Rainbow Carrot Ribbon Salad

P1080609

I enjoy going to the market and picking up stuff I haven’t worked with before or that I don’t particularly enjoy. I don’t enjoy carrots and I haven’t worked with winged beans or shiso before so that’s what I picked up at the market.I made this salad. Here’s the recipe.


P1080593

Salad
4 to 5 washed and peeled rainbow carrots
a bunch of rinsed shiso leaves
2 – 3 winged beans

Using a peeler, peel the carrots into ribbons. Sprinkle salt on the ribbons and let it sit for a while. Tear the shiso with your hands and finely slice the winged beans, on the diagonal.

P1080601

Dressing
1 bunch parsely
1 bunch fresh oregano
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small Thai chili (or a teaspoon of dried chili flakes)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt/ pepper

Put all of the above dressing ingredients, except olive oil in a blender. Blitz until it is all small and incorporated. Slowly add the oil in and blend until well mixed.

Mix the shiso, carrots and winged beans, pour the dressing over and mix with your hands. Serve on a clean plate.

P1080581

 

Russell James’s Creamy Kale Salad

P1070516We’re in Santa Monica! Beautiful sunny, Santa Monica with blazingly brilliant blue skies, gorgeous tree-lined streets, startling coastlines and diverse and daring restaurants! No wonder all the beautiful people are here 😉

I’m here for the month, studying at The Matthew Kenney Raw Cuisine Institute, honing my previous 3 years of experience. Of course, one of the most exciting things about being here, aside from studying at the institute, was the thought of shopping at organic farmers’ markets and whole foods. Sourcing food items in Taipei that are so common here in the US and in South Africa, is always a challenge and requires a certain amount of detective work and a strong community of fellow food enthusiasts. Here, one need only walk down an aisle of Whole Foods to be blown away by the variety of fresh, organic produce available.

Which brings me to the recipe above – I’ve always wanted to try Russell James’s creamy kale salad but sadly this kale was unfindable in Taipei. The moment I saw it at Whole Foods, I knew I would try it.

P1070497Recipe:

3 bunches of curly kale

2 cups of cherry tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

2 avocado

2 tbls lemon juice

2 tbls chipotle powder (I like it spicy)

1/4 cup olive oil

salt to taste

water to blend

Cut the kale into smaller pieces and remove the harder stemmy parts. Place it in a bowl and massage the salt into it until it looks cooked. You can see in my pics that I didn’t massage too much as I wanted some body and texture. Mix in the cherry tomatoes, which you have sliced into halves.

P1070501

I couldn’t resist these tomatoes on the vine, so I used these instead!

In a blender, add the meat of two ripe, Haas avos, the chipotle, lemon juice, salt to taste, olive oil and water.

P1070506

Haas have outstanding creaminess and are dirt cheap in California!

 

P1070509

Blend with chipotle, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and water

Taste. If you prefer more salt, less lemon, more chipotle, maybe some garam masala, play around. Here’s the thing: the original recipe did not ask for salt in the dressing so I added that in here. Also, I found that it needed some extra kind of creaminess so the next time I make it, I will try to add some coconut butter as well.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this salad and will definitely be making it again!

Stay Calm and Balance Heat with Bitterness :-)

“Bitter taste is a powerful detoxifying agent, and has antibiotic, anti-parasitic ans antiseptic qualities. It is also helpful in reducing weight, water retention, skin rashes, fever, burning sensations and nausea.”

                            (Eat. Taste. Heal.)

During this really hot summer, bear in mind how to balance the accumulated heat in your body. Don’t aggravate it by eating “hot” foods like mango, guava or litchi. Cool it down by reaching for bitter, drier foods like kale, spinach, bitter melon, green cabbage, zucchini, eggplant, tumeric, fenugreek, coffee and olives (examples referenced from Eat. Taste. Heal.) Bitter food stimulate the appetite while keep you feeling lighter and more energized than heavy hot foods.

If you find yourself steaming up and feeling heavy and lethargic, try this simple salad to stimulate you and keep you energized.

Bitter Gourd and Pomegranate Salad

P1030190

The flavour is bitter but balanced with sweet, tart dried pomegranates and sesame, lemon dressing.

P1030171

Step1: Wash the gourd then slice in half, lengthways. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the white flesh and seeds. Rinse once more, then pat dry.

P1030179

Next, finely slice the gourd like in the picture.

Wash your salad greens. I chose to use these bitter purple leaves in addition to my bitter gourd. I guess my body needed it:-)

Wash your salad greens. I chose to use these bitter purple leaves in addition to my bitter gourd. I guess my body needed it:-)

Rinse and dry greens then add the sliced gourd to it.

Rinse and dry greens then add the sliced gourd to it.

P1030183  P1030181P1030184The dressing is simple. Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and a few gratings of Himalayan rock salt.

Finally, add some dried pomegranate or any small, sweet, tart fruit of your choice to off-set the bitterness of the salad.

P1030185

P1030188

This is an internal air conditioner salad 🙂 Try it, it’s great!

Mood-Buster Spring Salad

Yesterday I had a few folks around the house, waving some cameras about while I put some ingredients that i got from the market into one believable dish. They were random things that aren’t easy to find in Taiwan – jicama, fresh fennel, fresh figs, watermelon radish and beets.

Shopping in the market with cameras following was weird but at the same time I was glad to be able to show people where all the best produce could be found. I didn’t have time to think about what I would prepare at home and didn’t take the producer too seriously when he said he wanted me to experiment and show viewers that experimenting with food is ok and that it doesn’t always turn out something wonderful but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the creating process. I thought I would be able to handle it easily but when we got home much, much later, I was stumped. My first instinct was to do a salad because we are enjoying salads almost in this rather hot weather and they’re so easy to put together. My boyfriend quickly changed that by saying that a salad was what everyone would expect when thinking about raw food. Do something different.

