Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

We’re having a cold spell recently… and I don’t hate it. There’s something about sweating before you even leave the house that just seems wrong. my dog is happier, I can wear better outfits to work…. it just works out better.

Now that I’m so close to a dog park for the summer, I take Sydney and walk over to the park so she can make friends and  get some exercise. She is so out of shape… that makes two of us (at least cardio). I probably couldn’t run for longer than 5-10 minutes at this point, but it’s probably worth it to start. There was at least two dozen dogs in and out of the dog field, and Sydney made a bunch of new friends.

I am also ready to eat some more garden food!!! All my little herblets are growing so well, I’m so excited. We had an abundance of basil in a giant flowerpot so I wanted to make something fresh like caprese… I just didn’t have mozzarella. Use what you got, yo. I’ll put a jalapeno in anything, it’s just the best. I’m not a big fan of feta cheese, but it definitely has the right briny flavor to make this salad work with the sweet watermelon and spicy jalapeno.

Short and sweet. Enjoy this recipe!

Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Mint (Keto-Friendly!)

prep time: 20 min

cook time: n/a

serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of semi-ripe watermelon, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced into small pieces
  • 2 small English cucumbers, peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup of feta, small crumbles, plus more if desired
  • 1 large jalapeno, minced, ribs seeds and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt

Directions

  1. Combine all fresh ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently, so as to not bruise or break the watermelon and tomato.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic, adding more if desired. Season with a pinch of sea salt.

Best served right away, or brought to room temperature (to catch all the flavors!)

Enjoy 🙂

-S

Vegan Mexican Street Corn Salad

Ah….the robust heat of August… similar to that of a steam oven. There’s lots of things I think about when I think about the best dinners from throughout the summer growing up, and it always goes back to corn. Corn was everywhere – and it was the best indicator, as a kid, of how much summer vacation you had left.

We would eat corn just about every day – it was easy to make, and shucking the corn got my sister and I out of the house and out of my mother’s hair. If you found the right farm, at the right time of the summer, you could get these giant corn cobs with the sweetest, most delicious taste…. Ever. Then again, I can only guess what it actually tasted like. Anything tastes good when you’ve got your own personal stick of butter to slather over it all.

These days, I still enjoy corn just as much…. But after a tragic dental mishap with a razor scooter, no helmet and no brakes, remedied by enough porcelain to stock a China cabinet, I’m no longer able to eat corn still on the cob. That doesn’t stop me from finding creative ways to eat it! The ever-popular Mexican Street Corn is an amazing method of taking a perfectly healthy corn cob, and completely negating all of it’s nutritional value by smothering it in any delicious cheesy zesty by-product that will stick to it. It’s genius, it’s portable, and I LOVE everything about it. I will never dislike something involving cheese. (I was thinking I’d be willing to test that theory at some point, but I did just remember that truly stinky cheese is a real thing, and my gag reflex isn’t really onboard with stinky things. Standby on this.)

And so – in the spirit of pushing the envelope and making something else delicious from something already absolutely fabulous, this side salad was born. I’ll warn you now – you should buy a lot more corn than you think you need… because you will want mass quantities of this after you taste it. Also – corn cobs do not yield as much shaved corn as you think they do, so if you plan on bringing this anywhere, you’ll definitely want to double or triple the recipe. This calls for a few things from your garden, so make sure you use the absolute freshest of what you can!

 

 

Mexican Street Corn Salad

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Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 20 min (40 min if making Cotija)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 6 ears of corn, grilled or boiled
  • 1/3 cup Vegenaise (Vegan!) or Coconaise (not Vegan!), more if preferred
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced (about 1 heaping tbsp)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne, more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced, stems and seeds removed
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus for garnish
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup cotija cheese (if not making Vegan version), more for garnish

 

Vegan Cotija (optional)

  • 1 1/2 Cup Cooked White Beans (Rinsed & Drained)
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

Directions

For the Cotija, if making:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients into a fine paste, making sure to scrape the sides to mix thoroughly.
  3. Spread over a parchment lined cook sheet, about ½ inch thick.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until dry/crisp. Allow to cool, and finely crumble.

