August 31, 2010

Raspberry Season

Posted in Food, Garden, Recipes tagged , , , , at 8:17 pm by Liliana

Raspberries in Season

Raspberries in Season

Picking raspberries in late August is one of my favorite summer pastimes.

As a child, at the end of my summer vacations, I would walk with my grandparents along quiet country roads, carrying wicker baskets, and pick fruit from thorny raspberry bushes.

When my own children were little, I would take them to a raspberry farm outside our town. Everyone tied a plastic basket around their waist with a rope, and we would fan around the field. The boys mostly ate the berries, threw them at each other and played hide and seek. Very few berries made it to the bottom of their baskets. But Nena, Nicky and I usually worked hard to pick as much fruit as we could. Sometimes we had enough for freezing to eat with pancakes or vanilla ice cream during the winter months. A few times we picked enough to make jam, place it in pretty jars, and give it to friends at Christmas. Usually we had enough for luscious dessert that very evening.

Now, I mostly go picking raspberries with friends. I love the quiet laziness of late summer afternoons, as I stroll through the narrow paths between the bushes. Bees are buzzing everywhere, but there is plenty of fruit for us all, so we mostly ignore each other. I look for berries that will last for a day or two, ripe but not too soft.

The ones that are perfect at this very moment in time – deep red, faultlessly jewel like, delicately sweet – I pick slowly and carefully, bring to my mouth, and I close my eyes. Taste of summer.

Raspberry Jam

I found this delicious raspberry jam recipe at the Atlantic Magazine. It is very simple and requires only two ingredients: fruit and sugar. No pectin.

1. Take three cups of raspberries. Place in large pot and mash. Be sure the pot is much larger than the quantity of berries.

2. At the same time, place a large pot of water on to boil for sterilizing jam jars.

3. Heat the raspberry mash on the stove, stirring all the while. When the mash boils, let it boil for two minutes while stirring.

4. Add two cups of sugar. (If you like it more sweet, then add a total of three cups of sugar, but no more.)

5. Bring to boil again, stirring all the time. Boil for two minutes.

6. Remove from stove and mix with electric hand mixer for four minutes.

7. Pour into sterilized jars and close promptly. Let cool and place in the refrigerator.

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August 5, 2010

Family Favorite – California Scampi

Posted in Food, Health, Recipes, Uncategorized at 7:46 am by Liliana

California Scampi

California Scampi, a family favorite

We try to eat fish of some sort or another fairly often. The health benefits are many, not least of which is that they are a great source of Vitamin D, which North Americans tend to lack. In addition, they are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can:

  • help protect against heart disease
  • lower cholesterol
  • decrease blood clotting factors
  • increase relaxation in larger arteries and blood vessels
  • decrease inflammatory processes in blood vessels
  • reduce arthritis symptoms by fighting inflammation
  • strengthen the immune system
  • alleviate symptoms of depression
  • lower risks of getting cancer
  • reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease

This recipe is fast, easy, and tastes great.Enjoy!

1 lb. California shrimp or spiny lobster
1 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup white wine
¼ tsp salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon wedges

Melt butter and oil together in sauté pan. Add garlic, sauté for one min, and add shrimp. Sauté for one min , add wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Sauté quickly while sauce reduces and shrimp turns pink. Do not overcook. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve with sauce over noodles or rice. Garnish with lemon wedges.

August 1, 2010

Coconut Tapioca

Posted in Food, Recipes tagged , , , , , , at 8:31 am by Liliana

Tropical getaway

Tropical getaway

I found this recipe on Salon.com. It is unusual, exotic and delicious!

It’s flavors will transport you to a tropical getaway.

Serves four

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons small uncooked tapioca pearls
  • 1 pound small bananas, ripe but firm, peeled
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Garnish: toasted white sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Variations

  • Substitute chunks of fresh mango for the banana, after soup is fully cooked.
  • Substitute chunks of cooked sweet potato or taro for the banana. This combination is known as bo bo cha cha and is served in Singapore and Malaysia.

