Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pictures from the past

Having been inspired with a new charger for my camera, and the option to once more take good photos, I decided to post pictures of some of my favorite creations from the past.

Let's start with the beautiful pictures, taken by my brother, of a dinner my family had for my birthday:This was in August, so all of the food was nice and light.

I believe this was my creation, inspired by a healthier Eggs Benedict I had previously made.
My beautiful napkin rolls.

These next pictures are from a brunch I made for my father's birthday one year (taken on my old phone, so the quality isn't the best.)
This was the healthier take on Eggs Benedict. I made sun-dried tomato cream cheese to put on the English muffins instead of Hollandaise sauce.
One of my favorites for breakfast: couscous soaked in a mixture of apple and cranberry juices and cinnamon sticks, then mixed with orange zest, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, with a dollop of greek yogurt, honey, and a mint leaf for garnish.

One of my favorite activities to do with my mother: making and decorating holiday cookies

a Kokopelli cookie

These are cookies I made at a friend's house. I think the icing was vegan.

After moving to Chicago I still kept up the tradition of holiday cookies with my friends (with an art school twist)Hippie cookies after makin' love

I love making birthday cakes for my friends:

A few other creations:
Potato gnocchi

This was the first time I ever made poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce, just this past year!

Some pictures of what inspire me to cook:

The most amazing store ever: Pride's in Kansas City

At a farmer's market in New Orleans (where my brother now lives and cooks) last summer: wonderful people
wonderful produce

wonderful seafood!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sorbets: fresh, natural, and sugar free!

I've done an awful job posting since I started this blog, but I wanted to share some of my creations from this semester. Of course I've chosen to start with something delicious.

Recently I went on a crazy detox diet for a week where I cut out caffeine, sugar, dairy, eggs, soy, red meat, alcohol (that didn't really happen) and gluten. I read about the diet in Natural Health Magazine, and since I was having lots of pain in my stomach region, I decided this might be a good way to try to clear out my system. I also wanted an excuse to do some serious farmers market shopping, so one sunny Saturday morning my friend Zan and I got up way too early and went to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. There I bought strawberries, rhubarb, apple cider, way too much asperagus, zucchini, broccoli, potatos and mushrooms. Probably way too much food for one person, and I ended up taking the leftover zucchini and broccoli with me on my trip to the east coast a week later. I also went to Whole Foods and stocked up on whole grains, nuts, rice cakes, pure peanut butter and natural juices made with antioxident rich fruits, amoung other things. I also picked up a few mangos which were on sale.

Since I do have quite the sweet tooth, and I especially love using my ice cream maker, I had to make some sorbets. I love strawberry rhubarb pie, so I decided that my first sorbet would be in that vien. It was super easy, and the ingredients were very simple: strawberries, rhubarb, agave nectar, lime juice, and water. The sorbet turned out wonderfully light, not too sweet or tart, and just the right amount of crispiness. Next I made mango sorbet, with the same additions of water, agave nectar, and lime juice. This one was much sweeter and creamier, and a perfect compliment to the strawberry rhubarb sorbet. When eating the two together, a bit of mint was the perfect accent flavor.

The recipes:

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet
adapted from this recipe


2 cups rhubarb (about 2-4 stalks)
1 cup strawberries
1/2 lime
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup water


Wash and trim the rhubarb (2-4 stalks) cut into 1/2" pieces you should have about 2 cups.

Add cut rhubarb to a sauce pan with 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil; then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

While the rhubarb is cooling wash and trim the strawberries and juice the lime (although I just used lime juice from a bottle).

Add rhubarb, strawberries and lime juice to a blender blend well. If it's blended well enough you won't have to strain it.

Add agave nectar to taste about 1 cup you could add more for a sweeter taste or lest for more tart taste.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze as directed.

Makes about 1 quart

Mango Sorbet
adapted from this recipe


2 large ripe mangoes, pitted and peeled (see note) to yield about 1 3/4 pounds flesh
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup water
1/2 lime, juiced
A pinch of salt


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and use an immersion blender, normal blender or food processor to purée the mixture until completely smooth.

Place the mango purée in the refrigerator until well chilled, and stir again just before using. Taste, add a little more lime juice if desired, then freeze in ice cream maker as directed.

Makes about 1 quart

*I found this note very helpful:

On pitting and peeling a mango without losing your mind or your thumb: slice through the fruit vertically on either side of its large flat pit using a sharp knife, and running it as close to the pit as you can. Score the flesh of each half in a crisscross pattern all the way to the skin, but without cutting through it. Flip each half inside out, slice off the cubes of flesh, and discard the skin. Use a knife to scrape the remaining flesh from around the pit.