Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad 
This summer salad is inspired by a recipe I found on Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks and adapted to fit into what I'm eating right now.  Feel free to add grass fed mozzarella if you like.  I reckon anchovies might work in this too.  Experiment and make it yours.
photo by Heidi Swanson

- 2 pounds / 1 kg tomatoes ( a mix of small heirlooms & cherry tomatoes), halved
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
- couple pinches of fine grain sea salt or Himalayan pink Salt
- 1/3 cup toasted almond slices (buy pre-toasted or toast on a baking sheet at the end of tomato cooking time, don't let burn)
- 1/4 cup (approx) of sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons capers, sauteed in a little olive oil
- a handful of torn lettuce leaves (I used a mixture of baby greens)
- generous drizzle of olive oil or chive oil*
- fresh squeezed juice of about half a lemon
- optional - chive (or herb) flowers or minced chives, to serve

How To:

- To start, you're going to roast about half of the tomatoes. I recommend doing this earlier in the day to allow cooking and cool off time. I cut all my tomatoes in quarters, then split the batch in two - half to roast, half to keep raw.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven.
- In a bowl, toss the half of the tomatoes you will be roasting in a bowl along with the olive oil, and salt.
- Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake, without stirring or turning, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
When ready to serve
- Saute the capers in a tablespoon of olive oil, set aside.
- In a salad bowl add the raw tomatoes, most of the almonds, the warm capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and the leafy greens. Dress with lemon juice and olive oil (or chive oil).  Stir in the roasted tomatoes last as they are a bit delicate.  (If you are adding cheese or mozzarella, do so before the roasted toms)
- Taste and season with a bit more salt if needed.
- Serve topped with the remaining almonds, chopped chives, and any herb flowers you might have.

*To make chive oil, use a food processor to puree 1/4 cup chopped chives with 1/2 cup / 120 ml good olive oil. Stir in another 1/4 cup finely chopped chives by hand. Season with sea salt to taste.



Sopa Verde de Elote - Summer Dining

Sopa Verde de Elote Recipe
this recipe comes from Heidi Swanson's  "101 Cookbooks" which is always such an inspiring recipe blog! Even if you just admire her beautiful photography!  As you can see by my changes (in brackets) it's a pretty adaptable recipe.

photo by Heidi Swanson

- 4 tablespoons grass fed ghee (or unsalted butter)
- 2 small-med summer squash,  chopped into cubes (I used one yellow, one green)
- 1/2  onion, finely chopped (I used red)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cups corn kernels - straight from the cob*** (about 4-5 corn cobs)
- filtered water
- 1 cup green peas (I used frozen organic)
- a small handful of fresh cilantro, plus more to serve (I used basil as I couldn't find cilantro at the market, it worked well)
- some fresh chive (to your taste)
- 1 small serrano chile, charred and peeled*
- 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, or equivalent (I used a bunch of mixed baby greens & arugula)
- Pink salt (or other good quality sea salt)
to serve:  your choice of:  toasted pepitas, creme fraiche or salted yogurt, lime wedges, cilantro, chopped roasted serrano, chopped chives
summer squash from the market
*** don't buy GMO corn - be sure to get organic, or at least buy from your local farmers market.  Whole Foods' "conventional" corn is GMO as are a lot of super-markets, ask questions & vote with your food dollars!

How To:

- Before you get started prepare your corn.  Shuck each cob, rinse under cold water.  Stand each one on it's end on a chopping board and use a large knife to cut all the kernels off, top to bottom. Set aside in a bowl.
- Next prepare your serano chile* - place whole chiles on a hot skillet or grill, cook, rotating regularly, until blistered and charred on all sides. Or you can use a pair of tongs (or a fork) and hold over a gas flame and let it char & blister.  Transfer to a glass bowl or jar, cover, and let steam for a few minutes. Now the chiles are ready to peel.  Avoid washing under the tap because you want to keep the smoky charred flavour, just peel with your hands and set aside.

-  In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon of the ghee (or butter) in a large soup pot, add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add a pinch of salt.  Remove from the skillet and blend using a hand blender or standard blender. Blend to desired consistency.

- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of ghee or butter, and sauté the onion and garlic, without browning, until soft. Add the pureed zucchini to the pan, and cook over low flame for about two to three minutes, stirring constantly. (Do taste this part, it's delicious!)  Don't clean out the blender, you will be using it again in a moment.

