This week’s food inspiration: fresh, mostly local

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My garden is not going gangbusters but I am enjoying a new CSA we are trying this summer, Growing Washington. Having so  many colors and options to play with makes the peak of summer a great time to prepare food. Mixed in you might also find ways to integrate food from the larder to make way for future bounty, meat from a local farmer or, of course, a shopping trip to local Costco or grocery store (probably delivered, because I would rather be playing, or you know #life). I am not going to put on airs, just know that I vote with my dollar, taste buds and I like to snap pictures of my food. And eat out too. Ok, I like to eat good food.

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

  • Green beans (CSA)
  • Cherry tomatoes (C)
  • Garlic (Neighbor)
  • Olive oil (Instacart)
  • Basil (pot on deck)
  • Crumbled Farmer’s cheese (CSA)
  • Salt and Pepper

Blanch the beans, trim the ends and slice into 1/2 inch segments or so. Slice the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop a clove garlic and basil. Toss ingredients together, dress lightly with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Don’t fret too much about quantities, I used about 1 lb beans.

Rainbow of Beets, Carrot Ribbons and Radish Salad with Coriander vinaigrette dressing

  • Beets: Chiogga, Red, Golden (CSA)
  • Radishes (CSA, garden)
  • Carrots (Instacart)
  • Parsley (Instacart)
  • Honey (backyard hive)

Here is the link to the recipe. I added some chopped up extra peppery arugula for a kick and at least trippled the quantity.

Herbed Smashed Potatos with Roast Chicken and Sautéd Tat Soi, Spring Onions and Baby Bellas

  • 2 pounds potatoes (CSA)
  • Fresh and finely choped rosemary, thyme, oregano (or sage) (backyard)
  • Garlic (neighbor)
  • Goat Milk Yogurt (CSA), no more than 1/2 cup
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper

Wash, scrub the potatoes and cut them in half or quarter. Put them in pot or pressure cooker and cover with water by an inch. In pressure cooker, bring to 15 PSI for 6 minutes and quick release. Drain potatoes and let them sit in colander. Add oil to pot, turn on heat, add garlic for a minute and then herbs until aromatic, just minutes. Add the potatoes back in, turn off heat and smash with wooden spoon etc. Mix in yogurt (or milk) to help make potatoes a little more creamy, add salt and pepper to taste, top with butter.

  • 1 pound tat soi (CSA) or other leafy green like bok choi, spinach, chard etc
  • Spring onion (CSA), sliced about 1/2 cup
  • Oyster sauce (your favorite asian grocery store)
  • Sliced mushrooms (C)
  • Garlic (C )
  • Avocado oil (C)

Add oil, onions, garlic and tat soi. Stir fry on high heat. About half way through wilting, add oyster sauce, about 1 tablespoon and continue stirring until all cooked. Salt and pepper, chili flakes or sauce to taste.

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Roast Chicken – from Windy N Ranch in Ellensburg, done in my favorite way. This chicken and many scraps then became stock in the pressure cooker!

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Ahh, pie……  Rhubarb from my garden, blueberries from CSA and Asian pears from the yard, frozen last fall.

img_1064I was more busy than usual in the kitchen over the weekend, prepping some treats for the freezer, friends and a hungry toddler that needs to not know about all the places the veggies hide.

Butternut squash cornbread: refined sugar free! used up some organic frozen squash (sneaky veggie!) and yes really 2 T baking powder (use aluminum free). This was amazingly soft yet still cornbread-y… next time i might pop in some curry powder instead of nutmeg and ginger.img_1071Carrot Parsnip Oatmeal Muffins (based off this recipe), sweetened with pure maple syrup. Great for toddlers (sneaky veggies). I added raisins and some random dried chopped apricots along with grated parsnip and carrots. They do stick to the papers more than usual. I doubled and froze.  Someone helped me mix them up too. Stirred in his own veggies!

Please share your favorite ways to hide veggies!

