Friday, July 29, 2016

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

This is my new favorite way to cool down and enjoy a sweet treat. Vietnamese coffee is strongly brewed coffee sweetened with condensed milk.


A few weeks ago we got to visit with my brother and his family. They were in the United States for a visit from Vietnam.  We were lucky to be able to spend some time with them and their kids. Miss O is only a month a part in age to one of her cousins.  It was fun to see them interact and play.  

Even though they came half way around the world and trekked with two kids and all of the gear that comes with two kids they kindly brought us some foodie Vietnam finds. I mean what better gift can you think of than chocolate and coffee?  

We have been the recipient of Vietnamese coffee before and man is it good.  Maybe it is because I know it is authentically made from across the world  but it is so much better than the typical run of the mill coffee from the store. Even the good stuff.  Anyway, said coffee is good own its own but for a while now I wanted to try out Vietnamese Iced Coffee.  The concept is pretty simple, add sweetened condensed milk to chilled iced coffee.  I just haven't done it yet. Until last week. It was hot. I was hot and grumpy and tired. 

Well if you are hot, grumpy or tired or all three try out a glass of Vietnamese Iced Coffee. It is sure to turn you bad mood upside down. 

Feel free to use regular coffee, it is still good and worth having.  Many a times now I make quick cup from the Keurig for a single afternoon treat.  A cup of Vietnamese Iced Coffee is cool and refreshing and oh so sweet. 

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: beverage coffee
Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 2 tablespoons dark-roast ground coffee (preferably Trung Nguyen Premium Blend or Café Du Monde Coffee with Chicory)
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
Steep coffee grounds in a heatproof container with 2/3 cup boiling water for 4 minutes. Pour through a coffee filter into a heatproof glass.

Or make coffee through a regular coffee maker.

Cool coffee in refrigerator till cold, about an hour.

Stir in condensed milk until blended. Add ice, stir, and serve.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Greek Salad



I posted about a Greek feast on Monday.  Part of that feast was this Greek salad. Nothing eye opening here but it was a nice way to change up the typical lettuce salad with something different.



The recipe is super simple but packs a big punch of flavors.  The key is the fresh mint and parsley.  Despite the little rain lately our herb garden is going fairly strong.  Add to the herbs a block of feta and olives and you got a great salad. I don't care for the olives, a bit too strong of flavor for me.  Mr. J loves them though so they stayed in the recipe and I picked them out of my serving.  For those of you who don't have a strong preference against olives the recipe doesn't have many to begin with so the olives don't overwhelm the salad. 

This Greek salad is light but filling and a perfect side to many a meal. 



Greek Salad

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: salad Greek
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1 1⁄2" pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1⁄4" pieces
  • 1⁄2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄8 tsp. dried oregano, plus more
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 oz. feta, cut into thick slabs
  • 8 kalamata olives
Instructions
Combine parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and oregano; season with salt and pepper and pour over cucumber mixture. Toss.

Transfer salad to a serving bowl and top with feta and olives. Garnish with more oregano; season with pepper.
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Monday, July 25, 2016

‪Pork Kebabs with Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce #‎thebookclubcookbookCC

Here we are at the final #thebookclubcookbookCC event. Final. Can you believe it??



It's hard to fathom that our year-long journey to explore - and cook from - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp* is drawing to a close. Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. We are so grateful for their generosity over the past year.




For the last month we celebrated with a Greek feast for Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres.  This is a new to me novel. Sadly I still haven't gotten a chance to read it.  It is on my bed stand just waiting for me next trip.  


The synopsis sounds good and I am pretty confident I will enjoy the novel.  It's a love story during WWII but this story takes place on a small Greek Island, not the typical France or Germany. Hence the Greek feast. Corelli and his Italian soldiers occupy the island. Corelli takes up residence with Dr. Iannis and his daughter Pelagia. Although unwelcome Corelli is charming.  The novel starts at the invasion of the island and spans through the effects after war. 

It has been horribly hot and humid around Connecticut.  We don't have A/C so I had the hardest time thinking of a Greek recipe.  Or to be more accurate all of the recipes I wanted to make required oven time and that was not going to happen. Finally I saw this recipe for kebabs. Meant to be made under the broiler but we made the pork kebabs or souvlaki on the grill.  Topped with a yogurt mint sauce these were a delicious dinner.
Want to join in the fun? Read all about this month's book selection from our host and leader Camilla in her invite post.


Here's how to participate in The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew #thebookclubcookbookCC:

1. Draw inspiration from the chosen recipe.
2. Blog about it! It doesn't have to be a lengthy post. Just share your dish.
3. Include a link back to the hosting blog somewhere in your post.
4. Your post must be current to June. Of course,we don't mind if your post is linked to other events. The more, the merrier!
5. Send your entries to Camilla at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com, and please be including:
     ~Your name
     ~Your blog's name and URL
     ~The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you'resubmitting
     ~Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to"pull" one from your post) 
     ~Indicate #thebookclubcookbookCC, especially if you post to other social media

Deadline for submission is: July 29, 2016
*watch for the roundup to be posted shortly after this deadline! 



Pork Kebabs with Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus time to marin
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: grill Greek
Ingredients (serves 4)
    For the Kebabs
    • 2 cups red wine
    • 2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 2 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1 ½" cubes
    • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    For the Yogurt Sauce:
    • 1 cucumber (about 12-oz.)
    • 1 1⁄2 cups yogurt
    • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
    • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • Kosher salt, to taste
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
    • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
    • 4 pita breads, warmed
    Instructions
    Make the pork kebabs:Whisk together the wine, oregano, cumin, salt, thyme, cinnamon, and garlic in a large bowl. Add the cubes of pork and toss well to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to let marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

    Remove the pork from the marinade (reserve marinade), thread the cubes onto 4 metal or wooden skewers, and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. (If using wooden skewers, make sure to cover the ends completely with the pork cubes, to prevent the skewers from burning.)

    Grill the kebabs on medium high heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, 20-25 minutes.

    Make the yogurt sauce: Trim the ends off the cucumber and peel it. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrape out and discard the seeds from each half. Finely chop the cucumber and transfer it to a medium bowl. Stir in the yogurt, mint, oil, and garlic, and season with salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. (The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

    Arrange the skewers on a platter and scatter the scallions and parsley over them. Serve with the yogurt sauce and the pita.
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    Be sure to check out the other bloggers participating as well!


    Giveaway
    This month Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month's host, is giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook!

    TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    *Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give two copies away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

    Friday, July 22, 2016

    Squachos


    I am popping in today to give you a quick and fun recipe.  I saw this in Cooking Light this month and immediately knew I wanted to give it a go.  I am always trying to find ways for Miss O to eat more veggies.  She actually really likes them.  Steamed broccoli is a favorite as is sauted green beans. But those can get boring for the adult people in her life.  She is hit or miss with zucchini.  

    This recipe is for any squash but we used zucchini.  Simply slice and top with cheese and bread crumbs.  Squash Nachos.  Get it...squachos.  I thought it was super cute.  Mr. J not so much. 

    Miss O wasn't as thrilled as I had hoped. She ate one.  I ate the rest and loved every last one. 

    Squachos

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Keywords: bake zucchini
    Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
    • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    Instructions
    Preheat broiler to high.

    Coat a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray.

    Arrange squash in a single layer on pan; sprinkle evenly with cheese and panko.

    Broil 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese melts and squash begins to brown. Remove pan from oven; sprinkle with chives, salt, and pepper.
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    Friday, July 15, 2016

    Rhubarb Almond Cake


    Hello my loves! Time got away from me once again. Summer activities. Work travel. Life.  

    Plus it has been a bazillion degrees lately and super humid.  I have avoid cooking like the plague. 

    Before all of that happened I made this cake.  Have you been a part of the snack cake fad. 

    Snack cake = cake with no frosting 

    I am not the biggest fan of frosting so I am a fan of snack cake. Also, no making frosting and no waiting for the cake to cool is a bonus for me.  Some where deep down I also justify this no frosting cake as healthy. My logic. That is all.


    This almond cake is super rich. You use a whole tube of almond paste. I love almond paste and don't use it nearly enough.  It just smells so good.  I sat in the kitchen sniff it up quite a bit before I put the tube in the batter. 

