Spend the summer in the raw

‘Cooking’ in the raw is a conflict of terms. But there is no conflict when it comes to ‘raw’ in the summer. In the raw means ease of preparation and use of fresh produce. The result: great taste, quality nutrition and tremendous variety. Of course, in the raw is the perfect term for salad, and salads are great any time of the day, as a snack, a side, a main course or dessert. There is a taste and combination for everyone.

My neighbour and friend Sue Scinocca is a creative cook. As a results, she enjoys the challenge of vegetarian cooking. Vegetables offer a vast array of flavours, textures, colours and nutrients. Many are delicious raw. Put them all together with a special dressing and you have WOW! Sue is the inspiration behind these recipes.
Miso Dressing for Slaw
Miso is a Japanese mainstay in food preparation. It is fermented soybean paste which can be made from barley, rice or soybean. The colour and saltiness varies depending on the aging, anywhere from six months to three years. Light miso is great for soups and sauces, whereas a full-flavoured miso is excellent for heavier dishes. Be sure to use the lighter type miso to make the dressing.

1/2 small red onion, diced
1 cup (250 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) light miso paste
2 tbsp (25 mL) soy sauce
1/4 cup (50 mL) rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup (50 mL) mirin (rice wine); dry sherry may be substituted
1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) sesame oil
2 tbsp (25 mL) sesame seeds, toasted

In a food processor, combine onion, parsley, garlic, miso paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, vegetable oil and sesame oil. Purée until smooth. Pour dressing into jar; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. May be kept refrigerated for up to one week. To toast sesame seeds: Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds. Toast in oven until seeds turn a pale golden brown and start to be fragrant, about five minutes. (Do not walk away and leave them, they burn easily.) Seeds may be kept aside to sprinkle over slaw or salad once the vegetables have been tossed with enough dressing to coat vegetables.

1/4 each, savoy and red cabbage, finely shredded
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 red pepper, finely sliced
2 green onions, sliced
reserved sesame seeds

In large mixing bowl, toss together savoy cabbage, red cabbage, zucchini, carrot, red pepper and green onions. Toss with enough miso dressing to coat (taste and add more if necessary). Sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Creamy Tofu Caesar Dressing
Although I had this dressing on the usual romaine lettuce, it would also be tasty as a dip for veggies.

3/4 cup (175 mL) firm tofu, chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp (22 mL) capers
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
1/4 tsp (1mL) fresh black pepper
1/2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) water

In a food processor or blender, add tofu, lemon juice, capers, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, oil and water. Purée until smooth. Pour into jar and refrigerate for up to two days.

1 small head of romaine, washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 cups (500 mL) freshly made croutons: French or Italian bread sliced 1/2 inch (1 mL) thick, cut into cubes, tossed with olive oil and toasted in a 350˚F (180˚C) oven about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
1 cup (250 ml)freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

In a large bowl, toss lettuce and tomatoes with enough dressing to coat leaves (do not drown lettuce in dressing; taste, then add more if necessary). Sprinkle with croutons and cheese. Serve immediately.

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