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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peach Frozen Yogurt

Peach Frozen Yogurt
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as a kid i had a thing against pulpy fruit yogurt -- it reminded me of snot. i preferred the plain, vanilla or lemon flavored yogurts because the fruit flavored ones? they had a concentration of the pulpy snot at the bottom that grossed me out. if i *had* to eat the fruit yogurt, i would skim the top and then sneak chuck out the rest when i reached the bottom. so wasteful, i know.

you'll be happy to know that i've since outgrown that habit. i'm still particular about what kind of fruit i like in my yogurt (eff off banana, pineapple, kiwi and other weirdo combos) and i used to only only only buy breyers blueberry. until i got introduced to chobani. greek yogurt is thick because it's been strained to remove whey (the excess liquid) and the end product has a consistency of soft cheese. you can make it yourself with cheese cloth & strainer, and dw has expressed an interest in doing it but i'd rather just buy the stuff.

we've made frozen yogurt twice this summer. i've been on a froyo kick lately, what with so many buffet style frozen yogurt shops out there. that adds up. the first time we used fage, mixed it with a bit of honey and regular organic yogurt to loosen it up. it was amazing, sweet & tart, cold & refreshing. this past weekend we used chobani and threw in some chunky in season peaches. we thought about pulverizing the fruit but the fear of snotty fruit came back and i nixed that thought.

this was my dinner Monday nite.

Peach Frozen Yogurt

2 cups plain chobani yogurt
2 ripe peaches, skin intact, washed & rough chopped
honey to taste
few TBLs regular organic yogurt to thin out

mix all ingredients except for the peaches in a bowl until flavor is incorporated. then, gently, fold in the chopped peaches. add to ice cream maker & churn according to manufacturer's instructions.

be warned, first out of the machine, it does have the frozen yogurt consistency but once in the freezer, it does freeze into a block of ... yogurt. it does not have the creamy texture of ice cream, nor is it easy to scoop. that doesn't stop me tho.

more cold treats:

**Note: this post was not endorsed by either chobani or fage. they just happened to the brands i used to create my froyo. either are acceptable & purchases on based on whatever is on sale.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fruit Smoothies

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with this heat that has descended upon the east coast, i've been unable to write -- not because i am lacking in internet hookup but because it appears that the sun has made my brain into a desert and i am wallowing in this scorching madness that is july. i am a sweaty mess, grumpy to the core and the worst? i feel fat. sweaty hot AND heifer-feeling. not a good combo, friends.

if time permits and we plan accordingly, dw will make me a to-go smoothie in the morning to wake me up and hopefully cheer me up without making me feel bloated. he introduced me to the Vitamix this year (how i lived my life prior to this introduction is beyond me!) which pulverizes everything into a smooth, creamy frenzy and the end product provides the best brain freeze ever. desert for a brain vs. brain freeze? come on, friends, which would you choose?

Fruit Smoothie
serves 2
fruits used depending on availability and season

1 banana, usually frozen if we plan right
handful of berries: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries... if we're feeling daring, we add ALL THREE!
splash of juice to thin, usually oj
about 2/3 cup organic PLAIN yogurt
honey or agave nectar, to taste

add all ingredients into a blender and process until desired consistency.

fyi: it's peach season, take advantage!




Thursday, July 21, 2011

Juillet:Julio:July

JULY

it's past the middle of july. i feel like i haven't done anything, tho every single weekend since the end of March has been booked solid. you know how it is, don't roll your eyes, you're busy too. there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day to fit everything i want to do, must less need to do. it's all so tragic, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lemon Blueberry+Raspberry Buckle

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Blueberry Lemon Buckle

having two avid cooks/bakers in one kitchen can be chaotic. usually, it's one or the other who's puttering in front of the stove. i tend to read while dw puts together a meal, and he in turn, tries to help me when i take on the duties but as he once told me, i'm usually blissfully unaware of anything and everything around me while i'm measuring and/or stirring.

it's not that i think of cooking as a solitary activity, it's just that i haven't learned to cook with anyone. also, it's a different style approach. dw talks out loud, he likes to have all the dishes washed & put away, have everything mise en place before he even turns on the stove/oven. me? i prep to a certain point, get bored and then go full speed ahead (if rachael ray and giada di laurentiis can do, damnit, so can i!). i am also capable of working with a full sink of dirty dishes & a minuscule amount of counter top space. yes, i've gotten burned, burned food and well, i see the benefit of doing it dw style, but i still prefer my method.

