Archive for Recipes

Creamy Spicy Chicken Broth

Creamy Spicy Broth

When I first ran across a recipe for Thai broth I thought it looked amazing. I knew my husband wasn’t likely to go for it as a thin, brothy soup though, so I filed it away on Pinterest, waiting for a flash of inspiration. Maybe I could make a reduction sauce based on Thai broth and serve it as a gravy? Maybe turn it into a noodle soup?

Every time I ran across it again it still sounded good, but I never wanted to go to the trouble of making coconut milk that day just to try it. Then one day it suddenly dawned on me that I could give a try with the regular cow’s milk I always have on hand. (I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me, the queen of changing recipes, to come up with that idea.)

Once I started changing it though, I just couldn’t stop. I didn’t have fresh herbs on hand either, so I fell back on my standbys garlic powder and ginger powder, and of course, I had to add turmeric, that powerhouse of adding anti-inflammatories and richness of flavor at the same time. I salted it heavily and added just a dash of cayenne (especially because I was going to be drinking it instead of eating it as a soup, I was skeptical of the chili flakes, and their tendency to burst unexpected waves of heat in unpredictable intervals).

The result was a rich and creamy broth, with lot of flavor and just a bit of spice on the back end. For the first time in my life I found myself drinking chicken stock every morning, and even enjoying the experience.

Now, I’ll tell you that my husband does not like intense flavors first thing in the morning, so I haven’t gotten a good read on whether he will like this broth or not. I’ll let  you know when I get some kind of conclusion one way or the other. I’m thinking maybe adding homemade ramen noodles for supper one night would be good way to introduce him to this broth…

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

This is one of those recipes that just about everyone can agree is healthy. (Except angry vegans, but I generally try to ignore them.) You have all the minerals and gut healing gelatin from the chicken stock, the enzymes and minerals from the raw milk, and the metabolism boosting and immune boosting spices to top it all off.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

As I mentioned, I don’t yet have my husband’s opinion on the yumminess factor, but myself, I give it a completely yummy rating.

Creamy Spicy Broth

4 servings

4 cups chicken stock

1-2 tsp salt*

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste

4 cups milk (preferably raw and organic)

Heat chicken stock to just below boiling. (If you like your broth very hot, go ahead and heat it to boiling–I prefer more moderate temperature for drinking broth, and a moderate temperature also preserves some of the enzymes in the raw milk.)

Whisk in spices and salt.

Add milk.

Drink as is, or use as the base for a soup.

*NOTE: I use homemade chicken stock which has not yet been salted when making this recipe. If using store bought or pre-salted homemade stock, you will need a lot less salt, and possibly none at all.

Pumpkinless Spice Latte

Pumkinless Spice Latte

For this picture I garnished my spiced latte with an extra dribble/swirl of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I don’t normally go to this trouble, but you can consider it a serving suggestion.

 I have nothing against pumpkin. I’m even quite fond of the idea of incorporating pumpkin into all kinds of foods, as happens every fall. However, I’m not such a fan of opening an entire can of pumpkin so I can add a tablespoon of it to my coffee and then forgetting I have the rest of the can sitting in my fridge while it gets pushed to the back and turns moldy. (Not that this would ever happen in my fridge. Ahem.)

 I tried making a pumpkin syrup last year so I could use up a larger amount of pumpkin in one go and have the syrup handy for lattes without the ‘whole can of pumpkin’ hassle, but the syrup really didn’t turn out that great.

This year, however, around the same time that my husband started talking about pumpkin spice lattes, I noticed some comments various places online about how really it was the spices that made a pumpkin spice latte, and Starbucks pumpkin spice latte contains no pumpkin.

Hmm.

 I’m sure that tablespoon of pumpkin really boosts the nutritional content of a coffee drink (something like half a gram of fiber and 50 IU of vitamin A by my calculations), but in this specific case I’m willing to sacrifice that sneaky bit of nutrition and eat my pumpkin in more intensive quantities. If you’re really desperate to sneak small amounts of pumpkin into your food, feel free to stir a tablespoon of pumpkin puree into this latte between adding the sugar and the milk.

