Cranberry Orange Bread

23 Nov

by Katy

Being pregnant is the best excuse in the world to eat what you want, and also the worst.  Of course you want to feed the little bugger only organic vegetables and fruits with a side of free range eggs and meat but sometimes the hormones will only allow you to eat what appeals to you right then.  I go back and forth between eating healthy smoothies and drinking vegetable juice to indulging in cookies and ice cream.  People ask about cravings a lot when you’re pregnant.  For the most part, aside from that time when I drove way out of the way to Sweet Potatoes to get their Thursday Fried Chicken lunch special (and it was so worth it), I have been craving fruit, all kinds of fruit, and more fruit.

In the spirit of the season, and my extreme love of fruit, I decided to experiment with cranberries and my favorite fruit of late, oranges.  I wanted a sweet bread but not too sweet, just enough to balance out the tartness of the cranberries.  I hope I succeeded, let us know what you think!

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 bag (12 ounce) of fresh cranberries (you could use less if you’re not big on cranberries but they cook up nicely)

zest of 1 small orange (or half a large one)

juice of 1 small orange (or 1/2 cup of orange juice)

1 cup milk (whole or 2%)

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda) together in one bowl.

2. Mix your wet ingredients together in mixer (by hand works too).  Add in the dry ingredients, mix lightly, until dry ingredients are incorporated.

3. Coarsely chop the cranberries.   Fold the cranberries into the batter.  Pour batter into a buttered and floured bread pan.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I highly suggest enjoying this bread with butter and large steaming mug of tea.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s some more fruit I need to eat.

Lighten Up! Apple-Cranberry Crostata

15 Nov

by Green Gourmet L

The holidays are coming faster than most of us can even imagine. My Thanksgiving countdown says 10 days…can that be right? And everyone knows what comes along with the holidays- sweets, treats, and more eats! I love to indulge in desserts (chocolate, caramel, toffee, anything creamy). I have yet to meet a dessert that I didn’t like. But you can stay within your budget (and your skinny jeans) with this super easy recipe for Apple-Cranberry Crostata. A crostata is just a free form pie, filled with fruit/nuts, and the edges are folded over the filling to create a rustic look. Serve this with some vanilla gelato or frozen yogurt and you’ve got yourself the perfect lighter holiday indulgence!

Apple-Cranberry Crostata

Crust

  • 1 1/2 unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tp salt
  • 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup chilled sour cream

Filling

  • 3 TB unsalted butter
  • 8 small Granny Smith apples (about 3 lbs), peeled, cored, and each cut into 12 wedges
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tp ground cardamom
  • 1 tp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Crust: Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in food processor.

Add butter and using pulse button, process until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add sour cream and process until a moist clump forms.

Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. *Note: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep dough chilled. Then let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.

Filling: Melt butter in heavy, large skillet over medium high heat. Add apples and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar.

Cook until apples are tender and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cardamom and cinnamon. Mix in cranberries and set aside to cool.

*Note: the filling can also be made 1 day in advance. Just refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough between two layers of parchment paper sprinkled lightly with flour until dough is a 13 inch round.

 Slide dough (with bottom parchment) onto rimless cookie sheet. Spoon filling into center of dough, spreading toward edges but leaving 2 inch border. Using parchment as aid, fold border over filling. Brush crust border with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until crust begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking until crust is browned and filling is cooked through, about 20 more minutes. Cool until warm. Using parchment paper, slide tart onto pie plate or cutting board. Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt.

Enjoy your lightened up dessert and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Hey! We’re Back with Braised Mushroom Pasta

10 Nov

by Green Gourmet L

Welcome back all you Green Gourmets! Green Gourmet K and I would like to tell you that we enjoyed our hiatus, but we missed blogging so much that we had to get back to it! A lot has happened during our time away. Green Gourmet K got pregnant! And Green Gourmet L moved to Texas and then got pregnant! Even though each of us is now eating for two, that doesn’t stop us from cooking green (local, organic, and budget friendly) now more than ever. And we would love to share our journey with you. So stay tuned for our usual awesome recipes, tips and tricks about being green, and new anecdotes about what happens when you get knocked up.

