Grapefruit + Yogurt Sorbet

Anyone living in Tennessee would agree that even though the calendar is telling us it is the middle of winter, nature is pretending it is spring. As I sit outside writing this, I am being serenaded by the sweet song of birds, with clothes drying on the line under the sun’s gentle gaze. The heat is off and if I didn’t know better I would think it was April. But, it is not. And we had all better take advantage and enjoy it while we can.  So, with that in mind, I made an iced dessert. These winter days can handle it.

I fell in love with grapefruit granita this past summer. However, grapefruit is at its prime in the winter.  But who feels like granita in the winter? Well, with weather like this, I do.  This isn’t a granita. It isn’t a sorbet (even though I have named it thus). Nor is it frozen yogurt truly. But it is the perfect, light after dinner treat.

Chobani has started a campaign encouraging people to share recipes using their yogurt.  I can’t help but appreciate the platform from which they create their yogurt.  They are committed to making yogurt without GMOs.  So committed that they require their suppliers to certify their ingredients are non-GMO.  And then the test them with a third party to make sure there has been no cross contamination.  They make sure to source their milk from cows that have not been treated with rBST.  If you want to read more about their beliefs as a company, you can do so here.  And you’ll be impressed!

So, here is one of the million I experimented with over the last month.  It is super easy, quick, and relatively healthy.  No laboring in the kitchen (even though I don’t mind that idea at all) or feeling bad about what you are eating.  Plus, it is using the winter’s bounty.

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Grapefruit + Yogurt Sorbet

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cup fresh grapefruit juice (roughly 4-5 grapefruits)
  • 2 cup Chobani Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbs rosemary, chopped finely

Begin by bringing the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let the simple syrup cool.

Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a shallow freezer safe container.  After 30-45 minutes remove from freezer and stir.  Return to the freezer.  Continue to do this for 3-4 hours until set.  As you aren’t trying to achieve the silkiness of ice cream, you don’t need to stress about stirring vigorously to break down the ice crystals that are forming.  However, you do want to try to achieve a fine balance between an ice cream and a granita….hence the sorbet reference.  Once set, transfer the sorbet to a proper storage container until ready to serve.  (Just before frozen, otherwise it will be too difficult to transfer containers.)

Now enjoy!

Visit Chobani for other recipes using their yogurt.


Raw Brussels Sprout Salad

Thanksgiving.  I love the essence of the day.  Spending a day around a table feasting with those you hold most dear.  Celebrating the blessing of life and each other.  My favorite Thanksgivings are when the house is packed with people.  Old and new acquaintances.  Family and friends.  When hearts and bellies are equally full of joy, love, and food.

It is literally only a few days away.  And all I want are brussels sprouts.  We still haven’t finalized our menu, but one thing is for sure.  Brussels sprouts will be on it.  Usually I am the one to defend stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls and make sure they are represented Thanksgiving day. This year, although I still want those mashed potatoes, all I really want are brussels sprouts.  With all the other roasted vegetables that will be consumed on Thursday, a raw salad seems a necessity.

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Raw Brussels Sprout Salad:

  • roughly 30 Brussels sprouts (depending on size)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Begin by toasting the pumpkin seeds in the oven, being careful not to burn them (or forget them).  While the pumpkin seeds are roasting, remove the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts and chop off and discard the stem.  Carefully slice the sprouts as thin as possible.  Add to a large bowl with the raisins and pumpkin seeds.

In a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.  Season to taste and then pour over the salad ingredients and toss to coat evenly.  And enjoy!

(On a typical day, I love this as a side salad served along with roasted sweet potatoes.)

*And, if you want this to be truly raw, omit the Dijon and use raw pumpkin seeds rather than toasted.  Also, make sure you are using cold pressed olive oil and raw honey.

