Laarb-inspired Summer Salad

This…this makes my heart sing. The color, the different textures, even the fun shapes! I eat salad every day, but there is something particularly exciting about summer salads. Cool, refreshing, wholesome, and extra tasty with all the super fresh produce, I’ll munch my way through salads all summer long.

For the past month or so, I’ve been making a variation on the Laarb gai salad over at Low Amine Recipes. Bright and fresh, I love the balance of tangy lime and mellow mint. If you need something more substantial (here’s lookin’ at you, Mar), you can add ground chicken, sliced pork, or whatever protein floats your boat. This salad is a great vehicle for overcooked meat – I’ve been known to overdue a few things on the grill – as it absorbs the dressing and flavors to create a satisfying complement to the vegetables. Continue reading

Green Tip #9: Don’t overwork your fridge!

I’m late. And guilty. Guilty of treating my fridge like a revolving door, especially in this hot summer. Dead simple green tip? Open your fridge and take out/put away everything at once.

Green Tip #5 “Prescription for Clean Water” + Garlic Oil

This may seem like a strange subject, but I learned something totally new a few weeks ago and had to share. I don’t have a lot of spare prescription medications floating around my house, in fact I have none, but many people do. And what happens when you no longer need them? Conventionally the tradition has been to flush them down the toilet, along with carnival goldfish with tragically short lifespans and Calvin’s toy boat.

But flushing medications means that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals end up in our ground water. From Michigan Medical and Veterinary Care Facilities, “Pharmaceutical contamination of water has a negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem, including fish, birds and other wildlife…Experts believe that an increase in anti- biotics in water may lead to antibiotic resistance in pathogenic organisms.” That means more superbugs in our food supply and therefore our bodies!

Look for community programs that take back leftover medications or try a website like http://www.disposemymeds.org. Another reason not to flush? It can ruin your septic system through buildup!

It may not be totally relevant for all of you, but it is a good reminder to think about how you dispose of anything, not only for the environment’s sake but for your own. We all learn in school that any ecosystem is a cyclical feature, so what we put in is what we get out of it. We want good things to come around back to us, not hazardous medical waste or polluted food supplies.

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If you want something good to come back to you, try a new vegetable or preparing your own infused oil. In another variation on the Anatomy of a Salad, I enjoyed this scrumptious, light yet satisfying dinner yesterday.

I bought a bunch of marinated or pickled veggies from the local markets yesterday, some totally unfamiliar. I love to branch out and try new foods anytime, especially when they are allergen-free and super delicious veggies! And it is the preciously short spring fava bean season. I simply shelled and steamed them for a few minutes before tossing them in with the rest of the bunch.

next time less hand and more bean!

I really enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table, shelling these beans while watching the sunset and listening to a Here on Earth podcast. It is these small moments in the kitchen that really make things worthwhile for me: tranquil, present, with the anticipation of really good food.

I drizzled the cabbage with some homemade garlic oil. You don’t need to buy the fancy bottles at the store (or create more recycling with another glass bottle!). I washed out an old sesame oil bottle and poured in some olive oil. I then added about 5 cloves of garlic, sliced, which needed to be used up before my trip to America. I then stored it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for 7-10 days. Now it is in my fridge and waiting to be drizzled on salads, fish, roasted veggies, and whatever else I can think of! Maybe some gluten-free pasta or the finishing touch on a soup.

You could also personalize your oil by adding herbs like rosemary, oregano, or thyme, or ginger – really whatever flavor suits you! Sometimes the dead simple things are the best.

So, try something new – be it something at the market, making your own oil, or sharing a green tip with a friend. Or for the best of both worlds, share a green tip AND a meal.

Take care,

Kate

Anatomy of a Salad

I was trying to decide what recipe to post this week. I wanted to share something that I eat often, and finally it dawned on me: salad. I eat it every day, sometimes twice a day as lunch and part of dinner. And I NEVER, ever get tired of it. When I travel for a few days and don’t get my daily salad fix, I find myself longing desperately for a giant bowl of crunchy green.

thinly sliced raw radish, steamed cod, okra, avocado, and lettuce salad with mustard vinaigrette

I know what some of you may be thinking. Salad? Really? That’s so…mundane and boring. Who truly enjoys eating salad? And when I think of the typical restaurant salad – limp, white lettuce, a few paltry out of season tomatoes, and the occasional shredded carrot – I wouldn’t be excited either. However, the key is variety! I eat salad every day, but not the same one. I love monster salads packed full of interesting ingredients and combinations.  Here are a few tips for building a stellar salad:

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