Directions

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add tapioca pearls, and stir frequently to prevent them from sticking. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the tapioca pearls are almost clear.
  3. Cut peeled bananas on the diagonal into 3/4-inch thick discs.
  4. Once the tapioca is cooked, add in the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture back to a boil.
  5. Add banana pieces to the soup and simmer over low heat for two minutes.
  6. Remove soup from heat and add vanilla, if desired.
  7. May be served warm or cold.
  8. If serving cold, allow soup to cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate for a few hours until cold.
  9. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish each with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Source: Salon.com

July 25, 2010

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Food, Health, Recipes tagged , , , at 7:05 am by Liliana

Michigan blueberries

Michigan blueberries

Sweet, plump blueberries are all the rage in Michigan at this time of year.

I eat them every day. Most mornings, I have a bowl of blueberries with plain yogurt or kefir for breakfast.

But what can be more delicious than blueberries with chocolate?

Try this light cake with your afternoon tea or coffee.

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (white whole wheat preferred)
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup date syrup, maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener
  • 1 cup blueberries (for serving)
  • additional syrup or agave nectar to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, chia (or flax) and salt. In blender, combine water, 1/2 cup blueberries, and balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add the syrup and the blueberry mixture. Stir until completely mixed.  Pour into an oiled 9-inch round cake pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before inverting onto serving platter.

Serve with blueberries on top, drizzled with additional syrup or agave.

Source: FatFree Vegan Kitchen

July 17, 2010

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Posted in Food, Health, Recipes tagged , , , , at 7:05 am by Liliana

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Dark Chocolate Truffles

It is not easy to find a recipe for a delicious dessert that is also good for you. Well, here is one.

Don’t be sidelined by the word – prunes. Try and you will see how good they can taste!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/4 cup pitted dates
  • 3 TBS almond butter
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • 3 TBS unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup finely grated unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, drop the prunes and dates through the feed hole one by one. Scrape the processor bowl and run until the prunes and dates are smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except for the coconut. Run until smooth and scrape the processor bowl with a spatula as needed.
  3. Roll the mixture into 12 one-inch balls and roll in coconut to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

Makes 12 pieces.

Try these lovely truffles with tea or coffee.

Source: George Mateljan

July 10, 2010

Israeli Couscous Salad

Posted in Food, Health, Recipes, Weather tagged , , , , , , at 6:11 am by Liliana

Israeli Couscous Salad

During these long, hot summer days, refresh yourself with this healthy and nutritious salad. It is very filling.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • 1 heaping cup cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 large stalk celery, strings removed and diced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill, or more, to taste
  • 10 to 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced, or more, to taste
  • 4 medium firm, ripe apricots or 3 medium firm, ripe nectarines, pitted and diced
  • 1 heaping cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes (red or yellow, or a combination)
  • 1 medium firm, ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or less if you’d like a lower fat dish)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or more, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Mixed baby greens, as needed
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the Israeli couscous and cook at a rapid simmer for about 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water until the couscous is at room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, combine the couscous with the remaining ingredients except the last two. Toss well to combine.

Line a large serving platter with some greens. Mound the salad over them, letting some of the greens show along the edge. Sprinkle the top with the toasted nuts. Serve at once or cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Source: FatFree Vegan Kitchen

July 7, 2010

CSA Box of Treasures

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Family, Food, Garden, Health, Home, Recipes tagged , , , , , , at 6:46 am by Liliana

CSA produce

CSA produce

Every Wednesday morning, someone from my family makes sure to stop at the farmer’s market and pick up our CSA box of treasures.

What is CSA?
CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, is a program that allows small farmers to market their own local, seasonal produce directly to their immediate community.  I joined the membership of our particular farm last winter, and paid for the entire season by last May.

Now, from early June through the middle of October, all we need to do is show up and pick up a box of fresh, organic produce. Every week is a surprise, and we are never sure what will be for dinner. All produce had been picked the day before and is at the peak of its ripeness and nutritional value.

We have been eating all kinds of greens and a number of plants we hadn’t tried before. But everyone agrees that the experiment has been a huge success so far. We all gather around the box and marvel at the beauty, color, flavor and fragrance of various vegetables, herbs and flowers.