Beef Tacos de Lengua in the Pressure Cooker

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Beef tongue tacos! Lengua por favor! I love tacos and enjoy beef tongue for its more mild flavor, soft but not mushy (if cooked right) texture and that its presence on a menu often means more authentic origins. I will say that cow tongues are a bit unsightly but all the more reason, to take a chance, surprise yourself and not waste. You can find it in well-stock grocers, hispanic focused stores, butchers or if you order meat farm-direct. There are lots of variations out there in terms of spices, I used the combination at macheesmo.com for inspo. Tongue also does well in a slow cooker or low and slow on the stovetop but this post is about reducing taco lead time without sacrificing flavor or texture. Note this post futures full frontal beef tongue. Don’t want to see it? Don’t scroll.

Ingredients

Lengua Stock

  • 3 -4 pound beef tongue
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic (no joke), pealed and cloves slightly smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 dried ancho or chipotle peppers
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • sprig or two of fresh cilantro

Saute and Simmer 

  • Medium bell pepper, yellow, red or green, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped tomato, or halved cherry tomato
  • half a white onion chopped (if short on onions you can use some from the pressure cooker step)
  • Chile flakes if you want some heat
  • Olive or avocado oil

Taco Flare!

  • Radish, cilantro, white onion, diced tomato, avocado, lime wedges, cojita cheese, salsa, beans etc
  • Tortilla or chips

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Instructions

  • In pressure cooker put the onion quarters, garlic, bay leaves, dried peppers, peppercorn, cumin, beef tongue and shredded cilantro. Cover with contents with water.img_8865
  • Following your pot’s directions, bring it to 10-15 psi and let it cook from 30 minutes. Then let the pressure release normal/natural (not quick) for about ten minutes. You can prep the bell pepper and taco toppings during this time.
  • While pressure is reducing, get an ice bath ready for beef tongue. Shocking it in ice water will make it easier to peel. Yes, you must peel.

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  • Remove the tongue, give it an ice plunge and then place on a cutting board. You need to peel and remove the skin. This should not be too hard to do. Also you need to trim away the tough chewy muscle on the underside of tongue. Feel your own tongue to get an idea. Also, there were some visible taste buds after peeling towards the tip, I. removed those too, for people that might not want to see them.
  • Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the broth from pressure cooker
  • Slice the tongue in about 1/2 slices and then dice. Set aside.

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  • Add a tablespoon or so of oil to a sauce pan. Add bell pepper, tomato and additional half of onion diced. I also roughly chopped the dried ancho from the pressure cooker broth and added to this pan. Just remove before serving.Sauté for a few minutes. Then add the beef tongue, chili flakes or other seasonings and broth. Let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. The liquid should reduce and flavors mingle. Add salt to your taste.

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  • It is now ready to serve with tortillas and toppings.
  • Enjoy!

This tongue is from the same cow that gave us this heart to make dog treats, among many other beef dishes.

Rhubarb, Pear and Berry Pie

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Summer keeps rolling along, as does my rhubarb plant. While the pears are not quite ripe yet, I did need to make room in my freezer and had a bag of Asian pears from last season that I quickly froze. Toss in some Washington blueberries, zest and cinnamon and you have yourself a tasty pie. This recipe makes enough for two full size pies but I only had one full crust, so I obtained another package of ready made dough (because I don’t make crust, it disappoints me) and made up some ugly mini open faced pies. Ugly mini pies taste good!   Rustic yum! You could also freeze the other portion of filling for another time or make a quick crisp with it.

Use whatever berry you had handy: black, rasp or straw would all pair quite nicely. Fresh or frozen. I used Asian pears as that is what grows in my yard and I like their crunch but any other pear would be just fine.  Other options might include trying apple or adding ginger. This pie is not runny and the rhubarb is soft and just the right amount of tart. The pears are mellow and smooth.

