Monthly Archives: June 2014

Hazelnut Almond Vanilla Milk

Smooth and creamy and sweet too!

Smooth and creamy and sweet too!

Making your own milk has become all the rage, and I’ve been right there with it, blending soaked nuts with water to make my own tasty milk beverage. While it feels good to be making milk from scratch, nothing about it was ever too exciting or zippy….until I added DATES! The versatile and simple date is making a comeback with me. Add a pitted date to anything and you have this wonderful sweetness that is just right.  This milk is so flavorful, almost decadent.

This recipe is from Oh She Glows. It is a mix of hazelnuts and almonds, but feel free to modify the quantities of each or use cashew.  It is perfect for pouring on your cereal, adding to your cold brewed iced coffee, using to make a smoothie, or drinking straight up out of a glass.

If you haven’t joined the ranks of homemade milk maker, now is the time to start. It’s easy and fun!  Oh, and as an aside, look at me with a second addition to our Sips and Slurps category within a month.  I’ve broken the seal!

Ingredients

3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw almond
3 1/2 cups water
3 pitted Medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method

Place hazelnuts and almonds in a bowl and cover with water and soak 8-12 hours. Drain and rinse.

Place soaked nuts in a blender with water, dates, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend 1 minute.

Cover bowl with cheesecloth (I used a large 1 quart measuring cup and secured the cheesecloth with a rubber band). Slowly pour milk mixture through cheesecloth and into bowl. The milk will go through slowly so be patient. Remove the residue from the cheesecloth for the next round of pouring. Continue this process until all milk is through the cheesecloth.

There you have it – delicious, homemade hazelnut almond milk. 

Makes 3 cups.

Squeeze the cheesecloth to get every last drop.

Squeeze the cheesecloth to get every last drop.

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No Bake Almond Protein Bars

Eliteamers digging deep at their camp in Park City, Utah

Eliteamers digging deep at their camp in Park City, Utah

It’s Eliteam time of year. Time for kids to gather in Utah and Vermont where Doug and Kelley Lewis and their crew of amazing coaches will put them through their paces and teach them about becoming “complete athletes.” 

That means it’s also time to crank our some Positive Snacks for hungry active kids. Well, to be more clear. It’s time for hungry active kids, as complete athletes, to learn how to crank out their own seriously good Positive Snacks. (Check last year’s Eliteams Banana Yogurt Bread  Go-Go donuts from last year.)

No bake, all good! The kids even do the dishes afterwards. Boom!

No bake, all good! The kids even do the dishes afterwards. Boom!

This is what the Eliteam kids are mixing up this week to keep them going strong.
It’s the perfect snack to store in the freezer for a quick burst of energy. If you want to make them nut free use sunflower seed butter.

No Bake Almond Protein Bars, à la Eliteam

Ingredients

1 ½  cups Oat Flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened protein powder
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1⁄4 cup Coconut milk
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup Almond Butter
1⁄4 Cup Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Mini chocolate chips
1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Use an 8 inch square pan.

Mix oat flour, protein powder, rice krispies, coconut milk, flax seed and salt
together in large bowl.

Add in nut butter, maple syrup, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir well to combine If mixture is too dry add in splash of coconut milk.

Press into pan and flatten. Pop into the fridge or freezer. Enjoy them after a good sweaty workout!

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Just the Rhubarb Scones

Fresh rhubarb scones

Fresh rhubarb scones holding court, with nary a strawberry in sight.

Here it is strawberry season, so you’re probably thinking strawberry rhubarb scones would be appropriate. After all, sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb show up in the garden around the same time and perfectly complement each other. But just because the two ingredients hang out a lot, doesn’t mean they’re married. Today I’m giving some props to straight rhubarb, hoping it steals the show for breakfast this weekend.

The deal with scones is that you want the butter to remain in little bits, rather than creaming it into the mixture. Those butter bits are what gives scones their flaky excellence, and why scone recipes call for chilled butter. Trust the bakers on this. If you make scones with softened butter, or over mix the butter into the batter you’ll end up with a bunch of big muffins. It’s not a tragedy, but not what you envisioned. And once you get hooked on good scones you won’t be truly satisfied with anything but the real, flaky, crumbly thing.

These babies, known elsewhere in the cyber food world as Naughty Rhubarb Scones, are delish as is, with whipped or clotted cream (for Brits) or, of course, with strawberry jam.

Makes 12-16 scones

Ingredients

3 stalks rhubarb (roughly 1½ cups when sliced)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (if using regular sugar add up to 1 tsp vanilla with the cream)
2/3—3/4 cups heavy cream

Method

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice rhubarb stalks 1/4 ” thick. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor.

Cut butter into flour mixture by hand (or pulse in food processor) until butter is the size of small peas.

Blend in 1/4 cup of the sugar.

Blend in sliced rhubarb. (If using the food processor, just pulse — you want the slices left mostly intact.)

Blend in cream until a soft dough forms. (note: you may need to add more than 2/3 cup depending on the weather,etc.)

Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half. To make triangular scones, flatten into 6-inch disks and deeply score or cut each circle into 6-8 scones. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Arrange scones on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until reddish-brown on top.

Enjoy and cheerio!

 

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Cauliflower Couscous

Cauliflower, really?

Cauliflower, really?

 

This dish is definitely a sleeper. It doesn’t’ look like much but tastes great and nobody can guess that it’s cauliflower. They think it is rice. It looks like rice and is soft like rice, so that is not a bad guess.  And cauliflower rice is all the rage with the Paleo dieters these days, so you’ll be spot on should you serve it to someone on that diet. Also, cauliflower can be used as a pizza crust – who knew?   You can click here for a cauliflower pizza crust recipe, which by the way, I’m going to try next.

I brought this dish to a lacrosse party last night and it was a perfect complement to the plethora of side dishes. We had the standard green salads and pasta salads and potato salads, which were all delicious, and it would have been disappointing not to have them. But nobody had a cauliflower salad. It was fun to have something different and it was fun to play the game of “guess the main ingredient”. So, bust a move and make this for your next party.  It will be both delicious and a conversation piece for sure!

I got this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories and made some very small tweaks. Green Kitchen Stories is a great site and the little girl, Elsa, who helps her mom and dad with the website is just so darn cute! Enjoy the side dish and enjoy Green Kitchen Stories website (beautiful photos too!).

Ingredients

 1 head of raw cauliflower
2 handfuls of parsley and basil (I used cilantro)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups frozen (thawed) or fresh peas
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 red pepper, chopped

Method

Bring saucepan with water to a boil. Meanwhile coarsely chop cauliflower and place florets and stem in a feed processor or blender and process until it is a rice-like texture (don’t process too long or it will be too mushy). You may need to process in 2 batches. Pour blended cauliflower in boiling water and boil 2 minutes. While cauliflower is cooking, chop herbs. Drain the cauliflower ‘couscous’ in a sieve and place in a large serving bowl, toss with olive oil and cool. Once cool to room temperature, add herbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mix well. Then add peas, pumpkin seeds, feta cheese and toss to mix. Garnish with red pepper or whatever you have on hand that has some color. Serve warm or chilled.

 

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Strawberry Mania

Summer's strawberry bounty

Summer’s strawberry bounty in its many forms.

Strawberry season is getting off to a slow start in our corner of the world, but now the big grocery stores are full of them and with a little sunshine the farmers markets will soon be exploding with the good stuff. Of course, you’re not going to go wrong by simply washing them and letting everyone inhale them by the pint, but let’s go over just a few easy, yummy ways to use them.

Ready? Here we go…

First, a word on hulling strawberries. The frugal among us get torqued at wasting half a strawberry because SOME PEOPLE grab the stem, take one big bite and leave the rest for the compost bin. So we the frugal rush to hull all the strawberries and thereby enable maximum use of the fruit. The best way to do this of course is with a strawberry huller, and if you have one you are my culinary niche tool hero. If you don’t, here are two solutions to maximize each berry:

First, the most basic and humble vegetable peeler has a built in “potato-eye remover” at the end, which can just as well take on strawberry stems. You will quickly discover that you can’t manhandle a strawberry like a potato, but get as close as you can to the stem, plunge the tip of the peeler right in and dig out the stem. It takes about three strawberries to master this.

