Saturday, July 27, 2013

Roasted Green Beans

~10 min + 20 min cook time
One of our household go to favorites. We usually eat these once or twice every week now.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cover a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil and lightly coat with spray oil. Salt and pepper foil. Cut off the ends of green beans and place them in a single layer on the sheet and spray them with oil and salt and pepper again.

Cook for twenty minutes at 400 F or until they look like this:
I cooked these with pioneer woman's chicken thighs: After I put these in the oven I found out my broiler was broken so no crusty cheese this time. But still two thumbs up. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Honey-Orange-Mint-Herbal syrup

~15 min prep + 2 days to steep

My Orange mint crop was starting to get out of control due to a recent influx of precipitation. So I decided to make an herbal syrup to flavor my drinks since I enjoy it in my tea so much already.
  • approx 3 Tbsp orange mint leaves
  • one organic orange 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
Many syrup recipes call for heating of the herbs to draw out their flavors, but I found a post on the yummy life ( discussing the benefits of using a no cook method. Even though it is quicker, boiling the plant ingredients can destroy beneficial nutrients. So I opted for the slower but no cook method. There is also a very nice post on healthy green kitchen outlining the basics of simple syrup making ( Most syrups are made with equal parts sugar and water. Increasing the amount of sugar to two parts will also make the syrup shelf stable apparently. So I set out with the intention to combine this knowledge to create my own recipe. This syrup has a refreshingly sweet taste that I found very nice to enjoy after being outside in the summer heat. I simply mixed it into cold or carbonated water for an afternoon treat.

-Warm water on the stove top and dissolve the sugar in it. Set aside and let cool. 
-Zest a tsp of rind from the orange into a mason jar. 
-Cut the orange in half. Now give it a quick squeeze to add some of its juice to the jar and then stuff the whole fruit in as well. 
-Add the honey and shredded mint leaves to the jar. 
-Once the water and sugar are cool add the liquid to the jar as well. 
-Close and shake. Refrigerate for two days.
Finally strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer (I use my tea strainer) to remove organic material. Now you are ready to enjoy it! 
Add one tablespoon to 8 oz of cold water for a refreshing drink. 
Keeps for about a month refrigerated. This recipe is not shelf stable!
Simply throw this in your refrigerator for a few days.

Then strain and enjoy in any drink!
Along with butterflies...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Braised Beef with Garlic, Banana Peppers, Carrots, and Onions

~1 hr + marinade time, serves 2

-1 lb eye of round steaks
-1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp shichimi togarashi
-1 Tbsp sesame oil and more for braising
-1/4 cup rice vinegar
-1/4 cup of red wine
-1/4 cup water
- one sweet banana pepper
-one julienned carrot
-one minced garlic clove
-1/2 onion

Just a note: I don't remember precisely the amount of everything in the marinade. These are estimates of what I remember. So please taste test your marinade! Keep in mind its ok if it seems really vinegary because it will get diluted later on. The important part is that there is enough broth to cover all of your veggies and beef while simmering in the last step.

Mix all of the liquids, oil and shichimi togarashi together and marinade the steaks in them for several hours. Make sure to save the marinade for later use. Lightly cover a stir-fry pan with a bit of sesame oil. Once hot, put the steaks on and let them cook for 5 minutes until they are browned on the outside. Remove from heat and add the vegetables and garlic to the pan. Cover and stir them every minute or so for about five to ten minutes until they are browned and still mildly crunchy. You might need to add some more sesame oil at this point if the pan is too dry to stir fry the vegetables. Once they are cooked, turn the heat down to low and add the marinade and steaks to the pan. Add about half a cup of water to dilute the very vinegary broth. Simmer covered for half an hour.
Braising the beef. It is only cooked on the outside right now.
The chopped veggies. 
And the finished result! The steam was fogging up my camera >.<
I thought this experimental dish turned out really great. It was very tasty and had the right amount of spiciness. 

Serve with rice or some other starch. I removed the food from the broth to serve because it was too strongly vinegar tasting and am planning on using it in a soup later on.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Avocado-Lime-Cilantro Ice Cream

~15 min prep + time for ice cream maker

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup milk (or cream)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

I got this idea from my previous experiences with making imitation ice cream from mashed frozen bananas. Add in some cocoa powder and instant chocolate ice cream! Any fruit that is meaty enough to make a good smooth paste will create a nice ice cream like texture when frozen.

  • Peel your avocado and add it and the cilantro to a blender. (alternatively hand mash and shred the cilantro) 
  • Place paste in a bowl and add the other ingredients. 
  • Refrigerate and follow manufacturer instructions for your ice cream maker.    

The pre-frozen mix. I know hang in there, it looks gross...
And the delicious result!

I would advise eating this within a day or two. Due to its low fat content or something, it froze into a pretty solid mass after three days. Not that it detracted from the taste at all.  
Yield: 1.5 cups, approx 3 servings

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blueberry Ricotta Cheese Please!

~5 min dessert
Once again I went searching for what to do with leftover ingredients in my fridge. This week I found Ricotta cheese and blueberries.
Starting with the blueberries...

Add them to a serving of ricotta cheese with a few spoon fulls of honey...
Annnd top the whole dessert with cinnamon. I've been eating this for breakfast as well.
Its so tasty I've been thinking about making some other combinations. Maybe chocolate syrup and strawberries.... yum. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Quick Olive Oil Granola

~15 min
yield approx 4-5 cups, about 5 servings.

I tried out this recipe in order to create a substitute for cereal. Because cereal is delicious with or without milk and I consume it heavily. This granola clumps up well, is super quick and is still as sweet as store bought brands. I really like the taste of it and could easily see myself making it on a regular basis from now on.


  • 3 cups oats (don't use the quick oats they don't clump as well- it has to do with size I think)
  • 5/4 cup nuts and seeds (I used sliced almonds, sesame and flax seeds because they are cheap. It is necessary to use at least 1/2 cup of nuts here. Seeds are too small and can prevent the granola from clumping if you use too many)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
  • a little over 1/6 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar (any kind, I use brown)
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the wet ingredients together very thoroughly. Then mix the dry ingredients separately and combine the two very well. I usually work the mixture for about 5 minutes until everything seems homogeneous. (I also hear a food processor works great for this) Dump the whole mixture onto a cookie sheet covered in ALUMINUM FOIL. This stuff sticks so make it easy on yourself and don't let it give you too much trouble. Pat everything down to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes. Now turn off the oven and walk away for a few hours. Do it I dare you. Every time I try this my granola turns out perfect, just barely brown on the edges. All ovens are different however so you may have to adjust cooking time. Once cooked, scrape off into a container with a tight fitting lid. Keeps for several weeks. I haven't had any last longer than that because I keep eating it! 

All of the dry ingredients

All of the wet ingredients mixed thoroughly.
Now mix them all together really well!
Press onto a sheet and slide it in the oven...
The finished granola is just slightly brown on the edges and smells really good.
This is the thickness of my granola
Delicious in milk or with fresh fruit!

Lastly store it for later.