Sunday, June 14, 2015

Douglas Fir Soda or Mojitos

Have you ever thought of using evergreen needles for drinks?? Not many people do but I urge you to give it a shot! Pine, Hemlock, Spruce, Fir.....all usable!  Douglas Fir has a wonderful almost citrus-y flavor so I thought it would be perfect for Mojitos!!

Douglas Fir Simple Syrup:
2 cups Doug Fir Tips (the bright green tender shoots in the spring are the best, rinse well before using of course!)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar

Bring water and sugar to a boil, simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Place the tips in a quart jar, when the sugar water is done pour it immediately over the top. Stir and allow to cool. When it is cool, put on the lid and allow to steep for several hours, (1-3 for a pretty mild flavor, 3-6 for a medium , 6-12 for full flavor) giving it a shake every now and then.

Strain out the needles and you have your syrup.

If you just want a refreshing glass of soda , combine with club soda or seltzer and ice and enjoy!!! (play around with ratios of syrup to soda to find YOUR favorite!)

For a Pitcher of Mojitos:

Juice of 12 Limes(about 2 cups juice)
1 batch Doug Fir Syrup
1-2 cups light rum -depending on your potency toleration ;)

Leaves of Fresh Mint
Club Soda or Seltzer

In a large pitcher combine the lime juice, batch of Doug fir syrup and rum. Shake well.
(you could muddle about 25 leaves and place them in the mix as well if you dont want to bother with adding mint to each, I kept it separate to allow everyone to adjust the mint to taste)

Muddle some mint in the bottom of a glass to release oils. Put in some ice and some of the mojito mix  and top with club soda (your ratios will vary for preference)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Zucchini Spaghetti with Red Pepper and Tomato Bruschetta

I had zucchinis that needed to be used and some tomatoes and red peppers too. My husband has been asking for a spiralized zucchini dinner for a while so I thought this would be yummy! I also got a good deal on Open Nature Italian Chicken Sausage so I decided to throw those on as well, it would be good without them as a vegetarian dish as well so I am labeling it for both.

2-3 good sized Roma tomatoes, diced*
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 TB sweet onion, minced
2 TB fresh or 2 tsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
black pepper to taste

2 lbs zucchini, spiralized
1 TB olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup tomato sauce

12 oz Italian Chicken Sausage, quartered and sliced

Parmesan Cheese, shredded
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Combine all bruschetta ingredients together and allow to mingle at room temp for at least an hour. The longer it is allowed to sit, the better, but stick it in the fridge if you are going longer than an hour.

* I diced my tomatoes and they were VERY juicy so I put them in a colander to drain off some excess juice for about 20 minutes. If yours are overly juice I suggest adding this step.

If you refrigerated your bruschetta allow it to come to room temp while you are preparing the rest.

In a large deep pan saute the sausages until heated through ** I recommend a wok, the pan I used for my sausage was too small for the zucchini.

Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Heat olive oil. Add zucchini and season to taste.

Add tomato sauce and toss to coat. Heat just to tender crisp and remove from heat.

Plate some "pasta" top with a scoop of bruschetta, some sausage, and top with a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Creamy Tilapia and Veggie Pasta Salad

I was going to make My "Not Your Typical Tuna Casserole" for dinner tonight and sub flaked tilapia
for the tuna but the weather has been unseasonably warm here (Western WA, pushing 80 in early June, or as we usually call it June-uary??!!) so I decided a cold pasta salad was in order. I had already made my tilapia up so I had to use that. I started putting some ingredients together and a recipe formed.

10 oz pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed to cool (whatever shape you prefer, I wanted to do homemade macaroni noodles but I just didn't get to it, so I used the only shape I had on hand, penne)

12 oz tilapia, cooked and flaked*

2 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and diced

6 oz plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TB sour cream
1 TB dijon mustard
1 TB parsley
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

3 green onions, whites and greens, sliced
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green peas, (defrosted if using frozen)
1/4 medium sweet onion, diced

* For my tilapia I seasoned lightly with garlic powder and black pepper then steamed it. You could prepare it any way you like of course......
Alternatively you could use canned tuna fish  (2-6 oz cans, drained well) or I  was even toying with the idea of using the salmon I smoked yesterday. (scrapped that because I had already made the tilapia)

In a bowl combine the yogurt, mayo, sour cream, and seasonings, mix well.

In a large bowl(quite large so you can toss everything without a mess!) combine the vegetables, sauce, tilapia, pasta and eggs.

Toss together gently and pour into a serving bowl.

Cover and chill thoroughly.