I Like Jicama and Ponies

I didn’t have time to cook this weekend; sad life. My amazing loving perfect wonderful boyfriend drove six hours to visit me… He named this post. We had a great time – we went to this place full of trampolines (what?! I know) and to the beach at Santa Cruz (where a seagull pooped on my forehead… yep). Then on Sunday we went to the San Jose Flea Market, which just so happens to have a Farmer’s Market.

My bank doesn’t have any ATMs up here, so I bought a banana at Lucky and got cash back. Honestly, why pay a $3 ATM fee when you can buy a banana for $0.18? Then I got a mango and a jicama at the Farmer’s Market. I really wish I had gotten more than one mango, because it was so good!

I made a fruit salad with the banana, mango, half the jicama, and a squeeze of a lemon, so this isn’t much of a recipe. More just a lesson about fruit.

First: the banana. How do you open your bananas? If your answer is from the side with the stem, you’re wrong. Squeeze the other end and it will open right up. Magic.

Now, the mango. Do you know how to cut a mango? It has a disk-like pit on the inside. Cut off the sides, around the pit. Then cut a grid in each of the halves, without  slicing through the skin. Then you can flip it inside out and cut off the cubes!

At this point, if you’re a good person you’ll scrape off the rest of the mango flesh from the skin and pit with your teeth. Delicious.

Last but not least, the jicama. I’ve never bought a jicama before, so this was new for me too. I read online that you should cut it with a serrated knife, but mine just wasn’t cutting it, so I had to bring out the big guns.

It got stuck.

It took about five minutes just to cut it in half. Once I did that, I cut one of the halves again, then peeled and cubed the quarters. This is a pretty big jicama – about 2 pounds, so I only wanted half for now. The other piece went in a bag in the fridge.

For those of you who haven’t had jicama before, it has a pretty subtle flavor. A little nutty, and mildly sweet. It’s crunchy, almost like water chestnuts.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy.

Healthy Dessert?!!

I got another tattoo yesterday, my third, and I’m really sore. I wanted to bake but I wanted something easy. Easy and healthy. This whole tattoo thing means no working out for at least 2 weeks – I have to avoid sweating as much as possible. According to the extremely reliable Yahoo! Answers, I run the risk of a staph infection – bad news. So I’m trying to keep the fatty foods at a minimum.

This is by far the best brownie I have ever tasted. It’s dense, fudgy, and secretly healthy. I’ve seen many recipes similar to this one and I’ve been absolutely dying to try it out! Seriously, don’t be afraid of it. It’s delicious.

The only thing I’d do differently is put the chocolate chips on top, rather than mixing them into the batter. The walnuts were fine, but the chocolate chips all sunk to the bottom and were lost when I took the brownies out of the pan!

Black Bean Brownies
(Original can be found here)

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
3 eggs
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used grape seed)
1/4 C cocoa powder
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping Tbsp instant coffee
1/3 C chocolate chips
1/3 C chopped walnuts (it actually could’ve used more, maybe 1/2 C)

Special Tools:
Blender or food processor

Instructions:
1.
 Preheat your oven to 350 F.
2.
Rinse and drain your black beans.
3. Put all ingredients except walnuts and chocolate chips into the blender. Blend until smooth.

4. Mix in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
5. Pour into an 8×8 baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Hostess with the Mostest

Double recipe post!! So last Saturday, I decided to invite some other interns over for dinner since my roommate was out of town and I was bored. Surprise, surprise, it ended up just me and the boys. Occupational hazard, I guess.

Anyway, my roommate’s fish was sick, and she said that if I put a couple of peas in the tank they would get better. I have NEVER heard of this before. Have any of you? It seemed so silly, but it works – her fish is swimming fine now! I healed the fish with two peas and had a huge bag left over. That was the motivation behind this recipe.

Spinach and Pea Pesto
Vegan. (adapted from Sunny Vegan)

Ingredients:
1 C peas (thawed if frozen – I microwaved mine)
1 C spinach
1/2 C chopped walnuts (raw)
1/4 C fresh basil
1/3 C olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Special Tools:
Food processor (or a good blender)

 Instructions:
1.
 Pulse walnuts in food processor until they form a fine meal.
2. Slowly add in the peas and spinach, pouring in olive oil as needed so it will process. I ended up using a bit more than 1/3 C because my blender was being mean, but the end product was slightly more oily than I wanted. I was just impatient.
3. Add basil, lemon, and garlic.

4. Mix with 1lb of your favorite pasta and serve.

So then, for dessert, I really wanted to make ice cream. I felt guilty making ice cream after a vegan entree, but I really wanted it. That makes it okay, right?

The only good fruit on sale at the market was strawberries, but I’ve already done strawberry ice cream, and I wanted to experiment! I remembered I had about a third of a bag of frozen blueberries laying around, so I thought, why not? Let me just tell you, it turned out great. If I didn’t have company, I probably would have pigged out way more than I did on this stuff.

Blueberry Ice Cream
(adapted from Cuisinart)

Ingredients:
~1 1/2 C frozen blueberries
3/4 C low fat milk
1 1/2 C heavy cream
2/3 C sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/2 – 2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla if you don’t have almond, but in my opinion the almond is what really made this amazing)

Special Tools:
Ice cream maker

Instructions:
1.
 In a small saucepan, bring blueberries to a boil over medium heat.

 2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, salt, and almond extract until the sugar is dissolved.
3. Once the blueberries are boiling, squish any berries that havent popped yet. If you really care, you can puree the whole thing and remove skin/seeds using a mesh sieve. I didn’t care and it came out fine. Up to you.
4. Mix the blueberry mush into the milk.
5. Whisk in the heavy cream.

Look at that amazing color.

6.  Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Normally I skip this step out of laziness, but you do NOT want to do that with this since the blueberries were just on the stove!
7. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its directions.
8. Serve immediately, or transfer to a container and save it in the freezer for later.

Oh, and PS: I ordered a Canon Rebel T3. You know what that means? No more blurry pictures!! I should get it in a week and a half or so.