Saturday, August 16, 2014

Frozen Raspberry Lemonade

Around this time every year I find myself reminded of the difference between the expectations of summer and the real life summer. Don't get me wrong, we are having a great time but it's odd to live someplace where people travel to, from all over the world, to celebrate the season. The calendar of events this August is massive and we'll probably only make it to a few. Almost everyone around us is on vacation and it feels like we are trying to be on vacation while living our normal life at the same time - this can be tricky.

Recently, we came home from a long beach morning and our energy was dragging. I knew we needed a fun and simple project to pull us out of hot and grumpy town. Luckily, we had everything on hand for Frozen Raspberry Lemonade so Dylan and I made two glasses for ourselves. It did the trick.

For a larger group you can easily double or triple this recipe. Also, if you like frozen lemonade more like slush simply increase the ice.

Frozen Raspberry Lemonade
makes 2 small glasses 

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
6-8 ice cubes
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Simply, blend everything together and enjoy right away. I don't worry about the seeds because we have a really powerful blender but if they are a concern to you then puree the raspberries first and work the fruit through a sieve or cheese cloth then continue along.

Can you tell I'm psyched about the surprise roses that popped up in our garden this week? Who knew.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Tomatoes Two Ways

We have had close to two dozen almost perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes on the plant growing outside the kitchen window. A couple of times Dylan has spontaneously picked an orange one and taken a bite but other than that we've been patiently waiting for ripe, perfectly red, summer tomatoes. And then it happens - time after time. The new turkey mom in the neighborhood and her three little ones come and eat breakfast. They show up every morning and pick away until we bang on the windows or run chasing them from the yard.  They can jump, climb, and move fast. This morning they took about twelve tomatoes and left a huge turkey feather behind. There are still bunches of green ones but I have a feeling all of our summer tomatoes will be coming from the Farmer's markets and stands - not our own backyard.

Tomatoes have been a part of many meals these past few weeks but these two dishes - Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes and Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint have been the favorites.

Lemon Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes
Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound dried pasta (I used spinach fettuccine)
1/2 pound baby arugula
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds, then add the cream, the zest and juice of the lemons, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook al dente according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

3. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl and add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes.

4. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add a few slices to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Roasted Tomato Salad with Mint
From The Nourished Kitchen

2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
1 small red onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used my cast iron skillet in place of a lined baking sheet and loved the results!).

2. Toss the tomatoes and onions with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt then arrange them in a single layer in the pan.

3. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken to the consistency of maple syrup and the tomatoes wrinkle. Spoon the roasted tomatoes and onions into a mixing bowl, toss in the mint, and serve immediately before the mint wilts in the residual heat of the tomatoes.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Corn Cakes

Every couple of years I decide to very spontaneously cut off all my hair. On Tuesday I sat in the stylist's chair and let go of close to a foot. Dylan's first reaction was that I look like Mormor (my mom), which I like, and Gray still recognizes me - phew. I'm slowly getting used to my reflection in the mirror and the air on my neck. With the President arriving on island this weekend and August schedules at their most demanding, everyone I know needs a break. So if you have an hour I highly recommend a serious hair cut.

If you don't have time for a hair cut then...Summer Corn Cakes? I'd like to think the famous summer produce is here to save us from August traffic and busyness. Yes, I almost got taken down in a tomato stamped at the farmer's market this week but can you really blame us?

Summer Corn Cakes
makes about a dozen

3/4 cup corn meal
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus more for cooking and serving)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey
2 ears of fresh corn (2 cups kernels)
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (depending on your heat taste)
2 large eggs, separated

First, whisk together the dry ingredients - corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients - melted butter, buttermilk, honey, and the two egg yolks (placing whites in a small mixing bowl). Next, whip the remaining egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Form the batter by first gently mixing the dry ingredients into the wet. Then, fold in the corn kernels and jalapeno. Lastly, gently fold in the beaten egg whites. 

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle pan over medium. Melt a pad of butter in the pan and scoop in 1/4 cup dollops of batter. Cook until golden on one side, flip, and continue to cook. Keep finished cakes in a low warm oven. Serve with extra butter and/or honey.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vietnamese Summer Roll Salad

A few weeks back I got an email from a kind reader, Anita. She reminded me how useful a print option would be on the site so you can, with just a click, print my full recipes to save and cook with. So...drum roll...we have a print option! Simply click on the blue recipe post title, scroll to the bottom of the recipe, and use the "print friendly" button. What I loved the most was Anita's shared words of wisdom:  "I am 77 he  is 80 and I cook every night - the secret to a 57 yr marriage." Cheers to that.

This Vietnamese Summer Roll Salad was inspired by The Egg Roll Lady. My family has been buying her cold rolls at the West Tisbury Farmer's Market forever. They are the perfect summer lunch or beach snack - refreshing, light, and flavorful. We always seem to eat them over greens and covered in peanut sauce (Nick still remembers the first time he visited my parent's house and was taken aback by their five bottles of different peanut sauces in the fridge).

You can craft this salad however you'd like but here is what I threw in:

For the salad:
Rice noodles, cooked and cooled
Iceberg lettuce, sliced into thin ribbons
Big handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Big handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
Sesame Seeds
1-2 chicken breasts or thighs, poached and shredded
curry powder
1 lime, cut into wedges

For the peanut dressing:
1/4 cup sesame seeds,
1/4 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
5 tablespoons hot water
photos from my instagram

First, make the dressing but whizzing everything together in a blender. Set aside. 
Prepare all the salad fixings by cooking and cooling the noodles (toss with oil to avoid sticking), chopping the lettuce and herbs, and poaching the chicken. When you're ready to assemble, toss the poached shredded chicken with salt and curry powder (add curry to your taste as curry powders differ in heat and flavor so use your judgement).

