I love these Summer months and the garden bounty that comes with them! Suddenly, my crisper drawer is filled with fruits and vegetables that not just taste juicy and succulent, but even smell heavenly. It's like we go 8 months eating generic tomatoes - tasteless, styrofoam versions of the real thing, and suddenly without even noting it, we're cutting up fragrant, fleshy, juicy summer tomatoes! Same with the berries! Whiter-than-they-should-be strawberries that taste pretty much like an extremely watered-down batch of the real thing... But nothing really makes my palate sing quite like summer figs! Green figs, to be exact. This colorful little gems are by far one of my favorite fruits, and I've been pounding suthem all season long. Hudi's been loving them as well, and usually has one or two with breakfast or lunch. And both my girls even chowed down on fig and feta pizza last week! What I'm saying is, go out and get yourself some green figs if you haven't yet this season - they're too good to miss out on! Farmers Market, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes all carry organic, locally grown, giant, gooey ones. They're impossibly delicious with sliced Havarti, or a smudge of Camembert. They will only be available for another month or two so get 'em while you can!!
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Floral ice cubes have been popping up all over Pinterest, and would make the most charming and whimsical touch to a Shavuot spread! You can fill an industrial beer bucket with these little beauties before dunking in the Fat Ties and Blue Moons, or simply plunk a few into each guests glass of sparkling wine, or even make them with fresh sage instead of flowers and use them in your Blackberry Sage Cooler. Yum! :)
P.S. You can pick up a pack of "edible flowers" at Whole Foods with the fresh herbs.
Also, a little tip on how to make clearer ice cubes.
Photo credits to Kasia Sykus.
Yesterday I got 3 different texts from 3 different friends asking for a quiche recipe. Shavuot menus are in full gear! My mom has been making this crustless spinach and cheese quiche for as long as I can remember. It always seemed to pop up on the dining room table whenever celebratory meals were thrown together, and a slice of it always found its way to everyones plate - even the kids! My siblings and I dubbed it "Popeye Pie". Yes, we were that oldschool. :) It's low-fat, low-carb, and ridiculously easy to conjure!
Spinach + Muenster Quiche
- 2 cups Frozen Spinach (defrosted and drained)
- 1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil
- 16 oz. Sliced Muenster Cheese (shredded would work fine too)
- 5 Eggs
- 1/2 cup of Flour
- 1 lb. Cottage Cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
Whisk eggs, break up the sliced cheese, and combine all the ingredients together in one bowl. Pour into an lightly greased quiche plate (I use this basic one for so many things!) and bake on 350° for 1 hour. That's all. Enjoy!
I've been looking for some new additive-free snack ideas, some munchies that both the adults and the kids could enjoy, and these yogurt covered cranberries (via the kitchn) are at the top of my list for new things to try. Thought I'd share the recipe here, especially since it's been breaking news that cholov yisroel Greek Yogurt has finally made it onto the market (thanks for the tip-off Jana!)!!
Yogurt Covered Cranberries
1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon gelatin 1/4 cup Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon honey Pinch salt 2 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting cranberries 8 ounces (about 3 cups) dried cranberries
Combine the water and vanilla in a small dish or ramekin. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and whisk with a fork until the gelatin is evenly distributed in the liquid. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until needed. It will set into a thick paste.
In another small dish or ramekin, whisk together the yogurt, honey, and salt. Microwave on HIGH in 5 second bursts, stirring in between each burst, until the yogurt is liquidy and very warm to the touch. Don't let it start to boil or the yogurt will curdle.
Whisk the gelatin into the warm yogurt mixture. Whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Scrape the yogurt mixture into a small mixing bowl. Pour the powdered sugar on top. Whisk gently until the yogurt and powdered sugar combine into a thick, but pourable, frosting (see image above).
