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Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl A bowl of salad should contain wholesome and healthy ingredients. Not all do. With spinach, tofu, almonds, blueberries, and cucumbers as its primary ingredients, this Asian-inspired salad is loaded with nutrients and exotic flavors. Plus, this recipe is actually three recipes in one: a salad with salad dressing, Lemongrass Tofu, and 5-Spice Tamari Almonds. All the parts are wonderfully versatile and will enliven your ho-hum salad repertoire.

Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl
Recipe from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romeo

INGREDIENTS
For the Salad
1 pint blueberries
3 Persian cucumbers, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
4 cups baby spinach, washed and spun dry
3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup 5-Spice Tamari Almonds (recipe below)
Lemongrass Tofu, chopped into 1-inch cubes (recipe below)

For the Lemongrass Tofu
1 pound extra-firm tofu or super-firm tofu (no pressing needed)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 teaspoons tamari
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons peanut oil or olive oil

For the 5-Spice Tamari Almonds
1½ cups raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dark agave nectar
3 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
About 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (such as Maldon)

DIRECTIONS
For the Salad
1. Place the blueberries, cucumbers, scallions, and greens in a large salad bowl.

2. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, and red pepper.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to coat, and divide among serving bowls. Top with almonds and tofu, if using, and serve.

Serves 2

For the Lemongrass Tofu
1. If using extra-firm tofu, press the tofu first:
A. Slice 1 pound of tofu in half and slice each half again. Slice each remaining piece in half for a total of 8 slabs of tofu of equal thickness.slicing tofu

B. Layer a large cutting board with clean towels or paper towels. Arrange the tofu slices in a single layer on the towel.tofu slices

C. Spread another towel over the tofu, and then press another cutting board on top of the towel. Stack a few heavy things on the cutting board: cans, cast-iron pans, 300-page cookbooks, etc.Pressing tofu

D. Press tofu for 20 minutes, or up to an hour. Tofu will ooze water, so it’s best to arrange this near a sink, propped on a slight angle on the edge of the sink to drain.

2. Slice the pressed tofu into thin 1/4-inch strips.

3. Preheat the oven to 400° F and coat the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray.

4. Combine the maple syrup, tamari, lemongrass, garlic, and oil in the baking dish and whisk together. Arrange the tofu slices in the marinade and set aside while the oven is preheating, about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir the tofu strips.Marinating pressed tofu

5. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the strips over. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the strips are golden and the marinade is absorbed.IMG_2433

6. Serve warm or chilled. Store chilled and consume within 2 days for best flavor.

Serves 2 as a salad topping

For the 5-Spice Tamari Almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.

2. In a 13 x 9-inch metal or ceramic baking dish, combine the almonds, agave, tamari, and 5-spice powder. Stir until the nuts are completely coated. Sprinkle with salt.

3. Roast the nuts for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a sticky glaze forms. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the nuts to a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and use a fork to break apart any clumps of nuts.

4. Once completely cool, store the nuts in a tightly covered container. Use within 2 weeks.

Makes 1½ cups

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Chinese 5-spice powder is a blend of star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and Sichuan pepper. Jars of it can be found in the spice aisle of Asian markets.

2. Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce. If you follow a gluten-free diet, look for bottles of tamari that are wheat-free/gluten-free.

3. Save yourself a step and purchase pre-toasted sesame seeds at your Asian market.

4. I made the 5-Spice Tamari Almonds, the salad dressing, and the Lemongrass Tofu the day before serving.

5. My Lemongrass Tofu had absorbed the marinade and was golden-dark brown by the end of the first 20 minute cook time.

6. I felt that making the nuts not only added work, but also an added another tamari-flavored ingredient. The next time I make this salad, I will add freshly toasted plain almond pieces to the salad.

7. I added a splash of rice vinegar to the salad dressing, because I felt like it needed it.

8. Do not toss the salad with all of dressing. You will only need a fraction of the dressing or it will overwhelm the other ingredients. Keep in mind, also, that all the ingredients will take on the color of the dressing.

Enjoy!

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Apple Coleslaw While searching for the perfect coleslaw recipe to go with some pulled pork that I made, I thought about a classic pairing: together apples and pork are a gastronomical match made in heaven. I wanted a coleslaw that combined the clean fruity flavors of crisp apples with the crunch of fresh cabbage. Colorful and perfectly balanced between sweet and tangy and crunchy and crispy, this coleslaw complemented the pulled pork wonderfully. Whether you eat it on the side or put it directly inside your pulled pork sandwich, you will want more!

Apple Coleslaw
Wolfgang Puck

INGREDIENTS
Poppy Seed Honey Dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad Components:
1 medium cabbage, cored, finely shredded
2 large carrots, peeled, julienne
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely minced parsley leaves, optional
4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, julienne

DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare the Poppy Seed Dressing. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.

2. Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, scallions, parsley, and apples.

3. Pour in the reserved dressing and toss until well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, mixing the salad at least once to evenly distribute the dressing.

