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Very Berry Crostata

Very-Berry-Crostata_Yes,-more-please!

Crostata, Galette, Free form pie, you all know my idilic love with this pastry goodness. Four ingredients for the crust, berries and sugar, never haved tasted so good. Talk about simplicity and mayor goodness. I think I have already 4 crostata recipes on this blog, and I did not even hesitate to add a new variation.

There is a warm gratifying feeling about making this simple crust, using your hands, an effortless crust, that when is baked you can stop smiling. With all this berries in season, you will need so little sugar to enhance their flavor. What is not to crave about fresh fruit baked in a thin almondy crust? I feel like  this crostata is a guiltless pleasure…that leaves more room for ice cream. hehehe

Very-Berry-Crostata_Summer-Berries_Yes,-more-please!

My advice, avoid wasting your time thinking what to do or bake to celebrate this weekend, if you have 15 minutes to spare to make a crust in the morning, 15 minutes to roll and prep,and 45 minutes to careless baking while you relax zipping an ice tea, these berry beauty is all you need for a great Summer afternoon.

I only know, that for this Summer this is all what I want, a slice of this berry crostata slightly warm, with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream or a dollop of whipped cream, an ice tea on the side, and sparkling objects on the sky to celebrate the 4th,  5th, 6th…or 28th of July…Enjoy!

Very-Berry-Crostata_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Very-Berry-Crostata_slice-of-berry-crostata_Yes,-more-please!

To make the Crostata you will need…

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Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette

 

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

Semantically Ambrosia is a powerful word, the food or drink of the immortals, Greek goodess, sweet luscious juicy fruits, sweet honey smells, something that will bring  youth, pleasure, and health. In my crazy fantasy food world I imagine Homer, Penelope, Aphrodite, and Sappho and their ambrosia offerings of sweet and incredible nectars.  But the enchanted elixir got shattered when I Googled “ambrosia salad” and the record sounded broken. To my surprise his ambrosia salad it is an abominable concoction from the 50’s. Where all the Greek Gods must of been under the marshmallow influence, along with cans of syrupy fruits like cherries red no.5, pineapple chunks of yellow no.5 undistinguished cubes of fruit matter, bright green grapes and that fluffy component all tied up into a sweet coma. That’s what I call fulminating love…(Pepé Le Pew style hehhee)

Being lost in translation and trying to rescue the origins of the word,  this salad came to my mind. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “no wimpy salads” and a lot of encouragement to try and thrive while you feed not only your body, but the enticing act of eating consciously present and awake.

Althoug, I can not promise all of this matters in just one salad, I will assure you that this is not a wimpy one. In fact it does have the Ambrosia elements, fruits, smells textures, sweet, salty, acidic, juicy, creamy, crunchy all the components that make a salad a memorable meal, and the kind of salad you will crave the next day and perhaps the next weekend too. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, grapefruit segments, cucumbers, salty, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy nutty and meaty walnuts, all carefully combined and drizzled with a simple three ingredient Dijon-honey -grapefruit juice vinaigrette.  Needless to say the salad is healthy, energetic, nutritious, beautiful  and delicious.

This Spinach Ambrosia Salad with Dijon-honey-grapefruit vinaigrette  is what you need to welcome Spring and feel like a greek goddess, Enjoy!

Spinach-Ambrosia-Salad-with-Honey-Dijon-Grapefruit-Vinaigrette_Yes,-more-please!_greek-goddess-salad

For the recipe you will need…

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Strawberry Empanadas

Strawberry+SEA-SALT-empanadas_Yes,-more-please!

The Empanada is a classic pastry in Mexico. We inherited these pastry pockets of goodness from the Galician people of Spain. If we backtrack to the empanada’s middle eastern cousins ,the samosas, we can trace their origins all the way to Persia. They have been around for a quite while. The common denominator of these pastries is a piece of dough that wraps in a half-moon pocket with any kind of filling; sweet to savory, meats, vegetables, fish, cheese, nuts, fruits, you name it! Your craving and the sky are your limit on this one.

What makes a good empanada? Is it the filling or the dough? Its like asking what was first the egg? or the chicken?…For me its all about the dough. If you have a great dough recipe even the humblest filling will shine.

This recipe is all about the dough and a very humble strawberry compote filling.