To put the salad together, fill a large bowl with lettuce, top with a pile of noodles, sprinkle on herbs, chicken, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds. Toss in lime wedges and drizzle liberally with peanut dressing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August Gentle Food Cleanse

I'm not just saying this to say it - if you've ever thought of doing a food cleanse now is the perfect time. The late summer produce is so bountiful and delicious. Eating an abundance of the bright fruits and vegetables ripe this time of year while gaining a sense of nutritional confidence is a win/win. Come join us!

21 Day Gentle Food Cleanse 

Length: 21 days

Cost: $200

When: August 18th - September 7th (must enroll by August 11th in order to get properly set up)

Where: From wherever you are 

Goal: Over the 21 days you will slowly remove unwanted foods from your diet (like alcohol and processed foods) as you focus on supportive foods (like green vegetables and healthy fats). Every three days you will receive important information on the health benefits of these supportive foods and recipes to go along with them. You will have a personal calendar to keep you organized and prepared. This is an intense program but those who commit to it learn a lot about their bodies and see real results in terms of weight loss and increased energy.

Your program includes...

  • e-mail exchange every 3 days plus support in between
  • recipes that are healthy and simple to prepare
  • coaching and support to help you make dietary and lifestyle changes
  • simple but informative handouts that will increase your nutrition knowledge
  • personalized 21 day calendar outlining the removal and focus phases
Sound interesting? If you'd like to sign up or learn more email me!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chocolate Cake

I'm envious of parents who can write beautiful letters to their children on their birthdays each year. I sat down around Dylan's first birthday to do just that - write him something that describes our love for him, what he likes to do at 1 year of age, and what I hope for him. Year after year I think about it and wish I had it in me but I just can't get any words on paper. I've realized there are two major roadblocks in my way. 1. The stress of writing something important 2. I just start to cry.

To celebrate his fourth year, I decide to make him chocolate cake instead. Dylan was born a chocoholic - for real. I like chocolate fine but that's about it so I never understood when people described their obsession. Now I see it, I'm living with one obsessed. I mean, he tries to sneak full sized Ghirardelli chocolate bars into our cart at the market. 

To go along with this very chocolatey chocolate cake we picked a few berries from the surprise berry bushes in our backyard. Who knew we had berry bushes? Something is eating the ripe ones really fast (the turkeys?) so we haven't enjoyed many but it was a pretty awesome discovery.

We celebrated the big 0-4 with a party at Felix Neck. The kids walked to the pond, caught critters, and met a friendly snake.That morning Dylan and I made sub-par chocolate cupcakes. They were disappointing because the recipe looked delicious (how can chocolate cupcakes with sour cream and lots of butter taste just okay?) but we made up for it here.

When Elspeth said this chocolate cake was good I knew it was the one for this year's birthday. There is only 1 tablespoon of flour and lots of chocolate, butter, and eggs, making a sense and rich (amazing) cake.

Chocolate Cake

7 ounces (200 grams) best-quality dark chocolate
7 ounces (200 grams) unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, such as Lurpak or Beurre d’Isigny), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.

Finely chop the chocolate (a serrated bread knife does an outstanding job of this) and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth, dark, and utterly gorgeous.

Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. (I usually set the timer for 20 minutes initially, and then I check the cake every two minutes thereafter until it’s done. At 20 minutes, it’s usually quite jiggly in the center. You’ll know it’s done when it jiggles only slightly, if at all.) Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools.

Serve in wedges at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Beach Smoothies

I have stopped washing our beach towels. I'm just throwing them into the back of my car - day after day. They're not really dirty anyway, just really really sandy (and more damp then I'd like to admit). I have also stopped packing full lunches for me and the boys. I found myself starting this crazy process at 7:30 am, hoping to meet friends at the beach around 10, and realized how silly I was being. For the rest of the summer it's used beach towels and smoothies.

The summer frenzy is finally catching up with me. The hot beach days with two kids in tow, evening events out, keeping up with work, and this sweet face waking me up in the wee hours (I can't get over his blonde swirl). It's intense and exhausting but so fleeting and wonderful too.

These are extra special sweet smoothies inspired by a friend of Dylan's who needed some TLC after a bad accident. She got a batch to sip on and we got a batch for the road. They definitely satisfy a sweet tooth.

Cocoa Beach
1 banana
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

Tropical Beach 
1 banana
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup pineapple
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons extra liquid (water, whole milk, nut milk, etc.)

PS. My mom's garden has turned into a sweet pea wonderland.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nectarine & Blueberry Crumble

I like the summer side effect of people talking about books. It makes sense - more leisure time and vacationing leads to more reading. On our last day in Truro we went swimming in a kettle pond and our quick chat with strangers focused on summer reading. The friendly older man taking a swim and I both just finished The Goldfinch and we liked it. Have you read it?

We arrived home on the Island Sunday night and fell into bed. One con of family vacations is infant sleep relapse (mama is tired). Nick and I turned on the documentary Bill Cunningham New York and thoroughly enjoyed it. So if you have a travel hangover I suggest curling up with this movie. One pro of family vacation is eating not one but two dishes of Nectarine & Blueberry Crumble. We made this dessert early in the week and had to make it again.

Nectarine & Blueberry Crumble

3/4 cup all-purpose flour,
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar 
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes 
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking) 
1 cup fresh blueberries
5-7 nectarines (depending on size), peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

First, preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and cane sugar. Using your hands, mash butter into flour until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare the fruit.

In another large bowl, toss fruit with lemon juice and cinnamon. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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