Strawberry Banana Smoothies

This weekend  over father’s day we decided  to go strawberry picking, I had never been  before  but   you say the word strawberry and I am there. Image

I love strawberries, they are easily my favorite berry.   I never expected to come away with so many strawberries though, it was the perfect day to go, we didn’t have to move very far in the field to  come away with two big crates filled with strawberries. We got  so many strawberries I don’t even know what to do with all of them. 

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I made a strawberry pie,  ate a couple dipped in Nutella and brought them for lunch all week long, good thing I decided to freeze over half over them  I don’t think I would  get sick of them if I had to eat them everyday until they were all gone.  Freezing strawberries, especially these fresh ones  will make delicious summer treats.  One treat we will have to make more of are these delicious Strawberry Banana Smoothies.

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

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makes 4

-2 cups of  frozen strawberries

-1 banana

-1/2 cup of yogurt

-1-2 teaspoons of honey

-1/4 cup or so of milk and/or water to thin it out

Mix in blender or vita-mix and  you have a delicious refreshing summer treat!

 

 

 

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwhich

So  when  I was little I was never a big fan of eggs, I thought they were weird and slimy. I was a big  fan of the sweet breakfasts like french toast, pancakes and waffles,which are just vehicles  for butter and syrup.  It was until a few years ago that  I really started to appreciate the egg, and now I love  them. I am not even picky about how they are cooked, although I am partial to my poached eggs, I also like hard boiled, over easy, scrambled and of course the fried egg. Who doesn’t like a fried egg with all its buttery, creamy goodness. until you  try to cook a fried egg with my fool proof technique  you have never really had a fried egg.

My first tip would be to use the freshest eggs you can find, they make they produce the best shape when frying eggs.

Here is the technique I use for cooking the perfect fried egg:

1. Place a small non-stick frying pan over the lowest possible heat on your stove (if using gas, you should barely see the blue flame)

2. Add the butter and let slowly melt, making sure it doesn’t foam and is not sizzling

3. When all the butter has melted, crack the egg into a small bowl, dish, or saucer

4. Then gently slide the egg off the dish into the frying pan and cover with a lid

5.Continue cooking approximately 5 minutes until the egg white solidifies from transparency into snow-white cream; the yolk will thicken slightly as it heats. How quickly the egg cooks is dependent on how low you have the heat.

6. Do not flip the eggs but leave the egg sunny-side up and natural and salt and pepper taste.

Fried Egg Breakfast Sandwhich

-1 fried egg

– salt and pepper to taste

-1 Bolillo roll, cut in half and toasted

– 1-2 slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

-1-2 slices of tomato

– 2-3 slices of bacon

-slices of avacado (optional)

Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

One of my favorite pieces of reading material for cooking is a magazine called Cook’s Illustrated. This is an excellent magazine for anyone learning how to cook and it even has great flavorful recipes made to perfection from America’s Test Kitchen, suitable for anyone who loves to cook and loves great food. America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission is simple, to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, they test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until they arrive at the combination of ingredients, techniques, temperatures, cooking times, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. Just about anything I have cooked from this magazine has been easily “the best thing I ever ate” material. Not only does this magazine give outstanding recipes, but it also talks about tips for cooking, sometimes history of where a food came from, equipment recommendations, product ratings, and so much more. This is easily my favorite must-have cooking magazine! Thank you Uncle Randy for this wonderful Christmas gift a couple of years ago, it has transformed our kitchen and cooking skills and we can not thank you enough.

One, of my favorite breakfast meals besides eggs is granola. I love granola with a little milk or even sprinkled over some All Natural Brown Cow Yogurt. If you haven’t had Brown Cow yogurt, you are seriously missing out! You can pick some up at your local Whole Foods, it will change your mind about yogurt forever, trust me!

Now I usually get pretty cranky if I run out of granola, because the stuff is expensive from those fill-it-yourself containers at the grocery store. I mean $10 for a little 12 oz bag, seriously, are they trying to rob me blind! I just want some delicious granola! So you can understand my excitement when I saw a granola recipe in my new Cook’s Illustrated magazine issue. It’s like this magazine can read my mind.

So if you have had it with the overpriced (and underwhelming) store-bought stuff, give this recipe a try. Warning, you are in for a treat! 🙂

Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

4 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (DON’T USE QUICK OATS!)

2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarsely ( Use knife and not a food processor, a food processor does a lousy job at chopping whole nuts evenly)

2 cups of raisins or other dried fruit (I used Craisins, because that is what I had on hand)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (I use both for easy clean up)

ImageWhisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil.

