Saturday, July 27, 2013

Crunchy Cauliflower Broccoli Slaw

Robyn (L) Maro (R)

When I met a cousin, Maro Nalabandian, through my website, I was excited. When I learned she had a culinary background, I was thrilled! Since meeting her face-to-face this past April, we’ve been in touch, sharing family updates, and recipes.

Here is one of Maro’s recipes that’s not only nutritious, but colorful, tasty and good for you, too!

Crunchy Cauliflower Broccoli Slaw
Recipe by Maro Nalabandian      
This healthy and delicious recipe is great to eat with your meals as your vegetable/salad or, this may also satisfy your urge in between meals. 

Vegetable ingredients:
4 cups diced cauliflower
4 cups diced broccoli
1 cup diced celery
3 large carrots, grated
1/2 a small onion, finely diced
3/4 cup dark raisins
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, roasted

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or herb vinegar
2 tsp. Agave sweetener
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. coarse salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. dried oregano or 1 sprig fresh oregano leaves, minced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup bottled water, as needed

1. In a large serving bowl, add the above vegetable ingredients and set aside. 
2. In a two cup measuring cup, add all the vinaigrette ingredients except the oils and the water.  Whisk the ingredients while very slowly pouring in the oils until combined.  Add the water as needed to taste, while whisking till all is combined.  Pour the vinaigrette, as much as desired, over the vegetable slaw then toss it around.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chilled Cream of Zucchini Soup with Fresh Basil

This 'chilled cream of zucchini and basil soup' recipe was handed down to me by a former culinary colleague. I came across it as I was going through my vast recipe collection, and thought it a perfect dish to pass along - especially since it combines yogurt, zucchini, and fresh basil.

It’s a refreshing way to keep cool, and well-nourished during the hot summer months. 

Chilled Cream of Zucchini Soup with Fresh Basil
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup sweet onion, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
3 medium zucchini, washed, ends trimmed, and sliced into ¼-inch circles
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup light cream
½ cup plain, low fat yogurt
Dash white pepper
Garnish: Basil sprigs 

1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and salt; sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are transparent.
2. Add zucchini and broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the basil leaves.
3. Puree the soup in a blender.

4. Place pureed soup in a large bowl. Stir in the cream, yogurt and white pepper.
5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Serve in chilled bowls, and garnish with basil sprigs.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Honey-Lemon Fruit Salad

Armenians, summertime, and melons go hand-in-hand. Armenia is said to have some of the biggest, sweetest watermelon on the planet. 

As an American-born Armenian living in Florida, I can boast that 750 million pounds of watermelon were grown in Florida in 2012, making this state the leading watermelon producer in the U.S. (This bit of trivia comes straight from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

I can’t swear that Florida watermelon tastes better than those grown in Armenia, but what we’ve eaten here so far this season has been pretty darn sweet.

Photo from
Why not kick back on your front porch or back deck with family, friends, and a bowl of refreshing fruit salad? This honey-lemon fruit salad is perfect for summer gatherings– it’s cool, sweet, tangy, and minty – all at the same time. The honey-lemon syrup can be made a day in advance for a quick-to-serve- dessert or snack.
You can use any kind of melon you like, and add fresh seasonal berries for a special touch.

Honey-Lemon Fruit Salad

Yields about 8 servings

Honey Syrup Ingredients:
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1. In a small saucepan combine the honey, water, lemon juice and zest. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring now and then.
2. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is reduced by half – about 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and cool syrup to room temperature. Set aside until ready to use.

Ingredients for the fruit salad:
1 small seedless watermelon (or about 5 cups-worth) , cut into bite-sized cubes
1 large cantaloupe, honeydew or a combination of the two, seeds removed, and cut into bite-sized cubes
1 cup seasonal berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
Optional Garnishes: chopped nuts of your choice, chopped fresh mint leaves
1. In a large bowl, combine the various melon cubes and berries. Drizzle the honey-lemon syrup on the fruit; gently toss to coat.
2. Place fruit in individual serving bowls. Garnish with chopped nuts of your choice, and chopped fresh mint leaves, if desired.