Sunday, June 29, 2014

Carrot Mint Smoothie

Instead of fruit, I was ready for a change: this one was fabulous --- still sweet but with a herby note. A smoothie with almond milk, vanilla yogurt, a carrot, a piece of ginger, fresh mint and parsley and cilantro.

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Carrot Mint Smoothie

  • 1 carrot, peeled cut into large chunks
  • 1 stem of mint with about 12 mint leaves
  • a spring of cilantro and parsley each
  • 1 in of a ginger root, fresh, peeled, and cut up
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • sweetener to taste.

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend and serve!

Mirlo Parasol

These Mirlo umbrellas are simply beautiful reminding me of old world European charme. I know one friend of mine in Switzerland owns one. Not available in the US yet --- unfortunately. Can someone pleeeaaaase import them?? Williams Sonoma? Anthropologie??

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ricotta Lemon Bundt Cake

There was a BBQ on a Saturday afternoon for a friends’ get-together, and it required a cake. A ricotta cake seemed like the perfect choice--- dessert-like, moist and rich like a cheesecake, but lighter and easier to handle with simply napkins. This cake came out great, received many compliments and I am sure to make it more often. A new go-to recipe. Unfortunately, the cake was gone before I could take a decent photo of a it at the BBQ.

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Lemon Ricotta Bundt Cake
Regular sized Bundt cake pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 Ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 ts lemon extract
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
  • zest of 1  organic lemon (save juice for glaze)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts salt

For The Lemon Glaze:
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a regular sized bundt or ring pan.
  2. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta cheese and blend well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Add the extracts and lemon zest and mix until fully combined.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in several smaller parts, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon as needed.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
    Cool completely.
  8. Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and thick.
  9. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake.
  10. Let the glaze set for 30 minutes and then cut into wedges and serve.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to turn golden into pink vinegar?

Kids playing in the streets at 10am? School must be out for summer.

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How to turn golden vinegar into pink one? On Sunday I gathered chives flowers in the garden, snipped off right underneath the flower, and stuffed them in a jar. About 30 of them.

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I filled up the jar with rice wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar would be good, too), and let it sit on a window sill for about 4 days. The chive flowers infuse the vinegar with a light oniony flavor, making it a great ingredient for e.g. tomato salad.


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On day 4, I poured the vinegar into another bottle and threw away the chive flowers (don’t squeeze the flowers, just let the vinegar drain). Not only a wonderful oniony flavor, but also…. pink colored vinegar.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fig raspberry Greek yogurt ice cream with honey

It is the time of the year to get out the ice cream maker. After making popsicles the world has moved on to making frozen yogurt with Greek yogurt. It is fairly simple to make --- have quite a bit of fruit, heat it with sugar, cool it down, puree it, and add in the Greek yogurt. Pour into ice cream maker. ---- It is fabulously thick and creamy right out of the ice cream maker, but freezes sold when frozen later on.

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Fig Raspberry Greek Yogurt Ice Cream with Honey
  • 2 cup of frozen raspberries
  • about 5 fresh or frozen figs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 small container of Fage Greek yogurt
  • 2 TB of honey
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
Chill the cooling inset of the ice cream maker at least 24h before making ice cream In the freezer.
Pour the water and sugar into a heavy bottom pot, heat the water and dissolve the sugar. Add the fruit once dissolved, and heat them up, but do not cook the fruit. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
Pour into blender, and puree smoothly.

Add the honey, vanilla and Greek yogurt, and blend again. Pour the mix into the cooling container, place the rotating blade in it, and get the ice cream maker going. Ice cream should be read in about 20min. Serve immediately, or freeze.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tahini Salad Dressing

I lasted about 3 months. 3 months of my cancelled Prime membership at Amazon. Without prime and free 2 day shipping, you no longer see your favorite guy in town (the UPS guy) because the orders you put in can take up to 10 days before they are even shipped and then they are shipped the slowest speed possible, likely arriving by your mailman/woman.  By the time you receive them, you have basically forgotten the things you ordered  (think used book orders). Not having a prime membership definitely helps to beat any shopping addiction. If you imagine you get your new camera in maybe….hmm, 3 weeks? how much fun is that?! On the plus side, I saved a lot of money.

Today I renewed my membership and the new Canon powershot should arrive by Thursday. Life as it should be.

