Kombucha Fireball Cocktail

So this may be too simple to even call a recipe, but I wanted a little sip of something and didn’t have any soda to speak of.  So I just mixed my homemade kombucha which has great zing and some fireball whiskey.  It tastes pretty much like a very smooth straight shot of fireball.  Of course a bit weaker than straight, which I enjoyed.

Just a cocktail idea for you~

Beet Juice Quinoa

This recipe is so simple I probably can’t call it a recipe, but thought it was worth a share. I had some beet juice and water chestnut liquid left from another food preparation, so instead of throwing them out I used them to replace half the water for my quinoa.  It not only gave the quinoa a nice tinted color for an interesting plating, but also was a nice twist on the taste buds.  Also if you live in a dry cabin like me, it’s an easy way to use a little less water and utilize available liquids instead of them going to waste.  This experience has made me more open to trying this again with some other veg. juices.

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Pickled Salmon Sushi Roll

For me the key to sushi enjoyment is the right balance of dry and wet and mingling of flavor components. This one was a hit.

I started using seaweed wraps while I was living in Hawaii.  They are the perfect travel food because they serve as a catch all container that you can carry 100 of in your backpack without even noticing they’re there.  That’s my secret backpacking tip.  Now onto this dish.

My boyfriend’s family gave us a jar of their wonderful homemade pickled salmon.  It’s one great way Alaskans use to save their fish catch of the season.  This was my first time trying it, and it was delicious.  The salmon was pickled with slices of onion, peppers, lemon, and peppercorns.

I know I am not a trained or traditional sushi maker, but I love how it’s such a fun way to combine flavors.  For me the key to sushi enjoyment is the right balance of dry and wet and mingling of flavor components.  This one was a hit.

Pickled Salmon Sushi

I spread a little mayo on a flat seaweed wrap and then made of bed of Calrose rice over this.  (I had previously cooked and seasoned the rice so it was more flavorful).

Then I spread pesto generously in a wide line next to the rice and spread chunks of creamy goat cheese along the line of pesto. Then I cut the pickled salmon into bite sized pieces and lay them perpendicular to the direction I would roll the wrap to ensure clean easy bites.  Then I drizzled some of the juices from the pickled salmon jar onto the rice and added a few onion and pepper slivers out of the pickled jar.  Wetting the points of contact on the seaweed I wrapped it up… this is the hard part and just takes practice…and Voila! Yum time

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Personally I was happy to drain the juices off and make a little cherry juice/ fireball cocktail to drink while I was baking.

I have never made cupcakes before… which I decided after having made these is a true shame.  Cupcakes are so awesome and that paper cup is such a perfect vessel to get the chocolatey goodness to school or work without a mess.

We luckily still have some cherries in the freezer from our picking spree in Montana this fall, and I pulled out a bag to make a cherry pie.  But I also wanted to make an easy treat to share with our neighbors who helped dislodge my car from the snowbank the other morning!  So with the left over cherries I decided to make some cherry chocolate cupcakes.  My mom has a recipe I used last time I tried to make cherry chocolate cake, but we weren’t thrilled with the results. So this time I decided to try another recipe I like and just give it a cherry/ chocolate chip twist and see what would happen.  I also happened to have bought the cutest cupcake paper cups at the craft store (which is so unlike me that if my friends read this they will probably think I’ve been abducted).  So I decided CUPCAKES!

I didn’t want the cherries to burn, so I poured each cup half full of batter, threw in 2-4 pitted cherries and a few choc. chips. Then I put in more batter to fill the cup 3/4th fill and added a few more chocolate chips on top.

They are disappearing fast, but here’s how I made them:

Quick Chocolate Cake:

Mix dry ingredients:

3 C flour       2t baking soda       1 t salt     1C sugar     1C brown sugar    1/2C cocoa powder

Add:

1t vanilla     3/4C coconut oil      2C cold water

blend well and then see above (below the pictures) to add cherries and chocolate chips into the batter in muffin cups to prevent burning.  I was using frozen cherries, so I drained off all the juices after they thawed, and again after pitting.  I’m not sure how differently this recipe would behave if you tried to use all the juices as well.  Personally I was happy to drain the juices off and make a little cherry juice/ fireball cocktail to drink while I was baking.