 As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy with the metabolism boosting spices and fall flavor in this latte as it is.

 Oh, and I neglected to mention this in the video, but you can also chill this drink after you make it for a make ahead iced latte. (Or pour it over ice for an immediate iced latte, but I’m not personally not a big fan of diluting my drinks with ice. I do want to try making this with cold brewed espresso and see if it works well.)

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

 Fill in my usual rant about how coffee is bad for you if you make a habit of drinking ten cups a day or otherwise use it excessively, but it can be healthy in moderation, and in that context, consider the latte to be healthy.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

 This is a nice smooth, mildly spiced latte with the right taste of fall. You can increase the sweetener if you like sugar bomb style drinks, but even my husband, who is normally a sugar bomb type person enjoyed it at this level of sweetness. Conversely, if you really don’t like much sweetener, you could cut back on or leave the sugar out altogether and just fall spiced coffee instead of a latte.

‘Pumpkin’ Spiced Latte

1 serving

1 1/2 TBSP ground coffee (or however much coffee you normally like to use)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ginger

pinch of clove

1 TBSP turbinado sugar

1/4 cup cream, milk or frothed milk

10 servings

3/4 cup ground coffee (or however much coffee you normally like to use)

2 TBSP ground cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp clove (scant)

1/2 cup +2 TBSP turbinado sugar

2 1/2 cups cream, milk or frothed milk

(I generally make my coffee by the cup with a cone style filter. If you want to make a full pot of pumpkin spiced coffee using a french press or drip coffeemaker, you can use the 10 servings amount as a guide. The directions are the same for either set of amounts.)

Add spices to ground coffee and make coffee using your preferred method.

Add sugar and stir until it’s dissolved. (Turbinado sugar takes longer to dissolve than white sugar would, but it will eventually dissolve just fine in a hot liquid such as coffee.)

 Stir in cream, milk or frothed milk. (Have I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of my milk frother? I need to do a review of it for you all one of these days.)

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FAIL: Yummy but Crumbly Healthy Ritz Style Crackers

Healthy Homeamade Ritz Style Cracker Experiment

 Let me start by saying that I based this experiment on a more successful Cupcake Project Homemade Ritz Cracker recipe, and if you want to make homemade crackers with white flour, you should probably head over there and use that recipe and seems to work just fine.

 But as you know, I can’t just make a recipe as it’s written. I have to experiment and try new things and see if I can make healthier versions that work.

I thought these crackers did have really good flavor despite my healthiness modifications, so I might try reworking this recipe at some point, but for now, it really only produces yummy and healthy cracker crumbs.

Here are some things I would do differently the second time through:

 1. More flour: Whole pastry flour (soft white wheat) really does not absorb as much water as white flour or standard whole wheat flour. I’m afraid standard whole wheat flour would have too much whole wheat taste to make a good cracker, so I’d be inclined to just start with 3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour and then slowly add more water if it seems needed.

2. Thinner crackers: I should have split the dough between two cookie sheets (especially if I was using more flour, which would increase the amount of dough!) to try to get it thinner. It just wasn’t thin enough to get crisp and crackery in the that amount of baking time.

3. Possibly a long baking time: I know now that the crackers will NOT crisp up as they cool, so I would keep them in the oven until they have the right crispness, even if it takes longer that the official baking time.

4. Possibly replace the coconut oil: I used coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil called for in the original recipe because it’s the healthy oil that I have on hand, but coconut oil does seem to increase the crumbliness of baked goods in my experience, so it might be better to just use more butter, or lard, or possibly even olive oil.

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

Aside from the fact that the whole wheat flour doesn’t get soaked, there’s nothing in this recipe I would consider unhealthy at all.

Yumminess Rating: Kinda Yummy

 I thought the flavor was fabulous on these crackers (though that might be because I was going in with such low expectations of how the flavor would measure up to store bought crackers). My husband thought they were actually a little on the bland side. Either way, I have deduct points on texture because they were almost impossible to remove from the pan without disintegrating them.

