Recipes of the Week: Summertime Snacks!

Mexican-salad-with-shrimpSummertime Shrimp

Summertime just calls out for shrimp. And corn. And you can cook them both in the same pot! Fresh ears of corn only need three minutes of cooking time — any more than that, and they’ll be mushy instead of appealingly crisp. That three-minute window is perfect for shrimp, too, although you may want to cook the corn first and then cook the shrimp in the corn-scented, already simmering water. Otherwise, you might lose sight of the shrimp beneath the corn and inadvertently overcook the former. One thing is certain: have all the veggies prepped and ready to toss, because this is a quick-cooking meal. It’s perfect for a hot summer night!

Mexican Shrimp Salad

Makes 4 hearty portions.

Half of an English cucumber, chopped

About 1 cup black beans, drained, preferably from a BPA-free can

Half of jicama, skin removed, chopped (optional, but adds a nice crunch)

1 yellow pepper, flesh only, chopped

3 green onions, green parts only, chopped

Handful cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, flesh only, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Handful cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 orange

1 T. chili powder

Sea salt to taste

3 ears corn

1 lb. peeled and de-veined shrimp, preferably U.S. wild-caught, rinsed in cold water

Place all ingredients except corn and shrimp in a large bowl and toss well. (The easiest way to peel jicama is to cut it in quarters and then use a paring knife to cut along the curve of the jicama just underneath the tough skin.) Bring a very large pot of water to a boil while you shuck the corn. Bear in mind that the ears need to fit easily into the pot! Fill a large soup bowl with cold water for cooling the shrimp once they’re cooked.

Slip ears into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately remove ears with tongs and let drain. Slip shrimp into the still-boiling water and reduce heat to medium-low so that the water simmers gently. Cook shrimp 3 minutes or until they’re curled and have turned pink and opaque. If you’re not 100% sure of their doneness, pull out a single shrimp and cut it in half to make sure it’s opaque all the way through. Drain immediately and place in the bowl of cold water to halt their cooking.

By now, the corn should be cool enough to handle. Hold each ear over the salad bowl at a 45-degree angle and slice off kernels with a large and very sharp knife, letting the kernels fall into the salad. Toss again to break apart the kernels. (If the kernels insist on clumping, tease them apart with two forks.)

You can chop the shrimp and toss it into the salad, or you can serve the shrimp whole atop the salad as I’ve done. If you think you’ll have leftovers, keep the shrimp and salad separate and shrimp-top the individual servings. Leftover un-shrimped salad can be refrigerated for 3 days; shrimp-tossed salad can be refrigerated for 1 day.

Enjoy!

radishes-with-herbed-ricottaRavishing Radishes

I don’t have much experience with radishes. The only time I’ve ever seen them served as a main ingredient was back in 2004, when I was sitting in the Hacker-Pschorr Zelt — a “Zelt” means a tent, although I wouldn’t call a giant wooden structure a “tent” — during Oktoberfest. (Each main beer brand has its own tent and attracts its own signature audience; the Hacker-Pschorr tent tends to be populated with locals rather than tourists, which I appreciated.) I was enjoying the sights and sounds of 14,000 people getting drunk and singing along with the Lederhosen-wearing oompah band when one of my tablemates ordered a round of Radischen, or radishes. Seeing as the only dishes you could order were Huhn (chicken), Radischen, or Brezen (pretzels), I was looking forward to a veggie option. Would the radishes be served with herbed butter? Or shredded into some sort of slaw? I couldn’t wait to try them.

So much for my fanciful thoughts: the radishes were thunked onto the table naked. No butter, no sauce of any kind, nothing. Just dirt clinging to the roots. Oh, and there was a shaker of salt on the table. Everyone else gave their Radischen a few cursory taps to dislodge the dirt, salted them, and ate them with gusto. I was less than impressed. (Although full points for being so very farm-to-table!)

Fast-forward to now: I’ve decided to see what else you can do with radishes. There must be a better option than dirt and salt. Lately, I read a cookbook focused on Eastern European cuisines, and it seemed like radishes are mostly served with fresh butter, sour cream, or some sort of dairy accompaniment. Sounds much better than the Oktoberfest seasonings! And given that radish season coincides with herb season, I thought I’d connect the two via some creamy whole-milk ricotta cheese. As I suspected, much tastier than dirt and salt. Entschuldigung, Wiesen-Leute!

Radishes with Herbed Ricotta Cheese

For every 1/2 cup of whole-milk ricotta cheese*, stir in a pinch of sea salt, a few grinds of freshly ground pepper, 3 or 4 minced fresh chives, and about 1 teaspoon of minced fresh dill. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Slice radishes thinly — I used round pink-skinned radishes since I knew they’d have pretty edges — and have some whole-grain gluten-free crackers ready.**

Spread each cracker with a dollop of herbed ricotta and top with a radish slice. Serve promptly. Leftover herbed ricotta can be refrigerated for its natural life — that is, until the expiration date stamped on its packaging. Smear it on crackers, flatbreads, sandwiches, anything you like. It’s so easy and so delicious!

* I adore Serra’s whole-milk ricotta cheese. It’s incredibly lush and doesn’t have any fillers or additives.

** My absolute favorite brand of crackers is Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

sandy-lane-cherry-pieSandy Lane Cherry Pie

At our last “family” dinner, my friends unanimously voted this the best cherry pie ever. This recipe also decreases vata, increases pitta, and balances kapha.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

Ingredients:

Filling

1 pound ripe cherries, pitted, or frozen pitted cherries, thawed

¼ cup coconut sugar or dehydrated cane juice

¼ cup arrowroot starch

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lecithin powder (optional)

Crust

2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ cup raw almonds or Brazil nuts

2 cups crushed Gingersnaps or prepared gingersnap cookie crumbs

Pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To soften the coconut oil, put it on the warm stovetop. Oil a 9-inch glass pie pan with 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil.

To make the filling, bring the cherries, sugar, arrowroot, and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Decrease the heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until the cherries release their juice and the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat. Stir in the optional lecithin. Set aside.

To make the crust, pour the almonds, gingersnaps, and salt into a food processor or blender. Process until ground to a coarse meal, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. Add the remaining coconut oil and process again briefly. Reserve ½ cup of the gingersnap mixture. Pour the remaining mixture into the prepared pie pan. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Pour in the cherry filling. Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of gingersnap mixture over the top. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the gingersnap topping is golden brown.

Note: Initially, I was daunted by the task of pitting so many cherries. But then I found such a simple way to do it that I actually look forward to it now. Here’s how: Remove the stem of the cherry. Hold a chopstick in one hand and the cherry in your other hand. The little indentation where the stem meets the fruit is where you will pit the cherry. Jab the cherry’s indentation with the tip of the chopstick, being careful not to poke yourself. If you aim it right, the cherry’s pit will pop right out through the other end. A cherry pitter works, too; I’m just a rebel.

Courtesy of My Yoga Online.

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