In a separate bowl, toss the cranberries with a tablespoon of powdered sugar until they are completely dusted. Pour about half of the yogurt coating over the cranberries. Stir until the cranberries are completely coated and you can see no more dry powdered sugar.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper or silpat. Drop the coated cranberries in clumps onto the baking sheet, separating them as much as you like with your fingers. They will be very sticky. Let the cranberries sit, uncovered, until dry to the touch, about 30-45 minutes.
Transfer the cranberries back into a mixing bowl and toss with the remaining yogurt coating to give them a second, thicker coat. Drop them back onto the lined baking sheet. When the tops are dry to the touch, move the cranberries around to make sure the undersides also have a chance to dry. (If you have a cooling rack with a small enough grating, you can scatter the cranberries on top for quicker and more even drying.) In total, the cranberries will take at least 6 hours or overnight to dry.
Store yogurt-covered cranberries in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for several weeks.
Last month we celebrated Freida's 4th birthday. Since she was in school this year, we opted out of hosting a big birthday party in leu of going into the classroom with some cupcakes and celebrating with her friends. But of course, we couldn't forfeit the right to celebrate her on her actual birthday (which fell out on Thanksgiving day i.e. no school), and so we held an little impromptu birthday breakfast on the morning of her special day.
Luckily for us the timing was right, and we just so happened to be graced with the presence of some extra family members who were staying with us at the time. My sister Rivkee was visiting from NYC for the week, and Freida's intense infatuation with this hipster aunt of hers made it a party all its own! Rivkee lived in LA last year, and Freida had become really close with her, climbing into her bed in the morning for snuggles before even coming into my room, trying to emulate every aspect of her beauty routine - hair ironing with a play-kitchen tongs, applying makeup with a water-color paintbrush, soliciting us to buy her more "golden jewelry like Rivkee" etc., and even wanting to call her up in NY to tell her about something special that happened in her little day. So having Rivkee here in town was a huge birthday gift for her alone. Also, her cousins (girls!!!) from San Diego were in town for the weekend off and had stayed with us that night, making 6am the most exciting pajama-clad start to birthday day ever!!
(Hudi had been sick with a teething-cold and I had been up the previous night non-stop, so when I crashed at 9:30pm on Wednesday night, I was shocked and stoked to wake up to a perfectly pinkalicious decorated breakfast nook complete with all the old-school birthday bling - streamers, balloons, and even party blowers! :) Thanks so much Rivkee & Amira!! Best aunties ever!)
With some help from Pinterest, I whipped up a batch of birthday pancakes! These funfetti flapjacks beat cupcakes butt! Super fun and super festive, but still passable as breakfast food. Plus, they definitely conjured up the same level of pint-size excitement. Freida was loving the concept, and I was getting teary-eyes lighting the little candles - I just can't believe my sweet little girl who made me a mama is 4!!!
As you can see, Hudi was slightly jealous and just a smidge weirded out by the early morning festivities. :)
But once she tried a a pancake, all was well with the world again...
I'm so in awe of this little girl - she is constantly teaching me about life, people, and the nature around me. She tunes me in to all the little details of life that adults often miss out on... She shows me how important honestly is, and I realize that children are the only truly honest creatures around. She shows me the world through her 4-year-old eyes - and if I blink, I will miss something - it's the most beautiful, wonderful way to look at the world, and I'm so grateful to be given the privilege of raising this smart, confident, thoughtful, kind, and imaginative little girl! She brings a brightness to my every day, and fills my years with love, laughter, and tears of joy. I love you Freida! Thanks for being you!!
Suffice it to say Hudi had a fun introduction to food coloring. She sure loved those sprinkles!
Of course, no birthday breakfast in complete without some wrapping-paper-ripping.. I love this photo of Ahuva showing her all the wonderful features of her birthday gift!! How sweet??
And the excitement on that girls face!!
Naturally, she crashed. :)
Happiest Birthday wishes sweet child! Wishing you heaps and heaps of growth and happiness in your 4th year!