Cucumber and Cauliflower Salad

luluesque_cucumber-and-cauliflower-salad

If you are swimming in cucumbers from your summer garden, then you’re in luck! All my plants died in the scorching heat. 😦 For you lucky prolific gardeners out there, this is a great summer salad recipe to help use all those fresh cucumbers!

I’ve been alternating between kale salad (my go to!) and spring mix salad, and am frankly bored. I wanted to do something different. I was inspired by Food Network’s recipe, but decided to spruce up my salad with some cauliflower. I  have never seen this combination and I love cauliflower—why not? 🙂 This easy salad was a hit with friends and family. I love that it adds a nice fresh punch of crunch, hydration, flavor, and fiber to any main course!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 English cucumber ~ ends removed, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 small head organic cauliflower ~ cut or broken into small bite-sized florets
  • 1 medium shallot ~ thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea-salt
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill)
  • microgreens ~ I used a spicy mix
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large colander, toss the cucumber, cauliflower, and shallots with the sea salt and let it sit and drain for 20 minutes.
  2. Gently press the liquid out of the vegetables. Rinse well with cold water and drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar and stir well. Add the cucumber-cauliflower mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Gently stir in the fresh/dried dill.
  5. Garnish with fresh microgreens and freshly ground black pepper. Serve chilled.

Fresh Peach Salsa

luluesque_fresh peach salsa

Oh the dog days of summer are upon us where I live! It dawned on me the other day that our sweltering summers are the equivalent of the freezing winters our northern counterparts endure. We just stay indoors down here because we can’t handle going outside. In fact, I’m so inactive during summer that I end up gaining weight! Ha! 😛

It’s a good thing this seasonal recipe is fat free and uses all the fresh summer ingredients that are in abundance and thrives in this heat! You can serve this with blue corn chips, as a side to baked fish, top off your burgers with this salsa, or just eat it fresh right out of a bowl!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 small organic peaches ~ thoroughly washed, pitted, skin left on, diced
  • 1 pint San Marzano tomatoes ~ diced
  • 1/2 bunch organic cilantro ~ reserve only the leaves, chopped
  • 1 small serrano pepper ~ finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot ~ peeled, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Gently combine all your ingredients in a large glass bowl
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

luluesque_spicy black bean burgers-fresh peach salsa

If you’re a pickytarian and won’t eat much meat, but are in dire need of protein, you may like this delicious recipe! Beans and legumes are a great source of protein and fiber, without the fat or sugar! One cup of cooked black beans provides about 15g of protein and 15g of soluable fiber.
I once made white-bean and shiitake burgers and they turned out pretty well! They were filling and quite easy to make. That was my first time to ever make bean burger patties and figured it was due time I have another go. This modified recipe was inspired by Food Network’s “Black Bean Burger” recipe.
INGREDIENTS / Yields 2 Servings (4 small patties) 
  • 1 small-medium shallot ~ peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic~ peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans ~ rinsed and drained
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 small organic serrano or jalapeño ~ finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs ~ I’m using roasted garlic flavor
  • 3 teaspoon steak seasoning
  • Canola-coconut oil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the beans into a large mixing bowl. Using a spatula or fork, roughly mash about 75% of the beans, making sure you see some whole beans and chunky bean bits.
  2. Gently fold the remaining ingredients into the bean mash until well combined. If your mix seems a bit wet due to the egg, sprinkle a little more panko crumbs to the mix.
  3. Use your spatula to gather the mix and divide into four equal parts.
  4. To make the patty, scoop out a divided part, roll into a ball using both palms of your hands, then gently flatten the ball onto parchment paper. Shape the patties as you go along to help them look even. 🙂
  5. In a stainless steel skillet, heat some cooking oil on low-medium heat. You want to cook these burgers semi slowly so that they are cooked through, but browned on the sides. Add more oil as you cook, as the burgers will absorb some. Some of the bean bits may liberate themselves from the burger patties. You can attempt to mash them back into the patty.
  6. Serve with avocado wedges and fresh peach salsa.

Slow-Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms

luluesque_slow-cooked shiitake mushrooms-1

Shiitake mushrooms are an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. They are mainly in Asian cuisine and are  very fragrant. They are the 2nd most popular mushroom in the world, right after the standard white button mushroom!
 
