Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beet it!

I love beets, weird I know! I am sure half of you are thinking "gross" and the other half are thinking"never really thought about beets much", so I would like to introduce you to a gateway recipe for liking beets. They are very healthy and can add pretty color to your plate.

First of all if you are thinking of using canned beets - DON"T! You must use fresh beets and roast them yourself. I get the bulk beets at my local farmer's market and they are 69 cents a pound. I suggest you look for bulk beets at your farmer's market, they are cheaper that way and this recipe does not use the stems/leaves so you don't need to pay for them. Look for the ones that are hard like rocks, the softer they are the older they are. Keep them in the fridge if you buy them before you cook them, they go bad quickly in room temp. 

Here is a good instructional site about roasting beets if you have never roasted them before. I put them in at 350 degrees and it usually takes 1 - 1 1/2 hours, but you don't really need to do much while they are in the oven so you can set the timer and go do other things. I find that skinning the beets with a potato peeler before cooking is easier, some people think it is easier to peel them off after, but I had a hard time doing that. You will know the beets are done when you can put a fork in them easily, almost like when a potato is done. Set them aside and let them cool. You can also cook the beets a day or two before and put them in the fridge.

Once they are cool slice them up then cut the slices into four and arrange them on the plate. Drizzle some olive oil on them. Then add some sea salt and pepper. Next add the feta cheese. Don't use a low fat feta, it wont be as good and feta isn't that terrible for diets as far as cheeses go anyway. I actually use a really good french feta from a fantastic shop in Detroit that has just about any kind of cheese you can dream of in stock. So if you are lucky enough to be in Metro Detroit do yourself a favor and stop by Hirt's. Then top with fresh basil and you are done!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Winging it

This week I tried my hand at cooking, kind of.  What I made is a no-bake Martha Stewart recipe, a yogurt and blueberry pie with granola crust.  Since it was Independence Day weekend, I added raspberries as well, to make the whole overall appearance red, white, and blue.

Chrissy is more of the baker in this blogmanship.  I do other things, like cook, can, etc.  I don't really bake or make desserts, it requires more precision and patience than I have.  This recipe seemed like a good, easy one that even I could handle. And, it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

When I started making it, I realized I was lacking a few ingredients; not really unusual for me to discover this partway through a recipe.  The recipe called for butter; I did not have butter, but I did have Olivio Coconut Spread, made with coconut oil that I picked up on a whim the last time I went to the big grocery store.  It seemed to work pretty well. regardless of not being butter.  This was all for the granola crust, which turned out not too badly.

The yogurt/cream cheese filling was a bit more difficult for me.  I could not quite get it smooth.  Mine had bumps in it. Also, I was supposed to use cheesecloth to strain the yogurt, which I did.  However, when I went to use the strained yogurt, it all stuck to the cheesecloth and I couldn't get it off.  I am sure there is a trick to this, but I don't know it.  So I threw that in the trash, and just added the yogurt to the mix.  Maybe this is why it was bumpy?  I used Stonyfield Farms Low Fat French Vanilla yogurt too, instead of plain.

Other than the cheesecloth step, this was a simple, yummy, summery pie to make.  I really enjoyed it, and kept it eating for days.  I am actually going to make it again - I felt like it was a dessert without the unhealthy feelings, since it was essentially a yogurt parfait.  It does have a few things that make it not the healthiest, but it could be worse, right?


Friday, June 24, 2011

Vegan Rosewater Cupcakes

These just sound pretty, so I knew I had to try this recipe (with a few variations) from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for when I was hosting book club. Our book club consists of 7 different, but awesome ladies, so I knew they would love these pink little treats. When gathering ingredients at the grocery store I ran into my first problem, I couldn't find rosewater! I did end up finding a rosewater at another store that had artificial rose flavor but I'm not a big fan of artificial flavoring for baked goods. All I could think about was a gross soapy tasting cupcake. So I decided to make my own rosewater.

I found an easy recipe online, picked some pretty roses from my fellow blogger Erin's rose bushes and started to make my rosewater. Half way through I realized that I put too much water in the pot, but there was no turning back. So I just plugged on and made it according to the instructions. The end result looked and smelled lovely, but the taste wasn't very strong. Next time I plan to use less water.

These cupcakes are very easy to make, one bowl and not a lot of ingredients, so I whipped up two batches. I did omit the pistachios and the cardamom. They came out very tasty, but they were lacking the faint rosewater taste due to the diluted rosewater. I then made a vegan buttercream frosting and tinted it pink.

I have an older house that does not have central air and the window air for our front room broke. Normally the heat doesn't bother me at all, but I learned that heat and frosting do not mix well. Therefore, instead of fancy frosted cupcakes I had to spoon the frosting on kind of like a glaze, add pink sugar sprinkles and quickly put them in the freezer to set the frosting into place before moving them to the fridge to wait to be eaten. I plan on trying this recipe again with new rosewater, adding the omitted ingredients and less heat!