Guava Juice with Thai Basil Seeds

I love the smell of guavas (guayabas in Spanish), don’t get me wrong, they are very tasty, but there’s something about their sweet tropical smell that I can’t resist… So when my husband brought a container of super ripe, yellow, delicious, smelling guavas I had to make juice with them. There’re also pink guavas, prettier, but these surely made the trick.

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I also added the Thai basil seeds cause when we went to “Bun-ker” A Vietnamese restaurant in Queens and tried their home made limeade, I loved the texture of the basil seeds they added!!! They gel up like chia and flax seeds. Love it!

Super simple, quick recipe! Here is what you’ll need to make 2-3 servings.

4 medium guavas washed and chopped up

2 – 3 cups of water, depending how thick you like your juice

sugar to taste

Thai basil seeds

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Place ingredients using just half of the water in a blender and blend until just liquified (we don’t want to break up the seeds)

Seeds really don’t bother me at all, (as you can see in the pics) but by all means if you don’t like them, like most people, use a strainer and then add remaining water till desired consistency is obtained.

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Guava Thai basil seed juice

Add the seeds, stir and place in refrigerator until cold. Serve chilled and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Blanched asparagus with hemp seed dressing

i love asparagus, any kind, any way, I never met an asparagus I didn’t like! Hehehe, same goes for donuts!! 😉

This recipe is so simple and quick… And you can make it with roasted asparagus, blanched, steamed… Or with any other vegetable like zucchini, broccoli rabe…

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I simply blanched them in boiling water for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness and then shocked them in ice water so they remain bright green and keep their bite. Nice and bright 🙂

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Here is the fun part, the hemp seed dressing, super easy and good for you. Here is what you’ll need:

1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt + pepper
small handful fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients except cilantro in a high-powered blender and blend on low working to high until smooth. Scrape the sides and blend again. Add the cilantro and blend for a few seconds until nice and incorporated.

Drizzle over asparagus and enjoy!

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I enjoy mine with fresh crusty baguette. Nom!

Passion Fruit Mochi

I love passion fruit, so tropical, juicy, tangy… I even love how it looks! I also love mochi, so when I saw these perfectly ripe passion fruits at the local grocery store, making mochi came rushing to my mind.

passion fruit mano

Now, let me tell you one thing: Mochi is not messy, It’s SUPER MESSY!!! Sticky and messy all around, but oh so worth it!!!

I made a big old jar of passion fruit juice by scooping the insides (5 fruits), adding water (2 liters)  add sugar to taste, them blending it for a few seconds so the seeds don’t break, then straining it and there you have it: homemade Passion fruit juice! But by all means if you have store bought passion fruit juice go for it.

Here is what you’ll need:

1 cup of glutinous rice flour (mochiko)

1 cup passion fruit juice

lots and lots of corn starch

a microwave

passion fruit marmalade

mini marshmallows

Mix flour and passion fruit juice thoroughly in a microwavable bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and stir, you will notice that the center  part will be a little more liquidy that the sides. Cover it again and microwave for another minute or minute and a half. Stir it again. By now you should have a mochi dough.

Dust a cutting board (I used granite) with lots of cornstarch and turn the dough into it. Wait a minute or so until the dough is cool enough to handle. Dust it with the cornstarch and shape the dough into a log.

Cover it loosely with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Cut off with a sharp and well corn starched knife a 1.5 inch piece and form it into a circle with your hands also well starched.

Then place a 1/4 teaspoon of marmalade and one mini marshmallow inside and pinch to close.

passion fruit  mochi

Like I said, these are super messy to make, but also very easy and really tasty. Keep in mind that the recipe is totally changeable, you can use pineapple, mango juice or any kind of juice you like. Or if you want to keep them plain use the mochiko with the same amount of sweet water if you want to make them plain. Also the fillings are endless: black bean curd, mango pieces, marmalades… etc.

passion fruit mochi

I served mine on these cute oriental ceramic spoons. Chewy, gummy, sweet, tangy… all you can spec from a mochi

Get your corn starch out along with your vacuum cleaner and go for these, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

passion fruit mochi

Enjoy!

passion fruit mochi

Ruby Red Macerated Mulberries

I looove mulberries! No thorns at all! So easy to pick… I only had to scare the squirrels away from our tree and the rest… piece of cake. Plus you also get lovely shades of purple and red all over your hands and lips… 😄

Mulberry pickingThese were so sweet and delicious… And my lovely neighbor had just given me a bunch of  ruby red grapefruits so I thought of putting them together with a little bit of cane sugar and they were so refreshing and sweet, tangy… Nom, nom!

Macerated mulberries

My mom used to macerate fresh red strawberries from our garden in orange juice and sugar, and back then also we used to eat berries macerated in red wine and sugar…! Oh my!

Macerated mulberries

This simple dessert, snack, breakfast… can be put together in a few seconds… the berries were sooo ripe and ready that we didn’t have to wait at all for juice to get infused with them. They were gone in no time! Give this idea a try, with really any kind of berries, you’ll love them! Guaranteed!

Macerated mulberries

 Enjoy!

 

Fake-no-Bake Mango Creme Brulee

Here it is… another mango recipe. Mango is one of my favorite fruits. When a mango is good… Oh man! IT IS GOOD!

Also, Creme Brulee has to be one of my favorite desserts, so decadent, rich, silky, sweet, crunchy on top… DELICIOUS!

But this time of the year, who wants to turn on the oven to make it? Really?

Well, this recipe comes to the rescue, it’s not the real deal… but it surely hits the spot. Plus with the addition of fruit (mango in this case, but feel free to substitute with whatever rocks your boat: berries, pineapple, etc…) it lightens it up and makes it more summery and juicy!

Basically you put chopped fruit on the bottom of a small container, make a simple custard and spread it on top of it. And finally with a kitchen torch burn some brown sugar until crunchy. Pretty easy right?

mango creme brulee

Here is what you’ll need to make this delicious, super easy custard:

(makes 4-6 servings depending on container size)

4 egg yolks

4-5 tablespoons sugar (depending how sweet you like it)

1 piece french vanilla bean

1 piece lemon peel

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon corn starch

In a saucepan place the milk,  the lemon peel and vanilla bean,  heat until it begins to boil, turn off and let cool so the flavors infuse the milk.

Meanwhile in a bowl mix the sugar with the egg yolks and cornstarch. Slowly incorporate the cooled milk mixture (lemon peel and vanilla bean removed) until well combined. Then slowly bring this mixture to a boil stirring constantly until it thickens and it’s totally cooked.

mango creme brulee

Divide chopped fruit among glass containers or ramekins, and do the same with the custard. Refrigerate and when ready to serve, sprinkle dark brown sugar and caramelize with a torch.

Enjoy this summery Creme Brulee!

Thai Inspired-Non-Traditional Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango

Summer is here, so whenever I do grocery shopping I go like a maniac buying fruits, and the other day I happened to find delicious Ataulfo mangoes, they are skinnier, yellow and sweeter than the traditional mango. My husband calls them sucking mangoes, cause he makes a little cut on its top with a sharp knife and by squeezing all the pulp inside he basically liquifies it and then sucks it all up through that little slit. Delicious!!!

ataulfo mango

So with these beauties I decided to make a non traditional sticky rice, cause… really… who has a thai rice steamer? Not me! and let me tell you I’m known for having a LOT of kitchen/cooking related stuff! So I simply used sushi rice, once again not sticky rice but a very close relative and a lot more common at your grocery store.

Here it is…

Coconut sticky rice with mango

You’ll only need a handful of ingredients:

7 oz (200 grams) sushi rice (glutinous rice or if you have sticky rice, go for it!!!)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of water

1 1/3 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mangoes

sticky rice arriba trio

Place rice and water in a small pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes with a lid. Then remove from heat and cover with a kitchen towel for another 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, stir the coconut milk, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan over low heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. As soon as the rice is cooked, using a wooden spoon, gently mix it with the coconut milk and set aside for another 15 minutes so it thickens a little more.

Meanwhile, peel the mangoes and slice off the two outside cheeks of each, removing as much flesh as you can in large pieces, but don’t get to close to the stone cause the flesh there is fibrous. Cut in desired shapes… lengthwise, or cubed like I did.

Ladle creamy coconut sticky rice on serving dishes and top with diced mango. Stupendous!

coconut sticky rice with mango

Serves about 8 small portions, 6 more generous ones.

Enjoy!

Licorice Tea

Simple and comforting post for today, even though we are well into spring today it feels like fall… dark, drizzly, humid… Not fun basically since today is my first day off in a looooong time. Bummer!

Two weeks ago we went to Queens to spend the day and I finally got to go to one of my favorite places: A Korean market. I was soooo excited, like my mother used to say: “happier than a kid with new shoes”. I couldn’t get enough, my eyes didn’t know where to look, there were new, unknown and exciting things everywhere!!!

So this is one of the many things I bought: Licorice!!! I love it! Always had.

Licorice root

I always had it in the shape of a stick. We used to chew it and suck all the juice out of it. We even played a trick on the nuns in school, we used to sharpen it like it was a pencil and that way we got away with having it in the middle of our class!!! Pretty neat right?

licorice root

Licorice has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. Also known as “sweet root,” licorice root contains a compound that is about 50 times sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant. It is still used today for several conditions, although not all its uses are supported by scientific evidence.

Licorice Tea

First I rinsed the pieces of root under cold running water and then I boiled them for about 20 minutes. The results: sweet, deep licorice flavor, and since right now I have a bad cold, it was just perfection.

If you ever run into licorice tea or licorice root (even better) give it a try. You’ll love it!

licorice tea

Enjoy!

Creme Fraise Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Here I go again with one of my lazy recipes. I had regular flour, but I keep it in my commercial kitchen and I didn’t want to go there first thing in the morning with my pj’s still on, so I made them GF since I keep all that stuff at home. I also had some creme fraise so I decided to use it to make these babies, but if you don’t have any at home feel free to substitute with greek yogurt or sour cream, something thick 😉

GF creme fraise corn muffins

I prefer my popover tin cause I like my corn muffins nice and tall!

I used my favorite GF mix, here is what goes into my mix:

2 cups super fine brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xantham gum to help it stay together. Mix it all good and keep it in an air tight container.

Here is what you’ll need to make these muffins (yields about 9 regular muffins, i got 6 popover ones):

1 cup GF flour mix

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2  cup creme fraise

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup softened butter

GF creme fraise corn miffins

Heat oven to 400 F

Cream sugar and butter in a bowl until nice and fluffy. Stir in the eggs and mix until combined and then add the cream fraise, incorporate, and lastly add all the dry ingredients, mixing well until thoroughly combined. I also added a touch of freshly ground black pepper.

Pour even amounts of batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.

GF creme fraise corn muffins

I drizzle mine as you can see with honey! Delicious flowery lavender honey from the french Provence! To die for!

I devoured it with a nice hot cup of tea.

GF creme fraise corn muffins lavender honey drizzle

Enjoy,

Lemon Zest Parsley Popovers (Gluten Free optional)

The other day my good friend Jeanette gave me a big bunch of fresh parsley, and after using it on everything from chicken with mushrooms to pasta with clams… I still had some left over so I decided to make these beauties! Light, airy, citrusy popovers. Although the list of ingredients is ridiculously simple, there’s a couple of things you must know to get them light and airy like these ones: very little mixing and a very hot popover pan and oven, the rest is as simple as it gets.

Lemon parsley popovers

Here is what you’ll need to make 6 big ones:

1 cup all purpose flour of gluten free flour mix (I used Trader Joe’s blend)

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup of milk also at room temperature

1 tablespoon melted butter (plus another tablespoon extra for brushing the pan)

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste

lemon zest

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

lemon parsley popovers

Preheat oven and popover pan to 450 F. In a bowl, LIGHTLY whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, salt, black pepper, lemon zest and chopped parsley. Add flour and whist until just blended. Batter might be lumpy

lemon parsley popover

Carefully remove pan from the oven and quickly brush the cups with additional melted butter. Fill the cups 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR while they bake. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

lemon parsley popovers

If you want to make these ahead of time, they can be frozen in an airtight container and then warmed in a 325 F oven for 5-10 minutes. Delicious

Enjoy!

Toasted Rolled Oats Almond Granola Bars (Vegan – Gluten Free)

Do you feel that no matter what kind of granola bar you buy is never the perfect one? They are either too sweet, or too high in fat, or not gluten free, or not vegan or not peanut free… Well these babies are just perfect, cause you can do so many with them, the sky is the limit! You can make them vegan, or not, use peanut butter, or sun flower butter, almond butter, substitute the almonds for pistachios or walnuts… Anything really! Whatever floats your boat 🙂

granola bars

The base to make them is four simple ingredients: rolled oats, nut butter of your choice, maple syrup (it can be substituted for honey or agave nectar) and  dates. Healthy, easy and delicious. Here is what I used to make these beauties:

oats cardamom almonds cinnamon

1 1/2 cups GF rolled oats (toasting them for 10 minutes optional)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon organic peanut butter

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon Grade B (less precessed and better for you) maple syrup

1 cup plump organic deglet dates

1 cup raw almonds

a pinch or two cardamom

2 tablespoons chia seeds

a hand full of pepitas

a pinch of cinnamon

pepitas

Place the dates in a food processor until they reach a “dough” like consistency. Then, place the rolled oats, almonds, dates, pepitas and spices in a deep bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile warm over very low heat maple syrup and peanut butter in a small sauce pan, stir to mix and pour over rolled oat mixture breaking up the date paste so it’s well distributed.

dates

Once it’s mixed, line an 8 x 8 pyrex dish with a big enough piece of saran wrap, place the mixture and with the excess saran wrap cover the whole thing. This way you’ll be able to use a small glass, rolling it all over it to make it even in thickness. Place in refrigerator for about half hour to allow it to set.

rolled oats granola bars

Once cooled remove from dish and cut into even pieces (about 10). You can store them in airtight container at room temperature for a few days if you have the will power to eat all of them in one day… LOL! They also freeze wonderfully.

Enjoy!