Miz Chef

Cooking Up a Healthy Life


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Peanut Butter & Cranberry Sandwich

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A while back, while scrolling through photos of food on Instagram,  I came across a picture of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was enticing.

Let me just say that while I love peanut butter, I’m not fond of jelly. So, ever since I was a kid, I’ve been eating peanut butter sandwiches, sans jelly.

But the PB&J in this photo was so delicious looking, so scrumptious, that it made me think for a moment that maybe I’d been wrong. Maybe I’d judged jelly too harshly. Maybe I should give it another try.

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Mmm, no. I’m old enough to know what I like and don’t like. Honey, yes. Jelly, no.

Then, a thought hit me. What if…now, hear me out…what if I made a peanut butter and cranberry sandwich? I had a jar of homemade cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving. I’ve used cranberry sauce for many things—why not a sandwich?

And, so, I did. And it was crazy good. I mean crazy AND good.

No, I was right the first time. Crazy good.

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Husk Cherry Salsa

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So, what exactly are husk cherries? That’s what I wanted to know when I spotted them at the Union Square farmers’ Market in Manhattan. At first I thought they were gooseberries because they looked exactly like gooseberries—they were golden globes covered in a paper-thin, skin-like husk.

But the sign said “husk cherries.” Naturally, I bought some.img_6445

Native to the New World, husk cherries are not cherries at all. Sometimes also called husk tomatoes, Cape gooseberries, and ground cherries, they’re a type of flowering plant belonging to the nightshade family.

Their flavor is quite unique. It’s like a cross between a tomato, a papaya, and a pineapple. Sweet and savory at the same time. The easiest and no-brainer way to use them is in a salsa, which is exactly how Native Americans peoples used them, as well as eating them out of hand.

I think if food-loving people were smart, they’d introduce themselves to husk cherries and make them better known to the world. They’re really a great little fruit/vegetable. If you ever see them, buy a small bagful and give this recipe a try.

Enjoy!

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Husk Cherry Salsa

Makes approximately 1½ cups.

1 cup husk cherries
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced chile of your choice
¼ minced cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Remove the husks from the cherries by peeling the husks back and twisting them off. Rinse the cherries in cool water and set on paper towels to drain. Cut the cherries in half and place them in a bowl.img_6451Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread, or use as a relish for fish, chicken, pork, or vegetables.img_6455

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Cranberry Sauce with a Sorghum Twist

cranberry enhancedA few years ago, I introduced a recipe for Cranberry Sauce with a Sorghum Twist. I think using sorghum syrup is a great way to enjoy traditional dishes without using white cane sugar.

In my cranberry sauce, it also adds a different dimension to the flavor. And it’s still one of my favorite cranberry sauce recipes.

So, below is a reprint of my original post from 2013. I hope you like it. Have a fun, safe, and peaceful Thanksgiving.

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Guava Cocktail

IMG_5351Last week, I made guava puree from fresh guavas that I had found at the market and made guava quesadillas. I had plenty of puree leftover and promised you a guava cocktail. So now I’m delivering.

Guava puree makes for a complexly flavored drink, but also a sweet drink. So, if you prefer your drinks less sweet, you may want to cut back on the guava. Increasing the amount of rum—as good as that sounds—won’t cut the sweetness—it will just make a really strong drink!

I had purchased (unknowingly) white guavas instead of pink ones. If you get white guavas, you might want to throw in a bit of grenadine for a deliciously red color. The pictures you see here were taken before the grenadine. I stirred some in later and decided that I liked it, but it was too late for photos.

So, while the summer is hanging on by thread and guavas are still appearing at the market, grab some and try this drink. For the rest of the year, use guava paste, which I discuss HERE.

Enjoy!

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2/3 cup guava puree
½ cup spiced rum
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Garnish: orange slices and/or mint sprigs

Place all the ingredients in a blender, along with a few ice cubes. Blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and garnish with an orange slice and/or a sprig of mint.

Makes 2 cocktails.

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Guava Quesadillas

IMG_5341Oh, my peeps, do I have a great recipe for you this week. I saw these beautiful Mexican guavas at the store and picked up a carton. I’m a big fan of guava and knew that I could do quite a few things with them.

First, I decided to make a puree and I would go from there. When I cut themIMG_5328 open, I was surprised to find that they were white guavas rather than the pink ones that we most often think of. They’re delicious, just not as pretty. But that’s okay.

I also happened to have some queso fresco on hand, which I’d purchased for another recipe. Queso fresco—literally, “fresh cheese”—is like a feta cheese in flavor and texture, but it’s much milder, and it’s used frequently in Latin American cuisines. You can find it in Latin American markets, or supermarkets that have a decent cheese selection. If you can’t find it, any crumbly feta-like cheese will do.

Oh, and I also had blue corn tortillas. My decision was easy. I would make guava quesadillas. They require so few ingredients, yet guava quesadillas are so flavor-packed and really fun to eat. The sweetness of the guava is offset by the saltiness of the cheese, so you can actually have them as part of a meal, a snack, or dessert. And you can add whatever toppings you like: salsa, guacamole, hot sauce. It all works.IMG_5330 Continue reading


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Boozy Watermelon

IMG_5288I was passing by a market that had some fruit on display outside. I was paying no attention to it, but something caught my eye. They had a box of mini round watermelons. They looked so cute, I had to have one. So, I picked one out and took it home. (I paid for it first, of course.)IMAG3106

When I cut it open, I discovered that it was a yellow watermelon. They hadn’t labeled it yellow—the sign only said “sweet.” I love finding yellow watermelons. They’re like yellow topazes, sparkling in the light.

Unfortunately, it was a lot prettier than it was tasty. They lied. It wasn’t sweet.

Now I had to find a way to enjoy this melon without resenting the money I paid for it.IMG_5274

So, I cut it up and put some booze in it. But not just any booze. I had this beautiful elderflower rum that I picked up at a farmers’ market in Vermont and it paired perfectly with the melon. Then I decided to mash it and make it into a slushy. Continue reading


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Almond-Lucuma Cake

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Photo: Akramm via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Akramm via Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t heard of lucuma, it’s because it’s a fruit indigenous to Peru, Chile, and Ecuador that hasn’t really had much play outside of its native region, especially since it only thrives in subtropical climates. It has a dark green skin, and a pit (sometimes two) that look like avocado pits. Its yellow flesh is dry and often compared to hard-boiled egg yolk, and its mild flavor has been likened to maple syrup, caramel, and sweet potatoes.

Indigenous Andean peoples used lucuma not just as food but medicinally as well. The Incas believed it to be a symbol of fertility and creation and it was dubbed “Gold of the Incas.” Modern studies of lucuma show that the fruit contains beta carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. It aids in warding off heart disease and hypertension, maintaining skin health and blood sugar levels (and it is hoped that it will help people with diabetes), and supporting healthy digestion.lucuma[1]
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