Living the WELL Life

A Glimpse of Summer - by Christina Pirello

Friday, May 07, 2010

I don’t know what the weather was like in your neck of the woods, but Mother Nature brought a heat wave with her to Philadelphia this past weekend.  We saw record temperatures and even got an added bonus of humidity, inspiring me to create a “Glimpse of Summer” menu.  

There’s nothing better on a summer-like weekend than feel-good cookout foods: burgers, potato and greens salads, macaroni and pie.  Look no further.  My menu has you covered!  Invite friends to your backyard bash, take in the taste of what’s to come this summer, and remember to put on your sunscreen!      

Black Bean Burgers with “Mayo”
New Potato Salad
Mac and Cheese
Arugula Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette and Red grapes
Cherry Crumble Pie

Black Bean Burgers with “Mayo”
½ cup diced red onion
½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
¼ cup minced cilantro
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons soy mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ cup pureed silken tofu
Cracked black pepper
Sea salt
2 cups cooked pinto beans, coarsely mashed with a fork
1 cup fresh/frozen corn kernels
Extra virgin olive oil
Whole grain burger buns
Vegan mayo

Extra virgin olive oil
4-5 leaves kale, washed, shredded
Sea salt

To make the burgers, combine the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Fold in beans and corn until ingredients are fully combined.  Form the mixture into burger-sized patties.  Arrange on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes to set the patties.

Place a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Lay patties in skillet and cook, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and sauté greens.  Place a small amount of oil in the same skillet and sauté kale until just wilted, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and sauté 1 minute more.  

Assemble the burgers.  Lay a patty on the bottom half of a bun, spoon some greens on top.  Spread the cut side of the top half of the bun with vegan ‘mayo’ and press gently on top of burger.  Serve immediately.  Makes 3-4 servings.

New Potato Salad
2 pounds new potatoes, ½-inch cubes, do not peel
Sea Salt
1 small red onion, finely diced
3-4 tablespoons capers, drained, do not rinse
3-4 ripe tomatoes, diced, do not peel or seed

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 shallots, finely diced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced
2-3 stalks fresh basil, leaves removed, finely diced
1-2 basil sprigs, for garnish
Sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and cook until just tender, 12-15 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Mix in red onions and capers.  Gently fold in tomatoes.  Set aside.

To make the dressing, place oil and shallots in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes to soften the shallots.  Remove from heat and whisk in balance of ingredients, seasoning with salt to taste - remember the salty flavors of the capers.  Allow dressing to cool for about 3 minutes before gently tossing it with the potatoes.  Serve warm, garnished with whole basil sprigs.  Make 8-10 servings.

Mac and Cheese
8 ounces elbow or small shell pasta
4 tablespoons vegetarian butter spread (like Earth Balance)
4 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 cup shredded sharp vegan cheese, grated
Whole wheat bread crumbs

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt and cook pasta until it is about 80% done.  Drain well.  While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.  Melt vegetarian butter spread in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Whisk flour into the melted butter spread and cook, stirring until smooth and bubbly.  Stir in a generous pinch of salt.  Slowly whisk in soy milk and continue cooking, whisking, until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in cheese and continue to cook until melted.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil an 8 x 10 baking dish.  Fill the baking dish by alternating layers of cheese sauce and cooked macaroni.  Be sure to end with sauce on top.  Sprinkle generously with bread crumbs and bake until hot and bubbly for 20-25 minutes.  Makes about 6 servings.

Arugula Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette and Red grapes
1 bunch arugula, rinsed well, tips trimmed
1 cucumber, peeled, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced (do not peel or seed)
4-5 red radishes, diced
2-3 fresh scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2-3 cups red grapes

Scallion Vinaigrette
2 cups Living Harvest shelled hempseeds
2-3 fresh scallions, diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt

Clean arugula and arrange it on a platter.  Chill completely.  Combine the balance of the vegetables and red grapes in a mixing bowl.  Set aside while making the dressing.  Heat a dry skillet over low heat.  Stir in hempseeds and lightly toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Transfer hempseeds to a suribachi (grinding bowl) and grind until half broken.  Add scallions and grind to a paste.  Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add oil, vinegars, and a light seasoning of salt.  Whisk until well blended.  Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Fold dressing into the vegetables and toss gently until well-coated.  To serve, mound the vegetables onto the bed of chilled arugula.  Makes 4-6 servings

Cherry Crumble Pie
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 cup semolina flour Pinch sea salt Pinch ground cinnamon 8 tablespoons avocado or light olive oil Spring or filtered water

Filling 6 cups fresh, pitted cherries 2 tablespoons avocado or light olive oi l
Pinch sea salt
&frac 12; cup Suzanne’s Specialties Strawberry Rice Nectar Grated zest of 1 fresh lemon 3 tablespoons arrowroot Topping
1 cup rolled oats 3/4 (three quarters) cup whole wheat pastry flour Pinch sea salt 3/4 (three quarters) teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ cup slivered almonds 3/4 (three quarters) cup brown rice syrup
½ cup avocado or light olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.  Make the crust by combining the flour, semolina, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Cut in oil, creating the texture of wet sand. Slowly add water, mixing until the dough gathers together. Knead 2-3 times just to gather it into a ball. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of parchment, creating a thin round that is about an inch larger than the pie plate. Remove the top sheet of parchment and invert crust onto pie plate. Without stretching, fit the crust into the plate, allowing excess crust to hang over the sides of the dish. Pierce in several places with a fork and bake for 5-7 minutes, to prevent the crust from becoming soggy. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the filling by combining all the ingredients except arrowroot in a saucepan over low heat. Stirring frequently, cook until cherries begin to soften, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in arrowroot. Spoon the filling into the partially baked shell.  Prepare the topping by combining oats, flour, salt, cinnamon and almonds in a mixing bowl. Stir in rice syrup and oil to create a crumbly texture. Using your hands, crumble the topping over the cherry filling, covering completely. 

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and remove foil. Continue baking until filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Makes 8-10 servings.


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