22 July 2014

Campfire Vegetables and Quinoa Recipe | Camping trip to Whidbey Island

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Living in the Pacific Northwest has the distinct quality of being close to nature -- even when living in the city.  For example, my friend sends me a note asking if I want to camping overnight the following day.  It is a mid-week trip, but I will be back just in time to head to work the following day. 

My reply back, "I'll bring the food."

A quick packing of her car--an even quicker packing of the puppy,--and we settle in for a short drive, followed by a brief ferry ride, and finally another short ride to our camping destination.  Simple car trip with no hiking required.  The fact that ferries seem like a normal piece of transportation to me is still mind-boggling coming from a Midwestern girl.

Our campsite is set up in moments, I have started the fire and Puja has finished putting together the tent.  The puppy continues to whine with frustration because she is tethered and "just wants to help".

The flames have finally found their hold.  The city girl does have a trick up her sleeve.  I throw a couple of aluminum foil packets on the grill over top the fire and let them cook out.  

A couple cold beers, some chatting, a happily released puppy -- the makings of a good evening.  I pull the aluminum foil packets off the grill and share the feast with my pleased friend over a shared headlamp light illuminating a jug of water.  Of course I forgot mine at home so we improvised.  It is only an overnight trip after all.

Puja loves our dinner, just right for being outdoors.  Puppy lingers around looking for scraps.  All-in-all the best of living so close to nature.  Settling in for a night under the stars, ready to wake up the next morning for a quick hike before heading back to the big city.

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Campfire Vegetables and Quinoa Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Portabella mushroom
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • sea salt to taste
Rinse off the quinoa.  In a saucepan pour in the vegetable broth and quinoa and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.  Once the quinoa seeds have opened, remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

Clean and slice the peppers, zucchini, and mushroom into 1/2 inch wide long strips.  Place two pieces of aluminum foil on the prep space and layer half the vegetables first (learned this from experience) drizzle on the olive oil to coat and sprinkle on the lemon pepper.  Add in half of the quinoa.  Fold into a pocket keeping the ends snug.  Repeat and create a second packet with the remaining vegetables and quinoa.  Vegetables go on first because they will need to cook through, and if it is flipped on the grill, the oil will leak out the folded seal.  

Packets are stored in a cooler, and when ready to be cooked can be placed directly onto the fire, or on a grate over the fire.  Allow them to cook for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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xoxo, the tree huggers

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20 July 2014

4 Ice Cream Recipes for #nationalicecreamday

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Happy National Ice Cream Day!  Celebrated on the third Sunday in July, the entire month is truly dedicated to the art and taste of this cool treat.  To celebrate, I have compiled a list of my four favorite ice cream recipes.

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Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Cake is perfect for a party, or just showing how ice cream does not have to just be served with a scoop.

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Chocolate and Avocado Ice Cream that satisfies a sweet flavor, but sneaks in just a bit of healthy.

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Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, who needs an ice cream machine?  This delight has bits of graham cracker mixed in for an authentic flavor.

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Guf Ice Cream Topping is my favorite Danish treat re-imagined.  Takes me right back to days spent walking along the river in Silkeborg and enjoying the Danish countryside.

13 July 2014

Chocolate Pots de Crème

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Jumps in temperature make me crave something smooth and cool.  There are some beautiful pudding recipes floating around right now, and this one is a favorite of mine.  Cool, creamy, refreshing -- the perfect treat to watch as Germany and Argentina battle it out in the World Cup finale. 

I decided to use a semi-sweet chocolate only to pull a bit of the bitterness out and make it creamier.  Added the berries at the end dipped in a bit of sugar and it was perfect.  All these beautiful berries are in season right now and deeply discounted at my local market.  If I consume any more, I fear soon to become a berry.  Hopefully just a few on top of these chocolatey dessert will stop that from happening!

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Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • fresh berries or ice cream 
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Pour milk into thee saucepan and add in sugar to dissolve.  Sir occasionally so the milk does not burn or make to a boil.  While the milk heats, coarsely chop the chocolate and set to the side.  

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When the milk is heated, add in the salt and vanilla extract.  Removed the saucepan from the heat and set aside momentarily.  

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Place four ramekins into a roasting pan.  In a pan bring enough water to boil that it will fill the pan with water that will reach halfway up the ramekins.

Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour the heated milk over top.  Over the next couple minutes stir until the chocolate dissolves and is incorporated into the liquid mixture.  Pour back into the saucepan and bring back to a medium-low heat and continue to stir.

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In a small bowl whisk the egg.  Pour into the liquid chocolate mixture over top of the eggs and whisk until they are combined, but do not allow the eggs to scramble.  Strain this new mixture through a sieve to pull out any left over chunks and into a vessel that can pour into the ramekins. 

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Pour the chocolate mixture equally between the ramekin cups.  Add in the boiling water to the roasting pan until it fills halfway up the ramekins and put in the oven.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  The pudding should be slightly wiggly when they are taken from the oven.  Place on a wire rack for about an hour and cooled, and then transfer to the refrigerator for another 3-4 hours covered with plastic wrap so the moisture does not pool on the top of these little Pots de Crème.  

Before serving, top with little bits of berry, or a beautiful salted caramel ice cream.  Enjoy!

Adapted from an adaptation on The Vanilla Bean Blog :)
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