Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Badass Beet Salad

I found this recipe for Badass Beet Salad on Boots in the Oven.  I made it with a few small changes, and we really enjoyed it.  Lots of texture and flavor variety, but they all come together nicely.  I served it as the main dish, but we had hard boiled eggs on the side to add a bit more substance.  

A note on the beets: I purchased 2 medium beets and thought it may not be enough, but holy moly, do they ever increase in volume when cut thinly!  One of my beets ended up going into the refrigerator to be cooked the next day.

Also, I do not have a picture of this because I made the foolish mistake of stirring it up.  Still tasted good, but definitely not so pretty.  If you want to see how pretty it is, check out the picture on Boots in the Oven!

Badass Beet Salad

1 medium beet or 2 small ones
1 small orange, zested and supremed, juices saved
1 good squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 C shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
about 3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Chop top and bottom off beets and peel.  Cut into quarters and then slice thinly with a mandolin.  Place in a bowl with the orange zest, orange juice, and lemon juice.  Toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide beets among 2 serving bowls and top each bowl with half of the edamame, orange slices, and feta.  Do not toss or everything will turn pink!  Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

These Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats are so easy to make and only have 4 ingredients.  They're very rich and peanut buttery.  They're almost like candy- I'll bet they would be awesome cut into small squares (or rectangles!) and dipped in chocolate to make candy bars.  I found the recipe on Food.com
 
Quick Note: My finished "sheet" of treats was about 9 by 9 inches, but I found it easier to use a 9 by 13 pan and just not spread the mixture over the entire thing.  My parchment paper is about 15 inches wide and it worked well to just line the pan with a torn of sheet the entire width.  If you do want to use a 9 by 9 pan, cut a sheet of parchment paper about 10 or 11 inches wide.  Alternatively, the mixture is thick enough that you could just put a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour on the mixture, and press it into a square as thick as you want with a spatula.
 
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
 
1 C sugar
1 C corn syrup
1 1/2 C peanut butter
5 C Rice Krispies
 
Pour Rice Krispies into a large bowl and line a 9 by 9 inch pan with a piece of parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides by a 5 inches.  Set aside.
 
Place sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium until it comes to a slight boil.  Stir constantly and let simmer for a couple of minutes.  The mixture will be very thick and can burn easily.  It may not look like much of a simmer because it's so thick and you're stirring the whole time, but just stick with it.
 
Remove pan from heat and immediately pour over Rice Krispies.  Stir until cereal is completely coated.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread with a spatula.  Press flat your hand over the folded edges of parchment paper.
 
Let set an hour or so until cool, then cut into squares and serve.
 
Yield: Completely depends on how large you cut them.  I got about 16 squares.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Default Green Smoothie

Charming name, no?  I picked it because that's what it is: the default smoothie I make several times a week with the Vitamix blender we received as a gift (thanks, Mom!).  You can get creative with the fruit and use all the same kind or a mix.  Also, if I put in apples, I sometimes leave out the carrots because even with a Vitamix blender, there's a little more texture in the finished smoothie than I prefer.  It's not bad by any means, though.  You could also try adding cucumbers or zucchini or another mild tasting vegetable instead of the carrots.  I'll do that here one of these days and update the post then.  My husband and I both love this smoothie, no matter how I make it!
  
I would also like to add that an inexpensive blender may not do a good job with the raw carrot.
  
Default Green Smoothie
  
1 C plain greek yogurt
1/2 C cold water
2 bananas
about 3 C somewhat packed down spinach or torn up kale
3/4 C baby carrots
1 1/2 to 2 C fresh or frozen fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, mango chunks, pineapple chunks, peach chunks, apple slices, or peeled oranges
optional: 2 or so Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  
Place everything in the blender in the order listed in the recipe.  Put on lid and blend according to your blender's directions until smooth.
  