there's nothing wrong with either of our styles... unless both methods are being utilized in one kitchen. when i made this buckle for a dinner with friends in DC, he was in the midst of cleaning up the kitchen AND trying to come up with a dish for another dinner with another set of friends, locally. i was trudging along like no one else was in the space with me, while he was trying to accommodate my erratic movements and early morning stupor. at the time we were short on temper but now looking back, i can only roll my eyes. how many people can truly say they can cook & bake with their darling loves??

recipe adapted from food librarian, originally from the LA Times. i added red raspberries to the crumble top, because why not?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Cake Pops

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Photo Courtesy of M. Brent Trostle & used with permission.

hello friends! are you ready for the last installment of Harry Potter? i will be a weeping mess this weekend, either from saying goodbye to my hogwart friends or from Dirty South's drunken visit.

a few months ago i created HP cake pops for my friend brent's daughter Lizzie. it was a blast! for more pix, hit up the fan page album.

happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Swiss Chard with Linguini ~ weird tastes

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the best men tell you the truth because they think you can take it; the worst men either try to preserve you in some innocent state with their false protection or are 'brutally honest'. when someone tells you the truth, lets you think for yourself, experience your own emotions, he is treating you as a true equal, as a friend. and the best men cook for you. ~Whitney Otto, How to Make an American Quilt

taste is a funny thing. i used to have a penchant for sour foods, i loved sour patch kids and lemon drops when i was younger, now i lean more towards the salty. i used to hate bitter foods like bitter gourd, but now i dig it... specifically that vegetable. i tried swiss chard raw this summer and it was not pleasant. that kind of bitter taste is reminiscent of the time when i would shove as much food in my mouth as possible, excuse myself to the bathroom and upchuck it all in the toilet to be flushed.

with that image in mind, i present to you dw's remedy to the bitter swiss chard. cooked. doused in oil flavored with garlic & onions. he made this for me days after i pouted my way thru a plate of raw chard salad, promising that cooked it's much better. in the end, to accommodate my taste, i added my own splash of soy sauce & sriracha. don't judge me. soy sauce is a serious comfort condiment & i had to be sure the bitterness of the chard was gone. dw was honestly not offended, you shouldn't be either.

Swiss Chard with Linguine

Generous pile of greens (Chard, Kale, etc.)
Sliced onion
Garlic
Capers
Olives
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Pecorino Romano
Fresh ground black pepper
Linguine - cooked to taste
soy sauce & sriracha seriously optional

yeah, sorry about the lack of exact measurements. i'd say this served 5-6 people, and it's really all about taste & your preference. dw & i like strong flavors so he was heavy handed with the garlic, olives and capers. this is just a guideline for the this dish.

saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and fragrant. throw in the chopped greens, it will wilt down. season with pepper. when they've reduced significantly, add in the capers and olives. mix thoroughly. at the last second add in the pasta, maybe a ladle of the pasta cooking water. splash with a bit of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately, topped with grated pecorino romano if desired.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Delicious Vietnam # 15 ~ July Edition

it was with pleasure that i hosted this month's Delicious Vietnam. Delicious Vietnam is a monthly food event that gathers global food bloggers and promotes & explores the diversity of Vietnamese food. It was formed by Ravenous Couple & a Food Lover's Journey. ChiAnh of Door to my Kitchen is August's host.

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bo luc lac

from baltimore, MD, i made bo luc lac for my darling love.

chaoc

from Los Angeles, CA, co-creators of this event, Kim & Hong put together the ultimate snack, Chả ốc, best enjoyed with a beer and good friends.

lau

from melbourne, australia, co-creator of this event, Anh created a lovely winter-time dinner feast to be shared with close friends & family, lẩu or hotpot.

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from hamilton, canada, nina made fermented bean curd bbq chicken, fantastic finger food.

