15 April 2014

Strawberry ginger yogurt smoothie

Strawberry ginger yogurt smoothie

It's spring and my system wants all the fresh berries as immediately as possible.

That means it's time for...a smoothie with no banana!

I don't know about you guys, but I cannot stand frozen bananas in smoothies. For a long time, this made me think I didn't like smoothies. (Well, this plus my continued distaste for washing the blender.) But I was wrong, because guess what I can sub in? Yogurt.

So the ubiquitous vat of plain yogurt isn't just for curries, garnishes, and labneh anymore -- it's also my standby for cramming my face full of as much fresh fruit and veg as possible. Hooray!

I broke out the new spring strawberries and went to work.

Strawberries and ginger are an amazing combination in my book, so I punched up this smoothie with a chunk of fresh ginger. If you find the zing of ginger too strong, you can add a small apple, peeled and chopped, but be aware that the yogurt will tame it a bit too. Personally, I prefer the full-zing version, but both are very good. It's up to you and your taste buds. And of course you can always add more ginger for the most exciting smoothie in the land!

I used a standard plain full-fat yogurt for this smoothie. If you happen to have Greek yogurt instead, you can halve the amount and thin your smoothie accordingly with the milk of your choice. It's all good.

Strawberry ginger yogurt smoothie

Strawberry ginger yogurt smoothie

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
(optional apple)

Put everything in a blender, with the yogurt on the bottom and the strawberries on top. Liquefy thoroughly. Pour into the glass of your choosing and drink. Makes approximately 1 pint.

Strawberry ginger yogurt smoothie

This smoothie makes a perfect breakfast or mid-morning break on those days when you can't quite bring yourself to eat something hot. So good!

How are you eating your fresh spring strawberries? Any fantastic smoothies in your current rotation?

11 April 2014

Roasted beet salad with butter lettuce and sliced eggs

Salads are the best. Salads that fulfill the lunch quota for the day are even better.

This time I went for a contrast in temperature and texture as well as flavor. Beets and eggs still warm from cooking over cool, crunchy lettuce, covered with a tangy, herby vinaigrette? Perfect. I ate a plateful for lunch, had a sliced apple for dessert, and was thus well prepared for an afternoon's work. Yay!

For an added bonus, you can absolutely make 90% of this salad in advance. Roasted beets, hard-boiled eggs, and vinaigrette all keep quite well for a good week, so you can have a prep party and get all of them ready on a long, lazy weekend afternoon. A few days later, when you discover that you need to eat lunch immediately, you can assemble it on the spot and go.

I kept this salad super simple, with only three main ingredients, but you can absolutely up the fance factor if you so desire. A handful of toasted almonds or walnuts, some beautifully garlicky croutons, or a scattering of crumbled feta or goat cheese would all be excellent over hearty, earthy-sweet beets. Extra crunch and tang? Yes, please.

Roasted beet salad with butter lettuce and sliced eggs

2-3 small beets or 1 large
2 eggs
butter lettuce
salt & pepper
vinaigrette of your choice

To roast your beets: Preheat the oven to 400F while you scrub your beets under running water. Trim the stems, saving the leaves for the braised, stir-fried, or ensoupenated application of your choice.

Wrap the beets in foil, put them in a small casserole dish, and roast for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender to the point of a knife.

When your beets are done, give them a few minutes to cool, and then slip off the skins with your fingers. Slice into whatever size pieces you prefer.

To hard-boil your eggs: put your eggs in a small pot with a lid and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for eight minutes for large eggs and nine for extra-large.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat, drain off the hot water, and cover your hot eggs with cold water and ice. When cool enough to handle, peel under running water. Slice.

To assemble your salad: Wash and spin dry your lettuce. Tear or chop it into bite-sized pieces.

Arrange your lettuce on a plate. Top with your beets and eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with vinaigrette. I did a simple oil-vinegar-dijon combination with some added parsley, but I think this herb vinaigrette would be good too. Even a squeeze of lemon would be good.

Beautiful and delicious.

What salads are you eating this spring?

08 April 2014

Grilled cheese, apples, pickles!

Grilled cheese, apples, pickles!

Evidently April is national grilled cheese month, which is good, because I already made and ate two or three different iterations of this lunch, and if you cook something that much, you really need to talk about it on the internet. Even if what you kept making was a sandwich. Yes.

So: grilled cheese.


Grilled cheese in a cast-iron pan

Grilled cheese: dijon mustard and sharp cheddar on Veronica's homemade sourdough, grilled in unsalted butter in a cast iron pan. It's the classic for a reason, and the reason is that it's unbelievably delicious. Yeah!

Apples: organic gala. Cut them up!

Refrigerator dill pickle spears

Pickles: super easy and fast overnight refrigerator pickles made with English cucumber. I threw a couple peppercorns in there too. If you have never made refrigerator pickles, OH MAN. Go get yourself a cucumber and some vinegar. It takes five minutes and is so worth it.

Put everything on a plate and go to town.