In Austin, Texas summers are blazingly, suffocatingly hot. 110 degrees makes you lethargic, and heavy meals make you feel worse. Here are some light and quick-prep ideas that’ll make you feel good without sweating by the stove. These stories and recipes come from my friend and culinary explorer Sarah Porten.
Summer Garden Salmon Burgers
“Years ago I worked in high tech and managed a large team. There was no time to cook elaborate meals, but I wanted my kids to eat healthy. Dinner was invariably frozen microwaved wild salmon burgers from Costco, rice and steamed vegetables. Every. Night. The kids hated it. They’ve ‘affectionately’ coined this time ‘The Salmon Burgers Days’. Today, my daughter delights in our homemade salmon patties. We played with all kinds of ingredients and methods and this is the result: the fresh version is way better than Costco frozen!” -Sarah
- -1 lb fresh wild salmon, bones and skin removed
-1/2 cup of mayo (I like this brand but just look for no sugar/pastured eggs/no vegetable oil) or coconut cream
-1/2 chopped red pepper
-2 chopped scallions
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
-Dash of cayenne pepper
- -Pulverize salmon in a blender or food processor
- -Mix in the rest of the ingredients
- -Shape burger and fry till golden on both sides, or till you like the consistency. Avocado is the best vegetarian option for frying. Red palm oil can also be used at high heat. Beef tallow and other meat fat is generally an ideal choice for high heat and adds flavor but may not work as well with fish. Stay far, far away from industrial seed oils like Canola and sunflower.
“We love anything made with cabbage, especially when it’s raw, because we love crunch! This coleslaw is all about the dressing. My kids will eat almost anything with this dressing….I mean anything.” -Sarah
- -1 head green cabbage
-1 red pepper
- -1/3 cup almond butter
-1/2 cup coconut aminos. What are coconut aminos and why are they healthy? (I like Coconut Secret brand and Bragg’s brand)
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp toasted sesame oil
-Ground ginger and cayenne to taste
-1 drop lime essential oil (optional). Note that many brands on the market use pesticides and are diluted with cheap ingredients, so don’t get just anything! Also, it must be food grade–not all oils can be ingested. Do Terra and Young Living are well respected companies. I also buy from Rocky Mountain Oils.
- -Chop cabbage and pepper
- – Mix sauce till smooth, then add sauce to other ingredients
- -Add sauce to veggies and toss till well coated
- – 1 bag cauliflower rice (Trader Joe’s Organic)
- – 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- – juice of half a large lime
- – 1/2 cup full fat organic coconut milk (Trader Joe carries one, here’s another from Native Forest)
- – Leave the cauliflower rice on the counter to defrost for a couple of hours
- – Heat avocado oil in pan for 2 minutes on high. Lower heat and add the defrosted cauliflower rice.
- – Add lime juice and coconut milk. Simmer at low heat for 20 minutes till liquid dissipates and cauliflower rice is soft.
Want to make your own cauliflower rice? This article shows how to do it, explains the pros and cons, and compares homemade with ready made. This article explains why it’s such great alternative to real rice.
Are you excited about cauliflower rice and want to see how versatile it is? Here are 25 recipes!
Cocoa ‘Cookie Dough’
“I haven’t eaten sugar for almost 5 years. What about honey? Nope. Maple Syrup? Not even. Agave? Never. Really I don’t eat ANY sugar. Why did I decide to cut out all sugar? I was suffering from an overgrowth of Candida. I really didn’t feel good and had trouble with my digestive system. My integrative doctor put me on a real food diet and strongly recommended I ditch the sugar. I found I had more energy, got better sleep and made my dentist happy. But I still have a sweet tooth. Most of the time fruit suffices, but sometimes I crave chocolate. I started eating chocolate that is 100% cacao without any added sugar. It’s very bitter, of course, and quite hard core. After much experimentation I came up with a recipe to appease my sweet tooth. I pair it with cashew butter because its natural sweetness works with a pinch of Stevia and orange essential oil to create a heavenly confection. It hits the sweet spot every time.” -Sarah
- -1 tablespoon cashew butter
- -1 tablespoon cacao powder
- -1 tsp vanilla
- -1 pinch powdered stevia
- -1 drop orange essential oil
- -1-2 tablespoons almond (or other nut) milk (stay lear of added sugar an carageenan)
Method. Mix all ingredients together till smooth and enjoy!
What is your favorite summer dinner? We’d love to hear your thoughts about what works for you!