Dried shiitake mushrooms have more flavor and aroma than their fresh counterparts. Dried shiitakes are rehydrated  by letting them soak in water for several hours or overnight. The water is then strained and used to flavor dishes and soup stocks like dashi. The stems can be added to soup stocks for added flavoring, but are typically discarded afterwards because they are too chewy.
I find shiitakes intimidating to use in recipes, but was so pleasantly surprised to find that a Japanese recipe I recently tried was simple and fuss-free! They provide a vegetarian meal with some satisfying substance, thanks to the “meaty” texture. 🙂
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 large shallot ~ peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2″ ginger ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, julienned
  • 2 cups dry shiitake mushrooms ~ see prepping instructions below
  • 1 medium organic carrot ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1/2 cup shiitake liquid ~ strained
  • 4 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ optional
  • chopped cilantro ~ optional
HOW TO REHYDRATE REHYDRATE SHIITAKE 
  1. Place the dried shiitakes in a large bowl or cooking pot. Cover the shiitakes with filtered water (1:2 ratio; 1 cup dried shiitakes to 2 cups  water) and set it aside on the kitchen counter. Place a lid or plate over the bowl as the mushrooms can get a little “aromatic.” Let the mushrooms soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Squeeze all the liquid from the mushrooms. Cut the stems from the mushroom. Cut the shiitakes in half or to desired size for you recipe.
  3. Strain the liquid and reserve it in an airtight jar for later use. This liquid should keep for about 5 days, stored in the refrigerator.
luluesque_slow-cooked shiitake mushrooms-2
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Stir the shiitake liquid, evaporated cane sugar, and shoyu in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Very lightly brown the shallots and ginger. Add the carrots and cook them halfway.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the prepared shiitakes and sauté them until they are mostly brown. Add more oil as needed to avoid sticking.
  4. Pour in the mixture from step #1. Gently stir contents. Bring the liquid to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and let the liquid to simmer until mostly evaporated.
  5. Turn off the heat, remove pan from the stovetop, and add the sesame oil. Stir all the contents. Gently fold in the snow peas.
  6. Serve with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles (my favorite!) and garnish with black pepper and cilantro.

Feeding Fido: Safe Foods for Dogs 2nd Edition

Way back in July 2013 I shared a post about my sweet dog’s weight issues and the healthy diet I put him on. His name is Mochi and he is about to turn 6! Yay, Happy Birthday, Mochi!

I have a printed version of the 1st edition on my fridge; it has been very helpful. Family and friends have inquired about the list and I’ve since seen it shared on Pinterest over 9,000 (9,364 as of today) times. That’s wild!

As a birthday celebration, I updated the “Feeding Fido” list that I use to guide myself with Mochi’s healthy eating. There are more food items on both the “Safe” and “Unsafe” lists, along with new doggie illustrations, done by yours truly. 🙂

Feeding Fido Infographic Poster_2nd Ed Revised_Etsy-Kawailulu-Luluesque-Wordpress_5x5

Mochi still enjoys going for walks, hikes, and runs. And while we all tease about his girth and that he’s “Fluffy, not Fat,” his weight has been kept under control! He still enjoys his fruits and veggies. I think he is one of the very few dogs I’ve met that goes nuts at the sight of fruits and veggies and has your undivided attention the second you’re chopping in the kitchen.

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PLEASE NOTE: This list is not comprehensive nor should the information be considered professional advice. Please use your own judgement and always consult with your vet.

PURCHASE ON ETSY: This full-color chart is available as a direct-download file on Etsy. ENJOY! 🙂

Feeding Fido Infographic Poster_2nd Ed Revised_Luluesque-Wordpress

Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Cookies

luluesque_lemon lavender shortbread cookies

Lavandula, more commonly known as “lavender,” is a flowering plant that belongs in the mint family.  The exceptionally fragrant and versatile flowers are used in medicines, aromatherapy, bath and home products, and food. When used as an essential oil, it has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties and has a calming, soothing effect. 

The sight and smell of lavender always make me daydream about running through a field of lavender in the south of France, on a warm, lazy summer day. 🙂

This super easy recipe comes from the Food and Wine website. Since I am a huge fan of lemons, I increased the lemon zest from 1 teaspoon to 2.

I also found other amazing recipes that contain lavender for future culinary endeavors! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic lavender blossoms ~ chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated organic lemon zest
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted organic butter ~ softened
  • 1 cup organic, unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the chopped lavender and grated lemon zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in the butter at moderate speed. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Form the dough into a 4-inch log and chill for at least 45 minutes longer.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the shortbread dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and place the rounds on ungreased baking sheets. Freeze the rounds for 10 minutes.
  3. Bake the shortbread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer the baked shortbread to a wire rack to cool completely.

