Introductory Green Smoothie

I am sorry to say we’re out of kale today. But if you are someone who has only ever had fruit smoothies, or who doesn’t like how many carbs there are in a fruit smoothie, or doesn’t like the vegetable water some people pass off as being a green smoothie, this is for you.

This recipe will make about 50 ounces of smoothie. I put mine into three formerly 20 oz. Vitamin Water® bottles: one to drink now, one in the refrigerator to drink later, and one for tomorrow in the freezer. And yes, they are still 20 oz. bottles, thanks for asking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • siggi's vanilla skyr1 cup skyr (I used Siggi’s vanilla)
  • 16 oz. frozen fruit mix (I used tropical)
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart
  • 4-6 oz. ginger beer (I used Fever Tree® ginger beer)

Put the water in the blender first, then the skyr.

Blend on low speed for a few seconds. Add the romaine lettuce heart, then 8 oz. of the frozen fruit mix to the blender. If your romaine is like mine, you’ll probably want to cut the bottom off first.

Tropical Fruit Mix

Romaine Hearts

Blend until you don’t see flecks of lettuce roaming around the blender.

You could try the smoothie now, but it will taste like there’s a whole head of romaine in it. So, add the other 8 oz. of frozen fruit mix, and blend again. When I tasted it at this point, it lacked a little something. I considered several herbs and spices for adding flavor, but ultimately (probably because there was some sitting on the counter), I decided to add 4 to 6 ounces of ginger beer.

Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Remaining Fever Tree Ginger Beer

I thought about adding the whole bottle (in this case almost 7 ounces), but that would have made the smoothie too watery. Since I don’t actually know how much I added, the image to the left will give you a good indication of what was left, hence my estimate of 4-6 ounces.

Blend again for a few seconds to get the ginger beer spread around. Now, find yourself a very large glass, or a few smaller ones, or share with your family and friends! If you decide you like this recipe, it is easily adaptable to other fruit mixes (e.g. you could try a berry mix), other types of lettuce, and other types of yogurt. The one I used isn’t particularly sweet, maybe you want one that is? I’d recommend Greek Gods Honey Vanilla yogurt. It only has a third of the protein, and more than twice the sugar, so it may work better for a young whipper-snapper with high metabolism than an individual who is old, overweight, out of shape, and trying to avoid diabetes (hey, I said respect your elders!).

©2018 H.K. Longmore

Best. Cheesecake. Ever.

Now I’ve done it. Again. Full stops are taking. over. my. life? My keyboard? My screen. No, that’s “My. Screen.” to you, full stop. Wait, what?

Anyhow, I used the crust recipe from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331507222553338301/

I used the filling recipe from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331507222553338283/

I consulted

for how to know when to turn the oven off, and

gives a very useful suggestion to add the eggs last or almost last. Doing so keeps your cheesecake from rising too much while it is baking.

I also ground up some coriander and added it to the crust, along with some cardamom. I modified the filling recipe thusly: add lemon zest, almond flavoring, and rum flavoring.

Now my goal is to modify this post into a single recipe that I can follow, that streamlines the process, so it doesn’t take me FIVE HOURS next time. Note that this can easily be made gluten-free by omitting the crust, and substituting sorghum flour for the wheat flour.

Makes: 3 cheesecakes in pie tins or 1 cheesecake in a springform pan.

  • coriander seeds, whole
  • cardamom seeds, whole
  • 16 graham crackers / crust
  • 1 stick butter / crust
  • 4 T wheat flour (or sorghum flour for GF)
  • 4 T cornstarch
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 lemon
    • zest
    • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1.5 t rum emulsion
  • 2 T milk
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 32 oz. ricotta
  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 eggs

Grind coriander and cardamom (I prefer to use a mortar and pestle). Divide into three piles: for the crust, the filling, and a garnish on the top of the filling. You’ll want about 1/4 teaspoon for each crust, 1/4 teaspoon for the filling, and less than 1/4 teaspoon should be enough for the garnish. If using pie tins instead of a springform pan, you’ll need three crust piles, one for each crust.

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Crush (blend or use a rolling pin) graham crackers (or oreos or whatever, but note that chocolate graham crackers work better than oreos due to the filling of the oreo cookie interfering with the butter’s ability to make the crumbs congeal). If you plan to blend graham crackers, you may want to crush them in the packages first to avoid air gaps in the blender.

Melt 1 stick of butter per crust. If the butter is thawed, 30 seconds in the microwave should do it; more, and the butter will start splattering. Put one crust pile of coriander and cardamom in the butter. Mix with graham cracker crumbs. Should hold shape when squeezed. Yes, you’ll need the whole stick for one pie-tin worth of crust. Press into pan (3 pie tins or one 9″ spring form round pan). Refrigerate (if doing pie tins, do all three at once).

Mix 4 T flour, 4 T cornstarch, 1.5 cups sugar in a separate bowl. Set aside. We’ll call this the dry goods.

