I have been so in love with cooking with all of summer's bountiful veggies! My favorite sources for the freshest veggies are farmers markets, farm shares, and home gardens, respectfully as organic as possible. June was great for leafy greens, and adding to that now are July's squashes, beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers to name a few. Variety, variety. I am all about quick meals, especially cooking multiple meals per day. All of the recipes below can be completed in under 30 minutes. The majority of my meals are gluten free, grain free, and dairy free (aside from heaps of Kerrygold butter!). These dietary restrictions are what work best for my body and are merely guidelines for your home cooking. Check out your local farmers market and bring on the veggies!
SUMMER SPRING ROLLS
Up first are a yummy treat to be served on their own or with a side of fried rice or protein.
What you will need to buy are spring roll papers and vermicelli rice noodles (often found in the ethnic aisle of grocery stores). For the spring roll papers, pour water onto a dinner plate and quickly submerge the paper until all is wet, then take it out of the water and put on a dry plate. Once on the dry plate add your choice of veggies. I used cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, and green beans. You can add as much or as little of whatever vegetable you like. Avocado and carrot would also be nice additions. Also included were the vermicelli rice noodles. You do not need to cook the whole bag, a lot goes a long way for spring roll making. Put the dry noodles in a bowl and cover them with boiling water for 3 minutes, then strain and put aside for adding to the spring rolls. The spring roll paper gets very sticky and easy to roll. The small photo above shows the amount of filling I used - you don't need much. Fold in the sides first and then roll as tightly as possible as not to rip the spring roll paper. These spring rolls could go a step further and be fried, but I opted to go raw. Also, your veggies for the filling could be sautéed in a favorite sauce before wrapping in the spring roll. Options are endless. Once rolled up, I served with soy sauce (gluten free options).
YELLOW CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
I would say the majority of my meals, lunch and dinner, look like this. Deliciously cooked protein with a heaping side of veggies.
For the chicken: I used organic chicken breast sliced into strips. I like cooking strips or "nuggets" because it's easy for me to tell the chicken is fully cooked. Heat a frying pan to medium with a spoonful of butter (choose your cooking fat). Place the chicken in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a pinch or two of turmeric sprinkled on the chicken. When most of the chicken pieces are more white than pink, turn them to cook on the other side for a few minutes.
For the veggies: Use what you have. I chose green beans (from my garden) and turnips (from my farm share). I bet you can guess what I sautéed them in....butter and salt. Please, please, don't be afraid of good fat sources like grass fed butter.
Voila! Experiment with different veggies here. I didn't plan on these two vegetables, but they were on hand and I went with it. Try a veggie you are comfortable with, coupled with a new one like beets, kohlrabi, or parsnip. I added a side pickle because, why not! Keep reading for that recipe!
Traditionally Fermented Pickles
I love pickles! And my gut loves fermented foods!
I have made pickles in the past, but not in this traditionally fermented way. It is EASY! What I am going to provide for you is the foundational recipe. These are not dill or butter flavored. But by all means, you can absolutely add those seasonings to make a variety of pickle flavors!
What you will need is a jar that can be sealed air-tight. I am in love with mason jars, they are my go-to. Pictured is a quart sized mason jar. Therefore, this recipe is going to be for quart sized jars. First, make sure your jar is freshly cleaned - you don't want any weird bacteria growing in your pickles. Next, wash your cucumbers and put them in the jar whole, diced, sliced, or however you like them. On the stovetop, bring 1 1/3 cup water to a light boil in order to dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons salt. I used spring water and pink Himalaya rock salt. Once the salt is dissolved, pour the water over the cukes. If any cucumbers are sticking out of the water, add more water to MAKE SURE the cukes are SUBMERGED. If not fully submerged, they may mold and grow bad bacteria. At this point I also added a pinch of black pepper. You may add any other seasonings you like at this time (garlic, dill, bay leaf). Pop the lid on and shake the contents to ensure even distribution of seasoning. Open the jar to make sure the content are submerged and then store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks (mine went in the basement). After 7 days visit your pickles and burp the jar by opening and then resealing the lid. It is important to note that after the two weeks, the brine that your pickles are sitting in may be cloudy - and this is totally okay. You will learn how much salt and herbs and spices you want to add or leave out after you make batch after batch. Give it a try, your gut will thank you!
A salad recipe, because they are just so easy. Traditional garden salads are bland and boring to me. I like making salads as more sustainable meals.
What you need:
~ 1 chicken breast
~ 1 can black beans (or bean of choice)
~ 1 tomato
~ 1 1/2 tsp cumin
~ 1 tsp turmeric
~ 1/2 tsp curry powder
~ lettuce/spinach/salad mix
~ optional avocado, mayo
Cook your chicken breast in small strips/chunks. Once done, add it to a pan with the rinsed can of beans, diced tomato, cumin, turmeric, and curry. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until tomatoes soften. Scoop on top of your salad and top with garnishes of choice. Picture shows toppings of mayo and avocado. Cheese, sour cream, salsa are other options.
I hope you venture out and are inspired to try some new recipes this month. Surprise yourself and cook with a new vegetable. Post your photos with hashtag #greenjourneycooking and let me know more of what you would like to see for recipes.