Holiday Hoopla Menu + Meatball Recipe

The Holiday Hoopla kick off party is the biggest night in all the year for Riverview.  And that means lots and lots of food, which means lots and lots of baking and making and cooking the day away in preparation.  We had so many people ask about the recipes, so I thought it would be easier to just post some of the recipes and links and acknowledgements.  There was no rhyme or reason for our menu.  Just trying to make enough good food to feed an army.  So, here are some of the things we served…

  • Sushi from Totto on the Northshore
  • Meatballs using Bella Cucina’s Savory Tomato Jam – recipe below
  • Spicy Glazed Pecans
  • Baked Brie with Apricot and Rosemary Chutney – Note: the chutney makes enough for two wrapped bries, so either plan on buying two rounds of cheese, or cut the chutney recipe in half.  1lb of Phyllo dough will be enough for two rounds of brie
  • Thumbprint Cookies from Federal Bake Shop
  • And lots more…

Meatballs in a Sweet Tomato Sauce

Makes about 50 meatballs

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbs whole milk
  • handful of crackers (not an exact science, just enough to soak up the milk)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 small onion, minced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 2 eggs, whisked lightly
  • 2 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • olive oil for frying

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
  • 1 jar of Bella Cucina’s Savory Tomato Jam (which we sell)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Begin by crushing crackers into a fine crumb.  Combine crackers and milk in a large bowl. Once the milk is soaked up, add the rest of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, and gently mix with your hands until combined.  Form into small balls (roughly the size of ping pong balls or about 1 1/2 inches) and line on baking dish.  Cover and chill for roughly one hour.  While the meatballs are chilling, begin the sauce.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, roughly 7-8 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, jam, wine, and bay leaves, bringing to a simmer.  Cover and continue to simmer while continuing with the meatballs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Heat a large pan on medium high heat.  Add a light coating of olive oil to the pan.  Fry the meatballs, browning on all sides, roughly 8-10 minutes.  Do not crowd the pan.  Once browned on all sides, transfer to a clean rimmed baking pan or sheet.  Repeat with remaining meatballs.  It will take a couple of batches at least depending on the size of your burner and pan.  Once all the meatballs have been browned,  bake in oven  until cooked through, roughly 10 minutes.
  4. While the meatballs are in the oven, remove the sauce from the heat and take out the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree.  Once the meatballs are finished cooking, add to sauce and mix to coat.




Pantry Granola

I have been mulling over the thought of granola for days.  A silly thing to be thinking about really.  The notion to make some came into my head and it lingered, gently, until the urge really hit me.  Obviously I should have known it was going to.  I should have been better prepared.  I picked up some oats earlier in the day (just in case I needed them some time soon).  Oats are not something I typically pick up just in case.  Cheese, nuts, seeds, coconut, olives, lentils, chickpeas.  Those are the kinds of things I pick up just in case.

9 pm hit  and an hour drive from any sort of organic/natural grocery store (and I had already been to two earlier in the day).  But I was in the mood to forget the taxes that needed to be paid and my list of things that needed to be done that night and escape by cooking, baking, making…particularly granola. However, I did not have two of my favorite ingredients: hazelnuts and shaved coconut. Nor did I have nuts of any kind or any form of coconut for that matter.  Two essentials for granola in my opinion.  My pantry shelf is pretty much at its bare minimal.  Mostly spices and different forms of sugar.  And oils.  And vinegars.  But there was just enough.  Enough to mix together and make a rather good base.  Toasted coconut and nuts can always be added at a later time.  When actually using the granola to top fruit or yogurt or however I deem to eat it at that moment.

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This is an adaptation of an adaptation.   My go to granola was originally adapted from one of my good friend’s recipes and is an excellent base for whatever you would want to add.  Whatever flavors you prefer in your granola.  Hmm…if I had been thinking I might have tried throwing in some rosemary.  But I wasn’t thinking.  My brain was wanting something brainless.  Something that I did not have to concentrate on.  I didn’t want to think.  I just wanted to get lost in the making.  In the measuring and stirring and the ease of making something by rote memory.  I wasn’t wanting to create.  To experiment.  I wanted guaranteed success.  I wanted familiar.  Something I knew.

Since, I didn’t have my typical ingredients for granola, I used what I had.  What was in the pantry and the fridge.  Hazelnut flour to give the hardy flavor of nuts and add protein.  Coconut palm sugar to give a depth of flavor.  A malty caramel flavor, but not as deep as sucanat.  (Which apparently, coconut palm sugar has a low glycemic index, which means it is metabolized slower.  It is an unrefined sugar and a good alternative for baking, using a 1:1 ratio instead of brown sugar.)  I used the last bit of flax seeds and chia seeds I had, so the 1/3 cup was really just because I did not have anything to put in their place. I would reduce their measurements to a couple tablespoons of each, if you add any other ingredients.  Add nuts, coconut, dried fruit, chocolate, seeds.  The possibilities are endless.  (I usually add a cup each depending on what it is and how many additional ingredients. But adjust accordingly.)

