Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita Sometimes it’s nice to have a cool treat that is light and fruity, without the dairy and big calorie content. Coming in at about 65 calories a servings, granita is just the thing! It’s a basic, easy, relatively healthy little dessert. I made up a strawberry batch since we’ve got tons of them right now in the garden. It’s cold, fruity and delicious!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
3 cups of strawberries

In a medium sized pot cook water and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove simple syrup from heat and let cool to room temperature. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add simple syrup and process or blend until mixed. Pour mixture into an 8 X 8 glass dish and place in the freezer.

Check every 20-30 minutes and scrape with a fork. The sides tend to freeze first so scrape them toward the center. Repeat this step until completely frozen (1-4 hours depending on your freezer).

This can be made several days in advance of when you want to use it or the same day. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 servings.

Notes: You could use pretty much any fruit you like. Orange juice would work, so would pineapple, or blueberry, or well you get the point. This mixture would also make excellent popsicles. Just pour the liquid into the popsicle mold and freeze. For an adult treat stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of light or coconut rum.

Spinach and Fruit Salad

Spinach and Fruit Salad

This is an oldie, but a goodie. With all the strawberries coming in in the garden it gives me the chance to make a lot of old strawberry favorites! My sister actually gave me a recipe similar to this when I was pregnant with Alexis and I craved it! Not surprisingly you’re looking at 4 of Alexis’ favorite foods now right there in the bowl (spinach, strawberries, blueberries and almonds…throw in some chicken, tomatoes and mozzarella here and there and the kid is in heaven! In fact in her mind she could survive on those alone, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The original recipe called for champagne vinegar (which I couldn’t find/wasn’t sure about using when I was pregnant anyway) and just strawberries paired with the spinach and almonds, but over the years I’ve tweaked it. Sometimes I use sugar in the vinaigrette, which the recipe called for and sometimes (and most of the time in fact) I use honey instead. I’ve tossed in cashews instead of almonds or used both of them at once. I’ve even used walnuts and paired it with apples and blue cheese. Feta works as well and any kind of fruit that strikes your fancy would be good, though I usually stick to just strawberries and/or blueberries and/or oranges.

Regardless of how you toss it (yeah I just went there! ;o)) this salad is the perfect meal for a summer time dinner or even lunch! It’s also another one of those that is easy and fun to play around with, making numerous yummy variations as you go!

What You’ll Need Per Person:
2 cups of baby spinach, washed and drained (Note: Even if the bag says it’s triple washed or whatever WASH it! You don’t know who has touched it or what conditions it has gone through despite of their claims. Unless you saw it washed with your own eyes don’t take the chance!)
1 cup of strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/3 cup of almonds (whole, slivers, slices, whatever you like)
1 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon of vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar, but you can use whatever vinegar you like)
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar or honey

Toss together spinach, strawberries, blueberries and almonds until incorporated. Mix olive oil, vinegar and sugar or honey to make a dressing. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Notes: Due to the vinegar in the vinaigrette this salad wilts if stored so don’t make it too far in advance and realize that leftovers won’t store well and will end up a big wilted mess. I usually make it no more than 30 minutes in advance. Also I prefer more vinegar to oil, but if you prefer more oil equal the ratios or switch them around. It’s all according to personal taste.

Sushi Salad

Sushi Salad

I love this time of year! This is the time of year that things start coming in in the garden! Not only do we have strawberries galore, we’ve got carrots that were over looked last year during harvest that are ready to go and we’ve got snow peas that are starting to pop up! When these early harvest things start coming about it’s fun to start making things using those ingredients! You can’t get more local than your own back yard!

This dish is a variation of the one I found at Fat Free Vegan last fall. This is my twist on her original idea. Sometimes I use sushi rice and sometimes I use short grain brown rice as I did last night (which for all practical purposes is sushi rice that hasn’t been processed). In fact any sort of rice you prefer would work fine. I bet orzo might even pass in a pinch and it’s pasta, not rice, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, Sushi Salad Dianne Style is cool, delicious and gives you that sushi kick if you like that sort of thing (which I do) without the roll. Even if you don’t really care for sushi (or think you don’t) try the salad…It’s a dish in and of itself and if you like fresh, you’ll love this!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of uncooked short grain brown or white rice, cooked according to package directions
3 tablespoons of sushi vinegar
1 – 10 ounce package of frozen edamame
1 carrot, cut into rounds
1/2 a large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 – 6 ounce jar of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon of prepared wasabi (Optional…I LOVE wasabi, but if you aren’t a fan of the heat then leave it out. It definitely gives it a bit of a kick, though it does mellow out in the leftovers.)
1 cup of snow pea pods
1 sheet of nori, chopped or torn (Optional)

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat and place in a very large bowl (I prefer glass) and stir in sushi vinegar immediately. Next stir in frozen edamame into the rice/vinegar mixture while the rice is still hot to thaw them and let sit for about 10 minutes. Add carrots, cucumbers and mushrooms and stir to mix. Add wasabi and stir well to incorporate. Sprinkle the top of the salad with snow pea pods. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Right before serving add a bit of chopped or torn nori as a topping to each serving if desired.

Notes: You can add in anything you like in your sushi rolls. I like it topped with avocado and sprinkled with Furikake.