and rinse with cold water until they are no longer hot. Noodles should be soft but firm. Gently press the water out.  Set aside.

  • Using a mandolin or grater, cut carrots into long strips
  • Using a mandolin, Cuisinart or knife, cut cucumber into thin circles
  • Rinse shrimp
  • Combine all ingredients.  You may need to use your hands.
  • Top with shrimp

CHEF TIP-You can make a pretty cool dish to hold your edamame, or anything else, by shaving the side s of a cucumber on the wide setting.  Form them into rounds and clip together with carrot or zucchini pins.

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Boil fresh or frozen edamame for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Serve.

Ahi Tuna Dinner