Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad

July 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

Easy. Refreshing. Elegant. And stunningly delicious.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant.  Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant. Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

This delightful crab and cucumber salad is simple and elegant and just stunningly delicious. I have made this salad three times this week alone – it’s that good. And, Okay, my garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now. So, yeah. Cucumbers on the menu every night. It is a very flexible salad – I have used the paper thin cucumbers as a base and then put different things on top – nectarine slices, feta cheese and green onions are two different combos I have tried. All yummy.

There are three ingredients plus a dressing so delicious I may have eaten half a bowl of it with a spoon. Not confirmed, just sayin’.

The key to the salad is the dressing – it is sweet, sour, tangy and smokey – full of umami and a perfect ying-yang dressing. The Japanese name for this salad is Sunomono – which literally means “Vinegared Thing.” I made a whole bottle of the dressing just to keep in the door of my fridge.

Also, the cucumbers have to be sliced paper thin so that they are soft and pliable. Use chilled cucumbers and crab (or shrimp!) and toss with the dressing at the last minute. Amazing. And Addicting.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney

July 11, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Healthy Fare

Easy Curried Chicken Salad with a touch of mango chutney. Summertime simple.

Curried Chutney Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad with Chutney and Craisins (I really didn’t plan for that much alliteration, I promise.)

You might have noticed I have a bit of a chicken salad fixation. I love the many variations on the theme, especially as a light warm weather meal. Great on top of greens, great on a sandwich, or all on its own. Creamy or not, savory or slightly sweet. In the latter category is one of my favorites: Curried chicken salad. Alas, so many of the ones I’ve tried go WAY overboard with the sweetness. A little is nice, but I don’t really want my chicken salad to taste like dessert. I discovered a creative solution to this that adds a tangy twist of its own recently – Zupan’s Market in Portland uses a bit of mango chutney as an ingredient, and that alone serves as the main touch of sweetness (the craisins add a tiny bit as well, but nothing else). Here’s my very simple version of their recipe:  Read the rest of this entry →

Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Skillet

July 6, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Don’t you just love zucchini season?

Zucchini Noodles Skillet

Thinly shaved zucchini is the pasta for this fresh summer “pasta” skillet.

Imagine all the best flavors of summer tossed in one extra healthy skillet. And then SEE ABOVE.

Some folks complain about zucchini stashed on their front porches, but I am not one of them. I just love zucchini season. It just tastes like summer to me – I love it raw, cooked, any which way. I crave Michael Symon’s zucchini Crudo salad.  And Oven Fried Zucchini Crisps are a real treat at our house! C’mon – I have even made Zucchini S’mores! Only a serious zucchini fanatic would make those!

And so my obsession with zucchini starts early this year- with this skillet.

You just shave the zucchini into thin planks and then treat them like pasta noodles. A few minutes in the skillet is all it takes to soften them perfectly for your dish. Add a few other summer veggies and – let’s just call it Summer in a Skillet.

Happy Zucchini Season, all!

– posted by Donna

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Balsamic Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Peppers and Mushrooms

July 3, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

Light and easy balsamic chicken salad recipe – can be grilled or broiled!

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Pepper and Mushrooms

I love a good chicken salad, especially any I can find that aren’t heavy with  mayonnaise-laden dressings. (Not that I have anything against good mayonnaise in the right place, either, but it really can weigh a dish down.) Back in the pre-Lily era, when I was working in West Hartford, CT, I used to frequent the Wild Oats prepared foods on an all-too-regular basis; his was before Whole Foods came to town, if you can imagine such a time. Seems positively Jurassic now.

Anyway, my favorite dish of theirs was a grilled chicken salad with a balsamic dressing. Perfect light fare, ideal for South Beach phase one, paleo, or low-carb in general – and perfect for any cookout if you opt for the grilled version. Read the rest of this entry →

Summer Cantalope Slush – Three Healthy Ingredients

June 29, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Snacks

Three ingredients buzzed into a frozen melon summer slush. 

Cantalope Slushie

Summer sunshine in a glass: Cantalope Slushie

A minor miracle happens when you throw frozen cubes of melon into a blender. That, plus a little lime juice and zest turns into a delicious, smooth, creamy frozen delight.

Here’s the entire recipe: freeze 4 cups of cantalope cubes – about 2 hours minimum. Put the cubes in a blender with 1 cup of water and the juice and zest of one lime. Taste as you go – depending on your cantalope, you may need a little sweetener.

That’s it. Really. Summer sunshine in a glass!

– posted by Donna

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Egg Foo Young Quiche

June 12, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Entrees, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

The classic Chinese pancake in quiche form.

