Friday, May 16, 2008

Cheater Green Smoothie

I made a green smoothie last night that was so delicious, you would literally not know it had greens in it. Therefore, I call it the 'Cheater Green Smoothie' because it tastes fruity and sweet, with no bitter aftertaste or any type of bad taste that anyone might associate with greens.

The full recipe is proprietary (see and her store), but I'll tell you the basics of what I used:

agave nectar
lemon with peel
flax seed oil
spinach, chard, and kale
frozen peaches

I am still a little light on the greens; I could increase the proportion of greens a lot more. I noticed some, um, digestive disturbances when I went all-out with the greens, so I've cut back on them for now. I need to get a kitchen scale to get a better idea of the true amount I'm using on a weight basis.

Anyway, the smoothie was absolutely fabulous, and incredibly smooth - almost silky, like pudding. I used a VitaMix to blend it; I'm not sure if I'd have gotten the same result using my Bosch blender. Perhaps I'll make the same thing again tonight using the Bosch to test.

Robyn shows how to make her basic smoothie here. You can vary the types of greens and fruit however you want.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Best Chocolate Cake

When Megan announced the Egg Recipes contest at Backyard Farming, I was very excited to enter! I planned several recipes, made two of them, and took lots of pictures while I was at it. Then I procrastinated until now I have 6 minutes until the entry deadline. So I guess all you'll get is the recipe and a couple pictures.

I based this off Smitten Kitchen's 'the best chocolate cake, expletive-free' recipe.

Copied directly from the above link:

To Make a Four-Layer Chocolate Cake

For cake layers:
12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
6 tablespoons water
12 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder

For filling:
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier*

Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease four 9-inch circular cake pans and line bottoms of circles with a piece of parchment paper.

Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.

Beat yolks, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Fold in melted chocolate until blended. Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks (you will need an enormous bowl for 12 egg whites).

Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Spread batter evenly over four baking pans and bake until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating cakes between racks to ensure they bake evenly. Transfer pans to cooling racks and if necessary, loosen edges with a knife.

Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layers and place a piece of waxed paper over the top of the pans. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. Place layers in the freezer for about an hour, until they are firm enough to be carefully lifted without breaking.

Make filling: Beat cream with powdered sugar and Grand Marnier with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.

Fill and roll cake: Bring first cake layer out of the freezer and arrange on platter, cocoa side down. Spread one-quarter of filling evenly over the cake. Bring the next cake layer out of the freezer, placing it gently over the filling, again cocoa side down. Repeat this process until all layers and whipped cream are used.

Keep cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Two hours should be more than enough to assure that the layers are no longer frozen.

Dark chocolate grated into curls with a vegetable peeler makes for an excellent garnish.

* You can substitute the following for Grand Marnier: 4 tablespoons Cognac and 1 teaspoon vanilla; 4 tablespoons cocoa and 1 teaspoon vanilla; or 4 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules dissolved in 4 teaspoons water plus 1 teaspoon vanilla.

I halved everything to make a two-layer cake and I used the cocoa variation instead of the Grand Marnier.

Here are the ingredients I started out with:

And here is the finished product:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fabulous Beginner Green Smoothie

I've toyed with the idea of drinking green smoothies in the past, but never stuck with it. I recently stumbled across Robyn's Green Smoothie Girl website, and she got me all fired up for green smoothies again. The last few days I've been stuffing mine full of spinach, collards, and kale, but I decided to scale back a little bit today and work up to that many greens at once. This was today's smoothie, and it was fantastic:

start with 1 C cold water
add 1 handful spinach and 1/2 leaf collard greens (no stem)
blend until smooth
add 1-1/2 C fresh pineapple with all the juice from when you cut the pineapple up
add 1 pear, with skin (I removed the seeds)
add a tiny squirt of agave nectar (I'm sure it was less than a tablespoon)
drizzle in melted coconut oil as the blender is going (I used several tablespoons)

It was delicious! It's heavy on fruit, but it's a great way to get started on green smoothies. You can work your way up to more green-intensive recipes.

I also added a raw egg to mine, but most people probably aren't going to go for that ;-)