Posts Tagged ‘unrecipe of the week’

Unrecipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Shoestrings

September 28, 2015

 

4270200258_compTraditionally brought out for Thanksgiving and slathered in sweet syrup and topped with marshmallows, sweet potatoes are among the most misunderstood foods around. It is time to challenge their reputation as an overly sweet and decadent side dish, and start to enjoy them in a purer form.

Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, packed with vitamins A and C, potassium and calcium. They are good source of iron, magnesium, and carotenoids. Baked, roasted or mashed, they are healthy and delicious additions to a meal. Many low carb diets allow sweet potatoes,

Lately, we have been spiralizing them into long skinny shoestrings, tossing them lightly in olive oil and seasalt and popping them in the oven. The result is a combination of crunchy and soft, sweet and salty. For about 140 calories per 1 1/2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes, you can reap the benefits guilt free.

Shoestring Sweet Potatoes:
Scrub a sweet potato and cut the ends off so that there are two flat sides to insert into the spiralizer. If the potato is very long, cut it in half. Spiralize the potato, skin and all. Toss the shoestrings in a little olive or coconut oil, and sprinkle them with coarse salt. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, and then check to make sure that the edges are not starting to burn. Toss them, or rotate the pan and continue cooking until they are crisp around the edges, and fully cooked, about 20-25 minutes total, depending on how many potatoes you use. I find one good sized potato can easily feed two people when spiralized. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler, but honestly, we think its just too much trouble! You can alternatively cut the potato into long chunks, like big french fries, and roast them a little longer (25-30 minutes) until they are soft inside, and crispy outside.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Tulipes With Frozen Yogurt

July 22, 2015

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Summer is all about ice-cream and frozen yogurt. An ideal weekend evening often involves a trip to Pinkberry and leisurely stroll on the Highline. It comes as no suprise that when our friends at Pinkberry invited us to taste their newest flavors, we jumped at the chance. Never one to leave well enough alone, it was only fitting that these new flavors be given a worthy vessel. That vessel happened to be tulipes, made of paper thin cookie batter, molded into freeform shaped bowls. They take a little practice to get them right, but they are well worth the effort when your friends swoon over your edible works of art. (And the delicious frozen yogurt inside!)

You can fill them with whatever you like, but we are kind of partial to berries, topped with a generous swirl of Pinkberry’s blueberry yogurt. Ok, maybe we should be honest and say we like them best when filled to the brim with frozen yogurt, and then spinkled with a few blueberries. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Tulipes:

Beat 2 egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Beat six tablespoons of softened butter and 1/4 cup of sugar in a bowl until it is light and creamy. Continue beating and add 1/2 cup of sifted flour and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Fold in egg whites until combined.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Using the bowl you would like to use for a mold, trace a circle around it on a piece of parchment paper. Place no more than 2 circles on the paper. We used a large teacup for our template and mold.

Place the parchment paper with the ink side down and lightly brush it with butter. Add a dollop of batter in the center of each circle, and spread it evenly to fill the entire circle. Bake for 3-4 minutes until the edges are brown and the center is set. Remove the circles from the oven and quickly lift them off the pan one at a time and place them inside your cup, gently ruffling the edges to make it fit. Allow it to cool, and remove it to a plate. Do not bake more than 2 at a time, as they harden very quickly. It is important to work fast while they are still pliable, without burning your fingers. It may take a try or two to perfect your technique, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.

Fill the tulipes with fresh berries and a generous portion of frozen yogurt and enjoy!

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Frozen yogurt courtesy of Pinkberry

Unrecipe of the Week: Iced Tea Pops

July 8, 2015

Ice Tea Pops

There is nothing like a cold glass of iced tea on a hot afternoon. Except maybe an iced tea pop?
We froze the summer favorite and added a little lemonade to the brew for a citrusy sweetness that makes all the difference.

We brewed up a pot of English Breakfast tea, and added a healthy dose of lemonade to taste, before freezing them in our ice pop mold.

Why not get creative, by using green tea? We love matcha, and its stronger taste would stand up to the freezing process. Add a sprig of mint, or a thin slice of lemon to make them look pretty when removed from the mold.

Try a fruity tea, and toss in a few berries for decoration.

