Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Gourmet


Hot Pink Smoothie

 (This recipe is for a large Vita-Mix or Blend Tec container, if you have a regular blender, please cut recipe in 1/2 and do two batches)
  • 1 ½ -2 Cup Water
  • 1 Can Coconut Water or Coconut Milk
  • 7 Prunes
  • ¾  Cup Raw Cashew pieces
  • 2 Medium Carrots (cut up if using a smaller blender)
  • ¼ - ½  Fresh Beet (peel and cut your beet up into fourths or eighths-depending on how large your beet is and freeze in a ziploc bag)
  • 2 T. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 T. Hemp Protein Powder (Vanilla Flavored)
  • 12-15 Strawberries, frozen (or 16 oz. bag)
  • Agave (to taste, about 3-4 T.)
Put the first 6 ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Once the nuts are smooth and there are no more chunks, you can add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and add as much agave and strawberries as you would like to sweeten it. Make sure to peel your carrots and beets so you don't have an odd taste from the skin. If you need to add more water if it's too thick, just add until everything blends well.

Veggie Cups with Low-fat Ranch Dressing

  • Assorted veggies (carrots, celery, olives, grape tomatoes, cucumber, peppers)
  • Low-Fat Ranch Dressing
  • Clear cups
Low-Fat Ranch Dressing
  • 1½  Cups Buttermilk
  •  ½  Cup Reduced Fat Mayonnaise or Veganaise
  •  4 tsp. Ultra Gel
  •  1 tsp. Salt
  •  1 tsp. Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp. Onion Powder
  • ¼  tsp. Black Pepper
  • tsp. Dried Parsley
 Combine all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to thicken and blend flavors. Store leftovers in covered container in a refrigerator for up to two weeks. Makes 2 1/4 c. (You can buy Ultra Gel and Veganaise at the health food store)

Pepper Jack Shrimp

Shhhh.... It's a secret

Tangled Thai Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

  • 1    cup chopped napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup sliced jicama (cut into small sticks)
  • 2/3 cup shredded or spiralized carrot
  • 2/3 cup shredded or spiralized yellow beet
  • 4 tbsp Peanut Lime Dressing  (recipe follows)
  • 3 slices cucumber, halved
  • 2 tsp chopped raw peanuts
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Salad Topper (recipe follows)
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Put napa cabbage in a large, shallow serving bowl (or plate). Top with jicama.
2. Pile the carrot and beet on top and drizzle with dressing.
3. Garnish with the cucumber, peanuts, Salad Topper, lime, and cilantro.

 Peanut Lime Dressing
This dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. It is delicious on the Tangled Thai Salad, but would be equally good on any salad or even poured on top of cold noodles.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp tightly packed cilantro
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp peeled and chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic sugar
  • 3/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil

 In a blender, puree all ingredients except the sunflower oil.  With blender running, add sunflower oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified.

Fresh Lemon Sorbet

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2-1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest 

Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer without stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely. This is called a simple syrup, and may be made ahead in larger quantities to have on hand for making Fresh Lemon Sorbet. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
When cool, add the lemon juice and zest; stir to combine. Turn the machine on. Pour the lemon mixture into the freezer bowl, and mix until the mixture thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes. The sorbet will have a soft texture similar to a freshly scooped Italian ice. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.
Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Coconut Rice

  • 2 Cups White or Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • Splash of White Wine Vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp. White Sugar
  • Chopped Green Onions

Combine rice, coconut milk, water, salt, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and cover for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Allow to stand 5 minutes, garnish with green onions. 

Orange Thai Beef Skewers

  • 1 Orange
  • ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 T. Honey
  • 1 T. Sesame Seed Oil
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-4 tsp. Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • 1 ½ Pound Flank Steak

Bamboo Skewers soaked in water for at least 30 minutes 
Zest the entire orange into a bowl.  Cut the orange in half and juice the orange; add the orange juice to the zest.
Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, ginger, coriander, and garlic into the orange juice and zest.  Add Sriracha to taste.  
Slice the steak against the grain into ¼ inch slices.  Place the steak slices into a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over the steak.  Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
Preheat grill.  Thread the pieces of steak onto skewers. Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes and serve immediately because these cool quickly.

Thai Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Thai Sauce

8-12 skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips 
1 package wooden skewers

1/4 cup minced lemongrass , fresh or frozen
2 shallots OR 1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced fresh turmeric OR 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian food stores)
4 Tbsp. fish sauce
5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). The kitchen sink works well for this.

         Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
         Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
         Taste-test the marinade - you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
         Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
         When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Tip: Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a "handle" to easily turn the satay during cooking.
         Grill the satay on your BBQ, OR on an indoor grill, basting the first time you time it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl. OR you can broil in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet with the oven set to "broil" Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked (be sure to soak your wooden satay sticks in water before skewering). Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 20 minutes.
Peanut Thai Sauce

1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
1/3 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
1/3 cup coconut milk


                     Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
                    Do a taste test, adding more soy if not salty enough,                      
          or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh 
          lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.

                    Serve warm or at room temperature.  It also makes a great dip with fresh veggies, fresh rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. Enjoy!

Note: This sauce tends to thicken as it sits - just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator (keep up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter).

Orange Bowls with Poppy Seed Agave

  • 4 Oranges
  • 1 Cantaloupe
  • 1 Honeydew
  • 1 Package of fresh raspberries
  • or any other fresh fruit
  • ½ Cup Agave
  • ½-1 tsp. Poppy Seeds
Slice oranges in half. Remove all fruit, leaving just the peel shaped like a bowl.  Cut up fruit and mix together in each bowl.  Mix together Agave and poppy seeds, drizzle over fruit.  

Creme Brûlée

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar, divided
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 quarts hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
Remove the crème brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Sugar 
  • 1 vanilla bean, whole or scraped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

If vanilla bean is whole, slice down side of bean with back of knife and scrape seeds into airtight container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar

Mini Cheesecakes in a Jar

Sleeve of lemon filled cookies
 2 Tablespoons melted butter
12 ounces (2 pkg) room temperature cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
 1 egg
Zest of one lemon
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
 Whipped cream
 Berries of your choice
 Lemon curl

1.         Pulse the French Almond Cakes in a food processor. Pulse until they resemble bread crumbs. Add the melted butter. And pulse again.
2.        Use an ice cream scoop and add the almond cake mixture to the mason jar. Use the back of a spoon and press the crumbs down. Put the jars in a 9×13 baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.
3.        Add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Run until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom and run again. Add the egg, lemon, sour cream, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.
4.         Pour the cheesecake batter over the baked crust. Boil a kettle of water. Take one of the jars out, and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the jars. Add the jar back to the pan, this helps not get water into the cheesecakes.
5.         Bake the cheesecakes for 25 to 30 minutes. The edges should be set, but still have a little jiggle.

Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Garnish with whipped cream, and berries of your choice and lemon curl.