Monday, December 27, 2010

Ginger Lemon Cold Tea

http://www.learningherbs.com/flu_home_remedy_tea.htmlI call this ginger tea with lemon and honey my "Special-Tea!" :)
Here’s what you do: (you may need to experiment with amounts to get the taste that suits you)
  1. Fill up your teakettle and get it boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, grate a one-inch piece of fresh ginger root.
  3. Get a thermos out. I have a quart thermos I use.
  4. Put the ginger in the thermos.
  5. Put a dash of lemon juice in the thermos. A dash is about 4 tablespoons. Actually, it's less of a dash and more of a small splash. :)
  6. Add a dash of honey as well. A dash in this case is about three tablespoons. Hey, a dash means something different to all of us. Basically, add the honey to taste.
  7. When your water is boiled, pour it in the thermos.
  8. Cover it up and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  9. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!
Alternatives:
If you lack a thermos, you can also just simmer the water in an open pan with the ginger for 15 -20 minutes as well. Add the lemon and honey to the pot AFTER you are finished simmering ginger. Just strain it into your cup. When you want more, just heat it back up. I just like the thermos because when I am sick it’s hard enough just to get up let alone heat something up.
You can vary the amounts as well. Play around so you get a flavor you really like. It tastes great!
Other things I sometimes add:
  1. A few cloves of crushed garlic.
  2. Cayenne powder to taste (enough to break a little sweat)
  3. A few slices of Astragalus root (an important immune system nourisher). 
  4. Seaweed. Seaweed is so packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s literally super food
  5. A few dropper bottle squirts of Echinacea tincture.
I don’t add all these at once… They are just variations I’ll use depending on the situation. I added these to show you that there are no rules to these recipes. As you learn more about herbs, feel free to experiment with new ones. If this is all new to you, just stick to the basic recipe.
Remember to follow the Eight Simple Secrets to treat your cold or flu holistically.
From: http://www.learningherbs.com/flu_home_remedy_tea.html

Southwest Avocado & Black Bean Salad

Servings: 4 - a hearty salad that can be a meal!  I just watched this on the food network and had to add it to the list - thanks, Paula Deen!

Ingredients

1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 or 3 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 avocados, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
About 3/4 cup (3-ounces) grated pepper jack cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the cilantro, oil, lime juice and hot sauce.
In a large serving bowl, add the lettuce, avocado, corn, beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Add the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.
Show: Paula's Best Dishes
Recipe from: http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/southwestern_avocado_and_black_bean_salad/

Thursday, December 23, 2010

B is for Banana Bread

When I was little, my mom got me a cookbook with recipies for each letter of the alphabet.  The only two I can remember right now are E is for Elephant Ears, and B is for Banana Bread.  Years later, this is still the BEST banana bread recipe I've ever made.

Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup sugar  (1/4 cup? )
  • 1 ½ cups mashed banana (3 large)   
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil   
  • 2 eggs    
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour                                               
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:
1.               Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2.               Grease loaf pan
3.               Mix sugar, bananas, oil and eggs.
4.               Sir in remaining ingredients
5.               Bake 60 to 70 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Ultimate Brown Butter Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies


I know I'm such a weirdo for this, but I've never been a big fan of chocolate chip cookies.  Crunchy, often burnt when home-made, sweet cookies with milk chocolate has just never appealed to me, try as I might.  But I know everyone loves them, so it was time to give them a shot.  Now, I know I'm a few years late for jumping on the Bacon-In-Everything bandwagon, but I've always wanted to try this, and making a chocolate chip cookie presented the perfect opportunity.  But I also wontd to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and for me that means chewy consistancy, not overly sweet - adding the bacon in for that savory/salty contrast - and of course, deep dark chocolate.  After looking at a LOT of recipes for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, as well as for bacon chocolate chip cookies, I decided to go with a Browned Butter recipe, and to Candy the bacon before putting it into the cookie.  So, all that being said, I combined this, and that, and came up with the single best version of a chocolate chip cookie I have ever had in my life - I ate 3 of them as each tray came out of the oven!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Exploring Cookies with Joe

A cup of joe, that is.  Good ole fashion Coffee & it's sister Espresso - combined in your favorite cookies, nothing could be more complete.  Check out these yummy pairings:

 Mocha Shortbread (Nutella Sandwich Optional)

Double-Shot Mocha Chunk Cookies
with semi-sweet & white chocolate

Espresso Chocolate Shortbread
from:  With A Grateful Prayer...

