Foodie Friday: Smoothie

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I love making smoothies for my son Wyatt. He loves them and since he isn’t that great at eating fresh fruits and vegetables this is a good way to sneak many of them into his diet. I am also able to sneak a few more good things into my picky husband’s diet too ūüėČ

Smoothie’s in my house greatly depend on what we have around the house but generally this is what we have and what I use.

Recipe:

Follow this order and the blender tends to blend things appropriately.

6-8 large ice cubes
1 banana (I won’t eat bananas except in smoothies)
Large handful of spinach leaves (I buy Popeye’s bagged spinach)
Medium handful of blue berries (I have frozen bag in the freezer at all times)
2-3 halves of frozen peaches (I skinned and pitted and froze peaches last summer)
4 Cuties/Clementines or 2 regular oranges
Then I pour in whole milk because they’re mostly for Wyatt but you could add 1%,
I probably pour in a cup. If the blender won’t blend I add more milk.

Can you imagine all the vitamins you’re getting in this??!!

I just bought frozen strawberries that I plan to add next time. This summer I’m going to try to freeze more of my own fruit, maybe blackberries and raspberries?

When I think about this, Wyatt drinks over 1/3 of this recipe so he gets 1/3 banana, 1/3 cup of spinach, 1 half of a peach, 1/4 cup of blueberries, over 1 Cutie. That definitely hits the fruit mark and helps get us closer to the vegetable one.

Sometimes I make banana and spinach smoothies. They are green and actually really tasty too. Ice and milk is all you add to those.

Not All Butter is Created Equally

I didn’t realize this until recently, but there’s a cult following of Kerry Gold Butter. This stuff is really amazing. It costs more than regular butter, so we only use it for finishing steaks or on steamed veggies ( veggies are they still healthy if they are dripping in butter?). There is a real incredible difference in this butter. I could eat it plain, but I don’t want to have a heart attack tomorrow.

Tom once saw it in someone’s cart at Costco, but we can’t find it ANYWHERE at our¬†Costco. Its our sasquatch. I think it was an illusion and he didn’t actually see it.

Meringue Cookies

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Many years ago in high school I was on a meringue kick and I made meringue everything but since then I haven’t made it again. Wednesday, I was having Abby, Mitch, and Molly over for dinner and I remembered it as a fun sweet treat along the lines of macarons which Abby and Molly love so I thought I’d look up some recipes. I made two different ones a strawberry (which were eaten so fast I didn’t get a picture of them) and chocolate. I made them tiny and bite sized. Who knows maybe I might get my act together and make them for Easter? Here are the two recipes I used this time:

Strawberry Meringue Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites, room temperature (recommended: Eggology)
1 teaspoon strawberry extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 drops red food coloring

Directions
Preheat oven to 215 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites, 1 teaspoon strawberry extract, and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. With mixer running, add powdered sugar in tablespoon increments. Add food coloring and continuing beating until stiff peak form. (Careful not to overbeat.)

Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or large zip-top bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe into 2-inch spirals on prepared baking sheet. (I just put it in a zip-top bag and cut a corner so mine weren’t as fancy looking)

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, rotating once. Turn off oven and open door. With meringues still inside oven, let dry out for 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and let meringues cool completely.

Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee, 2007

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Ingredients

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
Directions

Preheat oven to 225¬įF. Line 2 large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to high and whip until mixture forms soft peaks. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue beating until whites are stiff and shiny.

In a separate bowl, sift confectioners’ sugar with cocoa to blend. Working in thirds, sprinkle cocoa mixture over egg whites and gently fold in until thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a large ziplock bag. Seal bag, pinching out excess air. Snip off a small piece of one bottom corner of bag. Pipe out meringues through hole onto cookie sheets, forming small “kisses,” about 2 inches in diameter. Bake for 1 hour, until meringues are firm and dry. Turn oven off and let meringues sit in oven for 15 minutes.

Let meringues cool on sheets on wire racks, then gently peel kisses off parchment paper. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

 

Additional information

After sitting on the counter for awhile they got sticky so I looked up more information about keeping them fresh. I found out this, “Made primarily of sugar and egg whites, meringues are hydroscopic. This means that they absorb moisture from the air and will start to soften and ‘weep’ after just a few hours on the counter.” (The Kitchn) so I rebaked the cookies for 20 minutes, let them dry in the oven for while and then packed them in zip-top bags. It is amazing you can bake and re-bake them because all you’re really doing is drying them out!