Yield: 2 large smoothies or 4 small ones

Monday, May 8, 2017

Borscht

I came upon this borscht recipe on the Learning Herbs website and was intrigued.  Neither my husband nor I had ever eaten borscht before, and the recipe just looked good, so I made it a few days later.  As usual, I changed things around a bit: substantially less pepper, no caraway because I dislike it, and more veggies.  I changed the method a smidge as well.  The results? Wow!  Definitely good!  I'm really glad we liked it because it made a huge amount, about 14 cups.  Healthy, delicious, and even rather pretty- what's not to like?  Next time I may even add the caraway!  I'm excited to make it again because we really liked it, it's quite healthy, and extremely flexible.  Got a ton of carrots?  Toss them in.  No celery?  No problem.  Nice!
 
 
Borscht
 
2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (had to leave this out but my broth had a ton of garlic)
about 8 mushrooms, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 small red cabbage, cored and chopped
3 beets, peeled and diced (this was one bunch)
8 C chicken broth (I used homemade)
8 oz can plain tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp caraway seed
3 bay leaves
greens from the bunch of beets, rinsed and chopped
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
 
garnish (optional):
sour cream
sliced green onions
fresh dill
quartered hard boiled eggs
 
Melt butter in large pot.  Add onion, carrot, and celery, and saute over medium until onions are tender.  Add garlic and saute another minute or so.  Add remaining vegetables except beet greens, then pour over broth.  Stir in tomato sauce, pepper, salt, optional caraway, and bay leaves.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook until veggies are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Stir in beet greens and vinegar, then taste and add more salt or vinegar if desired.  Simmer 5 minutes longer.  Serve in bowls topped with optional garnishes.
 
Yield: About 3 quarts soup

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Whole Wheat Biscuits

This is a really good and basic whole wheat biscuit recipe.  My husband actually made them!  I found the recipe on 100 Days of Real Food and he made them, with some tips shouted from the couch.  Whole wheat baked goods can be finicky, but this recipe resulted in good biscuits- tender, yummy, and moist.  The only things I changed were the amount of salt and the prep method a tiny bit.  
 
I'm renowned for making different versions of the same recipe over and over, but I don't think I'll need to look for another whole wheat biscuit recipe.  One thing I do want to do though is experiment with adding mixins, like cheese, herbs, lots of pepper, citrus zest, or dried fruit.  They're great as is, but don't rosemary parmesan biscuits, or orange blueberry biscuits sound divine, too?
  
 
Whole Wheat Biscuits
 
2 C whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
1 C milk, regular or buttermilk
 
Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.  Stir in milk.  Add a little more flour or milk if necessary to get a nice, cohesive, not too sticky dough.  Pat dough out into a 3/4 inch thick circle and cut out biscuits with a round cutter or drinking glass.  Squish remaining dough back together and cut out more biscuits.  Arrange on lined baking sheet and bake until golden (you can check the bottoms if it's hard to tell from the top), about 10 to 12 minutes.
 
Yield: 8 biscuits

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fantastical Food Fight: PBJ Smoothie

Wow, my first post of the year and it's already March!  I've cooked this year for sure, but haven't experimented with new recipes as often as usual or written new posts.  My husband and I both started new jobs in December and January and adjusting to that has been taking up a lot of... well, everything.  Little bloggie has not been forgotten, just taken a backseat for a little bit.
 
So, this is a Fantastical Food Fight post.  I tried to participate in January, which had the focus of slow cooker soup.  Picked a recipe, bought the ingredients, then didn't actually make the recipe until late February.  It's funny, really, I ended up using all the originally purchased ingredients for other things and had to repurchase them when I actually made the soup!  The good thing about FFF though is that there's no obligation to participate every month, so I wasn't letting anyone down when I didn't participate.
 
This month's Fantastical Food Fight subject is peanut butter and jelly!  Yum, we love PBJs at our house.  I immediately thought of Ina Garten's amazing PBJ bars, but I've already made those and posted about them on the blog.  As much as I'd love an excuse to make that recipe again, the Fantastic Food Fight posts are supposed to be about new recipes.  Looking online, I found a couple of recipes and ideas I was interested in trying, but settled on a smoothie because we've been on a real smoothie kick since we got a Vitamix blender.  
 
