my favorite summer salad

vegetable salad with scrambled egg

I’ve been making a lot of (like three times daily) salads this summer, because it’s been so hot. I typically eat cooked vegetables (spinach and other greens, sweet potatoes and squash, green beans, sweet bell peppers and zucchini are some of my favorite veggies to cook), but this summer I’ve been focusing on raw. This is one of my favorite salads this summer.

raw vegetable salad
I start with a base of romaine lettuce (usually an entire romaine heart), although I’ve also been eating a lot of leaf lettuce from my parents’ garden. To that I add one thinly sliced sweet bell pepper, one thinly sliced tomato, half of an English cucumber, thinly sliced, and extras if I have them – things like chopped purslane, or snow peas, or grated carrots.

olive oil and egg

I also like to eat eggs twice a day – usually scrambled in the morning, and hard-boiled in the evening. The warm eggs get thrown on top of the salad at the end.

I make my own dressing by drizzling or sprinkling extra virgin olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, paprika and channa masala over everything before tossing.

salad with cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes

The absolute best is when I can put cooked things – here I’ve pan-fried some cooked potatoes and sweet potatoes – on top of the raw stuff.

sauteed mushrooms

I also like warm things like sauteed mushrooms, if the weather isn’t too hot for a lot of cooking. I sometimes saute the tomato, too.

raw eggs

These are the eggs, ready for whisking with a dollop of water and a shake of salt.

lime

A sprinkle of lime over everything, and it’s ready to eat…

vegetable salad with scrambled egg

kitchen still lifes

lemon reamer

Just some random kitchen photos from this past weekend. I feel like I’ve had a bit of a dry spell, photography-wise, but that may be changing…

I appreciate clean dishes and local fruit and the light in my kitchen.

dish rack

dish rack

dish rack

peaches and limes

salad for supper

lime water

lime water 1

It’s been steamy again, the last few days. As I write this on Monday night, a hot breeze is stirring the leaves in the tree outside my front room window. Beside me on my desk is a large mason jar full of cold water and lime slices, left over from my supper. The water inside the jar is so cold, and the air inside my front room so warm, that beads of water are dripping down the sides of the jar, onto a cloth napkin that I put underneath it to catch the moisture.

I appreciate cold lime water on hot days.

lime water 2

eggs

eggs 1

I recently started eating (organic, free-range) eggs again, after being vegan for several months. (I’ve been vegetarian for 26 years.) I wanted to increase my protein consumption without increasing my carbs. Unfortunately there have been several heat waves this summer, which has meant that I’ve been focusing on cooking methods that require the least possible amount of heat. Which has meant a lot of scrambled eggs. Like, a lot.

But earlier this week I was visiting my parents (who have air conditioning), and I boiled some eggs. Which created a hankering for hard-boiled eggs. Thankfully it was cool enough last night that I was able to make them again, this time in my own apartment.

I appreciate eggs. And variety.

eggs 2

eggs 3

fridge after and before

refrigerator full of fruits and vegetables

As I’m writing this on Saturday morning, June 16, I’ve just finished putting away my groceries. I love Saturday mornings – my shopping routine, the comforting feeling of having fully stocked fridge, and cleaning up my kitchen after everything is put away.

I’ve been making some gradual changes to my diet since this photo project that I started last summer. I photographed and posted online everything that I ate between August and mid-October, 2011. I was a vegetarian at the time (I haven’t eaten meat, fowl or seafood since 1989), but was eating a lot of junk food, and wanted to establish some healthier habits. The simple act of photographing my food every day helped me make better choices, and over the three or so months that I actively carried out the project (I stopped photographing absolutely everything I ate sometime in mid-October, but I still occasionally post photos of favorite meals), I transitioned to vegan (no longer eating animal products), and cut out the worst of my junk food habits.

