Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Summer Feast

It's been a while since I've written a food post, but this week's haul from the farmers market and a desire to try a little bit of everything, has me inspired and I thought I'd share my recipes.

The first thing I made was what I thought would be a pasta sauce, but what I'm now calling Chunky Tomato and Summer Squash Sauce with Beans. I served it over couscous, but it would be great over pasta or any whole grain, or on its own with a hunk of crusty bread. Keep in mind that it's just as good at room temperature as it was warmed up, so it's a great option for a summer picnic or a quick dinner.

Next was Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing. I cut a large bunch of what I thought was kale, but once I got home realized was probably collard greens, into thin strips. I rinsed and drained it well, then put it in a large bowl. I made a batch of the dressing and drizzled about half of it over the greens, tossing it all together. The result was a tangy, nutty, raw salad. I only wished I'd had some sesame seeds to sprinkle over it. To use up the remaining dressing, I sliced three kohlrabi heads and tossed them with the dressing, making a bowl of crunchy kohlrabi matchsticks that I'll probably add to the Kale Salad at some point.

I also cooked up some red potatoes, green beans and a couple of hard boiled eggs to make my favorite potato salad. And I bought some tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and a bunch of basil for the sole purpose of having a Caprese salad.

With all that to choose from, I couldn't possibly pick just one dish to have for dinner. So I served myself a small portion of each and made a little feast. The flavors all went well together, and I didn't have to overeat to enjoy a variety of dishes.

In case you're interested in giving some of these recipes a try, the tomato sauce and kale salad recipes are below, and you can link to my previously posted recipe for Potato and Green Bean Salad.

Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing


1 large bunch kale, stalks removed, cut into thin strips
3 TBSP tahini
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5 TBSP lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 TBSP soy sauce
sea salt to taste (a dash is all that's necessary)


Place the kale strips into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients for the dressing. Drizzle about half the dressing over the kale and toss to coat well. Add more dressing to taste. Store the remaining dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Tomato and Summer Squash Sauce with Beans


1 TBSP olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow squash, halved and thinly chopped
4 or 5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) can Cannellini or Kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


Heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmery. Add onion and garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant and onions are beginning to turn translucent, stirring often. Add the zucchini and squash, sprinkling with pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally to make sure they don't stick. Add the tomatoes, beans and vinegar and stir to mix completely. Cook just a few minutes more, until the tomatoes and beans are heated through.

Serve warm over pasta, couscous, rice, or any other grain. Can also be eaten as a room temperature salad, over a grain or on its own with a hunk of crusty bread.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happiness Is Not Right Around the Corner

If you haven't ever read Tiny Buddha, I suggest you take a few minutes to check it out. Trust me, the pearls of wisdom I've found there are well worth the time. Last week they shared an article on realizing you're complete and it struck a nerve with me.

For much of my life I've put my energy into getting to some endpoint, all the while holding off on trying new things or taking chances until that magical point when everything would be perfectly in line to do so. I waited for the right time, the right place, the right relationship, the right number on the scale. And as those destinations continued to evade me, I let opportunities pass me by and made excuses for not working toward my goals. "Someday I'll" and "when I finally" prefaced all my plans. I don't know exactly what I was waiting for, but I knew that once I found it, once I reached that journey's end I'd finally--FINALLY--be happy.

But I never got where I thought I was headed, and so I never seemed to find that illusive happiness. Until recently anyway. Until I stopped hanging my happiness on some achievement I might make in the future and started finding it in everyday experiences. When I began looking for happiness in each moment and stopped expecting it to magically appear when everything was just right, I found out I could be happy right now. I didn't have to wait for anything.

There will always be something new to strive for, some goal unreached, some dream unrealized. It turns out that if I can't find happiness where I'm at, then no achievement or momentous occasion or experience or anything will ever make me truly happy. So I choose each day to do whatever I can to find happiness. That way, when I finally reach those goals and see my dreams come true, I'll be able to experience the happiness of those accomplishments even more deeply. Happiness is not right around the corner, waiting for me at some end-point. It is right here, right now.

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