Okay so there isn't actually any jelly in this smoothie.  I try to make my smoothies as healthy as possible and although I like jelly, I a) did not want to add sugar to the smoothie, and b) I wanted to use fresh fruit.  But strawberry jam is frequently used in PBJs and peanut butter banana sandwiches are pretty common, too!
 
This is actually round two of my PBJ smoothie experiment.  The first time I tried it, I used milk instead of yogurt and water, real peanut butter, two bananas, and about half the strawberries.  Neither of us were crazy about the result.  I didn't like how rich (from the fat in the peanut butter) and milky it was, and the banana totally obliterated the strawberry flavor.  Usually I use two bananas in a smoothie for two people, but that wasn't a good choice for this one.  This version uses peanut butter powder so it's not as rich, yogurt and water, just one banana, and more strawberries.  The banana was actually added after I had already blended everything up.  My plan had been to leave out the banana entirely, but it was lacking a little something without the banana, so I chucked one in.
  

It's actually a lovely shade of pale pink- the glass is light green!
  
So, how did it turn out?  Pretty good!  My husband and I both agree that we like green smoothies better, but this was good and a nice alternative if you happen to be out of kale or spinach or are low on yogurt but want protein in the smoothie.  The flavors of the peanut butter, banana, and strawberries all come through nicely.  One thing I'd like to add is to make sure all your ingredients are cold.  The yogurt and strawberries came right out of the refrigerator, and I used cold water, but the banana was room temperature and the resulting smoothie was not very cold.  Usually I don't mind room temperature smoothies, but this one was definitely at its best when cold.
 
PBJ Smoothie
 
1/2 C plain greek yogurt
1/4 C cold water
1 frozen or cold banana
2 C frozen or cold strawberries
3 to 4 Tbsp peanut butter powder (I used 3 but 4 would have been good)
 
Place all ingredients in blender, put on lid, and blend until smooth.
 
Yield: 2 medium sized smoothies
   


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fantastical Food Fight: Earl Grey Shortbread

Time for the second Fantastical Food Fight!  This month's assignment was shortbread cookies.  A friend of mine on Facebook recently mentioned making shortbread cookies with earl grey tea in them.  I love earl grey (and basically bergamot anything), so really didn't even consider making any other type of shortbread.  My friend used a different recipe that had thumbprints filled with jam.  That sounds delicious, but I wanted something simpler so the earl grey flavor could shine.  This base recipe was originally called Scottish Shortbread and comes from Taste of Home.  I added the tea.
 
Verdict?  Yum!  I used only one tea bag and couldn't taste much tea, so I put 2 tea bags in the instructions below.  Better to start out with not enough than too much, right?  Regardless, this is some tasty shortbread.  Very buttery and crunchy.  The brown sugar adds a lot of flavor and you'd never guess how few ingredients are in the recipe.  I can't wait to make these again with more tea.

Unrelated, but I finally got a new camera so the iPad food photos will be no more.  Enjoy the still terrible, but slightly less terrible food pictures!
  
 
Earl Grey Shortbread
 
1 C salted butter, softened
1/2 C brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
about 2 C flour
contents of 2 earl grey tea bags, crushed (I used a mortar and pestle and Tazo brand earl grey)
 
Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
 
Cream together butter and sugar.  Add flour and tea, mix until well combined- it will look dry at first.  When dough comes together, remove it to a clean counter and knead for 5 minutes.  You can add a little more flour if you need to.  The goal is to have a rather stiff, but not dry or crumbly dough.
 
Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into 1 by 3 inch pieces.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange 1 inch apart.  Poke cookies with a fork.  Bake until light golden around the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Allow to cool, then store in a tin.
 
Yield:  About 24 cookies