Yields 6 to 8 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. To make this coleslaw more visually appealing, I substituted red cabbage for some of the green. I used 1 head of green cabbage and 1/2 head of red cabbage.

2. I doubled the entire recipe, but did not add in all the salad dressing when tossing. The coleslaw would have been too wet if I had. I also did not double the amount of salt in the dressing. Four teaspoons of salt just seemed like too much!

3. I grated the carrots with a coarse grater instead of cutting them into julienne strips. Even easier would be to buy a bag of shredded carrots at the grocery store.

4. While preparing the apple slices, make sure to toss any that have been cut into some of the salad dressing to prevent browning.

5. Try putting the slaw directly in a pulled pork sandwich. Delicious!

Enjoy!

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Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing If you are looking for a salad that is a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit crunchy, and quite a bit healthy, look no more. Serve this easy-to-make salad year-round. But with the abundance of freshly-harvested apples here in North America, the best time to serve this salad will be in the fall. With flavor powerhouses such as curry, honey, lemon, and mint you wouldn’t expect this salad to be so mild and delicately balanced. On the nutritional side, this salad’s no slouch either. Per serving, as provided on the recipe’s original site, it contains: 304 calories, 14 gr fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbs, 154 mg sodium, 8 g protein, and 5 g fiber. Good for you and great tasting – that’s what I call a win-win recipe!

Quinoa and Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, Volume 2

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup white quinoa
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 small McIntosh apple, cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges.
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts.

2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.

3. Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, salt and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, mint, and nuts; toss well.

4. Garnish with mint.

Serves 4

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Here’s a time-saving tip: I roast different varieties of nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans) in bulk and after they’ve cooled, I put them in separate airtight bags and store them in the freezer. When needed, I just reach into the freezer and remove the required amount. Except for chopping the nuts, I was all but done with step 1.

2. The amount of curry specified results in a very mild curry flavor. For those of you who prefer a more distinct curry flavor, more curry powder can be added in step 3.

3. I couldn’t find a McIntosh apple, so I used a Honey Crisp. I cut the apple into 1/8-inch thick slices and cut those slices in half crosswise. I felt the whole slices would be too large in proportion to the rest of the ingredients. Thanks to the lemon juice in the dressing, the apples do not turn brown in this salad, even when refrigerated overnight.

4. The recipe just doesn’t taste as good without the mint leaves. It makes a difference – the cool mint flavor balances the slight spiciness of the curry very well.

5. I served the quinoa salad on a bed of baby spinach and arugula leaves. Next time I think I will make a double batch of the dressing and toss a little bit of it with the greens just prior to plating. The dressing will help the other salad ingredients cling to the leaves better.

Enjoy!

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Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing Hot summer days evolve into lovely summer evenings. The sun mellows in the sky and temperatures drop to a comfortable warm. It’s the perfect time of day to dine al fresco and to entertain company. Keep the evening enjoyable and effortless, by preparing a simple menu that can be made ahead. Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing is just such a recipe. It’s easy to prepare and it can be made earlier in the day. Plus, it’s delicious, visually appealing, and a great accompaniment to grilled meats.

Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seed Dressing
The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook by Anna Pump and Sybille Pump

INGREDIENTS
4 pounds sugar snap or snow peas
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarse salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Blanch the peas in a large quantity of boiling water just until they turn bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and plunge the peas into very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Transfer the peas to a mixing bowl.

2. Place the sesame seeds in a large skillet over medium heat. Tossing lightly, toast until golden brown, and add to the sugar snap peas.

3. In the same skillet, heat the sesame oil until smoking hot. Remove from heat and add the red pepper flakes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Pour the oil over the peas, add the salt, and toss to blend.

5. Transfer the peas to a deep bowl or platter and serve hot.

Serves 16

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I purchase jars of pre-toasted sesame seeds at Asian markets and store them in my freezer. No need to defrost them. Just add them directly from the jar to whatever you are making. If you are toasting your own, keep an eye on them while they are in the skillet. Because they contain oil and because they are small, they can burn quickly.

2. Sesame seed oil is a thick and heavy oil. A little bit goes a long way. That being said, I felt the recipe called for too much of it. The next time I make this recipe, I will start with half the amount.

3. Stir the red pepper flakes into the hot oil and keep stirring. Some of my pepper flakes burned as they sat in the hot oil. Stirring them might have helped prevent burning.

4. Although the recipe says to serve this hot, it also says that it can be served cold. In my opinion, room temperature is best.

5. The recipe can be prepared without the red pepper flakes if you prefer, but I think the little added “kick” really makes the dish.

Enjoy!

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Fall Fruit Salad

“Healthy” and “holiday” are words rarely used together, especially when describing food. Trying to plan healthy meals during the holidays can be quite a struggle, right? Well, not necessarily. This past Thanksgiving, I served my family a visually appealing, texturally satisfying, and heart-healthy salad. Not only did this salad splendidly highlight fall fruit, such as persimmons, Asian pears, pomegranates, and ruby grapefruit, it was served with a delicate, FAT-FREE, slightly sweet and slightly tart salad dressing! This salad has it all: gorgeous to look at, easy to prepare, and a delight to eat!

