Friday, December 2, 2016

#172 The Case of Sparkly Christmas Greetings and Gifts!

Want to send an e-greeting that's much more than a card? A PURSE TO DIE FOR and/or A KILLER NECKLACE in the form of gift e-books can include a personal message and they cost only 99¢ each (US) from December 1-15. Here's the Amazon link: http://ow.ly/zlpp306qii8.

Or be that superstar gifter, who gives A PURSE TO DIE FOR and A KILLER NECKLACE, on sale at Smashwords:
(Use coupon code YU36M for A PURSE TO DIE FOR)
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(Use coupon code MJ65L for A KILLER NECKLACE) http://ow.ly/UxpLF.

What the heck, gift yourself at Kobo (
http://ow.ly/Zy4G301BCeC) or Google Play (http://ow.ly/9tkW306GuIQ).

Becki

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#171 The Case of Chocolate Mint Smoothie

Mint is a cheerful, invigorating flavour, isn't it?
 
Chocolate, on the other hand, is an acquired taste. [Straight face.]
 
I get plenty of fresh mint sprigs from my friend Kathleen. I have to assume that it's the zucchini of fresh herbs because she's always saying, "Here, have some mint!"
 
Chocolate Mint Smoothie
 
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon fresh, slightly-compressed-between-your-fingers mint leaves
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder
1 tablespoon cacao
1 tablespoon raw agave syrup
8 ice cubes


Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender, in the order given, and blend.

Serves 1.

Becki

PS I'm sure this works with about half as much dried mint too. If you try it first, let me know!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#170 The Case of Simple as Boiling an Egg

Well, if it's so damn simple, why have I been doing it wrong for so many years?

Wrong may be a bit harsh. My eggs have always been hard-boiled just like I like them, with no ring around the yolk, which would be as much a sign of confusion in the kitchen as ring around the collar is of disorientation in the laundry room.

What I really mean by wrong is that a Becki Green hard-boiled egg, up until now, has often been difficult to peel.

Sometimes, in fact, a nightmare to peel, despite the fact that I'm a natural communicator and I tried everything I know to bring my eggs out of their shells.

I tapped them lightly on their bottoms before shelling them, a trick from my mother. She also passed down advice from her father, my grandfather, whose eggs apparently always, extremely annoyingly, came out pristine. "Roll them on the counter firmly with the palm of your hand before you start."

Nevertheless, my results were inconsistent. Sometimes the shell would slide off in practically one piece and leave me holding a glistening orb of goodness. Sometimes it felt like I was trying to chisel old, dried, cracked paint off a window frame and removing too much of the actual wood in the process. Frankly, I decided it depended on the egg.

Do you want to know the secret I just learned?

Throw out everything you've been taught about starting eggs in cold water, then bringing them to a boil over medium heat, then turning down the heat and simmering until they're done.

Gently lower your eggs into boiling water.

On high. Full boil. Like lobsters.

I recommend using a slotted spoon.

Egg are less fragile than you think.

Rarely, an egg will crack and some egg white will seep out into the water but you'll make up for the loss when you peel, in egg white as well as in patience.

I have yet to witness an actual explosion—urban myth.

Leave the eggs in the water on high for 12 min. Then drain them and transfer them to an ice-water bath.

After a half-hour of this ice-bath preceded by boiling torture session, your eggs will practically jump out of their shells.

Not surprising.

Why did it take me so long to get this?

Becki

PS Wanna use your boiled egg experiments in a recipe? Try Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

#169 The Case of Refrigerator Staple—Cashew Cheese

Open my restored retro fridge. Isn't it darling? My friends think I'm crazy 'cause it's not even frost-free but I'm a designer so I'm allowed to seem cuckoo even though I'm nowhere near totally out of my mind. Reclaiming this Kelvinator kept a huge hunk of metal out of landfill.
 
Keeping with the environmental theme, two separate appliance repair guys assured me my retro fridge is more energy-efficient than a new energy-saver model. More insulation. Less gizmos.
 
Now, on a middle shelf, you'll find a container of Cashew Cheese. Take it out and lift the lid. See the sheet of plastic wrap pressed right down on the surface of the "cheese"? That's how I protect it, like I do Guacamole, because air affects its delicate ivory colour. If you take this extra precaution, Cashew Cheese will stay luscious for weeks in your fridge.
 
Check out what Cashew Cheese looks like on top of my Spaghetti in a Beet Pesto Sauce.
 
And here's the recipe in case you want to keep some Cashew Cheese handy in your own fridge.
 
Cashew Cheese
 
1/2 bulb garlic
drizzle of olive oil plus 1/2 tablespoon
1 cup raw cashews, soaked uncovered in plenty of water for at least 4 hours then drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons vinegar
 
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
 
Slice the top off the 1/2 bulb of garlic to expose each clove. Place upright on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap. Roast for 45 min. Let cool.
 
Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves (leaving out the papery skins) into a blender with the 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
 
Serves 4.
 
Becki
 
PS Cheese please!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

#168 The Case of Spaghetti in a Beet Pesto Sauce

Beets are sweet!

4 beets (2 cups total volume)
drizzle of olive oil plus 1/4 cup for later
enough whole-wheat spaghetti for two people
enough regular spaghetti for two
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted in oven at 350ºF for 10 min.
salt

Cashew Cheese
pepper
I/4 teaspoon chilli pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400ºF.


Trim the beets. Place on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap. Roast for 1 hour. Let cool.

Cook the spaghetti (add the whole-wheat spaghetti to the pot first, bring back to a boil and cook for 1 min. before adding the regular spaghetti).

In the meantime, peel and chop the roasted beets into large pieces and pulse them in a blender with the garlic, toasted walnuts and salt to taste. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse again. Check seasoning.

Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto. Twirl onto plates using tongs. Top each portion with a dollop of Cashew Cheese and grind pepper on top to taste. Sprinkle with the chilli pepper flakes.
 
Serves 4.
 
Becki

PS I have minced the garlic cloves and toasted walnuts by hand, grated the roasted beets with a box grater into a bowl, then stirred all the pesto ingredients together. It adds minutes to the prep time. It's messier, for sure. But it's equally heavenly and the cosmic pic above proves the point! 

Friday, July 1, 2016

#167 The Case of Creamsicle Smoothie

1/2 orange
1/2 banana
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 ice cubes


Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender, in the order given, and blend.

Serves 1.

Becki

PS Do you feel the love?
PPS Now's the time. Summer Sizzles Sale—A PURSE TO DIE FOR 99¢, A KILLER NECKLACE $1.99 on Amazon, and on Smashwords with coupon codes WK87T for PURSE and TP99S for KILLER.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#166 The Case of Guacamole

Welcome back Avocado Green!
 
1 avocado
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
 
With a large knife, score the avocado in half lengthwise around the pit. Twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate. With the pitted half lying on a cutting board and with a swift chopping motion, embed your knife in the pit. Turn your knife to remove the pit from the flesh. Cut each avocado half into three lengthwise strips then peel off the skin, dropping the flesh into a small bowl.
 
Mash together the avocado flesh and the rest of the ingredients.
 
Serve with tortilla chips.
 
Serves 2.
 
Becki
 
PS Friend Richard Hawes shared this recipe with Cynthia; she shared it with me; I'm sharing it with you; who will you share it with?