Summer Side

I’m not the only one who cooks in our household. My lovely wife Valerie is also a creative contributor to our daily fare. This salad has vibrant flavor with the fresh dill, green onions and basil from our garden. Loaded with protein yet lower in fat it gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt and fat-free sour cream. A tasty side with all the flavor of summer.
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Val’s Yummy Potato and Egg Salad

Yield: 10-12 servings

8 Yukon gold potatoes
6 eggs
¼ cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped basil

7 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise
½ cup low fat Greek yogurt
½ cup fat free sour cream
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground dry mustard
½ tsp pepper
3 tsp Splenda
1 tsp vinegar

Chop potatoes into cubes – about ¾”. Boil until tender and drain, cool. Hard boil eggs and cool. Mix potatoes, chopped peeled eggs, onions, dill and basil.

In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients and then mix into potato mixture.

c. 2010 Valerie J. Bradley

A.L.T. Sandwich

The first tomatoes from our garden are coming in and inspired today’s sandwich.
Alt in today’s cultural lingo in short for Alternative and also the appropriate acronym for this alternative B.L.T.
Although bacon is tasty it is loaded with sat fat, nitrates and salt. Avocado is loaded with nutrition and healthy fat so it naturally makes a great substitute in this classic American sandwich.
I have added fresh basil to the mix for some added flavor.
If you are gluten-free substitute a gluten-free bread instead.
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Avocado Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich

Yield: 1 serving

2 slices of your favorite multigrain bread
1 teaspoon olive oil mayonnaise
1 sliced fresh tomato
1 Romaine leaf
4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil
½ a ripe avocado sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Toast bread and spread mayo. Add avocado and tomato slices. Season. Add basil and shredded romaine leaf,
Slice and serve.

c. 2010 Aron David Bradley

Hippie Breakfast 101

I first encountered a variation of this in a funky restaurant in Cotati California. This is your basic healthy hippie meal with what chef Uriah, owner of the Columbian Cafe in Astoria Oregon, lovingly (or laughingly) refers to as tasteful, odorless food unit or as we have come to know it ‘TOFU’.
This is a vegan, gluten-free meal is loaded with nutrition, low in fat but here is the clincher…it tastes really GOOD!
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Tofu Scramble

Yield: 3-4 servings

1 container firm tofu
1 medium zucchini
½ medium bell pepper
5 Crimini (Italian brown) mushrooms
½ large yellow onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

Drain tofu and pat dry with a paper towel. Dice into half-inch cubes, coat with the cornstarch, set aside. Dice onion and red pepper, slice mushrooms, quarter zucchini lengthwise then slice thin. Sauté veggies in olive oil, add tofu and seasonings stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.
c.1988 Aron David Bradley

Portobello and Garbanzo Polenta

I always keep a few tubes of polenta, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, a variety of beans and garbanzos in my pantry to whip up sauces, hummus and chili on the fly. This recipe is easy to prepare yet tastes like you cooked all day. Low fat (if you use the cheese in moderation) and gluten free this dish is loaded with protein even without the cheeses. I prefer Southern Australia’s Banrock Station Merlot. Not only is it an excellent wine and around $6.00 per bottle, they are wetland conservationists and have donated 2.3 million dollars over the last 10 years to wetland restoration projects around the world.
This is low in fat and gluten-free and tastes divine!
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Portobello and Garbanzo Polenta

Yield 4-5 servings

12 oz. of Portobello or Crimini mushrooms sliced
(Scrape gills from Portobello mushrooms to avoid bitterness)
1 medium onion diced ¼ inch
5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

sauté the above in a heavy pot then add:

1 cup of Merlot
2-14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon sugar or Splenda
2 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dried)
½ bunch fresh basil leaves chopped
1 drained can of garbanzo beans

1 tube of polenta
2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese (Romano, Parmesan, Assiago, Mozzarella is a good blend)

Reduce heat and simmer sauce for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Unwrap a tube of your favorite flavor pre cooked polenta, cut into ½ inch slices fan 3 or 4 slices on the center of the plate and microwave 3 minutes or till heated, ladle on sauce and top with cheese.
c. 2005 Aron David Bradley

Lemon Cheesecake Blueberry Parfait

Fat free and sugar free sweetened with honey this recipe is easy to prepare and so rich and satisfying.
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Lemon Cheesecake Blueberry Parfait

Yield: 4 servings

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
¼ cup Grand Marnier liqueur
1 tablespoon honey

16 oz fat free cream cheese
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup honey
zest of 1 lemon
1 – 1 oz. package Jell-O Sugar free fat free vanilla
instant pudding mix

Heat blueberries, liqueur, and honey in a sauce pan
stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Place in a shallow
pan and refrigerate till cool.
Place fat free cream cheese, yogurt, lemon zest and Jell-O
instant pudding mix in a bowl. Mix with a hand mixer or
immersion hand blender for 1-2 minutes.
Layer berries and lemon mixture into parfait glasses and serve.
Optional: Mint sprig for a garnish.
Note: The lemon cheesecake mixture is easier to layer when piped from a pastry bag (no tip needed).

