Powernap: Quick Recipes For When Time is Limited!
Our summer schedule is pretty hectic these days. Between camps, visiting grandparents, and just general fun, I haven’t been in the kitchen for long stretches. To make the short bursts of time I have to cook worth it I’ve been focusing on lots of no-cook recipes that are quick to assemble. This chilled white gazpacho has quickly become a favorite of ours. It is wholly satisfying and a snap to pull together.
Last month my friends at Ball Canning sent me some of their newest products for summer. I immediately fell in love with the lid that screws onto their wide mouth jars and is intended for infusing beverages. I try to drink lots of water and teas in the summer but I stay away from sugary drinks as much as possible to avoid the unwanted calories. Instead I infuse my beverages with natural flavors like vegetables, herbs, and fruits. This new lids makes it so easy to do! Here are a few flavor combinations I’ve been enjoying lately:
School’s out for summer!!! Two decades ago I’d sing that tune at the top of my lungs in mid-June. These days I hear alarm bells. (Ahh – school is out!! Time to entertain entertain entertain (!!!!!!) (Time to panic!!!)) If you are in moderate panic mode like me, here is a little ice cream dessert that will keep the kids occupied for a few minutes. This method for making ice cream sandwiches is newer to me and it is soooo easy. Here is the trick:
This is my best friend of summer salads. The one I pull out time and time again when I want a light dinner, or a heavier side dish, or I generally just have a craving for a BLT. (I know that sounds silly, but those cravings happen fairly often!) I first found it on Food52 practically the day after it was published. I made it the week after publication and have done so steadily ever since.
Now that I am back in my summer rhubarb routine I am trying to come with a few new recipes to fold into my tried and true. This is one I spotted on Epicurious a while ago and have finally (finally!) gotten the chance to try. My strawberry plants are still ripening so I made these with berries from the store. (The cool spring weather means our strawberry season is way behind.) It was super easy and was beyond delicious. It tasted like strawberry-rhubarb pie in a glass – sweet and refreshing. I added some sparkling water to dilute it a bit and add some effervescence, but you can do what you want. Here is the recipe for your new favorites summer drink.
Everyone has recipes they reinvent time and time again and one of mine is banana bread. Soft, easy to make, and one of my daughter’s top five favorite snack foods, it never gets old. In fact, I am pretty sure I could make the same old banana bread over and over and she would find it just as wonderful as the first time she tried it. The only thing is I like to keep trying new variations. Sometimes it is a new topping, sometimes it is a new add-in, and sometimes it is a new form! This week I decided to sweeten it up and a bit and it was a huge hit.
When my son was born last year my friend Amy brought us a delicious cinnamon-y bundt cake as part of our dinner train meal. The warm, moist quick bread was the perfect balm to soothe my sleep-frazzled nerves. When I asked for the recipe I expected her to share one for cake and was shocked to learn it was classic Amish friendship bread. I had always envisioned Amish friendship bread to be a yeasty loaf-like bread that was used for sandwiches. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This spring, now that I (mostly) have my feet back under me, Amy shared a cup of her starter with me and I’ve been having a blast learning how to use it.
My friend Barbara and I have declared 2014 the year of citrus. It started out as a joke about our mutual obsession with Meyer lemons, but now it has turned into a real thing. My Meyer lemon tree arrived in one piece and is slowly acclimating to a Connecticut spring. I am also still plowing through my last beautiful jar of Meyer lemon marmalade. When that goes I plan to try out the recipe for Grapefruit marmalade she sent me, and make yet another loaf of marmalade cake. So, you see, this is really turning into a bit of thing. In keeping with this trend, last week I made a big batch of limeade bars. They are just like lemon bars, only made with Key lime juice and man are they perfect for spring.
Before we had children we didn’t have a microwave. We didn’t really have a need for one since it was just as easy for me to reheat food in the oven and make popcorn on the stovetop. But then we had kids. And we got a microwave right away! All that milk and food warming…all that late night reheating tea and coffee…there was no end to how much we needed it. I’ll say though, I never really cooked our food in it full-stop. I usually only used it for warming/reheating in a pinch. This all changed a couple of weeks ago when Panasonic reached out and invited me to try their new microwave and use it to cook all of our meals for an entire day. I was unsure at first, but am always up for trying new things, so I gave it a go.
I am not a big fan of jarred mayonnaise, but homemade mayonnaise, or aioli, is the most amazing thing ever. Add garlic and it is even better! Not only does it taste like garlic heaven (as you know, I am a big fan of garlic), it is incredibly versatile. It is terrific on a sandwich, used as a dip, or even tossed with leftover roast chicken to make a mean chicken salad. Lately, I’ve been loving it as a basic dip for vegetables. It is a great way to make our nightly vegetable snack a little more interesting and it is so easy to make.
With spring just around the corner I am starting to think about asparagus. It is usually one of the very first vegetables I buy when our farmer’s market reopens and I can’t get enough of it. One of the very things I plan to make with it is this awesome asparagus soup. My friend, Lauren, made me something similar last fall and I’ve been thinking about it all winter.
Even though I have a fairly solid go-to salad formula, I still need to change it up now and then. The other day I was assembling a slideshow for Babble and came across this amazing looking dish. As I mentioned last week, I love roasted garlic (sorry, Edward Cullen), and practically eat it like candy. What I find so unique about this recipe is how the strong flavors of raspberries, roasted garlic, and cashews mingle together so well. No one item cancels out the rest. It really is a symphony of sweet, crunchy, salt, and nutty which is exactly how I like to compose my salads.