Buttery Crackers (Crumbs)

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (ground from soft white wheat), plus a few more TBSP if needed

1 TBSP baking powder

1 TBSP turbinado sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

6 TBSP cold butter, cut into chunks

2 TBSP coconut oil

about 1/4 cup water

2 TBSP butter, melted + 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put the dry ingredients (the first four ingredients) into the food processor and pulse briefly to mix.

Add 6 TBSP butter, about 2 TBSP at a time, blending after each addition until the butter is thoroughly incorporated.

Add coconut oil and blend again. With the food processor running, trickle in water until the dough forms a ball. (If the dough is too soft you can add a few more TBSP of flour until it’s a consistency you can work with.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and press out the dough into the thin layer across the whole cookie sheet. Score the dough into cracker sized squares or rectangles. Poke several holes in each cracker with a fork.

Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.

Melt 2 TBSP butter and mix in 1/8 tsp salt. Brush across the tops of the crackers.

Very carefully attempt to remove crackers from the pan whole. Give up and enjoy your cracker crumbs!

French Onion Dip

Homemade French Onion Dip

The cast of characters…

 This recipe comes from a post I found here. I have tweaked the ingredients slightly, but the original recipe is also amazing. (Despite the fact that it contains celery seed… and really, who needs to be eating celery seed? Bleah.)

 I had to share this recipe because it’s one of the recipes I find myself making frequently and wanting on hand at all times. It tastes better than most store bought dip, but close enough to my mother’s ‘open a package of french onion soup and mix it in sour cream’ recipe to bring back fond memories. It not only eliminates the junk that’s in an envelope of store bought french onion soup mix, but gives you an opportunity to include more healing herbs and spices in your diet.

 Do you have any idea how amazing turmeric is? It’s anti inflammatory, high in antioxidants, may help fight Alzheimer’s, may help prevent cancer and alleviates depression. And one of the active ingredients (curcumin) is absorbed much better by the body when it’s eaten with black pepper, which also happens to be an ingredient in this recipe.

 All of the that information about turmeric and pepper is interesting and can be useful, especially if you’re working to treat a specific condition, but also works with my theory that you don’t have to be a research enthusiast to be healthy. Just eat real food of different kinds and it will do amazing things in your body, whether you know it or not. Also, foods that tend to work well together also often just happen to taste great together, and you might find yourself frequently combining black pepper and turmeric without ever knowing why this duo was especially good for you.

 So bascially, don’t fret. Just eat the food. (It’s amazing.)

 Turmeric also happens to be one of my favorite spices from a flavor standpoint. (Garlic is, of course, my favorite all time spice, but sadly, there is no garlic in french onion dip.) A small amount of turmeric often provides the final piece of the flavor puzzle when trying to recreate processed foods with real ingredients. In large amounts it can be a little bitter, but a dash or two provides a background flavor that blends all the other flavors and makes them ‘pop’ just a little more.

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

 This gets an unreserved healthy rating from me (as long as you’ve checked the ingredients in your sour cream and it doesn’t have any crazy additives) and as an extra bonus, you might just be inspired to eat a lot more raw veggies if this dip is sitting in your fridge.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

 All the fabulousoity (which is, of course, an actual word, and not something I just made up) of french onion dip, but better.

French Onion Dip

1 tub (16 oz) sour cream

3 TBSP dried minced onion

1 TBSP parsley

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

dash cayenne

 Mix all ingredients thoroughly. If you’d like, you can let it sit overnight to let the flavors blend, but it’s still amazing if you eat it right away. Store in the refrigerator.

Cooking 101: How to Brown Ground Beef

Today I’m continuing in my Cooking 101 series, aimed at novice cooks. This post may be a bit dull for old hands at cooking, as I really don’t have any new or exciting comments about cooking ground beef, I simply wanted to provide a basic tutorial for beginning cooks to have some confidence about how to to perform this foundational task in cooking a meal.

Once again, my nephew Toby guest starred on this video, lending his status as a bona fide beginner to make sure my instructions qualified as simple and comprehensive enough for anyone to follow.

When we went to film this video, I discovered that my ground beef had not defrosted as quickly as it should have, and so this video does provide some technique for cooking ground beef even from a partially frozen state. I include written instructions below for both the standard method of cooking completely thawed ground beef, and the jury rigged method of cooking partially frozen ground beef.  (I have recently learned that putting a bit of water in the skillet helps when cooking ground beef that’s still frozen, so I will be including that in the instructions below, though it was not included in the video.)

