The humble cucumber takes on passion and bite with sweet honey and acidic rice vinegar. Simplicity is the key to this side dish that makes the perfect companion for a spicy main.
3 Tbsp (45 mL) rice vinegar
3 Tbsp (45 mL) liquid honey
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) sesame oil
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) freshly ground pepper
2 large field or English cucumbers
3 Tbsp (45 mL) sesame seeds, toasted
To make dressing: in large bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey until honey dissolves. Add remaining
dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Refrigerate until cucumbers are ready to be dressed.
Carefully peel cucumbers in long strips to create alternating white and green stripes along their length. Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise and scrape away seeds with the round of a spoon.
Using a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or sharp knife, cut cucumbers into long, thin slices and place on paper towel to drain excess moisture. Gently pat tops with paper towel, and let sit.
Toast sesame seeds in dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until they begin to brown. Let cool.
Add cucumber slices and sesame seeds to dressing bowl and gently toss. Divide among plates and serve immediately.
Each serving contains: 87 calories; 1 g protein; 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 16 g total carbohydrates (13 g sugars, 1 g fibre); 52 mg sodium
source: "Simple Spring Salads", alive #367, May 2013
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.