Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito Recipe

If there is one cocktail that screams summer, it is a mojito. A favorite in our household, these refreshing lime and mint summer drinks are the perfect cocktail for a warm night or the compliment to a summer BBQ. If you grow mint in your garden, you are likely wondering what the heck to do with all of it. Mint will take over. So before you pull it all out like a weed, (because let’s face it, we can only eat so many mint and watermelon salads) make yourself one of these cocktails.

I like to mix up a simple syrup to keep on hand in the refrigerator. One cup of sugar, one cup of water and bowl it down until it turns syrupy. Cool and keep refrigerated. It’s a great addition to any homemade cocktail or juice.

classic mojito

I’m enjoying this drink as I type, so I apologize in advance for any typos.

Classic Mojito
1 small lime, cut into wedges
10-12 mint lives, roughly chopped
1 1/2 oz light rum (like Bacardi)
1/2 TBSP simple syrup
1/4 C club soda
1 C crushed ice

In a tall glass, squeeze limes and toss into bottom of the glass. Add mint. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle mint and lime together to extract mint flavor and lime juice. Add rum, simple syrup, and club soda. Mix together. Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Enjoy some more summer cocktails with these folks around the web on Food Networks Summer Soiree!

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Strawberry-Mint Bellinis
The Lemon Bowl: Raspberry-Ginger Bellini
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: White Peach Sangria
The Heritage Cook: Refreshing Lime Coolers
The Cultural Dish: Pimm’s Cup
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Lime Margaritas with a Sangria Swirl 
Weelicious: Strawberry Lemonade 
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate’s Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Rum Shrub
Taste With The Eyes: Korean Soju Kimbap Bloody Mary
FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)

stef

9 Comments

Filed under Drinks

Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa

Greetings from St. Louis! And no, I am not blogging while on vacation. The rumors are true. I apologize for the lack of posts the past couple of months, but my family and I have been busy packing up and shipping down south to the St. Louis area. My husband is taking on a one-year stint down here, so we are another stop on our ‘tour of the midwest’ marriage. We aren’t sure where life will lead us after this but we are ready to explore all things from the heartland and enjoy some warmer temps while we are at it. I’m not ready to give up my cheese and sausage just yet, but am excited to explore the culinary nuances down here on the Mississippi. While I plan to bring you some local delicacies – toasted ravioli anyone? – today I am focusing on corn.

We are actually living on the Southern Illinois side of St. Louis. While we are still in a heavily populated area, it is the most “rural” place this city girl/suburbanite has ever lived. Many of you small town, farm folks would probably laugh at me if you saw what I was talking about. In any case, today, instead if BBQ Pork Steaks or Gooey Butter Cake, I am bringing you a recipe with fresh corn. Why? Because this is what my backyard looks like.

Corn Field Backyard

No, I didn’t pick this corn from the field, but did buy it local and it is delicious. Taking the time to cut a little corn off the cob is well worth the few extra minutes. This Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa is a great topper for tacos, fish or chicken or is great for dipping or just eating by the spoonful. And with this handy little tip for cutting the corn, life has never been easier.

Cutting Corn on bundt pan

Simply place the ear of corn at the top of a bundt pan and slide downward. The kernels will fall into the pan below, instead of exploding all over your counter!

 

Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa

Roasted Corn off the Cob Salsa
Makes approx. 2 Cups

3 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut off
1/3 C chopped green pepper
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 C chopped avocado
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil. Add corn. Spread evenly, sprinkle with cumin and roast for 8-10 minutes, until corn is a nice golden color. Remove from heat and place in bowl. Mix with green pepper, scallions, avocado and add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Corn Salsa

 

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to bringing you some fresh, new recipes and ideas!

It’s Summer Soiree over at the Food Network! Check out these other great fresh summer corn recipes from friends around the web:

