May 2012


Half lemonade + half beer = one refreshing radler

After a few days of rain, we’ve been getting some nice, sunny skies and warmer weather. I can’t tell whether it’s still spring or the beginnings of summer (I am new to living with four seasons,) so whatever it is we’re having, I’m loving it!  If you are also looking to take advantage of the sunshine with a backyard barbecue or a couples-only picnic, don’t forget to mix up a batch of Spicy Ginger Lemonade, the perfect drink for sipping on sunny days. And, if you’re in the mood for something a little different (and maybe even more perfect!) why not make it a radler?

Radler is a refreshing blend of lemonade and wheat beer you can get anywhere in Germany. Served ice-cold, it is a crisp, refreshing drink with just a bit of sweetness and light citrus taste. You can easily make this with one part bottled lemonade to one part wheat beer (look for any label that says white beer, wheat beer, weissbeir or hefeweizen)  or you can use the recipe below for Spicy Ginger Lemonade.

Homemade Radler with Spicy Ginger Lemonade
using ginger juice will make it spicier than using sliced ginger simmered in sugar and water

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 9 large lemons)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar PLUS Stevia equivalent of 1 cup sugar (if you’re using the Truvia brand it’s 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup fresh ginger juice* OR peel and thinly slice a 4″ pice of ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
chilled seltzer, club soda or cold water
light-colored beer (such as Stella Artois (good one for this drink,) HB, Franzis Kaner Weissbeir, Blue Moon Belgian White)
lemon slices and fresh mint for garnish (optional)

*(to make ginger juice: grate two 5″ piece ginger, put pulp into cheesecloth, squeeze & twist juice into a measuring cup. Discard pulp.)

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, stir sugar and stevia into water (add ginger slices, if using) and heat over medium high heat until it just starts to simmer, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for another two minutes, turn off heat. Add lemon juice, fresh ginger juice (if using) and stir well. Remove ginger slices and stir in cayenne. Chill at least 3 hours.

In a pitcher, pour in equal amounts of concentrated lemonade mixture and chilled seltzer or club soda. Gently stir to combine. If too sweet, add more club soda to taste.

In a tall glass, fill halfway with lemonade, top with cold beer (pour slowly, see below!) You can garnish with lemon and mint sprigs to make it extra fancy. Prost!

Whoops…be careful when pouring the beer into the lemonade, especially if you’re pouring from about 10″ above the glass!

 

Be creative by using concentrated pink ginger lemonade and floating the seltzer and beer on top! (dip a slice of fresh beet into the lemonade concentrate…instant color!)

Happy Wednesday, everybody! It’s my third attempt at WIAW sponsered by Jenn at Peas and Crayons, and I’ve enjoyed reading all the other bloggers’ pages to get new ideas and inspiration for future meals.

This past week of eats has included more meats than usual. Chicken tikka, barbecued chicken and some grilled bison steak were served up and enjoyed immensely! I still include some raw veggies for breakfast and lunch, as well as with the meaty meals, so haven’t gone too overboard with the change in diet.

Breakfast was a bowl of VeggieNook’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Green Smoothie served outdoors (I’ve been eating this pretty much every day, it is that delicious, and my husband likes it, too! ) Next week, I promise I will post a different breakfast picture:

For contrast, I have to include a picture of my husband’s breakfast:

Fresh eggs from my sister’s hens, jalapeno cheese hot dogs and half a strawberry. :)

Lunch was leftover tuna fish-stuffed sweet peppers and salad. I started eating the salad before I remembered to take a photo, but here’s a pic of the stuffed peppers:

Dinner was done Hawaii-style with Furikake Panko-Crusted Ahi (I think Justa’s panko-crusted fish got me hungry for this crunchy dish!) I served it with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce because the fish itself only had flavor on the coating, but you can also make a good dipping sauce with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixed with 1 teaspoon soy sauce. There was extra panko mixture so I cooked up some chicken, too:

Anything panko-crusted is hard to resist!

And dessert was a slice of gluten-free Sweet Potato Haupia Pie, freshly posted yesterday!

For the Furikake Panko-Crusted Ahi, you can use any fish that is suitable for pan frying. I didn’t know which brand of panko to get around these parts, so my sister recommended Sushi Chef Panko found at Weis Markets (it comes in a black cardboard box, about the size of a cornstarch box.) It stayed nice and crispy and tasted very much like the panko I used to buy in Hawaii.

Furikake Panko-Crusted Ahi, serves 2
Be sure to steam some rice before cooking the fish.