MAKE AHEAD
The cookie-dough log can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw slightly before slicing. The baked shortbread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Lavender Culinary Recipes

Lemon-Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 T butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp dried lavender buds. Ground
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cup confectioners sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix cheese, butter and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Add other ingredients until smooth. Can be spread or piped onto cupcakes or cakes.

*recipe source*


Lemon Lavender Greek Yogurt Pound Cake

A recipe for incredibly moist Greek yogurt pound cake with tart lemon and flowery lavender.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces, weight) 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. dried lavender

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9×5 (or two 5.75×3 mini) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended. Gently stir in the lavender.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*recipe source*


Lavender Honey Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp lavender honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Cap, tighten the lid and shake well. Serve at room temperature.

*recipe source*

Sautéed Snow Pea Tendrils

luluesque_sautéed snow pea tendrils

(This is a repost from December 1st, because I somehow had this scheduled to post without a photo, ingredients, or cooking instructions!)

One of the nice things about having a mircogarden is getting to harvest the produce whenever you need. Snow peas and sugar snap peas are super easy to grow, tolerate frosty temperatures, have very few pests, require little maintenance, and the best part is the tendrils and flowers are edible! BONUS! 🙂

Tendrils are the young shoots, stems, leaves, and flowers/flower buds of the plant; they’re essentially the tips/top part of the pea plants. You can see the difference in the “older” leaves as those have a slightly tougher appearance; young leaves are a brighter green.

You can eat the tendrils fresh in a salad or on sandwiches, toss them into your homemade soups at the last minute, sauté them, or even make a veggie stock with them.

luluesque_snow pea tendrils-flowers

INGREDIENTS

  • fresh snow pea tendrils, flowers, and baby snow peas~ tendrils and flowers shrink down considerably, so the more you have, the better
  • 3 cloves fresh organic garlic ~ peeled, minced
  • organic cooking oil
  • splash of white wine
  • sea salt ~ to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Head out to your garden plot and harvest as many fresh tendrils and baby snow peas as you’d like. If you don’t garden, head over to the Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, or your local Asian grocer. Ask for “pea shoots.” Aim for at least 2 lbs.
  2. Heat some cooking oil in a large stainless steel pan or pot. Lightly brown the garlic.
  3. Toss in the tendrils and baby peas; add a splash of white wine. Be careful not to burn yourself if the wine reacts with the oil and sputters!
  4. Very quickly sauté the tendrils and peas as they wilt quickly. I find that a pair of stainless steel tongs are the best tool to use.
  5. Remove the pan from the stove and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  6. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Garlic Ginger Chicken Marinade

luluesque_garlic ginger chicken marinade

This is a marinade recipe for the adventurous palate. I used it to marinade the chicken for some banh mi sandwiches. Since I don’t have a working grill, I sautéd the chicken thighs in a skillet, over the stove. They browned and caramelized nicely and tasted delicious! Even the kiddos that were over for an event wanted this recipe so that “their mommies can make it at home too.” 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs organic skinless, deboned chicken thighs ~ rinsed, drained
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 3 tbs granular sugar
  • 3-5 tbs lemongrass ~ minced (you can buy this pre-minced at your local Asian grocer)
  • 3-5 tbs fresh ginger root ~ grated
  • 6 cloves garlic ~ peeled, minced
  • 1 large purple shallot ~ peeled, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper ~ optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large container with a lid, combine the liquid ingredients and sugar. Stir until sugar has somewhat dissolved. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallot, and black pepper.
  2. Wear some disposable gloves. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the meat.
  3. Cover the chicken and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 1.5 hours. It’s best to let it marinade overnight.
  4. The next day, when you’re ready to cook the chicken, simply heat some cooking oil in a stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Brown the pieces on both sides, adding more oil as you need to avoid the meat sticking to the pan.
  5. Once you’ve browned the meat, add the marinade sauce to the pan. Let the marinade bubble and simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the marinade caramelizes. Flip the chicken a few times so that it’s coated on both sides. Cut into the chicken to make sure it’s cooked.
  6. You can serve the chicken in banh mi sandwiches, with a fresh salad, or top it on a bed of fluffy rice, with a side of steamed veggies. Super healthy and delicious! Enjoy! 🙂