- In your blender goes:  the corn kernels, peas, cilantro (or basil), chile, lettuce or other leafy greens and about 2 cups of water.  Really aim to get the mixture very smooth.
- Pour the blended corn mix  to the pot with the  zucchini puree (the chunks of onion and garlic are nice for texture). 

- Cook over medium-high heat for another few minutes, to thicken it up, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly.  

-  If you feel it's necessary, add  1/2 cup of water, or more, depending on the consistency you like. Add the salt & pepper to your liking.  Serve with lots of the suggested toppings.
- Sit down to enjoy.

Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min Serves about 4 people.



Shannon's Spicy Cuke 'Cado Dill Summer Soup

Shannon's Spicy Cucumber Avocado Dill Soup 
"I have one of the smallest kitchens in the world (or at least in Brooklyn),  so I am always looking for quick, easy recipes that can be made in 5 minutes or less.  This is especially true in the summer months, when my kitchen becomes a sauna.  The other thing I love about this soup is that most likely you already have most of the ingredients on hand (especially if you have ever cleansed with Sacha :)"
What you will need:  


1 or 1.5 avocado(s)
3 cups cucumber (peeled if not organic, or if waxy)
3 celery stalks
1 cup fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
1 green onion
1 garlic clove (optional)
1/2 orange, juiced yourself (not packaged oj)
Juice of one whole lemon 
1 tbs organic miso
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
Dash cayenne
2 cups filtered water (or to taste)
 and freshly ground black pepper to taste
(Stiggly adds extras:  greens - romaine lettuce works well, or if you want it cooler for a hot sunny day, frozen spinach is fabulous!  You can also throw in some rhubarb, kohl rabi or whatever floats your boat really)

"Throw everything in the blender and smile. If desired, warm up gently on the stove, but I like it either room temp or chilled.  (Adapted originally from a recipe from Sunny's Raw Kitchen Blog which has an awesome selection of raw soups).  Feel free to garnish with some fresh dill and a slice of cucumber.  Enjoy! Love Shannon!"
Stiggly notes:  I've made this a few times and love how flexible it is as a recipe.  I've made it with and without the curry powder and usually add "other things" from my fridge :)

Shannon lives in Brooklyn, NY with 2 dogs, 2 cats, her husband and a huge stash of yarn.  She loves knitting, spinning fiber, reading, and gardening.    When she is not scouting locations for movies & television, she can either be found in her back yard simultaneously reading a book and  
knitting a sock, or at the park with her 2 gorgeous dogs Buster & Humphrey.    Her current podcast  of choice is Curiously Veg Radio, but her all time favorite is Knitmore Girls.    Shannon's favorite foods right  now are beets, kale and fresh farm eggs (from happy chickens of course!)  She's awesome!

"grain free" Tabouleh!


I dedicate this one to my Mum because she loves tabouleh -- after all, it's still Mothers Month -- as well as to cheers the warm weather and the summer season that kicks off "officially" this (Memorial) weekend!  It's a great dish for picnics & potlucks.  

This "grain-free" version of tabouleh comes by way of Kriss Carr's Crazy Sexy recipes (and then adapted a little by Stiggly),  and I like it because it's super fresh tasting, light & easy on the digestive system (I struggle somewhat with grains)  - it's a really nice twist on the classic middle eastern dish.  I hope you like it too. 

What you will need:
A cup and a half of sliced/quartered cherry tomatoes

About a cup of fresh local strawberries cut in half (optional, but yum!)

A cup or so of peeled & diced cucumber
3 cups of coarsely chopped parsley
Half a cup of grated parsnip
3-5 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
3 tablespoons of finely chopped mint
3-5 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice
2-3 tablespoons (glugs) of extra virgin olive oil
Hefty pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or top quality sea salt of choice), to taste
3 tablespoons of hemp seeds
1 tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)

Mix all of your ingredients together, in the order listed, by hand, in a large ceramic or glass bowl.
Leave it to sit (covered) for about an hour, and strain off any excess liquid.
Serve, smile, chew well, say mmmmmmmm!


Nonnetta's Zucchini Blinis (Pancakes)

I asked Nonna to be the guest chef for the month of March, women's month, because it is through her that I really started to connect with International Women's Day (month) - and her cooking really speaks of  generational nourishment - recipes handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter.  That is so beautiful to me.  I also love that Nonna takes traditional recipes and puts a really contemporary spin on them.  So take it away lovely Nonnetta...

