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SmellyBlog

Rosewater Lemonade

IMGP1091reduced by rosyluvlies
IMGP1091reduced, a photo by rosyluvlies on Flickr.

3 Cups Lemon Juice (from about 20 large and juicy lemons)
Juice from 1 pink grapefruit, or 1 cup raspberries, pureed and strained to remove the seeds (optional)
2 Cups Fine Evaporated Cane Sugar
4 Cups Water
2 Tbs Rosewater
Rose Petals
Ice Cubes


Squeeze lemons and be sure to remove seeds. I personally like my lemonade with a bit of the pulp though, so the citrus squeezer should suffice (some like to strain through a fine sieve in addition to that) - but that's entirely a matter of taste.
Stir with the sugar and dissolve. Add spring water or filtered tap water and the rosewater, and chill.
To serve, add 2-3 ice cubes per cup, and garnish with fresh, non-sprayed rose petals if desired. Otherwise, a slice of lemon or pink grapefruit garnish will do.

This beverage deserves to be elegantly enjoyed outdoors and makes a perfect accompaniment to your porch, patio or garden party.

Soba, Eggplant & Mango Heaven

This soba noodle salad recipe is an adaptation of Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe from his book "Plenty" (which I highly recommend). I've been obsessed with fruit & herb combinations this summer, and this salad shows that the possibilities are limitless, and being creative leads to much excitement for the taste buds (as well as one's nose).

The author dissects the charm of this dish as "the sweet sharpness of the dressing and the muskiness of mango that makes it so pleasing". I couldn't agree with him more; but I think the true secret here is the contrast between lime zest, which has a slightly coconut-like effect, harmonizing with the almost floral aspect of mango in a way very similar to that of jasmine and lime; and to top it off - basil and cilantro goes amazingly well with both the lime and the mango!

It is also very appealing texture-wise, with the soggy fried eggplants, crunchy onions, slippery noodles and mango, and bits of herbs and spices and heat from the chile. Delicious is not good enough to describe it...

My adaptations or variations on the original recipe are in the method of cooking the eggplant (to reduce the amount of grease involved without compromising taste) as well as substituting sugar and rice vinegar with agave syrup and apple cider vinegar (my personal preferences). I also feel that the recipes always go overboard with some of the ingredients (herbs, vinegars and spices) so mine is toned down quite a bit, including omitting the garlic (which I think is overboard with all that red onion in there) - and I like it best this way - and hope you do too! It's full of flavour and like all the recipes I'm sharing today (see below) to celebrate the end of summer - it's a perfect picnic food and actually can be a meal all on its own! Especially if you add a bit of pan-roasted tofu - see comment below.

To prepare the eggplant:
2 eggplants, diced to about 3/4"
1 Tbs coarse sea salt

Sprinkle with salt and set aside to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hrs. Pat dry with a towel, or squeeze additional excess moisture over the sink. Fry the drained eggplant pieces in about 3 Tbs or more (no more than 1/4cup) vegetable oil. You can do this in a large saucepan or a wok. Sautee and stir until slightly browned and fully cooked (but the pieces still hold their shape). Set aside to cool off.

For the soba noodles:
Cook 2 bundles of soba noodles (preferably wheat free and yam flour free - I even found a brand that is organic and 100% buckwheat flour!) according to the manufacturer's directions, until they are "al dente". Rinse off with plenty of cool water and leave to drain over a sieve. Once completely drained - coat the noodles with:
2-3 Tbs olive oil
2-3 Tbs soy sauce or tamari


Add the cooled off eggplant, and:
1 ripe yet firm mango (I prefer Ataulfo mango), diced
1 generous handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 generous handful of torn basil leaves
1 red shallot, thinly sliced (or 1/2 red onion).

For the dressing:
1 Tbs dark roasted sesame oil
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Zest and juice from 1 ripe lime (pick the one that is as more yellow rather than the dark green ones)
1 tsp agave syrup
1 tsp chile flakes (or 1 fresh red chile)
Combine all the ingredients together and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. If serving the next day, add an extra garnish of fresh basil and cilantro for an extra burst of flavour!

Optional:
In a cast-iron pan, roast 1 package of extra firm organic tofu that is cut into 3/4 dice. This is simply done by warming the tofu inside soy sauce or tamari until the tofu is brown and crispy on the outside. Add more sauce during the process to prevent scorching the tofu and the pan prematurely...

Marinated Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad by Ayala Moriel
Cucumber Salad, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
This cucumber salad is one of the things to look forward to all summer long. It is wonderful with crisp, fresh cucumbers; but originally was designed to use up tired, limp cucumbers from composte oblivion... My grandmother taught me how to make this from old cucumbers and she would sometimes also use radishes that lost their luster in the mix. You can also make a similar version with mint, onion and radishes only (perfect in the winter time!).