Since then I’ve made even more refinements to my diet, experimenting with adding superfoods like chia, chlorella, brightly coloured vegetables, berries and tons of greens, cutting out grains, legumes, processed sugar, and more recently sweet fruit (I still eat fresh berries though). Now I’m making another transition to a low-carb vegan diet, which will also be predominantly raw for the summer (only because it’s too hot to cook in my apartment during the summertime). I was curious to see if these changes have meant any difference in the way my fridge looks, so I found this photo (below) from earlier this year for comparison.

full Frigidaire refrigerator

One change that has nothing to do with my food choices is that I’m actually buying and eating less food (although trust me, I still eat HUGE meals – typically salads that are six cups or more in volume). Sometimes I buy more greens mid-week, because they take up the most room in my fridge. Other than less food, however, you can’t really see the difference in the before and after fridge photos. I’m cutting way back on nuts, which means fewer jars in my fridge door. That’s about it. I’m planning on writing another diet update after the end of June, to report on my low-carb transition (which I’m kind of dreading, only because of the possible symptoms associated with fat adaption – wish me luck!).

vegan breakfast skillet

vegan breakfast skillet recipe

This is what I had for breakfast yesterday morning. I’ve been making a lot of one-dish skillet meals lately; I cook a base layer of root vegetables or other longer-cooking items, and top with tender things near the end of cooking. I’ve also been really fascinated by the long-ish infographics that I’ve seen on Pinterest lately, so I wanted to try my hand making my own. Fun.

I love cooked breakfasts, especially when it’s cooler out. (In the sweltering heat, I usually choose not to turn on the stove in my un-air-conditioned apartment.) This particular combination of flavours reminds me of Italian food – probably because of the tomatoes and the nutmeg.

I like to use coconut oil in my cooking, but you could use any oil you like. Frying the base layer first and then flipping it to cook the other side really adds to the complexity of the flavours. I also like to add a bit of channa masala spice before layering the greens and tomatoes. A few days ago I made a similar dish, only instead of potatoes I used half a sweet potato, one small beet, and a couple of slices of butternut squash. It smelled AMAZING as the sugars carmelized in the pan. I also tend to add a bunch of seeds for protein: sunflower, chia, hemp, pumpkin…

spicy carrot tahini sauce / dressing

carrot tahini dip

I made this sauce / dressing / dip on the weekend, when I didn’t want to eat a bunch of celery chunks plain. I have no clue what the precise amounts of the ingredients are. This is just my best guestimate. I used the leftovers to drizzle on a bowl full of freshly cooked veggies. It was awesome.

Ingredients:

  • Juice of one carrot
  • Heaping spoonful of tahini (ground sesame butter)
  • Juice of one half lime
  • Pinch of chili powder and chipotle powder (or cayenne)

Whisk all the ingredients together, and use as a dipping sauce or dressing.

this month’s red soup

red vegetable soup

Above is a photograph of this month’s red soup. May’s version has one red onion, two red potatoes, one beet, one sweet red pepper, two eggplants, two tomatoes, and a lot of paprika. Yum. Below are some of the vegetable scraps left over from the making of the soup, in my kitchen sink.

red vegetable scraps in kitchen sink

renewal – nourishment

spoonful of borscht

Funny – I posted a photo of my red soup for last month’s theme, too. This is a new batch. I make it every month around the time of my period. There’s a weird kind of nutritional thinking that says to eat foods that look like the organ you’re trying to nourish. Sometimes there’s even some scientific truth to back it up. For example, walnuts look kind of like brains, and they actually happen to be high in the essential fatty acids that nourish brains.

I have no illusions that beet soup is actually the best thing to eat to nourish my body after blood loss. I just think it’s pretty. But I don’t like to eat it all the time, so if I save it just for my period, then I look forward to it. It’s more special.

(I also believe in the power of placebos. So I figure, if I pretend that beet soup is good for blood loss, then what can it hurt?)

I appreciate red soup, and my body’s regenerative powers.

~

Photo theme for April: Renewal