No mold, no worries! Use small paper cups, or muffin tins, and insert the sticks as the mixture starts to firm up a bit, so that they stand up straight.

related links: https://indigo-jones.com/2015/05/26/kitchen-tips-tuesday-mason-jar-iced-tea/

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Salad Dressing

June 22, 2015

Today, I officially got tired of my regular repertoire of vinaigrettes. I have been making them for so long, that I was craving something with a little more texture to pour over my greens. We love avocado, so it was only fitting that I used it to create a creamy, flavorful dressing without any eggs or mayonaise. You can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to make this silky smooth avocado dressing in a matter of minutes.

Avocado Dressing:

Scoop the flesh out of a ripe avocado and discard the skin and pit. Add the juice of one lemon, and a small clove of garlic, and puree. Drizzle in olive oil until the dressing smoothes out and becomes thin enough to pour over a salad. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and enjoy on top of the salad of your choice.

To customize this basic dressing, add fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro and puree them until they are mixed into the dressing.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Coconut Ice Cream

June 10, 2015

 

This sweet treat is rich and creamy, with the flavor of coconut. It has very few ingredients, and pairs well with all kinds of fruit. Unlike many icecreams, this does not use eggs and doesn’t require any cooking. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

We served our coconut ice cream with strawberries and mini biscuits for a riff on the traditional strawberry shortcake. It was such a hit that we are sure this one will be in heavy rotation all summer long!

This unrecipe calls for cream of coconut. Don’t mistake this for canned coconut milk. Cream of coconut is thick and syrupy, and very sweet. It is found in the international foods area of most supermarkets, and is what gives this it’s flavor and sweetness.

Coconut Ice Cream:

Mix together 1 cup of milk, 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and a 15 oz. can of cream of coconut.  Mix well in a blender or food processor until it is combined and smooth in texture. Pour into your icecream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Tranfer the icecream into a container and freeze until ready to eat.

You can add fresh shredded coconut, or mini chocolate chips or diced pineapple to customize the recipe at the end of the freezing / churning process.

We use a special attachement for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which must be frozen in advance, so be sure you have placed it in the freezer the day before, if you are using that type.

If you don’t have an icecream maker, or suitable attachment,go ahead and give this a try. Make sure it is mixed really well. Place the mixure into a pan (we think a loaf pan is the perfect size) and freeze for about 30-45 minutes until the edges are starting to freeze. Remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously to break up any ice crystals. Return it to the freezer and repeat this every 30 minutes or so until the ice cream is fully frozen and creamy, and enjoy!

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fresh Pasta with Zucchini and Roasted Tomatoes

June 1, 2015

Isn’t it funny how once the weather changes, my palatte changes with it? I suddenly can’t get enough tomatoes, corn, basil and zucchini. My spiralizer becomes my best friend, allowing me to morph a zucchini into noodles with the quick turn of a handle. Two minutes in a pan and I have a tasty base that gets me past my pasta craving most days. Except yesterday.

Home Made Pasta

Home Made Pasta

I made homemade fettuccine in the late afternoon, and tucked it away until dinner time. The dough gave me a run for my money…it was too dry, so I added a little olive oil and water and kneaded it into submission. When I started to put it through the pasta machine (the old fashioned hand crank type is all I use,) I felt like something magical had happened. The dough reacted perfectly, and didn’t require untangling or adding flour to prevent the cut pasta from sticking together. After 2 or 3 minutes in boiling salty water, I had a big bowl of the lightest, most delicate fettuccine I had ever made. It easily held its own against the fresh pastas I have had in fine restaurants here or in Italy. I had to give in and taste it.

Don’t let people trick you into believing that fresh pasta is always superior to the dried varieties. Fresh pasta is more delicate, and takes to simpler, oil based sauces. The dried types do the heavy lifting, and should be used for tomato sauces, especially those with meat, which could overpower many freshly made pastas. I tossed ours in a garlic and basil puree with lots of parmesan cheese and topped it off with my latest obsession, oven roasted cherry tomatoes. They become so sweet they are like eating candy.

This dinner is so simple to make that you can prepare the components and go sit around and relax until dinner time. At least that is what I did.