(no photo)
Espresso Orange Butter Blossom Cookies
from:  Luna Cafe


Exploring Not Just Chocolate Chip

We all know, and most of you probably love, a traditional chocolate chip cookie.  But for those times you want something just a little bit different....

Chocolate Chip, Pistachio & Candied Orange Cookies

Brown Butter Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
from:  She's Becoming DoughMESStic

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies w/ Dried Cherries & Pecans
from:  Sprouted Kitchen


Exploring Coconut Cookies

I love coconut!  And although I'm not quite sure how to get their deliciousness out of the gigantic brown coconuts on the tree outside, I have a few cookie ideas of what to do with it when I figure it out!

Hawaiian Coconut Macadamia Cookies w/ Oats

Pina Colada Oatmeal Cookies w/ dried pineapple
from:  My Recession Kitchen


Gotta Love A Ginger....

...cookie, that is!  Why, what were you thinking of?  ;)

Ginger-Lemon Cookies
w/ applesauce & crystalized ginger
from:  Cookworm

Double Ginger Cookies 
w/ Molasses & crystalized ginger
from:  Cate's World Kitchen

Sugared Ginger Cookies
w/ Molasses & cloves
from:  Spoonful of Sugar

Spicy Gingersnap Cookies
from::  Minimalista Baked Goods

Gingersnap Cookies for Adults
w/ cloves, allspice, coriander seeds, fresh & candied ginger
from:  Modern Comfort Foods

Icebox Gingersnap Slices
from:  Zesty Cook

Gingeriest Ginger Molasses Cookies
from:  Sweetapolita

Nutella Treats...

I have a whole (extra) jar of nutella - what to do, what to do?!

Nutella Mint Ravioli

Nutella Banana Won-Tons

Nutella Fudge Brownie Cupcakes

Nutella Pinwheel Cookies w/ Chopped Hazelnuts

Rugetella


My Chocolate Dipped Curry Peanut Butter Cookies



My grandma is the traditional cookie baker in the family, and peanut butter cookies are always a family favorite.  But being me, I can't just do a plain peanut butter cookie!  So, I came across a CURRY one!   Now, don't run away thinking that this is a spicy or crazy tasting cookie - it's actually a really mild addition of flavor, and if you don't tell someone that it's curry, i doubt that they could even tell!  And just to make this EXTRA fun, I decided to melt some of the extra bittersweet chocolate I had and dip about 1/3 of each cookie into chocolate, and cover that with crushed peanuts.  What a great little touch, and just takes them up a notch from looking like same-old cookies, to something familiar, but still surprising.  Definitely a success.  Read on for the recipe....



My Pomegranate White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies


Growing up, my stepmother always put a pomegranate in the bottom of my Christmas stocking.  I confess , for years I had no idea what to do with it when I got it home, and they were so difficult to eat, that I am sad to say more than 1 made it into the trash before I got up the nerve to figure them out.  Well, later in life I have discovered a much easier way for getting the seeds out, and am now a full-fledged Pom Lover.  Finding a cookie recipe using them made me smile, and being in Hawaii - I just had to make them into a Macadamia Nut cookie (what could be more decadent!)  And so, I made these today, 12.16.2010 and they were AMAZING!  This is definitely a new staple cookie recipe - I'm so in love with it!  Even the inevitable tray that was a bit overcooked tasted fantastic!  What a perfect holiday cookie - or indeed, anytime!  I hope you enjoy them too....Read on for the recipe....

My Spiced Apple Walnut Cobbler Cookies

For when you want something more than a regular oatmeal raisin cookie - or are lucky enough to have a couple extra apples on hand, and a decent pantry.  These are really easy to make, and take few ingredients beyond what you probably already have at home.


Read on for the recipe w/ photos....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Message In A Cookie

I am in love with this fantastic cookie cutter set!



Find them at William Sonoma for only $20.00!


Lots of 'letterpress' style letters to arrange your message onto the cookie shape 
of your choice and stamp away!

Exploring Peanutbutter Cookies

Peanut Butter is a lot of people's favorite flavor, especially when comes to baked goods.  I'm not usually big on peanut butter cookies myself, but a good peanut butter frosting is a virtual heaven!  For those peanut & peanut butter nuts - here are some twists on an old favorite....