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

Not only is ground beef healthy, but learning to brown ground beef, if you don’t know how, opens up a lot of options for making your own meals that don’t include chemicals and processed foods.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

Adjust the salt to your own taste, and again ground beef a great tasting food just on it’s own, but it’s also the foundation of a lot of other even more amazing dishes.

How to Brown Ground Beef (The Basic Method)

1. Remove ground beef from packaging and place in a skillet. (I like to wash the raw meat juices off my hands at this point before I proceed.) Turn on burner to medium.

2. Use spatula or wooden spoon to break up the ground beef into small pieces.

3. Stir ground beef every minute or two (or more often if you like) as it begins to brown. You might also like to continue to break up the ground beef into smaller pieces as you stir.

4. Continue cooking the beef until all traces of pinkish hue are gone and the beef is completely brown all the way through.

5. If there’s an excessive amount of fat in the pan after brown the ground beef, you may want to remove the fat. You can do this by (a) scooping out the meat with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease behind, or (b) pouring the meat into a colander. If you choose option (b) remember that the grease has to go somewhere. You can put the colander in a bowl and empty the grease into the trash after it’s cooled, or put the colander in the sink, remove the colander after the meat has drained, and run lots of hot water and bit of dish soap down the drain to prevent the grease from clogging your drain.

How To Brown Ground Beef (From Frozen)

1. Remove ground beef from packaging and place in a skillet. (I like to wash the raw meat juices off my hands at this point before I proceed.) Turn on burner to medium low.

2. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape any thawed meat off the sides and edges of the hunk of frozen meat.

3. Add a bit of water (maybe 1/4 of a cup) to the skillet. Put a lid on the skillet and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.

4. Repeat step 2, stir and break up any clumps of cooking meat that are separated from the main block of frozen meat, then put the lid back on the skillet for another 2-3 minutes.

5. Repeat step 4 until all the meat is thawed.

6. Increase heat to medium. Stir ground beef every minute or so (or more often if you like) as the ground beef continues to brown. You might also like to continue to break up the ground beef into smaller pieces as you stir.

7. Continue cooking the beef until all traces of pinkish hue are gone and the beef is completely brown all the way through.

8. If there’s an excessive amount of fat in the pan after brown the ground beef, you may want to remove the fat. You can do this by (a) scooping out the meat with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease behind, or (b) pouring the meat into a colander. If you choose option (b) remember that the grease has to go somewhere. You can put the colander in a bowl and empty the grease into the trash after it’s cooled, or put the colander in the sink, remove the colander after the meat has drained, and run lots of hot water and bit of dish soap down the drain to prevent the grease from clogging your drain.

Cooking 101: Easy Berry Cobbler

Cooking 101: Easy Berry Cobbler

This cobbler is made with raspberries, while the cobbler in the video is  made with blackberries. Blueberries, strawberries, peaches and other fruits can also be used.

 

My nephew Toby guest starred in the video for this recipe. He’s sixteen years old, and recently learned how to make eggs and toast, so in the very strictest sense he’s not a complete beginner at cooking, but he is very close. (He’s a brilliant absent minded professor type who could solve for x in his sleep, but didn’t learn how to turn on the stove until he was ten. Also, as you will notice when you watch the video, he’s very funny and makes me laugh a lot.)

I’m going to be posting a few recipes that are very simple for new cooks to learn, and I wanted to have a true novice cook use the recipes to make sure that I didn’t skip over anything in the instructions because it seemed ‘obvious’ to me. If I did miss anything, or you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at gbfoodrocks@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have. (That goes for any of my recipes, in fact.)

This particular recipe is pretty adaptable to different types of flours and sugars (though I haven’t tried gluten free flours) so you can make it with healthy ingredients (whole wheat pastry flour aka white wheat flour and turbinado sugar) or ingredients found in typical kitchens (white flour and white sugar). I wouldn’t recommend using a hard red whole wheat flour, as it will have the typical whole wheat flavor and texture drawbacks, but it would probably do in a pinch if that’s all you have.