Egg Foo Young Quiche - GF/CF Paleo

Egg Foo Young Quiche

I was a latecomer to appreciating Egg Foo Young, but have recently been enjoying  the version in Nom Nom Paleo‘s cookbook – totally won me over. After making it a few times, our backyard chickens blessed us with a surfeit of fresh eggs, and I was eager to use them in a quiche. The idea struck! And turned out fabulously, if I daresay.

You could use the crust of your choice, of course; I decided to make mine with cashew flour and sesame seeds for complementary flavors. Read the rest of this entry →

Kale Apple and Toasted Walnut Salad

June 8, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Vegan Recipes

Kale, Apples and Walnuts in a (creamless) creamy walnut dressing.

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Make it ’cause it’s healthy. Eat it ’cause it’s YUM.

Walnuts? In June? I know, walnuts are often thought of as a fall ingredient, but they are available year round and add an amazing toasted taste and crunch to a salad. So. They can be a summer food, too.

We are joining the California Walnut Vistual Salad Party with other bloggers this week, so be sure to check out the other recipes at walnut.org

I have been a huge walnut fan for the last 12 years. Walnuts are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth, especially with heart health. Since my husband had a severe heart attack in 2002, I have made an effort to get lots of walnuts into our diet. We even make walnut butter, and yes, I know, a little over the top – but it’s YUMMY, and easy to do in your handy food processor. Just toast and then whirl with a little oil.

I fell in love with Aida Mollencamp’s Kale, Apple and Walnut Salad. I was especially intrigued with the [creamless] Creamy Walnut Dressing. It is so delicious you will want to eat the dressing with a spoon. I left out the pancetta and made the salad vegan. Another change I made was to toast the walnuts to give them a more intense flavor. NOTE: Do not skip the toasting of the walnuts – this totally transforms their taste and their texture. Just spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are fragrant and browned.

– posted by Donna 

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Chicken Shawarma Salad with Garlic Lemon Dressing

June 5, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Entrees, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

Easy Summer Salad Jar du Jour.

Chicken Shawarma with Lemon Garlic Dressing: In salad jar form and plated.  #paleo

Chicken Shawarma with Lemon Garlic Dressing: In salad jar form and plated.

This is my new addiction for the late spring/early summer – I plan on making a batch at least once a week for the foreseeable future. Like many food bloggers, we frequently start out with an existing recipe as a starting point and riff on it, making our own variations. Sometimes the end result is still recognizably related to the original, and sometimes you end up with a whole new dish. Today, it’s a little bit of both.

A friend had recently raved about the chicken shawarma recipe by Tori Avey, and I was eager to test it out. Well, folks, I’m not going to make any effort to change this, I’m just going to point you directly to the source. It’s that good. My ONE chance was sauteing the chicken in step 2 in a tablespoon of coconut oil rather than olive, because that’s the way I prefer to saute, but that’s it. Why mess with what is essentially perfection?

Where I diverged: rather than serving it with tahini sauce, I preferred to eat it with a lemon garlic sauce that is often served on shawarma and gyros. And of course, as with almost all salads these days, I decided to put it in jar form. I think the cucumber and tomatoes go perfectly here. Depending on how tightly you pack it all in, it makes either 3 or 4 salad jars, all ready to go for your next few lunches.

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Spring Chicken Soup with Lemon and Artichokes

March 27, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Soups and Stews

A perfectly bright, warm, simple chicken soup for a day of April showers. 

Spring Chicken Soup with Artichoke and Lemon

Simple, flavorful, healthy. This is something of a copycat recipe.  I’m not going for anything even near total accuracy, but it most certainly was inspired by the Lemon Artichoke Soup you can find in the prepared foods section at Whole Foods. If you’ve been there lately, I’m sure you know the one. I love the flavor combination of lemon, artichoke and chicken (such as in this recipe), and having it rendered in soup form seemed like just the bowl of homemade nourishment I love in the rainy Northwest spring.  Read the rest of this entry →

Caulicannon: Irish Comfort Food – minus the carbs

March 16, 2014 in Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Side Dishes, Vegetarian Entrees

A low-carb, nutrient-packed version of the Irish comfort food classic for St. Patrick’s Day.

Caulicannon: The Irish Comfort Classic made low-carb.

This is certainly a last-minute entry for the St Patrick’s Day recipe bonanza that’s blown up the foodblogosphere all week, but the brainstorm just hit me yesterday and it would be remiss of me not to share it with you posthaste. I was hanging out on Pinterest with my morning coffee as per usual, thinking how lovely a nice bowl of creamy, starchy colcannon would be. Wait a minute, I’ve come to love cauliflower rice, why not use cauliflower mash as the foundation of a low-carb colcannon?

All on its own, I do generally prefer either ricing cauliflower or roasting it,  rather than the pureed version that can be substituted for potatoes, but in this instance, it really hits the spot. My only regret is not doubling the recipe so I’d have more leftovers.

Slainte to all! Read the rest of this entry →