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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stir Fried Pineapple & Shrimp Quinoa

Hello flavor, your namesake must surely be this dish. I love nothing more than tricking myself into believing I'm overindulging in something when the reality is that I'm packing in tons of good nutrition. Try to mess this dish up, I dare you. You can't because it's too easy. Lots of ingredients are involved, this is true, but I promise by the time you're done eating you'll want to come back to this again and again for an easy go-to dinner. Plus, you'll have enough cider left over for a dinner drink! 

Stir Fried Pineapple & Shrimp Quinoa: (serves 4)

1 c. Crispin Cider's Cho-Tokkyu
1 1/3 c. quinoa
1 2/3 c. veg/chix broth
Add Ins:
1 large shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small fresno chili, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 egg
2/3 c. roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, or pistachios-salted or not)
1 1/4 c. diced pineapple
1/2 c. peas
1/2 c. dried currants (raisins would work too, just a touch sweeter)
About 2 c. 41/50 ct. shrimp, cooked (or as much as you want!)
Fresh cilantro and more green onion to garnish
4 Tbsp. amino acids or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. chix/veg stock
3 Tbsp. cho-tokkyu cider
1 Tbsp. + 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground coriander

1) Cook your quinoa: bring cider, stock, and quinoa to a boil in a small pot. Stir for 30 seconds,
    lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the grain is tender. This
    is a great time to prep your veggies and make the sauce. For the sauce, simply whisk to combine
    the ingredients.
2) In a large wok, heat 1 Tbsp. oil at medium-high and cook for one minute: shallot, garlic, chili,
    pepper, and green onion. Add the egg, stirring to incorporate 1 minute more.
3) Add in the sauce mixture and stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up just a little and add the shrimp,
    pineapple, peas, and currants, cook for 2-3 minutes, keep the mix moving.
4) Add the quinoa and cook one minute more, toss in the nuts and stir to mix them in. Remove from
    heat onto a platter and garnish with a good amount of cilantro and green onion. Eat up!

Not your typical dinner dish perhaps, but a promised welcome addition to your table. So much flavor, so much goodness, what's not to love? Give it a try and tell me about it! Oh, and if you've never tried the Cho-tokkyu before, you're in for a treat, it goes great with this dish! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Ode to Soup

 Every now and then I just get the urge to make something super healthy and delicious. Perhaps it's a way for me to glaze over the fact that my day-to-day eating habits are borderline devious, or that I consume more sugar on average than someone who lives in Candyland. Either way, times call for health, veggies, and wellness, and this was surely one of those times.
Spring Cider Soup: (serves 4-6)

For the Meatballs
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
One egg

For the Soup
1 bottle Crispin Original 
5 c. chicken broth
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 small rutabagas, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
12 spears asparagus, cut in quarters
20 green beans, cut in thirds
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 bunches thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Juice from 1 lemon, or 2 Tbsp. 
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Start by making the meatballs. Combine  all of the ingredients for the meatballs together in a 
    bowl and mix well. Form 1 inch round balls and set aside. 
2) In a large dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs carefully to the 
    pan, cook on all sides until well browned, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to 
    cook until they are cooked through. Remove the meatballs and set aside. 
3) In the same pan, heat up another Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat and sauté garlic, ginger, 
    and scallions about 3 minutes. Add the cider, and using a spatula, scrape up the bottom of the 
    pan to loosen any bits that may have stuck. 
5) Add the chicken stock, rutabaga, carrots, fennel, thyme, and bay leaves. Allow to come to a
    simmer and cook until the rutabagas and carrots are just tender. 
6) Add in the meatballs, return to a simmer and cook 10 minutes more. Then add in the green 
    beans and asparagus and allow to cook simmering for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and 
    add lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, or any additional seasonings you'd like. 

