Breakfast: A breakfast bowl, semi-inspired by the two Acai-granola bowls that Kristy at Keepin’ it Kind recently posted, of three layers: 1.) A small green smoothie of 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 tsp each of wheatgrass and spirulina powders, 4 leaves of purple kale, and 1/2 cup hazelnut milk kefir. 2.) A generous cupful of my latest granola concoction—carob-cherry granola with cacao nibs and almonds. 3.) A glorious amalgamation of fresh farmers market fruit including red currants, blackberries, and cantaloupe.
When mother nature bestows upon you a rainbow of summer’s bounty in the form of dribble-down-your-chin ripe fruit, it seems like veritable sacrilige not to yield to the full flavor experience it provides in its pure (aka, not pureed into a smoothie) form. But I certainly wouldn’t have placed it on top of a bed of kale in order to meet my thrice-daily greens quota and called it breakfast. Enter the mini-smoothie/granola/fruit bowl, which satisfies my yearnings for leafy green goodies, crunchy granola clusters, and peak season fruit.
Speaking of the granola, I’ve developed a basic template for fruity cereal clusters based on my most recent recipes for Apricot Raisin and Chocolate Kale Granolas. This car0b-cherry granola with cacao nibs and almonds consists of 5 dates, 1 lb fresh cherries, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp carob powder, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract, all pureed and combined with 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats, 1 cup raw buckwheat, 1 cup flaxseed meal, and 1/2 cup chopped almonds.
Breakfast Checklist: Protein—hazelnut milk kefir, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, almonds (last two in granola). Whole Grain—GF rolled oats and buckwheat in granola. Fruit—banana, red currants, blackberries, cantaloupe, dates, cherries (last two in granola). Leafy Green—purple kale. “Super Food”—chia seeds, spirulina, wheatgrass powder, carob powder, flaxseed meal, cacao nibs (last three in granola).
Local Ingredients: Purple kale from Harmony Valley Farm, red currants and blackberries from Carandale Farm, cantaloupe from a stand at the Dane County Farmers Market of which I cannot recall the name.
Morning Tea: Eden Organic Genmaicha Green Tea.
Mid-Morning Beverage: A tall glass of NessAlla Kombucha in Peach Blush flavor.
Lunch: A typical gigantic salad of mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, basil, pea shoots, sungold and zebra cherry tomatoes, carrots, about 1/2 cup each of quinoa and kidney beans, and a sprinkling of dulse flakes, all tossed in Liquid Gold Dressing, topped with a dollop of cortido, and accompanied by two of Lisa Viger’s Stuffed Squash Blossoms.
Squash blossoms, the bright yellow flowers growing amongst the gigantic green leaves of zucchini plants, currently abound in my community garden plot, and I can’t stuff them with creamy spreads fast enough! My first squash-blossom-stuffing endeavor involved Lisa’s recipe for raw squash blossoms filled with a brightly flavored puree of avocado, walnuts, lemon juice, and tarragon mixed with crunchy bits of red onion, though my next blossom adventure hopefully will feature Golubka’s baba-ganoush-inspired roasted eggplant filling (especially considering the huge globe eggplant I just harvested from my garden).
Meal Checklist: Protein—kidney beans, walnuts. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—carrot, cherry tomatoes, basil, alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots, squash blossoms, avocado, tarragon, red onion, cortido veggies. Leafy Greens—mixed greens, dulse seaweed, cabbage in cortido.
Local Ingredients: Carrots from Driftless Organics, sungold tomatoes from Young Earth Farm, zebra tomatoes from Canopy Gardens, basil from my backyard herb garden, alfalfa sprouts from Troy Community Farm, pea shoots from Garden to Be, squash blossoms from Hickory Hill, tarragon from the Plahnt Farm, cortido from Fizzeology, red onion from Jones Valley Farm.
Afternoon Beverage: A bottle of “Green Zinger” juice from the Willy Street Co-op of apples, kale, lemon, ginger, and wheatgrass.
Though I’ve used my own juicer quite often this summer, I found myself on the East Side of Madison on this particular Wednesday and simply could not pass up the opportunity to partake in one of the Willy Street Co-op’s impeccably squeezed, refreshing juices.
Dinner: A heaping helping of Jeanine’s Edamame and Corn Succotash alongside a scoop of quinoa.
While I truly appreciated the wide array of stunning summer produce featured in this succotash recipe, I found that the directions it gave left the dish to fall short of its true potential, particularly in the surprisingly short cooking times it suggested. For example, the green beans in the dish tasted raw rather than satisfyingly crisp-tender, while the fresh sweet corn maintained its pastel yellow hue instead of adopting a vibrant hue. However, redolent with bright herbs, slightly creamy from a splash of coconut milk, and studded with bits of crunchy walnuts, the succotash’s flavor ultimately overpowered any of its potential cooking mishaps.
Meal Checklist: Protein—edamame, walnuts. Whole Grain—quinoa. Vegetables—red onion, garlic, thyme, purple bell pepper, jalapeno, green beans, corn, basil, orange mint. Leafy Greens—arugula.
Local Ingredients: Red onion from Jones Valley Farm, garlic from Brantmeier Family Farm, purple bell pepper and jalapeno from Pederson’s Produce (no website), green beans and sweet corn from an unknown stand at the farmers market, basil and thyme from my backyard herb garden, orange mint from the Plahnt Farm, arugula from Harmony Valley Farm.
Comment Provoking Questions: Have you ever had a “breakfast bowl” or stuffed squash blossoms? What is your favorite summer fruit or filling for squash blossoms? Do you tend to cook dishes for longer, shorter, or the same amount of time called for by a recipe?
Until next time, Ali.