Monthly Archives: January 2009

superfood smoothie

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why?! *shiver, shiver* WHY??!!
i am currently bundled up in a blanket sipping hot water  as i curse myself for giving in to my chronic addiction.  

post-smoothie hypothermia.
yes yes, despite the plunging cold weather which caused my siblings to miss school (cancelled school for
cold weather? C’MON) i still refuse to give up my smoothie habit.

truth is, i’m a smoothie addict.  during the school year when i am sans blender and kitchen (ahh dorm life), i get my fix at smoothie king.  despite wind, rain, or snow, i am determined to get my smoothie.  i don’t know what it is about the smoothie.  to a fruit addict like myself, smoothies are just the perfect portable package for full-fruit consumption.  light & fluffy, pineapple surf, mangofest… they’re all like my children. delicious, bone-chilling children.

since we’re all penny-pinching these days, i’ve started making my own smoothies at home.  fraction of the cost and no styrofoam cups.  

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with spinach, blueberries and banana, this superfood smoothie is health in a glass.  i see your arching eyebrows (eh, spinach? in a smoothie?) but once all the ingredients get pureed, you can’t see, much less taste this popeye companion.  seriously, this one is a favorite of mine just don’t tell the other kiddos.

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Superfood Smoothie

½ cup fresh spinach, washed and dried
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
½ large banana (1 small)
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup soymilk
1/3 cup crushed ice

Put all the ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl until smooth.  Drink up!


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austrian raspberry shortbread

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what makes these austrian exactly? i’m not sure but those austrians got it right.

this is my kind of dessert.  while most people indulge over gooey chocolate concoctions or bowlfuls of creamy dreamy mousses, i much rather prefer formations of the fruity.  anything with berries or citrus is an immediate magnet for my finicky fingers.  mmm blackberry cobbler… strawberry shortcake… warm apple crisp à la mode… gets me every time.

these shortbread bars, however, are definitely climbing up the ranks of my fruitful fantasies.  with raspberry jam and a hint of lemon zest, they perfect the balance between delicacy and simplicity… with just a little sass.  even my diehard choc-pb friends are asking for this recipe.

countdown: 23 days until italy– and a mandatory stop at austria while i’m over there!img_2298

Austrian Raspberry Shortbread
adapted from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs by Gale Gand, Rick Tramanto and Julia Moskin

3 ½ sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberry jam
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. 

Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer) until soft and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla extract; mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix until just incorporated and until the dough starts to come together.  Divide the dough in half and form into logs (to fit into food processor).  Wrap each log in plastic wrap.  Freeze the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight (or as long as a month, if you like).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove one log of dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it by hand or with the grating disk in a food processor into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan or a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Make sure the surface is covered evenly with shreds of dough (do not press the dough into the pan—resist!).

In a small bowl, whisk together the raspberry jam with the lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle as evenly as possible over the shortbread making sure to leave a ½ inch edge.  Remove the remaining dough from the freezer and coarsely grate over the entire surface.

Bake until lightly golden brown and the center no longer wiggles, about 50-60 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Then dust the top with powdered sugar and cut into bars with a serrated knife.  

 

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pizza, pizzah!

to prove to you that i am no one-trick, cookie pony…

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as a kid i refused to eat any pizza that wasn’t delivered from PIZZA HUT.  
mmm greasy, meat-lover’s, PAN pizza.

now… not so much. the carnivorous version of my youth would be shocked to see what i’ve become: a veg-head, whole wheat, granola muncher. but trust me, this recipe would please all my past and present personalities. it’s a favorite in my family from my 10 year old meat-man brother (margaret 2.0) to the reformed moi, the veggie-lover.

i topped this one with a mixture of pizza and bbq sauce, mozzarella & italian cheese, sliced cremini mushrooms, half of a black bean burger and some crushed red chili flakes. absolutely DELICIOUS. but of course you can top yours with whatever suits your buds– afterall, isn’t that the beauty of PIZZA?

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from Southern Living, October 2004

1 (¼ ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (105-110° F)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
sauce(s) [marinara, barbeque, alfredo, pesto]
pizza toppings

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, honey, sugar, and the warm water; let stand for 10 minutes.

Add the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the bread flour, oil, and salt to bowl and beat at low speed, using dough hook attachment for 1 minute.

Gradually add the rest of the flour until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl and pull together. (Note: the dough will take on a “shaggy” appearance as the flour is being added.  When enough flour has been added, the dough will look soft and smooth, not wet and sticky or overly dry with a rough surface.)

Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.  Cover bowl of dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place (85° F; I usually use an oven with a pan of boiling water) for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and let stand another 10 minutes.  At this point, the dough can be wrapped up and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 475° F.  If you have a pizza stone, place in oven while preheating.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape dough into a ball.  Roll out into pizza crust and place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or baking sheet (make sure it doesn’t have any sides). 

Spread pizza sauce and sprinkle with toppings.  Slide pizza onto pizza stone and bake for 20-25 minutes (6-7 minutes for mini pizzas).

Yield: one pizza crust/ 4 mini pizzas   

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

this post is an ode to my countdown to italy. yes, in 26 days i will be in ITALIA! siena, italy to be exact. i’m incredibly nervous/excited/delirious about the whole experience. as i will be there for about 5 months studying abroad, i am determined to break the realms of tourism and whole-heartedly embrace the day-to-day civilian life of tuscany.  

do i know italian? no.
am i worried? not as much as my mother. 

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Filed under breads, main course