The Lemon Bowl: Corn on the Cob with Lemon Basil
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Honey-Basil Butter
The Heritage Cook: Mexican Elote Corn Casserole (Gluten-Free)
The Cultural Dish: New England Seafood Boil
Dishing With Divya: Corn on the Cob with Roasted Garlic Herb Butter
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Corn with Tomato Basil “Butter” (Vegan)
Devour: 4 Cobs, 4 Ways
Daily*Dishin: Quick Thyme Corn Cobbettes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Farmers Market Salad with Grilled Corn
Red or Green: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Buttery Corn on the Cob
Weelicious: Cheesy Corn on the Cob
Domesticate Me: Charred Corn with Bacon, Chiles and Cheese (aka Mexican Street Corn Salad)
Swing Eats: Corn Pasta with Fresh Summer Corn, Tomatoes and Chives
Taste With The Eyes: Grilled Corn, Soy Mirin Glaze and Wasabi Goat Butter
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Corn and Lemon Thyme Ice Cream + Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: Off-the-Chart Corn on the Cob Recipes

stef

8 Comments

Filed under Appetizers, Budget Friendly, Cook, Healthy, Main Dish, Quick & Easy, Sides

Korean Style Bear Tacos

So I admit that we’ve been pretty bad slackers about posting new recipes lately. I suppose that’s just what happens when you combine summer with jobs, more babies, interstate moves, potty training, the list goes on. But fear not, we’re still alive and cooking (even if we’ve got some standby recipes on repeat) and experimenting with some new things when we can.

This recipe is my most recent experiment with bear meat. Of course, most people don’t have bear hanging out in the fridge and that’s totally fine – beef, pork shoulder or other wild game would work great as well. This one is inspired by this delicious “globally-inspired” taco place by my house and adapted from this recipe. It’s a nice little way to mix up your ho-hum taco night without too much extra effort.

korean-bear

Korean Style Tacos
For the Roast
2-3 lb bear (or beef) roast
1/2 C soy sauce
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 granny smith apple, julienned
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger
1/2 C honey
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
black pepper
3-5 C water

Place roast in a glass baking pan.  Scatter apples and green onions on and around roast in pan. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, garlic, ginger and pepper, then whisk well to combine.  Pour marinade over meat and vegetables. Marinate overnight.

In the morning, transfer roast and marinade to a slow cooker. Add water one cup at a time until the roast is 1/2 to 3/4 covered with liquid. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once meat is tender and falling apart, remove roast from slow cooker and gently shred with two forks.

For the Tacos
small taco size tortillas, warmed
1 C cabbage, shredded or chopped to coleslaw-like sized pieces
1/2-1 granny smith apple, julienned
3/4 C matchstick or julienned carrots
4-5 radishes, julienned
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch kosher salt

1-2 tsp sriracha, to taste
1/2 C mayo

Prepare cabbage, apple, carrots and radishes and combine in a medium bowl. Add cilantro and toss to combine. Whisk together lime juice, oil, cumin and salt and pour over slaw mixture. Toss again to combine. Slaw don’t need to be exact – make your slaw to taste and for the appropriate amount of people you’ll be serving. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together sriracha sauce and mayo, adding sriracha until you reach your preferred heat level.

Assemble tacos by spreading sriracha mayo on each tortilla and topping with meat and slaw. Drizzle with additional sriracha if desired.

korean-bear-tacos

katie

6 Comments

Filed under Healthy, Main Dish, Make Ahead Meal

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Le Creuset Crepe PanMy husband and I recently celebrated our sixth “iron” anniversary and he surprised me with a beautiful Le Creuset crepe pan. I’ve always wanted to delve into the art of crepe making and now I have my chance. I have yet to sink in to the savory – which I do plan to do and share! – but my first test run with making a sweet breakfast or dessert crepe was extraordinary.

Crepes are a really simple batter and easy to make as long as you have a good pan, good utensils and a  good eye for flipping. These are best made to order or keep the crepes warm in an oven warmer while you make the rest.

This mixture of the balsamic vinegar and strawberries is one of my favorites and paired with the creamy sweetness of the mascarpone and whipped cream filling, it tasted just like a small gift from heaven. This will be a great recipe in a few weeks after we pick strawberries!

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes

Balsamic Strawberry Mascarpone Crepes
Makes 5-6 large crepes, or 8-10 small crepes

Batter
1 C milk
1 C AP Flour
2 eggs
6 TBSP water
3 TBSP butter melted, cooled
1/2 tsp salt
butter for crepe pan

Filling
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 C mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 C sliced strawberries
1/3 C balsamic vinegar

For crepe:
Preheat crepe pan on medium high heat.

Add all ingredients and beat with electric mixer or hand blender for 4-5 minutes until smooth.

Add small pat of butter to pan and melt. Pour batter into center of pan, making a circle about half the size of the pan. Using crepe utensil, spread batter in a circular motion and allow to fill toward the edges. Cook crepe for about 2-3 minutes (depends on temperature of pan) and flip when edges become firm. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

For filling:
In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

With a paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream and set aside.

