Tag Archives: Recipe

Peppermint Patty Green Monster

Ever since coming back from vacation, I have been craving fruits and vegetables like whoa.  I think it’s because it’s hot back here in New York (not crazy hot, but it’s definitely not fall weather like Canada).

I had a beautiful salad for lunch made from a bunch of locally grown veggies (including the reddest tomato I have ever seen), and then an apple (golden and delicious, as the name implied), and then I was still dying for vegetables.

Green monster it is.  ‘Specially one that has a fresh and cooling taste thanks to some chocolate mint from my herb garden.

Peppermint Patty Green Monster Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 10 small chocolate mint leaves (you can use regular mint, too)
  • 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • honey or chocolate syrup to taste (optional for those of you who want a sweeter drink)

Layer the ingredients in a blender in this order: spinach, mint, cocoa powder, banana, ice, and skim milk poured over the top.  Putting the heavy stuff on top helps to press the light stuff down into the blender mechanism.

Blend for a few minutes until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve immediately (makes one smoothie).

I actually couldn’t believe how much this really tasted like a peppermint patty.  Sweet, a bit of chocolate (how good would this be with chocolate pieces stirred in?), and that perfect cool minty finish.

As always, you can’t even taste the baby spinach.  If you use a heartier green like kale or chard, you’ll be able to detect it–that’s why I went with spinach on this one.

Vegetable and fruit craving satisfied.

Now on to more important things:

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Filed under Beverages

Seeded Crackers

What a relief to finally be home!  We began our travels yesterday at 8:00 in the morning and finally arrived home to Long Island at almost 9:00 at night.  Super long day.

Needless to say, we were super exhausted when we finally made it home–but very, very excited to see this face:

He’s been cling-wrapped to us all day and I think he’s finally starting to get that when we leave, we won’t be gone for another two weeks.  Oh–except that I’m catching a flight tomorrow night for Syracuse to see my side of the family (but Fritz is staying here, since his classes are starting tomorrow).

So, it was nice to have a bit of a normal routine today, including weekend baking.  I decided to attempt making crackers for the first time ever today, using this recipe from It’s Not About the Recipe for inspiration.

Seeded Crackers Printable Recipe Card

  •  1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C rye flour
  • 1/4 C poppy seeds
  • 1/4 C sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 C water

This was a super easy recipe.  In the mixer, combine all the dry ingredients.  Mix in the olive oil, then the water, until a dough forms.  Let it rest for 15 minutes.

After resting, break the dough into four pieces (the original recipe said eight–not sure why, since it was not necessary and a bit more time-consuming).  Roll out the dough until very thin, using extra flour to prevent sticking (I stopped rolling only when I had to–when the thickness of the sunflower seeds prevented me from rolling it out any thinner).  Using a pizza cutter (or a pastry roller if you are lucky enough to have one), cut off the rough edges and slice the crackers into squares.  Place them close together on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and stick ’em with a fork a couple of times for those cute cracker dots.

Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees) for 7-10 minutes until light golden brown.  You gotta watch these guys carefully, since they’ll burn fast and the only thing worse than the smell of burnt sesame seeds is the taste of burnt sesame seeds.

Let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container for about a week.

I wasn’t a huge fan of these crackers at first, but I posted the recipe anyway because I think that it’s a personal preference–I’m just not a huge fan of toasted sesame seeds.

Fritz enjoyed the crackers just fine.

Oh, and when I tried them the way I used to eat Ritz crackers in my youth (with strawberry jam), I was totally won over.

Yum.

Double, triple, crunchy seedy cracker yum.  These guys might just be those crackers that really work best with toppings.

My next cracker attempt (because these were so fast that I will definitely be making more crackers soon) may have to be sweet.  Or cheddar.  Or herby.  Either way, we need more crackers.

Back at the homefront, Henry has been peering out from behind our television (the one place he’s not supposed to go and is therefore his favorite place), daring us to have the gall to yell at him after we abandoned him for two weeks.

World’s worst cat.

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South African Sosaties

Spending over a week with a handful of South Africans means that you must be ready to eat a lot of meat.  A lot of meat, prepared on the grill.  A lot of grilled meat, accompanied with salads and fruits and grilled corn on the cob.

I am so okay with this.

So here’s an awesome recipe for yet another South African grilled classic, sosaties (in Afrikaans meaning “skewered meat with spicy sauce”, thanks to Wikipedia).

