Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Under The Palms


Oh, baby.  Have it anyway you like, this is delicious.  Choice A non alcoholic, choice B alcoholic.  This drink is delicious.  My daughter and I were totally wowed.

Yeah, here it is, 3:30 in the afternoon and I just enjoyed one of these.  It all started this morning when I was coming up with ways to get my daughter to drink the remainder of the mango juice.  Straight up, it just wasn't happening.  So I threw it in a blender and added some pineapple juice.  My intention was to copy Mc Donalds new smoothie.  Yuck, didn't like what I had come up with.  I added some cream- doesn't that make everything taste delicious anyhow.  After that I thought it needed something to round it out.  Oh yes, I have a stash of frozen bananas in my freezer for my soft ice cream I usually make with it.  Threw some of those in there.  We inhaled the drink. Then in the afternoon I asked her if she would like another one of those smoothies.  Yup.  After lunch there was a little left and I saw the Veev laying on the counter.  Hmmm, I wonder how that would be.  Mixed it in, chilled it.  Returned from my doctors appointment and wow was that ever good.  Had to share it with you.

Under The Palms

Choice A:  non alcoholic
8 ounce mango juice
6 ounce pineapple juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen banana

Choice B: alcoholic
4 ounces mango juice
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2- inch chunks frozen banana
5 ounces Veev (acai 'ah-sigh-ee' liquor)

Whiz all the ingredients in a blender and pour into chilled glasses. Sit back and enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fruit Squares

I am making these recipe binders for my children.  In the binders are different family members and their recipes.  The things that they always bring to potlucks or what they are known for.  Or recipes of people who have past on.  I am including pictures of the people, expressions, stories, traditions.  All of it, anything that I feel is relevant to their heritage.  Kind of a recipe scrapbook.  Maybe you are thinking, isn't that what a blog is,; a digitized scrapbook of sorts.  Yeah, it is, that is my intention as I go along but there is something about holding something tangible in your hands.

This recipe for these fruit squares was given to me by my mother.  It was given to her by her mother, via my Great Aunt.  Now I am sharing it with you. Lucky you.  It's not an, oh my God, got to have this sweetly, decadent, kind of dessert.  It is more of a wonderful, lightly sweet, fruit laden treat to have along side your tea or coffee.  Now that I am getting older I appreciate these kinds of things more and more.

A more generous portion of fruit filling is called for here.  I had more to put in there.  I made my own peach filling with corn starch, etc.  But my husband got a hold of it and figured it was some kind of dessert made of fruit that he naturally should have. Clearly things need to be labeled in my fridge, like, HANDS OFF DUDE!

A recipe from Babka, via my Great Aunt- love those old recipes.

3/4 cup lard or Crisco  (do not use butter- it just wont work the same)
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
pie filling of your choice*

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together n a large bowl.  With a pastry blender or fork work the lard in to the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture.  In a small bowl combine the eggs, milk and vanilla.  Pour into dry ingredients, mixing completely but not over mixing.  This is a really sticky dough.  You may need to add a tablespoon or more of flour to get it to work for you.  Rolling it out between plastic wrap, parchment, cereal bags or wax paper are a few ways to get this dough rolled out.  You want to roll out two sheets of dough; one for the bottom, one for the top.  Lay the bottom layer into an ungreased pan.  I like to use a jelly roll pan.  Place fruit filling on top of dough.  Lay top layer of dough on top of that.  Make some vent holes.  Bake in a preheated oven 350F.

*If you have fresh fruit, make your own filling ahead of time.  Apples are delightful in this. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moo Are You?

No food today.  Just a food source.

We went to visit a farm- a friend of our relative, offered to show us around his family farm.  I jumped at the chance for the opportunity for my girls to see where milk comes from and become educated about the milk.
I didn't realize that their heads were in these bars.
Here are the younger cows in their barn, free to roam around.  My daughter really got a kick out of these cows.  She felt she was communicating with them. Movies with talking animals really have convinced my kids that animals think like humans.  Moo are you?
These windows were really cool.  Seeing an older style barn brings me back to some childhood memories of visiting my Grandparents.
A calf.  I always thought that all of these "dog" houses were for "veal calves".  Another learning experience.  By the way.  When I was thirteen and found out about how calves were raised for slaughter-= veal, I decided to never eat it again.  I also pretty much vowed that I would never listen to anything about how animals were slaughtered because I would end up a Vegetarian or Vegan (I dont think thata a bad choice mind you, I actually respect it).  Yeah, I know, kind of silly and some would say pretty pathetic... ignorant.  Slowly I am opening my eyes to what is out there.  Watching Food Inc. was definitely an eye opener.  And really if you have not seen Food Inc. - you really should.  But anyway, I am definitely more and more hip with local farms- animals, fruits and vegetables.  My husband and I decided that we would only eat meat from our local farms unless we could be assured of good farming practices (cruelty free and good feed).  Because we don't have a ton of money this will mean less meat in our diet and more beans.  And if you know me, that is totally okay because I love beans.  LOVE BEANS! 
Now, I know there is probably many opinions out there about all this but this is my blog- kinda like my diary and I am speaking my mind here.
Loved this cow.  She was kinda off by herself doin' her own thing.

