Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mango Lassi with Cardamom

And now for something different…
I’ve ordered mango lassis at many Indian restaurants over the years, and have always anticipated the cool, refreshing beverage. It never occurred to me to make them myself until I saw take-out cups of mango lassi for sale at the health food store for $4! What a bonus to discover that the recipe includes a spice in my challenge!

I modified this easy recipe only slightly
You guessed it, I used fat free yogurt and skim milk, substituting one packet of Equal for the sugar. I will continue to enjoy the slightly richer flavor in restaurant versions, but at home, this nutritionally guilt-free option will become a staple. I sprinkled cardamom into the blender but did not add more prior to serving because the flavor was enough for my tastes (I didn’t measure the amount, but it was probably 1/8 teaspoon). The mango in the blender looks lumpy because it was frozen when I got a bunch of mangos on sale and had too many ripe to eat at once.

The glass was a yard sale find, thanks in part to this blog…well, sort of! Upon arriving at a B & B we’ve stayed at before to celebrate our anniversary, I was disappointed to see that the town-wide yard sale was also being held right in the back yard of the B & B. Thankfully the additional noise and traffic was not too disruptive, and as we were checking out, yard sale items were marked down 50%. Did I really need a set of wine/dessert stemware, small cordials for the granita I’ve always wanted to make, or a lovely set of silver ice cream bowls? Um, no. But they were beautiful, affordable, and we truly didn’t have anything like them already. The glassware and silver had belonged to one of the B & B owners’ grandmothers, as are many of our nice serving ware items, and now I have a new challenge: to figure out spice recipes to photograph in our “souvenirs”.
Do you have a favorite hot or cold beverage that includes a spice?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

When searching for a recipe with poppy seeds, this one made sense to me right away. I’ve never prepared Lemon Poppy Seed Bread from scratch before, but have certainly enjoyed it at many events.
Here is how I modified the recipe: 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel (about one lemon's worth), 2 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 3/4 cup butter at room temperature, 2/3 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons milk (I used skim). Glaze: 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons sugar.
[I reduced the amount of sugar called for in the original recipe (modifications shown here). Next time I would use even less sugar but it sure was delicious this way.]
I’m glad I learned in a recent cooking class to really beat the butter well, and this recipe suggests times, which helped me to create a fluffy egg, sugar, butter mixture (I never had the patience before). I taste tested a warm glazed slice right away, which was superb, and the next day -per the recipe's suggestion- it was wonderful, too!
Have you ever made poppy seed bagels? I haven’t, and may try that some time. Any tips for me?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BBQ Ribs (secret ingredient is celery seeds)

Who knew that celery seeds would be such a key ingredient in this recipe? It’s been prepared this way in my family for over 25 years, and gets hauled out now whenever the craving hits. I know there are regional specialty recipes for rubs, marinades, etc. but this is the only way I know how to make it. I’ll continue to appreciate variations during my travels! 

3 lbs ribs (or more, and then increase sauce!)
Sauce: 2 tbsp butter or margarine, 1 cup ketchup, 2/3 cup chili sauce, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 4 tbsp chopped onion, 2 tbsp mustard, 2 tbsp Worcester sauce, 1 tsp celery seeds, ¼ tsp salt, hot sauce to taste, 2-3 thin lemon slices.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Boil water in large pot deep enough to cover ribs, boil ribs for 1 hour. If you prepare this recipe using a slow cooker, skip the boiling step and place ribs into the crock pot uncooked.

Fry onion and lemon slices in butter, add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Place ribs in baking dish, and pour sauce over ribs. Bake 20 minutes. If you are running short on time and using a crock pot, sauce ingredients may be placed unheated into the crock pot over the ribs. I've left everything in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low with great results.
What is your favorite BBQ sauce or rib preparation method? 
Here is one of my trusty "helpers" while I organized recipes!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Granola with ginger and cinnamon

Ever since I saw this 2010 recipe in Bon Appetit, I have prepared it at least once per month with some modifications.
I use only 1/8 teaspoon of salt, only 1 tablespoon of oil, no dried fruit, and a pre-mixed multi-grain (raw) oatmeal found in most grocery stores. I also use whatever nuts I have on hand, which today were almonds. I mixed the dry ingredients:

Heated the oil and honey (I pour the tablespoon of oil into the 1/3 measuring cup, swirl it around, and dump it into the pot, then quickly measure the honey into the same cup- and it won’t stick, thanks to the light coating of oil!). Stirred all together:

Bake at 300 and take out of the oven twice to stir it up (after 10-15 minutes of baking).

I usually enjoy the granola over plain yogurt and fresh fruit. It's a great snack to go as well. Do you have a home-made granola recipe? What's the most creative way you've served granola?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Sunday lunch has often involved home-made chicken salad wraps in the past, but the extra effort this time yielded great results! I combined two recipes from “The New Basics Cookbook” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I’ve had this book for so long that the spine is falling apart- it’s been well loved. Here is the recipe as I adapted it.

1 can (12.5 oz) chicken, drained
1/8 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
1/8 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
1/8 cup toasted walnut pieces
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
fresh ground pepper
½ cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped cucumber
Whole wheat wraps
mixed greens inside the wraps along with the chicken salad

Have you used tarragon with anything other than chicken? What is your favorite sandwich wrap?
Last year's harvest: