Nasturtiums

My in-laws are growing these edible flowers in their vegetable garden. As soon as I saw them, images of snacks sprinkled with flowers started racing through my mind. I was feeling like quite the culinary genius until I finally decided to taste one. Whoa! Maybe I just got a bad one, but it was beyond bitter. If you ever have the opportunity, I recommend you keep a glass of milk nearby. Pretty flower though.

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

91. Yogurt Drink

This drinkable yogurt is different from a smoothie only in that it is thinner and strained. But even with these subtle differences, my kids were entranced.

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
1 ripe banana
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Mix the yogurt, milk, vanilla, raspberries, banana, and sugar together in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer in order to remove the raspberry seeds. Serve.

Yield: approximately 2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

 

92. Flower Yogurt

I finally dusted off the little bento cutters I bought a year ago. The kids ate it all up. It feels a little unfair. How could they not?

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Watermellon, thinly sliced (about 1/3-inch)
Cantalope, thinly sliced (about 1/3-inch)
Fresh blueberries

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, lime juice, and sugar. Set aside. Cut out flower shapes from the watermelon and cantalope with a small bento cutter. Transfer the yogurt to a shallow bowl and top with the flowers and blueberries. Serve immediately.

Banana Julius

I think the next series I do will have to be about ways to use up over ripe bananas. It seems to be a question that puzzles me too often. And maybe it would provoke me to make a banana cream pie. I’m up for anything involving pie.

So here’s a lovely way to use up an over ripe banana.  It’s creamy without containing any dairy, which is a bonus on these hot summer days. The kids gave this one rave reviews. I’m excited to make them an egg cream someday soon.

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg white OR 2 tablespoons pasteurized egg white product*
1/2 cup cold water
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ice cubes (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon honey

Unless you’re using a pasteurized egg product, pasteurize your egg white in a double boiler over gentle heat. In a small bowl, whisk egg white along with the sugar and 1 teaspoon water. Place bowl over a small saucepan containing an inch or two of simmering water.

Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an instant read thermometer to take the temperature. Keep the themometer in the egg mixture as much as possible and not touching the bowl. Once the thermometer reads 160, remove the bowl from heat and continue to whisk for another minute to be sure the egg doesn’t coagulate.

Pour egg mixture into a blender along with the 1/2 cup cold water, banana, vanilla extract, ice cubes, and honey. Mix until smooth. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

89. Yogurt Tartlettes

Feel free to use any favorite recipe for pie or tart crust you already have. Short dough (generally for tarts) is easier to work with.

A mini muffin pan or something similar is a must for this recipe. Go out and buy two if you don’t already have them. I use them all the time.

For the tart shells:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour OR white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks and chilled
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg yolk

Place flours, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the chunks of butter and pulse ten times or until butter is broken down into large crumb-like pieces. A few larger pieces here and there is fine. Whisk the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl. Pour the yolk mixture into the food processor through the feed tube while it is running. Process for 60 seconds.

Remove the dough from the food processor. Knead gently and form into a disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (When I want to hurry things along, I just put the wrapped disk in the freezer for an hour.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a mini muffin pan throughly. Break pieces off of the disk and form into tablespoon-sized balls with your hands. Place balls in the mini muffin pan and press with the bottom of a shot glass. Coax the dough further up the sides with your fingers if necessary.

Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until edges are golden. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then gently remove after running a knife around the edge of each tart shell. Place shells on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Shells can be made a day ahead of time. Store in an airtight container at room temperature after they have cooled completely.

For the filling:

1/2 cup whipped yogurt or plain Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup apricot or peach preserves
Berries for garnish

Fill each tart shell with 1 teaspoon yogurt. Top with 1/2 teaspoon of the preserves and berries. Serve immediately.

Yield: 24 tartlettes
Prep-time: 30 mintues
Bake-time: 12 minutes

 

90. Yogurt Bellybuttons

Here’s a recipe for one Bellybutton. I hope you make more. The recipe calls for cinnamon sugar, but I bet maple sugar, if you have it, would be even better.

1 teaspoon yogurt cheese
1 fresh blueberry
Cinnamon sugar

Gently roll the yogurt cheese into a ball using your palms. Insert berry into the center of the ball. With one or two fingers gradually envelope the blueberry by rolling the yogurt cheese around the palm of your hand. Once the berry is covered, sprinkle the ball generously with cinnamon sugar. Devour immediately.

Web morsels

Is fresh corn healthy or not? from Eating Well. Answer: Yes. Our diet is low in fiber…corn to the rescue!

For a popsicle from Orangette. Wonderful ode to summer and the joy of popsicles…and a recipe to boot!

The Tomato Sandwich from Dinner: A Love Story.

An interview with Rick Bayless from Babble. Bayless, a well-known Mexican cookbook author, expounds upon picky eaters and parenting.

The real reason TV makes you gain weight from svelte Gourmand.

Easy Banana Ice Cream

I was recently confronted with a pile of over ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter. Eight of them in fact. We are in the middle of a hot hot summer here in Connecticut and I haven’t felt like making any sort of food for my family lately, much less special snacks. But somehow I stumbled across a recipe for Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches in Gourmet Today. Et viola!

