Monday, May 31, 2010

summer burger with balsamic glazed apricots

The other day, I had another foodie sesh with my good friend Jen of Jen & Juice. We cooked up a breadless burger spread with goat cheese and topped with mizuna greens and an apple-red onion relish.
And on the side, grilled apricots with a balsamic glaze, glorious bleu cheese, and toasted walnuts. Oh baby.
Check out the recipes here!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

just banana & peanut butter ice cream

Am I the only one who didn't know that you can make ice cream out of bananas?
I mean, JUST bananas? Forgive me if I'm the only one completely amazed by this food miracle. No sugar, no heavy cream, no high-dollar and totally un-functional ice cream maker. Just. Bananas.

Okay, moment of enthusiasm over. I found this recipe from The Kitchn through a series of tumblr rebloggings. Though I was a little skeptical of fruit turning into something truly ice-cream-like, I gave it a spin.

And let me tell you. The Kitchn doesn't lie. And not in an, "Oh hey, I could kind of settle for this as ice cream" kind of way. The frozen bananas, when blended, turn into this light, lovely treat with the consistency of soft serve--but better. And, being a peanut butter junkie, I loved that flavor with the banana as well. But it would also be great with chocolate chips or coconut.

More added pluses! It's completely vegan and gluten-free, and way healthier than cream-based ice cream. I certainly have no guilt about snacking on a mug of this on another sweltering afternoon.


3 bananas, peeled
2 tbs peanut butter (or almond butter)

Cut the bananas into thin slices and arrange them on a plate. Freeze for about 1-2 hours. Remove the bananas from the plate with a spatula and blend in a blender or food processor. (I used an immersion blender in a bowl because it's all I have handy.) The bananas will resist you a bit at first but keep persevering. Soon, you will have a smooth, creamy mixture. Blend in the peanut butter. Et voila!

Ice cream!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kale Chips

Okay, I know. I know what you're thinking. But stop--take a deep breath. Open your mind. Ready? Okay. I am absolutely not joking when I say this...

These kale chips were amazing.

You're skeptical, right? I don't blame you. I'll be the first to say that I'm highly suspicious of dark, leafy greens with odd names. Kale sounds weird. It looks weird. And you know what? When you bake it with a healthy dose of olive oil and salt, it is DELICIOUS.

The crunch! My god, the crunch. The crunch on these chips is (dare I say it?) ephemeral. In this form, they don't taste like a sinister leafy green. They taste like, well, chips! Salty, crispy in your mouth, snackable chips.

Not to mention that kale is loaded with calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber--well, I could go on, but whatever. Strangely enough, I don't particularly care that kale is hyper healthy. These chips are just good. And no, I'm not kidding: totally craveable.

Oh and p.s. these don't even taste like kale.


1 bunch curly kale
About 3 tbs oil
1 tbs salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Rinse the kale and dry it thoroughly. Cut off and discard the hardy stems in the middle of the leaves. Cut the kale leaves into small (about 1 inch) pieces.

In a bowl, mix the kale with the olive oil and salt. With your hands, massage the oil and salt into the leaves until all the kale is covered. Spread the kale out onto a baking sheet and bake for about 11-15 minutes, or until nice and crispy. Mine took exactly 13 minutes.

Keep an eye on them, because they'll go from crisp deliciousness to burnt failure in seconds flat.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

agave mint lemonade

Jen, my foodie friend, came over today. Since Texas is currently hotter than the deepest circles of hell, we decided to mix up something cold to drink. Lemons in the fridge, mint in the garden, agave in the pantry--the rest is history. This is so simple, but the mint seriously does gorgeous things with citrus/sweetness. A pitcher of this definitely made the whole unbearably-hotter-than-sin thing more bearable. I'm going to try this with limes next time.

Agave Mint Lemonade

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup agave
10-ish mint leaves

Chop up the mint leaves and muddle them with a wooden spoon in the bottom of the pitcher. A little bit of agave speeds up the muddling process. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Serve over lots of ice. I also suggest drinking with a straw on a back porch in the middle of the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

blueberry banana cream cupcakes

This recipe is a tribute to my mother’s fabulous cooking. Since me and my brothers were little kids, my mom has made the same Blueberry Banana Cream Pie on holidays and special occasions. She inherited the recipe from my Great Aunt Nell, and it is ALWAYS a hit. I mean, it is. An amazing. Pie.

So, when my big brother had his birthday last weekend, I found myself wondering what you make for a guy who isn’t even crazy about sweets. Then I remembered how much we all loved that pie. Then I remembered how much I like making cupcakes. Then I decided to make this.