Healthiness Rating: Healthy to Kinda Healthy

This cobbler could qualify as completely healthy if you choose to use whole wheat flour and turbinado sugar. If you use white flour and white sugar it’s not going to have a whole lot going for it in terms of nutrition.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

It’s a really good basic cobbler. My version is heavy on the cobbler, but if you prefer it heavy on the fruit, just double the amount of fruit used.

Easy Berry Cobbler

based on this recipe

4 TBSP butter

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (aka whole wheat pastry flour) OR unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup turbinado sugar OR white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

6 oz package berries of choice (or 1 cup of sliced fruit such as peaches)

Fresh or frozen fruit works fine in this recipe. If using fresh fruit, rinse the berries and leave to drain dry, or prepare the fruit (remove seeds or pits, slice, etc).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the butter in a 8×8 square baking dish and put it in oven to melt.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. (Note for beginners: This is an important step, so make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined and you don’t see any patches or lumps of seperate ingredients.)

Add the milk. (Note for beginners: Stir briefly, then scrape along the bottom of the bowl to make sure you don’t have any pockets of flour mixture that haven’t been stirred in. Do NOT overmix. As soon as the batter is smooth and all the flour is incorporated, stop stirring.)

Remove pan with melted butter from the oven. Pour the batter into the pan.

Sprinkle the fruit across the top of the batter. Return the pan the oven and set a timer for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, remove the pan from the oven. If a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, the cobbler is done. (Note for beginners: ‘Clean’ in this case means that there’s no gummy or liquidy batter sticking to the toothpick. You may get fruit juices or even a dry crumb or two stuck to the toothpick, but if the toothpick is coated in crumbs or other signs of uncooked batter, the cobbler needs to back in the oven for five or ten more minutes.)

Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

Healthy Salted Caramel Latte

 

Depending on who you ask, coffee is either the elixer of life which contains antioxidants and minerals, prevents diabetes, Alzheimers and cirrhosis of the liver or it’s a horrible, nasty addictive chemical that causes adrenal fatigue, raises blood pressure and blocks mineral absorption.

As usual, in my opinion it’s all a matter of balance. Coffee is a natural substance, which doesn’t mean it’s always safe and good in any quantity, but it is useful for situations when you need an extra boost of energy. If you find that you need that boost of energy every single day that it’s likely that you’re either addicted to it or you’re using it to cover up an underlying health problem, or both.

And, as with most foods, personal metabolism makes a big difference. Some of us are especially sensitive to caffeine and have to be extra careful when and how often we use it, and others can have three cups of coffee a day with no apparent effect.

This particular coffee drink is a favorite of mine. Being one of those people on the ‘sensitive to caffeine’ side of the scale (I’ve had decaf coffee keep me awake for hours) I don’t drink it often, but it’s a very nice alternative to going out for expensive coffee drinks on a Saturday morning when I want to be geared up for a day of fun events, or to add extra oomph to those weekday mornings when I’m about to pull back my hair, crank up my energizing music and attack a extra large pile of dirty dishes or organize all the closets in the house.

I don’t always add the salt, but I do really enjoy the salt+caramel combination, and I do find that having plenty of (healthy, natural) salt in my diet helps keep my metabolism and energy up in general.

You can make this latte with any syrups you like, but I use my homemade chocolate and caramel syrups so I know my fancy coffee drink is made with healthy sweeteners and no chemicals.

Healthiness Rating: Kinda Healthy

Salted Caramel Lattes are not a good food to base your entire healthy diet on, but, made with healthy ingredients, they’re also not going to wreck your healthy real food plan.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

Do you really doubt me on this one?

Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

1/2 cup cold brew espresso or strong coffee

2 TBSP caramel syrup (or more to taste)

2 TBSP chocolate syrup (or more to taste)

1/8-1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 cups raw milk

Mix all ingredients in a 16 oz glass. Add ice if desired. (If you have it, you can also top this with whipped cream, extra syrup and an extra pinch of salt and perhaps turbinado sugar, but I almost never have whipped cream around, so I don’t bother.)

