Food, Recipes

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

With Galentine’s and Valentine’s Day this weekend, I thought I’d pay another tribute to the Hallmark Holiday’s with a recipe in addition to last week’s blog! Nothing says Valentine’s Day like fresh strawberries. While I admit I’m in now way a baker*, I thought an easy and delicious treat was in order. This is great for brunch or dessert!

Whipped Goat Cheese & Strawberry Balsamic Pastry

  • 8 ounce goat cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • 4 cups sliced strawberry
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-4 Puff Pastry Shells

For ease of following this recipe, please know you’ll be making the strawberry balsamic topping first, then while baking the pastry shells you’ll create the whipped goat cheese.

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place strawberries in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stirring regularly.
  3. Once bubbling, add honey and balsamic.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to cool container.
  6. Place strawberry mix in the fridge to cool while prepping other elements of the dish.
  7. Next place pastry shells on a nonstick pan and put in oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (The package says 18 minutes, but that was too long with my oven.)
  8. While pastry shells are baking, in a bowl vigorously mix goat cheese, agave, and milk. Set aside.
  9. After removing pastry shells from the oven, allow to cool for a moment before plating.
  10. Remove the tops from the center of the shell and add goat cheese mixture.
  11. After top with two to three large spoonfuls of strawberry balsamic topping and serve!
  12. Enjoy!

Notes: You can use the honey and agave interchangeably or just use one for the entire dish. I, myself, prefer agave, but use whatever you have and it will still be delightful. For the whipped goat cheese, you can use any kind of milk. I’ve tested this with both almond and regular milk, neither will disappoint.

Disclaimer: I am not a baker. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, so please do not judge that I use pre-made pastry shells instead of making them from scratch! It won’t change that these are yummy and easy.

Food, Recipes

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

I’ve been wanting Southeast Asian flavors lately without the heaviness of a curry or saltiness of stir-fry. I cooked up this unique combo of earthy beets, tangy tamarind, spicy chiles, and the sweetness of crème fraîche. You can make this as an appetizer, snack, or on a bed of greens for a decadent salad.

Tamarind Beets with Lime Crème Fraîche

  • 5-6 small beets, boiled, peeled, and diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind paste or sauce
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used a Serrano)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • Chili powder or cayenne (just a pinch)
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro and green onion for garnish, optional
  1. In a sauté pan, heat butter.
  2. When melted add ginger, spices, and hot pepper. 
  3. Once ingredients have blended and spices begin to smell aromatic and ginger caramelizes, add beets. 
  4. Add tamarind to beet mixture and coat thoroughly. 
  5. In small bowl, add crème fraîche, chili powder, lime zest, and juice. 
  6. Serve with cilantro and green onion garnish.
  7. Deep beets and enjoy!

Note: I highly recommend boiling the beets the day before, cooling over night for the easiest way to peel them. The skins will pop right off. Also, if you don’t like spicy food, hold back on the pepper. I thoroughly enjoy spicy food. I admit, the last time I tested this recipe the pepper was so hot, I had to add a touch of agave to the crème fraîche.

Food, Recipes

Healthy Start with a Fresh Recipe

I think every time a new year begins we reevaluate our habits, particularly when it comes to food. I, of course, am no different. If you’re looking for a quick and healthy addition to your salad repertoire here is a great and easy recipe for you to try.

Creamy Lemon Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch large bunch lacinato kale (chopped)
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Take time to massage, yes, massage, the kale with the dressing ingredients. 

Kale can be tough, which is why I like it.  It doesn’t get soggy like spring mix or baby spinach.  Massaging the kale softens it a bit yet you still get that fabulous crunch.  If you like sardines, you can definitely add them for a little saltiness.  Grilled chicken is great with this too!  Obviously, if the thought of vegan mayonnaise makes you weary, go ahead and use the real stuff! 

Food, Recipes

Green Gazpacho with Envy

reka-biro-horvath-WRIQE3VHD-c-unsplashThe Texas heat has been creeping higher and higher. The humidity has been no joke either. Sometimes when I come in from working out in the gardens spreading mulch and weeding, I admit, sometimes it’s too hot to cook an extravagant meal over the stovetop. This gazpacho is delicious, refreshing, and easy!