"Cooking and eating freshly grown food is something I always loved and appreciated while growing up with my family in Russia. 
Nonna's Mom's 
Siberian Garden

"My big inspiration was my grandmother, who lived in Turkmenistan. Her blinis (Russian pancakes) were the most amazing thing in the whole world.  Most of her cooking was pretty simple and always made from whatever she had growing in her garden. She even kept her own chickens.  Then we all moved to Siberia, and my parents got their own garden too -  a little house with a garden, andthere my mother continued the tradition - cooking
 in almost the same fashion.  My husband Jeff and I just moved out of New York City to the countryside, and I am beyond excited to be tending to my very own garden this summer - like grandmother, like mother, like daughter!  

" At some point during my early teenage years, I realized that  

because of my upbringing I knew how to cook all my favorite dishes, and I had a strong urge to "play" with the recipes. I was always digging through every possible magazine, (we didn't have the internet then and thus we didn't have wide access to "Western" recipes.)  Whenever I saw something different, I wanted to try to make it or combine it with recipes I was already comfortable with. My mother was always surprised and happy when I would cook something she'd never tried. She thought I was pretty brave and not so bad with my skills, which further encouraged me. 

"To this day though, if I want to make something that I really miss from my childhood, I go back to my grandmother's and mother's cooking, which has strong influences from wherever they were living, be it Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, or Siberia.

"Today, I'd love to share with you one of the easiest, and tastiest recipes I know, one that I love and have played around with over the years to find new indulgences. I hope you find it as delicious as I do. Don't be afraid to experiment with it and make it your own." - NH

Zucchini Blinis (Pancakes) 
(or Any Veggie* Blinis)

You'll need:
  1. Frying pan, with a lid if you have one. I prefer cast iron, because everything (I mean EVERYTHING ... but especially pancakes) tastes better if it's been cooked in a cast iron frying pan.
  2. A large grater for vegetables and a small grater for garlic (or you can use garlic press)
  3. Colander 
  4. Large mixing bowl
Ingredients for 10-12 pancakes
(Remember to use organic, pasture raised ingredients)
  1. Zucchini: 2 large or 3-4 small (or other veggie of choice)
  2. Garlic: 2-3 cloves of garlic
  3. Brown rice flour: 1 1/2 cup (you can also use all purpose gluten-free flour or, in fact, your favorite flour) 
  4. One raw egg 
  5. Cilantro: about a handful 
  6. Sea salt: not more than 1/2 tsp
  7. Ground black pepper
  8. Cayenne pepper
  9. Smoked paprika
  10. Cumin: 1/4 tsp
  11. Olive or coconut oil (for cooking)
*Optional - shredded mozzarella or other cheese

  1. Peel and shred your zucchini (or other veggie of choice)  thickly with the vegetable grater. If your colander is big and sturdy, you can grate them directly into it; if not, you can use it after you finish shredding all the zucchini into your mixing bowl. Press your veggies into the colander to get rid of as much liquid as you can (but do not squeeze the veggies with your hand, just press them against the wall and be sure to keep the texture of your vegetables nice and firm). You should be able to see the liquid coming through the holes of the colander. Transfer to the mixing bowl.
  2. Add pressed/thinly grated garlic, cilantro, egg, and all spices. Mix very well (but gently, you don't want the mixture to be too liquid). Now you can add your cheese if you've decided to go for it.
  3. Slowly add the flour and gently mix. You should reach a consistency when you can form a little flat pancake in your hand about 3" in diameter.
  4. Preheat your pan on the stovetop, add some oil, and start to add the pancakes inside. The pan has to be very hot when you start to cook, but then reduce the heat to medium and put a lid on it. Turn them over when the bottom is nicely golden brown (perhaps 3-5 minutes, depending on the temperature of the pan) and cook the same amount of time on the other side. If you want your pancakes to be crispy, don't use the lid.
  5. When they're ready, place them on a dish under a lid (again, if you want them to be crispy, don't cover them and serve right away).

"It's better to eat them right away. They're very 
good with sourcream or mascarpone cheese.

(Stiggly note, they're also very good with Marmite spread on top and a cuppa firewater on the side!)

*As I mentioned before - you could make this dish from almost any vegetable (potato, sweet potato, beets, pumpkin, carrots). Just remember that hard roots, such as beets or potatos, need to be cooked a little bit longer.

You can serve this dish as an appetizer or main dish for any meal." - - Nonna

Nonna Hall is a talented chef, a very good friend, and by trade a beautiful potter.  You can admire & purchase her stunning work on her website:  nonnahall.com  She also does commission work, so if you are looking to jazz up your kitchen & home this spring, give her a holler.  She lives and works in Sullivan County, upstate New York.  You can find her previous Juicy Tuesday contribution right here.