A slow cooker is a great way to turn summer produce into a robust meal–without heating up the kitchen! This is one of my stand-bys
1 pound dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 small butternut squash, cubed
1-2 ears sweet corn, cut off cob
1 bunch kale, torn into pieces
1 onion, diced
1 quart stock (or water)
2 vegetarian chorizo sausage
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Garnish: Chopped parsley or cilantro, grated parmesan, good quality olive oil
Place all ingredients into a 4 quart slow cooker. Add water if needed to cover by 1 inch. Cover and cook on high 6-8 hours or until beans and squash are tender. Garnish with herbs and cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
As I pinched back my basil plants this morning, I suddenly realized that I still have a couple of packets of pesto in the freezer from last year’s harvest. Obviously, I can’t start making this year’s pesto until last year’s is consumed!
Yet, in the midst of a several-day stretch of hot, humid weather, I just couldn’t see putting a pot of pasta on to boil. Instead, I thawed out some pesto and tossed it with some asparagus I picked up from the farmer’s market this week and threw it on the grill for 15 minutes. The results were too good not to share.
I use this Epicurious recipe for basic pesto as a template, but often substitute other greens (such as arugula) or nuts (such as walnuts).
Avocado and grapefruit salads are a familiar theme but the added texture of the celery and a piquant chili-lime dressing add new life to an old favorite. Pack it for lunch with a hard-boiled egg for protein. The lime juice in the dressing will keep the avocado from browning.
I usually hesitate to use the word “superfood,” but here’s one that truly might qualify. Made with flavanol-rich cocoa powder and chia seeds, this rich and decadent-tasting dessert is a great source of fiber, omega-3s, and polyphenols. Oh yeah, it’s also vegan, gluten free, and 100% awesome.
Cocoa Chia Pudding
For each serving:
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. chia seeds
1/2 banana, cut up
Whisk first 4 ingredients together until cocoa is well blended. Then, stir in bananas and pour into serving glasses or cups and refrigerate 1 hour to allow pudding to thicken. Stir once again before serving. Can be made two days ahead.
Here’s a clever way to sneak another serving of vegetables into the day. These pancakes are feather light even though they are made with whole grain flour. The secret is to use whole wheat pastry flour (not bread flour). Look for it in the natural or organic section of your grocery. Continue reading “Harvest Pancakes”>
Most bran muffins are high in sugar and fat. Prune juice keeps these muffins tender and moist, and adds a natural sweetness. Flax seed also pumps up the nutritional profile by adding omega-3 fatty acids as well as soluble fiber. Continue reading “Flax Bran Muffins”>
The other day, I received a beautiful crate of fresh figs, compliments of the California Fig Advisory Board. Apparently, cool rainy weather slightly delayed the harvest of fresh figs this year. But these were perfectly ripe, and ripe figs don’t last long. The clock was ticking so I invited a bunch of friends and started planning a menu, with each course featuring fresh figs.