Perfectly ‘Creamy’ Perfect Dairy Free, Gluten Free Pea Salad

IMG_5288

My daughter and I recently attended an IF Table Event. If you have never heard of IF, you are not alone. I hadn’t either. Well, correction, I had HEARD of it, I’d just never thought of going. My daughter however, wanted to go and it was a perfect opportunity to not only do something together, but do it together in faith. IF Table is where women gather to share food, fellowship and faith. An introductory story or theme sets the stage, with questions posed for the group to share personal perspective on. It may sound corny but it can actually be quite cool. If (yes, a little pun intended) you have the opportunity to attend one, I recommend it.

With that ‘table set’ (yes, I did it again, LOL) I wanted to bring a couple of dishes that my daughter could eat, if there was nothing else available. (Watch for my super simple asian glass noodle shrimp salad recipe to be posted next)
I decided, with the blush of spring finally upon us, to make a perfectly creamy pea salad w/o the dairy. This was such a hit with the ladies, I’m sharing it here. I’m really glad I chose this because surprisingly, in the group of 18 women, sitting at my table were 2 others who were not only gluten free, but dairy free also! What are the odds? Well, there are no coincidences in the life of a christian, so there you go!
This salad is a snap (I just cant seem to get enough of wordplays!) to put together, and is easy to make to feed a crowd, or just your family. (If its just 1 or 2 of you, make just 1 bag of peas and adjust the other ingredients to taste)
Its also flexible. If you have fresh basil, parsley or even cilantro on hand, use that. If you want to make it more hearty, add a chopped hard boiled egg, ham or bacon. Fresh farmers market tomato, diced, would be yummy too.
Since we are flush into spring greens here in MN, this is a great way to take advantage of all the fresh produce, and get your healthy veggies in!
Enjoy!

Perfectly Creamy Pea Salad (dairy free & gluten free)

*Serves 4 generously as a side
*double this to make for a potluck or larger gathering.

2 bags Stringless SugarSnap Peas (or approx 1 lb total)
1 medium shallot (about 1.5 tsp) diced fine
1/4 c *Silk Plain Almond Yogurt (see notes below)
1 tbsp Mayonaise
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 Leaves fresh Mint, chopped fine (I julienned)
1/2 Lemon, zested and juiced.
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 4qt saucepan, set 2 quarts of water on the stove to boil. Prepare an ice bath: large bowl with ice and a small amount of water next to the stove.
Salt the boiling water, and add 1 bag at a time to the water. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes, just long enough to set the color. You are not cooking, but merely blanching the peas. They will retain their textural crunchiness, but take on a vivid green color.
Immediately remove, using a spider ladle (see example here) and dump the peas into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Repeat with the second bag of peas.
Remove the peas to a dry, clean tea towel and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, and then toss with the peas.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Transfer to decorative serving container if desired. (I prefer lightweight plastic when I take to potlucks. Its easier to carry something light.

Note:
Because you shock the peas in ice cold water, this dish is ready to serve right away, awfully convenient when the opportunity to a last minute potluck invitation arises!
*I just started using DF plain yogurts. I know there are a growing number of brands of plain yogurts now on the market, just be sure there is no added sugar. You do not have to use Silk brand, that is what I used.


Awesomely Simple Summer Salad

IMG_1482

Spring has sprung and my thoughts turn to easy summer food. Minnesota winters are so depressingly long and brutal, that when the trees bloom, the sun shines and the grass greens, all I want to do is enjoy the outdoors. That means meals that are quick, easy and yet tasty. And since this is the state of bi-polar weather, I look for dishes that are light and refreshing to weather thru the blast furnace of our summers. (Where else can it be -20 degrees in January and just six months later be 90+ degrees in July? I rest my case, Bi-polar.)

I stumbled upon this years ago and it is now a summertime favorite ‘go-to’ salad for me. The combination may see odd, but trust me, the flavors merry perfectly together and as long as your watermelon is ripe and flavorful, this will not disappoint. It takes advantage of summertime produce, and it’s beautiful to boot.

In fairly equal proportions:

Watermelon – cubed
Cucumber – seeded, peeled and cubed
Jicama – peeled and cubed

Rough chop equal parts of:
Basil
Mint
Cilantro

Then generously squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and mix well. .

I am not including measurements because you can make as much or as little as you want. As you can see in my photo, I like mine full of herbs. But you can use less if you want. This is the beauty of this salad. Its so customizable. Make as much, or as little as you like. This salad travels perfectly in a cooler for a picnic or poolside, and is beautiful on a buffet table. Try it and leave me your feedback!


Tomato Salad, with a Twist

Tomato Salad, with a Twist

It is, oh, so hot here right now. Minnesota, land of extremes. Given it is ‘freeze the snot in your nose’ cold in the winter, and winter lasts for what seems like FOREVER, you’d think I’d have nothing to complain about when summer finally rolls around. But, being the bi-polar state it is, if it’s not -20 and so dry your skin turns to shoe leather, it is blistering hot, humid and buggy. We get a smattering of lovely days, but it’s not till fall that the bugs die off (vicious, biting, carry your baby off, nasty bugs) and it becomes a ‘pleasant’ place to be. By then, the days are short and the nights longer.

I can’t bear to think ahead to that LONG, COLD winter, so instead I’ll muddle through this heat, taking advantage of the locally grown produce, and make a refreshing salad. This one is a twist on a traditional Caprese Salad. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Twist

Heirloom Tomatoes
Goat Cheese
Fresh Mint & Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 clove garlic minced or put through a press
Salt & Pepper

Whisk the oil & vinegar together, add the garlic, season to taste.
Chiffonade (slice in to thin ribbons) the mint and basil, and add to the dressing.

Pour over thick sliced tomatoes, sprinkle with goat cheese.

Enjoy as a light lunch or as a side with grilled meat for dinner. Heck, this is so good, I’d eat it for breakfast…and I have!