Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: First Taste of Fall

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The first official Lunch Bunch of the fall season kicked off this week with some of the season's best flavors, from pumpkin seeds to pears. Since it's not too chilly out yet, we were able to enjoy some amazingly refreshing dishes, like a cold tomato soup and  sesame noodles.  But the highlight of  our shared office meal? The massaged kale salad featured on last week's Meatless Monday post. If you haven't tried preparing kale this tasty, new way, we highly recommend it!

Massaged Kale Salad
This was courtesy of our blog, posted by Sarah Britton. For Lunch Bunch,  I doubled the recipe and added 3 pears, 3 avocados and 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds.

1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
1 lemon
Cold-pressed olive oil
Sea salt

1. In a large bowl, dress kale with lemon juice and olive oil onto kale leaves and add a pinch or two of sea salt. Roll up your sleeves and massage kale until it’s deep dark green, soft, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add anything you like: fruits, veggies, cooked or sprouted grains and legumes, nuts and seeds. Get creative. Once you’ve massaged your kale, store it in a tightly sealed container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Poppy Seed Dressing

¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ shallot, diced
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon honey

Whisk all ingredients together.  Store leftovers in a glass jar for up to a week.

Tomato Basil Soup (From Vegetarian.About.com) This quick and easy tomato soup is delicious hot or cold. For Lunch Bunch, we served it cold.

2 pounds tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until almost smooth, or until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Green Bean Salad

2 pounds string beans
1 can of black olives
2 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
Red wine vinegar salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring string beans and water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. Mix vegetables and garlic together and top with dressing.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables

1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers; about 1 1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or vermicelli noodles
1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

Directions:

Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and scallions; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.

Flourless Chocolate Cake (From Epicurious)

4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

Peanut Butter Cookies (From Gluten-Free Girl)

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. (As much as I love my KitchenAid, I have found that this is a hand-stirring job). Beat in the baking powder. Add the egg. Mix until it is all well combined. Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, one week.)

The dough will be sticky, so be prepared to get your hands messy. Roll some dough into a ball. (How big? That depends on you. I have found, however, that the smaller these cookies are, the better they hold together. Eat two instead of one!) Roll the ball into white sugar. Line a baking sheet, covered in parchment paper, with sugary balls of dough. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. You will know the cookies are done when they feel coherent, but still a little soft. Take the tray out of the oven and let the cookies rest for at least five minutes. Afterwards, carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. After 10 minutes or so, they will have hardened and be glistening with sugar.

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