ImageChop up nuts with a knife and not a food processor, for a more even pieces.

ImageFold in nuts.

ImageFold in oats until thoroughly coated.

ImageTransfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet pan, into thin even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.

ImageBake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes (rotating pan once halfway through baking). Remove granola from oven and place on cooling rack for about an hour.

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Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit.

Store in air tight container for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

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Asparagus and Leek Quiche

So this year for Easter we had made plans to fit  in time  with all of our family and friends. So we had brunch with Mr. Pea’s mom Easter Sunday. I think I am still recovering from the sugar overload that Easter brought this  year.  We did have some savory things on the table as well and  I thought I would share one of my favorite new recipes that I made for brunch, an asparagus and leek quiche.  This is only  my second time ever making a quiche, and I think it turned out well.  I think it is hard to beat the first quiche  I ever made, quiche lorraine, which is basically just a vehicle for bacon. Let’s just say this quiche was a little healthier than  that, if you can call quiche healthy, hey at least it had veggies in it!

Anyways, I got the recipe from this book called Eggs by Jodi Liano, I got from William Sonoma  one morning a long time ago  when Mr. Pea and I used to go to their Saturday morning cooking demonstrations when we first were learning how to cook.  I have only used a couple of recipes from this book, but the quiche recipes are definitely my favorite. I think that’s because I am a purist when it comes to eggs, whether fried , poached, scrambled or  hard boiled, I like it with just  salt and pepper and maybe a little paprika. Quiche is in a category of its own though,  I don’t consider it eggs it is more of a savory pie, and I think that’s why I like this recipe.

Asparagus and Leek Quiche

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Ingredients:

1 prebaked deep tart or pie shell

1/2 lb. asparagus (tough ends removes and spears cut diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces)

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced)

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 eggs

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Makes 6-8 servings

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the tart or pie shell and pre-bake as directed.

Bring a saucepan of generously salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook, uncovered, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the asparagus, then immediately plunge it intoa bowl of ice water. When cool, drain again and pat the asparagus dry.

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Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Stir in the leek with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, 4-6 minutes.

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In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and cream, Parmesan cheese, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in the asparagus and leek. Pour the mixture into the crust. bake the quiche until golden on top and just barely jiggling in the center, 45-50 minutes.

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Cool the quiche on  rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Hardboiled Eggs

With Bunny Day just around the corner, I have been busy hard boiling eggs for decorating tonight. This is the first time that Mr. Pea’s mom and I will be decorating eggs together and I am so excited!  I feel like a little kid again!  Last October we carved pumpkins together and it was so much fun! Mr. Pea’s mom and I always have a good time together, I’m really lucky  to have such a great mother-in-law! Every year Mr. Pea’s mom gives Mr. Pea and I an Easter basket filled with candy and goodies just like when I was little, it is too cute! So this year I am going to create an Easter basket for her, because she deserves it!

I am so excited to dye eggs tonight,  I have dyed eggs in the past, but it is usually just me doing it by myself  and creating a big mess. In fact, I think there is a yellow stain on our kitchen counter from me dying eggs a couple of years ago that is FINALLY disappearing, thankfully, because Mr. Pea will never let me live that one down!

I have been reading about different egg dying techniques to get prepared for tonight, and one of them I read  said that  you don’t even hard boil  the eggs, you just poke a hole in the egg and blow out the yolk. I never knew people did  this, this  takes all the fun out of it doesn’t it? Who doesn’t like a hard boiled egg?

Anyways, until recently  hard boiling eggs was something I would never do, because I always struggled with getting them cooked properly. I tried  using this egg timer before and I can honestly say I have no use for it anymore, because I am a hard boiling egg master! So I thought I would write a post about how to properly hard boil eggs so they come out perfect every time,  I promise!

First  thing you need to know about hard boiling eggs is that you should use week old eggs, you will thank me in the long run. You want to use week old eggs, because  the fresher eggs the harder they are to peel. So if you want to make the peeling experience easier, try boiling eggs that have been in your fridge for a week or so.

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Next, place eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with cold water. Make sure the tops of the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. How much water will depend on the size of the pot, but in general, a bigger pot is better. Crowding the eggs risks cracking them.

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Bring the water to a full boil, uncovered.

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Remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Let the pot stand untouched for 17 minutes.

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Remove the boiled eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes, I add a couple ice cubes to the water to help it remain chill as you add the hot eggs to the water.

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Dry off and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

OR

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Peel and enjoy! I like mine with a little salt, pepper and paprika 🙂

Enjoy!

***Photos of decorated eggs coming soon 🙂