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust: enough for two full size pie bottoms and tops (3-4)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, not too too tightly packed
  • 1 1/4 pound of rhubarb sliced about 1/4 to 3/8 inch
  • 4-5 cups pears, pealed, cored, sliced and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Orange zest from one orange
  • 2 tablespoon juice squeezed from orange
  • Lemon zest from a small lemon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • A spoon full or two of milk for crust to help brown and extra sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle

Instructions:

  • Slice up rhubarb and toss with the sugars to start macerating.
  • Zest the orange and lemon and toss with rhubarb and sugar.
  • Peal, core, slice and dice the pears. Toss in with rhubarb and sugar.
  • Let this sit if you can for a while to macerate. Turn on the oven to 425 F to preheat.
  • Add the berries, cinnamon and flour. Stir all together until mixed.
  • Scoop filling into the prepared pie crust.  Remember there is enough filling for two pies!
  • UNLESS you are using the Breville Pie Maker or doing a hand pie. For this option, you need to cook the filling first. Put in a saucepan on the store and turn on the heat. Stir and bring to a boil, keep stirring. The filling should start to thicken and rhubarb will get a little bit softer.
  • For the full size pie, once filling is in, add the top crust, either a full covering with slits or lattice.
  • Brush crust with milk, sprinkle with sugar. Egg wash is also an option.
  • Place pie pans on a cookie sheet and then into the oven to bake for 40 to 60 minutes depending.  You want to the filling to be bubbling and crust to be nice and brown but not burnt.
  • When done baking, let the pie cool a while before serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  • For the Breville mini pie option, I did not have puff pastry on hand so these pies were made open faced. I did place a piece of tin foil over them once in the pie maker to minimize the mess on the top to clean up. Worked marginally well.img_1059

Other Odds and Hens Rhubarb recipes:

Rhubarb Dream Bars

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Pin this dreamy dessert as it uses a lot of rhubarb in one dish – 4 to 5 cups if you don’t mind. What makes it dreamy? That is for you to decide…. Sweet and tangy rhubarb tops a shortbread like crust. You could easily add walnuts or coconuts or even berries to the mix you wanted. My version has less sugar than some of the others out there and the additions of cinnamon and orange zest for ‘depth’. Serve warm with ice cream al a mode or cold for breakfast.

Crust Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups confectioner sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter soften and cut into cubes

Topping Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped rhubarb, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 eggs (or 5 if you have funny odd egg laying chickens like I do)
  • 1/2 cup flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, add your chopped rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon and zest. Mix it up and let it sit for a while and start to macerate and mingle if you have time. If not, no worries.
  • In a separate bowl, make the crust by mixing flour and sugar with a fork. Then cutting in cubed butter with a pastry cutter. Or do this in your food processor. Don’t worry if if doesn’t turn into a batter like mixture, just make sure that the butter is well incorporated, small pieces, even through out.
  • Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper or grease. Press in crust mixture. Make sure it is even and packed down.
  • Bake crust along for about10-12 minutes. It will not be 100% cooked.
  • Mix up the topping. Add to the rhubarb/sugar/cinnamon/zest mix; the beaten eggs and salt. Combine well and then add in the 1/2 cup flour and mix together.
  • Pour on top of pre-cooked crust and put back in the oven for another approximately 45 minutes of baking.
  • Enjoy!

 

Other Rhubarb recipes I enjoy:

Savory Rhubarb, Wilted Chard & Sausage

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So rarely is rhubarb unaccompanied by sugar, but this recipe pairs rhubarb with chard, spring onions, garlic and the like for a savory supper or side. Granted the amount of rhubarb isn’t enough to make a dent in the voracious plant you likely have but nonetheless.  Thank you to my CSA for spurring me to action with the ginormous bunch of chard and spring onions. I used a NY times recipe as starting point to try out the combination and found it flexible, easy and not to shabby tasting. Hint is to just salt at the end with a quick taste as broth and sausage can have varying salt amounts making it harder to estimate and don’t fret over wine versus broth. Both will be delicious. This recipe serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • About a cup of thinly sliced rhubarb stalk (one sliced, less than 1/8 inch)
  • About a cup or so of diced shallot or spring onion
  • 4 cups or so of chard, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces
  • two cloves of garlic, diced
  • olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons
  • 1 pound of sausage links, or you could use eggs or both!
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (if you don’t have it don’t worry)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or use white wine
  • 1 cup or more of slice mushrooms (optional)
  • Dried chilli flakes if you want a little heat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pecorino or parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. All of this happens in a single pan or pot. Pierce the sausage, add a little olive oil and cook in a large pan until brown and cooked through. When done cooking, remove from the pan to a plate but leave the juicy bits in the pot.
  2. While cooking sausage, chop, slice and dice your vegetables: rhubarb stalks, chard, mushroom, shallots etc.
  3. After sausage is cooked, add the shallots, garlic and rhubarb and if you need it, a little more oil. Cook until soften and starting to brown. I used some of the rhubarb to scrub up the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to soften. Again, add a touch more olive oil if you need it.
  5. Add the chili flakes if you want the heat. Add the mustard seeds here too.
  6. Add half the chard and half the broth and start to cook/wilt for just a few minutes.
  7. Add the remaining broth, vinegar and charge and finish cooking/wilting.

