July 31, 2012

More Cardamom Love

We're pretty boring when it comes to beverages at my place - water is it. When I was revisiting the amazing Super Natural Every Day last week, I noticed the recipe for this Indian beverage called for cardamom and was alcohol-free. So I gave it a try. Super good and spicy. The only problem was that "sediment" collected at the bottom of the cup, so I kept stirring it while drinking. Also, you'll notice I have no ice. No beverages served means no ice kept in the freezer.

The flowers pictured are from my CSA.

Sparkling Panakam
from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

1/4 cup fine-grain natural cane sugar or muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
4 cups/1 liter sparkling water, chilled
Ice cubes

In a medium pitcher, make a thick paste by stirring together the sugar, ginger, cardamom, lime juice, salt, and a small splash of the sparkling water. Stir until any lumps have dissolved. Add more water, a little at a time, stirring all the while. The mixture will get quite fizzy, so just take it slow. Serve as cold as possible with as many ice cubes wedged into the pitcher as possible.

July 26, 2012

Cardamom Currant Cookies

In the past, I have had trouble finding dried currants for sale. So when I found some in the bulk section of a cool grocery store, I got some. Just browsing for recipes on the internet, I found this recipe for cookies with cardamom and currants. I am fascinated with cardamom, and these cookies have cardamom in the dough and are rolled in it too.

If you can't find currants, you can substitute raisins, but chop them into smaller pieces. Raisins are more sweet than currants and less elegant, but I'd bet they'd work just fine in these cookies.

Cardamom Currant Cookies
adapted from Food52

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried currants (or chopped raisins)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for cookie coating)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (for cookie coating)

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sugars, flour, 1 tsp. cardamom, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Whisk the eggs into the melted butter, then stir in the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients and the currants into the flour mixture, stirring just long enough for everything to come together into a dough.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the 3 Tbs. sugar and 1 tsp. cardamom for the coating. Take out the chilled dough, roll it into 1 ½ inch balls, roll each ball in the sugar coating, then place onto ungreased cookie sheets with about 2 inches of space in between them.

Bake for 8-9 minutes, until they look golden and cracked on top but still a bit doughy in the middle. Transfer immediately from the baking sheets to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

July 23, 2012

Kohlrabi Apple Slaw

What is kohlrabi? I honestly had no idea before I received some in my CSA. Turns out kohlrabi is like cabbage, only it's solid instead of a bunch of leaves. It would be a nice addition to a plate of cut-up veggies. The farmer sends a weekly email update, often with recipes, which is where I got this one. It was delicious!

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw
from A Veggie Venture

1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon good mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste
fresh mint, chopped

1 pound fresh kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled, grated
2 apples, peeled, grated

note: aim for equal amounts of kohlrabi and apple

Whisk cream into light pillows. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients, and then the kohlrabi and apple. Serve immediately.

July 18, 2012

Spicy Barbacoa Beef

This recipe couldn't be easier. Throw the meat and spices into a crockpot, let cook, shred. You can use the beef for tacos with corn, salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or whatever fillings you like. This turned out pretty spicy, so if you don't want it that way, try only using half the can of chipotle peppers and sauce.

Spicy Barbacoa Beef
adapted from Bev Cooks

2 pounds beef chuck roast (any major fat trimmed)
1 (7 oz) can chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs. oregano

Place the beef, chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano into a slow cooker. Add a pinch of salt and pepper too. Turn it on medium and cook for 6 hours. Flip the meat every 2 hours or so. During the last hour, take two forks and shred the meat, right there in the pot. Close the lid and let it finish cooking.

July 15, 2012

Simple Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw, but I recently discovered cooking them is quite delicious. I gobbled these up like candy.

Simple Sugar Snap Peas

sugar snap peas
garlic, minced or sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper

Remove the strings from the peas and slice each pod into 2 or 3 sections. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the peas and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes; the peas will still be crunchy.

