Move Over Avocado Toast!

Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts
Lodge Bread German Style Rye

Sometimes we want a different kind of toast for breakfast, especially when there are fabulous hand-shelled, sweet and tender, English peas available. So, no disrespect, but move over avocado, and make room for Fresh Pea and Ricotta Toasts.

Fresh sweet peas and crunchy pea shoots, fresh basil and mint, and lemony ricotta top an extraordinary German style rye by Lodge Bread.  This heavenly bread is bold and sturdy – made of 100% whole grain dark rye, buttermilk, local beer, sprouted rye berries, and filled with seeds – sesame, nigella, sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy.

Serve this breakfast with tea. English peas, and tea. Of course it’s lovely.

German Style Rye Bread

English Pea and Ricotta Toasts Recipe

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Mung Bean Lovers’ Pasta

Mung Bean Lovers' PastaMung Bean Rotini & Mung Bean Sprouts in a Coconut Curry
#glutenfreevegan

Here’s a zippy gluten-free vegan pasta dish that’s full of flavor and spice, made with two different forms of mung beans. Those small green oval-shaped legumes are nutrient-dense and high in plant-based protein and dietary fiber. They are milled and ground into flour to make rotini shaped pasta. Fresh mung bean sprouts add texture and have a somewhat nutty flavor. They add more fiber, and Vitamins K and C.

I use Trader Joe’s Curry Powder with its wonderful exotic spice blend of cumin, turmeric, chile pepper, mustard, cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and saffron. Then I add more ground turmeric for the extra boost of flavor, color, and especially the curcumin. Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that is responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

A garnish of plenty of chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, and a drizzle of chili oil (or chili flakes) make this colorful pasta dish especially exciting and appealing!

Mung Beans Lovers’ Pasta Recipe

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Dandelion Greens Pesto

Dandelion Greens Pesto

Dandelion Greens Pesto with Fettuccine

The organic red-stemmed dandelion greens (pissenlit rouge) at the farmers market looked so perky and pretty, I couldn’t pass them up, but had no idea what I would do with them.

Turns out there was fresh fettuccine in the fridge and there seemed to be some affinity…

Dandelion greens are bitter and peppery. I paired the edgy greens in a pesto with a 3:1 ratio of slightly sweet and soft baby spinach to tone them down, but not too much. Parmesan and fruity olive oil balance the bitter flavors. Lemon juice adds bright notes. It is an intriguing yet tasty departure from our beloved basil pesto.

And apparently dandelion greens are a top source of prebiotics, a specific carbohydrate that feeds probiotics. Prebiotics are high in an indigestible fiber called inulin, which enhances the gut’s production of friendly bacteria. (Source: Cooking Light)

Dandelion Greens Pesto Recipe

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Alaskan Halibut, Japanese Flavors

Alaskan Halibut, Japanese Flavors

Panko Crusted Halibut over Baby Bok Choy in a Miso Broth
Togarashi and Mitsuba Garnish

Summer is the time to enjoy fresh halibut from Alaska. This pristine lean fish with mild, sweet white flesh, large flakes and a firm but tender texture naturally pairs well with Japanese ingredients; miso, tamari, mirin, and toasted sesame. Harmoniously balanced, this dish is a stellar warm weather meal.

Mitsuba, a Japanese herb with a fresh, wild, sweet flavor adds the herbaceous notes. Taberu Togarashi Furikake can be found in Japanese markets. A tasty mixture of black sesame, red pepper, salt, white sesame, dried bonito, kelp, powdered plum, powdered red perilla – it enlivens the whole dish. Serve with fluffy white rice on the side if desired.

Alaskan Halibut, Japanese Flavors Recipe

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Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Garlic Scented Lima Beans
Fennel, Feta, Mint, Oregano, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil

Cool-crisp Persian cucumbers and creamy-buttery lima beans make a delightful summer duo. Fennel adds a bright crunch with a sweet, nutty anise flavor.

The large limas by Lompoc Beans are sold at our local Torrance Farmers Market. They are also available online. Grown in Santa Barbara County, the beans cook up beautifully smooth and tender.

Soak 2 cups of beans in water for 4 1/2 hours then drain. Place beans in a pot and add fresh cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer, cook uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Cook al dente (soft but not mushy), taste a few beans for doneness. Drain. Set aside to serve at room temperature.

It’s a fun salad to compose. Put cucumber chunks in a roomy ziplock bag and smash with a mallet. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle fruity olive oil into the bag. Add shaved fennel and toss the bag to coat the veggies with the dressing. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Smashed Cucumber Salad Composition

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Cook The Cover

Cook The Cover

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan
Watermelon Radish, Carrot, Bok Choy, Sesame Chili Oil

Have you received a copy of a food magazine in the mail with a cover photo that absolutely floors you? February 2018 Bon Appetit did that for me. There was no way that I wasn’t going to “Cook The Cover” and make that gorgeous Crispy Tofu in Shiitake Broth.

Alas, time passed and I didn’t make it. But, last Saturday’s trip to the Torrance Farmers Market gave me the inspiration…it came from a vegetarian Korean food booth called Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food with a sample of his hot “Vegee Broth.” It was amazing – complex flavors in a vegetarian broth made with fermented vegetable juice, sea salt, low sodium gluten-free soy sauce, and miso.

As I walked the market, watermelon radish and bok choy remembered from that February magazine cover ended up in my basket. I already had carrots and firm tofu at home.

One ingredient that is not in Bon Appetit’s recipe was beautiful Gai Lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. Slightly bitter and slightly sweet, with tasty broad leaves, petite buds, a few pretty white flowers, and tender stems – this had to be added to my version of the vegetable soup.

Here is the link to the original recipe by Bon Appetit, and my adaptations are listed below. Those in the Los Angeles area can find Dave’s Vegee Broth at various Farmers Markets across the county. If you are not in LA, simply follow the original broth recipe. It will take a little longer but be, no doubt, worth your time.

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan Recipe

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