Thursday, June 4, 2009

summer freshness

I love summer eating.  Using fresh vegetables, grilling, delicious salads, it all adds up to a refreshing and satisfying way to eat.  

My sister-in-law is a big "salad" person and years ago taught me to make lots of different kinds of salad. She made it more than just green vegetables with a few chunks of something thrown on top and dressing from a bottle.  She always serves wonderful salads with her meals, planning them to coordinate with the main dish.  

Yesterday's dinner was "dry" grilled veggies; not marinated but brushed with oil as they are cooking.  Instead of a pastry brush I like to use a long sprig of rosemary; the olive oil has garlic, herbs such as thyme and oregano and some salt in it.  The vegetables come out drier but with a great intense flavor to them.  Served with a little aioli (a French garlic-y mayonnaise) on the side they are fabulous.  I served them with two side salads, my favorite Quinoa Taboule and a great jicama salad recipe that I got from the latest issue of Clean Eating

Jicama is a wonderful root vegetable sometimes referred to as a Mexican turnip.  It is part of the legume family, a tasty, crunchy, sweet vegetable whose cultivation has spread to include a larger area within South American and parts of Asia.  In texture it is similar to an Asian pear.  Low in calories, high in fiber and vitamin C it is very versatile and can be eaten raw, stir fried, roasted, even turned into relish.   It adds a snap and a crunch to raw dishes, with a crisp refreshing flavor and is equally delicious in cooked dishes.  As a cooked vegetable it can be substituted for water chestnuts in stir fry dishes, or can be steamed, boiled or even fried.  If you haven't had jicama before you may be surprised to discover how versatile it is and how much you like it.

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