Cooking With Tea

Time to think outside the teacup and start cooking with tea! By incorporating tea into your recipes you can bring the amazing health benefits of tea to all kinds of dishes from the savory to the sweet.

Here is a quick, mouth-watering, list to get you started:

And make sure to sign up for The Squeeze to get an exclusive tea-infused recipe from Inggrie Merriman of TehKu in this month’s newsletter.

Posted in Recipes by Liz on October 24, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Water with Basil, Please.


When my friend Ashley first told me about this drink, I immediately said: “Orange slices and basil? You mean mint, right?” and even after she confirmed that she meant basil, I still wondered if she was getting her local leafy flavors confused.

The ingredient list and recipe was too easy for me not to try it, so last weekend as we continued to have summer temperatures, I mixed together this drink to serve at an afternoon party we were hosting (which my friend Ashley was in attendance). Sure enough, it was a big hit and everyone (but Ashley) was equally shocked that those leaves in it were in fact basil, plucked from the still flourishing basil plant in our garden.

Orange & Basil Water

Mix one orange (cut into wedges or slices) and 5-10 basil leaves (to taste) in a pitcher of ice water and serve. It’s that easy, and gives an interesting “twist” to serving the traditional water with lemon.

Posted in Recipes by Rhaya on October 14, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Grilling Pizza

I may have mentioned before that my husband and I love homemade pizza, but now there is good reason to love it even more – the grill.  I’ve heard of grilling pizza many times before but never could figure out how the dough would stay nice and flat rather than slipping right through the racks of the grill.  After reading this article in Eating Well magazine and this post, we finally had the courage to try it and it worked!

Needless to say, homemade pizzas on the grill have become a regular favorite in our house this summer.  I usually make up a lot of whole wheat dough at one time, tear it into small sections (big enough for one small pizza), use what I need for that day, and store the rest in the freezer so it’s ready to go for a quick dinner.  Right before we fire up the grill, I prep all the toppings and line them up on separate plates based on the different pizzas we are having, so it’s easy for the “grill-master” to keep everything going at once.

Pictured above are several different pizzas we made one night for a group of friends, some of the different toppings that night included a mix of several cheeses, caramelized onions, hot banana peppers, pepperoni, and seasonal veggies like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini.  It’s fun to really get creative with your toppings, but just remember that with these pizzas, less is really more!

Posted in Recipes by Liz on September 25, 2008 | Permalink | 3 Comments

Too Many Tomatoes Casserole

single tomato

Our good friend Krista is an excellent cook, and she submitted this great recipe as another alternative to the more popular tomato dishes. Bon appetit!

This summer I was not able to grow my own garden, but have many friends that keep donating me their tomatoes that are abundant right now. I wanted to do something different with them besides the stand by BLT and Caprese Salad, so I found a recipe on for a tomato casserole that my family loved.

Tomato Casserole

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 lbs ripe tomatoes
Salt and Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Chopped Marjoram
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 Cup Day Old Bread Crumbs
1 Teaspoon Paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush casserole dish with olive oil. Slice tomatoes about 1/8 inch thick and place 1 layer in 1/2 quart Pyrex dish. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with 1/2 herbs and all feta. Do another layer of tomatoes and repeat with herbs and salt. Top with bread crumbs and paprika and cook for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on September 24, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Local Tomato Bisque

tomato bisque

Earlier this week, I tried a cool tomato soup and since I still have a steady amount of tomatoes growing in our garden, I decided to try making a warm one tonight.

Tomato Bisque
The following amounts will serve two. For a larger batch, double the amounts below.

4 ripe tomatoes
1/2 of a small onion
3 fresh basil leaves
1 cup whole milk
3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions while you peel and seed the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, basil, brown sugar, salt and pepper to the onions and simmer until tomatoes are thoroughly cooked (about 20 minutes).

Transfer everything to a blender and puree. Add in the milk and transfer it back to the stove. Heat (without boiling) and serve warm.

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on September 14, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Easy Cheesy Frittata


We’ve already covered frittatas here and here, but I figured one more can’t hurt. This one is perfect to serve at a brunch (which is when Liz first showed me how to make it) or to make for yourself to have for multiple mornings.

Easy Cheesy Frittata

6 large eggs (local and organic of course!)
1 cup milk
1 large tomato
8-10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 of a small onion
1/2 of a hot chili pepper
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil an 9 inch glass pie dish. Beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Chop up the veggies and basil and add them to the eggs. Pour everything into the baking dish and bake approximately 35 minutes (or until firm). After removing from the oven, shred some cheese on top. Let cool and serve!

