Tag Archives: Recipes

In living color

I can be kind of embarrassing. I know it. I accept it.

Usually, in considerations for my friends and family, I try to act at least remotely normal when I’m in public. But, sometimes I just can’t help but reveal my true dorkiness.

This is especially true when it comes to food.

Although I love cooking at home, there is always something special about going out for a meal. I’m awed by the artful presentations, the unexpected flavor combinations and the vibrant colors.

“Oh my gosh, look at that! Have you ever seen such an impressive dish?” I say, as my company rolls their eyes and dig into the actual food.

It’s just true what they say: I eat first with my eyes and then with my stomach.

Although I enjoyed Germany, the general color palette of food is light brown or dark brown. The food would taste different, but it would often look the same. In time it just got boring…

To make up for it, these past few days, I’ve been trying to pack color and into my meals.

A few examples and a recipe…

Consumed: Green Monster with vanilla yogurt, 1/2 banana, 1 T PB, ice cubes and “Fruit Not Fat” granola.

Consumed: Noodles and Co. trio with Bangkok Curry, tofu and small side salad.

He wants to roll his eyes, but instead he puts on a good face…

That’s why I like him.

Consumed: Blueberry overnight oats with vanilla yogurt, 1/4 oats, 1 t Chia seeds, frozen blueberries, granola and PB2.

Rainbow Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears fresh corn on the cob
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 T cilantro
  • 1 T EVOO
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sweet potatoes

Directions:

  • Steam corn on the cob. Allow to cool slightly, then slice off corn kernels.
  • Thoroughly rinse black beans. Dice tomatoes and onion. Shred cilantro.
  • Combine everything, expect the potatoes, in a large bowl. Refrigerate.
  • Meanwhile, cook sweet potatoes either in the oven or in the microwave. I baked my potato in the microwave by piercing it with a fork, wrapping it in a paper towel, heating on high for 4 minutes. Then feel the potato to see if it needs to be cooked more. Bake for another 2-3 minutes, if necessary.
  • Top each baked sweet potato with 1/2 C corn-bean mixture.

This is one of my favorite summer dishes, but it also transitions well into the fall.

Question: Do you appreciate the presentation of food, or do you go more for taste?

I really love the aesthetics of food. But, even the most beautiful dish is going to be a failure if it doesn’t taste good!

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A new state nickname

I am a Nebraska girl, and proud of it.

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I mean, how many people can say the cow population outnumbers the human population of their state?

As if that isn’t enough of a bragging right, Nebraska also has a little something else going for it: corn.

I don’t discriminate much when it comes to corn. I love it grilled, steamed or boiled. I love it in salads, salsas and stir-fries. But, more than anything else, I love it freshly popped, buttered and salted.

Popcorn is one of the greatest joys in life, and I almost never get sick of it.

However, even this Nebraska-girl needs to mix things up every now and then.

Yesterday I was in the hunt for a crunchy, chewy and slightly sweet snack. In a rare turn of events, popcorn just didn’t sound appealing.

What to do? What to do?

With a quick scan of the cabinet, my eyes were drawn to the corner of an upper shelf. Hidden behind some imperishable tomatoes, green beans and Campbell’s soup was a can of butter beans.

Immediately my mind started scanning the hundreds of recipes in my brain’s Rolodex. I remembered back to a savory, roasted chickpea recipe I had tried out a few months ago. It was tasty, but I was in the mood for something a little sweeter.

I flipped through a few more mental recipes, before landing on nut-butter crusted fries. That was also good, but it didn’t have the chewiness I was looking for.

Then it came to me: Why not try out a combination?

Half an hour later, I was sitting in front of my TV, contently popping my new creation into my mouth.

Satisfaction.

Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Butter Beans

Ingredients:

•    14 oz. can of butter beans, drained and rinsed
•    ½ T EVOO
•    ½ T natural peanut butter
•    1 t sugar
•    ½ t cinnamon

Directions:

•    Mix the EVOO and peanut butter together in a medium sized bowl. Pour in rinsed beans and toss everything together. Pour peanut butter coated beans onto a cookie sheet.
•    Bake for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon with sugar.
•    Remove beans from the oven, toss with cinnamon-sugar and return to oven for approximately five more minutes, or until adequately chewy.
•    Enjoy hot or cold.

I am still just as much of a Nebraska girl, and corn will always hold a special place in my heart.

Even still, “The Butter Bean Roastin’ State” doesn’t sound too bad…

Question: What local ingredients do you like to cook with?


A biscotti love ballad

I am not a singer. In fact, I wasn’t blessed with musical talent of any type.

That is why it is so remarkable that I wrote a song. It took a great deal of inspiration, but upon meeting my muse, the words just organically flew from my mouth…

“Biscot-tah, you make my heart sing. Oh, you make ev-rah-thing, groovy. Biscot-tah!”

I may have borrowed the tune from Jimi Hendrix. However, after taking a bite of my first batch of homemade biscotti, I couldn’t help but sing.

I’m not too worried. Had Hendrix tried the biscotti, I’m sure he would be singing, too.

Whole-Wheat Sunflower Seed Biscotti

Recipe adapted from Steph Chows.

Ingredients:

•    ¾ C whole-wheat flour
•    ½ C all-purpose flour
•    ½ dry-roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
•    1 t baking powder
•    1/3 C sugar
•    2 T brown sugar
•    ½ C chocolate chips
•    2 T milled flax seeds
•    6 T water
•    1 t vanilla

Directions:

•    Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.
•    In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds, water and vanilla.
•    Hollow out a well in the middle of flour mixture. Pour flax seed mix into well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be crumbly—may need to use hands to knead into dough.
•    Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
•    Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.

Whole-Wheat Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Paired with a steaming cup of coffee, biscotti is the perfect way to start off the morning.

Ingredients:

•    ¾ C whole-wheat flour
•    ½ C all-purpose flour
•    ½ C chopped raw almonds
•    1 t baking powder
•    1/3 C sugar
•    2 T brown sugar
•    ½ C chocolate chips
•    ½ C crasins
•    2 T milled flax seeds
•    4 T water
•    2 T fresh squeezed orange juice (zest before juicing)
•    1 t vanilla (or could use orange or almond extract)
•    Orange zest

Directions:

•    Whisk together ingredients whole-wheat flour through crasins in large mixing bowl.
•    In a small bowl, beat together milled flax seeds, water, orange juice, vanilla and orange zest.
•    Hollow out a well in the middle of flour mixture. Pour flax seed mix into well and mix thoroughly. Mixture will be crumbly—may need to use hands to knead into dough.
•    Form into two rectangles on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
•    Remove from oven and slice rectangles into long, thin slices. Rearrange on cookie sheet and bake for another 20 minutes.

These biscotti are so good that I want to eat them all day, every day…

On second thought, since a bite of biscotti seems linked to an inexplicable desire to sing, maybe I should wait until no one is around.

I still have a bit of stage fright.