Wheatless Wednesday – Arugula Salad with Roasted Corn and Edamame

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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…

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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)

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  •  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 – Zucchini & Apple Spirals with Basil & Mint Salad

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I have always wondered how to make a ‘noodle’ several feet long, like the one in Lady and the Tramp.  Well now I know the secret.  My mother in law gifted us a vegetable spiraling machine for our anniversary (Well there is no special gift or gem for 28 years of marriage, go figure! So why not a vegetable spiraler…)   I couldn’t wait to try it out – and the result is awesome.  I experimented first with zucchini and got spirals over 6 feet long.  How cool is that?  Then I spiraled some apples and fell the rest of the way in love. It is easier than a mandolin, no peeling or coring and my fingertips and knuckles remained intact.  I decided to cut the zucchini spirals into shorter pieces to make it easier to serve, but it could be fun to make each 6-8 foot strand into it’s own serving.  Your surprised diners could have their own Lady and the Tramp moments…
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Photo Credit:  http://www.kitchenmemories.com
 
For this salad, I decided to add some spiraled apples to the zucchini to add a bit of sweetness and color.  I chose Fuji since they don’t turn brown as quickly as other varieties and I love their red skins.  I also really like the combination of fresh basil and mint in summer salads, especially with a honey, citrus vinaigrette.  To make this filling enough for a main course, I added avocado and pepitos which provide nutrients and good fats that help us feel satiated.  I also sliced up some sugar snap peas to add crunch.  This salad would be good topped with blue cheese, goat cheese or feta, if desired, for an additional protein boost.  
 
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Zucchini & Apple Spiral Salad with Basil and Mint

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 3 medium zucchini
salt
1 Fuji apple (or other firm apple)
1/4 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or pine nuts, pistachios or hazelnuts
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
1 firm avocado
Salt
10 basil leaves
10 mint leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other light oil)
1 scant teaspoon honey (or more if you like it sweet)
Freshly ground black pepper
 
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  •  Cut the ends off the  zucchini and spiral or shred into thin strips using a mandolin or grater.  The spiraler is definitely the easiest!   Cut spirals into desired lengths if needed (about the length of a strand of spaghetti).  Put the spirals in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 10 or 20 minutes.  Taste.  If too salty, rinse, drain and pat dry.  No need to rinse if the taste is fine, just don’t add more salt later without tasting first.

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  • Dry toast pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) on medium heat in a small skillet for a few minutes, until golden.  Add to zucchini when cool.

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  • Cut basil and mint into ribbons.  An easy trick is to stack the leaves and slice thinly cross wise. Add to zucchini. (Leave a few for garnish)

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  • Remove strings from sugar snap peas and cut lengthwise into julienne strips and add to the zucchini.

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  • Whisk oil, lemon juice, honey and apple cider vinegar together and set aside.
  • Spiral apple (core first if using a mandolin) and add to the zucchini.  Gently toss with a bit of dressing to keep from turning brown.
  • Core and chop avocado and add to the zucchini mixture.  Add a bit more dressing and gently combine.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.

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Wheatless Wednesday – Ginger Shrimp & Sugar Snap Peas

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“What’s for dinner?”  That is the number one question asked when my boys are home.  The second most asked question?  “Have you seen my shoes/my phone/ my keys?”  It can be hard coming up with interesting and delicious meals, day after day.  I can remember my Mom saying “The cooking part is not hard, it’s coming up with the ideas and having all the ingredients that is so exhausting”.    “I hear you, Mom!”  I battle menu fatigue by keeping a pantry stocked with beans, grains and legumes and I try to have a lot of fresh produce around so I have more options without having to order takeout run out to the store with a long grocery list.  I also try to keep my freezer stocked with flash frozen raw shrimp and scallops that thaw quickly.

I often get dinner inspiration from wonderful produce I find at the farmer’s market, or if I’m lucky, right from my own garden.  Yesterday, my late fall gardening efforts were rewarded with  an abundance of juicy, fat sugar snap peas hanging off their vines.  I harvested a giant bowl of them and started to think about the best way to showcase these emerald gems.  Their color is fabulous so I decided to pair them with colorful bell peppers, mushrooms and shrimp for a very spring-like meal.  The beauty of this dish is that it is very simple, only a few really good ingredients, but delicious and pleasing to the eye.

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I never learned to properly stir-fry. I understand the concept of starting with the vegetables that need to cook the longest and ending with those that are fastest cooking.  I just never really mastered the technique of pushing the cooked food up on the sides of the wok.  I’m sure it was operator error but everything always ended up down in the bottom in a big jumble.  I prefer to cook everything separately so I can more easily control the level of cooking, plus each vegetable maintains it’s distinct flavor and character.  I cooked the snow peas and peppers first, then the mushrooms and lastly the shrimp.  Then I threw all the vegetables back in the pot with the shrimp and tossed them together.   I served it over brown rice, but any grain, or even pasta, is a great setting for this dish.  A very simple way to add more flavor to rice, without resorting to heavy sauces,  is to cook it with vegetable broth instead of water and toss in a one inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled but not chopped.  Just remove the ginger before serving.

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Ginger Shrimp and Sugar Snap Peas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 lb raw extra large shrimp

2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
8 crimini or baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsn grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsn coconut or olive oil
dash Creole Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

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  • Using a sharp knife, shell and devein shrimp. VIDEO on how to shell and devein shrimp  Wash shrimp and dry with papertowels.
  •  Cut off the stem of the sugar snap peas and remove the string
  • Slice the bell peppers into strips, discarding seeds and pith.
  • Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp papertowel.  Cut off dry end of stem and slice.

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  • Heat 1 tbsn of oil in a heavy pan (I love cast iron) on medium heat.  Saute sugar snap peas and peppers (together or separately)for 4 or 5 minutes  with half the garlic and ginger.  Transfer to a large plate or bowl and leave uncovered (so they don’t continue to cook).

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  • Add a bit more oil if necessary and sauté the mushrooms with the rest of the ginger and garlic, 2 or 3 minutes or until slightly browned on the edges. Transfer to plate with vegetables.

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  • Add a bit more oil if necessary and sauté the shrimp about a minute per side, or until pink and firm.  Sprinkle with creole seasoning or just salt and pepper.
  • Add vegetables back into the pan along with any juice made by the veggies and stir until hot. Add salt and papper to taste.
  • Serve over long grain brown rice, or any grain or pasta

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