Serve with sausage and any drippings from the plate, top with cheese if you like, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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Please share some of your favorite savory rhubarb recipes!

Other Rhubarb recipes I enjoy:

Cuban-Style Black Beans: Moros y Christians right out the pressure cooker

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Beautiful bean footage: served along side leftover lamb chickpeas and rice with fried plantains and carrot salad.

Frijoles Negros! I am really enjoying making beans in the pressure cooker. The key is remembering to soak them the night before but the texture is great and you can’t beat the speed. Again, sorry to sound repetitive but seriously love the Great Big Pressure Cooker Book, my recipe is based on the Cuban Bean recipe they share, but there are lots of others out there to look at, just make sure you have enough liquid for the beans really.

A couple of notes. I had part of a smoked ham hock left from the pig we purchased.  You could also use bacon or sausage/chorizo or pancetta or ham in this recipe.  Also, I used some lamb broth along with chicken that I had on hand.  The 2 cups of dried black beans makes a very generous portion for 8-10 people, depending how well you know one another and how much you like beans.

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Spices to set the bean recipe up for success.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried black beans. Soaked overnight. Rinse and drained when ready to cook
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, glug glug
  • 1/2 pound of chopped pork product (smoked hock, ham, bacon, sausage etc)
  • 2 medium yellow or white onions, chopped, at least 1- 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 bell pepper seeded/chopped, green or other colors, medium to large in size
  • 1 tablespoon freshly zested orange peel, eat the orange
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoon fresh oregano or about 2 1/2  teaspoon dried oregeno
  • for some heat! 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or add more or omit)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick, 3-4 inches
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar, just not white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock (or lamb as noted above)
  • 1/2 cup loosely filled with chopped cilantro (if you have it, if not, no worries)

Instructions

  1. Prep beans by soaking overnight and draining them
  2. Heat up olive oil in pressure cooker pot. Add the chopped pork (ham hock etc) and stir and cook it until it browns and little flavor bits start to form on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cooking and staring until onion becomes translucent. 5minutes or so.
  4. Add in the orange peal zest, garlic, oregano, red peppa, bay leaves and full cinnamon stick. Proclaim something like “boom” or a line from a spice girls tune.
  5. Stir the ingredients around until the spices start to become more fragrant. This will happen pretty quick, about 60 seconds. Don’t over do this part.
  6. Add in the vinegar, brown sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is melted. Things are probably starting to stick to the pan. This is flavor. DOn’t panic.
  7. Add in the broth. Add first about 1 cup and start to deglaze the pan and scrape up flavor bits. Then add the rest of the broth. Stir.
  8. Add the beans and cilantro.
  9. Pressure cooking time! Heat up your locked and loaded cooker to 15PSI. Give it 12 minutes cooking once at goal. When done, a-ok to use quick release pressure method.
  10. Before serving, pick out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. and if you can wait, simmer the pot with lid off for 5-10 minutes to reduce the liquid in the beans. No one could wait for me to do that step, so I used a slotted spoon to serve.

Serve as a side dish. If you put it next to rice (check out this lamb and chickpea rice dish i made and served alongside) you have a Cuban favorite Moros y Christianos. I also like cold beans on my salads for lunch. We certainly ate our fair share of Moors and Christians on our awesome, pre-reopening-US-Embassy  Cuba trip. (I have a few other posts about the trip as well here and here.)

Some other cuban black bean approaches

Please share if you have a favorite bean recipe!