    Rhubarb also finds its way into the batter making this almond rhubarb cake very summery.  

    So let's recap shall we?

    • No frosting = healthy cake
    • Almond paste = yum
    • Rhubarb = summer

    That's about it for today.  Make this cake it is super delicious and the perfect sweet treat for your next summer dinner party.



    Rhubarb Almond Cake

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 50 minutes
    Keywords: bake almond rhubarb cake
    Ingredients (serves 15)
    • Cooking spray or butter, to grease the pan
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more to coat the pan
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces), at room temperature
    • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
    • 9 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
    • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 pound rhubarb, large dice
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
    Instructions
    Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or a thin layer of butter, then dust with flour and tap out the excess; set aside.

    Whisk the 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

    Place the butter, sugar, and almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until the sugar is mostly incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until thoroughly combined and the mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula.

    Return the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, letting each one incorporate before adding the next, about 2 minutes total. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds more. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle again.

    Add the flour mixture and turn the mixer on to low. Mix until just combined and no visible streaks of flour remain.

    Add the rhubarb and fold in with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle with the almonds.

    Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let sit at least 45 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, if using, before cutting and serving.
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    Monday, July 11, 2016

    Unearthed, a Memoir #sponsored #review #UnearthedParty



    As part of The Book Club Cookbook I was also able to participate in the Unearthed Blog Party. The book, Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden was released to the public this month and to celebrate myself and several other bloggers are reviewing the book and sharing recipes that came from the book, the author or were inspired by the book.

    Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, July 5, 2016) is a memoir about Alexandra finding herself and her family's history through the restoration of a large garden.  The memoir begins with the death of Alexandra's father. She lives in a different city from her family and feels disconnected from her parents who immigrated from Ukraine. They would be considered "old school" and didn't talk much about their past lives in Ukraine.  

    Shortly after her father's passing Alexandra and her husband take on a new home, small and in need of renovations but uniquely situated in the city with a huge garden in the backyard.  An opportunity too good to pass up they take on the challenge of restoring the house and the yard.  As they begin the restorations they continuously find new, unexpected treasures. Alexandra vows to share the experience with her young son and be the mother she felt she never had growing up.  As they go through the process of planning the garden, finding the right contractors and doing the work, Alexandra remembers certain aspects of her childhood.  


    The novel passes over a period of a few years during which her mother, an avid gardener, is forced into assisted living due to dementia and eventually passes away as well.  As Alexandra and her sister pack and consolidate their mother's belongings several relics from the past are found.  Using old photos, and memorabilia Alexandra begins to understand a bit more about her parents past and why they did some of the questionable and seemingly embarrassing acts when Alexandra was growing up. As an adult with a child of her own there is more empathy and appreciation.

    I related to this book in that we bought a house three years ago that needed some renovations. My husband and I had huge plans in terms of fixing up our fixer upper.  We were young and able but didn't always have the time or the money to do everything we needed to do.  We have done a lot to the outside and the inside of the house but still have a long ways to go. Our individual plans do no always coincide. We then through a baby in the mix.  We needed each other. I also gained a whole new appreciation for my parents and everything they did or didn't do for me growing up.




    My favorite part of the book was that each chapter concludes with a recipe including an ingredient found and foraged from the garden. One of the early finds in the garden were maple trees. They were able to collect sap and make small batches of maple syrup from the very beginning of their garden adventure.  Although we do not make our own maple syrup we are lucky enough to have and use homemade maple syrup from Mr. J's family.  

    I highly recommend this book if you are a child, a parent, a gardener, a fixer upper, a creative DIYer, a holistic person or just enjoy a good read. To celebrate the recipe of the book I recreated one of the author's recipes from her blog, The Best Maple Dressing Ever, with a few slight changes. We put it over simple arugula leaves. Quick, easy and delicious.

    The Best Maple Dressing

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Keywords: raw salad maple syrup
    Ingredients (makes 1 cup)
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Instructions
    Put all ingredients into a leak proof container and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 1 minute. Refrigerate.
    Powered by Recipage

    You can find this recipe along with many other of the authors recipes on her blog Foraged Love.