I stumbled across green gazpacho at a local juice bar.  It was most refreshing on a hundred and three-degree day.  While it was like a glorified smoothie and slightly on the sweet side, I went home to try and replicate a slightly more savory version.  Perfect for a summer day!

Green GazpachoIMG_0038

  • 1 pound grapes (removed from stem)
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small Avocados, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of mint, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of basil, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cilantro, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of Chardonnay
  • Salt pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Chill before serving
  3. Garnish with olive oil and cracked pepper
  4. Enjoy!

If you like a little more bite you can add jalapeño or a dash of cider vinegar, lemon, or lime.

*This recipe is grom laura lee’s kitchen. You can purchase a digital copy here.

DIY, Food, Homesteading

Coming Right Up: Sprouts

IMG_3236Before I moved out to the country, my ability to grow my own food was fairly limited. I had potted herbs galore, but past that, veggies weren’t really an option. One food I learned to grow at home was alfalfa sprouts. In fact, now that we’re starting our little farm, we have these on hand all the time!  It only takes a matter of days, it’s simple and incredibly delicious. All you need is a mason jar, sprout seeds, and a piece of cloth, fine mesh, or one of the fancy lids that I used. (I got my lid at Natural Gardener in Austin, TX).

A couple notes before getting started: I highly recommend you purchase USDA Certified Organic Seeds. A lot of seeds are treated with chemicals and you do not want to ingest them. Also, if you’re a sprout fanatic, maybe get two jars going and stagger them so you have fresh sprouts every couple of days.

IMG_3234Sprouting Sprouts

    1. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of seeds into the jar
    2. Fill the jar with water until the seeds are suspended and covered an inch or two
    3. Let them soak 8-10 hours
    4. Drain/strain the water out of the jar
    5. Rinse the seeds and give them a swirl then drain again
    6. Leave the jar tilted upside down so that the water can drain out the jar (Leave a paper towel underneath or, what I do, is leave it on my dish mat to drain)
    7. Rinse and drain twice a day (AM and PM) for roughly 3 days or until sprouts are full-grown
    8. When the sprouts are ready, remove from container and rinse thoroughly to remove seed hulls
    9. Store in a closed container in the fridge for several days.

These are great in salads, sandwiches, and tacos! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Let me know how it goes… or in this case, grows!

 

 

Canning, DIY, Fermenting, Food, Uncategorized

The Gift of Sauerkraut

I don’t know if I took a moment to brag at all, but I must have been a good girl for 2019 because I got some pretty awesome gifts. One of which was a fermentation pot.  While some of you may crinkle your nose at the thought of anything fermented… you’ll find me over here doing a little dance dreaming of all the fermented goodies I’m about to hunker down and make.

Since it had been about six years since I had made sauerkraut I started off with a basic, I mean basic, sauerkraut recipe for my first batch. Cabbage and salt.  Let me tell you, while simple, this batch was a-bubble-ing during the fermentation process! Whoo! Think of all those probiotics!

I’ve already started my second batch, which will be appropriately named “The Zesty German.” The Zesty German contains cabbage, caraway seeds, red chili flakes, and garlic… lots and lots of garlic.  In fact, my kitchen smells of sweet fermenting garlic and I can’t help but giggle with giddiness every time I open that particular cabinet.

I’m already planning my next batch that will contain purple cabbage and beets! Stay tuned for recipes in the next sauerkraut blog!

Brand, Food, Recipes

Kickstarting with the Cookbook

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.18.22 PMIt has now been a little over a week since I have finished the Kickstarter Cookbook.  It was definitely an undertaking and I learned a lot about myself.  I like to bite off more than I can chew, every bit of pun intended.  At first, this little cookbook was only supposed to be a little pamphlet or mini-cookbook.  Of course, I got carried away with the spectacular idea of “go big or go home.”  I began compiling over 100 recipes, photos, etc.

What was I thinking?!  After being talked off the ledge, I reigned it in and put together a reasonably sized book for the Kickstarter Incentive.  I am incredibly pleased on the final product and believe I have something worth bringing to publishers for a bigger project as well as the potential for more books down the line.

