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Last of the Strawberry Mojito-Daquiri

6 Jun

After a rough day, I decided to make strawberry sorbet. These are the very last strawberries of the season, and I had de-stemmed, cut, and frozen them yesterday. Into my food processor went one shot of spiced rum, half a shot of lime juice, generous amount of mint leaves, and a heaping tablespoon of sugar. I microwaved the strawberries for about a minute to loosen them from the container and added them to the processor.
This was my mistake that transformed my sorbet into a daquiri. I have made sorbet before with blueberries, and it blended up well with only a small squirt of lime or lemon juice. I had a little too much liquid in this batch. But it made a fabulous daquiri the tasted like a strawberry mojito! Enjoy!

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Pickle Salad

14 May

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This salad is very similar to a summer salad my Mom makes. I start by chopping some onion (we have vidalias local and in season now). Cover the onions in vinegar (any type will do) and let them sit. Next I prepped the green beans by trimming the ends and cutting them into bite size pieces. While I steamed the beans, I chopped the cucumber. Once the green beans were cooked and cooled, I drained and rinsed the onions. The vinegar soak helps to deflame the onions, so they don’t overwhelm the dish.
Combine all of the veggies and cover with plenty of  balsamic and red wine vinegar, salt, and roughly cracked black pepper. Add a little bit of olive oil and rosemary, and stir in oregano if you wish.
The salad is more pickled veg than veggies with vinagrette, so don’t skimp in the salt. Also this means the salad will need to sit in the frig for at least an hour. The original was just cucs and onions, but I added the green beans for extra nutrition. I love this as a summer salad because it is so refreshing and tangy. Enjoy!

Carrot Top Pesto video

13 May

This video is from the Perennial Plate author, Daniel Klein. I always wondered it carrot tops were good for anything.  Forget the compost bucket—toss those carrot tops into the blender for pesto! [VIDEO] | Grist.

Design*Sponge » herb-infused vodkas

7 May

Design*Sponge » Blog Archive » small measures with ashley: herb-infused vodkas. This sounds like a great summer project that would make easy, fun gifts for friends with summer birthdays.

Kentucky Derby Pies

6 May

I agreed to bring dessert for Sunday’s Kentucky Derby Party at a friend’s house. I recalled a Derby Pie made by a Louisville native in an anthropology class a decade ago. The assignment was to bring food from your part of America. Her Derby Pie killed my Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake. As I researched Derby Pie, I learned that the original “Derby Pie” recipe  is a closely guarded secret, and the name can only be applied to this specific incarnation. However, there are many variations, and recipes for nut-and-chocolate-Kentucky pie abound. I found my recipe on foodily.com, which directed me to finecooking.com. I picked the recipe that called for the most bourbon.

Kentucky Bourbon-Chocolate-Pecan Pie

And because anything worth doing is worth overdoing, I decided to make a second pie. I got some frozen blueberries at the grocery store and decided to riff on the fresh strawberry pie I made a few weeks ago. While I always prefer fresh, organic fruit from the Farmer’s Market, frozen is actually the next best substitute. Fruit (and vegetables) destined for the freezer section are picked at the peak of their freshness and frozen immediately (unlike “fresh” produce which is picked too early then shipped). This means the produce tastes better and has more vitamins and minerals, because it has had time to properly develop and ripen.

Using a recipe from the Good Food radio show, I simply substituted the blueberries for strawberries. For the strawberry pie, I used a crumb crust, but for this I made a butter-pastry crust, which is the same one I used for the Kentucky pie. The small twist on the blueberry pie was adding a pinch of cinnamon and ancho chili powder to the vanilla bean in the recipe.  The key here is to add subtle complexity without actually tasting the chili or cinnamon.

Laura's Blueberry Pie

Enjoy!

Foodily: an online recipe box

4 May

I can never resist another online recipe box. The latest is Foodily  |  Food, I love you. This is an aggregated site, it brings together recipes from all over the web including food.com, epicurious.com, and less well known sites.  It’s set up particularly well for comparison shopping between recipes and will make an excellent research site.

