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Banana Almond Butter Pancakes

2009 December 15

I found these tasty treats over at Mark’s Daily Apple. Because they are made with bananas, I find no need to add maple syrup, though a little dollop of Greek yogurt and berries could be a nice addition. My personal favorite is adding spiced baked apples as a topping

Ingredients

  • 2 Ripe bananas
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Creamy almond butter
  • 1 Egg

Methods

  1. Mash bananas. Food processors do a good, quick job
  2. Add egg and almond butter. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour batter into small cakes on a greased pan or griddle.
  4. Look for the edges to firm up a bit and the cake begin to steam – that’s the time to flip them.
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Starbucks VIA Challenge

2009 October 05

from → Beverage

In the spirit of instant coffee, I’ll keep this short. I took the Starbucks VIA challenge today and won. I got a free drink out of it (maybe regardless of my correct answer). What do I think? VIA is a lighter roast, so naturally the flavor is a bit lighter than Pike’s Place. The flavor, however, is very reminiscent of any other Starbucks brew. And why shouldn’t it? Without knowing it was instant I think you’d have a tough time telling which is the drip. There’s one fairly obvious tell when you put the cup to your lips: the aroma. The drip coffee is going to have pretty full bouquet – something that’s lacking from the VIA. It’s not that the via is absent of any aromas, but they are rather weak.

If you haven’t taken the challenge yet, you still have the rest of the day. Let your nose decide which is the real one. Otherwise, say it’s the one in your left hand. At least you’ve got a 50/50 shot.

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Hatch Chili Panic

2009 September 08

The growing season is nearly over and I finally came across some Hatch Chilies from New Mexico… for the first time in my life. People go nuts over these, and I’m not quite sure why yet, but if the aromas from the roasting process are an indicator, I’m in a for a huge treat. These chilies are also unique because they can only be found one place on earth – Hatch, New Mexico. There is something unique about the soil and the climate that makes them one of a kind. Foodies go into withdrawal, and locals know well enough to stock up an entire year’s supply at once.

Whole Foods brought in a local seller for free roasting if you buy their *cheap* Hatch chilies. I’m talking $1.99/lb, compared to upwards of $5.99 at most other places  – grocery stores and farmers markets. Eight pounds and several gallon-sized vacuum-sealed bags later, I’m good for at least a few more months.

To celebrate my inaugural meal with the famed chili, I made a simple egg scramble breakfast. And boy was it good!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 roasted Hatch chili, peeled, seeded, diced (as best you can)
  • 1/2 Green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp Onion, diced
  • 3 Eggs, whisked
  • 2 slices Bacon, chopped
  • 1 oz/1 slice Jack cheese (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil for the pan

Methods

  1. Place onion and bell pepper pieces into a pan on medium heat with a little bit of oil. Cook until slightly softer
  2. Whisk chili pieces together with the egg, and pour into pan
  3. Scramble until eggs are thoroughly cooked. If adding cheese, put the slice on top about a minute before eggs are finished – it should be melted by the time you serve
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Honey Lavender Coconut Ice Cream

2009 July 13

Now that summer is finally here and things are starting to heat up around town, I’ve totally been on a coconut ice cream craze lately.  As with the other recipes, this one utilizes the good fats in coconut milk to replace dairy cream. This method, in my opinion, rivals that of ice cream made from dairy.

Special Equipment

  • Double boiler (or a makeshift one)
  • Ice cream maker (optional but greatly helps)

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-oz) Can coconut milk (skip the light and get the regular/full-fat kind)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Tsp Chopped lavender flowers
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey

Method

  1. Add coconut milk, lavender, and vanilla to a double boiler. Stir frequently until the mixture is hot, but not boiling.
  2. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. When the coconut milk is hot, add it to the eggs 1/2C at a time while continuing to whisk until the eggs mixture is hot.
  3. Add the egg mixture back into the double boiler and whisk until it thickens (similar to a custard). Do not allow the mixture to scramble – if it does, remove it from the double boiler while continuing to whisk.
  4. When thickened, remove the mixture from the double boiler and allow it to cool.
  5. Once the mixture is cool enough to dip your finger in without burning it, whisk in the honey until dissolved.
  6. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s instructions and enjoy! If you don’t have access to an ice cream maker, place the mixture in the freezer for a few hours until it’s set. It’s not the preferred way, but it will do.
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Do Farmers Markets Save You Money?

2009 July 08

Over the last several weeks I’ve seen a few articles pop-up (see the related links below) about the cost-effectiveness of buying from your local farmers market. The question seems simple enough – can I get a better deal from local growers than I can at a grocery store? It seems the answer is more complex than a simple “yes” or “no.”  If you are going by cost alone there might not be much of a difference, and don’t be surprised if the farmers market actually costs a little bit more. Larry Lev, and Oregon State University agricultural and resource economics professor says that prices also vary by region – farmers markets in Western states tend to cost more than those in the Midwest. But should we be surprised when like everything else it follows the average cost of living?

One thing you will get at the farmers market that you won’t at the grocery store? Quality. I don’t know if I’ve ever had peaches (one of my all-time favorites) that tasted as good coming from the grocery store as it did from a local grower. For many of us it’s a worthwhile additional cost when you know you’re about to bite into the most flavorful piece of fruit or freshest vegetables. You’re also more likely to get some interesting variety that may not be typically found in a grocery store. Local farmers are also more likely to produce organics, using more sustainable methods. Of course, this all comes at a price.

So what’s your motivating factor when selecting produce? You may be better off purchasing from the grocery store except in those circumstances where you need the better quality food. Here are a few links to get you thinking.

Finally, looking at the last set of links – can eating from at $10/week menu bought from the local farmers market really work? Maybe. I haven’t tried it, but my gut feeling is that we eat more than $10 of produce per person/week around this house. It’s worth a shot. It’s also worth seeing what is available through your local CSA, which provides boxes full of produce to you at a pickup location on a regular basis. It has some of the benefits of the farmers market – without the market.

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