Honey, Peanut Butter & Banana Oat Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marble Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
from:  Pennies On A Platter

 Joy Of Cooking PB Cookies
from:  Zula's Cafe

And don't forget these, listed under the Apple cookies:

Apple Dippin Peanut Butter Cookies
from:  Picky Palate

White [Chocolate] Christmas....

I tend to be a chocolate purist - I want the best, dark chocolate you can give me!  But I know that's not everyone, and interestingly enough, a good White Chocolate Macadamia cookie can always get me smiling.  So, with that in mind, I've found some white chocolate cookie recipes that might just take the cake....

White Chocolate, Macadamia & Walnut Cookies

Bailey's White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pomegranate White Chocolate Cookies w/ Oats

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies


Pistachios do it....

I found the first recipe and absolutely love the look of them.  I'm not a fan of using cookie mixes when I'm baking, but I might be able to work something out - or just give in!   But, I also found some more tasty pistachio recipes to consider, however I think that gorgeous pistachio brittle mtight win out this year - a little salty break from all the cookies ....

(no photo)
Cran-Pistachio Cookies
from:  BettyCrocker Sugar Cookie Mix


Meyer Lemon & Pistachio Shortbread

 
Pistachio & Lime Cookies
from:  Eat My Shots

Salted Pistachio Brittle
from:  The Kitchn

(no photo)
Cranberry, Pistachio & Candied Ginger Shortbread
from:  Luna Cafe

Fresh Fruit Spring Rolls w/ Honey Mint Dipping Sauce

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

Rolls:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked Pad Thai noodles, cooled and drained
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 packed cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 6 (8-inch) rice paper rounds
  • 6 medium strawberries, stemmed, in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 mango, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 6 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted* 

Dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 to 3 large limes)

Directions

For the rolls:
  1. Put the noodles in a medium bowl and add the honey and the mint. Using 2 forks, toss the ingredients together until the noodles are coated.
  2. Lay a damp kitchen or paper towel on a work surface. Soak a rice paper round in warm water for 20 to 30 seconds until softened. Put the rice paper on the damp towel. 
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the noodle mixture in the center of the rice paper and form into a 3 by 2-inch rectangle. 
  4. Arrange the strawberry slices over the noodle mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon almonds on top. Arrange 2 to 3 mango slices on top of the almonds. Roll the rice paper around the filling and seal the ends with a little water. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Wrap the finished spring rolls in damp paper towels and store in the refrigerator.
For the dipping sauce: 
  1. In a small bowl, combine the mint, honey and lime juice. Pour into a serving bowl.
Arrange the spring rolls on a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Chef's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before using.

Recipe from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/fruit-spring-rolls-recipe/index.html

Cookies with a Twist...

With so many heavy chocolaty sugary treats around the holidays, I think something with a little 
refreshing lime or lemon might be in order.  
Here are some good one's I've come across so far....

Lime Cookies:

Lime Meltaways

 Chocolate-Dipped Lime Cardamom Cookies

Margarita Lime Cookies (vegan & tequila optional)
by:  Bakingdom


Lemon Cookies:

Lemon Ricotta Cookies w/ Lemon Glaze
from:  Delish

Lemon Cloud Tea Cakes

Chewy Lemon Cookies

Lemon Basil Shortbread



I'm almost certain I'll throw together one of these easy little lemon cookies at some point - but I SERIOUSLY can't decide between all of these fantastic sounding Lime cookies!  What's a girl to bake?

Considering Apple Cookies....

I'm looking at doing some type of Apple cookie for Christmas this year - here are some that I've come across in my online searches...


Apple Oatmeal Cookies w/ Cinnamon & Nutmeg
from:  Sophistimom

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cookies w/ Cloves & Walnuts

Spiced Apple Pie Cookies w/ Walnuts

Apple Dippin' Peanut Butter Cookies 
from:  Picky Palate'

I think for this holiday season I'm going to go with the first recipe, but add in a bit more of the pie spices like the third recipe and maybe a small drizzle of frosting like the 2nd - undecided on the walnuts.  While I love the idea of apple & peanut butter cookie, I'm going to save that one for another time - but let me know if you try it!  I'll let you know the final recipe that I come up with!

Grandma's Pinwheel Cookies

This has always been one of my ABSOLUTE favorite cookies that my grandmother, the family cookie extraordinaire, makes every year.  I love them, love them, love them.