The great thing about this dish is that you can add whatever veggies you please. The tomatoes, basil and hot pepper all came from my garden, but you could also use mushrooms and sweet peppers. It’s all about customizing to your tastes and what’s in season!

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on September 8, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Local Gazpacho


I have never made Gazpacho before but based on the amount of tomatoes we have (courtesy of our mini garden in our backyard) I decided it would be a fun cool soup to try. (For other cool soups check out this post and this one.) I found a multitude of variations of Gazpacho on the internet, but ended up modifying the one I found here.

Local Gazpacho

4 large tomatoes
1 red pepper
1/2 cucumber (peeled)
1/2 small onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water

Roughly chop up all the veggies and add EVERYTHING to a blender. Blend for only a few seconds (for a more chunky soup) and then strain out the water until it is at a desired consistency.

Chill before serving.

The end result is very refreshing, and makes a perfect side dish or appetizer. (Unless you really like tomatoes, and then it can be the main entree.)

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on September 8, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

tomato cucumber

In addition to bringing me fresh fruits and veggies week after week, Farm Fresh Delivery also sends along some recipes in the produce bin. These recipes are always in tune with what’s in season, and this one especially stood out to me because it has an Asian twist on the original Cucumber and Tomato salad with vinegar. It a refreshing side dish on any hot day!

Cucumber & Tomato Salad

1 cucumber
1-2 tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil (or Peanut Oil)
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (or Rice Wine)
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon (more or less) of Sesame Seeds

Use a vegetable peeler to remove most of the cucumber skin and cut off the ends. Slice lengthwise once and then slice into thin “half moons”. Core and dice the tomatoes and add with the cucumber slices in a mixing bowl. Add in the oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds and gently mix everything together. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

This recipe is adapted from the Beth Blessing original recipe that came with the delivery. For more recipes from Farm Fresh Delivery, visit their web site.

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Rhaya on September 5, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Real Simple Salad

I am a salad-lover all year round, but when the temperature is pushing 90 there is nothing more refreshing than a cool crisp salad for lunch or dinner. I tasted this particular salad last summer, when my friend Jerra brought it to a lakehouse luncheon, and I have been making ever since. Not usually a fan of fruit on my salads, I fell in love with the texture and taste combo that the pear and blue cheese provided, and have been making this salad every since.

The original recipe can be found on the REAL SIMPLE web site but the real secret is in the dressing (see below). It is definitely worth making your own rather than reaching for anything pre-made from the grocery store.

Real Simple Dressing
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together the above ingredients and drizzle over a bed of arugula (or mixed greens as I prefer) topped with pear chunks and crumbled blue cheese. The sweet and tangy dressing perfectly compliment the sweet and strong flavors of the pear and blue cheese. Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes by Rhaya on August 4, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

A Better Breakfast Bar

Bar by Liz

You’ve heard it many times, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But how many of us rush out the door in the morning just trying to make sure we have the essentials for the day, nevermind stopping for a healthy homemade breakfast? Enter the breakfast bar. Okay, so I know it’s nothing new to you, I’m sure, but I’m not talking about the kind or bar with millions of unheard of ingredients that you get from a shiny wrapper out of a box. I’m proposing you spend just a little time on the weekend to whip up a batch of these delicious bars in your own kitchen so you will have an effortless breakfast ready to go each morning on your way out the door.

The original recipe, tweaked only slightly, and outlined below, is from Body & Soul Magazine and incorporates lots of wholesome ingredients like spelt, flaxseeds nuts and uses honey as a natural sweetener instead of sugar. Feel free to experiment with your own mix-ins, I’ve made them a couple times now and they are great with some chia seeds thrown in too.

Spelt Breakfast Bar
adapted from Body & Soul Magazine

1 tbsp coconut oil, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cup spelt flakes (I used Arrowhead Mills spelt flakes cereal)
1/2 cup dried cherries (or raisins)
1/4 cup sprouted or ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup pecans, coarsly chopped
2 tbsp. pistachios, coarsly chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Prehaeat oven to 325. brush an 8×8 baking dish with oil. Line with parchment paper leaving a 2 inch overhang, brush with oil.

Combine spelt, cherries, flaxseeds, pecans, pistachios, and salt; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine honey, peanut butter, oil, vanilla. Cook over medium until melted, then add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake until golden and edges pull away from sides of pan, 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Using paper overhang, lift bars out of pan. On a cutting board cut into 8 pieces using a serrated knife. Store in an airtight container, sperating pieces with waxed parchment paper, for one week.

Note: I have skipped the parchment paper step and everything came out fine too.

Posted in Recipes by Liz on July 2, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

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