I look down and toe the red-brown dirt at my feet. I look up, and a vast horizon unfolds before me, the carpet of dirt for miles, dotted with the occasional tenacious yellow-green scrub bush. Far beyond, a ribbon wall of canyon cliffs lines the horizon. It is striped vermillion, pink, and a subtle purple in the dawn light. Distant rocky mountains toooed with snow peek out from beyond some unseen border. Above, the sky begins to lighten to its blue blue tint for the day, a vast and airy canopy smudged by some unseen but zealous artist with wisps of cloud.
The fresh bracing air whispers by, and carries a faint low of distant cows breaking their fast.
When I close my eyes, I can still see the desert, and it whispers in my ear with tranquil calm from eons of age.
Pro-Tip of the Day:
Have you been buying those boxes and bags of oranges on sale at the store?
Next time pick up a bag of coconut flakes and sliced almonds, and you can make this quick, yummy (gluten-free) byproduct treat from in-season fruit!
Just remember to take 30 seconds to grate the rind off before you eat the orange, and you’ll have enough for this recipe. Note: try not to take too much of the white parts (the pith), that’s bitter. Continue Reading
You guys, I finally gave in and tried making home made almond milk! Blame it on that Monday MLK holiday, and a big bag of expensive-feeling almonds from Cash & Carry. As a lactard, I ordinarily drink almond milk at home en lieu of regular milk, when I’m not indulging with coconut milk to lace my coffee, so it’s already a staple in my house. It was delicious, and I can’t believe it took me so long to finally try making it, especially as I was gifted with a powerful Vitamix last year.
The forecast in many parts of North America reaches 90 degrees in the next several days, so here’s a cold drink recipe to try. Shout out to my many Northwest peeps living without air conditioning. I had a real brain-sparking juice from Assembly Hall (a part of that behemoth conglomerate known as Tom Douglas restaurants) in Belltown, Seattle which spurred me to attempt an imitation, which inevitably spawned variants.
PLOC Juice (Pineapple Orange Lime Cayenne)
Inspired by Tropical Spice Juice from Assembly Hall
1 fresh pineapple, cut in chunks with rind removed*
1.5 orange, peel off, scrape a bit of pith off too
2-3 limes, (see oranges)
ice to desired thickness
Optional: 1/2 c frozen mango or ice, or coconut milk to taste
1 small dash of cayenne pepper
Optional: mint, coconut flakes, for garnish
In honor of the South American countries and their gracious hosting of the World Cup: baked plantains. A little late in posting, but better than never. Recipe was from my local grocery store (see photo)!
1 plantain (ripe = black spots all over)
high heat cooking oil and a pastry brush, or just cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Coat a non-stick pan with spray, or cover with parchment.
3. Cut plantain diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
4. Arrange in single layer on pan and coat with oil.
5. Baked for 10-15 minutes, flipping each one until golden and very tender.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
I don’t eat bananas much, so this was pretty novel. Likelihood of Repeat: 15%
Bananas are still just too sweet for me. They might go good as a treat atop of cold ice cream or whipped coconut dessert, might be interesting in thinner pieces too. Lesson Learned: All that sugar can burn really fast if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Here in the Northwest, this week has a “heat wave” forecasted, by which I mean highs in the low 80s and somewhat sunny. Possibly laughable in the rest of the U.S., yes, but still a great excuse to try Smitten Kitchen’s Frozen Coconut Limeade. Did I mention I’ve been in a coconut obsessed phase? Anything coconut sounds delicious to try to me. Plus, watching all those soccer players sweat it out in humid Manaus makes me thirsty. The only thing I added was mint for garnish.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars.
Mmm, so refreshing on a warm day, and has a more zippy bite to it than the usual smoothies from my house (made of frozen berries + almond milk). Likelihood of Repeat: 65% Lesson Learned: A little tart citrus adds even more pep. Note for next time: maybe try some almond flavors to add, and maybe try an alcoholic version too..
Had some freshly-fallen zucchini squash blossoms in the garden I’ve been busying myself with..
So I cribbed a recipe for goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms from Gena Knox for a trial run, baking at 350 for 15-20 minutes. 2018 post-script note: since the source URL appears to have morphed and eliminated the recipe, here it is, based on my 2014 notes.
2.5 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 squash blossoms
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield 3 tiny servings
Cook time: 15 minutes
Scaling note: Gena’s recipe did 4 oz cheese and everything else doubled except the egg, for 6 servings.
I’ve been meaning to try making these for a while and finally got around to it (and editing the photos, and writing a post). Since I didn’t change a thing besides halving the recipe, I won’t list the steps here but just link to the kitchn’s recipe here.
1 cup (8 ounces) water
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional, I forgot to include this)
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) grated cheese, like gruyère or cheddar (I opted for gruyere)
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars.
Completely new recipe, with cheeeeeese! Ding! Likelihood of Repeat: 60%
These were delicious. I thought making a dozen tiny ones would leave plenty of extra to bring to work, but then I ate them all during a Netflix marathon, with a bit of jam. I think this either means (a)I should never make them again, since they are not the healthiest food to eat, and/or (b)I should only make them when they are destined for other peoples’ houses, so I don’t eat them all. Next time I would definitely rather try baking dollops of dough rather than bothering with the weird-looking piping, and make a full portion so the water ratio is not off. Lesson Learned: Cheese + flour + butter = oops, ate them all. These were not as difficult for me to make as I imagined.