    If you would like a chance to receive a copy of Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, July 5, 2016) please leave a comment telling me your favorite flower or plant. A random winner will be announced at the end of the month.



    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and was given the opportunity to give a copy away to one of my readers.  In return we were requested to read the memoir, give an honest review and create or recreate a recipe inspired by this book.  Please visit the author Alexandra Risen and/or the publishers, Houghton Miflin Harcourt for further information. 

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's social media links:

    Twitter • Facebook • Tumblr • Pinterest • Instagram

    Alexandra Risen


    Instagram @alexandrarisen https://www.instagram.com/alexandrarisen/

    Unearthed, a Memoir #sponsored #review #UnearthedParty



    As part of The Book Club Cookbook I was also able to participate in the Unearthed Blog Party. The book, Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden was released to the public this month and to celebrate myself and several other bloggers are reviewing the book and sharing recipes that came from the book, the author or were inspired by the book.

    Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, July 5, 2016) is a memoir about Alexandra finding herself and her family's history through the restoration of a large garden.  The memoir begins with the death of Alexandra's father. She lives in a different city from her family and feels disconnected from her parents who immigrated from Ukraine. They would be considered "old school" and didn't talk much about their past lives in Ukraine.  

    Shortly after her father's passing Alexandra and her husband take on a new home, small and in need of renovations but uniquely situated in the city with a huge garden in the backyard.  An opportunity too good to pass up they take on the challenge of restoring the house and the yard.  As they begin the restorations they continuously find new, unexpected treasures. Alexandra vows to share the experience with her young son and be the mother she felt she never had growing up.  As they go through the process of planning the garden, finding the right contractors and doing the work, Alexandra remembers certain aspects of her childhood.  


    The novel passes over a period of a few years during which her mother, an avid gardener, is forced into assisted living due to dementia and eventually passes away as well.  As Alexandra and her sister pack and consolidate their mother's belongings several relics from the past are found.  Using old photos, and memorabilia Alexandra begins to understand a bit more about her parents past and why they did some of the questionable and seemingly embarrassing acts when Alexandra was growing up. As an adult with a child of her own there is more empathy and appreciation.

    I related to this book in that we bought a house three years ago that needed some renovations. My husband and I had huge plans in terms of fixing up our fixer upper.  We were young and able but didn't always have the time or the money to do everything we needed to do.  We have done a lot to the outside and the inside of the house but still have a long ways to go. Our individual plans do no always coincide. We then through a baby in the mix.  We needed each other. I also gained a whole new appreciation for my parents and everything they did or didn't do for me growing up.



    My favorite part of the book was that each chapter concludes with a recipe including an ingredient found and foraged from the garden. One of the early finds in the garden were maple trees. They were able to collect sap and make small batches of maple syrup from the very beginning of their garden adventure.  Although we do not make our own maple syrup we are lucky enough to have and use homemade maple syrup from Mr. J's family.  

    I highly recommend this book if you are a child, a parent, a gardener, a fixer upper, a creative DIYer, a holistic person or just enjoy a good read. To celebrate the recipe of the book I recreated one of the author's recipes from her blog, The Best Maple Dressing Ever, with a few slight changes. We put it over simple arugula leaves. Quick, easy and delicious.

    The Best Maple Dressing

    by Emily Morris
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Keywords: raw salad maple syrup
    Ingredients (makes 1 cup)
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Instructions
    Put all ingredients into a leak proof container and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 1 minute. Refrigerate.
    Powered by Recipage

    You can find this recipe along with many other of the authors recipes on her blog Foraged Love.

    If you would like a chance to receive a copy of Unearthed : Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen (Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, July 5, 2016) please leave a comment telling me your favorite flower or plant. A random winner will be announced at the end of the month.



    Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and was given the opportunity to give a copy away to one of my readers.  In return we were requested to read the memoir, give an honest review and create or recreate a recipe inspired by this book.  Please visit the author Alexandra Risen and/or the publishers, Houghton Miflin Harcourt for further information. 

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's social media links:

    Twitter • Facebook • Tumblr • Pinterest • Instagram

    Alexandra Risen


    Instagram @alexandrarisen https://www.instagram.com/alexandrarisen/

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