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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.

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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!

New Years Resolutions

3 Jan

by Green Gourmet L

Happy New Year everyone! The Green Gourmets are looking forward to a year filled with great food, good health, and making informed choices. We wanted to share our resolutions with you:

1)   Cook more often

Even we at the Green Gourmets have to motivate ourselves to cook after a long day. It’s so easy to just go out and grab lunch, dinner, even breakfast.  But, like exercise, the more you do it, the more it gets to be a routine. Anyone can be a cook, just pick up your knife and get started!

  • Buy a good knife- you can prepare your meal in half the time and it will likely last a lifetime.  
  • Stock your pantry with the essentials (olive oil, stock, beans, rice, whole grains, vinegar, mustard to name a few).
  • Buy herbs and spices.

  • Make more than you need, leftovers ensure that you don’t have to cook every night.

2) Choose good fats

Some fats are part of a well-balanced diet, and everyone needs fat to survive.  Here are some ways to incorporate healthy fats into your life:

 

  • Add nuts, avocados, canola based mayo and vinaigrettes to your salads and sandwiches.
  • Unsweetened coconut and dark chocolate are good choices for filling a sweet craving.
  • Use olive oil when sautéing.
  • Choose fish loaded with Omega-3 like sardines, salmon, or rainbow trout.
  • Avoid anything with “partially hydrogenated” in the label.
  • Get to know which low-fat and fat-free products taste good (some fat-free cheeses and yogurts taste like plastic and are not worth the wasted calories or your money).

 

3) Try new, local things

 Keeps it interesting and supports the community!

  • Try a new recipe, try a weird looking vegetable, try tofu! And don’t be afraid to try something again if it didn’t go well the first time.
  • Take a trip to an ethnic restaurant or market.
  • Sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which delivers fresh fruits and vegetables based on what’s harvested on the farm.
  • Buy your fresh produce from your local farmer’s market.

 

4)  Grow something!

Even if you just manage to keep some parsley or basil alive in your windowsill for a little while, grow something to include in your meals.  You will feel invested in what you’re eating and realize the pleasure of eating fresh herbs, fruits, or vegetables from your own garden.

5)  Indulge consciously

The key to healthy eating is splurging well but in moderation.

  • Make meat an indulgence instead of a staple at every meal.
  • Buy the best cheese and chocolate you can, it’s worth it!
  • Take yourself out for a great meal at a local restaurant.
  • 1-2 oz of dark chocolate and 1 serving of alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) is actually good for you! Bonus!

January is time for a new start and we hope you are on board! The Green Gourmets will be bringing you lots of information, recipes, and interesting facts in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

Get Your Luck and Your Money: Hoppin’ John and Greens

30 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

You have to have Hoppin’ John and greens on New Years Day, my mom insists.  It’s a shame this kind of good eatin’ comes around only once a year, it makes me realize that a simple meal of beans and rice is very satisfying and very, very frugal. I will definitely be making an effort to explore more beans and rice recipes.  Okay, for a little food nerd briefing, Hoppin’ John has African roots, the black eyed pea is from central Africa.  The dish has been a Southern tradition since the mid-1800’s.  It is unknown how or why Hoppin’ John became a New Years tradition but it certainly is good eating on New Years day and if it’s lucky, why not?

I did a little cost breakdown for this meal because it was very inexpensive.

Costs for this meal:

– 1 lb black eyed peas – .79 cents

– 1 onion – .50 cents

– 1 carrot and 1 stalk of celery – I already had

– rice – I already had this too but let’s say $1

– broth – .50 cents – I used leftover chicken broth we had in the fridge and some water

– organic chicken sausage – $2.50  – ok, this is a splurge but we wanted a little something extra in our hoppin john, we split the package in half

– red pepper flakes, garlic, bay leaves – I already had

– mustard greens, organic $2.00

So that is $7.29 and this meal will feed 6-8 people.

See, those greens are already saving you money.

Hoppin’ John

Ingredients

Garlic, 2 large cloves, minced

Organic chicken sausage, 2 sausages (I used one with apples in it), kielbasa would probably be good too

1/2 a large onion, chopped small

1 medium carrot, chopped small

1 stalk of celery, chopped small

2 bay leaves

pinch of red pepper flakes

1 lb bag of dried black eyed peas – soaked for 6-8 hours

3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

green onion or parsley – garnish

Start with a glass of red wine, for yourself of course, now proceed.

Directions

Soak your beans overnight or all day while at work in a large pot with about 8 cups of water.  They will soak up the water and expand so you want plenty in there so the beans will be covered at all times with water.

Heat olive oil in a large pot, on medium, add the onion, celery, carrot, saute until soft and the onions are becoming translucent.  While this is cooking chop your two sausages into small 1/2 in. pieces.  Add your sausage, diced garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes to the pot.  Stir every now and then and try to brown the sausage.  Add your beans, bay leaves, and broth.  Stir it all up, turn the heat to medium-low.  I have read, who knows where, that you do not want the beans to boil because then they will split, you just want them to cook nicely and become tender not mushy.  Let this simmer away for about 45 minutes.  Check it occasionally to see if you need to add more liquid, if so add a little more broth or water.

I serve this over rice, but some recipes throw it in with the beans.  If you do that you will need to include a lot more broth.  You could also just throw some greens in this pot and call it a day.  But I love garlic greens and the garlicy, vinegary flavors work well as a compliment to the creamy black eyed peas and rice.

Garlic Greens – Get Your $

I used mustard greens, because I like them and we’ve been eating collards a lot lately.  But any greens will work for this.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp vinegar, to drizzle on at the end

as much mustard greens as you can fit in your very large pot

Directions

I usually use a large pot for this because the greens will start out all leafy and luscious and then will wilt as you cook, but they will take up a lot of space initially.  This time I only had a medium sized pan so I used that and did one serving at a time.  We do not want to overcook them though, stop cooking when they are a little crisp and still look green and are not completely wilted.  Add your olive oil and your crushed or diced garlic to your pan on medium heat, let the garlic start to release its delicious aroma while stirring it, then add your greens and your crushed red pepper.  Stir them around quickly, they will cook fast.  Then sprinkle a little vinegar over the top and serve.  I like the hot pepper vinegar but the crushed pepper will add some heat too.

You could serve your greens on the side with your Hoppin’ John and rice, like I did, or mix it all together.

To print these recipes: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/hoppin-john-and-greens

Inexpensive Sparkling Wines for New Years Eve

29 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

The Green Gourmets are at it again with our picks for some great (and inexpensive) wines for your New Years Eve celebration. There always needs to be some bubbles involved when it comes to ringing in a new year. But how do you choose which sparkling wine would work for you? Here are a few options that could suit your soiree:

Minoetto Il Prosecco

Prosecco is an Italian wine that has grown in popularity as a cheaper alternative to Champagne. Proseccos can be either dry or fruity and contain about 12% alcohol by volume. Il Prosecco has light flavors of peach and apricot and is a nice balance of fruity and dry. This wine can be found for $10-12 in many wine/grocery stores.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Rosé

Rosés have become very trendy in restaurants recently. Technically, Rosés are an “unfinished” red wine;  the wine goes through the red wine making process, but is stopped before extracting too many red wine characteristics. The Blanc de Noirs is made of a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which creates a beautiful pinkish hue. Flavors of strawberries, black cherry, and vanilla. This is a splurge bottle around $19, but it’s worth it for a special occasion.

Mumm Napa Valley Brut Prestige

Here’s the Californian Champagne you’ve been dreaming of. This was recommended by a friend who has great taste in wine. Even though I haven’t tried it yet, this might be the one that will grace my presence for my anniversary (thanks!). It’s a bit of a splurge at $20, but all the reviews say it’s worth it. And you’re worth it too! The Wine Enthusiast says, “#48 on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010: Crisp and elegantly styled, with floral apple and yeasty spice aromas that lead to layered flavors of baked pear, citrus and creamy vanilla. Drink now.” I think I will.

