Monday, August 25, 2014

Turn Over-Ripe Fruit Into Amazing Sorbetto!

by Maria Noel Groves, Clinical Herbalist & Co-op Wellness Educator

Have you noticed the mind-blowing gelatos and sorbettos popping up in the freezer section lately? The Strawberry Balsamic by Gelato Fiasco in Maine really is fabulous, and don't even get me started on the Talenti Salted Caramel... I'm a bit of an ice cream snob, and ever since I went on an informal backpacking "gelato tour" of Italy in '99, I literally dream of standing amidst nearly 100 gelato/sorbetto options lined along two or three walls in Rome. The scoops were golfball small, perfect for layering on unique flavors like watermelon with green tea without blowing the calorie bank before dinner. I still rave about cantaloupe gelato from a park stand in Padova that was so authentic, I had to spit out a few seeds. No dyes or fake flavorings there!

Problem is, no place offers the quality and flavor selection I devoured in Italy back then. Even on last year's trip to Italy, I was utterly disappointed: Only the rosemary-berry from the World's Best Gelato Shop in the Medieval town of San Gimignano satisfied. Everything else was laden with flavorings and colors, with a significant lack of unique flavors (chocolate, vanilla, nutella - boooring!). Have even the Italians lost their standards? American shops favor the rich and creamy (which is great, and  JP Licks and Toscanini's in Boston are pretty dang amazing from a creamy ice cream point of view). But this summer I've been craving those unique, real fruit flavors. So after a series of ice cream dreams, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. Join me, and discover a flavor explosion of refreshing frozen delight...

Scanning the food blogs, I discovered Italian sorbetto is pretty easy to master and simple in ingredients: just overripe fruit and simple syrup. Maybe a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (to balance sweetness) and a drizzle of liquor (to soften it).

We're in the middle of Fruit Season in NH. Admit it: you already have dangerously mushy peaches, melons, or berries hanging around the kitchen - not quite bad enough to toss but not ideal for eating. Perhaps you also have an ice cream maker languishing in the closet or collecting frost in your chest freezer? This is the perfect time of year to give it a good wash, and get it chilled and ready to go! (And, if you don't own an ice cream maker, there's a way around it. Or you can buy one for the same price as just 4 or 5 pints of good gelato or sorbetto from the store.)

How to Make Fruit Sorbetto

Chop and puree your fruit. For the popping flavor, use fruit that's as ripe as possible without being rotten.

 

Meanwhile, make simple syrup. I know: sugar is not good for you. But this is the secret to smooth (not ice-chunky) sorbet. Simmer 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water (or equal parts - different people use different recipes). Junky white sugar has a nicer color and flavor, but you can use organic sugar - expect it to come out brown-ish in color and a little more like brown sugar in flavor. You may want to chill the syrup before adding it to fruit, or add it to the fruit and then chill the whole thing (which is what I did).
 

Add your simple syrup using the egg trick. Clean an egg well, then put it in the fruit mix - it should sink to the bottom. Slowly add in simple syrup until the egg floats so that approximately you can see about a quarter-size spot on the egg.


Adding simple syrup


Whoop, there it is! I was shocked by how much sugar it took. Expect to use approximately one cup of sugar/simple syrup per quart. Of course you can use less sugar, but your consistency might not be as good. Ultimately I ended up with enough mix for two quarts of ice cream.


Chill it for an hour or so til it's cold.


Pour it into your pre-chilled ice cream maker. Don't have one? See directions here.



You can eat it right away, but it's better to scoop it into a container (like those 1-quart plastic deli containers) and let it freeze more solid first. It will keep for a few days. If it gets too frosty for you (if it sits for a while in the freezer), you can thaw it all, then throw it back into the ice cream maker - you can't do this with milk-laden ice cream/gelato, though.



Enjoy!
 