Voila, enjoy!

 

 

Pesto Mozzarella Eggplant Fold-overs Recipe

These are so easy (10 minutes start to table) and cheap to make, yet so tasty everyone will want more.  This is a great treat to make as an appetizer/starter dish or a main meal.  Also works great as an easy vegetarian dish.  But not vegan.

You Need:

Lg Eggplant- thin sliced lengthwise (1/2 of one eggplant fed 2 people dinner, but we weren’t starving)

olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt

Cookie pan (prefer with raised edge) covered in foil

Oven with broil setting

Tomatoes- thin sliced

Smoked Mozzarella cheese (or Mozz with liquid smoke)- shredded or sliced

pesto or basil

( I cut up half an eggplant for a first round and we were so full after one pan that we saved the other half an eggplant to cook a few nights later. Delicious both times.)

How to:

Turn on oven to broil.

Slice a large eggplant lengthwise with a good knife so each slice is uniform width about 1/4 in. or less.

Cover 1-3 baking sheets with foil, dependent on how many you want done at a time. each pan will hold about 3 large or 4 small. Lay eggplant strips on foil til sheet filled, do not overlap.  Then grind some salt lightly onto each piece, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic oil and rub into surface til some is all over.  Flip the strips over and do the same on the other side. Put in the oven on a med. high shelf.

Broil flat until eggplant starts to look translucent. (7-10 min, keep an eye on them)

I usually shred my mozz and slice toms while the eggplant is broiling. Easy to do in those 7-10 minutes and then also easy to keep an eye on the eggplant cooking progression if this is your first rodeo.

Then remove from oven, add a spread of  pesto, mozzarella and thin sliced tomato to middle third of eggplant. (You could easily play with this combo by changing up the cheese or veggie rolled inside).  Then fold the sides up over the filling and stick with a toothpick to hold them closed.  Or you can flip the whole thing over once it’s folded to have gravity hold the flaps under.

Sometimes I just call it good and let the heat of the eggplant melt the cheese if the strips are already very translucent.  If the strips are still whitish in patches I put them back in for a minute or two.

Viola.  Enjoy.

** later….Remove foil from pan, clean up complete.

170131 Homemade Pizza Recipe

I melted cream cheese as a white sauce on the hot dough that had been in for a bit.

 

 

PIZZA RECIPES

(On the Left and bottom right) Taylor’s Pizza:

Goat cheese on half, Cottage Cheese on half

Then on half the goat cheese side and half the Cott. Cheese side

he added summer sausage meat cut up,

and on the other halves of each he added cooked ground beef.

Then Carmelized Onions and after the pizza came out of the oven Spinach

My Pizza (top right)

I melted cream cheese as a white sauce on the hot dough that had been in for a bit.

Then on one half I added avocado, spinach and shredded cheddar

on the other half I added a mix of carmelized onions and mushrooms and atop that shredded Citrus Lime Parmesan Cheese.  (Later this was voted best, but they were all so darn fantastic I’m glad we were sharing.)

Inspiration: Today the Great Alaska Pizza Company had a $5 medium pizza for Customer Appreciation day.  Taylor waited 15 minutes in line, but when they said it would be another 15, he decided life was too short and headed home.  A week ago we got a big bag of Bread flour and a container of yeast, so I guess today is the day, we start making pizzas.  My brother is a great pizza maker and sent me his secret crust recipe, but I was working and Taylor was chef of the night so he found a recipe online that would be ready in 30mins.  Ok, game on.

He called me down when it was time to stretch out my very own pizza crust.  I was pretty excited, it stirred up memories of make your own pizza nights from birthday slumber parties of my youth.  He used the round glass pie pan for his and I went with the Mirro baking pan cover.  Because we had no corn meal for the underside of the crust we just improvised with quinoa… but probably in the future will use nothing, it seemed fine without it.  Then I let gravity do the work stretching out my dough, I just turned and turned it, then laid it out and extended a bit further on the pan.

 

 

 

Crockery Cooking & Curried Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

I rushed to the oven when I remembered it, imagining the blackened mess I would be scraping out using every muscle in my arm. But, instead I found the soup perfectly, deliciously baked with nice little vent holes.

