By Nancy Smorch
Mike and I returned from Oregon late last night, and I started the day inspired to try some new recipes, and play with the combinations of ingredients that we experienced while on our trip! The Allison Hotel in Newberg, which is where we stayed, had an amazing Chef’s Garden, and one night Mike and I had front-row seats at the kitchen. We got to watch them cut and prepare the evening’s meals (I now would like a new set of pans!). So that was a great experience.
Then, at Prasad Cafe in Portland, where we ate a couple of times, the presentation of the food was just amazing, and I was reminded how much of a difference a great dressing or sauce can make on a salad. I’m now researching and experimenting with various combinations to play around with to spice up our salads at home - and maybe even get the girls a little more interested in salads as a result.
Another idea (self-reminder) I’m looking forward to trying is caramelizing more things. We were watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" one night before bed, and the chefs at a couple of the featured restaurants were making sure to caramelize their meats and veggies, and you could tell that made a huge difference in the taste. I know it does, from experience... I just needed to be reminded.
Watching the food prep at the Allison Hotel’s restaurant (Jory) and seeing the creative displays of salads at Prasad prompted me to see how they cut up some of those veggies. You may recall the picture of the salad I posted a few days ago - well, I was curious how they got those beets to be cut up like that, all curly and thin. I asked Shannon, and she said it was a “spiralizer." Can you believe I had never heard of such a thing?? She brought her’s over for me to try out - I can’t wait. After I finish writing this post, I’m on my way to the health food store for some zucchini and carrots and other fun stuff to spiralize. I’m thinking Mike and the girls will be so impressed with my newfound culinary skills, but actually, I will probably be more excited than them :)!
Finally, I couldn’t wait to try making one of Prasad’s smoothies at home. I had my first attempt this afternoon. I printed off their menu to keep on hand for meal ideas, and for lunch today, I thought I would try to make one of their smoothies. Mine didn’t turn out quite as green as their’s, but it was just as good. Here’s what I did.
1 cup strawberries
1 small cucumber (not peeled - so make sure it’s organic)
1 tsp. Matcha tea powder
8 mint leaves (or peppermint leaves)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp. honey
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix. Pour and enjoy!
You can play around with the ingredients and the adjust them according to your taste. I happen to like mint, so I like that the 8 leaves of mint gave a stronger mint taste to the drink. If you don’t like such a strong mint taste, you can always go a little easier on it. As I mentioned, my smoothie wasn’t nearly as green as Prasad’s, so next if you want a more green smoothie, you can add more Matcha powder - it’s good for you anyway, and will definitely add more color. My drink at Prasad wasn’t too sweet, so I figured I would add enough honey to make it a little sweeter, but if you are fine without the extra sweetness, you can cut back on the honey - the strawberries might add enough sweetness for you. I think next time, I may play around and add a little lemon juice. I think the lemon and strawberry combination would be tasty.
Can’t wait until my mid-afternoon snack to play around with some more ideas!