Tuesday, July 17, 2012

no-cook, heat-wave-friendly dinner


It is HOT today in Cleveland. And I say that with great tolerance, being a girl from the tropics. But it is quite unusual for these parts. I had a feeling this would happen after our unusually warm winter.

Regardless, I hope you are all finding ways to stay cool - whether you enjoy some popsicles, run among the sprinklers, whatever. Because summer goes by in a blink of an eye.

For tonight's dinner, I decided not to turn on the stove at all.

Massaged greens (mustard greens and kale), roasted beets (from last night), chickpeas (also cooked last night), avocado, and feta - everything except the chickpeas and avocado are from Fresh Fork Market

We all know dark leafy greens are good for us, and thankfully we get some generous bunches from our weekly produce pickup. The greens this week were mustard greens and kale. Typically I would do a quick saute in olive oil and garlic, but even that did not sound appealing to me today. I wanted a filling, no-cook meal, but raw kale and mustard greens sounded a bit too much even for a veggie-lover like me.

This friend told me about massaging raw greens for a salad, so I decided to give that a try. So after washing and drying the greens, and tearing them up into bite-size pieces, I sprinkled some sea salt, squeezed a little lemon juice and added a dash of olive oil, and actually got in there with my (clean) hands and massaged the greens until they were soft and wilted.

Afterwards, I wondered why I waited so long to try it. All that TLC (along with the salt and the acid from the lemon juice) made the raw greens more palatable, yet they were still flavorful. I wouldn't do it for more delicate greens like spinach and arugula, but for kale and mustard greens this is a great technique.

I added beets which I had roasted the night before (here is a tip for roasting beets - no need to peel beforehand!), as well as some chickpeas. We tend to eat a lot of chickpeas and other legumes in our household as our main source of protein, so every week or so I soak about 2 cups of dry chickpeas overnight and cook them in a pressure cooker the next day - four whistles and it's done. Then I store them in smaller containers (immersed in the cooking liquid - great for thickening stews and for improving the texture of hummus) - some in the freezer, and some in the refrigerator for more immediate use. Sometimes A. snacks on them as is (drained of the liquid of course), with nothing but salt and Indian red chile powder. 

This was a really satisfying salad with great contrasting flavors and textures. That's what salads are all about in my opinion. Peppery greens, sweet yet earthy beets, mild chickpeas, creamy avocado, salty feta, tangy lemon juice. It was so flavorful, it didn't even need more dressing - just a little more salt and pepper (though you could always add a dressing of your choice).

What required the most effort in this meal was trying to get all my salad elements in one forkful.

The second most effortful thing about tonight's meal would be keeping myself from eating the entire pint of Jeni's roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream. It tempts me each time I open the freezer door. But that's another story...

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Jen said...

Yum -- there is nothing like a fresh summer salad! I'm so glad you enjoyed the massaged kale. I haven't done that lately, so thanks for the reminder. I need to be better about cooking beans rather than relying on cans ... there is such a difference.

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Hi Jen! Yes, this massaging technique is getting me to eat more greens raw - which is so great this time of year - so thank you!

I do keep a can or two of beans in the pantry for those "emergency" meals when I didn't plan in advance... but yes, there is a difference starting with dried beans! (plus it ends up cheaper too)

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