c. 2010 Aron David Bradley

Thai Shrimp Salad with fat-free Yum Talay dressing

The first time I had a yum talay salad, the complexity of flavors created such a symphony of  sensation in my mouth  that I became hooked on Thai and Laotian food from there on.  You can add a variety of seafood like poached squid, scallops, fish as well making this a sumptuous main dish.
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Thai Shrimp Salad

w/ Fat-Free Yum Talay Dressing

yield: 4-6 servings

4 cups classic iceberg salad mix
4 cups mixed baby green salad mix
25 mint leaves
1 cup cilantro
1 medium red onion sliced thin into rings
1 sweet red pepper slice thin into rings
1 medium cucumber sliced
2 Roma tomatoes sliced into wedge
1 fresh lime sliced razor thin and quartered
1 pound cooked wild American shrimp (peeled and deveined)
4 kafir lime leaves sliced very thin

Yum Talay Dressing

4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh or reconstituted)
3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda or Stevia
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek chili paste
optional: 2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden lemon grass paste

Combine all the salad ingredients except shrimp. Make dressing by placing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously.
Add shrimp to the tops of portioned salads. Pour on dressing and serve.

c. 2010 Aron David Bradley

Fabulous Veggie Fritters

My kids loved this when they were still school age especially the ones who had issues with veggies. Now they are ‘adult’ they still love them when they come home for a visit. Great with fresh summer veggies and in the winter you can replace fresh corn with cut frozen corn.
Besan (garbanzo flour) can be found in your favorite health food store or Asian import store if they have food from India.
This tastes great by itself or add some chutney for some added punch.
This is low in fat, complete protein, high fiber and gluten-free.
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Fabulous Veggie Fritters

Yield: 3, 4 servings

1 medium zucchini
1 ear of fresh corn
½ medium yellow onion
20 fresh green beans
9 Crimini (Italian Brown) mushrooms
1 medium Yukon gold potato
½ large red sweet pepper
1 ½ cups garbanzo flour
1 cup of Egg Beaters or equivalent
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons on extra virgin olive oil

Cut corn kernels from stalk and place in a large mixing bowl.
Wash and dry fresh veggies. Remove stems from pepper and zucchini.
Shred vegetables in a food processor or mandonine. Add to mixing bowl
With corn and add garbanzo flour, egg beaters, and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Form patties and cook over medium high heat in a non stick or cast iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil till deep golden brown on each side.

c. 2010 Aron David Bradley

Quick and Easy Chicken Tostadas

Here’s a tip: Keep poached, baked or grilled chicken breast in the fridge for salads, soups, sandwiches etc.
When summer days and nights are too hot to fire up the stove this easy and zesty dish takes just a few minutes to prepare if you already have your chicken at hand. You can also easily omit the chicken since the recipe has complete protein without it. This is gluten-free and if you are lactose intolerant use soy based cheddar cheese.
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Quick and Easy Chicken Tostadas

Yield: 2 servings of 2 tostadas each

4 pre-cooked tostada shells
1 medium tomato
½ can fat free chili lime refried beans
½ cup diced cooked chicken breast
1 ripe avocado
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup finely shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
your favorite hot sauce…to taste

Chop romaine lettuce into thin shreds, dice cooked chicken and tomato. Shred mozzarella cheese.
Slice avocado in half lengthwise, remove seed, scoop out of skin and slice (1/4 avocado per tostada)
Place 4 tortilla shells on 2 plates. Spread refried beans on the shells then add lettuce, diced tomatoes,
chicken, and sliced avocado. Garnish with mozzarella, serve. Serving suggestion: Cantaloupe wedges for dessert.

c. 2010 Aron David Bradley

Go Local

Getting your food to the table from local sources is always preferable for many reasons. The environmental impact is improved…zero or minimal transport equals less pollution, you can meet with growers at farmers markets and discuss their products, you can find less expensive produce including organic which unfortunately can be kind of pricey and the best local source is always from your own garden. Even when we lived in a rented townhouse my wife Val and I managed a small container garden on our 8 ft by 8 ft deck.

Gardening is very rewarding, it’s a great stress reliever and the best way to have fresh organic produce at your fingertips.

Back in my hippie days in Berkeley lots of households in a 3-4 block area had gardens. Unfortunately everyone would want to give you their excess tomatoes and zucchini till we had a block party one winter and decided to be a bit more organized. Each garden agreed to grow half of their space with specific items like: Tom is growing broccoli, corn, red potatoes and cauliflower, Sally is growing zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, basil and parsnips etc. The other half of the garden each household would grow whatever they wanted. Come harvest time we had such a variety of surplus veggies that it was like having a free farmer’s market in our neighborhood and a great chance to get together and share growing tips and feel a sense of community. I realize that was a different time and place but a great concept never dies. Even if you did this with just one other friend’s garden you would benefit greatly and be proactive in creating a community.