Basic Sorbetto Recipe
Ready to get started?
Here's a recipe from Kitchn to get you some vague proportions. Makes 1 quart.
  • 2 pounds fresh fruit or juice (4-5 cups prepped/sliced)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-4 tablespoons of lemon juice, optional

Adding Herbs: Want to infuse some lemon verbena into your lemon ice? Maybe some pineapple sage into your peach sorbetto? Maybe some basil in your blackberry?
Try one of these techniques:
  • When simmering the simple syrup, add herbs to the pot. Turn off heat. Let steep for 30 minutes, strain, and use the syrup for your recipe.
  • Pulverize the herb and toss it in with the fruit.
And in case you're wondering, "sorbet" is the same as "sorbetto" - but I prefer the way the Italians say it! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Banana Split Date Shake

Kris shows you how easy it is to whip up a healthy and delicious Banana Split Date Shake to enjoy anytime of the day. Her recipe includes Navitas Naturals Maca Powder which is great for combating fatigue. Find all the ingredients at the Co-op during your next visit, just ask any associate to help...

2 Chopped Bananas
1/4 cup Chopped Medjool Dates
1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
2 Scoops Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
1/2 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
2 cups ice
Blend until smooth, enjoy! Stop by our Concord store for Smoothie Tuesdays to sample Kris and Jay's latest creations featuring fresh produce and Navitas Naturals. All the ingredients used can be found in the Co-op, just ask any associate to help you find what you need.

Banana Split Date Shake

Banana Split Date Shake

Kris shows you how easy it is to whip up a healthy and delicious Banana Split Date Shake to enjoy anytime of the day. Her recipe includes Navitas Naturals Maca Powder which is great for combating fatigue. Find all the ingredients at the Co-op during your next visit, just ask any associate to help...

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chopped Bananas
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Medjool Dates
  • 1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups ice
Instructions:
The order isn't important, just throw it all in a blender & blend until smooth.
Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 min
Total time: 10 min

Watch the video below as Kris demonstrates how easy this yummy smoothie is to create!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Great Vegetable Swap Out: Not Your Standard Starch!

by Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), 
Registered Clinical Herbalist & Co-op Wellness Educator

I adore bread, potatoes, corn, and rice as much as every other American, but let’s face it: Most of us could use some inspiration to eat fewer carbs and more veggies. One way to significantly up your veg quota is to swap all or some of your standard starch for a veggie-based pseudo-carb. I’m not talking about weird processed vegetable cellulose packaged gunk. Let’s stick to real, whole foods!

Why swap your starch for veggies? You'll get more nutrients and antioxidants with fewer calories, better meet the recommended five-to-nine servings of produce per day, and you can make delicious paleo- and gluten-free-friendly foods. And sometimes you just need to figure out what to do with the extra zucchini or carrots before they go bad.

We’re at the height of harvest season on the cusp of summer-to-autumn offerings, it’s the perfect time to branch out with farm-fresh goodies. Here are a few ideas to get you going. I highly recommend checking out the linked recipes - the pictures alone will have your mouth watering!!

The  Open-Faced “Sandwich”

Swap that bread out for a halved avocado (sliced into diced squares inside the shell) or a hollowed-out bell pepper.

Pasta

Of course, spaghetti squash is always nice. But if you want something faster, you can turn any raw semi-solid veggie (think:  carrots, sweet potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, beets...) into noodles that you can leave raw or slightly cook before adding your sauce and toppings. Local nutritionist Traci Komorek recommends this fancy machine, and I found this pencil-sharpener-like spiral slicer at Things are Cooking in Concord (which does an ok job). Also use strips of grilled eggplant or zucchini in place of pasta for lasagna and stuffed-rolled Italian rollatini.

The Taco

For a fresh, crisp taco, simply pile your ingredients into a sturdy lettuce boat (ie: Boston bibb or romaine) - delicious for both Asian and Tex-Mex taco fillings! For a heartier or piping hot taco, consider using a cabbage leaf.

That's a Wrap!

On the same line as the veggie taco, we've got gorgeous greens standing in for the sandwich wrap. Try wide, sturdy collard greens or more tender chard leaves. Some people blanch the leaves first while others leave them raw - see what works best for you. You can go in between and soak them in warm water with vinegar for about 10 minutes.

Pizza Crust

Not to dis the greasy spoon pizza, but you can craft some pretty darn tasty flour-free variations! Try a roasted/grilled/seared portobello mushroom (layered with gooey cheese and fresh tomatoes, oh my!) or one of the creative cauliflower crusts that the GF world is RAVING about.