If you donated to my Kickstarter a couple years ago, please make sure to check for updates from Kickstarter.  To access the cookbook, you must check your email for the link and password for the cookbook download. The emails come from Kickstarter, not me, and are titled “Project Update: #6, etc.”. If you are having trouble accessing the link, please email me at lauraleeimhoff@gmail.com. If you’ve moved or haven’t completed the initial survey, please update your information so I can get your incentive to you.

I’m very excited to be getting these out to you so I can begin focusing on the next steps.  Thank you for your continued support!

 

Brand, custom, Embroidery, Food

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness matters.  To be mindful, according to Merriam-Webster is to bear in mind or inclined to be aware, but how often are we really mindful?  More often than not I know I grind through my to do list one item at a time, responding to texts with rapid fire speed, and inhale meals without tasting it because I’m too busy to sit and enjoy it.  The only thing I mind is completing everything I set out to do, very rarely do I feel as if I am aware on a deeper level. That being said, when I got contacted for a recent commission the name definitely inspired me to get back to just maybe being a little more mindful.

Mindful Bowl
21314307_904504586363564_8990856101993261412_n

A couple years ago, I worked at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts here inAustin.  I had no idea how many wonderful people I would meet working there.  I have stayed connected with many of the students and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to watch their stories and culinary adventures unfold.   One student I stay in touch with, Lana, has recently started her own business.  As someone that has taken the plunge to running her own business, it’s fair to say, I have a little bit of a soft spot for other like minded lady entrepreneurs.

Lana has recently launched the Mindful Bowl project.  The Mindful Bowl is a buddha bowl inspired meal prep service.  Perfect for folks that are on the go who aren’t exactly mindful about what they’re putting into their bodies all the time…. Hmmm, like me?

Lana reached out to me for a custom towel with her branding for her start up.  I was more than happy to team up and provide a little prop action to spruce up her photos.  Although, with all the natural color from those veggies, I’m not sure how much a towel will offer. (insert winking emoji here).

Please support Lana by liking the Mindful Bowl on Facebook and Instagram (@mindful_bowl)!

Cocktails, Food

A Good Little Wife: Back in the Kitchen

I don’t know anyone that likes to be sick.  I think most would actually prefer to be at work or school than be home in bed.  I rarely get sick and when I do, it’s at the mercy of allergies.  This past week was one of the times I feel victim to seasonal allergies with a serving of mold allergies.  There was a stretch that I slept for 24 hours, not an exaggeration, which drove me to go to the doctor.  Something I avoid at all costs because I know it always results in antibiotics. On three, 1, 2, 3,…. UGH!

I’m on the mend, finally.  I have an urge to move around the house, cook, and get back to making things.  While I still a have limited energy, the sun has been such a driving power… and the salsa music… and the coffee, of course, the coffee.

I have my next batch of jam simmering away (details soon) but I just have to share some of my kitchen creations, as of the last few months I have felt completely uninspired in this department.

Saag PaneerFullSizeRender

Indian food is my favorite.  Hands down.  It’s what I consider comfort food at its best.  A world of complex flavors that warm the soul.  Saag Paneer (spinach & cheese) is my go to when I am feeling blue.  It has been tough to find a recipe that I like, but, believe it or not, I nailed one down!  Of course, I amped up the amount of ginger, garlic, and spice, but it’s a good one!   (Click here for the recipe)

 

IMG_1983Infused Rum

Ok, so I can’t drink at the moment due to being on antibiotics, but boy, oh boy, this one is going to be a treat once I’m in the clear to have an adult beverage!

2 cups of white rum + 1 cup pineapple + 1 tsp. red chili flakes = cocktail in 2 weeks.

I’m hoping for some sweet and spicy goodness! Just add club soda!

 

Juice, Juice, Juice

I really like to say that I am not a picky eater.  I was raised to eat what was put in IMG_1975front of me, because there are starving children all over the world.  Admittedly, there are a few things I just cannot stand: my grandmothers hot red sauerkraut with vinegar being at the top of that list. Raw celery, number two.  If I have the opportunity, I pass on cooking with parsley or munching on a green apple.  Feeling under the weather lately and having no appetite, I know that parsley and green apple are so good for you, so I bent my rules.

(4 Granny Smith + 1/2 bunch Parsley)/juicer = DAMN!

I’ve made this 3 times this week! That has to say something about how good it is, right?

Enjoy!