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

purslane

purslane 1

Purslane is a weed that grows abundantly in North America, as well as many other parts of the world. I first read about it being edible in Viana La Place’s Unplugged Kitchen – one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, because of La Place’s short anecdotes and memories of growing up in an Italian American family where she learned to treasure nourishing food prepared simply.

On the weekend I weeded my parents’ vegetable garden, and pulled up all the purslane growing between the carrot, beet, and lettuce seedlings that I planted earlier this spring. I’ve been eating the purslane all week long, chopped up into the massive raw salads that I eat at every meal now that the weather’s turned hot. I appreciate how nutritious this free food is.

purslane 2

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

what i made for supper last night

white bowl of food and cat on table

When I get home from work, the most creative part of my evening begins. Because that’s when I decide what to make for supper.

Last night I did what I always do – started by looking through my fridge. It’s full of all kinds of vegetables. There are more vegetables – ones that don’t need to be kept cold – on the shelves in my kitchen. I think of them like paint colours. Only unlike paint, I can taste and smell and eat them, too. (Besides look at them.)

So last night I looked through my fridge, and then wondered if I wanted to make something with potatoes. I checked my potato bowl, which sits on one of my food shelves (not in the fridge), but I only had two left. I wanted to save them for today, which is a holiday.

I had a spaghetti squash, though. (I also had a butternut squash. Squashy excess, perhaps.)

So here’s what I did.

spaghetti squash scraps

I sautéed one yellow onion, and when it was golden, I added some slices of raw, peeled and cored spaghetti squash. I steamed them with some water in a skillet until the squash was soft, and came apart in strings.

Separately, I steamed some spinach, all by itself. (That was my side dish.)

I also roughly chopped some plum tomatoes, and simmered them in a saucepan with a bit of water and some carrot shavings.

I flavoured the tomato sauce with a pinch of Italian seasoning, a pinch of chipotle pepper, a dash of salt, and a bunch of freshly-ground nutmeg.

white bowl of food

I ladled the tomato sauce over the (salted) spaghetti squash, and that (along with the steamed greens) was dinner. Yum.

white bowl of food

Did I mention today is a holiday? :)

Other stuff I made for supper, on other nights.

comfort – vegan, corn-free taco salad

vegan gluten free taco salad

I made this for supper last night. I can’t tell you how amazing it tasted. It was totally dairy and gluten free, but tasted pretty authentic. Yum.

I appreciate good food.

~

Update: A reader asked me for this recipe, so I’ve included it below. It makes one serving (and the amounts are kind of sketchy, since I don’t measure anything when I cook). Adjust as necessary for more servings.

Ingredients:
Coconut oil
1 small yellow onion
1 potato
1/2 sweet potato
1 romaine heart (or about 1/3 to 1/2 a head of romaine)
1/2 cup sauerkraut (optional)
2 plum tomatoes or 1 large beefsteak tomato
Chili pepper or chili pepper flakes
Emeril Lagasse’s Essence (“Bam!”) (optional)
Salt

Chop the onion into a fine dice, and sauteé in some coconut oil until golden. Chop the potato and sweet potato into bite-sized pieces, and boil with the onion in a saucepan until the potatoes are very soft (about 20 – 30 minutes).

In the meantime, wash and cut the romaine into thin (1/2 inch) strips, and put in salad bowl. Lightly salt lettuce, and add some shreds of sauerkraut (optional).

When the potatoes are cooked, drain (save the cooking liquid if you want a runnier “cheese”) and mash. Add finely chopped chili pepper or chili flakes to taste, and add a few dashes of Emeril Lagasse’s Essence (optional – my dad makes me this; he uses it at the dinner table in place of salt and pepper), and salt to taste. Mix well, and then add some of the cooking liquid if you want a runnier texture. Put potato mixture on top of lettuce.

Thinly slice the tomato(es) and quickly sauteé them at high heat in a skillet with a bit more coconut oil until the tomatoes are just starting to soften. Immediately pour onto salad, on top of potato mixture. Salt to taste.

Done!

You can also add guacamole if you like…

~

Other stuff I made for supper, on other nights.

Photo theme for March: Comfort

comfort – red soup

red vegetable soup in stainless steep pot

I make vegetable soup or stew pretty much every day. Lately I’ve been making colour-coordinated soups and stews. This one contains all red or purple vegetables: red onions, red potatoes, beets, tomatoes, sweet red peppers, red chard stems, and red carrots. And paprika. And chipotle pepper.

I appreciate red soup.

~

Other stuff I made for supper, on other nights.

Photo theme for March: Comfort

how to cook rapini (broccoli rabe)

Okay, so in this video I show you how to broil rapini, also known as broccoli rabe (or raap), broccoletti, broccoli di rape, cime di rapa, rappi, friarielli, and grelos.

(I totally Googled that. Just saying.)

Rapini looks sort of like broccoli, only smaller and wilder looking. I normally don’t like it – it can be kind of bitter – but in this recipe it’s really sweet.

For this recipe you’ll need:

one bunch of rapini
some olive oil
and some salt

You’ll also need a baking sheet, a bowl to toss the rapini in, an oven and some kind of timing device (if you don’t want to have to keep checking the rapini every couple of seconds). Just saying.

Set your oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, drizzle olive oil over the rapini, toss the rapini in a bowl with your hands to cover everything with the oil, and then arrange everything on your baking sheet and bake the rapini for about 35 to 40 minutes.

When the rapini is done, the leaves should be all thin and crispy and starting to brown, and the stalks should be tender. Ish.

Some benefits of this recipe are… okay, eating greens.

Also: Not a lot of dishes to clean up afterwards.

Some possible ways this recipe could fail:

Cats love rapini. Apparently. So, your cats could eat all your rapini if you leave it unattended before you cook it.

Also: I spilled salt all over my floor when I was photographing the salt.

Also: I put my BlackBerry down on the counter and accidentally got olive oil on it.

The End.

rapini

This post was originally published on my vegetarian cooking blog, frugal vegetarian cooking.

Other stuff I made for supper, on other nights.