Chips & Crunchy Snacks

It's all the rage, and home-cooked is sooo yummy! Try any one of the many kale chips recipes out there. Also try roasting sliced beets or chickpeas with some seasoning for a tasty snack that crunches. If you have a dehydrator, you can even play around with making your own flax crackers.

I hope you've been inspired - enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Raspberry Almond Smoothie



Made with fresh raspberries and newly ground almond butter, this smoothie is a summery treat you can't resist!
Featuring Navitas Naturals acai powder and cacao nibs, this super smoothie will provide your body with antioxidants and omega fatty acids to help you live a long and strong life.
A Raspberry Almond Smoothie is a delicious way to start your day, satisfying your hunger and making you feel fuller for longer.

I cup raspberries
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup medjool dates (make sure you remove the pits!)
2 tablespoons acai powder
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cups coconut water
2 cups ice
Blend until smooth, enjoy!
www.ConcordFoodCoop.coop/Smoothie

You can find all the ingredients at the Co-op.

Watch the video below to see how easy this smoothie was to make!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pistachio Cherry Smoothie

Stop by our Concord store for Smoothie Tuesdays to sample Kris and Jay's latest creations featuring fresh produce and Navitas Naturals. All the ingredients used can be found in the Co-op, just ask any associate to help you find what you need.
Pistachio Cherry Smoothie

Pistachio Cherry Smoothie

This yummy sweet smoothie with pistachio's, cherries and goji berries that are high in antioxidants, helps protect eye sight.
 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries
  • 1/4 cup salted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries from Navitas
  • 1 tablespoon lucuma powder from Navitas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
Instructions:
The order isn't important, just throw it all in a blender & blend until smooth.
Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 min
Total time: 10 min

Watch the video below as Kris demonstrates how easy this yummy smoothie is to create!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strawberry Kombucha Smoothie

Stop by our Concord store for Smoothie Tuesdays to sample Kris and Jay's latest creations featuring fresh produce and Navitas Naturals. All the ingredients used can be found in the Co-op, just ask any associate to help you find what you need.
Strawberry Kombucha

Strawberry Kombucha Smoothie

Create your own spin on this fizzy smoothie by trying a different flavor of kombucha from Aqua Vitea, like the new Turmeric Sunrise on tap at the Co-op. The pomegranate powder from Navitas Naturals is especially high in vitamin C and potassium, giving this smoothie immune boosting powers! Let us know in the comments which kombucha you used.
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups original kombucha
  • 1 tablespoon Navitas pomegranate Powder
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 Cup Ice
  • Honey to taste
Instructions:
The order isn't important, just throw it all in a blender & blend until smooth.
Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 min
Total time: 10 min

Watch the video below as Jay demonstrates how easy this yummy smoothie is to create!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blackberry Pie Smoothie

Stop by our Concord store for Smoothie Tuesdays to sample Kris and Jay's latest creations featuring fresh produce and Navitas Naturals. All the ingredients used can be found in the Co-op, just ask any associate to help you find what you need.
Blackberry Pie Smoothie

Blackberry Pie Smoothie

This fresh and deliciously sweet smoothie makes for an easy breakfast to-go or an after dinner treat. Raw Maca powder from Navitas Naturals is a healthy food well known for increasing strength and endurance, while the fresh blackberries are high in antioxidants reducing the risk of cancer. Also, eating blackberries in their natural state helps promote the healthy tightening of tissue making your skin look and feel younger. This Blackberry Pie smoothie sounds too good to be true, so you should probably try it a few times a week to make sure!
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 Cups Blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Navitas Maca Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Navitas Hemp Seeds
  • 0.5 Cup Apple Juice
  • 1 Cup Ice
  • 0.5 Cups Blueberries
  • 0.25 Cups Raw Cashews
  • Maple Syrup to Taste
Instructions:    
The order isn't important, just throw it all in a blender & blend until smooth.
Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 min
Total time: 10 min

Watch the video below as Kris demonstrates how easy this yummy smoothie is to create!