Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your new favorite summer treat - Watermelon Mint Smoothie

I know it's a little early to be posting about watermelon, but here in DC I can at least get Florida watermelons and that will have to be local enough for the month of June. It's beginning to be that time of year where the body craves subsistence on nothing but cool refreshing fruit concoctions and this one is my favorite. If you're craving something sweet and refreshing, grab some mint from your garden (or the store) and throw it in a blender with some watermelon and ice, you won't be disappointed!

Watermelon Mint Smoothie
2 cups watermelon
2 mint leaves
1/2 cup ice
Blend all ingredients together and serve.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Succotash with Kale and Garlic Scapes

Forgive the photo. You know by now that the recipes taste better than I photograph them. This was the brain child of one of those nights when I open my fridge and try to come up with something that will use as much produce as possible before leaving town for the weekend and risking it goes bad. I had 1 ear of leftover corn from a party this weekend, kale, and some garlic scapes from the farmers market...hmm what to do? I know it's not really late enough in the summer for a corn and tomato dish, but I had the corn and the last of my jarred summer tomatoes were looking ready to go, so I went for it. I think it came out pretty great! It's super healthy, packed with nutrients, vegan and gluten free! If I weren't making an intentionally super healthy weekday meal, I might be so inclined to sprinkle this with Parmesan cheese. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

Succotash with Kale and Garlic Scapes
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized leaves
1 ear of corn, cut from the ear
1 jar of tomatoes (canned if you don't have jarred)
1 garlic scape, diced
1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Start by trimming your kale. I think you can't get those pieces too small. I had few bites that were full mouthfuls of kale and they were much less appetizing. To remove the stem, I typically grab it from the bottom with one hand and pinch either side with the other before running that hand up to the top, stripping the stem in a clean motion. If that makes no sense, just pull each kale bit off the stem. Cut the corn kernals off the ear and set aside. Dice the scapes and place the coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the
garlic scapes first to get some of that garlic flavor permeated through the oil then add kale and corn and stir until kale has cooked down to half the size it was (about 8 minutes). Pour the jar of tomatoes over the top and add salt and pepper before turning down the heat to let it simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with a spoon, enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini

Adventures in to re-create the delicious things consumed in Spain and Portugal continues! This comes from an amazing Tapas Bar in Sevilla called Dos de Mayo. It is ranked as Trip Advisor's 31st of the 1400 restaurants in Sevilla, and I think it should be higher. The staff is incredibly friendly, it is HOPPIN at all hours of the night, and I couldn't stop staring at this adorable pair of sisters in their 80's making dirty jokes with the bartender. Needless to say I loved my experience there immensely, and, if you are ever in the area, you must go. In the interim, make their best tapa at home and enjoy a little slice of tapas espa├▒olas at home.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini
2-3 slices of a large rustico loaf cut into 2 inch long pieces. I like mine on the thin side, but feel free to adjust.
1 small sweet yellow onion sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1.5 inch pieces of goat cheese to top the bread - I love cherry glen's monocacy ash and it was a dead ringer for whatever lovely goat cheese they used at Dos de Mayo.

Add butter to frying pan with onions and let simmer a minute or two before drizzling with olive oil. The trick to caramelizing is starting with a nice sizzling heat and then once they've started releasing some liquid, turning the heat down and letting them sit low and slow. Spread the onions out along the pan so they are all cooking nice and flat pressed against. Only stir as they start to brown to prevent any burning. I tend to turn them every 6 minutes or so. Once they are all a nice golden brown, turn off heat. Toast the crostinis and pull them out nice and hot. Add the cheese while the toast is still warm and top with still hot onions to get the cheese just a little melty before serving. Remember that even slightly imperfect caramelized onions are delicious, so don't stress too much about getting that perfect brown. I've still yet to achieve it, but have enjoyed every batch in my learning curve. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Try this at Home - Joe Yonan's DIY vegetable broth

If you do not yet own a copy of Joe Yonan's Eat your Vegetables, you should remedy that situation immediately. It is an incredible cook book full of approachable and delicious recipes with a variety of vegetables, textures, and flavors. It's not strictly vegetarian (includes anchovy paste here and there), but uses primarily plant based ingredients and I've yet to try something he suggested that didn't work beautifully. He has a brilliant suggestion of saving vegetable scraps in the freezer and once the bag is full to dump it into a pot with water and salt for some DIY vegetable stock.

I finally got around to a full bag of vegetables last night and decided to give it a try. So I poured my bag of scallion tops, celery ends, chard stems, and juiced carrot shavings into the pot (He advises not to include kale and other very bitter vegetables as that might overload the flavor.). I added a 1/2 cup of salt and 6 cups of water and then just let it simmer for about an hour and a half. I was amazed at how rich the broth flavor was after so little effort or planning in terms of what veggies I included.

Mr. Yonan includes a brilliant suggestion of freezing all of the broth in ice trays to be used in as needed portions. This brought me to the realization I own no ice trays, so I just froze the whole thing and will make something delicious with it all later. I will be acquiring ice trays and following all of his advice in my next attempt. A word to the wise, the bits of carrot were a little too small and fell right through the strainer. The flavor is still wonderful, but if you want a truly perfect broth, avoid little bits and maybe skip the pulp left over from juicing all together.