Paper Bunting Activity

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Buntings are an easy and versatile way to decorate. There are so many great kits and pre-cut products out there. This version using poster board and dot paint markers. I did this as a shower activity but had some left over bunting pieces and we did more painting together. My toddler-guy likes the dot markers (and making a mess and tasking the paint) so this was pretty fun activity for all of us. I enjoy making designs too. Who doesn’t love polka dots or pretending you are an epic bingo player….

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Supplies

  • Poster board (I used smaller 11 x 14 sheets) or paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • hole punch
  • twine or yarn
  • Paint, markers, crayons etc to decorate (sky is the limit)

Instructions

  • Draw out a template for your bunting. It could be a triangle, or flag or more shield like. These are 5 inches wide 7 inches long at the tip or longest edge.  I did two shapes the flag and more ‘shield’ like version because they used up more of the sheet paper. The template was cut out of a 12 x 12 inch piece of scrapbook paper that i have used for other buntings/garlands.
  • The angles are at 2 inches from the bottom and i just measured over to a point in the middle (2.5 inches).
  • Punch holes in the corners to thread the twine or yarn or string later. For the shower of note, I strung them in advance, just so it would be all ready to go at the end of party. Not a necessary sep
  • Decorate!! Have fun.  Everyone decorated different designs  for a nursery decoration for the new baby. Later, my toddle-son and I painted more together for his room. Granted he painted the counter and his face mostly.
  • I did try to decorate all on either the shiny side or more matte side of pasteboard but nothing to get to hung up about.
  • This pattern and tutorial works really well with scrapbook paper too – quick party decorations!  You can even just stitch the paper flags together.
  • I like the ones with more white space but found my self really daubing away. Hehe.

Some other bunting ideas:

Cozy spiced lamb chickpeas rice & Moroccan carrot salad: plateful of recipes

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My pressure cooker wins again, producing this spiced and aromatic recipe, again from my favorite book by Weinstein and Scarbrough. Granted they call it a casserole and if I was to use that word to describe a meal the hubs gets the saddest look on his face. Casserole trauma as a youth?  You certainly would not need a pressure cooker, just more time, to make sure that the lamb is cooked and so is rice.  Another bonus is that while there are two pressure sessions, the first one generates up to 4 cups of extra broth to put away for another day AND this made enough for another meal the next night.

This recipes makes at least six servings, I would say more like eight with other items. To balance out the richness of the lamb and rice, I made a version of Alice Waters ‘Moroccan Carrot Salad’. The tang was refreshing and a dollop of yogurt completed it (recipe at the end).  The next night we mixed it up a bit and served the left over lamb and rice with another (yes another!!) dish right out of the pressure cooker: Cuban style black beans. This turned it into a global Moros y Christianos of sorts.

Spiced lamb chickpeas and rice 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (approx) lamb shoulder, shoulder steak or leg; i used bone in shoulder and removed the bones later. Leg is more expensive but still tasty
  • 1 whole white or yellow onion peeled and cut in half once
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons all-spice berries (note: calling this optional since i could find them and didn’t use them)
  • 2 teaspoons cloves, whole
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 8 whole green dried cardamon pods
  • 2 bay leaves (I always think these are optional…but another day)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • approx 1 heaping cup chopped white or yellow onion or a generous half cup of chopped shallots
  • 1 generous tablespoon minced garlic
  • 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas); drained (but save the liquid for dessert) and rinsed
  • 1 cup of dry white rice, like basmati or regular white Chinese rice (since i have a 25 pound bag of this stuff), just not quick cook stuff
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry ground ginger
  • If you have it, 1/2 teaspoon saffron