If you can, I highly, highly recommend buying some oven and dishwasher safe ceramics to use for baking.  Today (Wednesday 1/25/17) was great proof of these hidden treasures.  This is my one bowl (See my Dry Cabin Minimalism Marriage post) for eating.  The amazing thing about this bowl is that I stuck it into the cold oven with cold soup, cranked it up to 350 degrees and literally, (accidentally!) forgot about it for over half an hour.  I rushed to the oven when I remembered it, imagining the blackened mess I would be scraping out using every muscle in my arm. But, instead I found the soup perfectly, deliciously baked with nice little vent holes.  The edges even had that delicious little crust that I only seem to achieve in ceramic ware.  I grated a bit of our current fancy cheese splurge, a Citrus Ginger BellaVitano, on top (it’s hard, like a parmesan) and within a spoonful I was in heaven.

The only thing you really MUST NOT DO to ceramics are to put them through an extreme heat change… so you always need to put it in when you are first warming up the oven.  If the oven is already hot, forget about using the ceramic, please!  If you are good to it, it will be oh so good to you.  With this dish I didn’t even have any residue to scrape away from the sides, amazing.

Here are a few examples of ceramics using a food safe glaze, but you can’t always tell by looking, best to buy from the artist and be sure they are confident about their glazes.

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Also, be sure you are using ceramic with a food safe glaze.  If you aren’t sure, don’t do it!  But these little puppies are worth their weight in gold, so if you find a good piece, nab it.  I made mine back in 2001, and it’s still going strong.  When looking for a sturdy piece, make sure the walls look like they are consistent in width, and that it won’t be to heavy for you to easily move in and out of the oven with your two hands covered in mitts.

In case you are interested, I’ll also include my

Curried Butternut Squash Soup recipe here:

(I bake the squash ahead of time while I’m doing something else in the oven, then it’s so quick to whip this together when you want to)

I chopped and cooked down

2.5 sweet onions, and

5 cloves of garlic

in a lg sauce pan with 2 T of butter.

Then I added 4C water with a lg chicken bouillon cube,

the 2lb of squash- (skinned and cubed in 1 in. chunks)

1t salt, 1t cumin, 1/2 t cayenne pepper

After it’s all warmed up, I remove it from heat and add

1/2 C half and half, 1 T honey, and 1/2C or more sour cream.

I blend it in batches in the blender, though I’d love to use an immersion blender if I had one…they are so slick!

When serving I put out cumin, pepper, and sour cream for people to add to taste.  Or fancy hard cheese if I have it 😉

Enjoy!

170124 Forever Young Salad Recipe

…lots of well researched suggestions of foods to use to keep your skin looking great.

I love salad.  When I was young you couldn’t pay me to eat a salad, and to this day I will not touch a traditional iceberg lettuce/ crouton/ tomato salad.  But I had an amazing roommate in college who taught me the art of delicious salads, made of surprises, and those are the salads I love to create to this day.  Among my friends and family I have become known as the salad maker, a title which I don’t might taking on at all.

Today as I was making this salad I was reminded of a book I discovered at my library this past fall The Young Skin Diet.  It looks like the author, Michelle Lee, is doing some podcasts now which I’m excited to check out.  The book gave lots of well researched suggestions of foods to use to keep your skin looking great.  A science book that applies to life and has real usable recipes, a rare find.  Lots of the ingredients I use here, I remember being on her list, hence the name.  I always try to do organic and local when possible, though winter in Alaska can inhibit these things sometimes.  I think especially organic carrots can taste so much more delicious if you find the right ones!

“Forever Young” Salad

Ingredients listed in order I layered them in the large bowl.  This salad can be made to any size, just increase quantities according to bowl size.

Organic spinach (about half the bowl when put in loosely).

Red Cabbage-thin sliced and chopped (maybe half the amount of the spinach, or more)

Cottage cheese- 1C or so

Cucumber- diced (1/4C more or less)

Radish- 4 small sliced

Avocad0- 1/4th

1 twist of salt and squeeze of lemon juice.  (At this point I took the lead picture)

Then I decided I wanted more and added a

Creamy Balsamic Dressing mixed with a lemon tahini dressing

Added another 1/4th of an avocado and cottage cheese and shredded carrot

I didn’t want to shred much so I ate half the carrot while I was cleaning up.

