Friday, March 19, 2010

Cucumber Mint Berry Dessert

I made dessert with some sugar-free friends in mind. I'm listing what I would do if I could redo this dessert some because the original recipe was pretty bland

2 cups plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup of fresh mint, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large cucumbers, sliced in semi circles 1/8th inch thick
Raw agave nectar
lime zest

1. In a large bowl, put cucumber, yogurt, lime juice, mint, and garlic. Mix well and then refrigerate.
2. To serve, put about 1/3 cup of cucumber mixture in a small bowl. Put some fresh lime zest on top, then some combination of the berries. Finally, top with about 1 tbsp of agave nectar (or honey).

A couple of notes. I did this without the agave and it was bland. I also made it with less mint, and so I suggest upping the mint above. The garlic never really came across, so I'm not sure if I didn't get the full flavor of it or maybe need to up that. Play around with the garlic and let me know what you think. Also, I cheated and used pre-bottled lime juice and it was noticeable. Take the time to juice the lime (and then save the peel for zesting!)

Oh, and one last thing to consider - maybe soak the cucumbers in some sugar water first. I guess that means slicing the cucumbers and laying them on paper towels for about 15 minutes to soak up some of the liquid, then putting it in some sugar water for a while. Might be an interesting way to get some depth of flavor.

Bulgur and Bean Salad

It's finally nice weather here, and so I decided to make this spring recipe.

1 cup bulgur
15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can of whole corn kernels, rinsed and drained
3 long scallions (green onions) finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup of EVOO

1. Cook bulgur according to package - 1 cup of bulgur in a sauce pan with 2 cups of cold water. Medium heat until it boils, then simmer for 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in sauce pan and then move into a very large bowl to separate bulgur and let cool well. (Refrigerator works, too)
2. In a small bowl, mix red wine vinegar, garlic, chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and EVOO.
3. In large bulgur bowl, place all vegetable ingredients and mix well.
4. Pour dressing over bulgur and mix well.

In the future, I would add 1/2 - 1 cup of finely chopped parsley to this spring mix.

The original recipe calls for the ingredients to sit for a while, but I tasted it right away and it was delicious!

Caraway Cookies

Caraway seeds are suppose to be good anti-nausea remedies. These cookies may help with that, but they are also a good not-too-sweet cookie. The seed makes them tasty like delicious whole grain bread almost. They were a very pleasant surprise.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, well beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1.5 tbsp caraway seeds

1. In a large bowl, let butter hit room temperature and mix it well with the sugar.
2. Add egg to large bowl
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. (original recipe calls for sifting, but we didn't and they cookies were still pretty fluffy)
4. Add dry ingredients to large bowl of butter mixture with milk.
5. Then mix caraway seeds in.
6. If the batter is particularly liquidy, place it in the fridge for a few minutes (5-10) to solidify.
7. Preheat oven to 380-390 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter
8. Drop spoonfuls (1 tbsp) of batter onto baking sheets.
9. Bake 12-15 minutes until the edges are a little brown and top is golden.

The original recipe has no author, but these unique cookies were outstanding.

Triple Ginger Cookies

Made these as part of a care package for someone who isn't feeling well. They tasted freaking incredible - the fresh ingredients really packed a punch. I strongly recommend these.

2 cups of white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground anise
4 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 stick unsalted stick butter
1/4 cup mild molasses (unsulphured)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or even more!)
1 cup finely minced ginger
2 lemons, zest only
1 large egg, well beaten

1/2 cup of sugar (for coating outside of cookie - could be fancier sugar if you want)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with wax paper.
2. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, anise, ground ginger, and salt.
3. In medium bowl, put molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger
4. In a small bowl put crystallized ginger (finely chopped) and lemon zest
5. In a cup, beat one large egg.
6. Over low heat, in a skillet melt one stick of butter. Make sure the mixture stays barely warm. Then add medium bowl of molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger. Stir.
7. Add beaten egg. mix well
8. Pour skillet mixture into large bowl with flour. Pour small bowl of ginger and lemon zest over - stir.
9. Now, the assembly process. Set up your three cookie sheets with wax paper, the batter, a 1/2 tbsp spoon, the bowl of reserved sugar, and a little flour. Lightly flour the spoon and your finger tips. Then roll 1/2 tbsp of batter into a ball, coat in sugar well, and then place on wax paper. The cookies don't spread very much, so leave only about 3/4 inch around them.
10. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the cookies crack a little. I baked for 4 minutes and then switch the very bottom and top cookie sheets, then cooked for 5 more minutes for even cooking. They'll be a little squishy when they first come out, but they'll harden up as they cool.

The original recipe says it makes 4 dozen, but really it just makes a ton. Enjoy!