Zest a lemon. Juice about 1/4 to 1/2 of it, for 1 T of lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, almond extract, rum emulsion (shake well before pouring), vanilla extract, with lemon zest (feel free to omit any of the flavorings, but it won’t be the same; feel free to use all emulsions instead of extracts, or vice-versa). Add one pile of cardamom and coriander and mix. We’ll call this the seasonings liquid.

Turn oven on to 350 °F.

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In a large bowl, beat sour cream and ricotta cheese together. Add cream cheese and beat. Add the seasonings liquid and beat. Add the dry goods to the large bowl and beat. Be sure the mixture is mixed thoroughly. In separate bowl, crack eggs; beat lightly (mix with a fork, as if making french toast for yourself). Add milk and mix in 1 T sugar. Be careful not to beat the eggs too much (over-beating the eggs or adding them too early can lead to the batter rising too fast and cracking). Add this sweetened egg mixture to the large bowl and fold it in. If everything else was well-mixed, it should only need folding in.

Place cookie sheet with edges on the bottom rack. Put a small amount of water in the cookie sheet (about half full) to provide more humidity for the cheesecakes while they bake to help them not crack.

Three cheesecakes in pie tins

Remove pie tins / cake pan from fridge. Pour batter into crust. Sprinkle spice mixture on top of batter. For an extra challenge, you can try putting the cheesecakes into the oven first, and then try to sprinkle the spice mixture in. You only get points for this challenge if you manage to complete it without burning yourself. Use a knife or fork to mix spices in with very top layer of batter. Set timer for 1 hour. Turn oven down to 325 °F. Put pie tins / cake pans in oven. If using pie tins, try to cook all three at the same time. At about 20 minutes, check for uneven distribution of the filling, and rotate any that need it to compensate for an uneven baking surface. If your oven has uneven temperature zones, you may need to swap the positions of the pans after 1/2 hour: rotate them even if they don’t look like they need it; rotate them at 30 minutes, not 45 minutes.

While the cheesecakes are cooking, you can clean up after yourself. Also while they cook, you can make sure there is enough room in the fridge for the pans when they are cool enough to refrigerate.

After 45 minutes of cooking time, check on the cheesecakes. If you used enough water in the cookie sheet, watch out for the steam coming out of the oven. Your face will thank you. (If you didn’t use enough water, the sheet will be dry or almost dry, and you risk cracking the tops.) Look for the 2-2.5 inch border of mostly done and the jiggly center, as mentioned in the short video above. If they are not done enough, try cooking and checking in 5-10 minute increments. When they are done enough, turn off the oven, set a timer for 1 hour. Come back and check in an hour. It should either be done, or it needs to cook or stand in the oven longer. At this point, you’ll need to let the pan(s) cool off before refrigerating the cheesecake(s).

Best. Cornbread. Ever.

I hate the overuse of full stops. to. emphasize. a. point. It won’t be long before the practice is rendered as effective as the adjective “epic”. When everything is epic, nothing is. When everything is important, nothing is. When everything is emphasized… But, after I made the following cornbread for the first time, I decided it was truly the best. cornbread. ever.

Best. Cornbread. Ever.
Cornbread cooling off on my desk at work

Ingredients:

  • 2 Jiffy cornbread muffin mixes (ignore the directions on the box)
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ground cloves
  • ground turmeric
  • ground allspice

Equipment:

  • Medium to large cast iron pan (8″-10″ diameter or so)
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Empty mixes into mixing bowl. Use a fork to break apart large chunks.

Turn on a burner to low heat. Put the cast iron pan on the burner. Add enough olive oil to fully coat the bottom and sides of the pan; allow to warm up while preparing the batter. Warm the honey up (it’s about to get chilled, so plenty warm, even hot, is fine). In a separate bowl, combine the honey and lemon extract; stir. Add the milk, eggs, and sour cream to the lemon-honey mixture. Mix well. Add cloves, turmeric, and allspice to the liquid mixture, to taste (probably 1/2 to 1 tsp each is good). Pour liquid mixture into cornbread mix. Stir well.

Make sure oil coats entire pan. Pour cornbread mixture into pan. Place pan in oven, turn oven on bake at 300° F for about 18 minutes (not preheated). Check with a toothpick. Note that the toothpick could appear to come out clean, but uncooked cornmeal likes to think it is a chameleon, so feel the toothpick for dryness.

Variations:

  • Start by turning on a burner to low heat. Put the cast iron pan on the burner. Add enough olive oil to fully coat the bottom and sides of the pan; allow to warm up while preparing the batter. Leave on burner until mixture is poured into pan. This will result in taller outside edges.
  • Take pan out when toothpick appears clean but has moist cornmeal on it, around 12 to 15 minutes. Let the center fall for 3 to 5 minutes. Return to oven and cook until toothpick comes out clean. I call this variation “Cornbread pound cake”.