Rice Salad with Corn, Blueberries and Almonds

A tangy and nutty salad complimented by the pop of sweet blueberries. Sure to become a summer favorite. Also a great way to use up leftover rice, quinoa or any whole grains you have on hand.

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1 C brown rice, or a whole-grain rice blend (such as Lundberg)

¼ C white quinoa

½ C red onion, chopped small

2 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob (raw)

½ pint blueberries

¼ C sliced almonds, toasted

¼ C fresh parsley, chopped

 

Dressing

½ garlic clove, minced

Juice of ½ – 1 lemon (about 4 teaspoons)

2 t Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 t sugar

½ – 1 t curry powder

¼ C olive oil

 

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

Do ahead: Cook the rice and quinoa according to package directions. Let cool, or if using leftovers from the refrigerator, bring them to room temperature.

 

Make the dressing: Whisk garlic, lemon juice, sugar and curry powder together in a small bowl to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add the oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper.

 

In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the red onion. Add the raw kernels and stir well. Cook covered about 2-3 minutes until kernels are soft but not mushy. Add the blueberries, remove from heat and stir. Add the cooked rice, quinoa and dressing. Mix well, add the almonds and parsley; season with salt and pepper (and more curry powder if you wish). Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.


Tomato, Watermelon and Beet Salad with Caramelized Almonds

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2 cups tomatoes, cubed (or cherry tomatoes, halved)

2 cups watermelon, cubed

3 medium-small beets, boiled, peeled and cubed

1 cups slivered almonds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped, for garnish

 

Dressing:

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

 

To cook the beets: place the unpeeled beets in a medium saucepan, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fully cooked, about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted indicates they are tender. Drain and cool.

 

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, toss the almonds with the maple syrup and sugar. Spread them evenly on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake until caramelized 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Break up the clumps into small pieces.

 

Remove skins from the beets with a peeler or a knife, cut into cubes roughly the same size as the watermelon and tomatoes, place them in a salad bowl. Cube the tomatoes and watermelon, add them to the beets. Whisk together the vinegar, salt and olive oil, toss into the salad. Serve the salad sprinkled with almonds and garnished with chopped mint. Serves 8.

 


Coconut Quinoa Bowl

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This recipe is a great way to use leftover cooked quinoa, but it is so delicious, you’ll be cooking up extra quinoa just so you can make this. While the nutty flavor of the quinoa is particularly nice in this combo, rice, bulgur or couscous would make good substitutes. For a gluten- (and carb-) free alternative, you could make cauliflower rice by grating it and steaming or sauteing it just enough to get rid of the raw flavor. Leftovers? Just slice up a fresh avocado and add some yogurt. This was such a hit at Brookside Gardens last fall, we thought we’d roll it out again for US Botanic Garden this month. This recipe was adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

2 C cooked quinoa
1 lemon
1 C yogurtkale
¼ t salt
2 t olive oil
½ C sliced or slivered almonds
½ C unsweetened shredded coconut
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed into a paste with ¼ t sea salt
4 C stemmed & shredded kale, from about 10 large leaves
1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Warm the quinoa. Grate the peel of the lemon and squeeze out the juice; reserve each separately. Stir salt into yogurt, drizzle with olive oil. Set aside. In a skillet over medium heat gently toast almonds; add coconut flakes and mashed garlic to the skillet. Remove skillet from heat and continue stirring until coconut is toasted and garlic is fully incorporated into nut mixture. Transfer skillet contents to a small bowl and reserve. Return skillet to heat; add a splash of olive oil, stir in the kale with a pinch of salt, and cook for just a minute, until the kale collapses a bit, and brightens. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it, and transfer out of the pan immediately.

To serve, combine half of the almond coconut mixture with the quinoa in a large bowl. You can serve this individually, or family-style. Top the quinoa with the kale, plenty of the salted yogurt, and top with the remaining almond mixture, avocado, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with grated lemon.

Serves 4.


Tahini Sauce with Nut Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

 

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This combination has it all – tart lemon, crunchy nuts, sweet pomegranate seeds. It’s also chock full of nutrition and it’s versatile. Great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even vegetables.  You could serve it as a dip or toss a salad with it.  Pomegranate molasses is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and can be found in specialty food stores or on line.  There’s nothing quite like it, but you can substitute balsamic syrup, made by boiling down balsamic vinegar until it becomes slightly syrupy.  We adapted this from Fine Cooking and demoed it last January. We’re rolling it out again for our September 2015 Mediterranean demos at the US Botanic Garden in honor of its new exhibit from the region. This time, Danielle had the pleasure of making this dish, served on pita bread.

Tahini sauce

6 T tahini (sesame seed paste, available in supermarket health food section)
4 t fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
½ t ground cumin
Kosher salt

For the nut-herb topping

¼ C toasted, finely chopped almonds
¼ C toasted, finely chopped walnuts
¼ C finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped red onion
2½  T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T finely chopped fresh mint
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

¼ C pomegranate arils (see note, above)
2 t pomegranate molasses

Make the tahini sauce

Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ¼ t salt, and 5 T water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the nut-herb topping

In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with ¼t salt and 1/8 t pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve the tahini sauce sprinkled with the nut-herb mixture and topped with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle pomegranate molasses.


Peach-and-Tomato Gazpacho with Cucumber Yogurt

peach-tomato-gazpacho-sl-x This soup is totally refreshing and quite beautiful, especially if you use all-red tomatoes as your base, but a mixture of colors for the chunked-up portion. Yellow or white peaches do great in it, as well as nectarines and even apricots. I don’t bother peeling any of the fruit or veggies (tomatoes, that is — I do peel the onions!). If you plan on doing some ahead, just do the pureed part — once the peach chunks are cut up and added, the soup will  hold up for only about a day or two. Almonds are optional but they do add a nice crunch and their flavor goes beautifully with peaches. Of course, if you’re coming to eat at our house, you’ll have this soup with a soupcon of red pepper flakes! Demoed by Adrienne at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015. Adapted from a recipe from Southern Living.

5 large peaches, divided
3 large tomatoes, cored and divided
1/2 medium-size sweet onion, coarsely chopped (about ½ C)
3 T apple cider vinegar

1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional)
½ C slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C finely diced cucumber, seeded as needed
1/3 C plain yogurt
2 T minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
snipped chives or minced parsley for garnish
Fresh-ground black pepper

Quarter 4 peaches and 2 tomatoes. Process quartered peaches and tomatoes, onions, vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Chop remaining peach and tomato. Stir into pureed mixture. Add almonds and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1-4 hours. Meanwhile, combine cucumber and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with 1 T yogurt mixture, drizzle with olive oil, garnish with minced parsley or chives and a grind of pepper.

Yield: Six servings