Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally Spring :: Fresh Beet Carpaccio

I have been quite a lazy cook lately!  A. has been away for work for the last couple of weeks, so I have been on our own.  I have stayed up way past a reasonable bedtime (and been so sleepy the next day!), watched more girly movies than I care to admit, and lived on a dinner diet of granola bars, pasta with spinach, and plenty of eggos.  I really had forgotten how lazy I become when I'm cooking for myself! 

But  A. is finally back home, yay!  And I was excited to get back to the kitchen this weekend.  I tried lots of new recipes, but this was our favorite: a delicious beet carpaccio!  Fresh beets, drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice, and topped with pistachios.  The thinly sliced raw beets are deliciously crispy and refreshing.  It's a delicious alternative to the usual roasted beet salad, and just feels like spring!

So simple and easy... I probably should have been eating this last week! :-)


2 large beets, washed and peeled
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Squeeze of Lemon
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled

Time to bust out the mandolin!  Set your mandolin on the thinnest setting, and slice the beets.  You want the slices to be almost paper-thin.  Place the beet slices in a bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil (about a tablespoon), a sprinkle of kosher salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Let the beets sit for a few minutes. 

Separately, chop the peeled pistachio nuts.

To plate, place the beet slices on a plate, drizzle with the leftover oil and lemon juice from the bowl, and top with the chopped pistachios.   You can add crumbled goat cheese to make this a main meal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Healthy Baking :: Cranberry-Orange Granola Bars

I'm very excited (...and honored!) to have been invited by the fabulous Jenny over at Have Your Cake to write a guest post recipe! I love her fun, useful, and inspirational views on healthy living. ...Believe me, I have drastically cut down my butter intake since I've been following her daily tips!

So, I decided to make a batch of one of my favorite homemade, healthy goodies: granola bars! Sweet oats, with toasted almonds, and the tartness of cranberries and orange zest, all in a little bar. Perfect! ... especially with a bit a greek yogurt!

Not only are these healthier than the store-bought (...I'm assuming corn syrup isn't in your pantry), but they are easy to make (think: rice krispie treats), and there are so many flavor possibilities. Try dates, cherries, apricots, or even chocolate chips! Wrap the cut bars in wax paper or store in an airtight container, they will keep in the fridge for up to a month. You can even make two flavors at once by doubling the recipe and baking the two flavors side by side in a larger baking pan.

Oh, and if you are still scared of attempting granola bars, believe me, I was for quite some time, thinking the bars would just fall apart when I tried to cut them, but just remember that the worse that could happen is you end up with a bag of small granola bar chunks... which will still be delicious.


CRANBERRY-ORANGE ALMOND GRANOLA BARS (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cups honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a bit for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries
zest of one large orange

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x9 baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut and on a sheet pan cook for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer it to a large bowl and add the wheat germ.

In a saucepan, over medium heat bring the butter, honey, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Cook while stirring for another minute. Then add the liquid to to the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the cranberries and orange zest and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan, and lightly pat down with your hands (it helps if you wet your hands a bit).

Bake at 300F for 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Allow it to cool for at least 3 hours (or overnight) and then cut into bars or squares. Serve at room temperature or store in a airtight container.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Simple Sundays :: Orange Mandarin Spritzers

Doesn't it feel like spring is here?  It was a beautifully sunny weekend in NYC.   The weather was perfect!  After months of winter, A. and I spent the entire weekend outside.  We went for long walks  to Washington Sq. park, had a slow brunch outside Extra Virgin on w4th St. (one of my favorite little west village streets!), and bought dozens of bright fuschia tulips.  It's weekends like these when I remember how much I ♥ the city.  

After a delicious (seriously delicious!) late dinner at Babbo, we had no room for breakfast on Sunday.  So, instead I made a big pitcher of one of my morning favorites: orange spritzers!  Fresh squeezed juice and sparkling water, it doesn't get more simple than that... or refreshing. 

I love fresh squeezed orange juice, especially now when oranges are in season.  It really does not compare to anything you find at the store.  It takes a little bit of effort, but so well worth it.  As soon as I got my Kitchenaid mixer, the first thing I did was buy the juicer attachment.  I can't imagine a weekend morning without it.

To the spritzer, I added a bit of fresh mandarin juice for a twist.  It was deliciously fresh and my new breakfast staple. ...Of course, you can replace the sparkling water with Prosecco for a bubblier breakfast drink.


3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (about 6-9 oranges)
1 cup fresh squeezed mandarin juice (about 6 mandarins)
1 cup sparkling water
about 1 tablespoon sugar (to taste)

Mix the orange and mandarin juice in a pitcher.  Add the chilled sparking water, and sugar to taste.  Serve with plenty of ice and orange slices.

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