The site has several cool features: you can search for ingredients or recipes and simultaneously eliminate search terms. For example search for sausage chili, but not spicy.  Or chocolate candy without peanut butter (but who would do that?). As you browse recipes, you can easily narrow your search by adding or eliminating ingredients. The

white and dark hearted brownies from smitten kitchen

12 Feb

Perfect for Valentine’s Day- whether you give them to someone else or you give them to yourself.  white and dark hearted brownies | smitten kitchen.

And PS, don’t sneer at blond brownies. A good blond brownie is as delicious as a chocolate one. Just think caramel versus chocolate.

Chocolate Oatmeal

8 Feb

I could never understand why people buy the overly sweet packets of flavored oatmeal, when you can buy normal oatmeal and customize it yourself. And someone needs to explain the “Maple and brown sugar” flavor. One kind of sugar isn’t enough?

Healthy breakfast couldn’t be more simple. Plain oats and water in a bowl. Microwave for two minutes. Add any flavorings under the sun: nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, spices, honey, maple syrup, milk. Or go savory and add cheese and chili pepper.

This morning I wanted chocolate. I made basic oatmeal and stirred in milk, a heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder, a dash of cinnamon and ginger, a squirt of honey, and toasted pecans. It was almost like warm ice cream for breakfast. Adding cocoa powder made the oatmeal incredibly chocolaty without extra fat and sugar. I would love to hear everyone’s favorite oatmeal toppings!

Chocolate & Toasted Pecan Oatmeal and Coffee

Enjoy!

Indian Rice Pudding

18 Jan

We are all familiar with the hotdog/buns dilemma. They never come out even. I had this problem yesterday with rice and korma (an Indian dish similar to curry, but with less heat). So I decided to make more rice and use the extra to make rice pudding.

My homemade korma

My homemade korma

My favorite Indian restaurant in Savannah is Pakwan in the Oglethorpe Mall. Previously a Johnny Rockets, the restaurant still features shiny red booths but has replaced the 50s vibe with Bollywood movies playing on the TVs. Pakwan serves an excellent rice pudding that is the perfect ending to a spicy meal. I have been trying to make my own version for some time.

Coconut milk and spices

Coconut milk and spices

This go-round, I sliced open a vanilla bean pod and threw it in a pot with a can of coconut milk, approximately 12-16 oz. of water, 1/8 cup of sugar, several green cardamon pods, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I let this simmer for awhile (maybe 10 minutes), then added about 4 cups of cooked jasmine rice.

After sitting in the frig for a few hours, I tasted the pudding. I needed more sweetness, so I added about 1/8 cup of honey and another pinch of cinnamon.

Indian Rice Pudding

Indian Rice Pudding

 

 

This version was pretty tasty. It needed more vanilla, which may be fixed by simmering the sauce longer or by adding more vanilla bean. The 1/4 cup of sugar was a nice amount of sweetness, and not too much. Next time, I would probably use all honey. It was a nice touch and wasn’t overwhelming.

Popa’s Scones

12 Jan

My grandfather, bless his heart, true to most men of his generation, would never lift a finger in the kitchen. So the day Gramma came home from work and discovered my retired grandfather making muffins, she nearly fell over. I guess there was only so many days he could play golf. Later in life, and perhaps feeling nostalgic for his Scottish birthplace,  he began making scones as well. Since my Mom is visiting this week, we decided to break out Popa’s Scone recipe and give it a try.

dry ingredients with butter cut in

dry ingredients with butter cut in

After preheating the oven to 375 degrees, I mixed 2.5 cups of flour (a combination of white and whole wheat), 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Cut in one stick of butter.

Stir in 1 cup of raisins (or other dried fruit). I used cherry-flavored craisins.

Mix in 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and one egg plus one yolk. Reserve the egg white for brushing on top.

dough before kneading

dough before kneading

Turn the dough out onto your countertop and knead the dough a few times to fully incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Shape the dough into a round, approximately one inch thick. Brush the egg white onto the dough, then slice it into six wedges.
raw scones

raw scones

Put the wedges onto a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
I usually don’t bother with egg or milk washes, but in this case I was replicating Popa’s recipe, so I dabbed on the egg wash with my fingers. (I don’t have a kitchen brush.)
The scones turned out buttery and delicious. In fact, they were much more buttery and flaky than Popa’s originals. Mom thinks they may have used margarine rather than real butter. Use whatever you have on hand.
Enjoy!
finished scones

toasty scones and steaming coffee

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