Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

In my last post, I mentioned one of my food goals was to find an easy and delicious smoothie recipe. My thanks goes out to those who commented with recommendations.

The first one I tried was recommended by Marli, a friend of mine who is working in film and production. It is a great way to use up bananas before they go bad.

Ingredients (makes two 12-oz. smoothies)
  • 1 banana (riper is better)
  • 3 big spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 ice cubes
  1. Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Be sure all ice cubes have been chopped.
I used a banana whose skin was almost completely covered by brown spots, indicating its sweetness. This made it easier to taste the banana flavor in the smoothie, instead of being overpowered by peanut butter.  (Thanks again, Marli, for the recommendation!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 Food Goals

(image by danielflower)
Food Goal #1 - Make Julia Child's Beef Bourgignon
I'm sure many of you have seen the movie Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. One of the challenges Julie faces while attempting to make every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is beef bourgignon. I'm not a big fan of beef but it seems like a fun challenge, especially after watching what happened in the movie!

Food Goal #2 - Make Borscht
It's one of those things I've always wanted to try, and as of this week I can check this off my list! I'm not a fan of cold soups so I served it hot, and actually really enjoyed it. Recipe to come soon.

Food Goal #3 - Find an easy and delicious smoothie recipe
I love the idea of smoothies - fresh fruit, yogurt, maybe some honey or ice - but have yet to find a recipe that feels easy. Part of it is that I'd like to use ingredients I normally keep around. No weird protein powders for me. Perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough?
Food Goal #4 - Make my own yogurt
My friend Jen posted a recipe for homemade yogurt back in January and I have been waiting for some time to really try it out. I think August will be that time!

Food Goal #5 - Find local sources for beef, chicken, eggs, and cheese
After seeing the documentary Food, Inc. and reading books like Animal, Vegetable Miracle (by Barbara Kingsolver) and Eating Animals (by Jonathan Safran Foer), I've been a lot more conscious about many of the ingredients I purchase for meals. Barbara Kingsolver's book was her record of their family's challenge to eat only locally produced foods for one year. For them, this included growing their own vegetables, raising their own turkeys, learning to make their own fresh mozzarella, or purchasing foods from sources within 100 miles. 

Beef and chicken - still working on these. Any suggestions?
Eggs - currently purchasing them from the local Mennonite farm stand on Route 7 in Bainbridge, NY. Not sure where I'll go when they close for the winter season.
Cheese - I believe the Masonville General Store in Masonville, NY carries cheeses made local to the area. I know for sure they carry locally made yogurt and fresh local vegetables. I will report back on my findings.

A great general source for locating products local to you is Local Harvest. Additionally, Kingsolver's site provides recipes for eating produce at its freshest - when they are in season.

What are some of your food goals or interests this year?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peach Mango Crostini

The other day, Dan the Man and I headed to the store for inspiration. We decided to purchase whatever produce looked good to us and would figure out something to make with it.

The result: a snack dinner involving fresh fruit and cheese. It was too hot to eat a heavy meal so I was pleased with the outcome: a cute topping (each ingredient was chopped into small cubes) and a bright taste that I really enjoyed as a summer snack.

You can refer back to my post on Brie, Pear, and Brown Sugar Crostini for a clarification on bruschetta vs. crostini if you'd like a refresher on your Italian vocabulary.

Any fresh bread will work for this. My favorite for crostini is baguette, but good French bread will do (that's what you see in the picture), as will the wider Italian bread in a pinch.

  • 1 peach, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 mango, chopped into small piece
  • 5-7 fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (fresh basil would also work)
  • 8 oz. ball of fresh mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
  • loaf of baguette, French, or Italian bread, sliced into desired size pieces

  1. Mix peach, mango, mint, and mozzarella in a bowl. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  2. Spoon onto bread slices.
  3. Optional: Place crostini on cookie sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes, just enough for mozzarella to melt.

The peach flavor stood out more than the mango did; you could add another mango if you wanted it to be the dominant flavor. I would also recommend cutting each bread slice in half if you want the crostini to literally be bite-sized, which would make them a little neater to eat.

We ate this primarily as is (fresh), but also tried a few warmed and the mozzarella was delicious. The heat also made the peach flavor sweeter. I'd definitely recommend these warmed!