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Found some great looking avocados at the market and thought a chilled soup with vegetables would be tasty. Used Chayote squash and zucchini with a beautiful pomegranate and cucumber salsa. Chilled Avocado and Chayote squash soup with pomegranate and cucumber salsa For the Soup: 1 clove garlic peeled and sliced ¼ cup onion (sliced) 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 cup zucchini (sliced) 1 cup chayote squash (1 squash/ sliced and seed removed) 1 cup avocado flesh (used 4 small) 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro 1 ½ cup vegetable broth 2 tablespoon lime juice ¼ teaspoon cumin For the Salsa: ½ cup cucumber (chopped) ¼ cup pomegranate seeds ½ tablespoon lime juice 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro 3 tablespoon green onions (thinly sliced) Saute garlic, onions, zucchini,and squash until tender. remove from heat and allow to cool. (Added 1 peperoncini red chili pepper to the saute-remove before blending and optional) While vegetables are cooling, chop cucumbers, and add pomegranate seeds, lime juice and green onions in a separate bowl cover and chill. Blend sauteed vegetable, avocados, fresh cilantro, broth, lime juice and cumin. Refrigerate and allow flavors to merge (about 2 hours). Serve cold with pomegranate cucumber salsa.
On the weekends, we try to incorporate any leftovers for fast meals during the week. What to do with left over sweet potatoes? We made left over sweet potato gnocchi! The original recipe for gnocchi dates back to Roman times, but the introduction of potato gnocchi was in the 16th century. Using a “floury” potato (dry potato) is important to achieve the right balance of texture and lightness. Sweet potatoes have a lot of moister, so using a mix of potatoes and baked (and then twice baked) sweet potatoes removes most of the excess moister for a balanced result. 4 lbs potatoes (used 4 russet potatoes and 2 baked sweet potatoes) 3 cups flour 1 egg 1 tsp nutmeg Boil whole russet potatoes, unpeeled. You will peel and mash them after they’re cooked. Meanwhile, reheat the sweet potatoes. Once reheated, peel and mash the sweet potatoes. Drain russet potatoes. Remove skins and mash well. Mix all the mashed potatoes. Allow to cool, then sift flour over. Make a well in the center. Whisk egg and oil, then add the mixture. Then add salt and nutmeg. Using the fork, continue to mix. Use your hands and kneed just until incorporated as too much kneading will make the gnocchi heavy. Cover with plastic wrap. Cut off a section at a time and roll into a rope. Then cut off squares. Using the back of a cheese grater or fork tines, press and roll. Some additional flour may be necessary depending on the moister still left in the sweet potato, but try to use as little as possible- just enough to form the shape. Toss on a kitchen towel. Boil in salted water until the gnocchi float to the top! Serve with your favorite sauce. If you aren’t going to cook immediately, freeze on trays (like berries) and once frozen (about 3 hours), put in plastic storage container. Use within 4 to 6 weeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Variation: Make with all russet potatoes, just omit the nutmeg and add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, or use 1/4 cup ricotta cheese instead of egg, if desired. *Traditionally, with potato gnocchi, the potatoes would be put through a ricer, this adds to the lightness to the gnocchi, but if no ricer (hand held metal tool that produces spaghetti like strips of potatoes), using a potato masher works as an alternative! Basic recipe for potato gnocchi: 1 kilo potatoes, 300 grams flour, 1 egg yoke.
When in season, we eat a lot of asparagus. It is a wonderful addition, warm or cold to any meal. Why eat asparagus? Full of good stuff and packed with nutrients: Very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. Also chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Like avocado, kale and brussels sprouts it is a rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound. Antioxidants! Asparagus ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and may even help slow the aging process. Good for you and tastes great! Cooking asparagus to perfection without a steamer? Yes, it can be done! Steaming asparagus with out a steamer: 1 pound asparagus 1 teaspoon walnut, almond, or extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice Preparing and steaming asparagus without a steamer is easy to do with aluminum foil and a shallow pan with a top. Take one asparagus and gently bend the bottom end. The asparagus will break away from the tough end. Discard tough ends. Line up all the asparagus and cut off the same amount from the bottom. Gently clean with cold water.Use shallow pan and sheet of aluminum foil. Prepare a “pillow” with aluminum foil. Place asparagus in pan with the thicker pieces to back. Pour enough water that the lower parts are just submerged. Steam on medium to high heat until the asparagus changes to a deep green, but are still firm. Remove from pan and place in serving dish. Drizzle oil, add lemon juice salt and pepper to taste. Health benefits adapted from: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/5-powerful-health-benefits-of-asparagus-you-probably-didna-t-know-and-why-it-makes-your-pee-smell-explained-2473971.html
Broccoli Makeover | ChopChop
Spring is in full bloom and fantastic! We love spring, because this means we will return home to paper bags filled with oranges and lemons left on our door step. Soon our neighbors will find candied fruit peels, sweet breads and jams in exchange! Thank you Ana for the lovely veggies from the Farmer’s Market, this is what we made! Roast with Seasonal veggies 1 organic chicken 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 lemon 4 spring onions 2 fennel bulbs 6 cloves garlic ½ cup white wine (can omit) 1 cup chicken stock Preheat oven to 425°F. Directions on making own broth with the recipe. Additional ingredients would be 1 carrot, small onions, garlic, and black pepper. VEGGIES: Cut off the green tops and the bottoms of spring onion. (conserve tops) Cut spring onions in pieces about 1/2 inch. Cut the green fronds off the fennel. Cut fennel in pieces about 1/2 inch. Peel and chop garlic. Place all in pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. CHICKEN: Rub the outside with a coat olive oil. Take a lemon and pierce with a fork a few times. Place whole lemon in chicken cavity. Can tie legs together, if desire.Place chicken in pan with veggies. Roast 30 minutes. BROTH: Take the green tops from green onions and slice. Remove the soft part of the green fronds from fennel. Cut one carrot, 3 small onions, garlic for broth. Put chicken wings and neck in 4 cups water. Salt and pepper. Add carrot, onions, and garlic. Bring to boil, then reduce and simmer, while removing any excess fat with strainer.Reduce oven temp after the 30 minutes to 375°F. Stir veggies well and roast for another 20 minutes or more until internal temperature reaches 165°F. When ready, remove chicken from oven and cover in foil. Remove veggies from oven (should be golden and caramelized) into large sauce pan. Add wine and stock and simmer a few minutes. Add the fennel and spring onion tops and 1 tbs olive oil. Simmer until tender and begins to thicken. Add 1 to 1/2 cup of homemade stock.Allow remaining stock to continue to simmer for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Layer the veggies and drizzle with some sauce on a platter. Remove foil and add chicken. Wonderful! *Inspired by Andrea Reusing Roast Chicken with Fennel
Crayfish are in season! However you prefer, simple with lemon and oil, Asian spices and green onions, or cajun spice in a gumbo this are tasty! This is a recipe for live crayfish. For best results, plan ahead and cook shortly after purchasing. 1 pound fresh live crayfish (crayfish/ crawdads) yields about 1 cup 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon juice Choose crayfish similar in size. Look for active crayfish, you want them to survive the salt water purge. Once back in the kitchen, put crayfish in large bowl. Important! Do not put on plate! Work quickly while keeping an eye on the crayfish. Put enough water in the pot to cover crayfish once they are cleaned. (Optional: add salt, garlic, lemon, any flavorings you prefer.) Put heat on high as want a strong boil. Dipping sauce: Whisk olive oil and lemon until creamy. Add cayenne pepper, if desire. Pour some salt over crayfish. Cover with fresh water.Using a wooden spoon, gently stir the crayfish for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse well. Be careful with the salt, as too much will kill the crayfish. Add to boiling water. Cook until the color changes to a deep red. About 2 to 3 minutes. Remove crayfish immediately from water. Now for the good part! With your hands, break in two sections. (optional: Top part consume juice /flesh and then discard) Bottom section peel off one side of the shell. Should slip out. Peel off back and remove sand vein. Dip in lemon oil sauce or drizzle with lemon juice. Enjoy!
We are cheese makers! We’ve been making cheese at our house! I’ve tried with vinegar, rennet tabs, liquid rennet and citric acid. After the failed attempts, I came across the New England Cheese making company website. This is when I realized that the milk we were using was ultra pasteurized. In the U.S., this information is not necessarily put on the label. So if you want to make homemade cheese, use a milk that states “not ultra pasteurized.” This recipe produced enough for 3 small balls rolled in nuts and dried fruit for gifts and we’ve been spreading on any edible surface and enjoying! 1 gallon milk 1 1/2 tsp citric acid 1/4 tsp liquid rennet Pour cold milk into a stainless steel pot. Put citric acid in a measuring cup and add cool water to measure 1 cup. Pour rennet in measuring cup and add water to 1 cup. Heat milk slowly to 90 F. Remove from heat and add rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool water. Stir well and cover. After about 3 to 5 minutes, check the curd. Should look like custard, but if too soft, leave a few more minutes. Cut curd into 1 inch squares with a knife. Place back on stove and heat to 110 F, stirring gently and slowly. Take off burner and continue to stir for about 3 minutes. Transfer the curd to a colander to drain. (Reserve the whey to make ricotta!) Gently drain the whey from the curd. Allow to cool before shaping to desired size. Freshly made cheese! And then we made mozzarella and ricotta too! *Adapted from the New England Cheesemaking Supply (http://www.cheesemaking.com/)
Yet another pickling adventure! Used the same recipe for the carrots, but with a few variations and added fresh dill. This version smells really great and the fresh dill looks beautiful. Using the jars worked well when the cucumbers were tightly packed beneath the brine, but as I began to take out cucumbers (and eat them!), they began floating above the brine. I transferred to a flat container which worked great to keep the pickles below the brine. Quick pickle (cucumber) 2 cups water 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs white vinegar 1/4 cup sugar 1 Tbs salt 1 Tbs coriander seed 1 tsp mustard seed 6 garlic cloves (sliced or halved) 2 small dried peperonici peppers toasted (or more, to taste) Sprigs of fresh dill (remove from stems) Bring water to a boil in a stainless steel pot. Combine all ingredients but the cucumbers and fresh dill. Allow to simmer 3 to 5 minutes then remove from the heat. In the meantime, slice cucumbers to desired shape and place tightly in jars with fresh dill. Using a spoon, distribute the spices evenly among the jars. Pour hot brine it over the vegetables covering completely. Remove the chili peppers (I leave in one day) and let cool. Close lids tightly and then refrigerate. As this is a quick pickle recipe, the pickles will taste good in just a few hours, but continue to gain in flavor and great at day three!
Spring is in full bloom! So much color and abundance at the farmer’s markets. A seasonal citrus salad was perfect for lunch! Seasonal citrus fruit, mixed greens and marcona almonds 3 cups mixed baby greens 5 slices citrus fruit (grapefruit, oranges, etc.) 4 dates sliced thin 1/4 pomegranate 8 to 10 marcona almonds 1 tbs parmigiano cheese 1/2 tbs olive oil 1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional) Cut and prepare all ingredients except the salad. In a separate bowl, add greens and a pinch of salt. Drizzle the olive oil along the side of the bowl. Gently toss the greens to coat evenly. Place on plate. Add all ingredients. Serve immediately.