Here is the final pic of the salad. Enjoy

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170222: 2 Recipes- Berry Good Frozen Yogurt

Berry Ginger Frozen Yogurt &
Banana Berry Frozen Yogurt

Lately Taylor has been making some delicious homemade yogurt.  He has also been repeatedly frustrated trying to make the perfect homemade ice cream.

Since following my blood type diet has made huge improvements to my digestive health I try to stick by it generally.  Ice cream is one thing I am supposed to avoid, and frozen yogurt is one of my medicine foods. So,  I thought I’d use some of his yummy homemade yogurt as a base for making a frozen treat.

Here are two versions that I created tonight, we like them both but in different ways.

Berry Ginger Frozen Yogurt (pictured on left)

1 C homemade yogurt (I will try to get Taylor to write a post about this process)

2T honey

1/2C frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

1T maple syrup

1T homemade candied ginger

1/2C cream

Before blending it will look like the version you see on the left in the last picture.

Blend, put outside at -25 F and mix with hand blender every 10-20 min. til fairly firm and transfer to freezer. The consistency after beating will look like the picture at the top of this post. Then I added some granola after it froze so it would not get soft.  See the first picture below to view with granola.

Of the two recipes this one has the heavier concentration of yogurt giving it a smoother, more tart and tangy taste.  It is also less thick than the other version.

Banana Berry Frozen Yogurt (pictured on right)

1C frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries

1/2C yogurt

1T lemon juice

2T honey

1/2C cream

1 frozen banana, broken into chunks

blend and put in freezer

This is the thicker, more fruit heavy frozen yogurt so it is a bit sweeter, but still creamy and doesn’t really need any more whipping to get a great consistency.  Give it a whirl!

170121: Dry Cabin Minimalism Marriage

We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups….So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

Yes, we live in a dry cabin, and it is the dry cabin and minimalism which are married here, not my beau and I.  I never intentionally set out to be a minimalist, (and trust me I have a long way to go), but sometimes it’s just the natural answer.  I have lived in a dry cabin on and off since 2009.  But I have never lived with anyone else in a dry cabin until mid Nov. 2016. So it’s just been a few months and we were fortunate to get a sweet little place.

But time to time we have still struggled with “the dish mountain”.  First it’s just a dish or two and you think, “oh that’s nothing, I’ll get it next time around”.  Then you get sick for a few days and feel elated if you can muster the energy to make tea. Before you know it “the dish mountain” has appeared.  We try to take turns and stay on top of it, but like all things, sometimes we fail.  Not liking to fail the same way twice our newest solution is one that we tried on when we were first living together down in Montana in September.  We each get one bowl, one plate, one knife, one spoon, one fork, two cups.  We cheat a little because we have 2 extra bowls.  One is extra large for salads and one is a mini for sauces/ snacks etc.  So last week we took all the other serving dishes and put them up on a shelf, off limits except for guests.

So far it’s going well.  I love having a clean counter, more space to prepare food and more ease finding the cooking implements I need most. The bowls and plates we use I made in college using an oven safe glaze, so I can warm and bake directly in them if the container warms up with the oven.

I also reduced some of the cooking utensils we don’t seem to use.  Now we are easily accountable for clean up.  We have to if we want to use our bowl, fork etc again! ;).

UPDATE 1/28/17 I’ve never been so excited before when all my dishes are dirty!  I’m not excited to wash them, but was so excited to see how small the pile is, when we even have our favorite pans and utensils all dirty.  Wish I had a before picture, but just compare it to your own load when you have a lot of dishes.

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So here is a a picture I took yesterday of all of our dishes being dirty and the empty shelf where they would be if clean.  (The white coffee cup and everything behind it are usually on the counter, not part of dishes.) It feels great that it doesn’t seem daunting.  Actually, it was so undaunting that my boyfriend did them all last night of his own volition, beat that?!

If you are curious about dry cabin living, or minimalism feel free to ask questions.  I’ll post more in the future on these subjects, I’m sure.img_6271