Thursday, January 19, 2017

cherries & sugar, mushrooms & noodles

This year I am definitely spending lotsa time in the kitchen.

I've already got three recipes I've tried and will continue to tinker with.

I've been making smoothies almost every day, and though I like my smoothie books, sometimes the best smoothie is born out of stuff other people won't eat/drink.  My favorite smoothie of the moment came to fruition (ha ha, there's a pun for you dad) after Robert turned up his nose at some cherry kefir he bought.  

One person's cherry-flavored nightmare is another person's happiness.  

Cherry-Flavored Nightmare Smoothie aka The Kind of Tim Burton/Edgar Allan Poe Nightmare, Not the Pee Your Pants Variety 

(as you can tell I should never be given the power to name things)

* 16 oz cherry kefir
* 1 cup frozen cherries (frozen cherries give smoothies an ice cream/dessert-like texture)
* 2 fresh kiwis (frozen kiwis are like rocks even in a blendtech and the sound of it first thing in the morning will make you pee your pants)
* 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (frozen probably works just as well. I was just trying to get rid of some spinach that I never used for a salad...)

I always put a liquid in the blender first.  After that, it's entirely up to you.  

With Rachel's help, I also made a batch of chocolate chip coconut macaroons.  There's a weird mixup with the amount of coconut the original recipe called for so Robert and Rachel used their mad math skills to fix the recipe (which worked better than my cursing).  The cookies were delicious so apparently they belong to the forgiving family of cookies. 

The pre-math-nerds recipe came from Nosh on This by Lisa Stander-Horel.  Because I'm playing catch-up on my long list of recipes I can honestly say I don't remember reading this book.  I can only guess I was attracted to the cover, which has one of the macaroons on it.

Chocolate Chip Macaroons aka Crunchy Ethereal Patties of Everlasting Bliss

* 3 egg whites
* 2 2/3 cups shredded coconut
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 tsp almond extract
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
2. In a large bowl stir all ingredients except chocolate chips until fully mixed.  Let sit for 3 minutes.
3. Stir again. Add chocolate chips and mix well.
4. Use a 1/3 cup to scoop the stuff and plop onto baking sheet.  After you plop it mash that shit flat. The flatter the cookie the crispier and happier it is.
5.  Bake for 15 minutes. You may like them at this point. I recommend baking until golden brown but you have to watch them like they're your grandparents crossing the street during rush hour. There is a very fine line between brown and your fire alarm going off.  
6. You can make two sheets at a time or rotate them. Up to you. I need time to pace myself while eating them so one sheet at a time works best for me.

Next time I make these cookies I am adding almonds.  I think it will be delicious and also balance out the sweetness.  And while we're talking about sweetness, you should probably have a large glass of water to drink after eating one of these things.  Delicious, yes.  Mega sugary, yes.  

The last recipe I'll share with you is a soba noodle bowl recipe that came from an unknown magazine from who knows how long ago.  Thankfully I have a brand new way of organizing recipes that will make it easier to know the sources and when I found them.  But as I dig through some of my old recipes it's a crap shoot where some of them actually came from.  

This soba noodle bowl recipe was decent.  It needs some work however.  I am definitely adding more veggies next time (celery and cauliflower for sure).  

Soba Noodle Bowl 

6 oz.  4 oz. soba noodles (I used an 8 oz package, which was way way too much, so I'm sure 6 oz. is also too much.  I'd recommend saving some of the noodles for the next batch)
* 8 oz. as much bok choy as your heart desires (I did not buy enough)
* 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (Skip the salt on something else that day. Reduced-sodium chicken broth is crummy)
* 1/4 cup white miso paste (looking for this in a grocery store is like looking for gold at the end of a rainbow)
* 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 cup or more carrots
* 4 oz 8 oz cremini mushrooms
* 6 as many hard-boiled eggs as you can get away with

1.  Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse well.  Drain.
2.  Using the same sauce pan heat broth and water over medium-high heat until simmering.
3.  Whisk in soy sauce and miso paste.
4.  Add carrots, mushroom (and a couple other veggies you think will work) and return to simmering. Reduce heat.  Cook 1-3 minutes until your toughest veggie is as soft as you wish).  
5.  Ladle soup mixture onto noodles.  Add bok choy and egg(s).  
6.  For a kick add a spoonful of chili garlic paste.  

I'm ready to try out the next recipes on my list. Hopefully I have as much luck as I did with these!

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