Recipes to help beat the heat

The Canadian Press

Even with air conditioning, the last thing you want to do during the summer is turn on your oven and heat up your home. Here are some seasonal recipes that can be prepared with minimal effort and maximum flavour.
TOFU CAPRESE STACK
This fun salad is a riff on a traditional Italian salad. It’s a no-cook, easy appetizer with few ingredients ‚Äî bocconcini cheese, tofu, tomato and basil ‚Äî that are layered and drizzled with vinaigrette.
“Instead of using only bocconcini cheese, we alternate it and tofu because they’re both white and can both be cut into rounds so they look identical,” says registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom.
Because of its visual appeal, it’s a great appetizer for company.
Once opened, tofu will keep for five days in the refrigerator. To store unused tofu, put it in a container and cover it with cold water and a lid. Change the water daily. Leftover tofu can also be frozen or used in chili, stir-fries, pasta sauce or in salads.
Vinaigrette
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 15 ml/1 tbsp)
5 ml (1 tsp) balsamic vinegar
10 ml (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
45 ml (3 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
1 ml (1/4 tsp) sea salt
0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
Salad
2 large tomatoes
2 pkgs (350 g/12 oz each) extra-firm tofu, drained and rinsed
12 large fresh basil leaves
6 large (5 cm/2 inch) bocconcini cheese rounds, sliced in half
Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, mustard and shallot. Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Set vinaigrette aside.
Salad: Cut each tomato into 6 horizontal slices. Cut each tofu block vertically into 5-mm (1/4-inch) slices (you should have 8 slices from 2 blocks of tofu).
Using a 7.5-inch (3-inch) round cookie cutter, cut 8 rounds from tofu slices, reserving scraps for another use.
To serve, using 4 salad plates, place a slice of tomato in the centre of each plate. Top each slice of tomato with tofu and a basil leaf. Drizzle one-third of vinaigrette over tofu, dividing evenly among plates. Top with a piece of bocconcini. Repeat layers twice to use remaining tomatoes, tofu, basil, vinaigrette and bocconcini.
Marinate salad for 30 minutes, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrients per serving (1 stack): 390 calories, 29 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 233 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g fibre, 2 g sugars, 27 g protein. Excellent source of calcium and iron.
Source: “Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans” by Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom (Whitecap Books, 2015).
PORK TENDERLOIN WITH MANGO AVOCADO SALSA
The bright flavours of fresh mango avocado salsa are a perfect pairing for roasted pork tenderloin. Since the avocado is marinated with lemon juice, you can make the salsa earlier in the day and refrigerate it until needed.
Pork is a lean meat, containing less fat than a chicken breast. Due to improved agricultural practices, Rose Reisman says you can now enjoy it cooked medium (to an internal temperature of 63 C/145 F).
Try dicing the pork and mixing it into the mango avocado salsa.
750 g (1 1/2 lb) pork tenderloin
Salsa
175 ml (3/4 cup) finely diced mango
125 ml (1/2 cup) finely diced ripe avocado
50 ml (1/4 cup) finely diced red bell pepper
45 ml (3 tbsp) finely diced red onion
45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped fresh cilantro leaves
10 ml (2 tsp) olive oil
5 ml (1 tsp) minced seeded jalapeno pepper
5 ml (1 tsp) fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
Preheat a greased grill to 200 C (400 F).
Sear pork for about 3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to 190 C (375 F), close lid and cook until internal temperature reaches 63 C (145 F) for medium doneness.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine mango, avocado, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, oil, jalapeno, lemon juice and salt.
To serve, slice pork into thin medallions and divide among serving plates. Spoon salsa over top.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 250 calories, 7.7 g carbohydrates, 2.1 g fibre, 33 g protein, 9.5 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat), 89 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium.
Source: “Rush Hour Meals: Recipes For the Entire Family” by Rose Reisman (Whitecap Books, 2016).
WATERMELON SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS, FETA AND MINT
This quick and easy salad with only four ingredients is perfect for summer barbecues. The combination of sweet watermelon, salty feta, tart balsamic vinegar and savoury mint gets all your taste buds firing at the same time. Add chickpeas for a heartier, protein-rich option that’s perfect for a light lunch.
For best results, serve immediately after you prepare it. It does not store well; it gets soggy.
1 l (4 cups) cubed seedless watermelon, removed from rind (2.5-cm/1-inch cubes)
170 g (6 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
1 can (410 ml/14 oz) no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Dressing
1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
50 ml (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
Arrange watermelon cubes on a large platter. In a medium bowl, stir together feta cheese and chickpeas.
Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together pepper, oil and vinegar until blended. Pour over feta cheese-chickpea mixture and toss to coat. Spoon mixture on top of watermelon cubes.
Serve immediately, garnished with mint.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrients per serving (250 ml/1 cup): 258 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 352 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrates, 3 g fibre, 8 g sugars, 8 g protein. Excellent source of vitamin B12. Good source of riboflavin, folate, calcium and zinc.
Source: “Nourish: Whole Food Recipes Featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans” by Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom (Whitecap Books, 2015).
NO-BAKE CRANBERRY NUT BUTTER OATMEAL SQUARES
Reisman says she loves a granola oatmeal square recipe that doesn’t need baking. The peanut butter can be swapped out for any other nut butter or soy butter if nut allergies are a concern. You can also use any variety of puffed cereal, such as puffed quinoa.
Kids will love this healthier version of puffed rice squares. Use any variety of nuts and unsweetened dried fruit they like.
50 ml (1/4 cup) liquid honey
50 ml (1/4 cup) smooth peanut butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) pure maple syrup
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) vegetable oil
0.5 ml (1/8 tsp) ground cinnamon
2 ml (1/2 tsp) pure vanilla extract
250 ml (1 cup) large-flake rolled oats
250 ml (1 cup) puffed rice cereal
50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped almonds, toasted
125 ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened dried cranberries
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, sugar, maple syrup, oil and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, until sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in vanilla.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, almonds and cranberries. Add peanut butter mixture and stir until well combined.
Pat mixture into a 20-by-20-cm (8-by-8-inch) baking pan lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, just until firm. Cut into 12 even squares. Squares will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories, 17 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g fibre, 3.5 g protein, 5.8 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium.