Thursday, June 21, 2012

Basil Lemonade


refreshing |riˈfreSHiNG|adjectiveserving to refresh or reinvigorate someone: a refreshing drink | the morning air was so refreshing.


Basil Lemonade 
1- First make your simple syrup: Take 1 cup of water, add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup washed basil leaves with stems.  
Heat in a sauce pan to completely dissolve sugar.  
Cool completely and drain to remove the basil.  (Store leftover syrup in the refrigerator.)

2- Take a large glass and add some of your simple syrup (start with a few tablespoons, you can adjust later.)
Add as much fresh squeezed lemon juice as you like. 
Add fresh water and lots of ice.  Feel free to garnish with basil leaves or lemon slices.

Welcome to summer. Be refreshed.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Picnic Time


I will be at my most pregnant during the heat of the summer, so I am reveling in the 75 - 80 degree weather.  I love the mix of spring rain we've been having, and the overcast days are my favorite.  I don't find them dreary.  It's a relief to just splash in the puddles and not have to worry about sun exposure and heat waves, at least for now.  

Most days I pack up a grocery bag worth of snacks and provisions and Roman and I set out to see what adventures we can find.  Sometimes we have a plan, other days we follow Roman's whimsy.  One thing is for sure, we've been lunching outside.  While Roman's meals might be a little more standard (mini bagels with sun butter and jam are his favorite), I tend to fold some vegetables and hummus into a whole wheat tortilla.  

His new nap-free schedule has him in bed early, which means I'm basically house bound most evenings.  One of these nights we will treat ourselves to a family picnic. I will sneak in a few sips of P's chilled white wine and indulge in this salad.  Perfect for sitting on a lawn somewhere, listening to some live music, watching the boats go by on the Hudson.  In my perfect fantasy, there are even fireflies.  But in my real world, the little one's needs come first, so incase I don't make this modest dream happen, I hope some of you will.  

Salad of Shrimp, Lentils, Sweet Potato and Mâche Rosettes with a Lemon Tarragon Dressing
Serves 6

This salad should be served slightly chilled.  Once you have combined the mâche and dressed the salad, serve it quickly, otherwise the mâche will wilt.  

1 cup dry green lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 lb. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined) 
3.5 ounces mâche rosettes (lamb's ear lettuce)

Lemon Tarragon Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad, bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan.  Add 1 cup lentils and cover, reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not mushy.  Drain the lentils and allow them to cool.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.  Cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes and toss them in some olive oil.  Roast for about 25 minutes.  
Sautee the shrimp in some olive oil for a few minutes on each side until just cooked.
Once the lentils and sweet potatoes are cooled, combine them in a large bowl.  Prepare the dressing as indicated below, setting aside a few tablespoons for the shrimp.  Add the mâche to the bowl and toss all three ingredients with the dressing.  Divide the salad amongst 6 plates, toss the shrimp in the reserved dressing and arrange them on top of the salads. 

For the dressing, combine the olive oil and lemon juice.  Add the tarragon and shallot.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mixed Berry Breakfast Crisp with Hazelnut Almond Topping


How do you show love?  Love notes, gifts, affection?  I suppose that even picking up someone's dry cleaning can be a caring act.  I've come to believe that I show love most often through food.  Whether it's for a child, a sibling, parent or husband, I can spoil (rich chocolate pudding), provide nutrients, or appeal to the need for comfort with something unexpected like a breakfast crisp.  To me this says, "I love you."


I made this on a Sunday morning and told my husband to wait and see what was in the oven before making his usual breakfast.  It's oddly close to his morning routine of late: yogurt, homemade granola and berries.  But something bubbling on it's way out of the oven steps things up a notch.  It feels like dessert but has a tiny fraction of the sugar.  


So I'm curious, what do you do?  How do you show love? 

Mixed Berry Breakfast Crisp with Hazelnut Almond Topping
Serves 6

Since berries are one of the most highly sprayed crops, I recommend paying the extra money and buying organic.  You can use frozen berries, in which case do not defrost them.  The end result may be a bit juicier if using frozen.  If you feel like having this for dessert, replace the greek yogurt with some ice cream.  

6 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
zest of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cold
3/4 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup slivered almonds

Place the mixed berries in a deep baking dish, sprinkle with orange zest and sugar. 
Place the flour, hazelnut meal, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in the food processor, then add the stick of butter which you have cut into about 8 slices.  Pulse 5-6 times.  Then add the rolled oats and pulse another 3-4 times, taking care not to over process the oats.  With your hands, mix in the slivered almonds, then lay the crisp topping over the berries in the baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Serve hot or room temperature with greek yogurt mixed with a little maple syrup. 
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