Letter from The Publisher
This month, we focus on children’s health, including ways we can help them to develop healthy habits. These can include instilling a taste for a variety of fruits and veggies from an early age, helping them learn where our food comes from and even not being fearful of trying a food that they’re not yet familiar with. Whether it be gardening, taking kids to the farmers’ market or around the produce aisle, bringing them to a community garden workday, explaining organics or however you choose to share, all are valuable life lessons. Preparing meals highlighting local, seasonal fresh veggies with them this summer is a great way to get started. Local veggies are at their peak flavor and texture and colors beckon young diners. Participating in the process can make it intriguing and interesting as they take ownership of dinner.
Fresh beans are abundant right now—they come in fun colors of green, yellow, purple and more, and you can find so many creative ways to prep them. For a simple side, steam lightly until brilliantly colored, serve with salt and freshly cracked pepper, and perhaps toss lightly in some olive oil or butter. Chill green beans and serve up in a salad Niçoise or a mixed veggie bowl. Add some green beans to pasta. Look for a recipe for green beans with cilantro pesto, or green beans and chopped cilantro with garlic and olive oil. Maybe you’d prefer a classic Mediterranean green bean and tomato recipe, or even go old-school with cooked green beans sautéed in butter with whole grain breadcrumbs.
Here’s my take on a favorite recipe that I found years ago in Vegetarian Times magazine. It works well for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. While the recipe calls for tempeh, you can swap out the protein to suit your taste. (If you prefer exact measurements, get the recipe at Tinyurl.com/VegetarianTempehRecipe.) Total cooking time is about 15 minutes, so it’s ideal for a quick summer meal.
The basic recipe calls for beans, garlic, ginger and unsalted cashews. Get creative and add whatever you have available, such as cubed zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes. Toss in some coin-sliced carrots, strips of sweet pepper or even jalapeño if you like a little heat. I’m thinking cubed eggplant might be nice, as would garden-fresh broccoli or maybe thinly sliced red cabbage.
The sauce is straightforward, yet requires a couple of specialty ingredients. If you prefer exact proportions, please follow the recipe. If you’re more freeform in your cooking, the measurements will vary by how many veggies you use and the amount of water in those veggies. Whisk together prepared hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy or tamari sauce, water and a thickener like arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
I use a wok, but a large, heavy pot works. Sauté minced garlic and ginger in a high-temperature oil. Mix in the tempeh or other protein and sauce, tossing to coat. Add the veggies, followed by cashews and a dash of rice vinegar. Serve with steamed rice, udon or soba noodles.
What are some of your favorite ways to involve kids and family in the kitchen? Please write to us at [email protected] to share your stories and favorite healthy summer veggie recipes. You never know—we may feature your recipe in an upcoming issue or on our website! So enjoy the summer! Get outside, visit a local natural area, go to a farmers’ market, visit the Lake and make some summer memories!