This recipe is easy to pull together and you don’t need an ice cream maker. If you don’t have dulce de leche lying around, you could try replacing it with carmel sauce or maybe even some brown sugar to taste.

Next time I’ll make a double batch and get rid of more of my bananas. The kids were more than happy to eat it all up.

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ripe banana, peeled
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons dulce de leche
Butterscotch chips (optional)

Place the milk, cream, banana, lime juice, and dulce de leche in a blender. Process until smooth (about 60 seconds). Divide mixture between two ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Serve topped with butterscotch chips or any other topping that tickles your fancy.

Yield: approximately 1 cup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Freezer time: overnight

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of friends and family wondering how the heck we eat so much yogurt. Well, you’ve all been fooled. The magic of photography makes my miniature bowls of yogurt look relatively huge. And with all the snacks and endless breakfast we have going on at our house, it’s really not a problem to work in a few tiny yogurt snacks. I do get a little down on yogurt sometimes, but then I stumble across some dazzling new food (see #87) and can’t wait to get my trusty 32-ounce tub of yogurt out of the refrigerator.

86. Yogurt Dressing

Elaborate on this basic dressing by adding any fresh herbs you have on hand. Dill and parsley are personal favorites. A finely chopped shallot would also be lovely.

A typical pasta salad dressing would include at least a couple tablespoons of mayonaisse. But we don’t miss it.

1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Add the olive oil, yogurt, and dill (if desired) and stir vigorously until combined. Use the dressing on pasta or green salads.

Yield: approximately 1 cup
Prep-time: 5 minutes

 

87. Plum Yogurt

These beautiful little plums appeared at the farmer’s market this week. I’m still wondering what they would taste like with some yogurt laced with brown sugar/maple syrup, ground cinnamon and a little vanilla extract…

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon seedless raspberry jam (or a little more to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh pitted plum

Stir together the yogurt, orange extract, and jam in a small bowl until well combined. Top with plum and serve.

 

88. Whipped Yogurt

For just the right cake (I’m thinking something fruity loaded with sugar or pound cake.) or bowl of fruit, this topping would be magnificent. It carries the tangy taste of yogurt, but is rich and smooth. Eating a spoonful with a couple fresh raspberries instantly whisked me away to my happy place.

1/2 cup yogurt cheese
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

Beat the yogurt cheese, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl with an eggbeater or whisk until smooth and slightly fluffy. Serve.

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll Ups

I’ve seen plenty of recipes for fruit leather using very low temperatures in a traditional oven. But I freed myself from having to fool around with that when I bought myself a refurbished food dehydrator for Mother’s Day a couple years ago.

I find myself using the machine more during the summer and the fall when we are suddenly surrounded by fresh local produce. And since we’re on the go so much more during the summer, I’m sure we’ll have no problem using up whatever I can find time to make.

There is a great deal of flexibility in this recipe. I’ve used all different kinds of berries along with the applesauce.

2 cups unsweetened applesauce, preferably organic*
1 pint fresh strawberries, preferably organic*

Lightly grease two dehydrator tray liners and place them on trays. (My trays are 15-inches square. You may need more or less trays if your machine isn’t a similar size.) Set aside.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Combine strawberries and applesauce in a medium mixing bowl. Puree the mixture with an immersion/hand blender until smooth.

Transfer half of the mixture to each prepared tray and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon until it is approximately 1/4-inch thick. A large offset spatula might do an even better job of spreading.

Place trays in dehydrator for 4-20 hours depending on the machine, thickness of puree, etc. Set temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine only takes about 5 hours at this temperature. Rotate the trays a couple times if you think of it.

When the puree has dried completely (I always seem to have one stubborn thick spot.) remove it from the tray and cut it into 2-inch wide strips. Layer strips with wax paper and store in an airtight bag or container. The roll ups, if completely dry, will keep for months.

Yield: 13 2 x 12-inch strips
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Dehydration-time: 4-20 hours

*Note: I encourage using organic ingredients in this recipe because the food, along with any pesticides it may contain, is concentrated by the process of dehydration. At least, that’s what I read somewhere once. I’m not entirely sure if it’s really an issue.

Yogurt 101

This post is a part of a series of 101 ways to enjoy plain yogurt. (Keep scrolling down after you click on link to see the entire list.) For more information about yogurt in general, go to my Yogurt page.

84. Raspberry Rocket Yogurt

I went dangerously low with the sugar mixed into the yogurt with this snack. But, somewhat unsurprisingly, the bowls were emptied entirely. Use snacks like this one to introduce your family to the actual taste of yogurt. If you’re anything like us, it’s takes a while to appreciate its tangy goodness. Chocolate chips help ease the transition.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon sugar
Handful (or more) fresh raspberries
10 white chocolate chips

Mix the yogurt and sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer to serving dish(es) and top with raspberries and chocolate chips. Serve.

 

85. Blueberry Maple Yogurt

This is my favorite way to eat yogurt at the moment. I love blueberries and this, in my opinion, showcases them perfectly.

1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Heavy dash ground cinnamon
Heaping 1/3 cup fresh blueberries

Mix together the yogurt, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Gently stir in blueberries. Serve.