 

 

Perfect Oatmeal

Serves 3 to 4

To double the recipe, use a 12-inch skillet to toast the oats and increase the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes once the salt has been added.

If desired, serve with maple syrup or brown sugar, fruit, Nutella or one of your favorite toppings for oatmeal.

3 cups water

1 c up whole milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water and milk to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

2. Stir toasted oats into simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about

20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly with spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorb almost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let sit uncovered for 5 minutes, then serve.

 

Gougeres

These are incredible. I enjoy really rich and bold flavors which is accomplished with the gruyer cheese, but the cheddar cheese is more economical and still tastes really incredible. I think these are a perfect brunch pastry for entertaining, especially if served with a breakfast meat or vegetables (think English breakfast). If you have nobody to impress but your Snapchat followers, this is a perfect standalone breakfast item.

Ingredients!

1 1/4 c water
1 1/4 c milk
14 Tbs butter
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp table salt
2 c gruyere shredded (cheddar works well too)
7 eggs
1 T course (or finishing) salt

Directions!

  1. In s medium sized pot bring the water, milk, butter & table salt to a boil, once boiling, start stirring with a wooden spoon, bring the heat to medium and add the flour (this is a type of b√©chamel sauce, similar to that made in the Cauliflower Gratin¬†recipe) whisk until dissolved then stir with the wooden spoon. Stir vigorously until you have a ball (a couple minutes). Bring the heat down to low-med to make sure you don’t burn it.
  2. Remove from heat, start mixing with an stand mixer or electronic mixer with a paddle attachment until the steam subsides (5ish min)
  3. Add the eggs one by one while mixing, then add the cheese.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto pan. Each football shaped dough ball should be able 2 Tbs, you will probably need a second spoon to scrape the dough off the first spoon.
  5. Cook at 400 F for 5 min, reduce to 375 until complete (about 15-20 min)

Yields about 24 biscuits

Stir Frying

Weekday dinners¬†are all too often chicken nuggets, avocado toast or hummus & chips in my household. While that’s not the worst, its not the best. We try to east as many fresh veggies as possible and this guide has been really helpful and inspirational during the middle of the week when I’m tiered and would rather do anything else than make dinner.

Based on availability in my fridge, I usually use an onion, a couple bell peppers, frozen peas & zucchini (or any other veggie in the fridge flirting with expiration), as long as you have soy sauce, corn starch, rice wine vinegar you are in good shape. All the sauces are really good-Enjoy!

Marshmallows

Ever since I had my first homemade marshmallow at the very trendy and hipster caf√©, Cured in Boulder, Colorado I have had my sights set on making my own. I was really intimidated¬†because it¬†seems like¬†it would be really difficult and complex.¬†I was really surprised to find that¬†it was way way way easier than I had originally thought! Although this recipe isn’t quite as good as Cured’s, it was pretty good! I used this recipe from Alton Brown.

Ingredients!

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 c ice water, divided
12 oz sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1 c cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Directions!

  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 c water
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 c water with the salt, corn syrup & sugar & over medium heat, mix in to dissolve, cover & cook for 3-4 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, take the cover off once it reaches 240F), uncover and cook for 7-8 minutes then immediately remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour the mixture from the stove into the gelatin mixture while whisking on low and increase the speed to high for a 15 minutes, the mixture will double+ in size. In the last minute add the vanilla
  4. Combine the powdered sugar & corn starch
  5. Prepare a 9×13″ pan, sprinkle the sugar/starch combo on the bottom and sides of the pan to coat, the pour the mixture into the pan and let sit 4 hrs + (I did overnight).
  6. Turn the marshmallows onto a cutting board, dust with sugar/starch combo & use a pizza wheel to cut into smaller squares. Toss the squares into the sugar/starch combo &  roll until coated. Alton says you need to consume within 3 weeks if packed in an airtight container, but I found the sugar/starch combo is soaked up by the mallows within 4 days.