If that still sounds too much labor go ahead and chop off the tops, then use them to make your own shmancy strawberry water that will make you the envy of any yoga class:

Strawberry Water

After rinsing your strawberries, slice off their tops and dump them into a large jar. Fill it with water, let it sit for an hour or so and… Voila! Strawberry infused water. Drink deeply. Feel beautiful. Namaste

Worlds Easiest Strawberry Dessert

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries
  • Sour cream
  • Brown sugar

Method:

Grab a strawberry. Dip it first in sour cream, then in brown sugar. Eat. Repeat.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:

This comes from the Bitten Word with inspiration from farmer Carrie at their CSA It is certified easy, very quick, kid pleasing, totally portable AND a great way to use up the rhubarb that might be taking over your garden. The guys at BW advise us not to get hung up on the amounts listed in this recipe. Depending on the amount of rhubarb and strawberries you have, the method is easily adapted. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, sliced into half-inch pieces
  • 1 cup strawberries, capped and halved (if using larger strawberries, you can quarter them)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Method:

Place rhubarb in a saucepan. Sprinkle with sugar. Cook over medium heat until rhubarb begins to soften and fall apart (20 minutes). In the last 5 minutes of cooking, toss in the strawberries. Add a little lemon zest at this point for extra credit.

Remove from heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve over good vanilla ice cream or yogurt, top with whipped cream or just put it on a spoon.

 Some Savory and Sweet Goodness

Balsamic vinegar and strawberries are a classic Italian-inspired combination. They can be served as a dessert, like in Ina Garten’s recipe below, in a salad with goat cheese and peppery greens (pepper is key to the strawberry/balsamic alchemy) like arugula or as an appetizer like on the bruschetta further down. I’ve even seen them on a pizza with bacon, but we’re not going there today.

 Balsamic Strawberries à la Ina Garten

 As with the compote, no need to be too particular on quantities. Just aim to get the proportions close:

Ingredients:

  • 4 pints (8 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced thick
  • 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving

Method:

Thirty minutes to an hour before serving, combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature.

Place a serving of the strawberries in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream on top and dust lightly with lemon zest.

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

These are gooooood, kid approved and somewhat impressive to guests. Substitute whipped cream cheese if you’re not a goat cheese fan, but do try the goat cheese on your picky eaters. You might be surprised. This recipe makes 12 big slices which can easily be cut in half for easier eating. Remember the napkins!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 slices Italian bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup goat cheese, room temperature
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 Method:

  1. Heat vinegar in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Simmer until reduced by about half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare a grill for high heat. Place bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. (alternatively, assemble bread in a baking sheet, brush slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 until toasted to your liking.)
  3. Combine strawberries and thyme in a small bowl and set aside. (If your strawberries aren’t farm fresh and super sweet sprinkle them with a little sugar when nobody is looking.)
  4. Grill bread on the preheated grill until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Spread goat cheese on toasted bread. Add black pepper, salt, and reduced vinegar to the strawberry mixture. Spoon over the goat cheese topped bruschetta. Garnish with additional thyme.

These are easy to bring if you pre-bake/toast the bread. Simply bring goat cheese, strawberry/balsamic mixture and bread in separate containers and assemble on site.

Now let’s hope the sun shines on those strawberry fields so the berry fest can begin!

 

 

 

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Cold brewed Iced Coffee

Ahhhhh........the sweet coffee buzz!

Ahhhhh……..the sweet coffee buzz!

My blog partner Edie has been tirelessly adding to our Sips and Slurps category over the past year while I blew off this category and let her do the work. My bad! Finally, I have something to add to this category (and thank you Edie for covering us while I took my time coming up with a Sip and Slurp myself!).

My addition to this category (insert drum roll here), and I’m sure those of you who know me well could have guess it, yes, iced coffee.   Some drink iced coffee year round, some drink iced coffee only on hot days, and some drink iced coffee as a rare and special treat. Whatever your iced coffee drinking habits, I promise you, if you don’t drink cold pressed iced coffee, you will after you’ve tried this recipe. How anyone drinks iced coffee any other way is now beyond me (if you prefer to live in a state of denial, do not try this recipe and I understand that perfectly). even Cooks Illustrated, the people who test everything upside down, backwards, and sideways, call this the perfect way to brew iced coffee. Apparently, because the extraction is done at a lower temperature, the coffee lacks the bitterness and acidity of the traditional hot brew.  They are right.  Iced coffee made this way is smooth and delightful.