Caramel Syrup

Quick and Easy Mostly Healthy Caramel Syrup

Didn’t you know that ice cream always tastes better when it’s slightly blurry? Also when it’s doused in caramel syrup… Yum…

Caramel syrup is possibly the most addictive food I have ever made. Licking out the pot after making it is a must. There’s something about the balance of sweetness and creaminess and gooeyness that can only be improved on by turning it into salted caramel.

Now, I’m not going to try to claim that caramel syrup is a super food or anything like that. BUT if you like caramel, this homemade caramel syrup is the way to eat it. No chemicals, and some nutrients left in the unrefined sugar make this a ‘not bad’ splurge choice.

I like to keep it on hand for the occasional (usually decaf) salted caramel mocha, but it’s also good drizzled over vanilla ice cream or added to a mug of hot cocoa. I’m sure there are plenty of other uses, so if you have a favorite use for caramel syrup, comment below and let me know what it is.

Healthiness Rating: Kinda Healthy

I wouldn’t make this a cornerstone food in your diet or anything, but as sweet treats go, it’s a reasonable choice.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

Pretty much through the roof on this one. This stuff is amazing.

Caramel Syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup milk

optional: pinch of sea salt, dash of vanilla

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.

Add sugar and let cook, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick and bubbly. (Because the turbinado sugar doesn’t dissolve well the mixture may stay a little bit grainy until you put the milk in. Don’t worry if you can’t get it to dissolve completely, just give it a good two or three minutes to dissolve as much as it’s going to.)

Add milk. Whisk until thickened and completely smooth. (All the sugar needs to be dissolved at this point, or your syrup will be grainy.)

Use immediately, or refrigerate for a thicker caramel sauce. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: If you happen to be storing this in a plastic container, make the sure the syrup has completely cooled before  you pour into the container. The syrup retains heat well and might make your plastic container crumple into odd shapes if it hasn’t completely cooled. Don’t ask me now I know this…
The syrup thickens up so much, you’re probably better off storing it in a glass pint jar and spooning it out than trying to keep it in a squeeze bottle anyway.

Cold Brew ‘Espresso’

cold brew coffee and salted caramel latte 012

 I was first introduced to the concept of cold brewed coffee by Pioneer Woman. Her recipe also sparked my thought on whether the same method would work for cold brewed tea.

As this summer started I kept thinking I should make some more cold brewed coffee, but it never made it to the top of my to do list. Then one evening my husband informed me that he wanted to make cold brewed coffee. Not on his normal list of activities, but hey, it meant we’d have cold brewed coffee.

As he dumped a LOT of ground coffee into a quart jar he explained that he’d just read about this in the Cory Doctorow book he was reading and wanted to try it. In the book it was referred to as liquid gold. Nerds like their caffeine.

Unsurprisingly, my husband’s application of the nerd rules for making coffee turned out to be amazing. The result is more like espresso than standard coffee, containing enough caffeine that 10 oz of it made my not-so-sensitive-to-caffeine husband start twitching, but so smooth that I could probably enjoy drinking it black. (And that was even made using coffee beans that we hadn’t been drinking for normal coffee because I accidentally bought a roast that was too dark for us.) Considering that my ideal cup of coffee ranges from adding LOTS of cream to a full blown froofy drink with whipped cream on top, that is a high compliment to the flavor of this cold brew.

Of course, when you have a coffee that smooth and strong it also makes a fabulous froofy coffee drink. You get all of the benefit of the creaminess and sweetness of the extra ingredients without overwhelming the coffee flavor. Let me repeat, it is fabulous. Fantabulous, even.

Healthiness Rating: Healthy

I could go on for a long time explaining my philosophy of the proper use of coffee, but very fast summary is that ingesting to much of anything is bad for you, but in reasonable quantities (and as with anything else, reasonable can vary from person to person depending on tolerance), coffee is a natural substance with some minor health benefits including trace minerals.

Yumminess Rating: Yummy

Oh, so very yummy!