 

 

 

Winter Hearty Risotto

I just spent a fantastic New Years weekend in Olympia with a house full of family and could not be more refreshed! Each meal was assigned to different family members and I made this delicious Winter Hearty Risotto that was served during our Murder Mystery Dinner! The food prep is a bit intense from the stirring perspective, but it comes out really nicely and easy to serve the masses! I somehow didn’t take a picture of the food, but if anyone did- could you send it to me?

 

Ingredients!

Serves 4:
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion
2 c dry Arborio rice
20 oz broth
1c peas, frozen
1c corn, frozen
1c steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
1 c parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil
Serves 45:
6 garlic cloves, diced
6 onions
84 oz dry Arborio rice
250 oz broth
5lbs peas, frozen
5lbs corn, frozen
5lbs steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
10 lbs butternut squash, cubed
64oz+ parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil

Most of the ingredients are set in quantities that Costco sells (except for the Arborio rice, that can be harder to find at a decent price).

Directions!

  1. Set the oven to 350F, put your butternut squash on baking sheets, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & cook for 50 minutes.
  2. In a large pot coated with olive oil, over medium heat cook the garlic & onions until onions are almost transparent.
  3. In a separate pot over medium heat, warm the broth.
  4. Add the Arborio rice and mix until it is all coated with olive oil.
  5. Slowly ladle the broth into the large pot, this is where it gets technical. From now until you are serving the risotto, you will not stop stirring. Pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, continue like this until the risotto is no longer crunchy, the color will also be more consistent.
  6. Add peas & corn slowly (as you continue stirring), you don’t want the temperature to drop suddenly.
  7. Once the peas & corn warm and no longer frozen, stir the asparagus, butternut squash & parmesan.
  8. Enjoy!

New Orleans Style Cochon de Lait Po’ Boy

Tom and I were able to¬†to visit our good friend in New Orleans¬†in 2009, the gulf oil spill¬†had just began about a week before our arrival so there was a run on fresh sea food, everyone knew that they wouldn’t have amazing local gulf again for another¬†couple years so there filled with friends and crawfish boils. This town takes their food seriously. We planned our trip dates around the¬†Jazz Fest (the biggest locals festival in town) where we quickly learned that the Gospel Tent is best musical part of the festival (despite seeing BB King and Van Morrison in the same day) because church music is made for that setting, to fill large buildings, it was amazing.

The really surprising thing is that all the food booths are filled by an application process and the food is all traditional New Orleans Cajun & Creole fare. There is one booth that makes Boudin Balls, and its going to be the best in the city. One Muffuletta booth, one for Beignets and our favorite was the Cochon de Lait Po’Boy.

When we got home we were¬†convinced that we could make it, at first pass all the recipes on the Internet¬†called for roasting an entire pig and building a small building for that. While I’m sure my parents can¬†pull something like that off, I’m not quite that¬†ambitious.¬†We found something made to a smaller scale, but it still takes 3 days to make.

This is our¬†third time making the recipe and I went all in¬†and made the Po’ Boy bread. This¬†was intimidating for me because you would use steam in the oven to replicate the humidity of New Orleans. I hope you enjoy!

Cochon de Lait
Cochon de Lait translated to English is Pig in Milk which may give you a sense of what this will taste like. Somehow that is actually what it tastes like, fantastic. In Cajun cooking you will often times see the onion, celery & carrot combination, its called the Holy Trio.

Ingredients!

6 cloves garlic, chopped
¬Ĺ cup sliced green onions
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalape√Īo pepper, chopped
5-6 lbs pork butt aka pork shoulder
note: right now Costco sells this for less than $2/lb
¬ľ cup vegetable oil
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Olive Oil & salt for seasoning

Directions!

Day 1

Combine the garlic, green onions, thyme, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and jalapenos in a bowl and mix it up.

Using a paring knife,¬†cut about eight 1″ deep holes evenly across the¬†pork shoulder and fill them up with the mixture you made above. Season the roast with salt and olive oil.

Put the pork shoulder in a very large ziplock bag or bowl overnight to marinate.

Day 2

Chop up the celery, carrots & onion.

Heat the over to 37¬įF

In a 12-quart Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat on the stove top. Brown roast on all sides. Add onions, celery and carrots.

Cover pot, place in oven and bake 2¬Ĺ-3 hours or until fork tender. When the roast is tender, remove the cover and brown 15-20 minutes.