This is what we found in our treasure box today:

  • Genovese basil – an herb with sweet, spicy, shiny, green leaves perfect for flavoring salads, soups and stews; making pesto or freezing for winter.
  • Fava beans – resemble large lima beans with a tart, pungent flavor; can be cooked or eaten raw in salads.
  • Green beans – Maxibel French Fillet are very slender green beans with firm texture and delicate flavor; we usually eat them steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or in a delicious green bean soup.
  • Beets & greens – Red Ace beets are round, smooth, deep red roots with sweet flavor and red-veined green leaves. Chioggia greens are an Italian variety with green leaves and pink-striped stems; root has cherry red, candy-striped color and a sweet flavor. Both are delicious steamed in salads, soups or stews.
  • Broccoli – deep emerald green, tiny buds that are clustered on top of stout, edible stems.  Delicious steamed with a bit of salt, olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
  • Napa cabbage – crinkly, thick, cream-colored leaves with celadon tips.  Unlike the strong-flavored waxy leaves on round cabbage heads, these are thin, crisp, and delicately mild.  Use raw, sauté, bake, or braise; common in stir-fries or soups.
  • Italian dandelion greens – bright red stem with a jagged, dark green leaf. Not a true dandelion, but rather a chicory with darker green and slightly larger leaves with a tangy, slightly bitter taste. Refreshing as a salad green or cooked as a vegetable.
  • Fresh garlic – a bulb of several papery white cloves. Can be eaten minced raw in salad dressings, sautéed and added to stir-fries, meats, vegetables. As garlic butter (1/2 cup of softened butter mashed with four minced cloves of garlic). Also, try roasting garlic by cutting off tops of garlic bulbs, so cloves are exposed, brushing with olive oil and baking for 1 hour at 350 degrees; squeeze garlic out of skins and spread on good, crusty bread.
  • Lettuce – Red/Green Leaf, Romaine, and Oak.
  • Green onions or scallions – young shoots of bulb onions with long green stalks and milder taste than large bulb onions.
  • Summer squash –  intense yellow color, straight neck squash with buttery flavor and firm texture.  Delicious sautéed, roasted, in stir fries or soups.

What a glorious bounty! Call around for your own local CSA farm information.

This directory might help you get started: www.localharvest.org

July 3, 2010

Peanut Bars

Posted in Food, Recipes tagged at 8:20 am by Liliana

Peanut Bars

Peanut Bars

Enjoy this delicious, energy boosting snack. It takes only10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw or roasted peanuts
  • 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 2 TBS sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 TBS honey

Directions:

  1. Grind all ingredients, except for the honey, in a food processor until fairly fine but still having some texture (you don’t want it to have the consistency of peanut butter).
  2. Add honey and process just long enough for it to blend in.
  3. Press into a square about 3/4-inch thick on a plate or square pan and refrigerate for about an hour or more.
  4. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Makes 12 bars

Source: George Mateljan

July 2, 2010

Orange and Coconut Treat

Posted in Food, Health, Recipes tagged , , , , , at 7:32 am by Liliana

Orange and Coconut Treat

Orange and Coconut Treat

It takes no time to prepare this healthy and delicious fruit treat.

It could make a fine after-school snack for your kids.

Other members of your family who appreciates delicious food will be grateful as well.

Or make it for yourself, as a mid-morning treat at work. Enjoy.

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 TBS sliced, toasted almonds

Directions:
Prepare fruit and toss with coconut and almonds.

Source: George Mateljan

June 30, 2010

Portobello Curry with Green Rice

Posted in Food, Health, Recipes tagged , , , , at 6:43 am by Liliana

Portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms

I love mushrooms and am always looking for delicious recipes that feature this exquisite fungi.

Try this  fragrant, enticing recipe and spice up your summer dinner. It will make you think of the Far East and the ancient spice rout!

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 lb. Portobello mushrooms, cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 tsp. Madras (spicy) curry powder or curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped cashews or peanuts

Directions

1. In medium saucepan combine rice, 2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

2. Meanwhile, in blender or food processor combine 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, cilantro, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 garlic clove, and the lime juice. Cover; blend or process until nearly smooth. Stir into rice. Cover; keep warm.

3. In 12-inch skillet cook mushrooms in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes; turn occasionally. Add green onions, curry powder, red pepper, and remaining ginger and garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and remaining coconut milk. Heat through. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

4. To serve, divide rice among plates. Top with mushroom mixture and sprinkle with nuts. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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