South African Sosaties Printable Recipe Card

for the sauce (sous):

  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-rounds
  • 4 C water
  • 2 T mild curry powder
  • 1/2 T ground turmeric
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1 C malt vinegar
  • 2 C apricot jam
  • 1/2 T lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and white pepper to taste

for the skewers

  • 3-4 lbs beef or lamb roast, cubed into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small package dried apricots
  • 1/2 package of bacon (1 strip for each skewer)
  • about a dozen skewers, if wood, soak in water before using

The meat must be prepared ahead of time and marinated for at least 24 hours in the sosatie sauce, so make sure you have time and room in the fridge!

To prepare the sauce, first slice the onion and bring it to a boil in the four cups of water.  Set aside.  Combine the dry ingredients (curry, turmeric, sugar, cornstarch, and some salt and pepper), then add in the wet ingredients (jam, vinegar, and lemon juice).  Pour this mixture into the pan with the onions, and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes, until it starts to thicken.  Set aside and allow it to cool.

Once the sauce is cooled, you can prepare the meat for the marinade.  Layer apricots, bacon, and the cubed meat in a plastic or glass container.  Cover with the cooled sosatie sauce.  This container was really convenient because it can be flipped to allow for the easiest mixing ever–but otherwise, you may have to get your hands dirty. 

Keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours before grilling.

To make the kabobs, skewer the beef, apricots, and the bacon (we’d suggest not having apricot on the ends, because they’ll tend to fall off during grilling). 

Grill the sosaties over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until they are cooked through.  Baste periodically with leftover sosatie sauce.

Enjoy!  These are tender and juicy, and the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

And if you have never had a grilled apricot, then you haven’t lived.  Trust me when I say you might want to go out and find a South African to marry, if you haven’t already, because they make really great food:

The men are also quite handsome:

The sosaties were even better the second day, warmed up for leftovers with a giant salad–but I can promise you that the leftovers won’t last long.

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Filed under Entrees

Salt Potatoes–in the Mountains

If you aren’t from–you know, where I’m from (Syracuse, not Long Island), you may not know about salt potatoes.  And if you don’t, I’m really sorry, because they are just so darn delicious.

But before we get into that, let me show you where I am:

Oh, yes.  You’ll see much more of that later.

Plans for tomorrow involve a morning run, hiking (with bear spray), swimming, kayaking, and basically getting as much sun and fresh air as possible with Fritz, who hasn’t really seen the light of day since he started studying for his test. 

But back to the salt potatoes.  This isn’t much of a recipe, but more of an idea.  An inspiration, if you will.

Salt Potatoes

  • Baby potatoes (I’ve used baby red potatoes from my CSA box and white potatoes–both lovely)
  • Salt

Kinda makes sense, when you think about it. 

I’m not giving amounts of either because 1) it doesn’t matter all that much; 2) I probably don’t make them with the right amount of salt anyway since it horrifies me to add so much; and 3) it’s an inspiration, remember?  I’m not here to boss anyone around.

Start off by giving the baby potatoes a hearty scrub with a stiff brush and some water to clean them–no need to peel.  In fact, I’ll be mad if you do.  Maybe I am here to be a little bossy.

Dump in a pile of salt (I used sea salt and I’d estimate I used about 1/3 C to 1/2 C of salt for a few pounds of potatoes) into a pot.  And this is a VAST underestimation of how Syracusians really cook salt potatoes.  Wikipedia just told me to use a pound of salt for every four pounds of potatoes.  Another recipe said one cup of salt for six cups of water.   Add water and potatoes and bring to a rolling boil.

Try it the real way, at least once.  And then make it my way if it scares you to add a pound of salt to anything, even if you end up pouring most of it off.

Boil the potatoes in the salt water until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Last rule is this:  you must serve these potatoes with butter.  And I’m talking real butter.  Don’t show me margarine or vegetable oil based nonsense with these potatoes, please.  Please?  I’m begging you.  Do it right.

Unless you really can’t.  In that case, I still love you.  But dude, I just learned that I am totally bossy.

Apparently what magic happens in the pot is that the salt forms a crust around the potatoes, preventing them from getting watery and instead making them soft and creamy.  And salty.  And delicious.

Fritz and his dad manned the grill, making lamb chops (or tjops, in Afrikaans) and boerewors, which are possibly my absolute two favorite grillable meats in the history of the world since I met and married a South African.

Have you ever seen anything more perfect than this?:

Good night!

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Lemon Meringue Pie

I tried making lemon meringue pie once, a long time ago, when I was probably about 12 or 13 years old.  It took a long time, and then devastatingly, the lemon custard layer never set, so we just threw the whole thing out.  Since then, lemon meringue pie has been dead to me.