Fall Fruit Salad
Recipe from November 1995 issue of Sunset Magazine

Ingredients:
1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons (1/2 lb. each)
2 ruby grapefruit (1 lb. each)
1 Asian pear (about 3/4 lb.)
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 to 3 cups frisée, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup pomegranate seed
Salt

Directions:
1. In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan over medium heat, frequently stir pine nuts until pale gold, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour from pan.

2. Rinse persimmons, then trim off and discard leaf tops. Slice persimmons crosswise into thin rounds.

3. With a knife, cut peel and white membrane from grapefruit. Holding fruit over a bowl, cut between segments and inner membrane to release fruit into bowl. Also squeeze juice from membrane into bowl, then discard membrane.

4. Rinse pear and discard stem. Cut fruit crosswise into thin rounds, right through center seeds. Coat pear slices with grapefruit juice.

5. Mix 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice (reserve remainder for other uses) with lime juice, rice vinegar, and honey.

6. Line a salad bowl or individual plates with the frisée. Arrange pieces of persimmon, pear, grapefruit on the greens; sprinkle fruit with pomegranate seed and pine nuts, then moisten with the grapefruit-lime dressing. Add salt to taste.

Serves 6

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Fuyu persimmons are the round, squat persimmons that can be eaten while they are firm, unlike the elongated and pointed Hachiya persimmons, which must be eaten only after the fruit has ripened to a soft and somewhat squishy state.

2. Besides a light sprinkling of salt, I also sprinkled some fresh ground pepper on each plated salad.

3. Keep an eye on the pine nuts while toasting them. They contain a high level of oil, so they will burn quickly!

4. My family is not a big fan of frisée, so I substituted fresh green curly-leafed lettuce.

5. It is easier to peel the grapefruit, if you first cut off the top and the bottom peel. This will give you a flat surface when you stand the grapefruit on the cutting board.

ENJOY!

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The famous Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto recently lost 40 pounds in three months. How did Morimoto manage to lose so much weight? In a Food Network Magazine interview he said that he cut calories, took walks, sweat as much as he could, limited his alcohol intake, and had his wife do the cooking at home. High-protein tofu was a big part of his new diet. His wife Keiko’s easy recipe for Mashed Tofu and Spinach Salad combines great-for-you tofu with good-for-you spinach. It’s a winning recipe that would make Popeye proud!

Mashed Tofu and Spinach Salad (Shira-Ae)
Recipe by Masaharu Morimoto

Ingredients:
One 14-ounce package firm tofu
Kosher salt
8 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Drain the tofu and wrap in paper towels to absorb excess water. Puree in a food processor until smooth, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the spinach in the boiling water until wilted, about 2 minutes, then drain and plunge it into the ice water. Drain and squeeze out the excess water.

3. Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat, tossing, until golden, about 3 minutes. Cool, then grind in a spice grinder. Stir the ground seeds, sugar, mirin, soy sauce and spinach into the tofu. Season with salt.

Serves 2.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Please note that this recipe only serves 2 people. 8 cups of spinach leaves cooks down to nothing, especially since you squeeze it out after cooking it. I cooked 9 cups of spinach leaves, but after looking at the tofu-spinach ratio, I probably should have cooked 10 cups.

2. One cup of cooked unsalted spinach already has 126 mg of salt in it, so I did not add the full teaspoon of salt at the end. I only added a pinch of salt.

3. I make life easier by purchasing containers of pre-roasted sesame seeds at Asian markets. I keep these seeds in my freezer until they are needed.

4. Adding a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes would give this recipe a little kick.

Enjoy!

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Quinoa is a super food all year round, but it shines especially in summer salads. Take an average spinach and mushroom salad and make it more nutritious and more substantial by adding quinoa to it. And by adding omega-3-rich walnuts, this salad goes from healthy to heart healthy!

Quinoa, Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Recipe by Martha Rose Schulman, author of “The Very Best Recipes for Health”

Salad Ingredients:
3/4 cup quinoa
1¼ cups water
Salt to taste
1 bag baby spinach, rinsed and dried, or 1/2 bunch spinach, stemmed, washed and dried
6 white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup, optional)

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1¼ cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dishtowel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks. Allow to cool.

2. Add the spinach, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley and optional cheese to the bowl.

3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad just before serving.

Yields: 6 servings

Advance Preparation: You can assemble the salad up to a day ahead, but don’t toss with the dressing until shortly before serving.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I could not find sherry vinegar in the grocery store, so I used champagne vinegar that I already had at home.

2. I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon olive oil in the salad dressing.

3. For added flavor, I simmered the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water. Because the broth contains salt, I added no additional salt to the cooking water.

4. Strict vegetarians can choose to omit the feta cheese.

ENJOY!

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