I woke up dreaming about these strawberry empanadas. Yes, I had the empanada voice in my head but my conscious belly did not want to have to deal with the caloric remorse. So I re-vamped my old recipe to make it a bit more nutritious. Its a recipe I’ve used for a long time. I adapted it, made it my own and it never fails, it always turns out great and it’s easy to make. What makes it different from other recipes is that I replaced the water and leavening with white wine. Yes, you heard it well or shall I say read it clearly. WINE in my dough! any wine left overs?…  Why wine? Well the wine acts as the leavening and gives the dough a smooth and pleasant flavor, tender crumb and bit of sweetness. No worries about alcohol content please. Once you bake these babies the alcohol is gone leaving the great flavor on the dough. *sight*

The original recipe calls for lard, which with the years I’ve changed to butter. For this recipe in an effort to not use lard or any other heavy-duty fat I decided to replace the butter with coconut oil, a plant-based fat. This might seem like a fad, but I’m on a mission to demystify this trend. I’ve used it in a couple of recipes, with great success and flavor. So if the healthy bonus come along that’s even greater!  Also I’ve substituted half of the white un-bleached flour for oatmeal flour.

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The results are delicious. The empanadas are light and flavorful, easy to digest, with no caloric remorse, and best of all an oatmeal empanada can technically be a breakfast of champions! Hehehe.

For the filling I used strawberries, honey and lemon to make a simple strawberry compote. Three perfect natural flavors in harmony.

And for the final touch some sea salt flakes on the crust. Oh my when you take a bite of these babies its heaven. They have a light crust, not too sweet, and the sea salt flakes add tons of attitude, they brighten up the strawberry filling and balance the sweet flavor. This recipe is a winner and I truly believe You are gonna love them. I would love to hear back from you if you make them, shoot us some comments do not forget to share…Enjoy!

Other empanada fillings: peach & ginger, apples, strawberry and peanut butter, raspberry, mangos, pineapple! Or any savory flavor will work too…strawberry & peanut butter wha?!

Strawberry-Empanadas_ingredientes~Yes,-more-please!

Strawberry Empanadas

Makes 12 empanadas, recipe can easily be doubled for a bigger yield.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 good dash of kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup coconut oil Organic Coconut Oil Pure Extra Virgin
½ cup white wine ...almost any kind will work, left over wine? Great!.. with the exception of a very dry and mineral-rich wine (Those flavor notes will be a bit harsh on the dough flavor.)

For the strawberry compote:

2 cups diced strawberries
the zest of one lemon
the juice of half a lemon
a pinch of salt.
¼ cup honey
¼ -1/3 cup turbinado sugar, upon how sweet or tart your strawberries are, start with ¼, taste, and add more if needed.

Top with:

Sea salt flakes
Oat flakes
1 egg + 1 teaspoon water for egg wash.

Preparation method:

Making the dough:

1. Combine dry ingredients, whisk.
2. Add coconut oil in solid form mix using your fingers until the flour resembles coarse sand.
3. Add egg yolk and mix.
4. Add white wine little by little and mix with your hands until well incorporated and you form a ball.
5. Knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes until smooth.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

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Animated-dough_Satrawberry-empanadas

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While the dough is resting, make the strawberry compote:

In a small non reactive pot (stainless steel preferable) combine diced strawberries, turbinado sugar, honey, lemon zest lemon juice. Mix well until sugar is dissolved by the strawberry juices.
Over medium heat, bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Attend at all times, you don’t want a sugary foam all over your stove!. Remove from burner set a side and cool.

Strawberry-Empanadas_strawberry-compote_Yes,-more-please!

Strawberry-Empanadas_strawberrycompote_Yes,-more-please!

Making the empanadas:

1. Roll the dough into a large circle, start by shaping the dough into a disk, flour the surface and with your rolling pin start rolling from the center out. rotate your dough 90 degrees every time you roll to keep the dough into a circle . /this rolling and rotating allow you to keep the dough from sticking to the surface, and to keep it at an even thickness. You want to stop rolling until your dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick. (see picture below)

Strawberry-empanadas_Rolling-the-dough_Yes,-more-please!
2. Cut 4” circles (I used a bowl with a thin edge for better results use a pastry or cookie cutter)

Strawberry-empanadas_cut-the-dough
3.Egg wash the perimeter, place a little less than a tablespoon of strawberry compote on the center of the dough and fold the circle in half making a half-moon.
4. Slightly press the edges to seal the empanada, place on a floured surface and with the help of a fork press all the edge to seal it.
5. Place them as you go on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpad for best results.Proceed with the rest of the dough until you have about 12 empanadas.
6. With the same fork prick all the empanadas in the center so steam can get off as they bake and avoid leaks. ~Sometimes leaks happen ands thats ok; keep calm and carry on because they still taste delicious!~
8. With a pastry brush apply egg wash and sprinkle some sea salt and oat flakes. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes.

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9.Remove out of the oven and let them sit for a minute or two, transfer to a cooling rack, before you eat them all!!!