Dead to me.

So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I found out that it is one of Fritz’s favorite desserts!  I knew that since his long-studied for and agonizingly difficult test was finally over today, we needed to celebrate, and celebrate good.

It was enough motivation to write lemon meringue pie back into my will.  Oh, and this recipe is super easy, totally fool-proof (you can tell if the lemon custard will set or not before you bake it), and…oh yeah.  Totally delicious.

I probably ate about 3 weeks worth of calories in lemon custard.

Pie, you will never be dead to me again.

Lemon Meringue Pie (from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) Printable Recipe Page

for the crust:

  • 3 T vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 4 T butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/4 C flour (I used my new whole-wheat pastry flour, but you can sub in all-purpose)
  • 4-6 T ice water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs

for the custard layer:

  • 1 1/2 C cold water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 6 (yep, 6–deal with it) egg yolks
  • 1 T lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 C lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 2 T butter

for the meringue layer:

  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar

Yeah, I know.  It’s a lot of stuff–and I promise you, this recipe takes a lot of time (but not at all if you buy a pre-baked pie crust!) but pies are never quick and never easy and they are always worth it.

You need to start out with the crust, ’cause it’ll take a few hours of waiting before this baby is ready to go.

In your mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt (you can do this all by hand, too, or in a food processor).  Add the shortening and the butter and allow the mixer (paddle attachment) to blend them until small crumbs are formed.  Add four tablespoons of ice water and mix until just blended.  If the dough isn’t coming together, add up to two more tablespoons of water.  Flatten the dough into a small disc, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once it’s ready, take it out of the fridge and allow it to rest for a few minutes.  Use the graham cracker crumbs in lieu of extra flour as you are rolling out the dough.  This makes the dough more resistant to the sogginess that is correlated with baking custard pies.  As you roll out the dough, continue to sprinkle crumbs above and below to incorporate them.  Roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle and carefully lift into the pie pan.  Tuck the extra edges under, and crimp the edges any way you like–using your fingers, a fork, whatever.  Just make it reaaal purty.

Stick the crust in the freezer exactly as it is for about a half an hour, or until it’s firm.  Then (whew), line it with foil, covering all the edges so they don’t burn, fill with pie weights or beans, and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove the foil and beans and finish baking another 12-15 minutes until the crust is a deep, golden brown.  Let it cool completely.

Let me also remind you that you can buy a crust at the grocery store if you don’t have an issue of pride or require kitchen therapy the way I do.

‘While the crust is cooling, you can make the rest of the pie.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the custard layer, bring the water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat (keep it at medium no matter what!) while whisking constantly.  Once it thickens a lot and starts to turn translucent, whisk in the egg yolks, two at a time, then the lemon zest, lemon juice, and lastly the butter.  Go slowly and whisk constantly.  Allow the mixture to come up to a full simmer (it should be getting very thick!), then remove from the heat.  Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top, right against the custard, to keep it hot and prevent a skin from forming.

Next stop: the meringue.

Bring the water and cornstarch to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Once it’s thickened and translucent, remove from the heat and set aside.  In a mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid with the beater attachment, but you can also use a hand mixer), whip the eggs and vanilla until frothy.  Add the sugar and cream of tartar to the eggs, a tablespoon at a time, whipping at medium speed until soft peaks form (when you lift the beater from the eggs, the peaks should droop–those are soft peaks).  Add the cornstarch mixture, and continue whipping at medium speed until stiff peaks form (no more drooping).

You are ready to assemble the pie.

Peel the plastic wrap off the custard layer, and test the temperature.  If it has cooled a lot, return to low heat for a minute until hot.  Pour the custard into the cooled pie crust.

Leave a good 1/4 C out “by accident” so you can eat it with a spoon.  Actually, don’t do that.  But do it.

But don’t.

Even the custard layer out with a spoon, then drop large spoonfuls of the meringue over the top.  Press the meringue into the crust to ensure that it adheres, and gently even out that layer with a spoon.  It’s also quite pretty to use the back of a spoon to press into and lift from the meringue, making nice peaks all over for the good housewife-decorating effect shown here.

Bake on the middle rack for twenty minutes, until the meringue is golden brown.  Cool to room temperature before serving (alternatively, eat a slice immediately and cool the rest to room temperature).

Isn’t this totally gorgeous?

Fritz was so excited when he got back from his test.  He said it went well, and I had just taken the pie out of the oven, so it smelled all lemony and meringuey (?) in the whole apartment.