Pantry Granola

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/3 cup flax seed
  • 1/3 cup chia seed
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (+ a little extra for the baking sheet)
  • 2 Tbs whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly oil rimmed baking sheet.  Combine oats, flour, flax seed, chia seed, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl.   Set aside.  In a small saucepan over low heat, stir honey, oil, milk, and vanilla until mixture fizzes and just begins to simmer.  Pour over oat mixture and coat well.   Spread out on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned, stirring often.  Let cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 1 ½ hours undisturbed.  Break up and store.  (I like to keep it in the freezer.)  Makes a little over 4 cups.




Fig Leaf Ice Cream

Fall is here.  Officially.  As if the soft change in the air was not hint enough.  The mornings and evenings are crisp.  Comforting.  Yet the days still remain warm.  Warm enough to jump screaming into the pool like little girls.  Trying to squeeze the last bits of summer from the day before it is too late.  Even though, excitement pulses through me at the change around me.  I feel as if I never loved a season as much as when it begins.  By the next season, I will feel the same sense of welcome and excitement.  And the lingering doubt if all that I longed for from the passing season was satisfied.  So with that in mind, I have made the final batch of ice cream for the year (…maybe).

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Our fig tree was hit hard over the winter, as was everyone’s in the area.  It seemed to bound back beautifully.  Seemed.  Although the figs are stunted in their growth, at least the bounty of leaves can be made use of.

My first encounter with fig leaves and the amazing taste was in a panna cotta at a farm dinner in Maryland years ago.  Soft and gentle.  Yet surprisingly like coconut.  There was a scientist sitting at the table that evening who tried to explain to me why it was so.  I don’t remember his explanation.  Only that I was thrilled.  For me, the excitement and surprise of food, is what I long for, what I look forward to.

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Fig Leaf Ice Cream:

Makes 1 quart roughly

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 freshly picked fig leaves, rinsed, dried, and chopped
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Put the chopped (or julienned) fig leaves in a saucepan with the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream.  Heat gently over medium low heat, just to a simmer.  Turn off heat, cover, and let steep for an hour.   Strain the mixture, removing the fig leaves, and gently squeeze.

Return the cream mixture to the heat over medium low to warm.  While it is heating, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl and whisk until the yolks begin to thicken.  Once the cream mixture is warm, slowly pour into the egg bowl mixture while whisking constantly, but while trying not to create too many bubbles.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over low heat, again stirring constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan, until the custard thickens enough to coat a wooden spoon.  Only a couple of minutes.  Do not let boil or it may cause it to curdle.  As soon as it is thick enough to coat the spoon, remove from heat and pour through a strainer into a clean, freezer safe bowl.

Add the remaining cream, stirring to combine.  Allow to cool completely, either over ice or in the refrigerator.  (You can make the custard mixture up to a day ahead and store in the refrigerator.  If you would prefer to use an ice cream maker, follow the manufacturers directions rather than the rest the recipe here.)  Once the custard mixture has cooled, put into freezer.  After 30-45 minutes remove from freezer and stir vigorously, making sure to use a spatula to scrap down the sides of the bowl.  Return to the freezer.  The beauty and the curse of making ice cream.  You need it to begin to freeze, however, you do not want large ice crystals to form.  The more you blend the mixture and beat it to break up the ice crystals, the smaller they will stay, and the smoother the ice cream in the end.  And really beat it…work those muscles.  The more shallow the vessel you are using, the quicker it will freeze.

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Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously and scraping sides of the bowl, then returning the mixture to the freezer.  Continue to check and stir until ready (2-3 hours).  Once set, transfer the custard ice cream to a proper storage container until ready to serve.  (Just before frozen, otherwise it will be too difficult to transfer containers.)

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*As always, try to use local and organic ingredients when possible.