And so, without further delay, here it is – simple yet you need to think ahead as the steeping process is overnight. Make a BIG batch. You can keep this in your refrigerator for  up to 2 weeks and you will be happy that you went BIG as you pour a tall glass or two of this magic every day.

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups coarsely ground coffee (ground like for a French press)
7 1/2 cups cold water

Method

Place ground coffee into large pitcher. Slowly pour water over grounds.  Lightly stir together to ensure that all coffee grounds are moistened.  Cover the top of the pitcher with cheesecloth or paper towel and secure with a rubber band.  Let coffee steep overnight or up to 15 hours.

After you’ve steeped the coffee, strain the mixture into another large pitcher with a fine sieve or Melitta coffee filter and cup.  Discard the grinds and rinse out the sieve.  Rinse the original steeping pitcher out.  Place a coffee filter into the fine sieve or Melitta and strain again (i.e. double filtered). 

Next place ice cubes in a glass and fill the glass half way with cold brew concentrate. Top with cold water or milk of your choice (or a combination).  Dilute to your liking.

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Cheers! Californa Chrome and the Belmont Stakes

California Chrome cocktail

Let the sun shine on California Chrome

And you thought I’d leave you with potato salad for the weekend. I might have, were it not for the Belmont Stakes today, and the prospect of a low budget ($10,500 all in) Californian being the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown. No my friends, this calls for more than potato salad. This calls for a signature cocktail.

The Kentucky Derby has the Mint Julep, the Preakness has the Black-Eyed Susan, but strangely the Belmont has struggled for its libation identity. First came the fuzzy navelish White Carnation, then the overwrought (8 ingredient) Belmont Breeze and now the official drink is the Belmont Jewel.

See below for all the recipes, but I ask you to consider ditching all tradition, and toasting the Belmont with a brand spanking new cocktail invented for the horse of honor. I did find a recipe for a California Chrome but it involves Meyer lemon liqueur, which I suspect you may not have on hand. Not to worry–a quick look at some parameters leads us to a tasty solution.

California means citrus, freshness and a little south of the border sweetness. Chrome begs for something silver. As we learned in our last cocktology class on Derby Day drinks with citrus need to be shaken, not stirred. And Californians do not stand on ceremony so your favorite glass (or plastic champagne flute) will do. With that guidance the California Chrome practically invented itself:

The Bring It California Chrome

Makes 2 drinks, because that’s more fun.

Ingredients

Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
1 Tbsp (or more to taste) agave nectar
3 oz silver tequila

Method

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (or a well sealed and washed salsa jar, as circumstances dictate). Add ice and shake like the the starting gun just went off in your ear. Strain into whatever glasses you like and enjoy the race!

Belmont Jewel

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. Knob Creek bourbon
2 oz. lemonade
1 oz. pomegranate juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or cherry.

Belmont Breeze

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces of a good American blended whiskey
3/4 ounces Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
1 ounce of simple syrup
(1 ounce of sweet and sour mix may be substituted for the lemon juice and simple syrup)
1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce 7-Up
1 ounce Club Soda

Method

Shake first six ingredients with ice, then top with 7-Up and club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wedge.

White Carnation

Ingredients

2 oz. Vodka
½ oz. Peach Schnapps
2 oz. Orange Juice
Soda
Splash of Cream
Ice
Orange slice for garnish

Method

  1. Stir liquors and soda together and pour over ice in a highball glass.
  2. Splash cream over top then garnish with an orange slice.

Another California Chrome…

Take the basic recipe for a Chapel Hill, a simple drink made with bourbon, triple sec and lemon juice, then make it more California and less Carolina by swapping lemon juice for orange juice, and trading the orange liqueur for Napa Valley Distillery’s Meyer Lemon liqueur.

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Meyer Lemon liqueur
1/2 oz. orange juice twist of orange peel

Method

Shake liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.

