The challenge for May was little bites. We asked for soups and salads that would make for a perfect starter for a meal. Certainly the entries this month stimulated my appetite and I would be delighted to serve each and every dish. Thanks to everyone who found the time to share their creations. We do need to determine a winner, so please vote for your favorite in the comment section or via email. Note that neither my submission nor Jacqueline's is eligible for the vote.
Our first entry is this refreshing Japanese Cucumber Salad from Charul of Tadka Masala that would be just perfect on a hot and humid day. No cooking required for this combination of cucumber, lemon juice, a bit of sweetener, wine vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. Cucumber gets elegant here.
Preety is up next with this tempting and rejuvenating Skewered Bite Size Appetizer Salad. The possibilities are endless here. Try grapes, mint leaves, red pepper, cucumber and paneer or feta or mozzarella. Good without any dressing at all, but dress it up with some lemon juice, olive oil, seasonings and herbs, or perhaps a combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Janet of The Taste Space presents us with a gorgeous Tempeh and Arugula Salad with a Mustard Miso Dressing that is sure to make your table shine. Tempeh is marinated in cider vinegar, tamari, ginger and a bit of oil and then baked. Next arugula, tomatoes and cucumber are topped with the tempeh strips and this goodness is drizzled with a dressing of white miso, Dijon mustard, lemon, oil, garlic and maple syrup. The dressing we are told is especially addictive.
The next dish to get the taste buds watering is this beautiful Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Honey Vinaigrette from Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey. I'm more eager than ever for the strawberry season and here they are combined with avocado and baby salad leaves and then tossed with a tangy dressing of honey, fresh lemon or lime juice, olive oil and seasoning. Certainly a sweet way to make a sunny day even sunnier.
My contribution this month is this light and earthy Raw Mushroom Soup. A variety of wild mushrooms are whizzed up in a blender with cashews, pine nuts, almond milk, yellow miso, dill, paprika and seasoning. It's incredibly easy to prepare and makes for an elegant starter despite its simplicity or perhaps because of.
Ma Niche tries fava beans at home for the first time and experiments with a Fava Yogurt Soup that has my mouth watering. Skinned fava beans are lightly cooked with sauteed onions, garlic, ginger and chives and then pureed with yogurt and some water and served up chilled, garnished with fresh mint. This is a delightful warm weather appetizer soup for a variety of meals.
My good friend Jacqueline and co-host of this event shares this stunning Halloumi Salad with Balsamic Tomatoes. Lightly seasoned halloumi is paired here with potatoes, salad greens and herbs, balsamic pan-fried tomatoes and all this goodness is dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and black pepper. This is a hearty salad, but served in small portions, it would make for an exciting appetizer to start your meal.
Our final entry is from Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf. Served up for our consideration is a delightfully cooling Cucumber Mint Yogurt Soup. Easy to prepare, cucumber is blended with shallots, fresh mint leaves, yogurt and a bit of water. This delicious concoction is then seasoned and garnished with more fresh mint and some olive oil. Sounds like a perfect summer meal starter to me.
Jacqueline will be hosting the June 2013 edition of NCR. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.