If you can’t get fresh pasta (many stores carry it in the refrigerator case ) and don’t feel like making your own, it will still be good with the boxed kind. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to shave your zucchinni into ribbons. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender, or buy a bottle of pesto sauce. The beauty of an unrecipe is keeping it simple and making it your own. Do roast the tomatoes though. Its totally worth the minimal effort.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

For the tomatoes:

Rinse and dry a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes.  Toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper, and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until they are starting to caramelize, but not burnt or dehydrated. Turn the pan about half way through and give it a shake to ensure more even cooking. You can also sprinkle some dried or fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano on them before roasting.

For the basil oil: 

Place the leaves of one bunch of basil and a clove or two of garlic into the food processor, and process until finely minced. (Traditional pesto has pine nuts in it. If you would like to use nuts, add them now and mince thoroughly.)Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube with the machine running, until it forms a loose paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap that lays right on the surface of the food to avoid it turning brown. (* Traditional pesto has the parmesan integrated into the sauce. You can add it now if you prefer. I like the consistency of the basil puree without the cheese for this purpose, but it is your choice. If using jarred pesto, it will already be in there.)

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles!

For the zucchini:
Saute the zucchini noodles in a little olive oil until starting to soften, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the pureed basil oil and mix well. If it is a little thick, add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to thin it down.

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Fresh Pasta with Zucchini, Basil Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

To assemble:
Cook the pasta according to directions, or about 2-3 minutes if homemade, and drain.

Place the pasta in a bowl. Spoon the zucchini on top, and sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese. Place the oven roasted tomatoes on top, and enjoy!!!

Pasta photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cappuccino Ice Pops

May 28, 2015

As the weather gets warmer, and the days get longer, its time to rethink your afternoon coffee run. Instead of heading out for an over priced, sugary calorie bomb in a cup, why not make these easy “cappuccino” pops at home?  We love the old school look of these ice-pops, made from coffee, cream and sugar, with just a touch of cinnamon. The recipe can be customized to suit your taste. A little sweeter? More cream? Dairy free? No problem. We even made ours decaf!

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Cappuccino Ice Pops:

Brew 3 or 4 cups of strong coffee, and cool to room temperature. (If you make a little extra in the morning, it will be cool when you get home in the evening.)

Using the ice pop molds of your choice, or paper cups if you don’t have a mold, freeze about 1/2″ of cream until it is solid. You can substitute the milk of your choice; coconut, almond or soy would work just fine. We don’t recommend using skim milk , as it might be a bit watery and lack substance once its frozen.

Once the coffee is cool, add cream (or the milk of your choice) to taste, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar to taste, and a little cinnamon. Mix well and pour into the molds or paper cups. If your mold has sticks and a cover, insert them now. If not, let the coffee start to freeze up a little before inserting the sticks. We covered our mold with foil, and popped the sticks through so that they would stand upright while freezing. Leave them in the freezer until they are fully frozen, remove from the molds and enjoy!

Tips: Dip the mold in warm water to loosen the pop so it slides out easily.

Once frozen, the sweetness in the coffee subsides a bit. Use a little more sugar than you normally would, to get the correct sweetness in the ice pop.

You can make the coffee and refrigerate it until you are ready to freeze it. The colder the coffee when you start, the less ice crystals your pops will have.

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Raw Artichoke Salad

May 11, 2015

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One of my favorite dishes to eat in Italy in the summertime is a raw artichoke salad. It is delicous in it’s simplicity; small ribbons of sliced artichoke drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pile of paper thin shreds of parmesean cheese on top.
Something has always held me back from making it. Artichokes can be a bit prickly to deal with, pun intended.  Today, I set out to conquer my fear of preparing fresh artichokes so that we could finally enjoy this seasonal specialty at home. What did I have to lose, except perhaps a few artichokes?

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Artichoke 101:

Artichokes have tough outer leaves, which get progressively more tender as you get closer to the center. Once there, you will find the prickly purple core, called the choke. Some of the leaves also have sharp points on them, which need to be trimmed. All in all, not such a daunting task, except that the artichoke starts to turn a not-so-pleasant shade of brown, the minute it is cut and exposed to air. Yet, with a few tricks and some fast knife work, artichoke salad was enjoyed by all!

