Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coconut Cardamom Ice Cream

Since I've been home in Oregon I've been in complete awe of the beauties of spring. All the plants are sprouting back up again and the plentiful tulips and irises are just stunning. Even though it is still quite cold here, I decided to make some ice cream to celebrate the *hopefully* coming warm weather. I had purchased some coconut cream at the Indonesian grocery store I frequent back in LA, and I hadn't figured out what to use it for yet, so I brought it up with me to my parents' house in the hopes of incorporating it into a meal or treat of some kind. I decided to use it for the ice cream, and, having never used coconut cream before, I was surprised by the thickness.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lettuce-Wrapped Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese

I just finished making the drive up to Hillsboro, Oregon from Los Angeles yesterday, and boy am I tired! I knew the trip would be draining, so I tried to stock up on protein the night before. I wanted to make something with ground turkey meat because it was on sale at the supermarket, and I also had some goat cheese in the fridge, so I decided to make turkey burgers! I made them bunless partially because I wanted to cut out excess carbs, and partially because I didn't want to go back out to the grocery store and buy some. So I threw this together, and was really pleased with how it turned out! It had all the flavors I like, and I honestly didn't even miss the bun. Plus, I felt pretty good about eating it. It was easy to make, too, which was particularly convenient at the end of a long day of packing. Right now it feels good to be back in the house I grew up in, and the scenery here could not be more beautiful. The apple, pear, and plum trees in my parents' backyard are in full bloom, with lovely little spring blossoms poking out of their greyish branches. I will have to make something fruity soon to celebrate the loveliness of the season!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cocoa Peanut Truffles

I was walking around the aisles of Trader Joe's the other day and stumbled upon something I hadn't noticed before. It was peanut flour, in a fun little orange package. I peeked around the bag and decided to bring it home to experiment with. First I put it in a blender with almond milk and ice cream and made a peanut butter milkshake, which was amazing. Then I did some more research on it and found out that it is actually pretty good for you...if you don't put it in a milkshake. Peanut flour is created through the process of pressing peanuts to make peanut oil. The peanut oil is taken away to be sold, and the dry remnants of the peanuts are churned up into a powder. Peanut flour is good for you because most of the fats have been removed through the pressing process and a lot of the vitamins and proteins are left behind. Since I have been trying to eat less unhealthy carbohydrates and more protein, I decided to try and make some truffles with it. I was very pleased with how they turned out, nice and rich and creamy with a crunchy little peanut inside! They're a really healthy dessert option, and, more importantly, quite delicious. I did, however, put a wee bit of sugar in them because without it the cocoa mixture would have been too bitter for my taste. If you like it extra sweet, you can throw a few more teaspoons of granulated sugar into the cocoa. I also added flax seed meal for some extra fiber.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Herb Stenciled Easter Eggs

It is that time of year again. Flowers start blooming, the grass turns greener, and eggs get boiled and dyed to celebrate the wonderful holiday that is Easter. My family is Greek, so Easter has always been a fun and huge celebration, with tons of good food and beautiful decorations. Last year I dyed my Easter eggs in the traditional Greek manner by turning them blood red, which you can see in this post from my old 52 weeks project. This year I wanted my eggs to be a bit more cheerful and bright with a nice variety of saturated colors, so I decided to try and do plant-based dyes again to see how they'd turn out. I used spinach leaves for the green, purple cabbage for the blue, beets for the antique/pink, and carrots and paprika for the orange. I also tried making yellow dye with golden delicious apple peels, but it didn't work. The other natural dyes worked really well however; the key was letting them soak in the dye overnight to become really saturated with color. I didn't do this with the antique/pink dye however, because I kind of liked the antique-y coloration it had after an hour of soaking so I took them out to dry. If I would have left them in overnight, they would've turned a nice, rich pink. I also experimented with speckling the egg's surface by adding extra salt to the orange and green dyes, which gave them a fun scatter of spots, but I think I like the solidly colored eggs better. More things to keep in mind for next Easter, I think.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Celery Root Hashbrowns

I have been trying to eat healthier again this past week, particularly after enjoying the delightful Dulce de Bacon Milkshake of my last post. After trying and failing, I came to the realization that I eat a lot of carbohydrates, and not the good kinds. As an effort to cut down on excess starches while still enjoying my favorite meals, Jeremy suggested that I make some hashbrowns from celery root. As unappealing as this sounded at the time, I inquired more about it. He said that he heard somewhere that you can make hashbrowns from celery root and that they have one third of the carbs potatoes have. So, I decided to try it as an experiment in breakfast foods. And the results were....shockingly good. The celery root smells like celery, but it doesn't taste like it. It's kind of potato-y in taste, but has a little bit of a sweet kick to it, which I really loved. In fact, I daresay that I even liked these hashbrowns better than regular ones because of the nice sweet and salty combination. The root by itself looks pretty strange, the closest similarity I can draw is to a mandrake from Harry Potter. So sad and wrinkly-looking. But there is tasty root flesh under those wrinkles, and I included another video tutorial in this post about how to hack away at all the little roots and peel the main root for use. It can be viewed in HD, as well. Just press play and to the right of the play button is the settings tab, where 360p is usually automatically selected, click and select 1080p instead. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dulce de Bacon Milkshake


Okay, so I know what you're probably thinking. Bacon? In a milkshake? Whaaaa? But trust me on this, it works out incredibly well. Seriously, like, addicting well. To explain, I made this milkshake for a recipe contest that required bacon as the main ingredient. As a native Oregonian, I frequented a doughnut shop in Portland called Voodoo Donuts that makes a maple bar with a crispy slice of bacon on top. I was always a fan of this creamy/sweet/bacon combination, and when I saw the posting for the competition I knew I wanted to make something sweet. Since bacon and maple get paired fairly frequently, I spent a lot of time thinking about what other ingredient I could use. Then, while I was wandering the isles of the grocery store, I saw a can of dulce de leche and knew what I wanted to do. Blend them into a wonderfully rich and flavorful milkshake, of course! So here it is, folks, the results of my mad scientist-like cooking skills. And I can say with 100% honesty, it was SO incredibly good. While I was working on this post last night I started craving one again just writing about it. Luckily, I still have some bacon, milk, ice cream and dulce de leche left over, so I plan on making another one today for me and for Jeremy. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet Lime Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

Last post I talked about all the fun things I like to look at in my local Mexican grocery store, and sweet limes are one of them. I saw them in the produce bin and at first I thought they were lemons, until I saw the giant sign above them labeled "sweet limes". I was intrigued, and I looked them up on my phone and found out that they really are actually limes, not lemons, and that they're much sweeter than normal limes, so much so that they can be eaten raw from the plant like an orange or a tangerine. I picked up several of them and started brainstorming about what to make. I thought about limeade, but was craving a baked good of some sort. I realized I hadn't made cupcakes in a while, so I decided to try and make a batch with the sweet limes and the raspberries I had in the freezer. The result was a wonderfully decadent batch of cupcakerie. The flavors from the lime and the raspberry complement each other verrrry well, and the frosting is nice and creamy, too. I decorated these using the same frosting technique from my Taro Cake post, except the frosting tip was a size 5 (medium-sized) closed star tip rather than a large one. These were a blast to make and even more fun to eat, I brought them to my friend's kickball game this weekend and they were thoroughly enjoyed by all!