Cold Brew ‘Espresso’

1 1/3 cups of coarsely ground (french press grind) coffee

about 3 cups of cold water

Put the ground coffee into a quart jar and fill it up the rest of the way with water. You can measure the coffee if you like, or just fill up the jar about 1/3 of the way.

Put the lid on the jar and (if you like) shake briefly to make sure all the coffee is moistened. Refrigerate overnight.

Filter the coffee through a normal coffee filter (you can set the filter in a coffee cone, mesh strainer or funnel for stability) or just filter the coffee through a mesh strainer without the coffee filter.

Drink it black, with any combination of cream/milk and sweetener, or in your favorite iced coffee drink recipe. You can even put a shot of it into a mug of hot water for very smooth normal strength cup of coffee.

In the video I said several times that the coffee/’espresso’ is mild. The word I really wanted was smooth.

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How to Freeze Zucchini (Two Methods)

How to Freeze Zucchini (Two Methods)

I’m not always the person who will tell you the right way to do something or how you’re supposed to cook. The world has professional chefs for that. I’m always interested in learning better methods for my cooking, but I’m not a professional chef, nor am I ever likely to start cooking in a five star restaurant.

What I can tell you is how I make cooking work in an apartment sized kitchen on a fairly strict grocery budget and with chronically low energy. I like shortcuts in my cooking. If you ask my how to freeze something, my instinct is to say “Put it in a ziploc bag and put it in the freezer.”

I frequently google “how to freeze ______” about whatever I have excess of at the moment, but what I really want to find out is “can I get away without blanching this food” or “Please tell me this is one I can just throw in the freezer and it will be fine in a year”.

My google search on zucchini turned up split results, so I’m sharing two methods with you today. I found a lot of people who are freezing grated zucchini for zucchini bread don’t blanch their zucchini, and it works perfectly fine. However the right answer seemed to be blanching the zucchini for better quality. This led me to the conclusion that grated zucchini is fine to just freeze, but sliced zucchini is probably better off blanched.

I use grated zucchini for zucchini bread and sliced zucchini for zucchini casseroles, reminiscent of lasagna, but with zucchini instead of pasta.

Method 1:

Grate zucchini. (If you have a food processor and a lot of zucchini, I recommend the food processor method of grating.)

Label quart sized bags with ‘shredded zucchini’, the date, and any other info you’ll want later, such as how much zucchini is in each bag or the average cost of each bag of zucchini based on your price paid per zucchini.

If you have a specific recipe in mind for the zucchini, measure out the amount for your recipe and put that much into each bag, otherwise just fill the bags 1/2 to 3/4 full depending on preference.

Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bad, then seal.

Freeze.

Method 2:

Boil a gallon or more of water in a large pot. I like to use my stock pot that came with a pasta insert for this sort of thing–the pasta insert makes draining the vegetables a simpler process. My pot is very similar to this, except I got it deeply discounted. This one would be a less expensive but still high quality option. (affiliate links)

Slice zucchini. (Again, if applicable, food processor is very handy here.)

Plunge zucchini into boiling water. If you have a pasta insert or steamer basket, but the zucchini into the insert first, then put the insert into the already boiling water. Otherwise, just dump the zucchini straight into the pot.

Let ‘cook’ (technically, blanch) for 3-5 minutes. You don’t actually want the zucchini to be soft or cooked when you’re done, just hot enough to kill off the enzymes that change the texture of the zucchini over time.

As the zucchini blanches, label quart sized bags (or gallon sized if you plan on making very large quantities of your selected zucchini dish) with ‘sliced zucchini’, the date, and any other info you might want when you pull it out of the freezer.

Remove the zucchini from the heat and plunge it into an ice bath. If you’re using a pasta insert here, you’ll want to carry the whole pot to the sink and remove the insert over the sink. The pasta insert or steamer basket with allow you save your boiling water for a second batch of zucchini, if desired. If you don’t have a pasta insert, just pour out the zucchini into a colander, then plunge the colander into ice water.

OR, if you take shortcuts (as I tend to do), skip the ice water and just run cold tap water over the zucchini until it’s lukewarm. (Just like you would do to stop pasta from cooking.)

Let the zucchini drain for a few minutes.

Put the zucchini into the labeled freezer bags.

Freeze.

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