Raw Artichoke Salad With Lemon and Parmesean

Rinse artichokes thouroughly, getting in between the leaves to rid them of any dirty residue.

Prepare a large bowl of water, with the juice 1 or 2 lemons in it. Save the already squeezed lemon halves and toss them into the bowl.

Peel any of the tough leaves off of the artichoke and discard them. For this salad, you will want to get to the more tender leaves, which are yellow. Using a kitchen scissors, trim the tips of the remaining leaves to eliminate the sharp points. There is a tremenous amount of waste in preparing fresh artichokes, so brace yourself to throw out what appears to be more than you are keeping.

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Slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise,and immediately rub it with one of the discarded lemon halves. Using a spoon or melon baller, remove the purple “choke” and discard it. Trim off the stem, and toss the remaining artichoke heart into the bowl of lemon water to prevent it from discoloring. Continue with the rest of the artichokes, always putting them back into  the lemon water as quickly as possible.

Squeeze another lemon or two into a bowl big enough to hold the artichokes.

Take one piece of the cleaned artichoke hearts at a time, quickly slice it into thin strips, and toss it in the lemon juice. Once all the artichokes are sliced and coated with lemon juice, add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on a platter, and using a peeler, shave fresh parmesan cheese over the entire salad and enjoy!

NOTES: for 2 people, I used 4 very small artichokes and 2 tiny lemons. With larger artichokes, you may be able to get by with 2 or 3. The lemon quantity should be enough to coat the artichoke slices, without them swimming in lemon juice.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Greek Shrimp

April 16, 2015

We love shrimp at our house. It is low in calories, cooks up quickly, and adapts well to a variety of preparations. This unrecipe was adapted from Ina Garten, one of my all time favorite chefs, known for her fresh, simple and very tasty cuisine.

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Greek Shrimp With Fennel and Feta Cheese:

Core and dice the bulb end of fennel and saute in olive oil until it is starting to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced and stir another minute. Pour some dry white wine ( 1/2 cup or so) into the pan and cook until the liquid reduces by about half. Add a can or box of diced tomatoes in their liquid, a dollop of tomato paste, and spoonful of dried oregano. Continue to cook at medium/low heat for another 10-15 minutes to create a rich, chunky sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange a pound of peeled and deviened shrimp on top of the sauce, and sprinkle it with crumbled feta cheese. Mix together a cup of breadcrumbs, chopped parsley and the zest of one lemon with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the mixture over the shrimp and feta. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the shrimp have turned pink and opaque, and the breadcrumb mixture is golden brown, but not burnt.

Squeeze a little lemon over the dish and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Egg Cups

March 30, 2015

I have been obsessed with these healthy and delicous mini soufflés, which are baked in a muffin tin.

They are easy to make and reheat well, so you can whip them up in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them. You can put virtually anything you like in them, and each muffin cup is an opportunity to experiment with different fillings.

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Mini Egg Cups:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray each cup you are using in a muffin tin with cooking spray. You can fill the whole pan, or just a few cups at a time.

Add the filling ingredients. I have been using broccoli and cheese, but any combination of vegetables, cheeses and ham, bacon or smoked salmon would work. Think of it as a mini omelette.

Pour liquid egg whites into the pan until it barely reaches the top. It will puff up during baking. Place then muffin tin on a baking pan “just in case” they run over, and slide it into the oven. Bake until puffed and a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. This should take about 20- 25 minutes or so, depending on the fillings.

A few things to note:

If you are using raw vegetables, such as broccoli or mushrooms, chop and quick saute them before putting adding them to the pan. Finely diced onion or shallots can be placed in the pan and put in the oven to start the cooking process. Add the rest of the ingredients about 5 minutes later.

If you are using sausage or bacon, cook that before using.

It is best to layer onions first if you are using them, then other vegetables, cooked meats or fish, then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, so that it doesn’t burn.

I have used frozen chopped broccoli florets or spinach without precooking.

You can use whole eggs if you prefer. Scramble them with a little milk and use in place of the egg whites.

To reheat, just pop them in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes until heated through and enjoy!

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