Lemon meringue, I’m so glad you’re back.

Never leave me again.

Henry and I also built some shelves today to surprise Fritz with!  He now has a place for his extensive dental book collection–and Henry has a new stepping stone to the top of Fritz’s dresser.

Fritz also shaved his beard for the first time in weeks as a post-test celebration–and he considered this look:

What do you think?  Ha!

Lastly (so much news today=longest blog post EVER): I now have a Facebook page for this blog and you, my friends, can “like” it from the button on the right side of this blog.  Nifty, eh?

By the way, Fritz said this was the best lemon meringue pie he has ever eaten.

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Zucchini Fritters

So for breakfast this morning I decided to make zucchini fritters.  In one of those highly anticipated moments of pure bliss, heaven and earth came together in a flash of blinding light when I stumbled upon a recipe that looked good (in Food and Wine) and actually had all of the ingredients on hand.  Not only that, but I was hoping to use up some zucchini and the rest of some ricotta cheese before our vacation starts on Saturday.

Those moments are just the best, aren’t they?

Zucchini Fritters Printable Recipe Card

  • 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients, mixing in the flour last until just combined.

So easy.

Traditionally, you would fry these fritters in olive oil for a few minutes on each side.  That’s what the magazine said.  I, however, would like to be able to wear a bikini and therefore baked and broiled my fritters.  But it’s up to you.  I won’t judge you either way.

Drop spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture on an oiled baking sheet and flatten with the back of a spoon (this recipe should make about 20 fritters).  Bake them for 5-10 minutes on the middle rack, then turn the broiler on and broil for a few minutes on each side, until they are golden and crispy.  You may have to do these in two batches.

I really liked these; Fritz, however, did not at all.  He ate one bite and then quietly packed them up into a Tupperware, trying not to hurt my feelings.

They weren’t hurt.  More fritters for me!

You can recrisp these in the oven, set at 350, for a few minutes on each side.

Fritters aside, I spent all day reorganizing the apartment and somehow managed to fully complete the main room.  I rearranged furniture, went through piles of books, and did a lot of dusting.  It’s amazing how we fit so much stuff into such a small space!  To show you the extent of my work, here’s on example–the dreaded linen (and everything else) closet.  Before:

And after!

The most fun part about doing this kind of reorganizing is when you first start and the house looks like it was completely ransacked–though Henry was so excited to have new places to play sleep.

Here’s some of the finished product–including the table piled with goods to donate and/or sell:

And of course I can’t forget CSA box number 10!  Boxes number 11 and 12 are going to be picked up by a friend of mine to enjoy while we are on vacation–I’ll miss them…but I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth it!

Good night!

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Cauldron Cupcakes for a Harry Potter Party

Oh yes, I went to a Harry Potter party.  And if you didn’t already know, I l-o-v-e Harry Potter.  The books and the movies, though if you are anybody with any sense, you’ll like the books better.

Just sayin’.

Anyway,a blog reader, aubrimichelle suggested that I make these cauldron cupcakes from The Pastry AffairOne look and I was smitten.  Aren’t you?

I started with a basic dark chocolate cupcake recipe–and no, it’s not healthy.  I figured that since I was bringing these babies to a party, and only planning on eating one, it’s fine to really splurge on the fun stuff.  It’s good to go all out once in a while, you know?

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes  (adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)  Makes 1 dozen cupcakes Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 stick (8 T) butter
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C sour cream

Microwave the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and butter (at low power!) for short intervals until melted, stirring often.  Don’t over do it, or your chocolate will go quickly into an unusable texture–and remember this tip, you’ll use it often with this recipe.  The slower the better when it comes to melting chocolate.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil cupcake tins.  In the mixer, beat the eggs and vanilla together and add the sugar.  Add the baking powder, soda, salt, and flour, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the sour cream and melted chocolate mixture until blended.

Fill the cupcake tins (2/3rds full) and bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack, until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.  Allow to cool completely.

Cauldron Cupcakes

  • 1 dozen cupcakes
  • chocolate glaze: 1 C chocolate chips and 4 T butter
  • 1/2 C chocolate chips (to pipe the handles) and for the cauldron feet
  • 1/2 C cauldron filling–I used vanilla frosting
  • yellow sprinkles for the filling decoration

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, melt 1/2 C of chocolate chips in the microwave (slowly!), and scoop into a ziplock baggie.  Lay out a piece of wax paper on a flat surface, and cut a small corner of the baggie off.  Use the baggie to pipe handles for the “cauldrons” onto the wax paper.  They can’t be too thin, but you can make them whatever shape you want!  I used the extra chocolate to pipe some lightning bolts and an “HP” for additional decoration.  It’s probably a good idea to pipe a few extra handles, in case some of them break.  Allow the chocolate to harden completely, about 30 minutes, before carefully removing from the wax paper (you can speed the process along with the fridge).

