Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quench Your Thirst

I am one of those people who does not like to drink water.  Yes, I teach in a nutrition department and I do not like to drink water.  There! I have admitted it!

However, I have also learned that I need to drink water.  So drink I do.  I find that if I add something to water, it becomes more like a beverage and can be quite enjoyable.  When I was a poor and broke graduate student, I used bottled lemon juice.  Occasionally, I reach back for the lemon juice.  Hey, old habits die hard.

Since I am from the south, I am also a semi-reformed Coke-a-holic.  Yes, I have been trying to kick the habit for several years.  Now I am down to less than one (12 ounce) can per week.  To help me drink water and fight my Coke habit, I have started making flavored water.  I start with a simple syrup (sugar and water) and add a few extras, like fruit, ginger, citrus zest.  In addition to using these syrups for water, they can also be used to sweeten lemonade and ice tea. 

Simple Ginger Syrup

Makes about 2 cups.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 piece (about 4 ounces) ginger 

1.  Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2.  Peel and coarsely chop ginger.  (You should have about ½ cup ginger.)  Add ginger to syrup.  Remove from heat, and let steep for 30 minutes. 
3.  Strain syrup to remove the ginger.  Store in an airtight container.  Refrigerate up to one month. 

Raspberry-Lemon Syrup

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
1 (10 ounce) package raspberries

1.  Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2.  Add lemon zest and raspberries.  Refrigerate for 24.  Strain the syrup.  Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate up to one month.
Note:  For extra tartness, use the juice from one lemon.

Carrot-Ginger Elixir

Serves 4. 

cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
1 cup carrot juice
½ cup fresh lime juice

1.  Bring sugar, ginger, and 1/3 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. 
2.  Remove from heat; let steep for 10 minutes.  Strain to remove ginger.  Cover and chill syrup. 
3.  Combine syrup, carrot juice and lime juice.  Divide among four glasses and serve.

Source:  Bon Appetit, April 2012

For addtional syrup recipes check out the Dallas News site.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Strawberry Shortcakes

I don't know where or when strawberries and shortcakes got together.  But like all classics, strawberry shortcakes have never gone out of style.  And numerous imitations has come along - like peach shortcake, mixed berry shortcake, and summer fruit shortcake. 

I remember my first introduction to strawberry shortcakes.  My mom asked her grocer what those little cakes were for.  He explained that they were used to make strawberry shortcakes.  Her version was that little Hostess sponge cake.  But now, there is a whole assortment of cakes that one can use, sponge cake, biscuit, and angel food cake.  They can be dressed up with real whipping cream or mascapone cheese.  With the use of whole wheat flour and reduced or nonfat whipped cream, strawberry shortcakes are quite healthy.

Whatever your choice of ingredients, now that spring is finally here, give strawberry shortcakes a try.  You may just stir up a few childhood memories.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Serves 6.

1 pound strawberries, sliced
¼ cup sugar, optional
1/3 cup oatmeal, old fashioned or quick
2 cups baking mix, such as Bisquick
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup whipping cream
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.
2.  In a large bowl, mix strawberries and ¼ cup sugar; set aside.
3.  Place oatmeal in a food processor or blend and pulse until oatmeal is finely ground.  In a medium bowl, stir oatmeal, baking mix, 3 tablespoons sugar, milk,and the butter until a soft dough forms.  On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 6 spoonfuls.
4.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

5.  Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.

One of my colleagues may her strawberry shortcake with real half & half.  Since she was so proud of it, I thought I would show it.

Thanks for stopping by and trying the shortcake.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Your Lucky Little Easter Bunny

In a few days Easter will be arriving.  If your little Easter bunny gets lucky during the hunt and you have way too many hard boiled eggs, this post is for you. 

Scandinavian Flower Eggs with Sweet-Tart Mustard Dill Sauce - I first heard about this recipe from the public radio show, The Splendid Table.  I thought it sounded interesting and maybe I could work it into an Easter blog.  I liked the recipe because I saw it as a slightly different take on deviled eggs.  Someone else stated that it's a potato salad with lettuce.  My foodie colleague stated that this would be good with salmon. (We are a nutrition department and lately we've been hooked on salmon.) Since I agreed with her, I also added salmon.

I also decided to put mine together differently than the original recipe.  First, I grilled the salmon and brushed it with the sauce during the final few minutes of cooking.  I also cut the potatoes in quarters and coated with the sauce.

Scandinavian Flower Eggs with Sweet-Tart Mustard Dill Sauce

Serves 4 to 5.


Dill Mustard Sauce:
(Makes about 1½ cups)

1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tablespoons minced onion
¼ cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup coarse grain mustard
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
⅓ to ½ cup chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound salmon fillet
8 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into 4 wedges each
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes
4 to 6 cups red leaf lettuce

Dill Mustard Sauce
In a medium bowl, blend together the garlic, onion and vinegar.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine, sugar, olive oil, mustard, mayonnaise, and dill.  Slowly add in vinegar mixture.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. 

1.  Coat salmon with olive oil. Grill or broil until fish flakes with a fork.  Brush with sauce during the final minutes of cooking.  Set aside.
2.  Cook eggs, peel and quarter.
3.  Cook potatoes.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into quarters.  Coat warm potatoes with about ¼ cup of mustard sauce.  Set aside.

Assembling the Salad
1.  Place lettuce down the center of a large platter.  Place salmon and potatoes on platter.  Depending on the size of your platter, eggs may need to be placed on other ingredients.
2.  Drizzle with mustard sauce and serve.