Alright, onto the food! When the weather in TX starts to cool down (from like 90s to 70s), I get excited that I can use my oven again. My absolute favorite way to cook anything when the weather gets a little chilly is a low and slow braise. Braising is just a form of slow cooking, usually some kind of meat in liquid, until it is very tender and the liquid has turned into a luscious sauce.

There are a couple rules to braising:

  1. Lower temperatures for a longer time are best
  2. Start with a good base- aromatic veggies like onions, carrots, celery give great flavor during a long cooking marathon
  3. Begin cooking on the stove first. Brown your meat, soften your veggies, simmer your liquid. It will make the actual braising process go by much faster
  4. Check your dish occasionally. You may need to add more liquid, stir or turn your meat, and you don’t want to find out after it’s too late
  5. Your dish might be better the next day. Once the flavors have had a chance to meld together in the fridge, you can enjoy your leftovers even more than the original meal!

I love to eat red meat but I am also sensitive to the fact that this is not a part of everyone’s diet. I mean, we are in TX now, but I am a Green Gourmet so I can adapt. I found a wonderful braised mushroom dish and decided to adapt it to fit my dinner last night. Hope you like it!

Braised Mushroom Pasta
Serves 8

  • 3oz prosciutto (or bacon), diced (if vegetarian, use smoked tofu)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3lbs mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small bunch thyme (leave on the stems)
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB butter (if vegan, use olive oil)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat an ovenproof casserole dish or a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a few tablespoons olive oil and cook prosciutto until golden brown and crispy (about 5 minutes).

Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Add a little more oil to the pan and add onion. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and slightly golden (8-10 minutes).

Add carrots, celery, garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add half of the mushrooms, stir and cover for 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to release moisture and cook down.

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Add the other half, stir and cover for an additional 5 minutes.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the crispy prosciutto, thyme, tomatoes, butter and salt/pepper.

Top with 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer on the stove then put in the oven.

Cook, uncovered for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. It’s ready when the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced to a delicious sauce. Adjust seasonings and remove thyme stems.

Serve braised mushrooms over your favorite pasta (penne!) or over mashed potatoes, polenta, quinoa, or whatever your heart desires. This also makes a fabulous breakfast served as a bed for a poached egg, folded into an omelet, or as scrambled eggs with goat cheese.

Enjoy your new found mushroom braising addiction and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Flash Mob Picnic: Diner en Blanc

7 Jul

A Flash Mob Picnic in Paris?  Yes, please.

Over 10,000 people in two picturesque, historic locations in Paris met and ate, drank, and danced together.  All wore white and all brought their own tables, chairs, food.  Then they all cleaned up, leaving the Louvre and Notre Dame as they were when they arrived.

We have thought about a similar idea for Slow Food in Savannah.  Anyone up for a Flash Mob Picnic in Forsyth Park?  Bring your own local, seasonal homemade food and eat outside in the fresh air?  I think it sounds great.

Consider me inspired.

Here is the full article.

Jazz Up Your Water

24 May

by Green Gourmet L

Photo from coloribus.com

I was browsing around Old Town this past weekend, and I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything. I’ve got some summer trips coming up (not to mention a big move to Texas), so I’ve tightened the purse strings. Let’s be honest, the purse strings are super glued together. But I had to make an exception when I came upon this special little guy:

Photo from tesseire.com

This is a French fruit syrup, which is made from 50% fruit juice. It has no chemicals, preservatives, or dyes. No artificial sweeteners.

You can do a bunch of things with this:

  • Sweeten up your favorite hot tea
  • Drizzle over fresh fruit (like the rose or violette flavors)
  • Pour over ice cream or sorbet
  • Add a zing to your homemade salad dressing
  • Mix it into yogurt
  • Make peach flavored ice to put into iced tea
  • Reinvent your favorite cocktail (mint julep anyone?)
  • Make your own soda by adding a splash to your sparkling water

We made our own Orangina using 1 part orange syrup to 9 parts water. So good!  They have a variety of flavors -orange, strawberry, lemon, lime, mint, anise, pineapple, almond, violette, even pamplemousse (my favorite French word). You can see what you remember from your highschool French class on their website. Or, if you’re like me, you can hop on over to Amazon and order your favorite flavor. If you live in DC, head to Old Town Alexandria and check out La Cuisine  to buy Teisseire and other great foodie finds! Enjoy this awesome product and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

How Do Your Eggs Rate?