Instructions

  1. First you are going to make the lamb broth that will be used to cook the rice later one. This is done in two steps because the meat needs more time and liquid than the rice. Trust me.
  2. Cut the lamb up into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. I cut most of the meet of the shoulder bone but still put the bones in the for the first (next step). Flavor!
  3. In the pot of your pressure cooker put the first eight ingredients (lamb, onion halves, whole spices) and pour in enough water (tap is fine) to cover everything. Somewhere between 4 and 6 cups of water.
  4. Pressure cooking session #1. I use a stovetop at 15PSI  for 10 minutes (once heated). When this session is done, use a quick release method to bring down pressure and open pot. Let it cool and loiter with the lid off for about 5 minutes.
  5.  Pick out the pieces of meat and put on a plate or bowl to the side. Get the bones out. Pick off any remaining meat and put in the bowl with the other pieces. Toss the bones. I also saved a little bit of the onion from this first go around since 1) i didn’t have the second one, oops and was using a shallots and 2) why not use a little more.
  6. Pour the remaining broth and whole spices and onion into large measuring cup or bowl through a wire colander to strain out the bits and reserve the broth. Toss the spice bits.
  7. Give your cooker inside a quick wipe to get out any last spices.
  8. Turn on the heat and add some olive oil! This time add the chopped onion (second listing on ingredients). Cook and stir until it starts to soften, then add in garlic. But just for half a minute or so, so you can start to smell it. Add in the garbanzo beans, rice and ground spices. Stir around getting the hot, covered in oil and really starting to be fragrant, about 60 to 90 seconds.
  9. Add in 2 1/4 cups of the amazing broth you just made. Stir up all the ingredients well.
  10. Pressure cooking session #2. Again heat up pot to 15 PSI and this time around cook for 10 minutes. However, when cooking is done do the quick release valve method but do not (DON’T) remove the lid right away. Let the pot sit after cooking, after returning to normal pressure for 5 minutes. Magic happens.
  11. Now you can open it. Stir and serve.
  12. Don’t forget to freeze your lamb stock. I suggest 1 cup portions.
  13. NOW I hope you didn’t toss the magic bean brine…. try some aquafaba recipes with it!

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Here is a link to the recipe out of Art of Simple food. Just use regular carrots (not baby) and I added a sliced baby eggplant about halfway through the boiling of the carrots, since it was on hand a needing to be consumed. A parsnip might have snuck in there as well. Lastly, some minced fresh ginger can be added. Lots of options. Serve with parsley or mix in with some other greens like arugula etc.

We have also tried and enjoyed a lamb white bean and cranberry soup out the Great Big Pressure Cooker Book. Next up in our kitchen is a ground lamb and apricot recipe.

 

Toddler Ribbon Bowties DIY

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Ribbon and Fabric mini-bowtie tutorial

This tutorial is for quick and simple toddler or mini-sized bowties. I like the contrast of the ribbon, setting it apart from other ties. Using ribbon, snaps and scraps of fabric – I made these up as fun shower favors.  You could even put them on your pet or use elastic instead of ribbon and make headbands. They are easiest to sew with a sewing machine but you could stitch all by hand, just less quick.

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Supplies

  • Fun fabric about 8 1/2 inches by 6 inches
  • Ribbon lengths, I used 5/8 (preferred), 1/2 inch and one with 1 inch wide grosgrain
  • Snaps or velcro
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors

Instructions

  • Cut your fabric into 8 1/2 by 6 inch rectangles.

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  • Fold in half, wrong sides together the long-way.
  • Sew with a 3/8 inch seam (or along the presser foot edge). Pick a width really, just be consistent.

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  • Turn right side out and press with the seam down the middle (not the edge. this is the ‘back’.

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  • Fold in half match up raw edges. The seam will be on the outside.
  • Sew again 1/2 inch. Turn the fabric so that the raw edge you just sewed is on the inside. Press.

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  • Using needle and thread (i used doubled up thread), make a running stitch with a big knot on the end so you can pull and gather up the fabric. This stitch goes just long side the seam.

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  • Before cutting thread, pull and gather fabric up a bit. This helps give the bow its shape. Once you have it gathered to your liking, wrap the extra thread around the pinched part and tie off the thread.

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  • Cut an approximately three inches length of ribbon to sew around the middle of tie. This covers up the gathers. I do like to finish my raw grosgrain edges really quickly with a lighter or fray check.

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  • Measure and cut the ribbon to make the neck portion. Choose a length to fit the neck it is intended for (child, adult, dog etc). I cut 18 inches which was plenty more than I needed for a bunch of 2T little people but I prefer it to be loose on them.
  • Thread it through the middle ribbon loop you attached to the tie.

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  • Affix snaps or velcro. I used up some white plastic snaps I had on hand, placing two for sizing options. You could also use actually bowtie hooks and clasps. I hate sewing velcro.