I really loved the opportunity to see the farm.  My kids really enjoyed it and hopefully learned a thing or two.  I know I did.  I encourage everyone to become aware of what goes in their mouths, where it comes from and how it is treated.  It's all about respect for self and others.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marinated Zucchini

This is hardly a recipe but so worth mentioning because it is very simple and delicious.  And requires no cooking- well at least with heat. 

With a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini in strips.  Place in a bowl.  Once you have shaved off enough slender pieces of zucchini, drizzle with lemon juice and kosher salt.  If you want to be really fancy add some oilve oil, garlic and tomatoes.  But honestly when I just drizzled the lemon juice and salt on it- I could not stop eating it.  Delicious!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Flax Seed and Blueberry Granola Bars

Dehydrated blueberries are pretty pricey at the store.  I figured I'd give them a try.  Some things dehydrate well- apples, pineapple and bananas.  Blueberries, well, lets just say it had its challenges.  In the end it was worth it though.  I tucked most of it away for winter time munching and baking but saved a few to add to these bars.  The bars were sensational. I love the flax taste and the chewiness that the coconut adds.

I went a little wild and slathered some white chocolate on top, yah know, to get the kids to get my one daughter to eat them more.  My husband thought that was a fine idea and gobbled the rest of them up.  Gone!

Flax Seed and Blueberry Granola Bars

4 ounces butter
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup coconut, flaked
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons blueberry honey (you could use whatever honey you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried blueberries
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line and 8 x 8 baking sheet with parchment paper, extending it ove the sides.  Mix dry ingredients with egg white, set aside.  In a saucepan combine butter, honey and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add to oat mixture.  Stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture into baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.  Cool on wire rack. Lift bars when cooled to cutting bars and cut into whatever size pieces you like.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vanilla Pudding with a Side of Random Thoughts

Some cool vanilla pudding goes down real easy in the summer time.  Creamy and delicious and very refreshing.  Simple.  Sprinkle some blueberries or any other fresh fruit that you love and voila- yumminess.

Had to share a few random things with you.

This first photo is my daughter's discovery.  She urged me to share it with all of you.  A pretzel with hummus and a pickle.  I know this kind of thing isnt really new but it was new to her.  I use to get shawarma pitas at a local Lebanese restaurant and there would always be a pickle in there.  A nice sourness filling every bite.  It was superb.

The fact that my daughter was excitedly dippin' in for more beany goodness was certainly very exciting for her Mamma. I had mine with Pita Chips.  Yumminess- I made another batch of those sour pickles just so we could eat the hummus with the pickles.  My other daughter dipped her pickle into the hummus. She was not as impressed as we were. She thought she was pretty funny though dipping her pickle in the dip instead of her pretzel.  This is after all, five year old humor at it's finest.

Then this next photo was a surprise visito that was about 2 inches long.  I was working with some dill I had bought at the Farmers Market and there sitting on the branch was this creature.  Love the colors- so vibrant. 

As pretty as he or she was, I took it outside and snipped off that limb.  No offense Mr. Capatiller (my daughters favorite name for him).

Vanilla Pudding

Recipe adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes

2 1/2 cups milk, divided
Pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/2 vanilla pod scraped
1 tablespoon butter

Place 2 cups milk and salt in a saucepan. Sprinkle sugar on milk and do no stir; heat over medium-high. Combine cornstarch with remaining milk; add egg yolks and mix well, set aside. When milk comes to a full boil, remove saucepan from the heat.  Slowly add about 1/2 cup of hot mixture to the cornstarch and milk mixture. Then stir back into saucepan, whisking as you go.   Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute. Pudding will begin to thicken.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla seeds and butter. Pour into individual dishes.  Eat warm or chill.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Acai Berry Fruit Drink with Veev

A little while ago I was contacted by a PR firm in regards to this new fruit alcohol made from acai. I have always pronounced it with a hard c sound. Wrong. Correct pronunciation is "ah-sigh-ee".  The liquor is called Veev.  You may have heard of the health benefits associated with acai... increased energy, weight loss, improved sexual function, healthier skin, stronger heart...  (see this site for acai health benefits).  So while you are drinking that lovely little drink you can  lie to tell yourself it is all for the benefit of my health.  Yeah, tha'ts it... Yeah.  But seriously, it is delicious.  Great flavor.  One drink, once in a while is beneficial, especially if you are pretty strung out.  R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N.  Of course you could receive the same benefits and more by meditating.... Okay, you can see here clearly how I argue with myself. 