 

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Strawberry-Empanadas_Yes,-more-please!

Strawberry-empanadas-beauty-shot_Yes,-more-please!

Eat a warm one with a small glass of milk…

and remember to share!

 

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Yogurt Mini Popsicles

Yogurt Mini Popsicles ~ Yes, more please!

The ultimate Summer treat, yogurt mini popsicles, I have seen the fever of these cuties and I did not imagine why?…Well let me tell you, now that I have made them… I’m crazy for them! It is awesome what 4 ingredients can do for you. Greek yogurt, agave nectar (I substitute agave instead of sugar because its healthier for you and the little ones too), fresh fruit, herbs or spices.

Its so easy to make, you’re gonna laugh about it. You can get creative with the flavors and the creamy yogurt because it is the perfect canvas to showcase any fresh seasonal fruit. I already have a sinful list of the next combinations to try.

This popsicles are creamy and not too sweet, the texture is a little different from store bought. They are a bit more Icy due to the lack of extra fat and overdose of sugar; But thats exactly the kind of ice cream I crave in the summer; light and not too sweet. I combined different herbs with the fruits, lemony thyme with fresh strawberry puree, lavender with Texas peaches and pineapple coconut with rosemary. The combination of fruit and herbs give a little extra flavor.

If you are concerned for your kids or not too crazy about the herbs in your popsicle just omit them. (Ian was not to crazy about me adding rosemary to the pineapple and coconut ones, but he loved the peach and lavender…go figure!).

The other part I love about these mini popsicles is that you don’t have to buy fancy equipment to make them, you can get any small plastic or paper dixie cups and wood sticks. They are the perfect size for a snack or dessert.

Yogurth Mini Popsicles ~ Yes, more Please!Yogurth Mini Popsicles ~ Yes, more Please!

Yogurt Mini Popsicles

Strawberry & Thyme

Makes 6

2 cups of fresh strawberries pureed.
8 tablespoons Honey (agave nectar, sugar or mascabado)
1-½ cup of Greek yogurt plain. I used Fage.
2 sprigs of thyme

Method:

Mix the Greek yogurt and 6 tablespoons of honey. In a blender, puree 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Remember to taste your fruit first, you might need less or more honey depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Place all the dixie cups in a baking pan and start layering the strawberry puree and the yogurt into the cups a little at a time. Do not fill them up to the top; leave a little room like a ¼ of an inch. Place the tray in the freezer. Wait 10-15 minutes and insert the wood sticks. Chill for 3-4 hours for best results.
*aluminum pans are great conductors of temperature so your pops will freeze faster.

Pops_02

Peach and Lavender

Makes 6

2 cups of fresh peaches pureed.
8 tablespoons of Honey (agavenectar, sugar or mascabado)
1 ½ cup of Greek yogurt plain. I used Fage.
½ teaspoon of dry lavender

Method:

Mix the Greek yogurt and 6 tablespoons of honey. In a blender, puree 2 cups of peaches and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Remember to taste your fruit first, you might need less or more honey depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Fold the peach puree into the yogurt and sprinkle the dry lavender until well combined. Arrange the thinly sliced peaches into the walls of the dixie cup. Place all the cups in a baking pan and proceed to fill them with the yogurt and peach mixture. Fill them almost to the top, leave a little room (like a ¼ of an inch). Place the tray in the freezer. Wait 10-15 minutes and insert the wood sticks. Chill for 3-4 hours for best results.

Pops_06

PineappleCoconut and Rosemary

Makes 6

2 cups fresh pineapple pureed.
4 tablespoons toasted coconut
8 tablespoons Honey (agave nectar, sugar or mascabado)
1 ½ cup Greek yogurt plain. I used Fage.
1 sprig fresh Rosemary.

Method:

Mix the Greek yogurt and 4 tablespoons of honey. In a blender puree 2 cups of fresh pineapple, 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, 4 tablespoons of honey.  Remember to taste your fruit first, you might need less or more honey depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Fold the pineapple puree and the toasted coconut into the yogurt until well combined. Proceed to fill the dixie cups with the yogurt and pineapple mixture. Fill them almost to the top, leave a little room like a ¼ of an inch. Sprinkle some extra toasted coconut and the sprigs of rosemary. In a 8” round baking pan place all the dixie cups Place the tray in the freezer. Wait 10-15 minutes and insert the wood sticks. Chill for 3-4 hours for best results.

Yogurt-Pops_paletas-de-yogurt_Yes,-more-please!

Yogurt-Pops_Yes,-more-please!

Scrumptious summer treat…

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