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Chocolate Mousse – Aquafaba-u-lous

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Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Aquafaba is the secret #magicbeanbrine

I love weekends! The little bit extra time to putter in the kitchen is truly enjoyed. This weekend I attempted my maiden aquafaba voyage.

Aquafaba is basically chickpea or garbanzo bean brine from the can discovered by a likely desperate-for-meringue-egg-allergic-genius. The history of aquafaba still contains more mystery and legend than fact. But there is science to support its function. The basic science involves vigorous whisking/beating to transform the starches, proteins and yet to be discovered substances in the bean brine. For this chocolate mousse recipe you beat the aquafaba into stiff stiff peaks like you would for a meringue. I added a touch of cream of tarter to help it along but that is not required. Fortunately there is an entire site dedicated to informing the globe and growing the aquafaba community. Check it out at aquafaba.com   Aquafaba is holds great potential for recipes vegan, egg-allergic or just those of us that like an alternative. It also feels good to not waste something. New hashtag to trend? #magicbeanbrine

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The source of the aquafaba #magicbeanbrine

This chocolate mousse recipe is very simple, minimal ingredients, giant flavor and the opportunity to make different variations. Try altering the cocao percent (but more than 70%), the extract (almond, mint, orange), or the toppings (berries, ginger, herb, smokey salt, bacon…….).  The beans I used had some salt added. If you use a version without salt, you might want to add a touch to the aquafaba to enrich the flavor.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup aquafaba, or the brine out of one 15 ounce can of garbanzo/chickpea
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • range of 1-4 tablespoons powdered or caster sugar, depending on how sweet you want it and how pure your cocoa is
  • 100 – 160 g dark chocolate, again this is a bit flexible. I used a mix of 85 and 90% because that is what I had on hand.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or other extract, like almond
  • Toppings: cocoa nibs and almonds (or all sorts of other exciting things)
  • Other options: try PB2 powder along with powdered sugar or some finely ground coffee (not brewed)

Instructions

  • Set up a double boiler or bain-marie (if you are feeling fancy frenchy) to melt the chocolate.

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  • Put the aquafaba #magicbeanbrine into a big bowl that is completely dry, no water, no oil etc (just like a fussy meringue). Add the cream of tarter if you are using it and salt if your base brine is low or free of salt.

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  • Using an electric mixer, unless you have tons of energy and mad whisking skills, beat the aquafaba from at least 5 to 15 minutes on high speed. You will watch it foam up. After maybe 10 minutes or so, taste it. At this point I sprinkled in the first table spoon of powdered sugar and beat it in. I repeated this until it was sweet enough for my sweetheart. You could add the sugar at the very end as well.
  • You will be done beating/whisking when really stiff peaks are formed

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  • The chocolate should be melted by now. Add in the vanilla bean paste if using. Stir and remove the melted chocolate from heat.
  • Ideally in a dry clean third bowl – pour in your melted chocolate and add about a quarter of the meringue and start folding the chocolate and meringue together. Continue folding and adding meringue until well combined.
  • If you add the chocolate in a big dump you risk the chocolate seizing up and getting grainy and weird.
  • It took me a lot more folding that I thought to really get the chocolate and meringue mixed together. It will lose some volume/loft but that is ok, there is still air in there to make if fluffy and mousse-y.

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  • Once combined, pour into glass jars or bowls or wine glasses, however you want to serve. I used canning jars. Just a 1/2 cup serving or so is plenty.
  • Add toppings.
  • Pop in the fridge to firm up for a few hours if possible.
  • Part of me next time wants to try a creme brûlée burnt sugar topping on this next time…..

I have seen variations of a paleo chocolate mousse with coconut cream or avocado but i really like the simplicity of this recipe. I might add some coconut cream next time around just to see how it changes it other than extra calories? Your choice of chocolate will also be influence by dairy tolerance and sugar preferences.

A few other of my favorite egg-white recipes better watch out too

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There are a few other recipes out there that I reviewed and mushed together to try my hand converting bean brine to a dessert brimming with antioxidants. Check them out too and then share back how you transformed the #magicbeanbrine.

Interesting article (from PETA no less?) with more aquafab-u-lous-ness. Macarons!!!!

 

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