If you are up for a novelty drink this summer, let me introduce you to Pimm’s, the “other” national drink of England which I’ve been enjoying during my recent stay in London. It brings back lovely memories of my life here, sitting along the Thames, sipping Pimm’s and being carelessly young and happy! Put aside any soccer rivalry and reach across the pond for a bottle of Pimm’s. You won’t regret it. Come and cook with us! Continue reading
As most of you know, we love camping. The fresh air, being close to nature and the experience of a simpler life is what makes it so special. And if that were not enough, if your camping site is overlooking the ocean, you’re lulled to sleep by the rolling waves of the Pacific. What’s there not to love. When it comes to cooking, however, we have decidedly moved up away from the simple and tried our luck with the slightly more sophisticated. Our latest menu involved a whole fish, a breakfast burritos, soft-shell crabs and an inspiring cast-iron mixed berry cobbler! The first time we made it, three of us finished it in one go, which was probably a mistake, but I’m sure it will be back for more appearances soon! Come and cook with us!
It isn’t necessary to be camping to make this delicious dessert, but it adds to the thrill of baking it over the hot embers of an open fire pit. What we like about it the most is that it is very easy to prepare ahead and pretty much fool-proof. In fact, I wondered what took me so long to try it. The advantage of baking it in your oven is that you can serve it with ice cream, which we weren’t able to do while sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Give this mixed berry cobbler a try. And stay tuned for more camping-inspired new dishes soon. My dear camping partner and fellow mom has suggested we roast individual quails and eat them cave-(wo)men-style. Can’t wait to tell you how it all pans out. In the meantime, get a fire going and make this cobbler! Come and cook with us!
Did you know that we throw away a lot of food? According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N., approximately 40% of food in the US goes to waste. Most of it ends up on landfills, costing us roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of (2008 EPA estimate). Considering that it takes seven to ten calories worth of energy input to produce one calorie of food, we’re throwing away so much more than food. And no, composting all this food isn’t the solution. Let’s try to reduce the amount of food waste we generate. Food ends up in the trash because it is spoiled, wilted, dented, past it’s Best By date, abundant or just not appealing. It’s this last part I will zero in on this week. A new food trend – Food Upcycling – is focusing on helping us to be more conscientious about what ends up not being used. As the name suggests, Upcycling is here to help us get more from what we buy. This week we share a few of the ideas on what you can do to turn those food scraps into something that is good for the earth, the wallet and, of course, the palate. Come and cook with us!
A start to making the most of your food is by eating left-overs. In fact, some dishes taste remarkably better the next day. This certainly applies to stews, sauces and casseroles, but also to left-over pasta that can re-incarnate into something even more delicious as flavors get the chance to meld together. Other ideas include reaching for that less-than-perfect looking fruit or vegetable as they will otherwise be scrapped in the grocery store. Or be more pro-active in mining the fridge and using the freezer. For more great ideas, check out this guide from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Repurposing what’s left on the cutting board is not as intuitive so let’s give some practical examples of what we mean with Upcycling:
Milk: Make Indian Rice Pudding if you have a lot of milk that is approaching its due date. Slightly spoiled milk – sour, not rancid – can be used for baking or to make paneer, a milk fresh cheese used in Indian cooking.
Vegetable Scraps: Carrot peels, onion skins and celery leaves can be boiled down to make a vegetable broth used for soups, risotti or as a warm drink. Adding these scraps to meat and poultry bones when making stock also adds to the nutritional profile of the stock.
Broccoli Stalks: Unless you buy the florets alone, broccoli usually come with thick fleshy stems. Well, don’t throw them away. Either peel them, slice them and cook them up along with the florets, or try to shave them into a salad, cut them julienne-style into a slow or use them for stir-fries.
Greens: The red leaves and green stalks of beets are just as edible as the root and can be sautéed along with their more bitter cousins collard and turnip greens. On its own they are nutritional powerhouses high in calcium and vitamin A and C and should certainly not end up on the compost pile.
Apple Waste: Peels and cores can be boiled down with sugar, cinnamon and water to make a fragrant simple syrup poured over deserts or fruit compotes. There is a lot of pectin in these apple scraps that can be used as a liquid for making jams.
Almond Pulp: If you’re into making your own almond milk – and we’ll write about it in the fall, there are creative ways to use the pulp that is left-over after straining. It can be used to make all kinds of delicious dishes such as this cinnamon and peanut butter almond pulp crackers/cereal by Edible Perspective.
So in the spirit of reduce, reuse and upcycle, try to implement one of our suggestions this week. Let us know what you tried, how you liked it and if you have more suggestions for our readers. Come and cook with us!
Do you know what gives American mustard its yellow color? It’s turmeric, a culinary spice that has been used, particularly in Indian and Ayurvedic medicine, for a very long time. In fact, an Ayurvedic compendium dating to 250 B.C recommends turmeric as a remedy to stimulate digestion. Two millennia plus later we have a strong body of research that shows that this root is probably the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent discovered so far. Let’s have some more turmeric in our lives. Come and cook with us!
Turmeric is a bright-orange colored root that is closely related to ginger. It can be used freshly grated, but we see it most often in the spice section. Turmeric is packed with more than two-dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin has an earthy, slightly bitter taste, a mustardy smell and is known for its potential to treat an array of diseases due to its wide range of biological effects such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti tumor, antibacterial and antiviral activities. And if all this weren’t enough, turmeric has shown to fight depression, too.
The easiest way to use turmeric is to add the dried ground root to curries and stir-fries. It can also be turned into a tea that is very common in other parts of the world. While the ground version is clearly more convenient to use, it’s worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor. It’s worth to note that adding a sprinkle of freshly-ground pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric. And while I’m no fan of supplements instead of eating the real thing, a turmeric supplement can be a great option although whole turmeric is more effective than isolated cur cumin for inflammatory disorders. And, golden turmeric tea tastes of so delicious! Come and cook with us!
Happy Independence Day from all of us to all of you. May this day be filled with laughter, joy and, of course, good food! Whether you are planning a vacation or a staycation, remember that good food does not have to be fancy, sophisticated or expensive. It can be simple, unpretentious and definitely tastes best when one is eating with friends. If you get stuck, know that we’re here to help so browse through our pages on the blog, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to get some ideas. You might just find the inspiration that you need!