For strawberries:
In a heated saute pan, add strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Cook until vinegar reduces to a syrup consistency and strawberries soften. About 10-15 minutes.

Assemble:
Spoon mascarpone mixture down center of crepe and add strawberries. Roll to fold and add more strawberries and balsamic syrup to the top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

stef

1 Comment

Filed under Breakfast, Cook, Treats

Healthy Mini Muffins for Kids (or Anyone!)

Back in the fall when I was looking for more ways to use up the overload of squash from my CSA, I started baking with it. Using an old recipe of my mom’s for Pumpkin Apple Streusel muffins as a base, I thought I would swap the pumpkin for squash. But why stop there? So I started subbing ingredients to see how I could sneak in more veggies and make the muffins healthier. Some carrots here, some flax seeds there, some raisins for even more texture.

mini-muffins2
Every time I made them my 2 1/2 year old, who can be hit-or-miss on squash and carrots, gobbled them up. This weekend, he told me he wanted to make muffins so I took on the final frontier – reducing the amount of refined sugar. In my first attempt at messing with a staple baking ingredient, I cut the original amount of sugar in half and replaced the other cup with unsweetened applesauce and added an extra 1/2 C of flour to balance out the extra moisture.

Results? Success. The texture was exactly the same as the original version and although the muffins themselves are less sweet, I actually prefer it that way. Plus, it still passed the toddler test of requesting seconds.
mini-muffins3

Fruit & Veggie Packed Mini Muffins
makes 4 1/2 dozen mini muffins
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C applesauce (unsweetened/no sugar added kind)
1 C steamed and pureed winter squash (butternut or acorn work well)
3 C flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 C shredded carrots
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
2/3 C raisins

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, eggs and pureed squash until combined. Beat in sugar and applesauce. Beat in pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and flax seeds. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing well for even texture. Fold in carrots, apples and raisins.

Lightly spray mini muffin baking tin with cooking spray. Spoon batter into baking tin so that each cup is 3/4 or slightly more full of batter. Bake for 12 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

mini-muffins
katie

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Healthy, Kid Friendly

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day from Haute Apple Pie

20140314-084347.jpg

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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Another St. Patty’s day is almost upon us. This is the time of year I attempt Irish cuisine for a meal or two. Then I remember that I’ve been to Ireland, and while I had a few good meals, I feel like the Irish are better suited to beer and whiskey.  I do, however, love one-dish meals and the idea of shepherd’s pie. I prepared a healthy version of the Irish favorite, using sweet potatoes on top instead of your standard mash.

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 4-6

1 lb lean ground beef (you could also use turkey or lamb)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/3 C marsala wine
6 oz tomato paste
1/4 C worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In medium saucepan, boil sweet potatoes until soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain, mash, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In large skillet, brown ground beef. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until vegetables are softened, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add marsala, tomato paste and worchestershire and simmer until sauce thickens. Add pepper and remove from heat.

Place meat mixture in a square or round 8 inch baking dish. Press mashed sweet potatoes over the top of the mixture. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until potato top becomes a bit crusted.

Spoon and serve.

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie dish

If you want to Irish it up a bit more, swap the marsala for some Guinness. Or just drink one while you cook.

Check out these other comforting potato dishes from our friends around the web!

The Heritage Cook: Potato, Bacon, Green Chiles and Cheese Casserole 
Feed Me Phoebe: Bangers and Spinach Mash with Cider Onions
Dishin & Dishes: Sweet and Savory Potato Stacks
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Potato-Chickpea Masala with Cilantro Chutney
Weelicious: Potato Fans
Taste With The Eyes: Truffled Poached Egg, Asparagus and Truffle Vinaigrette, Black Truffle and Potato Stack
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Warm Pan Fried Potatoes and Greens Salad
Red or Green: Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Crispy Oven Fries
The Sensitive Epicure: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Elephants and the Coconut Tress: Indian Spiced Potatoes
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Healthy Bacon Egg Potato Breakfast Casserole  ‎
Virtually Homemade: 
Bacon Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Devour: 
Mashed Potatoes, Reinvented
FN Dish: 
10 Potato Picks (Recipes)

Slainte!

stef

5 Comments

Filed under Cook, Healthy, Main Dish