Now that's good eating. Fresh, so good for you, and delicious! I ate that soup up reeeeaall quick like. As you should too, with the addition of asparagus and green beans, the soup doesn't hold up that well for long. It still tastes great, but the green veggies will lose their color, so if you're making it to impress you should do it on the spot. As long as you prep all the veggies/meatballs, it's a snap to throw together. And just think of how impressive you can look, just whipping up some homemade soup all nonchalant.
Eat soup and be merry! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Strawberry Ginger Turnovers

Flaky, buttery, rich, sugary dough. Sweet, gingery, jammy berries. Breakfast pastries are one of my greatest weaknesses. Can I be blamed? I think the correct answer is obvious. There's no wonder where I get this from, my beautiful Mother can hardly eat anything but sweets with her morning coffee. Just one of the ever-charming traits she's passed down unto me.  
I made these Strawberry Ginger Turnovers with her in mind, although we're separated by roughly 1,750 miles, I know that once she sees these she'll be eating them in her sweet little Mommy heart. 
Strawberry Ginger Turnovers: (makes 10 turnovers)

For the puff pastry: (feel free to use store bought too, cause easy's always great)

2 sticks +2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
2 c. flour +more for dusting (or 250g)
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt)
1/2 tsp. sugar
75 ml cold water
1 egg (for a wash)

For the filling:

3 c. fresh strawberries, quartered
1 Tbs. lemon juice 
3 Tbs. crystalized ginger, minced
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1) Begin by making your puff pastry, it will need to chill twice. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt 
    in a large bowl. Using your fingers, press butter into the flour mixture until well combined but
    there are still visible bits of butter (it will be pretty wet already). Add water slowly until the dough   
    comes together. Wrap or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes. 
2) On a lightly floured surface, mold dough into a large smooth rectangle with your hands. Then
    only rolling lengthwise and trying to keep the doughs shape, roll out to 10x25 inches. Taking one
    end of the dough, fold it up to 2/3 of the way and fold the opposite end over that. Roll the dough 
    out again to 10x25 and repeat the same fold. Cover and refrigerate again for 20 minutes. 
3) Preheat the oven 400. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. 
4) Gather all the ingredients for the filling and combine in a small saucepan. Over medium high 
    heat, cook the mixture until the berries just start to break down and a thick syrup forms, 
    3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool (you can rush cooling by putting it in the 
5) When the berries are cool, do the final roll-out on your dough. Lightly flour your workspace 
    and roll the dough out to 10x25. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 10 equally sized 
     squares (5x5). 
6) Lightly beat one egg with 1 Tbsp. water. Working one at a time, brush the edges of the dough 
    with the egg wash and place about 2 Tbsp. full of filling right in the center. Fold one corner over 
    and carefully seal the edges together, crimping with a fork. (See pictures below) Some berry goo 
    might try to escape, it's no big deal, just do the best you can to seal them tightly. 
7) Place the sealed treats onto the sheet pans and brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with 
    some turbinado sugar or regular if you don't have it. Bake until the tops have browned nicely and
    the insides appear to be bubbling, about 20-25 minutes. 

I never claimed this was a clean operation. 

So here's to you Momma, my giver of life and love. There isn't a girl as lucky in the world as I, thank you for everything you've done for me in my flippy-floppy life. You deserve a million turnovers and then some. Happy Mother's Day, I love you. 
As for the rest of you, resist if you dare, you surely won't be judged if you can't. At least not by me. 
Make these for someone you love, it's a real good way to get the message across. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crisp Cucumber

Ready for some refreshment? I always am. So this one's for you and me, cheers! 
Crisp Cucumber: (makes one drink) 
1.5 oz. Hendrick's Gin
 1) In a large mixing glass; combine 2 slices of cucumber and squeeze and drop in 3 lime wedges. 
     (See pic below for size) Muddle together until the cucumber breaks down a little. 
2) Fill the mixing glass with ice and top with 1.5 oz. gin and 3 oz. Crispin.
3) Give the glass a quick shake and serve one of two ways:
     -For a refined look; strain the mixture into a cocktail glass with chipped ice and a couple 
      slices of cucumber and lime. 
     -For less work; insert straw and drink. 
4) Garnish with a lime wheel and slice of cucumber. Well done. 

Chipped ice is fancy and that's a fact. 

Well I hope you've enjoyed this cocktail hour with me. Stayed tuned for more great food, drinks, and sweets- I'm planning on a busy summer! Sign up for emails when I post or be my new bff and follow this blog. If you're into stalking you can also follow me on Twitter @CrispinKatie, just kidding, but seriously...