Today's Lunch Bunch offerings featured fresh summer produce in all its juicy glory, including ripe tomatoes, crisp green beans and refreshing cucumber. This led to excited talk about this week's CSA packages, which will include the first tomatoes of the season, which have inspired daydreams of caprese salads. Another summer tradition we're psyched for? The Olympics! (OK, some of us are more insanely excited than others.) We can't wait to watch Kerri Walsh, Brenda Villa, and all or our other favorite athletes compete. And we hate to brag, but we think our photos are much better than these.
Zucchini and Bean Salad
2 small zucchini, quartered and sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 cups green beans, trimmed, and sliced in 3/4" pieces
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/4 c. olive oil
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, crumbled
1 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large bowl, place zucchini, green beans, cannellini beans, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, Parmesan, and basil. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Quinoa, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad (Inspired by this New York Times recipe)
3 cups quinoa
6 cups water
Salt to taste
1 can black beans
2 cups diced cucumber
1 small red onion, finely minced
2 cups finely diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 avocado, sliced
1. Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Add black beans to the pan as quinoa cools.
2. Combine the tomatoes, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, season to taste with salt, and add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with sliced avocado and cilantro sprigs.
Grilled Corn and Beet Salad
3 cups grilled corn, off the cob
1 red pepper, chopped to corn kernal size
1 green pepper, chopped to corn kernal size
1 1/2 cups beets, shredded
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Basil, shredded with scissors
Combine vinegar, dijon mustard, and shallot slices. Let marinate for a few hours. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify, basil to taste. Combine spinach, chopped veggies, and feta in large bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Serve.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Shortcakes (Adapted from this Whole Living recipe)
2 pints blueberries
1 1/3 cup garbanzo flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon plus a pinch of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
1 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the blueberries with the superfine sugar and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, pinch of sugar, and pinch of salt. With a pastry blender or fork, fold in the butter, mixing until it resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and blend with a fork just until combined.
On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a 4-inch square. (It should be about 1/2 inch thick.) Cut 4 biscuits with a 2-inch cutter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and top each with 3 almond slivers. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
Cut the biscuits in half. Add the yogurt to the blueberries and stir to combine. Place a quarter of the berries on top of one half of each biscuit, and top with the other biscuit halves.
Optional: Top the shortcakes with Lemon Curd (from this Whole Living recipe)
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Put egg yolks into a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
Whisk together lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon juice; whisk until sugar and cornstarch have
dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk one-third of the lemon
mixture into the reserved egg yolks. Pour mixture into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 1/2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).