Summer “Grain” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

summer grain saladI’m back from NYC as of last Friday night and apparently, brought the warm weather back with me. I was gone for 10 days and the whole time I was away, the weather was cold, rainy, and crummy here in Portland. It was the exact opposite in NYC, so thankfully, I missed out! Now, our nice summer weather has returned, so more salads are called upon.

This salad makes for an awesome summertime dinner. I like making it ahead of time, so we can eat it cold after it’s chilled in the fridge, but it can be eaten warm as well. It is so delicious and the simple lemon tahini dressing is perfect. I think I could eat this salad, or a variation of it, everyday!

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe next Wednesday, June 28 on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups golden beets, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5 oz clamshell baby kale
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets and asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with coconut or avocado oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside.
  2. *Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue to cook chicken, but don’t break up the chunks of meat as you normally would. Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes, but do not overcook. *Note, if your ground chicken is really lean, you may need to add a little oil to the pan. Set aside once done.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the food processor bowl with the pan drippings. Pulse about 4-5 times until chicken forms smaller crumbles and resembles grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  5. Pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, roasted vegetables, green onions, and baby kale (you may have to work the baby kale in bit-by-bit). Pour dressing over top and stir well. Continue to add the baby kale (if you didn’t add it all at once), until it’s all worked in. Taste, and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge and serve cold.
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Ham, Carrot & Asparagus Egg Bake

We didn’t do anything for Easter this year, nor did I make anything special (granted, we did eat plenty of my dill pickle deviled eggs leading up to it), but I did pick up some ham since it was on sale. Okay, and I did gift Jesse with a special dark chocolate bar from The Meadow, but that’s the extend of it. We didn’t even eat the ham on Easter, as it was a leftovers kind of night. Up until Saturday afternoon, we actually thought we were getting together with friends on Easter Sunday (not for Easter, but just to get together for dinner), but that ended up falling through.

Meanwhile, if you have any leftover Easter ham or picked some up because it was on sale, this recipe is a great way to use it. There’s asparagus, carrot, and dill in the mix too, which yields a lot of spring flavor. It’s a great recipe to save for Mother’s Day brunch or any spring occasion.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces (remove woody ends)
  • 1 large carrot, cut in half and peeled into strips
  • 2 cups good-quality ham, diced into cubes
  • 12 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/4 cup good-quality chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which has no gums)
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Steam asparagus pieces over medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes. Remove steamer basket from pot and set aside to cool a bit.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, broth, coconut milk, dried dill, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Add the steamed asparagus, carrot strips, and ham cubes to a 9×13 baking dish and distribute evenly (note: depending on the pan you use, you may need to grease it with a little butter or coconut oil first). Pour egg mixture on top.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until set.
  6. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Yields: 6 servings

 

 

Fourth of July Celebratory Dinner and Dessert

Well, Jesse and I had a pretty chill Fourth of July this year. Normally, we go to Bend to be with friends, ride in the annual ‘Freedom Ride,’ and have a crazy good time. We weren’t able to go this year for a few different reasons, so we stayed in town and did our own thing. We sat outside on the patio, relaxed and ate some good food, but no fireworks … we didn’t really care (we sure could hear ’em around the neighborhood though).

No drinks for me, but Jesse indulged in a few … and a few more! He was celebrating in his own way. Whenever I do choose to indulge in a beverage, it’s usually a small glass of Crispin Honey Crisp Hard Cider (it’s gluten free with no added preservatives or sugar!) or good quality vodka with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. One drink is enough to make me dizzy and tipsy (seriously), so generally I never have more than that, but on occasion I’ll have two. I very, very rarely drink though because I don’t particularly like the way it makes me feel. More often than not, I’d rather have a coconut water. I did try a (nonalcoholic) Tiki Juice though, which I wasn’t too impressed with despite the happy look on my face below. It’s made from rooibos tea and has different botanicals added to it – in this case, stress-relieving botanicals. It was the only flavor of the two available that didn’t have added sugar. By no means am I stressed right now (I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life!), but I still wanted to try it. Needless to say, I won’t buy it again. It was basically iced rooibos tea and I’m not a big rooibos tea fan in the first place.

Alisa with Tiki Juice
Me with my not-so-special Tiki Juice.

We had a spectacular dinner of grass-fed tri tip steak, which I pan seared in butter with salt and pepper and then finished in the oven, roasted asparagus, tossed salad made with lettuce from our friend’s garden and homemade vinaigrette, crimini mushrooms sautéed in steak juices and butter, and a dessert of fresh berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt (drained to make it even thicker) and a drizzle of honey on top. Oh, there was second dessert too because I found a recipe that I wanted to try pronto … almond butter freezer fudge. Thank you to Theresa Fisher’s blog for that one. It is awesome! Theresa’s recipe calls for peanut butter, but I don’t and can’t eat peanuts, so I used almond butter instead. I used 1/4 cup of honey, rather than a 1/2 (it calls for 1/4 – 1/2 cup) and subbed pure almond extract for the vanilla because I was fresh out. I also added one tablespoon of organic butter to the mixture for added creaminess. For ease of cleanup and cutting, I lined the pan with foil before pouring in the fudge mixture, which worked like a charm. Seriously, this is such an easy recipe and SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD … almost too good!

Overall, it was a pleasant Fourth of July and nice to spend it at home. How about you … what did you do for the Fourth and what sorts of goodies did you eat?

Almond butter fudge mixture
Stirring the almond butter fudge mixture.
Fourth of July feast
Fourth of July feast.
Almond butter freezer fudge
Almond butter freezer fudge.
Berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt
Local strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Leftover Saute Turned Pot Pie

 

Turkey pot pieThe other night, I felt totally uninspired with what to make for dinner. I put off cooking and did some work, but finally realized it was getting late and I needed to just make something … anything! I asked Jesse earlier what he wanted for dinner, but all he suggested was asparagus and carrots. Needless to say, it was a pull stuff out of the fridge and wing it kind of night. I ended up making a sauté of onion, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, ground turkey, sea salt, pepper, ghee, vegetable broth and fresh parsley. Luckily, it yielded a lot and we were stuck with some good leftovers.

Tonight, I sautéed some extra broccoli in ghee and then added the leftovers to it. I mixed in more vegetable broth, a little bit of coconut milk and one tablespoon of coconut flour. I also added about 1/4 cup of frozen peas. I poured the mixture into a small, greased Pyrex pan and topped it with pie dough to create turkey pot pie. Gotta love revamping leftovers! I used the recipe below for the pie dough (note: you would need to double the recipe if making a regular-sized pot pie, as this recipe is only for a 2-3 serving pot pie).

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter or ghee
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.
  2. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
  3. Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper and then place on top of meat/veggie mixture. Alternatively, flatten out pieces of dough with your hands and then carefully place on top (this is what I did). The dough is fragile, so be gentle!

Once assembled, I baked the pot pie at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. It came out golden brown and perfect. It made our taste buds and bellies happy, and left our bodies satisfied.

Turkey and vegetable mixture

Pot pie