Once the cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to carve a small cone out of the middle of the bottom of the cupcake.  To make cauldrons, you’ll be flipping the cupcake over and serving it bottoms up.

Make a chocolate glaze using 1 C of chocolate chips and 4 T of butter–melting slowly in the microwave and stirring frequently.  Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the glaze (this will form the cauldron bottom), using a spoon to help fill any missing spots.  Place three chocolate chips into glaze in a “tripod” position to form the feet of the cauldron.  Cool them right side up until the glaze sets (30 minutes, or a bit faster in the fridge).

Once the chocolate is set, flip the cupcakes upside down again and make another baggie to pipe the filling into the cones you cut out previously.  Cut the corner of the baggie a little larger this time.  Fill each cauldron and dust with yellow sprinkles.

Use any remaining chocolate glaze (or make more), remelting it if necessary, and pipe around the edges of each cauldron, surrounding the filling.  Carefully peel the prepared handles from the wax paper and gently press them into the frosting or glazed edges.  I also used a bit of glaze to stick a lighting bolt to the front of each cauldron.  Once again, allow the chocolate to set in the refrigerator before serving.

These were a big hit and really fun to make.  I love getting the chance to be a little more creative in the kitchen, instead of always making dinners that get quickly eaten and underappreciated.  And thanks to the creative mind at The Pastry Affair for the good idea.

Aren’t they fun?

Almost (almost) too good to eat.  But not quite.

I also made some chocolate pretzel wands–dipping pretzel rods in melted chocolate and decorating with Gryffindor-colored sprinkles.

I love Harry Potter parties!  

We also had butterbeer (cream soda with butterscotch snapps and whipped cream):

And Hermione stopped by to lounge poolside!

Overall, a complete success.

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Almond Oat Cookies

Only three more days until Fritz gets to take his test and then it is SUMMER!  Which is weird, because I’m already craving fall like nobody’s business.  I want apple pie.  I want cinnamon spice.  I want pumpkin…anything.  And knowing that the weather in Canada is going to be in the high 70s and 80s is just heaven.  Bring on the sweaters for those chilly nights, baby.

I also got around to baking cookies today!  I wanted a treat to go with tea, and I knew that Fritz could use a break from studying.  I also wanted to try using the almond flour that I got from Swanson Health Products, so when I found a recipe for almond oat cookies, I got right on board. 

Almond Oat Cookies (adapted from here) Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • handful whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Whip the egg and sugar together until light, then add the melted butter and vanilla.  Mix in the oats, almond flour, and baking powder and stir until combined.

Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, giving them enough room to spread out (I didn’t really give them enough space).  I put one whole almond in the middle of each cookie, but you could also chop ’em and sprinkle them over the tops.

Bake them on the middle rack for about ten minutes until the bottom and edges are golden brown.  Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for about five or ten minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. 

The absolute best part of these cookies are the crunchy, buttery, golden edges.

So gosh darn delicious.  Not to mention quick and easy–the recipe makes about a dozen big, thin, crunchy on the edges, soft in the middle cookies.  Perfect with tea or coffee.

The almond flavor from the almond meal is subtle but really, really good.

I also got to experience something fun today that I like to call “Big Cat in a Small Box”.  That cat really loves small and enclosed spaces.

He also loves standing inside the handle of bags.  Leave any bag lying around, and he’ll sneak over, snuggle his way into the handle, and just stand there until someone notices him.

Meow.

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Agave Julep Cocktail (because it’s 5:00 somewhere)

As my first post-finals blog, I figured it’s gotta be time to celebrate having over a month off from school by having a drink.  A really good drink.

I ran a lot of errands all morning, did some crafty things, and by then I had waited long enough.  And I found a recipe for an agave julep, which is basically combining two of my absolutely favorite cocktails–a margarita and a mojito.  Bring on the lime, mint, and tequila!

Agave Julep adapted from Hamlyn’s Cocktail Printable Recipe Card

  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1 T basil simple syrup
  • 1 1/4 measures tequila
  • 1 1/4 measures lime juice
  • crushed ice
  • mint to garnish

This drink went from just average to the best beverage to ever grace a glass by the swap of basil simple syrup for plain ol’ simple syrup.  You can see how to make it here.

