Living the WELL Life

Slim Pickins' - by Christina Pirello

Friday, July 23, 2010

There are times, especially in the summer, when I want to keep things light for dinner.  My husband and I always make a point to start our day with a big and balanced macrobiotic breakfast - lots of veggies and some grains for energy.  So a lighter dinner tends to be just what we need to end our day!  Here's just one direction you can take it - a pairing of a nice green salad with a vegetable dish and some finger foods.  Lighten up! 

Escarole and Edamame Salad
Chinese Firecrackers
Beggars’ Purses
Dried Daikon with Vegetables and Ginger
Sheila’s Lacy Wafers
Kombu Tea

Escarole and Edamame Salad

2 cups frozen shelled edamame (fresh soybeans)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Suzanne’s Specialties brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive or avocado oil
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
1 medium bunch escarole, rinsed very well, sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Bring a pot of water to a boil, lightly salted. Cook edamame for 5 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water to stop the cooking process.  In a small saucepan, over low heat, whisk together red wine vinegar, rice syrup, salt, pepper, oil and miso. When the dressing is smooth and just warmed through, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.  Mix together edamame, escarole and fresh mint in a large bowl. Spoon dressing over top and toss to coat. Serve immediately.  Makes about 4 servings.

Chinese Firecrackers

1 brick tofu-cut into 1/2" cubes
Avocado oil for deep-frying

Firecracker sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
Scant pinch cayenne
Scant pinch powdered ginger
1 cup spring or filtered water
1 tablespoon kuzu-dissolved in small amount cold water

Heat at least 3" of oil in a deep saucepan and when hot enough, deep-fry tofu cubes until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper and set aside while preparing the sauce.  Heat soy sauce, rice syrup, rice vinegar, chili powder, cayenne, ginger and water in a sauce pan. When warmed through, stir in dissolved kuzu until sauce becomes thick and clear. Stir in tofu cubes until well-coated with sauce and serve garnished with fresh sliced scallions.

Beggars’ Purses

1 ounce extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch crushed red pepper
1 carrot, diced
4 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 pound seitan, diced
8 egg roll wrappers
1 leek -- steamed and cut into ribbons
1/2 head Chinese cabbage

Place oil, onion and garlic in skillet. Over medium heat, add salt, red pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add vegetables and seitan, sauté to demi sec, remove and cool. Lay wrap on work surface, place a portion of filling in center, gather up corners and form purse, tie leek ribbon to seal. Arrange purses in bamboo steam lined with Chinese cabbage. Steam for 5-7 minutes.

Dried Daikon with Vegetables and Ginger

6-8 thin slices fresh ginger, fine matchstick pieces
1⁄2 cup dried arame, rinsed several times, soaked 5 minutes, until tender
1⁄2 cup dried daikon, rinsed, soaked until tender
2 dried shiitake, soaked until tender, thinly sliced
spring or filtered water
soy sauce

Layer ginger, arame, daikon and shiitake. Add water to half cover ingredients. Add a splash of soy sauce, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Season lightly with soy sauce and simmer 5 minutes more. Remove cover and raise heat to medium and allow any remaining liquid to cook away. Stir gently and transfer to a serving bowl. Makes 4-5 servings.

Sheila’s Lacy Wafers

1/4 cup avocado or light olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup barley malt
1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup uncooked quick rolled oats
1/4 cup very finely chopped almonds or walnut pieces
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract

Chocolate filling:
1 cup non-dairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips
2 teaspoons Suzanne’s Specialties Chocolate Rice Nectar
1/4 cup Pearl Creamy Vanilla Soymilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Place oil, rice syrup and barley malt in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until loose. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in flour until smooth. Fold in oats, nuts and extract, mixing well. Drop batter, by 1/4-teaspoonfuls onto lined sheet, allowing 2 inches in between to allow for spreading. Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on sheet for 1 minute. Carefully peel cookies from parchment and set aside to cool.

Prepare the filling by placing chocolate chips in a heat-resistant bowl. Bring rice syrup and soymilk to a rolling boil over high heat. Pour over chocolate and whisk until shiny and smooth.  Pair similar sized cookies to make wafers. Spread the flat side of one cookie with chocolate and press its partner, flat side to chocolate, making a sandwich. Place on parchment to allow chocolate to set. Repeat with remaining cookies and chocolate. Makes 30-40 filled cookies.

Kombu Tea

1 piece kombu
4 cups water

Place kombu and water in pot, bring to boil, reduce and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced to 1/2.  Remove kombu, drink tea hot.


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