Living the WELL Life

Score at the Shore - by Christina Pirello

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Yes, it's that time of year again...time to get out the bathing suit, grab the hubby, and head to the shore!  But don't forget the food!  Here are a few dishes I made for the trip.  While they seem a little uncharacteristic when compared to traditional beach eats, these treats will satisfy tastebuds and leave you nourished all day.

Why set yourself back by sacrificing taste and wholesome goodness for the traditional beach convenience foods, which are laced with chemicals and artificial ingredients?  Score major points for your health this summer while reaping the benefits of homemade treats for the beach!  Gotta run and stock my cooler!

Crostini with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Marinated cous-cous with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes
Mediterranean Bean Salad
Mini pesto pizza with artichoke hearts
Ruby Fruit Salad
Viennese Vanilla Crescents

Crostini with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 whole grain baguette, 2-inch diagonal slices
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
6-7 cups fresh arugula, rinsed very well, stems trimmed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained well, coarsely chopped
2 cup walnut pieces, lightly pan toasted, coarsely chopped
4-5 sprigs fresh parsley, finely minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Lightly brush both sides of baguette slices with oil and arrange on baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and bake until crisp and lightly browned at the edges, about 12 minutes.  Towel dry and hand shred the arugula.  Do not cut, as it can take on a metallic aftertaste.  Place a small amount of oil, red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a skillet and turn heat to medium.  When the tomatoes begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the walnut pieces, shredded arugula, season lightly with salt and sauté until the arugula begins to wilt, 1-2 minutes.  Do not overcook the greens. 

Spoon cooked vegetables onto the bread slices and serve immediately.  Makes 8-10 servings.  Tip: To pan toast walnuts, simply heat a dry skillet over medium heat.  Cook the walnut pieces, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3-5 minutes.

Marinated cous-cous with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes
2 cups spring or filtered water
sea salt
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill couscous
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, diced
2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted, diced
1 tablespoon capers, drained
3-4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, finely shredded
extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chili paste
6-8 plum tomatoes, split lengthwise, do not peel or seed
1 bunch arugula

Bring water to a boil, with a pinch of salt.  Stir in couscous, cover, turn off heat and set aside for 5-7 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  Stir in tomatoes, olives, capers and basil.  Set aside, loosely covered.  Place a small amount of oil in a skillet.  Stir in chili paste, spread mixture over the pan bottom and turn heat to medium.  Arrange tomatoes, cut-side down in the skillet and sprinkle with salt.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until the skin wrinkles and the cut-side of the tomatoes are lightly browned, 3-4 minutes.  To serve, arrange arugula on a platter, spoon couscous in the center and arrange tomatoes on top.  Drizzle with a fruity olive oil and serve.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Mediterranean Bean Salad
1 piece kombu
1 cup chickpeas
1 head endive
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic -- sliced thin
1 red onion -- half moons
1 lemon -- zested and juiced
1/4 pound crimi mushrooms
1 carrot -- julienned
1/2 cup diakon -- julienned
2 teaspoons mirin
1 cucumber -- half moons
3 radish -- slice thin
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cook kombu and chickpeas for 45 minutes under pressure.  Rinse the endive and drain, arrange on platter.  Sauté garlic until browned, add onions and cook to limp.  Add zest, mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release their liquid.  Add carrot, diakon and mirin, season.  Reduce to low and simmer for 7 minutes.  Add chickpeas and cook until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in cucumbers, radish, parsley, vinegar and lemon, serve over endive. 

Mini pesto pizza with artichoke hearts
1, 10-inch whole wheat foccacia, fully baked
1 cup fresh basil pesto (in recipe listing)
1, 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely minced oil-cured black olives
generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe tomato, thinly sliced into rounds, do not peel or seed
1-2 cups shredded vegan soy mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Prepare pesto. Spread a thin layer evenly over foccacia. Top with artichoke heart slices, black olives and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Drizzle lightly with oil. Arrange tomato slices over top of pizza and sprinkle with soy mozzarella. Bake until cheese melts, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a dry work surface. Cut into squares. Makes 6-8 servings.
Ruby Fruit Salad
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 orange -- grated zest and juice
1 lime -- juice
1/4 cup mirin or sweet white wine
1/4 cup water
15 cherries -- pitted left whole
3 red plums -- halved, pitted, thinly sliced
1/2 pine strawberries -- rinsed, halved
1/2 pine raspberries -- rinsed
2 nectarines -- halved, pitted, thinly sliced
sea salt

Combine the rice syrup, zest, and juice, mirin, and water saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture foams. Cool to warm, whisking to keep the loose.  Combine the fruit in a bowl. Sprinkle with two pinchers of sea salt and gently mix together. Pour the syrup over the fruit mixture and gently fold them to coat the fruit. Cover and chill completely before serving.

Viennese Vanilla Crescents
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1⁄2 cup water (approx)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 cups almonds-ground into a fine meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
brown rice syrup (for glazing)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.  Combine all ingredients, except 1/4 cups almond meal. Gather into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing.  Roll dough into 1/4-inch thick cylinders and cut into 2" pieces. Bend into crescent shapes and bake on prepared sheet for 10 minutes. Heat some rice syrup until foamy. While cookies are still warm, roll in warm rice syrup and remaining almond meal.  Makes 3-4 dozen.


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