 

For the Salad:

  1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees F if using grill for corn. You can also use an oven! If boiling, place corn in a large pot with enough water to cover all of the cobs.
  2. For the grill or oven, with husks on, place on the top rack for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes (oven you can just let them be). If cooking on stove, place de-husked corn into the pot and let boil in water for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool until corn is able to be handled, husks can be removed and kernels can be shaved off.
  3. Thoroughly remove corn from cobs and place into a bowl. You can (carefully!) use a knife, but I love this little tool from Pampered Chef. Add shallot, jalapeño and garlic… mix thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, lime juice, cumin, salt, paprika, chili powder and cayenne together. Adjust spices to taste. If you find that it’s too spicy, you can add more mayo, a half tsp at a time.
  5. Stir sauce into corn mixture, coating evenly.
  6. Garnish with cotija and cilantro!

Enjoy 🙂

-S

* note – there was originally tomato in my recipe, but I found it was better without. Tomatoes are pictured!

Raspberry Crumb Squares (Vegan, Paleo)

If I’m being honest, I am not a desserts/sweets person. I am not a skilled baker (or at least don’t consider myself one), and I don’t crave sugar. I barely enjoy chocolate. The exception to this, of course, is Easter, when I will actually eat an entire bag or two of Robin Egg malt-balls. This is followed by whining, bellyaching, swearing I’ll never do it again, and then doing it the following year. Remember that one time when I said I liked consistency? Yeah, that’s it.

This little number is a collaboration with my favorite little baker, Bri. Bri, my sassy sous chef/kitchen associate/future legal representation is, in fact, quite a skilled baker… which is why she can be so sassy. This girl knocked out HUNDREDS of homemade macaroons for a New Year’s Party (“It’ll only take a few days to make! No big deal, I swear!”), is the queen of a good chocolate cake, and has this inexplicable connection with her KitchenAid mixer… move over, Jesus; this girl may not turn water into wine, but she might turn it into some cream puffs. Those two would throw a great afternoon tea.

And so – with her taking the lead on dessert, these delicious little squares came about. They are Paleo, Vegan, and a perfect treat that’s not too sweet. We were feeling really granola and farm-to-table this day, so we used raspberries from the garden outside. Some were black, some yellow, but the majority of which were red, giving it this really nice color. Adding chia seeds made up for the lack of volume in berries we had on hand, since the jam thickened and increased the volume once the chia seeds absorbed some moisture.

IMG_1122.JPGThis recipe, while it has no true cultural ties to celebrate and lacks an inherent spiritual message within the food itself, is about having help when you need it. There’s always extra helping hands in the kitchen on Sundays, but sometimes it’s good to just let Bri (or Jesus) take the wheel and make the dessert. Let people shine where they will and share the responsibilities – it makes it easier on everyone 🙂 This recipe is broken up into 3 parts – the crust, filling and topping. Since most of this needs to cool, separately, I try to do whatever I can while each is set aside.

Vegan/Paleo Raspberry Crumb Squares

Ingredients

Filling

  • 2 cups fresh raspberries – can use frozen if you want
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • ~1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Crust

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Crumb topping

  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

  1. You can start with the filling, since this needs to cool the most. In a medium sized pan, mix raspberries, lemon juice, zest and honey. Heat over medium high heat until it starts to simmer/bubble. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn heat to low. With a wooden spoon, break up the berries into a mash. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds, and continue to let cool. If you want to do this step ahead of time, you can allow the raspberry mixture to cool overnight – we let it cool for about an hour while we made everything else.
  3. Once you’ve done your jam filling, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small square pan (We had a 9x9in – anything bigger and your crust will be too thin!).
  4. Mix together almond flour, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, water and salt in a food processor. Pulse on high power until texture is crumbly. Press mixture evenly to the bottom of the pan, making sure there are no air bubbles. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Now, for the crumb mixture on top,  add the pecans, coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt to the food processor and pulse until crumbly…. for about 10-15 seconds.
  6. Get your jam filling back out, and spread it over the crust. Add the crumb mixture on top.
  7. Place back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the crumble turns golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice into squares and enjoy!

🙂

-S