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from the bay area, mai went with a sweet concoction, Taro and sticky rice pudding with coconut milk. *to clarify, she did not create this sweet dish, it's just an "overview of different dishes that can be made with/from taro" as it's one of her favorite veggies.

jack fruit salad

from San Diego, CA, Nam made a gorgeous young jackfruit salad, Gỏi Mít Trộn, perfect for this summer heat.

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from San Jose, CA, pauline learned how to make banh bot loc with her aunt.

banh xeo

from Montréal, QC, Canada, mike created one of my all time favorite summer dishes: Bánh Xèo.

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from Ann Arbor, MI & San Francisco, CA, Dang & Oanh combats the heat of summer with their watermelon salad & roasted pork belly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shaking Beef - Bo Luc Lac

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bo luc lac

it's amazing how more involved i've become in thinking about the nourishment of my body - what i put into my body is important to me now more than ever. i am mindful of the ingredients that i use, not only the measurement amounts (ok, fine, a general idea of the amounts!) but also, where the ingredients came from. it's not enough that they're local & organic, but how were they cultivated? by whom? and as a meat-eater, how were the animals treated, what were they fed and how were they slaughtered? these are questions that i think about now when i hit up the grocery stores. these are questions that dw wonders as he's researching farmers stands at the local farmers' markets.

i'm hosting this month's Delicious Vietnam event, so i made bo luc lac, shaking beef stir fry, for our dinner. the beef is a top roast cut, grass-fed and expensive as hell. but dw & i don't eat meat much, so when we do, it had better be good. the top roast was intended for another dish with garlic scape but that was nixed in favor of this wonderful treat that i rarely had as a child & sometimes indulge in when at fancy schmancy viet restaurants. typically this is served over a bed of watercress, with tomatoes & vinergary onions. using what we had grabbed at the local markets, i served this with luscious ripe avocados, thinly sliced english cucumbers, on a bed of purslane & lettuce leaves. it was delicious but i was most happy that dw devoured it. because we talked about our respective childhood dinners, what appeared on our dinner tables, and how it's come full circle to what appears on our dinner table now.

Grandma's Bo Luc Lac

3 ingredients, 2 steps:
marinade:
beef, preferably fillet mignon (and of course, grass fed) but seriously, any cut, cubed
minced garlic, at your discretion
oyster sauce, enough to cover the meat

salad:
whatever greens, nice with watercress for the peppery bite but purslane & lettuce leaves were fine
sliced avocado & cukes
sliced vinegary onions (wc has a recipe for this)

to cook:
veggie oil

honestly, when i spoke with grandma about this, she told me to beat the meat (HAHAHA. i am so immature. sorry about that) to tenderize it. and to marinade it for at least 2 hours. no frills, no sugar, salt, fish sauce or soy sauce. (dw came home during his lunch break to beat the meat {snicker} to allow it to marinate for the rest of the afternoon)

frying it up was scary. dw & i were standing there watching the oil heat up & then we moved quickly, two grown people cooking up this beef. you just have to move quickly, dodge oil splatters & ensure you get good caramelization on the meat.

serve atop the salad, maybe drizzle a simple vinaigrette over top & eat with a bowl of rice.

Wandering Chopsticks has a more complete ingredient list & method that you can refer to, in case gma's recipe isn't complete enough.

Delicious Vietnam was created by A Food Lover's Journey and Ravenous Couple. The August Edition will be hosted by ChiAnh of Door to my Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

idyllic summer & a backwards flag cake

summer time berry picking
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Fishing
Flag Cake

in summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

repeated ~ berry picking, this time for raspberries in the early morn sun with a dear blog friend.
sang ~ or attempted to sing the Star Spangled Banner with my darling love. it was a fail but we giggled like children in the late summer nite.
sweated ~ thru the hours of the long weekend, with the fan on full throttle. the heat was scorching, the air so thick it rivaled the cake batter, but it didn't deter us from clasping hands.
watched ~ falling skies. i may have yelped in fear a few times but dw was right beside me.
baked ~ a flag cake. only i mis-timed one of the layers and as a result, had to reverse the blue part. (confession: boxed cake mix + food coloring) (redemption: the icing was from scratch & it made the cake)
bbq'd ~ by the water. there may have been some fishing, competitive croquet & fireworks.

it was a loverly holiday weekend. hope yours was as sweet.