Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup

This is a nice light and cool (and cooling) soup for the summer, to help use up some of those in-season cucumbers and fresh garden herbs! I used garlic chives from my garden.

Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup
from Filozofia Smaku (Philosohpy taste)
serves 3-4

250 g. cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs fresh dill, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dried)
4 Tbs chives, chopped (1 Tbs reserved to garnish)
1 tsp. lemon juice
400 mL plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil + more to garnish

1. Peel cucumbers (optional), remove seeds if they are large, and grate.
2. Combine all ingredients, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Chill soup before serving. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh chives, and a sprig of fresh dill.

Cucumber Clenser Cocktail

One of my coworkers has been bringing in their amazing summer bounty of cucumbers. Piles and piles of them several times a week in the office. I have profited greatly from these, and have gotten to make some delicious cucumber-based dishes. This is one of my favorites, perfect for curing dehydration from the evening biking-commute home. You can blend the ice in the drink instead of serving over ice if desired.

Cucumber Cleanser Cocktail
adapted from Duzo Solé
serves 1

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lemon OR lime
handful of mint leaves, fresh
1 Tbs honey
ice to serve

1. Blend all ingredients except for ice. Serve over ice.

Raw Brownies

I've been wanting to make raw brownies for a long time now: they just look so dense and chocolaty and healthy! Everything I look for in my food (as well as simple and fast: no baking because it's raw). Finally I got the chance to do so! I didn't add any honey to mine, and I feel like since I used all cocoa powder instead of half and half carob, this is why. It was good, but I feel a few tablespoons worth would go a long way. I doubled this recipe and pressed into a standard 8x8 square brownie pan. They're quite dense and rich, I would recommend making a single batch.

Raw Brownies
from Season to Season Eating
makes 4 large or 8 small brownies

1 cup dates, pitted (fresh are better)
1/2 cup raw walnuts (or toasted, if you're not going for raw)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (or half and half carob powder)
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 shakes cayenne
1/2 tsp course sea salt + more for sprinkling
honey (to taste)
2 Tbs water

1. Blend walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add dates and blend until a paste.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until spices are incorporated.
3. Pour the mixture into a small pan and press mixture into pan. Dust with additional cocoa powder and sea salt (or coarse/powdered sugar)

Rosemary-infused Simple Syrup

This simple syrup can be used in all kinds of drinks that call for simple syrup. I was inspired when I saw a recipe for muddled basil and gin with simple syrup. I got a costco-sized bottle of store-brand gin a few months back and it's laid untouched ever since. I had a party to go to, so it was a great excuse to get back into the kitchen and cook up something using the rosemary I had growing in my little garden. I ended up making a drink that was about equal parts gin and simple syrup plus fresh lemon juice, shaken with ice and served with a sprig of rosemary over ice. This syrup makes great herby summer cocktails, and other aromatic herbs can substituted for the rosemary (like thyme or sage). I would encourage you to make a double or triple batch, as this ran out mighty fast.

Rosemary-infused Simple Syrup
from The Kitchn

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir together ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let boil for 1 minute until sugar is disolved.
3. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Pour through a thin clean cloth or wire mesh and store in an airtight container, disgarding sprigs of rosemary.
4. Cover and chill for 4 hours.

Seedy Tahini Cole Slaw

Summer produce is one of my favorite things. Even better, my company brings in a local, organic farmer's market once a month during the summer months so I don't even have to go out to get nice, fresh produce! They always have a dish created by our cafeteria chef to highlight the produce available at each market with a recipe card you can take. This time it happened to be a cole slaw with vinegar and melon. It was decent, but I thought I could come up with something better. Since they had fresh cabbage for only 1$ a head, I got one and did some experimenting. I really like what I came up with, a combination of this and this recipe plus a couple of my own additions. You can really add whatever you want to this recipe, including thing like chopped kale or watercress or cashews or pineapple. There's a lot of directions cole slaw can go, but this is a nice, seedy, protein-filled base to start off with. It can be eaten straight, as a meal or a side dish, or dumped on top of salad or even pasta. This recipe makes quite a bit, so be prepared to share and experiment with the left-overs.

Seedy Tahini Cole Slaw
adapted from Lunch Box Bunch

1 small head of cabbage
3-4 carrots, grated or minced
1 cucumber, diced small or julieened
1 cup (8 oz) silken tofu
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup tahini
2 Tbs agave
1 Tbs maple syrup
1.5 Tbs soy sauce (or tamari)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup oil (I used olive)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup pepitas, roasted
several generous dashes cayenne
salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Remove cabbage stem, thinly slice, and then chop into smaller pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl
2. Add vinegar, tahini, agave, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic powder, and cayenne to a blender, and blend on low until creamy. Slowly drizzle in oil with blender on low. Add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Combine all ingredients (including seeds) and stir well to combine.
4. Serve fresh or allow to sit overnight and marinate.