Strawberry Dream Biscuit

Scrumptious Strawberry Morning Dream Biscuits

Ever wake up with just one thing on your mind?

(!)

It was like that with me one morning.

I had an urge for fresh coffee and a pastry of some sort. I didn’t feel like going to the store so I looked at Joy of Cooking and saw a recipe for Cream Biscuits. I had just purchased a large container of strawberries and while I was eyeballing them in the open fridge — a thought popped into my mind. What if I combined them?

Here’s the original recipe from Joy of Cooking:

Cream Biscuits or Shortcakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream

Mix/knead/shape into biscuits.

Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes

What did I do to change it up?

I followed the basic recipe but I added a teaspoon of vanilla. (Actually, vanilla bean paste. It is thick and smells awesome and leaves little vanilla bean speckles in whatever you make. The taste is simply divine!)  Then, about 1/3 cup white sugar to the mix. I splashed in a little extra cream while mixing the dough so that I could work more easily to shape the biscuits. I cut them in half, horizontally and snuck in a layer of sugared strawberries. I painted the top of the biscuits with a little egg white and sprinkled on a tiny bit of sugar. Finally, I baked them!

The family woke up just as I was pulling them out of the oven. Devoured them in 10 minutes, flat — each and every one. I’d say they were a hit. ūüôā

Sliced and sugared, ready to use.

Sliced and sugared, they macerate in their own juices.

Assembling the pastries

Split the biscuits and add a layer of sugared strawberries.

Baking

Bake until golden at 450 (about 12-15 minutes!)

Triple Treat Rice Salad

Rice Salad Redux: Triple Treat

OK, OK, I know, we talked about rice salad two months ago! But summer is the time of year where you don’t want to spend time slaving in a hot kitchen. You want to make things that can last a few days as leftovers — that you can eat on a whim.

As you know, I rarely make the same exact recipe. I vary everything depending on my mood and my desire to get in the car and supplement the ingredients I have on hand. Lazy, I know, but practical.

Well, I riffed again and this one was pretty yummy and oh, so summery that I had to share more details. I think I’ll call this one “Triple Treat.” Why? Well, there are 3 kinds of grains in this one. (And you know, if I write it down, I’ll remember that I didn’t add garlic this time and it’s still awesome!!!) Anywho…

The grains:

  • white basmati rice (about 3 cups cooked)
  • wild rice (one cup dry, about 2 cups cooked)
  • rainbow quinoa (one cup dry about 3 cups cooked)

All good rice salads start with cooked, cooled rice. I make the rice in my rice cooker (the best investment I have made over the years — I get perfect rice all the time.) ¬†When everything stops steaming you put it in a big bowl. Then you add the eye candy. I added:

  • two big bright orange carrots chopped into tiny pieces
  • a head of celery chopped into tiny pieces
  • one half a big sweet onion chopped (tiny!)
  • a cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • a big handful of fresh chives from my garden, cut into tiny pieces with my scissors

Then the sweet stuff:

  • about 1/2 cup of raisins
  • about 1/2 cup of dried plums (tiny pieces — you can find them near the dried plums in a small canister)

Nuts:

  • about 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • about 1 cup of chopped walnuts

Then the dressing!

This time, I wanted a sweeter taste. So, I did this to my taste, and this is where you really have to taste and adjust as you like:

  • 3/4 walnut oil
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • few shakes of peach flavored vinegar (probably 4 tablespoons?)
  • salt (teaspoon?)
  • sugar – 1/4 cup (?)
  • squeeze of lime

I mixed the dressing up and kept adding a little salt and sugar until I got the taste I was looking for. A real mix of sweet and salty. I poured my concoction  over all the other ingredients that I had assembled in a large bowl and gently mixed it through the rice.

Rice salad usually tastes better the second day you have it. Why? The flavors meld together, the dressing gets absorbed into the grains and you can then season again with a little more salt & fresh pepper when you serve it.

Try this and let me know how you like it! It’s filling, the quinoa has protein in it and the melange of flavors will have people begging for more!

Is there some Hummus Among Us?

Hummus Ingredients

Simple ingredients. Use the best quality EVOO you can get your hands on, unfiltered gives a nice sweet boost of flavor.

Did you see the news about the hummus recall?   Read the article if you buy yours from Trader Joes!

There’s always a chance of food getting contaminated in these large plants. It’s a fact of life and something we deal with for convenience. ¬†Thinking about it, it’s amazing that more of us don’t get sick more often. I for one, love the Sabra brand of hummus. We buy it often. But sometimes I’m not in the mood to head to the grocery store so I simply grab a few cans of chickpeas and whip up my own.

