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Salad Pizza: It’s what’s for dinner

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Ruth Hartnup from Vancouver, Canada [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

You’re trying to be good and eat healthy but you really, really want something more interesting than those greens you’ve been nibbling on.

How about a salad pizza?

In a nod to compromise — though many will claim it’s no compromise at all, just deliciousness — the salad pizza has come onto the scene the past few years. It’s probably not all that healthy, but it does allow you to say you ate your greens.

And no, this is not pizza with a side salad. It’s salad pizza.


Salad pizzas are exactly what they sound like: you start with a thin crust, often flatbread, and add toppings. Many people start off with sauce and cheese and then add any number of other ingredients like pepperoni, salami, cheese, the works.

Others add their salad fixins to the uber-popular cauliflower crust, and many simply toss a salad and load it straight onto the pizza crust, sans sauce and cheese. Balsamic vinegar, Italian dressing and the like make for yummy variations.

Like traditional pizza (or salad) itself, the possibilities are endless. A chicken caesar pizza sounds divine and requires a fork and a knife, while an arugula and fig variation can be accomplished on the above-mentioned flatbread and eaten with your hands.

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Mexican Sweet Corn Salad

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Inspired by Mexican elote, this corn salad makes great use of late summer sweet corn with tangy lime juice and flavorful poblano peppers. Add jalapeño peppers for extra spice or chipotle chili powder for a smoky kick.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked with kernels removed (about 3 cups fresh kernels)
Kosher salt
2 ounces crumbled cotija cheese
3 scallions, sliced (separate white bottoms from green tops)
1/2-cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 large poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed and finely chopped
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons real mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Chili powder or hot chili flakes to taste

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering, then add corn kernels and a pinch of salt. Toss the corn a couple of times and then cook until the corn is charred on one side, about two minutes. Stir and repeat until the corn is evenly charred, about eight to 10 minutes total. Halfway through the charring process, add the chopped poblano pepper and the white ends of the scallions.

When the corn is evenly charred and the pepper and scallions and pepper have softened, transfer the vegetable mixture to a large bowl and add the cheese, green scallion tops, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, and chili powder. Toss to combine and add more lime juice or chili powder to taste. Serve warm.



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Salmon poke bowl

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You might not be able to visit Hawaii any time soon, but this healthy seafood dish will transport your taste buds to the Pacific islands.

Start to finish: 30 minutes (30 minutes active)
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 4 cups calrose rice, cooked and cooled
• 1 carrot, grated or julienned
• 1/2 cucumber, sliced
• A few leaves of green leaf lettuce
• 1/2 cup whole almonds
• 14 ounces fresh salmon, cubed
• 2 ripe avocados
• 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
• 1/2 cup soy sauce
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 tablespoon mirin

Directions
1. In 4 serving bowls, arrange the rice, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, almonds, and salmon in separate piles. Set aside in the fridge.


2. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Gently remove the pit and skin. Place one of the halves face down on a cutting board. Cut thin slices width wise, while maintaining the avocado’s shape. Use your hands to gently fan out the slices sideways until they form a straight line (the slices should still overlap). Take one end of the line and curl it inward until the avocado takes the shape of a swirl or flower. Repeat this process with the 3 other halves.

3. Gently place an avocado flower in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle a quarter of the white and black sesame seeds and chili flakes over each bowl.

4. In another bowl, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, and mirin. Drizzle a quarter of the sauce over each poke bowl, or serve separately so everyone can add the amount they want.

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Ancient pepper can spice up barbecue

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Black pepper (piper nigrum), the friend to salt on your kitchen table, probably comes to you from Vietnam or Ethiopia, via thousands of years of discovery and spice trade.

But, there is another pepper, today a less known pepper, that competed for a place on tables hundreds of years ago, with a flavor described as a sort of sweet heat.

The Long Pepper (piper longum) was long famous in its native India, where it won a place in medicine and food. Later, it dominated Greek cooking when it appeared in the Mediterranean in the sixth century B.C., according to Gastro Obscura.

The long pepper fell into disuse when the Romans, by the fourth century A.D., were able to bring vast quantities of black pepper from Kerala, undercutting the price of long pepper. By the 1700s, long pepper had largely disappeared.


Barbecue magic?

Long pepper is still available online, and it has reappeared as a key ingredient in pork ribs by Brooklyn barbecue restaurant, Fatty ‘Cue, which specializes in grilling, smoking, and barbecuing.

Writer Sarah Laskow compared the flavors of the black and long peppers, saying that black pepper had a sharp and aggressive pop, while long pepper tended to linger and grow in power with a mellow, floral note.

Long pepper is good with fresh melon or pineapple, salads, or even in cocktails.

On the Web, long pepper is available at SaltTraders.com.

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Watermelon and grapefruit mocktail

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This non-alcoholic beverage is the perfect drink to sip by a pool or barbecue.

Start to finish: 5 minutes (5 minutes active)
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 2 cups watermelon, seeded and cubed
• 1 cup pink grapefruit juice
• 4 tablespoons simple syrup
• Grapefruit-flavored sparkling water
• 8 lime slices
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Directions
1. In a small bowl, mash 1 cup of watermelon cubes with a muddler or fork until they have a coarse texture. Divide the purée between 4 tall glasses.
2. Add 1/4 of the grapefruit juice and 1 tablespoon of simple syrup to each glass. Mix with a spoon.
3. Fill each glass with grapefruit-flavored sparkling water. Divide the remaining watermelon cubes between each glass. Garnish with lime slices and a sprig of rosemary.



How to make simple syrup
Combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 3 to 5 minutes) and the mixture has thickened. The syrup can be stored in the fridge for at least two weeks.

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Caipirinha

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One sip of this sweet Brazilian cocktail will make you think you’re on a beach in Rio de Janeiro. Cheers!

Start to finish: 5 minutes (5 minutes active)
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 4 juicy limes, quartered into wedges
• 6 tablespoons sugar or brown sugar
• 8 ounces cachaça
• 1/2 cup lime juice
• 1 lime, sliced into rounds
• Mint leaves (optional)
• Sliced star fruit (optional)

Directions
1. Divide the lime wedges into 4 small glasses. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar to each glass. Mash with a muddler until you get as much juice out of the lime as possible.
2. Add 2 ounces of cachaça and 1/4 of the lime juice to each glass. Stir well with a spoon.
3. Garnish each glass with a slice of lime. If desired, garnish with mint leaves and star fruit slices as well.


Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice that’s commonly used for cocktails in Brazil.

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Why you should buy ugly produce

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From crooked carrots to asymmetrical apples, an increasing amount of imperfect produce is finding its way onto the plates of consumers. Here are a few reasons to opt for so-called ugly fruits and vegetables.

An eco-friendly and affordable solution
If you want to do your part to protect the environment, buying imperfect produce that would other¬wise go to waste can be a good place to start. In ad¬dition to helping save the planet, you’ll also save money. This is because ugly fruits and vegetables tend to cost less than their shapely counterparts.

It’s also worth noting that most physical imperfections have absolutely no effect on a product’s taste or nutritional value. Sure, it might be trickier to peel and chop misshapen produce, but practice makes perfect. Next time you’re shopping for fruits and veggies, keep an eye out for less-than-pretty items that are still entirely edible.

Food loss vs. food waste
Whereas food loss occurs when farmers can’t sell produce due to its appearance or for other reasons, food waste refers to goods thrown out after they’re purchased by grocery stores, restaurants, or consumers.


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