Day 3

Slice meat and serve on bread for a delicious pork sandwich, it will probably all just fall apart nicely though.

Make sure your bread¬†has a nice layer of mayo and coleslaw if you’ve got it. I usually trust Emeril Lagasse’s¬†recipes for Creole food as he is native to New Orleans, this coleslaw recipe was really good last time I made it.¬†¬†It¬†was actually¬†tasted good and wasn’t runny and doesn’t have too much of the mayo sauce that some do.¬†It makes a ton of slaw though, so unless you are entertaining a large party, maybe only make a portion.

Po’ Boy Bread

Up until recently, I just bought french bread to serve the Po’ Boys on, but I wanted to get a little more¬†adventurous and used the linked recipe in the title. I converted the metric measurements to imperial though.

Ingredients!

4 1/2 c Bread Flour
3c Flour
2 1/2c Water
3 t Instant yeast
1 T Salt
1 1/2 T Sugar
4 t Powdered Milk
4 t Butter, softened

Directions!

Microwave your water for 20 seconds to make it slightly warm,¬†add yeast and a sprinkle of your sugar to activate, make sure you see the yeast bubble before you move on, yeast that doesn’t activate can spoil your week.

Mix everything but butter, knead until gluten starts to form, add in butter, knead until pass windowpane test. The kneading would take a while, and the windowpane would be a bit thick.

In one ball, rise at room temp (75F) for 50 min until more than doubled, stretch and fold, then let set for another 20 min. This process is also known as bulk fermentation.

Divide into 4 parts/loafs, preshape and relax for 20min. For each dough, roll out to 14x6inch, get rid of all air bubbles, roll up to 16inch in length, width is more important than length here though.
Yeah, I know, what does that even mean? This link was really helpful for me.

Rise at room temp until double, 45-60min. Brush with water and score (this is where the bread starts really looking like french bread).

Place an overproof cast-iron pan on the¬†bottom rack of your oven and bring the oven to 450¬įF, for 20 minutes and get 1/2 c of boiling water ready. Place your baking sheets in the oven quickly and wearing long sleeves and oven mitts pour the¬†boiling water into the cast-iron before¬†closing the oven door; the steam will help form a crisp crust.

Reduce the temperature to 425¬įF for 20min,¬†lower to 375¬įF, rotate baking sheet (not necessary if you are using the convection setting on your oven), and keep baking for another 20 min. The last 5 min with door cracked open.

You made it! The bread should be very crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Gnocci with Vodka Cream Sauce

When I go to an Italian place for dinner, I scour the menu for gnocchi. I love it. While the gnocchi from the grocery store will do in a pinch, homemade is so much better. Also, the gnocchi from this recipe freezes well, so if you want to impress someone with a fab dinner on short notice- this is the key.

Serves: 8
Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients!

Gnocchi:
18 potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt
13 1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
20 oz Parmesan, grated, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons mixed finely chopped herbs (equal parts basil, chives, and parsley- or you can get creative here)
Vodka Cream Sauce:
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs finely chopped shallots
2 Tbs vodka
2 Tbs heavy cream
14 oz canned or fresh ripe tomatoes
3 Tbs olive oil
6 fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions!

Gnocchi:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water. Add salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the potatoes until they are tender, about 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are just cool enough to handle, peel them then pass them through a food mill or use a blender (immersion or regular).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the egg yolk, cheese and warm potatoes. Work the mixture until it becomes a smooth dough, then incorporate the herbs. Form the dough into 2 balls.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each ball of dough into a ‘rope’ about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the ‘ropes’ into 3/4-inch pieces. Arrange the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet. (You can freeze the gnocchi at this point and use straight from freezer.)
  4. Shortly before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the water maintains an active simmer. Working in small batches, drop gnocchi into the water. Cook the gnocchi until they float 3 to 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain fully in a colander/strainer.

Vodka Cream Sauce:

  1. Puree whole tomatoes without their liquid in a food mill/blender.
  2. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the pureed tomatoes. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce is concentrated, about 25 minutes. Remove the basil,¬†or don’t #youdoyou
  3. In a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Add the vodka, cream, and tomato sauce, and simmer until the flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately before serving, add the gnocchi to the sauce and heat, stirring gently to coat. Spoon the gnocchi into warm bowls and serve.

Enjoy!