So, I made this:

jicama, beets with mint, basil and chili, macadamia nut pate, fresh fennel slice and fresh figs

jicama, beets with mint, basil and chili, macadamia nut pate, fresh fennel slice and fresh figs

I sweaty and nervous and worried that it wouldn’t taste good but what the hell, it was a second attempt as the first attempt at making jicama wraps had failed. The sun was going down and we had to get all the best shooting done while it was still light. Everyone tasted it and enjoyed it. I was surprised since the producer, director and assistant were Taiwanese and 9/10 times Taiwanese don’t like beets at all and raw food is not known here on any great level. Their smiles and enthusiasm was enough to know that I broke the Taiwan code!

With the leftover ingredients, I made this sassy salad:

jicama fennel, figs, watermelon radish zucchini mint basil chilioil balsamic, lemon salt

With the combination of tastes, colours and textures, the heat of the dressing, this salad is nothing short of a mood-buster (if like me, on rainy, heavy, humid days, your mood needs busting).

Recipe:

greens of your choice

half a zucchini, cut in 4, lengthways, then julienned

watermelon radish (the bright pink in the picture), sliced, then julienned

orange, skinned and segmented,

jicama, sliced then julienned,

fresh fennel bulb julienned

fresh figs, quartered, the cubed

handful of basil and mint, some sprigs of fresh rosemary

Combine, then dress with an emulsion of olive oil, dash of chili oil, balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lime, a pinch of salt and some water (taste as you go and whatever is out of balance, add more of that)

Enjoy!

Roasted Pumpkin, Chipotle-marinated Mushroom and raw Caramelized Onion Salad

roasted pum[pkin raw caramelized onion chipotle-marinated mushroom spinach green bean cumin garlic

A few years ago, I read that book,Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads and to be honest, I found it completely unmemorable. Also, I usually find salads to be the last thing I would order off a menu unless I was subconsciously trying to deal with the guilt of having previously consumed something unhealthy. I think this is called “purgatory”.  Don’t look away. I know you do it, too.

Now I try to find pleasure out of salads and include one in every day of the week. Even if I don’t always get there, it’s habit I’m working on. I think my problem with salads is that I usually feel even more deprived AFTER eating one than before, like I’m missing out on a real meal. I think eating like this fosters more anxiety about food and drives us, ironically more in the direction of unhealthy food. The body needs to feel satisfied and grounded and I don’t feel that way after munching on some sparse leaves and seeds from a bowl.

The salad above has everything I need to feel like I’ve eaten a meal – the bulkiness of roasted pumpkin, the heartiness of tenderstem broccoli (it’s really tiring chewing on those stalks), the earthy smokiness and spiciness of raw chipotle-marinated mushrooms (can one ever eat any dish without at least a little heat???), the sweet, rich delicacy of raw caramelized onion and the decadence of good, creamy gorgonzola. Throw in my new, favourite salad dressing of chunky garlic and cumin and you won’t even have space for dessert. Gorgeousness. Really.

You may have noticed that the last three salads have had gorgonzola in them. In a way, part of the salad recipes came about because we received a block of gorgonzola as a gift from family in the US. It felt really special because it was just this single block of cheese. It wasn’t one gift among many as is usually the case so the sense of wowness around it, made me think twice as hard about what to do with it. We are a dairy-free household but we are not anally-retentive about it. We still maintain our playfulness and humour about food. So if I’m going to feed us dairy-based cheese, I may as well make sure it is complemented by a lot of fresh vegetables.

Ok, here’s the recipe as far as I can remember and I’m not sure about measurements:

Prep: use your mushroom of choice, slice them up and marinate with olive oil, salt and chipotle.

1. Hack a pumpkin open, scoop out the innards and rub generous amounts of olive oil inside the cavity and the skin. Sprinkle with your favourite salt and black pepper. Roast it.

2. Rinse and shave your tenderstem broccoli – just the stems so they are easier to chew and digest. Cruciferous veggies gets lots of bugs stuck in them so make a bath of warm, salty water and leave em in there for about 10 – 15 minutes. Don’t pour the water out with the veggies still in the bowl. Lift the veggies away from the water. Then rinse. All the residue will remain at the bottom of the bowl. Wrap in a tea towel and press gently. or swing the tea towel around in the air and the water will separate really quickly. Do make sure you have secured either end with an elastic band or something.

Place the tenderstems in a salad bowl along with cleaned spinach leaves. Pour half of the salad dressing over the leaves and broccoli and gently mix. Over mixing will wilt the leaves and leave them lacklustre.

Add the mushrooms.

Dressing:

  • Finely crush 3 cloves of garlic and put it in a bowl
  • Two tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly-crushed black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt depending on how large your salad is.
  • 1/4 tsp powdered cumin and a few sprinkles of whole cumin for texture and bursts of cuminy-goodness

This dressing was inspired by one of my many searches which revealed Cuban chef, Marciel E.Presilla

By now the roasted pumpkin should be cooked and cooled, cut into cubes and gently move them around the bowl of salad dressing then pick them out and place them in the salad bowl with broccoli and spinach. I don’t like touching the pumpkin too much or they will not maintain their shape.

Next add your gorgonzola and the remaining dressing. Finally, top with raw caramelized onion.

Here’s how:

Finely julienne a medium-sized purple onion. Mix with about two tablespoons of honey/ maple syrup or whatever sweetener you choose, add two tablespoons of olive oil then dehydrate for a few hours until they get softer. You can store these in the freezer and just warm in the dehydrator whenever you need the. Alternatively , just bake them in the oven.