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Cherry Berry Cardamom Pops –– Spiced Curiosity

Thursday, May 23, 2013

cherry berry cardamom popsicles – momma’s birthday visit

makes 4 shareable pops

  • 1 1/2 cups whole cherries
  • 1 cup whole strawberries
  • 8 cardamom pods – or 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
    4 popsicle molds

My sweet momma came to visit last weekend. I always enjoy sharing new recipes and ideas with her, as we both view the kitchen like a creative laboratory. Each homemade meal ends in “Mmm…I love this part, next time let’s sprinkle some of this,” or “Let’s crumble a bit of that on top,” or “What do you think if we added this?” Hungry to experiment, we aim to make each concoction a feast of the mouth, eyes, and brain.

So for her birthday I wanted to create a sweet treat that was healthy in nature and innovative in flavor. With a fresh batch of scarlet cherries and a hankering for cold dessert, I thought crafty popsicles laced with fresh cardamom seemed like fun.

Cherry Berry Cardamom Pops –– Spiced Curiosity

Cardamom in particular is a fragrant, woodsy spice that I like to sprinkle in sweet, tea-laden, or floral dishes. When I was rummaging through my mental spice rack of what to pair with the dark cherries, cardamom came first to mind.

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grilled pineapple & spinach pineapple smoothie

Monday, May 20, 2013

grilled pineapple & pineapple cilantro smoothie – from the beach to Memorial Day


    grilled pineapple – serves 5
  • 1 ripe, yellow pineapple
  • 1 lime or 2 Tbsp. lime juice
    pineapple cilantro smoothie – serves 2
  • 3/4 cup ice
  • 1 lime or 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 6 stems or 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2-in ginger knob or 1 tsp. minced ginger

My friends and I were all in favor of celebrating this warm change of weather with a potluck picnic. After the forecast laughed and changed to a whimsical drizzle, we continued indoors with a front yard BBQ.

Grilling with friends :)

Now as a native Southern gal, I appreciate barbecue. I just don’t partake in it. I love my veggie- and fruit-laden meals, so this event was just an opportunity to be inventive with vegetarian options. After hemming and hawing at the grocery store, I spied the golden opportunity: fresh pineapple. At the shindig I sliced the fruit in thick rings, squeezed a layer of lime juice on top, and set them out to cook.

So if you plan on breaking out the grill for Memorial Day, I highly recommend buying a pineapple. It’s nice to finish a hearty meal on a fresh, citrusy note. Not to mention it’s super easy to cook.

Grilled Pineapple - Dessert for Memorial Day

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Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Friday, May 3, 2013

ramp pesto pasta & balsamic-roasted tomatoes


    ramp pesto – makes 1 cup
  • 1 bunch of ramps
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 small mint leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

    balsamic-roasted tomatoes
  • 10 large cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste

    whole dish
  • 1/2 cup ramp pesto
  • 10 balsamic roasted tomatoes
  • 8 oz quinoa or brown rice pasta

Ramps are an intriguing root, balancing the sharp flavors of onion and garlic in a scallion-like body. My favorite savory flavor, with limitless possibilities. So after waffling over how to use it (savory pancakes? bruschetta? just pickled?), I pinned down the idea of pesto pasta. Not only is the recipe simple to make, but I can use it on everything. Pasta. Eggs. A slab of thick sourdough. The pungent spread spices up anything in a beautiful way.

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Ramp Pesto Pasta & Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes –– Spiced Curiosity

Although I had my mind set on making pesto, I observed different restaurant menus for inspiration. This past weekend my boyfriend and I wandered into Buvette, where I tried a glorious tartine. Over thick slabs of crusty bread reigned a decadent, walnut mint pesto. I tried not to grab every piece with all ten fingers, and I’m sure my boyfriend appreciated the minor show of self-control. (Right, silverware.) The flavor was so rich I almost drowned, but I bobbed back up with a spike of mint in every bite. I really liked that brightening contrast. Remembering how mint lifted up the dish, I added a few leaves to the ramp pesto experiment. Success! The heavy garlic and onion flavor lightened with just a few leaves. (If you don’t have any at home, the dish still tastes great without.)

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Lime-Roasted Vidalia Onions & Black Bean Tacos @SpicedCuriosity

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

lime-seared vidalia onion & black bean tacos

    Serves two people
  • 1 large or two small Vidalia onions
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans – drained
  • 2 small tomatoes – diced
  • 1 large red onion – diced
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 Tbsp. high-heat oil – I like coconut
  • salt & ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 5 medium-sized corn tortillas

Surrounded by Hispanic co-workers, I grasp a little bit of Spanglish and cultural insights here and there. Along with the different ways to say “pancakes” in Spain versus the Dominican Republic versus Puerto Rico, I learn about the integral ingredient in all savory food: limón. I have come to covet this fruta verde, incorporating it into more and more of my dishes.

With spring afoot, I have been eyeing the fresh Vidalia onions at the market with lime in hand. Onions roasted are divine, but seared with lime juice is the next step up. The blackened root imparts a tangy taste that I love, especially atop savory tacos.

crazy buds

spring in New York

To accentuate the flavor in the onions, I tried two methods of cooking: pan-searing and roasting in the oven. The latter takes a good half hour – and I couldn’t wait that long. Long before that batch was done cooking at 400°F, I was nibbling on strips from the cast-iron.

Lime-Roasted Vidalia Onions & Black Bean Tacos @SpicedCuriosity

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