Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fresh Key Lime Tartlette

Mike and his best friend Jon are out sailing to Anacapa Island today. After a day of sun, fun & hard work, I thought it would be nice if they came home to a delicious summer dessert. Lucky boys.

Key Lime Tartlette with Roasted Macadamia Nut & Coconut Crust

1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 tbsp organic butter
2 free range organic egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast macadamia nuts and coconut until both are browned, about 5 minutes. watch closely to make sure they don't burn. Combine nuts, coconut, brown sugar, sugar, and butter in a food processor. In another bowl whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, this will take about 10 minutes of continuous whisking. Slowly add egg whites to the nuts mixture, gently folding them to mix together.Press mixture into a lightly buttered small tart ramekin. Cook for 10 minutes. Let cool. Keep oven on.

Fresh Key Lime Filling
(adapted from Epicurious)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 free range organic egg yolks
1 tbsp key lime zest

While tartlette crust is baking. Squeeze key limes until you get about 1/4 cup of juice (about 20 key limes.) Strain to discard seeds. Combine condensed milk and egg yolk, mix together. Add key lime juice and mix till smooth. Grate lime zest into mixture.

Once the tartlette crusts are cooled, fill the crusts with filling. Bake for 15 minutes. The filling will begin to set in oven but will still be soft. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. This will set the filling. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Top with coconut whip cream, a raspberry, and fresh lime zest.

Coconut Whip Cream
whipping cream
unsweetened shredded coconut
vanilla extract
vanilla bean seeds

Combine ingredients to match your preference of sweet & coconutty. Whip until soft peaks form. Cool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

California Wine Festival

This weekend Mike and I went to the California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara on the beach. There were tons of wineries, breweries, and restaurants serving up tastings of their finest products. Bacara had a booth offering the most amazing petite four display I have ever seen. Little cakes, chocolates, nut brittles, profiteroles, it was the full spectrum of sweets. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture of these delectable desserts. I cheated and got in line twice for a double dose of the Bacara tasting. Shhhhhh, I couldn't help it. You can imagine my sheer joy when on Monday my boss told me that my going away party (I got a new job) would be held at Bacara. SWEEEETTTT. I am pretty excited, I'll let you know how it is.

I also enjoyed the Wilson Creek booth. They were serving a unique Almond Champagne with a splash of chocolate liquor. I couldn't drink a lot of it, but it was delicious. I may just order a couple bottles of the Almond Champagne the Wilson Creek website.

Mike was quite impressed by the tequila tasting...I stayed far away from that one...something about mixing wine, beer, and tequila doesn't sound appealing.

A wine, beer, tequila, appetizer, and dessert tasting festival on the beach in Santa Barbara, what a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Vegan Blueberry Ice Dream

Blueberry Ice Dream

2 c. organic unsweetened soy milk
2 c. organic blueberries
3 tbsp organic agave
2 tbsp lemon, juiced

In a large skillet, heat blueberries, agave, and lemon juice until the blueberries are soft. Blend the mixture with a hand blender till smooth and slowly add soy milk. (you can strain the mixture to remove the blueberry skins, but the skins have tons of antioxidants, so i keep them in.)

Cool mixture in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Add mix to ice cream maker to manufacturers instruction.

This is a delicious fresh summer treat. I am seeing blueberry ice cream & gelato all over the place. This recipe at Coconut & Lime looked delicious and inspired me to try a vegan version of my own. I am still having difficulty using soy milk in the ice cream maker. It freezes like ice milk, instead of ice cream, but it is what it is and it is still yummy. I read recently that using coconut milk yields a creamier texture, I will try that next time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Strawberry Salad

I spent last weekend in LA catching up with old friends and spending time with my sister Tracy and her boyfriend Brian. Tracy and I made a healthy delicious dinner on Saturday night, Caprese Pizza on whole wheat crust and an Arugula Strawberry Salad... sadly, I didn't have my camera. Last night I recreated our fresh healthy salad for Mike to try. I didn't have arugula but i did have some frisee greens, yum. Thanks Tracy for this lovely salad idea.

Summer Strawberry Salad

frisee greens (or arugula or spinach)
organic strawberries, sliced
roasted almonds, sliced
organic avocado, sliced

Simple Dressing

2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
sea salt

Saturday, July 12, 2008

4th of July Surf & Turf

Mike and I spent the 4th of July this year in my hometown and Mike's college town...Santa Cruz,Ca. We had great day hanging out with our Santa Cruz friends and family. We started out the day at Harbor Cafe, no surprise there. It's our favorite Santa Cruz spot. Our friend Dan owns the cafe, he bought it from my Stepdad Jerry two years ago. This cafe is our version of Cheers. We run into so many friends when we are there, it's so much fun. they have a huge, beautiful patio and the best breakfast in the West. If you are ever in Santa Cruz, stop by Harbor Cafe for breakfast, you won't be sorry...tell them Jenn sent you.
We spent the rest of the day at the beach with friends. We went to our friends Chris and Caroline's for a Surf N' Turf BBQ. WOW. Amazing friends, Amazing food. We were lucky enough to get lobster tails and marinaded skirt steak for a great price from the Fish Lady. I don't have much of a recipe to offer you all for this delicious meal because it was so so simple.
Here's the menu:

4th of July Surf N' Turf
Steamed Lobster Tails
BBQ'd Skirt Steak
Fruit Salad

Caroline steamed the lobster tails, husked the shell off, squeezed some lemon over them, dipped them in browned butter, and ate them. It was our intention to serve the skirt steak and the lobster together, but the lobster was ready a couple minutes before the steak, and we couldn't resist eating them right then. It was decedent, so delicious.

As for the skirt steak, we threw it on the grill, and brushed it with it's marinade, that's it!

The fruit salad was simple too. It consisted of Mango, raspberry, blueberry, kiwi, and nectarines.

The end....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Corn Cakes with Grilled Shrimp & Roasted Guacamole

I love this blog. It has been so fun to post recipes and learn food photography. One of my favorite aspects of blogging is the amazing community of food bloggers. I had no idea there were so many people doing the same thing I am doing. It is my new favorite past time to look at the food blogs I have bookmarked and search for new fun food blogs. The other day I found this hilarious blog, Average Betty, she combines cooking with sketch comedy and she cracks me up. Her unicorn fritters jumped out at me...YUM, corn cakes with shrimp and mashed avocado...sounds like my perfect meal. I made them last night and they rocked my world. They were so good and really easy to make.

Corn Cakes with Grilled Shrimp and Roasted Guacamole

Corn Cake
(adapted from Average Betty recipe)
2 c. organic roasted corn, removed from cob
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1/4 c. organic cilantro
1/4 c. white onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeño, chopped
1/2 small organic red pepper, chopped
1/2 c. organic almond flour*
2 organic & cage free eggs
1/2 tsp. honey
dash garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
dash chili powder
dash salt

Combined roasted corn, red bell pepper, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, almond flour, and honey. Crack eggs into mixture and stir together until well blended. Add garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder, and salt.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Scoop corn mixture into small patties and place on skillet, let brown about 30 seconds and flip with a spatula.

*almond flour is a substitute for flour. Regular flour works great too, I'm just trying to stay away from white starchy food. You can make almond flour really easily by throwing almonds in your food processor and grinding them until fine, about 20 seconds. Be careful not to grind almonds for too long or it will begin to turn into almond butter.

Grilled Garlic Shrimp
10 jumbo raw shrimp
2 tbsp organic olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1 lime, juiced

Marinate shrimp for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of olive oil, pressed garlic, and lime juice, and salt. Skewer shrimp and place on grill until shrimp turn pink.

Roasted Guacamole
1 organic avocado
1/4 c. organic cilantro
1/8 c. roasted tomato salsa (I like Trader Joe's Salsa Del Cabo)

Mash avocado and mix in cilantro and roasted salsa

I absolutely loved this dinner, and so did Mike. I had two corn cakes left over and turned it into an amazing breakfast. I heated up the corn cakes, poached an egg, made some more guacamole and topped it off with a chipotle raspberry BBQ sauce. It was delicious. I love when leftovers become a whole new fabulous meal. Try this recipe out, you won't be sorry you did. Thanks Average Betty!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raw Cookie

I saw this amazing recipe on the beautiful blog taste memory. I love the idea of the raw food lifestyle. I thought I didn't have the patience to put the time into preparing raw food meals. This recipe proved me wrong. It took me 5 minutes to prepare, that's it. What a treat. These cookies are healthy and delicious, not necessarily low-fat, but very nutritious. I love that you can virtually throw anything into these cookies. I'm not putting a measurements for this recipe because you don't really need to follow any sort of recipe, just toss in nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, virtually anything you have on hand in your cupboard. You can play around with the portions too, I'll just post what I used. Just know that honey and nut butter is what binds the cookies together, the honey especially. After you mix the ingredients together, it will stick together, but it takes chilling in the fridge for them to really set and bind together. Give them a good 6 hours or more to set. Thanks so much taste memory!

Raw Cookies
(adapted from the recipe on taste memory)

2 1/2 cups mixed nuts, seeds, & fruits
-flax seeds
-dried cranberries
-dried apricots
-dried coconut
approx 1/4 cup almond butter, crunchy unsalted
approx 1/2 cup honey

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl, add honey until the mix sticks together. Spoon cookie sized portion onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. The mix will be sticky but not firm yet. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours until cookies are nice and firm. It's best to chill overnight.