July 13, 2012

Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream

I found this recipe for black raspberry ice cream one or two summers ago and have been patiently waiting for black raspberries to cross my path. Finally this ice cream and I were meant to be when I found black raspberries at the farmer's market recently. If you can't find them try red raspberries for a pink version.

Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream
from In the Little Red House

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
a few drops of pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups black raspberries, rinsed
2 oz dark chocolate, cut into small pieces

Over medium heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk together sugar and yolks until pale and thickened. When small bubbles have started to form on the surface of the cream mixture, slowly whisk in to sugar and yolks, then return to the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat--stir continuously until mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring to combine. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator. While mixture is cooling, place berries in a saucepan and cook on low heat so they start to get nice and juicy. Smash with a fork, and allow to cool.

Once cream mixture and berries are cool, mix together. Add to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. After the ice cream has been churning for about a half hour, add chocolate chunks. Transfer to container and freeze for a few hours.

July 10, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream

In Cincinnati, there is an amazing cupcakery called Abby Girl Sweets. I admire their cupcakes for always being moist and delicious. They make a cookies-n-cream cupcake that is scrumptious. I'm going to put it out there - I think these cupcakes rival Abby Girl!

I posted the chocolate cupcake recipe previously. This time I undercooked one pan of cupcakes a little - the centers did not look all the way set. The final product was just right. So, one secret to moist cupcakes is to not overcook them.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Oreo Buttercream Frosting
adapted from Tide and Thyme

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Oreo cookies, finely crushed

In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, until thoroughly mixed. Add the Oreo crumbs; mix well. Frost cupcakes as desired.

July 9, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale

I joined a CSA in Vermont and am on week 3 of my shares. Having received the CSA stand-by, kale, I wanted to try a new way to prepare it. This simple recipe was a great way to add more nutrition to standard mashed potatoes.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Kale
from 101 Cookbooks

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
sea salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped in small pieces
1/2+ cup warm milk or cream
freshly ground black pepper
5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (optional)
fried shallots, for garnish (optional)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and saute just until tender - about a minute. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick, creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes and pour the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the scallions, Parmesan cheese, and shallots.

July 6, 2012

Strawberry Glace Pie

I am so fortunate to have a produce farm right down the street from my new home in Vermont. I drive by it every day and could not resist their big sign "Strawberries: Pick Your Own". I wasn't sure how it would work with baby in tow, but I was able to put her in the stroller while I picked strawberries. I went twice, and the second time the strawberries were super ripe. They were absolutely divine. All fruit should be eaten like that - ripe right from the source.

I knew I had to make my mom's favorite - strawberry glace pie. It's very simple if you can make a pie crust (I can't), but even in a bad pie crust, this is a dessert you can't get wrong. Especially if the strawberries are perfect.

Strawberry Glace Pie
from my mother

6 cups strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (9-inch) baked pie shell

Beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Spread into baked pie shell.

Mash enough strawberries to make 1 cup, and set aside.

Fill the pie shell with the remaining whole strawberries, points up.

In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, and the reserved mashed strawberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cook for 1 minute. Cool slightly.

Pour the cooked strawberry mixture on top of the strawberries in the pie shell. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until set.

July 3, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I have several treats to post soon, but thought I should post something healthy first. Beans are something I need to eat more of, and hummus sure is a delicious way to do so. My mom bought the ingredients for this hummus when she visited me in April, but I finally had my act together enough this past week to do it. So glad I did - this hummus is a welcome twist on classic hummus.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
posted by Our Best Bites from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

1 15-oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup drained and chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (or 1/4 heaping teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Place all ingredients except for the oil and cilantro in the work bowl of a food processor or in the jar of a heavy-duty blender. Process until smooth, then add the oil in a steady stream and process until desired consistency is reached. Add the cilantro and pulse a few times until the cilantro is evenly distributed. Chill for at least an hour if possible before serving. Serve with pita chips and fresh veggies. Makes about 2 cups of hummus.