And a bonus drink because Lucky Dog Vodka is just plain cool…

Blueberry Belmont

Ingredients

14 fresh blueberries, 2 sprigs thyme (one to muddle, one to garnish), 3 ounces Lucky Dog Vodka, one-and-one-quarter ounces simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), three-quarters ounce fresh lemon juice, one-quarter ounce fresh lime juice, 1 dash peach bitters, ice.

Method

Muddle 12 blueberries, 1 sprig thyme and 1dash peach bitters in a pint glass. Add ice, vodka, simple syrup and citrus juices. Shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice in a double-size, Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with the remaining thyme sprig and blueberries. Serve immediately.

 

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Potato Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette, hold the mayo

Picnic basket-Check. Fresh fruit- Check. Potato salad-Check. Rhubarb lemonade. Stay tuned.

Picnic basket-Check. Fresh fruit- Check. Potato salad-Check. Rhubarb lemonade- Stay tuned.

It’s summah! Time to take your dining show on the road. Yeah yeah, like we don’t always do that anyway. But I’m not talking about eating in the car on the way to and from sports practices and games. I’m talking about the almighty picnic. There’s something about putting a bunch of food in a basket that makes it all taste better. (Ok, the one exception is grapes at a sandy beach with kids. That never works out.)

If you’re going to picnic with purpose, you’re going to need some go-to dishes that travel well and stand up to some pretty imprecise serving times. And as it gets hotter you’re going to need a solid potato salad without mayo. This one will do it, and the bonus is that it’s originally from Cook’s Illustrated so every aspect it has been exhaustively tested. What’s even better than a Cooks Illustrated recipe is a Cooks Illustrated has been further tweaked and streamlined by a real world foodie with actual time constraints. For instance, the original version of this involves grilling potatoes. Deal killer. This version is quite easy and quick with pretty basic ingredients. It came right from the top of Food 52’s list of 10 Picnic Dishes To Know, one of many lists I am working my way through. So far it is my favorite. Happy picnicking.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

1/2 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 lbs new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
3 cups arugula, stems removed, washed and dried and very roughly chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
5 Tbsp good olive oil

 Method

  1. Put the onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water (this will remove some of the bite). Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Lower the heat so the water is barely simmering and cook for about 10 minutes, until you can pierce the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife and it slips out easily. Drain the potatoes well and pour them into a large bowl.
  3. Gently toss the warm potatoes with the rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the chives, arugula and red onion and stir through.
  4. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Serve warm or keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour. 
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Canning Strawberries

Canning prep

Canning prep

To continue with our theme of Ingredient of the Month – June is Strawberry month!  Soon it will be time to ‘Pick Your Own’ strawberries, but if you don’t have the time or the energy to pick your own, which happens to me a lot, just go to your local farmers market and buy a boatload.  Here is a great site to go to before getting your first batch of strawberries. It comes to us from Food 52 and it’s called 5 Links to Read Before Buying Strawberries at the Market.

How many of you pick a ton of strawberries to can and they get eaten before you can get the canning jars prepped? In my house, it becomes sport to see who can eat more strawberries without getting sick. I never would have imagined my son or husband could eat that many strawberries, but every year, I pick more and they eat more. I try hiding them, but they always sniff them out. Alas, it is always fun to eat fistfuls of strawberries with reckless abandon so I let them have at it. We’ll see what happens this year as ‘Pick Your Own’ season draws near.

When you pull out a jar of these next winter to put on your ice cream, other dessert, pancakes, or whatever you fancy, everyone will be happy they didn’t eat them all in June!

Ingredients

Fresh strawberries 
Sugar

*see quantities below under method

Method

1) Wash strawberries, remove green stems and core. Then cut into quarters.
2) Mix 1/2 cup sugar to 1 quart of strawberries.
3) Let strawberries and sugar sit until syrup forms and sugar dissolves.
4) Follow standard canning procedures which is to fill canning jars with strawberries to 1/4 inch of top, boil for 10 minutes and store for up to one year.

NOTE: More to come on canning processes, but beware that if not canned properly, the food will not be shelf stable.  Stay tuned for canning instructions or click here to get proper canning instructions.

 

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