On the other hand, I tried a new salad dressing ---- the last Meyer lemon that I had left on my tree needed a special purposing. There was not much juice left in the lemon but the rind was wonderfully flavorful (and definitely free of any chemicals, just maybe a little lipstick where it got kissed once).  --- Tahini dressing. To add some texture and creaminess I added a handful of chickpeas.

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Meyer Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, roasted preferred
  • 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste

Place all ingredients in a high-speed mixer, and twirl away. Lasts up to one week in fridge.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chickpea salad with chive flower infused vinaigrette

Chickpeas are a great, hearty addition to any summer salad, especially if they come in a salad type combination of their own. These are also the days when chives started to flower. Chives flowers can be added to salads directly, or they can be added to a light vinegar such as champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar to infuse them with an oniony flavor. – Chive infused vinegar is a great base for this vinaigrette.

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Chickpea salad with chive flower infused vinaigrette   (1 portion)

  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin stripes with a julienne peeler
  • 1 Persian cucumber, sliced diagonally
  • fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 TB chive infused vinegar (infuse apple cider vinegar with chive flowers for 3-4days)
  • 1 ts agave nectar
  • 1 ts cumin
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 ts olive oil

Mix the vegetables with the herbs. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients (vinegar to olive oil ingredients), and pour over the chickpea salad. Mix, and let marinade for about 10 min. Serve!

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Saffron potatoes

Today was a typical Friday the 13th: about everything went wrong, from small to large annoyances. Does this make me superstitious now? Let’s finish this day and get it over with.
At least dinner needed to be more colorful then the rest of the day. ---- Boiling 4 mini potatoes, peeled, in a vegetable broth infused with saffron. Added some broccoli, Brussels sprouts and ramen noodles, simmering for 10 min. – Topped with fresh lemon thyme. At least something went right.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Baby Shower Cake

It was the last perfect day for the rest of the week so we planned to do the baby shower today. Blue skies, sunshine in the 80s.  T. is 9 months pregnant, doing a Ph.D., far away from home (Bangladesh), and when I proposed to do a baby shower, she and her friends excitedly agreed. Party!  I provided the venue and the cake, and they actually cooked all the fabulous authentic Indian and Bangladeshi food.

It was too late to order a cake so I was perusing for a baby girl shower kind of cake ---- this one is perfect, a bundt cake with some cute pink swirls and a pink glaze.

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Pink Swirl Cake
Cake:
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cups Nesquik strawberry milk mix
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 TB strawberry jam
Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Nesquik strawberry milk mix
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a bundt cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, strawberry milk powder, and water, whisking until everything is combined and smooth.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour the melted butter and sugar in, and beat on medium high speed for a minute until butter and sugar are well blended. Add in vanilla, rum and almond extract and beat until combined. Then add the eggs in one at a time, mix well after each addition. Once all eggs are added beat mixture until batter is pale yellow.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and mixing just until blended.
  6. Scoop out 2 cups of the batter and add it to the strawberry milk mixture, whisking until the batter is pink and everything is combined.
  7. Using a large spoon, pour several scoops of the white cake batter in the the bundt pan. Then scoop one layer of of strawberry batter on top of the white batter. Keep going this way until all the batter is in the pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 65 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert cake on to wire rack and cool completely.
  10. Stir all the ingredients of the glaze and drizzle over the cake.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Buttermilk Lassi

Today was a Martha Stewart day. These are the day when I run around mad to get the house in order for a party. While doing things, I get more ideas until all looks like, well, done by Martha Stewart. This time it is a baby shower for a friend, who has a baby girl pretty soon. Since I plan to do the shower on the deck, party planning includes not only getting the house, but the garden and deck in order. Balloons, pink decorations, flowers, the cutest tiniest pink baby flipflops at Old Navy, pink swirl cakes with pink frosting…. all good fun.

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Since my friend is from Bangladesh and many friends that attend are from India I thought it might be nice to serve lassi, a refreshing yogurt drink. I googled for authentic recipes and found some that actually involved buttermilk instead of yogurt ---- a similar tart taste and refreshing with plenty of probiotics. ---- I had to try it out. It is fabulous. I am sure to make this more often this summer. Here is a buttermilk lassi recipe.

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Buttermilk Lassi   (1 serving)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cold, filtered spring water
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 TB sugar
  • optional: 1/2 cup of fruit (I added 1 stalk of rhubarb)
for garnish:
  • sweetened shredded coconut
  • chopped pistachios
  • sliced dried cranberries
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until frothy. Pour into a large glass and decorate with shredded coconut, chopped pistachios, and top with cranberries.