6 small cucumbers (this recipe would not work with field cucumbers or long English ones; although larger dill pickel cukes might do the trick)
1/2 white sweet onion (or 1 shallot; or scallions if you find raw onion to be too much)
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 Tbs olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/4 tsp salt
Lots of freshly ground peppercorns, to taste
1 Tbs chopped dill weed (optional)

Slice the onion very thinly and cover in the vinegar, salt and lemon juice.
Slice the cucumbers (if they are tired and grumpy you may also peel them).
Toss with the remaining ingredients and marinate for at least 1/2 hour before serving. Excellent the next 2 days as well and makes perfect picnic food!

Faux Papaya Salad

Papaya inspired salad by Ayala Moriel
Papaya inspired salad, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Fresh and fragrant green papaya are unmatched by anything, really. However, they are not easy to find in Vancouver (when I tried, the middle was ripe and soft, and the outside rather flavourless. It made for a very difficult juliening job!).

So, in lieu of papayas, you may use pale julienned carrots with very satisfying results. My version also is a vegetarian one, as I’m not all that excited about fish sauce and shrimps… Feel free to use them if that’s what you’re after.

4 small leaves of butter lettuce
2 yellow carrots (orange ones will do as well, but they will look less like green papaya), julienned into thin long strips - or 1 small green papaya if you can find it
Handful of bean sprouts (optional)
12 green string beans, cut into halves and then also lengthwise “French” style
2-3 Tbs skinned unsalted roasted Spanish peanuts (Note: If they are salted on their skin you’ll be fine, but if you’re buying them skinned, make sure they are unsalted)
1-2 tsp crushed chile (or 1 fresh red chile, chopped finley)
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn by hand

For the dressing:
Juice from ½ lime
1 Tsb apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbs neutral vegetable oil (i.e.: almond or grapeseed oil)
1 tsp agave syrup
Sea salt to taste


To assemble the salad, line a shallow bowl with butter lettuce leaves.
Toss together the other vegetables and herbs and seasoning, and add the dressing ingredients (you don’t need to make “vinnigraite” on the side – simply toss all the ingredients together).

Place the salad on the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with the roasted peanuts, and serve immediately.

Mexican Inspired Cabbage Salad

We're enjoying an Indian Summer in Vancouver, which is most welcome as summer didn't start till August this year!

So I'm taking the opportunity to share with you 3 salad recipes that I've been immensely enjoying all summer long - celebrating the flavourful fresh herbs that mark the season.

This cabbage salad was inspired by two things: the Mexican cuisine that I've been really craving since my last few visits to California. There is really nothing quite like this food when it's an authentic recipe, made from fresh seasonal ingredients. far departure from the boring jarred salsas and bags of chips...

The other important part of the inspiration was the beautiful cone-shaped cabbages I found at the farmers' market. Only one farmer grows them, and they are not only smaller in size (which is more doable for a small family of two, for instance), lighter to carry home, and are so crisp, tender and delicious that they can be easily eaten up within the week (and if not that's ok too, as they keep really well).

We've been mostly eating dinners at the beach all summer, so non-leafy salads, which keep well till dinner time (or even the next day or two, while marinating in flavours) are much preferable over tossed greens (which are also mostly air in volume and are not nearly as filling).
Cone cabbages by Ayala Moriel
Cone cabbages, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

I've made this salad with a few variations, but the best of them was when my cilantro plant came to seed and had those fresh green corianders as you can see in the picture.

1 head cone cabbage (or half a larger cabbage), finely shredded by slicing it as thin as you can get with a chef's knife
1 carrot, grated
1 sweet yellow pepper, halved and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 sweet white onion, thinly sliced (or use scallions if you prefer)
1-2 green fresh jalapeno, sliced thinly with seeds (the seeds are the part that gives the most heat! So that's your way of controlling the heat level as well).
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro leaf (if you have some fresh seeds growing on your plant, feel free to use them as well - simply chop them with the leaves)
1 Tbs fresh peppermint leaves (you could use spearmint, but I like the sharper taste of citrus mint or English mint in this recipe)
1 tsp Korean pepper (this is a hot pepper with the seeds removed; it has a deep, sweet flavour but not nearly as spicy as other chiles; if you can't find it you can use crushed chiles or non at all - this part of the recipe is mostly for the colour anyway).

For the dressing:
Juice from 1 lime
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp agave syrup
1-3 Tbs vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil, but you may also use sunflower seed oil, almond oil or avocado oil for a more intense flavour).
Sea salt to taste

Prepare all the ingredient and add to one large bowl. Dress immediately (you do not need to mix the dressing ingredients separately, by the way) and let the salad marinate in the fridge until serving time - at least 1/2 hour, and up to 2 days. Makes a perfect picnic dish, alongside blanched almonds or roasted hickory smoked ones. Also goes well with vegetarian quesedillas, corn-on-the-cob, or as an additional topping for fish tacos or any other white fish dishes.
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