The basic recipes from around the web call for:

  • chickpeas in water (small cans)
  • garlic cloves
  • fresh lemon
  • tahini (sesame butter)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

You’ll notice that I didn’t use any measurements. Why? Well, you don’t need them to make good hummus. I think it’s all about how it tastes to you, not to someone else.

I start with  TWO cans of chickpeas because I like to make it once and eat it for a few days. The rest? All negotiable.

Lemon and tahini

Squeeze fresh lemon right into the blender on top of the tahini…

I take about 1/2 cup of tahini, dashes of salt and pepper and a tablespoon or two of high quality olive oil and put that into my Blendtec. Then I squeeze in fresh lemon juice. You can use 1/2 a lemon, a full lemon — whatever you have. The key though is to use the fresh stuff. It just tastes better IMHO. Add some of the water from the cans of chickpeas to make the blades move.

Then pulse it up so that is nice and creamy. Taste. Add a little more salt, some onion powder if you wish, whatever. Then add a few peeled garlic cloves and some chickpeas.  I add about 1/2 of the can at a time along with the water and pulse. Keep adding chickpeas and squirting in lemon and adding salt & pepper until it resembles a creamy dip and  tastes good to you.

I have read that adding the chickpeas last is the key to creaminess. I would add that using the water the chickpeas came in helps, too. But I like my hummus creamy — you may like yours a bit more chunky.

Now — to riff on this, try adding:

  • cooked & shelled edamame beans
  • cooked great northern beans
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • roasted tomatos
  • toasted pine nuts
  • kale
  • roasted onions
  • roasted red peppers
  • roasted garlic clIMG_4260oves

I think you could put just about anything you like into your hummus. The key for me? Get the base right — tasting good — not too garlicky (is that possible?) not too lemony, just right.

The best part of course, is eating it. ¬†I love schmearing it on bagel chips, toasted naan or pitas, ¬†or forgoing the wheat and scooping it up with cut up red peppers, cucumbers, carrots and celery sticks. I have seen that some people make egg salad with their hummus and I have had it mixed into pasta — seriously, not bad at all!

Girlfriends claim it is a miracle food because it is high protein, filling, and low-calorie. ¬†I think it’s easy and delicious. What’s not to love?

Dang, I’m making myself hungry.

 

 

It’s a “Magic Rice Salad” (think Chris Martin ate it before writing his song!…ERM…!)

rice salad

Beyond delicious mix of rice, quinoa, nuts, fruit…cook today, eat all week.

Looking for a side dish to wow them at your next picnic? Something you can make today and eat all week? When I hear “Mom, can you make your rice salad again?” I know I have a good thing going.

Get a nice big bowl — so that you can put in all your ingredients and toss them around.

Cook up and cool to room temperature 1 cup of rainbow quinoa (“keen wah”) Ratio: 1 cup of dried quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes and shut it off until the water is absorbed. Or, you can do it in your microwave. 5 minutes on high and 15 on medium power. Done.

Cook 2 cups of jasmine rice – which expands to about 4 cooked — and let it come to room temperature. (I have a rice cooker — best investment I ever made.)

While they are cooking — finely chop 3-4 carrots, 3-4 celery stalks — I use The Pampered Chef food chopper to get tiny pieces — so you wind up with about 1 cup chopped of each.

Add a cup of each of the following to a bowl:

– dried cranberries
– golden raisins
– chopped walnuts

Put it all in a the big bowl.

In a separate bowl mix up a vinaigrette of your choice. I used a black cherry balsamic vinegar (about 1/3 cup), a little maple syrup (3 tablespoons?) and 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch or three of salt. Mix it up ‘good’.

Pour the vinaigrette over the rice/quinoa/veggie/dried fruit/nut mix. Carefully toss to coat everything. Taste. Season as you wish with more salt or make more vinaigrette.

As good as this is the first day, if you let it sit overnight in the fridge, it’s even better the next day!!!

BTW…

The other one people seem to like is my riff on the basic Fiesta Salad.
The basic recipe calls for  white rice, can of black beans (rinsed), corn, red onions, chopped peppers (red, orange, yellow.) Cook/chop, mix in a bowl. Eat.
Me? I added shrimp and chicken sausage (lime chipotle) and tossed it with a lime based vinaigrette and top it off with shredded cilantro. (I use my Pampered Chef salad scissors to cut those leaves up in a jiffy.)
BTW, I call this “magic” salad because just about everyone I know “magically” likes this and asks for the recipe. So there it is! ¬†If you make this, tell me how you “riffed” on it yourself.