These two sides make any outdoor grilling or picnic taste even better. The first one has chickpeas standing for potatoes and dressed in a light dressing consisting of a Greek yogurt and mayo.
Chickpeas with herbs, celery, and fennel
The other is a Caprese salad with our own tomatoes and basil.
Eek! I am falling behind! My sister is here to visit and I am so busy that I cannot find time to write. So, just quickly, I will report that on Tuesday we had this delicious dish. It has a small amount of cream in it, a lot of diced up veg, some saffron, and Pernod. We served it over rice.
Shrimp in a Pernod cream sauce
For Meatless Monday we made a delicious vegetarian or vegan pairing of Mediterranean salad and Afghani red lentils. NOTE: for vegan fare omit yogurt and feta cheese.
The Mediterranean salad consists of cucumber, tomatoes, onion, avocado, olives, and pepperoncini dressed in a little EVOO and vinegar and garnished with feta cheese (for non-vegans.) I used cherry tomatoes since we have an enormous bowlful from our daughter’s garden. As usual the best ingredients yield the best results!
I have not made Afghani daal since January! Seriously it is so quick and easy I should be making it every few weeks! Here is my adapted recipe which I originally found on Afghan Culture Unveiled.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 finely chopped medium onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. fincely minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin, cayenne and let the spices bloom for a minute or so. Then add the lentils and vegetable (or chicken) broth, stir and turn the heat up to high. When the liquid boils, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and salt. Serve with a spoonful of plain yogurt (or not) and warm pita or rice.
It is important to use red lentils since they break down into a creamy consistency. I also sprinkled a bit of sumac over mine. This is so good and nutritious! You should try it.
Afghani Daal garnished with Greek yogurt and sumac served with rice
We had Texas caviar in two ways tonight. First as an appetizer before dinner with tortilla chips and then as the vegetable with our dinner. Since it was hot we just bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and ate it cold with the salad.
Texas caviar is a conglomeration of fresh vegetables with black eyed peas and black beans in a vinaigrette. It is a lot of chopping but a great result. I figure there is no purpose in showing a cold rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, so here is our appetizer – tortilla chips with Texas caviar.
Texas caviar with tortilla chips
I used my last container of frozen spaghetti sauce for our dinner on Saturday night. Knowing that we would be facing a tomato glut by this point in the summer, I filled each container only half full so that my sauce could be enhanced by fresh tomatoes when I went to use it.
I used two of our daughter’s fully ripened green tomatoes which are gargantuan, each weighing around a pound. Zapping them in the microwave loosened the skin and I also de-seeded them ( mostly.) While de-seeding, skinning, and cutting them up for the sauce I always work over a colander on a bowl so most of the juice is caught. These tomatoes were really juicy and I ended up with a thinner sauce than I wanted so I had to simmer it down for 30 minutes.
Wow, what an intensely bright and tomato-y sauce resulted! John made 8 ounces of whole grain linguine which gave us plenty of pasta for tonight and leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
Linguine with semi-fresh pasta sauce and garnished with cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese
P.S. Always finish cooking the pasta in your sauce!!
Earlier this week when we had gazpacho we did not finish all of it. So I put it in the refrigerator where it became the starter, much like the sourdough starter we also have in our refrigerator, of a new batch of soup for tonight. Each batch is a little different from the last. Where I had a serrano chile to put in the last blenderful, this time I used cayenne pepper and some smoky chipotle powder. I added a couple of green tomatoes along with a red one and a half of a cucumber so the color is a little different. I chopped up some cilantro to dress the top.
I also made avocado toast with chopped cherry tomatoes and cilantro on top. My poor avocado had been sitting patiently waiting to be eaten this week and started to become over-ripe. So it lost some of its vibrant green color.
We finished the gazpacho so no more this week! I shall make spaghetti sauce from our bountiful tomatoes instead!