17 May

by Green Gourmet K

Image from bembee.com

Recently I came across this Organic Egg Scorecard from the Cornucopia Institute.   They rated egg producers all across the country on a scale of 1-egg (least desirable rating – ethically deficient) to 5-eggs (most desirable – exemplary, beyond organic).   The egg producers were rated based on a variety of criteria, including the chicken’s access to the outdoors, the quality of the indoor space, and their organic ratings and commitment to organic egg production.

In fact, this Scorecard came from an in-depth report Cornucopia completed, entitled “Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture,” if you’re interested in learning more.

Check out the Scorecard to see how the eggs you buy and eat rate!

Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a better egg?

Or maybe you’re even secretly wishing you could have a couple chickens in your backyard?  Me too!

Image from walletpop.com

Check out this post from RunLoriRun called “Pimp My Coop.”  Now, I really want a fun chicken coop!

Image from runlorirun.com

A Food Tour of the EU Embassies

10 May

by Green Gourmet L

Of all the things going on in DC, people swore up and down that I HAD to go to the “Open House” weekend at the EU Embassies. As I read about the events from last year, I realized that I needed a plan of attack. This year, they were expecting over 50,000 people, long lines, and gorgeous weather. Our plan? Wait in line early for a “popular” open house and then hit the smaller ones later in the day. This plan worked perfectly. Here’s where we went (and the food, of course).

Embassy 1: Greece 

We must have waited in line for about an hour to get in. Just when you think you’re almost there…

You realize upon entering that there is a line to get to the food. Hmmmph. It was worth it. to get a sampling of savory and sweet dishes from some of the restaurants around town.

An Ouzo flavored soda to quench your thirst:

Followed by some grape leaves, pita chips, hummus, and tzatziki:

For dessert, of course the traditional baklava and a honey/walnut cookie:

Know who else was there? Zaytinya of course! If you’ve never heard of Zaytinya, check out the Green Gourmet’s review here. Zaytinya was serving their own version of greek yogurt with apricots and handing out their secret recipe. Yum.

After a sweet ending at the Greek Embassy, we decided to head to…

Embassy 2: Estonia

Do you know where Estonia is? I do (now). When we were outside, we were lucky enough to watch some traditional Estonian dancing, and they were nice enough to pose for the papparazzo.

Although, I’m not sure how the people from Estonia survive on their food. The samples were garlic croutons and dried anchovies.

I guess you just drink alot of this:

This light brew got us ready to move onto the next…

Embassy 3: Bulgaria  

This was one of my favorites on the inside.  A big beautiful staircase and lots of fresh flowers.

They were serving a traditional savory cheese pastry called Banitsa:

And a red wine produced in Bulgaria. Is it possible for a red wine to be both sweet and dry? Discuss.

At this point, we were over having to wait in any more lines. And because it was a beautiful day, we headed to the Georgetown waterfront to visit the House of Sweden.

Embassy 4: Sweden

Sorry Sweden, apparently I was feeling camera shy. Or slightly tipsy from three  two servings of Bulgarian wine.

This is the entranceway, which has a modern water feature.

The inside feels very much like wandering through Ikea. Multiple floors, huge glass windows, modern architecture. They served some of my favorite cheese (Jarlsberg) with lingonberry jam. And chocolate cookies courtesy of… you guessed it, Ikea.

What’s the perfect end to a perfect day of Embassy tours? The perfect beer. In this case it’s Blue Moon.

I’m kinda bummed I won’t be here for the upcoming Around the World Embassy Tour happening this weekend! Click here for more details. Have fun on your travels and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

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