New veggie salad

Found a new recipe to try from a recent issue of Health magazine, Tomato, Cucumber and Green Bean Salad with Walnut Dressing.  Sounded perfect for these hot days.

Ingredients

1/3 cup broken walnut pieces
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1-in. lengths (grabbed the frozen  ones from Trader Joe’s)
Salt
6 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (that quantity seemed low, almost doubled it)
1/2 cup thinly sliced (lengthwise) red onion
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into 1⁄4-in. slices (added more)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (I accidentally grabbed flat leaf parsley)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

image

Preparation

1. Combine walnuts, garlic and salt in a food processor and blend until finely ground. (If preferred, walnuts, garlic and salt can be pounded into a paste with a mortar and pestle.) Combine walnut mixture, oil and vinegar in a salad bowl and whisk until blended. — I ended up with a nice paste.

2. Cook green beans in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain well, rinse with cold water, spread on a dish towel and pat dry.

3. Add green beans, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, cilantro, dill and mint to walnut dressing and toss to blend.

Very refreshing.  As mentioned, I grabbed parsley instead of cilantro, so it can likely taste even better than it did.  Nice for hot summer days.

image

Paleo Brownie Bliss

I make birthday cookies for all my friends.  The friend on the roster last week is gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant, so it always makes it even more fun to bake something using gluten-free flour, xantham gum and/or other random goodies and no butter, milk, etc.  Well she told me she’s on the Paleo diet now and asked if I could make something based on that and mentioned there are good brownie recipes out there.  To the search engines I go…what I ended up deciding on were some Paleo Brownie Bites (aka bliss, heaven, death by chocolate), which I found from a great food blog, The Lucky Penny Blog.  They don’t require baking, have no crazy ingredients.  The only thing you need is to think a little bit ahead (for refrigeration).  And based on my tastes and the folks I knew they were going to, I made very few changes.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw walnut halves and pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 heaping cup soft medjool dates, pitted (about 17 – 20 medium sized dates — I bought the small tub at Safeway)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk OR any liquid sweetener, like honey, agave, or maple syrup if you want your brownie bites to be sweeter — I used Maple Agave Syrup from Trader Joe’s
2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut to roll them in (I’m not a fan of coconut so I rolled half of them in crushed walnuts, the others half I left plain)

IMG_2743

Directions:

Place pitted dates in a bowl of warm water for a minute to soften

IMG_2751

Add unsweetened cocoa powder and walnuts to food processor, blend until walnuts become fine crumbs.

IMG_2754

Drain dates and place in the food processor with the cocoa walnut crumbs. Add vanilla. Process until mixture starts to combine. It may not fully combine until liquid is added. Add coconut milk or liquid sweetener (if desired) half a tablespoon at a time. Pulse. You will know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a ball in the middle of the food processor.  If dough is too runny add a tablespoon or more cocoa powder to bring it back to a dough like state.

IMG_2756

 

IMG_2759

Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I cooled mine overnight, you could also freeze it for faster results.

Once dough is cold, put coconut crumbs (or in my case, walnut crumbs) from earlier into a shallow bowl. I used the great Pampered Chef Chopper to get them nice and finely chopped.
IMG_2763
Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll them between hands to form balls. Roll balls in crumbs, pressing the crumbs gently into the ball. Continue until all dough is gone. You can moisten your hands with water if the dough begins to stick to your palms as you roll.

IMG_2764

 

 

IMG_2766

I made some smaller balls and bigger ones.  When done, kept them in the fridge.  Took them to my friend the next night for the party.  They were a huge hit!  Amazing!!  None left.  I might add a bit of flavor kick next time with a little spiced rum (as long as Paleo followers don’t mind) or hint of cinnamon.  But, I am so glad my friend requested something like this because it was an awesome recipe for me to find.  I also love that this recipe has no dairy in it so those who are lactose intolerant can easily enjoy some brownies.  Heaven, bliss, chocolate.