Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

There’s nothing like a cool dip on a hot summer day!

tzatziki

Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

2 small cucumbers (English, Japanese, or Persian), peeled, seeded and diced small

1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated on a Microplane

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon red wine vinegar

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Garnish with dill.

Serve with grilled meat, pita crisps and/or freshly cut vegetables such as carrots, celery, bell peppers and cucumbers.

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Yield: 6 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

3 small zucchini or summer squash (mix of both, preferably)

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

 

1. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Using a mandoline or your vegetable peeler, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/16-inch thick slices lengthwise. The slices will resemble wide pasta noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the zucchini in a medium bowl.

4. Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture and add the capers. On a plate, loosely arrange some zucchini slices into a small pile, then spoon some of the caper vinaigrette over the top.

5. Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top with some shavings of cheese and some of the parsley.

Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Nathan Lyon Strawberry Canteloupe

Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

½ cantaloupe, seeded, rind removed, and sliced into 1-inch sections

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons of balsamic OR white wine vinegar*

15 medium-sized fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

1. Gently toss the cantaloupe, strawberries, vinegar of choice*, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl.

2. Add the feta and chopped mint to the bowl just prior to serving and toss.

*Note: If you prefer the flavor of the strawberries to pop, go with a nice balsamic. If you’re more of a cantaloupe person, go with the white wine vinegar. Both work great.

Wakame Avocado Puree

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Wakame Avocado Puree

Try this as a spread on Asian style tacos or as your next avocado toast…

 

½-ounce dried wakame

¾ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves

¼ cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons grated (grated on a microplane) fresh ginger

2 small cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a microplane (1 teaspoon)

1 large avocado, pit removed and flesh scooped out

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Place the wakame in a blender and blend on high to turn into a fine powder. Remove wakame powder and set aside.

Place remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 2 teaspoons of the wakame powder. (Reserve remaining wakame powder for sprinkling over fish, rice or popcorn.)

 

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!

Lemon and Herb Kefir Spread

lemon--herb-kefir-spread-image

Lemon and Herb Kefir Spread

(Look for kefir in the yogurt section of your grocery store.)

2 cups plain whole milk kefir
1 teaspoon finely chopped preserved lemon (optional)
½ teaspoon lemon zest, grated on a Microplane
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour the kefir into a nut bag or a triple layer of cheese cloth. Place the nut bag in a strainer. Place the strainer inside a bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 16 to 18 hours.

Discard or reserve the whey (clearish liquid) in the bowl. Transfer the strained kefir from the nut bag into a small bowl. Add the preserved lemon, lemon zest, lemon juice and thyme and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slather on a piece of your favorite toasty bread and serve!

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine!

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Lyon Pudding Cake1

This chocolate pudding cake is magic! Follow the instructions and feast on this multi-layered delight: fudgey/ganache on the bottom, pudding in the middle and souffle-like airiness on top. W.O.W.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

8-ounces TCHO Mokaccino (This is a coffee + chocolate bar (from my favorite chocolate makers) that is out of this world! If you can’t find it, use your favorite milk chocolate, somewhere around 40% cacao.)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for prepping the pan
½ cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks
¾ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Frangelico Liquor
4 large egg whites

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly butter an 8 x 2-inch round cake pan. Place a folded dish towel in bottom (middle) of a roasting pan (large enough to accommodate the cake pan).  Place buttered cake pan inside roasting pan on top of the folded towel. Bring several quarts of water to boil for a water bath.

Melt the chocolate with the whipping cream and butter in a bain marie, stirring occasionally as it melts.  Once melted, remove chocolate bowl from heat and set aside. (Be careful not to stir excessively as chocolate melts; the fat could separate.)

Place ¼ cup sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Place egg yolks and milk in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add the yolk/milk mixture to the large bowl with the sugar/flour mixture and whisk to combine.

Slowly stream the melted chocolate mixture into the large bowl, whisking continuously, until fully combined. Add vanilla and Frangelico and whisk to combine again. Set bowl aside.

Whip the egg whites until just foamy. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar to the whites and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until uniform in color. Repeat this process in two more batches.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Carefully add the boiling water (making sure none splashes into the cake pan) to the roasting pan until it reaches (at least) halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

Carefully transfer roasting pan to the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove roasting pan from the oven and let cake cool for 10 minutes in the water bath. Remove cake pan from roasting pan water bath and let cool completely before serving.

To serve, using a large spoon, spoon out the pudding cake onto plates, making sure you get all the layers – the bottom mouse-like layer, the middle pudding layer, and the top sponge –  in each serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled with whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts.

Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

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Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

(Serve for breakfast, snack, cheese plate or dessert!)

Yield: 1  9-inch pie

Unsalted butter, to prepare the pie pan
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a Microplane
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped Medjool dates, pits removed
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup raw brazil nuts, chopped roughly
3 large eggs

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Butter a 9-inch pie pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, zest and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the dates, milk, nuts and eggs and mix very well using a wooden spoon. Get in there with some elbow grease, and really stir until well combined. It’ll be thick and chunky, but that’s a good thing.

Pour the date batter into the prepared pie pan and or use the back of the wooden spoon to level off the batter.

Place the pie pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is light to golden brown and the center springs back when pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the pie pan, slice (using a bread knife) and serve with a slathering of honey butter.

Honey Butter:

1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

Mix the butter and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and my new online cooking course with Clean Eating Magazine, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” will be starting on April 3! It’s gonna be so. much. fun! Check out the course trailer/preview to see for yourself!