Hello! It has been quite some time since I have given this site the attention that it deserves and there a couple of reasons for that. First, I have been making some changes to my diet and trying to find my “groove” with how that fits into my cooking style. Second, I had hit a wall of sorts with my photography. It seemed that I just wasn’t happy with the pictures I was taking. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, just that they weren’t what I was trying to achieve.
Earlier in the year, I had signed up for a 3 day food photography workshop to be taught by the fabulous trio of Clare Barboza, Helene Dujardin and Becky Selengut. And secretly, I was hoping it would give me the shot in the arm I needed to find my way again. Fortunately, it was exactly what I needed! This was in intensive experience with plenty of hands-on opportunities to put into practice all of the lessons we learned. While my photography skills improved immensely over the weekend in an environment with fabulous lighting and an absolute smorgasbord of fantastic styling props to choose from, I found myself struggling once again as I attempted to put into action some of the lessons I learned in my home environment. Hopefully you will begin to see an improvement in my photos.
Getting back to my first issue of a change in diet, I finally came to a point in my life where I was just tired of carrying around these 10 extra pounds that were making me feel less like “me”, so I decided to do something about it. After an 8 day cleanse, I had to get serious about figuring out how to eat better which also meant cooking better. This time around, I decided to cut out as much of the processed sugar, white flour and simple carbohydrates as possible. I would classify it as a hybrid between a “Clean Eating” and “Paleo Diet”. My husband needed to lower his cholesterol and blood sugar, so this seemed like the logical choice for both of us. Since I am not eliminating dairy (a girl has to have something!), it doesn’t qualify as paleo and we also decided to include a glass or two of beer or wine on the weekends.
This recipe for Bean and Edamame Salad was inspired by something I saw Giada DeLaurentis making on tv and I immediately thought of how it would work beautifully with the mustard glazed pork chops I was planning to grill for dinner. You could easily make this the main dish if you prefer to go meatless as there is plenty of protein from the beans and edamame. The dressing has a nice balance of sweet and tart from the honey and lemon and then you get a pop of saltiness from the feta cheese.
Package up any leftovers and enjoy for lunch the next day!
Bean & Edamame Salad
- 1 ½ cups shelled edamame beans
- ½ pound thin green beans, trimmed
- ½ pounds wax beans, trimmed
- 2 cups mixed color cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters, depending on size
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. raw honey
- 2 -3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. basil, cut into thin strips
- 1 tbsp. mint, cut into thin strips
- Salt & pepper to taste
Cook the edamame in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water, then drain well and pat dry.
Cook green and yellow beans in boiling water for 2 minutes and then immediately plunge into bowl of ice water to shock and stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry.
Combine the beans in a large bowl and add the sliced tomatoes and lemon zest.
In small jar, add oil, vinegar, honey, Tabasco, and lemon juice. Cover tightly and shake well until well combined. Taste and adjust with salt & pepper as necessary.
When ready to serve, add feta, and toss with dressing. Add basil and mint and lightly toss again.