Punkt Genau Sparkling Gruner Veltliner

This is a sparkling Gruner Veltliner, which is a rarity. If you have never tried a Gruner Veltliner, you should definitely look for it next time you are in a wine store. It’s an Austrian wine with white fruit flavors (think apples, peaches, floral but not too fruity). It tends to be light and crisp, and with bubbles it’s about to rival my favorite Prosecco. And for around $15-18 bottle, totally worth trying!

Vinho Verde Espiral

I drank mine from a champagne flute.This is a fantastic summer and spring wine, but could also be a nice, light way to celebrate if you don’t want alot of alcohol. This is not necessarily a sparkling wine, but it has an effervescence to it that still feels festive. It has light, tart citrus flavors and is clean and crisp. Very easy to drink, and you don’t have to worry because the alcohol content is only 9%. And huge bonus, it’s less than $5. Look for this at Trader Joes.

Happy New Year Fellow Green Gourmets! We are excited to share more recipes and our passion with you in 2011!

Everyone Loves Leftovers: Christmas Cookies

28 Dec

We have some leftovers here, leftover holiday food and holiday food posts too.  My dear friend, A, of the Holiday Party, will be guest posting from time to time.  She has a great recipe for candy cane cookies that are very cute and would probably be a kid-friendly activity.  If you’re still in the holiday spirit you may enjoy making these, or just store this recipe away for next year.  They just might become your classic holiday cookie recipe.

CHRISTMAS Candy Cane COOKIES!

by A

Nothing says Christmas to me quite like Christmas cookies. I love to make them, decorate them, eat them, make them again, eat them again…I could go on forever. But there’s one particular cookie that has always stood out to me as THE symbol that Christmas is here – the Candy Cane Cookie. I remember when I was little and my mom would start making these about a week before Christmas. I was fascinated by them – how did she make these cookies that looked like candy canes, two dough colors all baked together into a candy cane shape? It seemed like magic to me, and I was sure they were Santa’s favorite (he always cleaned his plate when we left them out for him on Christmas Eve).

I now know the secret to these, and they’re actually pretty easy to make. The flavor is delicate, almond-y, almost shortbread-like. They’re not as flashy as the decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread men, no sprinkles or icing or colored sugar. But they’re still my favorite, and I can’t imagine Christmas without them.

Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ½ c. flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. red food coloring

Mix the butter, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg, and almond and vanilla extracts well. Mix the flour and salt in a separate bowl. Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. (This will create a very firm dough, so unless you have arms like Serena Williams, you may want to use a stand mixer if you have one. Or you could just incorporate this into your Christmas workout.) Divide the dough, and add red food coloring to one half.

To shape the cookies, grab a small handful of each color of dough and roll each handful between your hands until you have about a 4-inch rope of each color. Press the ropes together and twist, then form into a candy cane shape. Put the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 9 minutes. This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

27 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

Mr. Green Gourmet has a few favorite desserts that he always requests. I’ve already shared his favorite cookie recipes, but his favorite pie by far is Peanut Butter Pie. I’ve adapted the recipe to include a deliciously decadent layer of chocolate ganache on top. It almost tastes like a giant Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. This is not a healthy recipe, but it’s still the holiday season, so it doesn’t count!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 graham cracker crust (store bought)
  • 8 oz dark chocolate chips ( I use Ghirardelli, 60% cacao chips)

Directions

Whip 1 1/2 cups of cream with 1/4 cup sugar.

Mix all other ingredients until smooth.

Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until well blended.

Pour mixture into crust and chill for several hours.

 

To make the ganache, combine chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of heavy cream in heat proof bowl.

Place over bowl of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted.

 

Once the peanut butter pie has chilled and set, spoon the ganache over the top of the pie and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

To print this recipe: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/chocolate-peanut-butter-pie

Enjoy Mr. Green Gourmet’s favorite pie and don’t forget you read it on Green Gourmets!