  • 1 ½ cup margarine 
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ½ cup sugar 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 6 cups flour
  • 4 eggs

Directions:
  1. Divide dough into four piles. 
  2. Add chocolate to one, red to another, green to another, and one leave white.
  3. Roll out on floured wax paper. 
  4. Put 2 or 3 colors together. 
  5. Roll up in wax paper and freeze to slice and bake later.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giada's Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen

  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.

Cook's Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for the Crouton Salad.

Recipe from:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/roasted-citrus-herb-game-hen-recipe/index.html

Giada's Crouton Salad

I watched this episode the other day, and had to look up the recipe to save.  I love Giada at Home!

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 (8-ounces) loaf rosemary bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes* see Cook's Note
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • 3 cups packed arugula
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Citrus-Herb Sauce, see Roasted Citrus-Herb Game Hen recipe
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.
In a medium salad bowl, mix together the cooled croutons, arugula, and pine nuts. Add the Citrus-Herb Sauce. Toss well until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

*Cook's Note: You can also use olive bread or any plain rustic loaf in place of the rosemary bread.

See it on the website at:   http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/crouton-salad-recipe/index.html

Dialysis-Friendly Pasta Salad

Yesterday was my boyfriend's work holiday beach bbq - after all, we live in Oahu, Hawaii these days!  With only a few minutes to stop at the grocery store the day before and wanting to throw together something quick and easy to take along I came up with a pasta salad.  Jeff is a dialysis technician, so one of our priorities was to make sure that we were bringing something healthy for them to eat - even if there was tons of other unhealthy foods there, we didn't want to contribute to it!  So, after some discussion, this is what I came up with - and the whole thing was under $10!  Cheap, healthy & so very tasty - can't beat it!

  • 1 bag/box of tri-color spiral pasta (any brand)
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 red pepper (any color works, i just love the bright color it adds)
  • 1 maui sweet onion (or your preference)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 pt grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatos)
  • 1/2 bottle vinaigrette salad dressing (i used Wishbone Romano Vinairette and loved it!)
  • shakey parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions:
  1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions until it is al dente.  You can get on with the rest of the directions while it cooks. but when it is finished, be sure to drain quickly and then run cold water over them to cool them down quickly stop them from cooking any further.  When they are fully drained of water, you can tip them into the large bowl you will be putting everything into.
  2. Chop the flourettes off of your head of broccoli and pull apart into bite sized pieces and tossing them into the bowl.  Now with the stem, most people wnat to throw it away, but what a waste!  Instea, slice the smaller branches of the stem (not the fat part) into thinish bite sized pieces and toss that into your pasta salad as well.  Okay, now you can toss the thick part if you really want to, or save it to use in something else, since this can be rather tough raw.
  3. Slice your pepper open, pull out the seeds and any of that whiteish flesh that's in the inside.  Now slice your pepper into strips, and then cut those strips down so they're only about 2 inches long or bite size.  Toss them all into the bowl too.
  4. Peel your onion, slice 1/4 inch or so thick and cut the slices if you need to so they're only 1-2 inches and bite size lengths as well.  Add to bowl.
  5. Now for the cucumber - don't peel it!  No need to waste those yummy vitamins.  Cut your cucumber straight across the middle, then cut each half in half lengthwise.  Lay each half flat onto the board and cut in half lengthwise again.  Now for cutting - slice about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness so you have little quarter-cucumber slices.  Chop up the whole cuke this way and toss in.
  6. Next comes the tomatoes.  I like using cherry or grape tomatoes b/c there's less goop and more tomato.  Also, because tomatoes are okay in moderation for dialysis patients, they're much easier to pick out if they're being extra good, or just don't like tomatoes.  Go through and slice each tiny tomato in half and toss in as well.  You can use more than 1/2 pint, you can use the whole little box that you buy at the store or market, I just wanted to limit the amount of tomatoes.
  7. Mix everything together - I used my clean hands, but you can use a spoon or whatever you like.  Pour 1/2 bottle of vinaigrette dressing and toss everything to coat really well.  If you  prefer more dressing, go ahead and add more, but I found the 1/2 bottle that I had in the fridge already was just enough for a light coating that was not overbearing.  
  8. Sprinkle the top with a nice bit of shakey cheese (the kind so often used on spaghetti!) jsut to make the top look pretty and give it a little bit of texture.  This is totally optional - I happened to have this in the fridge and it wasn't enough to really use for dinner, so on it went!
That's it!  Enjoy!

This was a huge hit at the picnic for me - and I hope it will be for you as well!