2 ahi fillets (about 6-8 ounces total)
2 tablespoons furikake
1/2 cup panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)
1 egg
1 tablespoon ice water
2 tablespoons flour
salt
oil for frying

Instructions:

Line a large plate with paper towels, set aside.

Place ahi fillets or pieces on a plate in single layer and rub with a pinch of salt on both sides. Set aside. Mix furikake and panko in a pie pan or dish. In another pie pan or small bowl beat egg and water. Pour oil into a large frying pan until 1/4″ depth and heat on medium high.

Meanwhile, dust fish with flour, coating all sides. Next, dip fish pieces into egg wash, one at a time, making sure all sides are coated. Transfer to panko mixture, turning to coat evenly.

To test if oil is hot enough, drop a small dusting of flour into oil,  it should start to bubble and sizzle. Add fish pieces one at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook fish pieces for 2-3 minutes on one side (or less if fish pieces are thin,) turning heat down to medium. Fry for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.  Transfer cooked fish to paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce or mayonnaise-soy sauce mix (1 tablespoon mayo to 1 teaspoon soy sauce.)

Eat well!

For those who haven’t tried haupia, this dessert will be deliciously different!

For those who enjoy coconut, or sweet potatoes, or both, this dessert may very well be something for you to try out. Haupia is a firm coconut pudding made with coconut milk, water, corn starch and sugar. Very simple recipe, easy to make, and very popularity in Hawaii. You can easily find haupia in the form of pies, layered puddings or in a small packet of powdered mix that you can just add some water, chill for a few hours and it’s ready to eat. And, of course, you will no doubt come across little paper trays of chilled haupia squares at luaus or Hawaiian food eateries.

Sweet Potato Haupia Pie combines the cool, silky texture of haupia; a rich yet light layer of Okinawan sweet potato filling; and a crumbly shortbread crust usually sprinkled with toasted macadamia nuts.  The haupia lightens up the dessert, giving it a refreshing yet creamy taste, unlike that of a regular whipped topping (which can be added on top of the haupia, if you like!)

I made my own version (used regular sweet potatoes, no Okinawan ones at the market) and admit I couldn’t wait the allotted time to eat it, so my haupia was a bit runny and the flavors not quite developed. Thankfully, I made two pans, so was able to get you a nice photo of this wonderful dessert the next morning. The gluten-free crust is an excellent choice for this recipe. The texture is very light and crumbly, and the addition of coconut and toasted macadamia nuts gives it an extra crunch.

This is a three-step process: baking the crust, making the filling, and chilling the pie with the haupia topping. Be sure to make the haupia after the pie has cooled since it will set up quickly. And though the recipe is for a pie, for convenience I baked it in a square pan.
HAUPIA SWEET POTATO PIE (Gluten-Free)
Makes one 8″x8″ pan, double recipe for 13″x9″ pan

Coconut Crust, Gluten-Free (based on “Tart Shell Crust” recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics):

1 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix (2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons toasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Spray an 8″x8″ square cake pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and xanthan gum. Add butter and mix (or pulse, or cut with pastry cutter) until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix well. Add macadamia nuts last, if using, and stir just enough to incorporate into dough. Mixture will be sandy, not sticky. Gently press mixture into bottom of square pan. Sprinkle unsweetened flaked coconut on top and press into crust.

Bake in center of oven for about 16-18 minutes or until golden. Set aside while you make sweet potato filling.

Sweet Potato Filling: 

2 cups baked or boiled sweet potato, cooled and skins removed (about  5)
1 egg
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lowfat soy milk

In a large mixing bowl beat sweet potato to break up, just for ten seconds (potatoes are already very soft.) Add egg, sugar and salt, beat to combine. Slowly add vanilla and soy milk. Mix well, about 1 minute.

Pour sweet potato mixture into prepared crust and bake for 30-33 minutes or until surface begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack for about an hour before making the haupia topping.

Haupia Topping (modified from ‘Ono Kine Grindz):

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup water

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water, mix well. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, pour in coconut milk and heat on medium high for about 2 minutes or until heated through. Stir cornstarch-sugar-water mixture to ensure everything is mixed well, then add to coconut milk. Stir constantly with wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula until mixture starts to thicken, about 5-7 minutes (be sure you scrape the bottom of the pot.) Remove from heat.

Pour haupia mixture evenly onto sweet potato filling. Let sit on counter for about 15 minutes to cool off a bit. Make room in fridge so there’s plenty of room for air to circulate around the pan (I even turn down the temperature, normally set to 4, I make it colder to 6.) Chill at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. Cut into 16 squares.

Rich, slightly smoky, tangy barbecue sauce. Great on beans, too!

The other night I really wanted some barbecue ribs. Back home, my Uncle Paul would make these huge, Flintstone-style ribs on the grill with a few simple seasonings and it always came out perfect. It was tasty stuff and, as a kid, gnawing on those huge bones was a lot of fun!

Since there was no chance I would be eating any of my uncle’s barbecue ribs anytime soon, I still had a craving, and more specifically, for that one thing he rarely put on his own ribs: barbecue sauce! I tried a recipe for “St. Louis Style Barbecue Sauce,” but it was way too sweet for my taste and was missing that umami flavor. So I improvised and made up my own recipe (below.)

While the sauce was simmering,  I made a quick batch of wheat-free corn bread muffins (Blood Type Diet A recipe from Cook Right 4 Your Type.) The scant 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour make it taste less like a traditional corn muffin so next time no buckwheat. Two chicken breasts were cut in half lengthwise, seasoned with a bit of salt and red pepper flakes, then pan-fried in unsalted butter. I still had some cooked beans from when I made turkey bean burgers the other night so served that on the side topped with barbecue sauce. Everything tasted much better than I thought, and I was surprised at how fast I ate everything on my plate! Maybe I was craving ribs, but the chicken and barbecue sauce were more than satisfying for tonight’s dinner.

And who knows, maybe my uncle might like it. :)

 

Jenny’s Tangy Barbecue Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups 

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup red wine (I just used a table wine, but something dry would be good)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 onion, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried garlic)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Put everything in a pot, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning. Turn off heat and taste. If too sweet, stir in 1 tablespoon mustard. If too vinegary, add 1 teaspoon more sugar. Use as a baste or topping.

I started my first WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday, sponsored by Jenn at Peas and Crayons) last week mentioning I wanted to avoid wheat for a week. I find it better if I do, and if I eat more raw foods in place of cooked foods, I feel an increase in energy, my alertness and overall well-being. I still enjoy having foods that are cooked and sometimes have turkey sandwiches for lunch or eggs for breakfast, but I feel a lot better if I start the day off with something raw (and delicious!)

I get a lot of helpful tips and raw meal ideas from Gabby at The Veggie Nook. She posted this awesome Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Green Smoothie recipe, and talk about delicious! All that creamy, cozy goodness with no added sugar and high in vitamins. I made a few modifications to suit my own tastes, and think it’ll be a new breakfast favorite:

Gabby@VeggieNook’s “Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie,” arguably the best green oatmeal ever!

This breakfast smoothie was so nice I ate it twice…but the second time around I made sure I had a big glass of water, it’s too thick to have on its own. I could only eat half of it so left the rest in the fridge for later.

A late lunch was a not-so-raw (but still nutritious) veggie-chicken soup with swiss chard, beans, pearl barley, red lentils, carrots, leek, and seasoned with a bit of Spike and a Ras en Hanout seasoning from a delicious Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe at REMCooks (thanks, Richard!):

Veggie soup is one of my favorites to make, you can throw all kinds of good stuff in it!

Since lunch was late, dinner was even later. I made one of my and my husband’s favorites, Chicken Tikka. To be honest, the only other time I’ve tried Chicken Tikka was at Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki on Oahu. They have tasty food, and I do love their fish curry, but this homemade version is better by a long shot:

(L-R): Chicken Tikka, Biriyani. Missing: lentils. :(

The recipe below is modified slightly from the cookbook, Eat, Taste, Heal and serves 2. I must have read this book at least five or six times, cover to cover. Not only does it have delicious, easy-to-follow recipes and amazing photography, but a wonderful introduction to Ayurveda that gives you a good basis for understanding the importance of food as medicine, eating with the seasons, and learning more about overall well-being. (I am still learning about Ayurvedic cooking, so will probably read this book another five or six times!)

Chicken Tikka – serves 2
Allow a few hours to marinate; best if you can prep the night before. There will be more than enough marinade, and you could probably add another chicken breast or sop up all that extra sauce with some fresh baked naan. 

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
3/4 cups Greek style nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons of Chef Johnny’s Korma Powder (recipe in cookbook) or Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine yogurt through mint leaves, mixing thoroughly. Add in cut up chicken breasts, stir to coat well. Marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken with yogurt sauce  in a 8″x8″ square pan and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until top starts to brown. Serve with rice or naan.

Have a super Wednesday, everybody, and eat well!

« Previous PageNext Page »