I tasted it by the teaspoon full.  It has great flavor- very berry- ish.  I thought I would pair it with blueberries.  I thought about adding vodka in there as well but I thought the drink had some nice flavors going on and I wanted to leave it as such.  I may try adding a bit of vodka the next time just to try it.

I hope to put together another drink for you all... stay tuned.

Acai Berry Fruit Drink

2 cups blueberries
1.4 cup rasperry jam

2 ounces Veev- acai berry liquor

1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
a handfull of ice cubes.  If you are using frozen blueberries, skip the ice.

In a blender, whir the ingredients together until most of the ice cubes dissolve and the berries are mashed. Serve in chilled glasses with a straw.
Disclaimer:  I was contacted by The Baddish Group and asked if I would like to sample Veev.  I was offered the above bottles to use in a recipe.  I received no monetary compensation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


In the summer, the light is good, perfect for taking pictures around supper time.  But I tell you in the summer it is hard for me to come up with new recipes to share with you all.  The reason is that most of the time, its all about freshness.  I like to roast my veggies or just dress them with some olive oil, that you all know how to do.  Like I cant tell you how many times I have eaten sliced radishes and cucumbers with olive oil and vinegar salt and pepper.  Not very exciting on the blog but very exciting to me at dinner time.  Then of course there are my summer favorites, like Crescent Dragonwagon's corn fritters/pancakes.  I adore them, I make them ad nauseum.  I cant help myself, they are so darn good.  And my mock crab cakes made with zucchini, when summer comes that is one of the first things that I am itching to make.

Things like arepas are vehicles to great food.  They are excellent backgrounds for summer freshness.  Mine don't look it here.  Why?  Because these were made at the end of winter and I am slowly but surely using up the remainder of my blog posts in que.  Too much summer fun, I tell yah! I promise you I will be sending things your way more regularly now because I have been re-inspired.

video how to and recipe here at Foodwishes.

2 1/2 cups tepid water
1 teaspoon salt
about 2 cups of P.A.N. white corn meal

Mix together and let sit for a few minutes.  Form into patties and fry.

Next time I make these I want to try these cream cheese arepas.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pie

When I was picking strawberries the last time, a woman there who was picking asked if I have ever had fresh strawberry pie.  Out of curiosity I made the pie.  It has elevated itself to a definite yearly dessert.  Delicious.

It did not totally set up as you can see, probably because I slice them.  So when you make them, follow the directions and use small strawberries, uncut.

Charlotte Beach House, Rochester, NY

Fun at the beach

Chasing gulls
After a day out in the sun, this is a very refreshing pie.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Adapted from this recipe at My Recipes.

2 cups ripe strawberries
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon zest of a lemon
6 cups small ripe strawberries
1 baked pie shell ( I try to make some of these or tart shells before the hot weather begins and then I freeze them)

Mash 2 cups strawberries with a fork or potato masher. Combine the strawberries and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the strawberry mixture through a sieve into a bowl, and reserve 1 cup strawberry liquid (add enough water to measure 1 cup, if necessary). Discard pulp.

Combine 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a pan; add strawberry liquid, stirring well with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.

Arrange a layer of small strawberries, stem sides down, in the crust. Spoon about one-third of sauce over the strawberries. Arrange the remaining strawberries on top, and spoon the remaining sauce over the strawberries. Chill for at least 3 hours.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tortellini Salad

It's summer. A time for being out in the sunshine, walking the dog, playing catch, swinging on a swing, swimming in a pool or lake or ocean, drinking lemonade, sitting on the porch, picking fresh fruit at the farm.  Summer is about so many things.  We try and  do as much as we can while the days are long and the temperature is right. It's no wonder that summer slips away so fast.  So much to do.

We went to Stony Brook Park which is in Dansville, NY. A beautiful place, lots of trails and waterfalls.  The signs said no swimming but tell that to the 100's of people that were walking in the creek and standing under the waterfall.  So wonderfully refreshing standing under the waterfall.  Fresh, spring fed water pouring down on you.  Lovely!
The rocks are slippery so you have to super careful.  It is worth the risk though.  The air was 98 degrees F that day and the water was probably around 75F. 
You wouldn't know it from this photo but there were so many people standing under this later in the day.  Dogs too.  Our dog, Caina, was not exactly thrilled about swimming.  It was her first time in the water.  She seemed so shocked when she felt her weightlessness for the first time.  She looked like she was in a state of panic.  Every time we would head toward the falls, she would turn around with her doggy paddle and head the other way.
Peaceful, eh?

Well, summer, is also a time for salad.  Light and refreshing.  Real nice at the close of a really hot day.

Chicken Tortellini Salad
Recipe adapted from this recipe from Southern Living, June 2011

2 (9-oz.) packages refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chopped cooked chicken I used thigh meat)
1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare tortellini according to package directions.  Combine olive oil and next 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Stir into tortellini, chicken, and next 3 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.