These, to me, taste like childhood. The actual cake part is a recipe I adapted from Melissa at Schweet 'N Savory. It’s a really moist cake with a great, sweet banana flavor. They are filled with a blueberry filling (I made mine but you could substitute blueberry pie filling) and topped with cream cheese frosting. They’re not gluten free or dairy free or healthy by any excuse, like my usual recipes. But I have one word: yum.

Banana Cupcake

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cups soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the wet ingredients together by hand. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until just combined. (You may see some lumps, which is okay, but don’t over-mix!) Divide the mixture into the muffin pan (an ice cream scoop makes this much easier.) Bake until a little golden-brown on top—mine took about 27 minutes.

Blueberry Filling

3 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs arrowroot power (cornstarch would work too)
2 tbs lemon juice

While the muffins are cooking, put together the filling. Add the blueberries and 1/2 up of the water to a medium saucepan. Let it come to a boil, mixing often. Once the blueberries start to melt and break down, combine the rest of the water with the arrowroot powder to make a paste. Add the arrowroot paste to the blueberries, stirring continuously. The filling will start to thicken very soon, keep stirring. Once it has achieved the consistency of that jarred pie filling stuff, take it off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice once it’s cooled off a little.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs cup soy milk
2 tbs lemon juice

Beat all the ingredients together with an electric mixer, until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more milk.

Make sure all the components have cooled off—you don’t want any melting to happen here. Cut a little cone of cake out of the top of each cupcakes, and fill it with a tablespoon of the blueberries, like so:

Then, replace the top back onto the cupcake—like a hat. You may have to remove a little bit of the bottom of the “hat” to make everything fit nicely. Carefully frost the cupcakes with the chilled cream cheese frosting. I garnished mine with a banana slice and a blueberry. Ta-daa!

(I apologize for the mediocre quality of these pictures…it was night time and I had no natural light.

banana coconut chocolate chip muffin

I adapted this recipe from the banana blueberry muffin recipe at Elana's Pantry. This week I saw the fateful ripening of the bananas on my counter. (You know you’re a baker when you get excited about bananas getting completely disgusting.) Anyways, the little gnats flying around my kitchen were a tell-tale sign that banana bread was coming soon.

I knew these muffins needed something. So I figured, coconut goes really well with the tropical flavor of bananas, and since when have chocolate chips been bad in ANYTHING? If you don’t have stevia, you could just leave it out or add a few tablespoons of honey or sugar. These muffins aren’t overly sweet as they are, so I feel like they could pass as a breakfast without too much rationalization. Also, they're gluten-free, dairy-freee, and naturally sweetened, for those of you who are conscious of that stuff. So, here we go:

3 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1 packet stevia
2 cups overly ripe, mashed bananas
3 eggs
2 tbs grapeseed oil
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup very dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare 12 muffin cups. Combine the first four dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the bananas, eggs, and grapeseed oil thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture and mix until completely combined. Then, mix in the coconut and chocolate chips. Divide the batter into the muffin cups (I used an ice cream scoop.) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are puffy and golden brown. Let cool in the pan for a little while before you take them out.

almond butter sauce

1/2 cup chunky almond butter
1 tbs agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine almond butter and agave in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Let it cool for a few seconds, then stir in the vanilla.

I know this is ridiculously easy/fast, but it’s also ridiculously yummy. It would be great with peanut butter too. I love dipping cold, sliced apples in this sauce for a healthy dessert. I should have taken a picture of it tonight but…I devoured it before I had the chance. Don’t judge me. Just trust me. Make this. You’ll love it.

apple pecan oatmeal

I have a confession: I love oatmeal. I don’t care if it’s “old people” food, thrown in with the likes of prunes and metamucil—I could still eat it for every meal.
The cool thing about it is that you can add anything you want…pears, walnuts, honey, agave, maple syrup, molasses, raisins, dried cranberries, nutmeg, vanilla…I could go on. It’s always going to be good eats. And it’s always good for you. It seems that everyone wins here.


1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup diced tart apple
1/4 cup pecans
1/8 cup coconut
1 tbs cinnamon
stevia to taste
pinch of salt

Heat the soy milk in a small sauce pan with the pinch of salt. When it boils, stir in the oatmeal and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the milk is absorbed and the oats are creamy. Remove from heat and stir in the apple, pecans, coconut, cinnamon, and stevia. Eat when it’s cooled off a little.