Muddle the syrup and mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. 

Add the tequila, lime juice, and crushed ice and mix well.  Garnish it with a mint leaf or a wedge of lime and enjoy!

Sadly, since Fritz is still studying, he only got to taste a sip of mine. 

I loved this a lot, but I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows about my fondness for a mojito.  I mean, that’s why I grow mint, after all.

Just in case you were wondering, this drink is called an agave julep because tequila is made from agave plants.  If you use gold tequila, it has been aged longer for a more intense flavor.

While some of us are off drinking, Henry has had some intense play goin’ on over the last few hours.  Yesterday I saw him catch a fly from midair (and was sufficiently grossed out when he ate it!), and today we witnessed a faceoff between him and his new favorite toy.

This dinosaur has been lying around for the past few years, and Henry found it and named it his worst enemy.  Since then, several battles worthy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 have been fought on our home turf.

Don’t you just love the look on the dinosaur’s face? Ha!

And of course, CSA box number nine was picked up yesterday:

I plan on using the week off that I have in between now and vacation to completely clean and reorganize the house like it’s never been done before–I’ll be sure to treat you to some photos.

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Zucchini and Tomato Tart

Only one more test to go (my last practical for my entire educational career!), then I’m a free woman!  My test isn’t until 8:30 tomorrow night, which gives me quite a bit of time to study (and agonize) until it’s all over.

I was searching for recipes using zucchini (since it appears I will be receiving yet more of it in my CSA box tomorrow), and I found this very yummy-looking tart from The Flour SackSince I haven’t made real food in a while, I thought it’d be a nice change from having Fritz grill everything while I cram for exams.

Zucchini and Tomato Tart Printable Recipe Cards

for the crust:

  • 2 C whole-wheat flour (you should probably use pastry flour, but I used straight whole-wheat)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • scant 1/2 C ice water

for the filling:

  • 1 C fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C feta cheese
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

top:

  • 1 medium to large zucchini, sliced thinly
  • handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • drizzle of olive oil (about a T)

This is a bit of a complex recipe, just in terms of how many bits and pieces there are to prepare, so make sure you have a little counter space and time available to you before starting.

Start with the crust.  Oil a 10-inch tart pan.  Combine the flour and salt in the mixer bowl, then drizzle the olive oil over the top while the mixer is running.  It should form small little balls throughout the flour (some flour will remain dry).  Slowly add the ice water until all the flour is moistened, and stop the mixer.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a ball before rolling out to a large circle.  Lightly place onto the tart pan, press into place, and cut off the excess edges.

I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a slightly smaller pie pan.  It worked fine, but I think the larger size would work better in making a thinner tart that cooks more quickly and evenly.  I used the extra edges to make four small mini-tarts–so cute!

Refrigerate the crusts for at least half an hour, then place them in the oven (preheated at 375 degrees) for 15 minutes, weighted down with pie weights or dried beans over a piece of parchment paper.  After 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper and let it toast for another 5 minutes.

While the crust is chilling and cooking, set up the zucchini.  Because they have such a high water content, toss the thin slices with a pinch of salt and lay them out on paper towels.  This will let them release some water before they drown your tart while cooking.

Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  When the crusts are ready, spoon the filling into an even layer.  Dab the zucchini slices with a paper towel to dry them, then layer in a circular pattern over the top.  Drop the grape tomatoes, halved, on top, and drizzle with olive oil.

Don’t expect yours to look exactly like mine, since I doubled the zucchini–I’ve got a lot to use up!  I absolutely love zucchini, so I was happy with more, but the proportions would probably be better with the original amount.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, when the tart is cooked through–the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are bursting with flavor.

A work of art to look at!

My only complaint with this tart was that the crust was a bit dense–that may be my fault, since I didn’t use pastry flour.  I also would have preferred to put it in a larger pan than what I had lying around, but I didn’t have anything that would be a better fit.

I must say, however, that the bite-sized tarts were absolutely amazing.  Two-bite-sized, really, but super cute and the perfect ratio of crust, cheese, and vegetable.

We ate half of the tart, and were completely stuffed.  Very filling.

Anyhoo, I have to go write a take-home final for my ethics class (best kind of test there is), so have a lovely evening!  To keep up with the late nights, I’ve been drinking vast quantities of English breakfast tea to keep me feeling sane–what’s your comforting drink of choice?  I’ve never really been a coffee kind of person.

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian