Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Berry Smoothie plus 9 Summer Favorites

This started out to be a blog about favorite links, and then I decided to add my favorite smoothie recipe, so this week it's a little of both.  I'm late posting this week, and last week, well, it was a lost cause.  I've plenty of excuses. Mostly it has to do with writing other things.

A few months back I finished this article about antibiotics.  As I did the research I got sucked into the microbial world, a world I'd never really given much thought to before.  A friend of mine, a retired UW biology professor, loaned me this Field Guide to Bacteria. I like it so much I'm buying my own copy. I'll put it next to my Kafka collection.

Maybe I'll put a microscope on my wish list.  We're giants in a microbial world.

I worked on anther article last month--bees and neonicotinoid pesticides and got sucked into that topic too. I watched this podcast twice.  I got caught up with what's going on in Australia with bees.  No bumblebees in Austrailia.  What? My favorite bee of all.  

I was also working on a salad article for Vegetarian Journal.  I love Vegetarian Journal!

What I wasn't doing was posting on my blog. Maybe you noticed. And maybe I was overdoing it with the long, long dog walks. 

Hey, it's summer, the best time of year in the Northwest.

I actually wrote most of this blog last week.  All I needed was pictures and a short recipe.

It had to be about berries.  The thing about berries is the price varies in the Northwest so much and I can't figure out why exactly.

The berries from the garden are my favorites.

1. A berry smoothie on a hot summer day. (A berry smoothie on any kind of day.)

Berry Smoothie
(Serves 2)
Packed with phytonutrients, this smoothie goes down easy on a hot summer day.

1 1/2 cups berries
1/2 to 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup coconut sorbet
1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
2 tablespoons protein powder (optional)
Ice (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Turn on high or pulse for about 30 seconds.  Pour into glasses, garnish with a mint sprig if desired.

2.  Hummingbirds in the garden.

3. This ultimate Northwest garden.  Can't wait to go this summer.

4. Tiny houses are all the rage.  Love, even though we don't exactly qualify.  Dream on--a  long library list for this great read.

5. Dreaming about the sand castles at Long Beach.

6. I just got this book for the garden.

7. This great summer reread.

8.  Can't get enough summer salads.  I noticed cabbage is coming back in at the market, so here's my favorite coleslaw recipe.

9.  Reading too about honey bees. They must be the most written about insect ever. I found this cool column called The Curious Beekeeper from the National Honey Advisory Board.  Check it out.

10.  Anything to keep my Cooking Assistant happy. He loves homemade dog biscuits: 

Buckwheat-Peanut Butter Treats.  As soon as it cools off, we'll be back in the kitchen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kale Salad with Lemon and Avocado

The heat makes me crave salads. This kale salad is one of my all-time favorites.  I vary the basics--kale, lemon and avocado--with whatever is in season. When I found red peppers at the market, I knew kale salad was in my future. Just for fun, I checked other recipes for kale salad. Here's a version from 101 Cookbooks.  Here's a different version from Oh She Glows.

My favorite kale is Dinosaur or Tuscon, Black  Lacanato--whatever you want to call it,  this kale has  deep green fairly flat leaves with a strong kale flavor and just a hint of bitter. 

I'm not really picking kale at the exact season because this kale likes cool better than hot, but some farmers grow and sell it in summer months.

Prices are different everywhere, but it's so nutrient-packed, it's always a bargain from $2 to $3.50 a bunch.  

Here is the recipe I posted last kale salad-- it's basic and I'd just added apples.  This time I also tossed in toasted pumpkin seeds.

Who doesn't love pepper season at the market?

Kale Salad with  Peppers and Avocado
(Serves 4)

1 red peppers, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon agave nectar, or to taste
1 avocado, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon, chopped Mama Lil's Peppers
Smoked sea salt to taste
1 bunch of kale, leaves removed from stem and thinly sliced

1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add half the olive oil and peppers.  Stir and cook until peppers begin to brown.  Set aside.

2. Combine lemon juice, agave nectar, chopped Mama Lil's Peppers and sea salt in a small bowl.  Add avocado, making sure all chunks are coated with lemon juice.

3. Place kale in a serving bowl and drizzle remaining olive over the leaves.  Massage into the leaves.  When peppers are cool, gently toss with kale, peppers, and avocados in lemon juice.  Adjust seasonings.

Enjoy the scents and flavors!