Chai Tea Latte Concentrate

Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chai Tea Latte

Hot or cold, a chai tea latte is a treat!  Why pay more for a boxed concentrate when you can make your own version, without additives or the high price tag?  This definitely is worth the small amount of time it takes to prepare! And you can increase or decrease the flavorings to suite your personal taste; add a vanilla bean, increase any of the ingredients you love, or leave out the ones you aren't as fond of. If you wish, part of the sugar or honey can be replaced with Stevia or artificial sweetener for less calories.

Chai Tea Concentrate
Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for 4 lattes

Ingredients
3 tablespoons sugar
8 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
1 slice ginger, peeled
5 whole cloves
6 whole black peppercorns
2 black teabags (3-4 for stronger tea flavor)
1 tablespoon honey

Combine all ingredients except the honey in a pot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat slightly, add the tea bags,  and let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let steep for another 5 minutes. Strain the mixture, removing all the spices. Add the honey and stir. Taste, adding more honey if you like.

Cool completely.

The concentrate is easily doubled and will last a while in the fridge.

Chai Tea Latte

6 tablespoons Chai Tea Concentrate
3/4-1 cup milk of your choice*
Ice

*Replace cow's milk with soy, almond, or milk of your choice.  If using sweetened milk, adjust the sugar in the concentrate or the drink will be too sweet.

Pour both the Chai Tea Concentrate and the milk into a glass, stirring to combine them. Add a large handful of ice, and drink immediately.

This concentrate can be prepared as a hot drink for winter by warming the milk and chai concentrate slowly in a small saucepan until very hot. Serve in a mug.

 

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Cheesy Popcorn (with or without Bacon)

Cheesy Popcorn (with or without Bacon)
Perfect popcorn for all those tailgating or at-home game days!  Cheese and bacon take this popcorn to a whole new level.

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Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Carrot cake disguised as cookies; it's a carrot cake sandwich!

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September Edition is here!

Click to see the video!

Happy September!

Can you feel it?  Are you detecting some fall vibes?  Have you noticed the sun coming up a little later and disappearing a bit sooner?  I have,  and I’m experiencing some mixed emotions.  I mean, heck, I love summer, and the shorter days and cooler weather can only mean one thing; winter is coming! Yikes!

But to be completely honest, fall has always been my favorite season.  The heat and humidity of summer eases and is replaced by chilly nights and crisp, cool days.  The harvest of our gardens and farms is changing over from green beans, tomatoes, melons and zucchini to the hardy cool weather crops; pumpkins, squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets, apples and grapes.  

September transitions us into fall.  With the summer produce that’s still available I’m sharing recipes for Italian Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice, Panzanella Salad, and Basil Pesto. (The Basil Pesto is also a key ingredient in two more dishes this month, the Cain & Abel Panini and Pesto Potatoes).  Breakfast Sweet Potato Hash with Basted Eggs utilizes the versatile sweet potato, a fall favorite that is now abundant, and is a healthy, hearty way to power the first half of your day. (It is Barry’s and my favorite breakfast dish!). 

You will rush to the kitchen to makeFresh Pear Cupcakes or Bundt Cake with Lemon & Honey Brown Butter Glaze, a delectable way to use pears, a fall staple. For your coffee or tea break enjoy Chocolate Chip Scones, tender, light, and decadent.  And finally, after searching for twenty years to find a recipe for Steak Pizzaiola that my husband would put his stamp of approval on, I found it!  (Check out the video for the whole story!) 

Mark your calendars! This month we are hosting the very first fund-raising cooking class on Friday, September 16!  It is free of charge, open to the first forty people who sign up.  It will be held at Cabinets Plus here in Palatine, IL, the site of some of my videos (you will enjoy viewing all of the lovely kitchens and baths on display there). We are teaming up with my friend, Laura Blood, who works with Arbonne ( a company that produces pure, safe & beneficial personal care products), to raise awareness and funds for Rahabs Daughters (headquartered in Barrington). 

This organization works tirelessly to rescue victims of human trafficking all over the world.  They are truly a worthy cause, and a portion of all of the sales made that night, either subscriptions to Feast or Arbonne products, will go to them. The food prepared during the demo will be served, as well as some other dishes from the magazine.  Enjoy a facial and see some make-overs!  What a great opportunity to bring a friend who is new to Feast of Eden Cooks at Home, or would enjoy some pampering! Our goal is to start at 6:30 and have you on your way by 8:30. 

This will be a great time-you don’t want to miss it!    Reserve your spot by emailing me at cheflisa@comcast.net  I will need your name and phone number to save your seat! (If we run out of seats, we will schedule more classes in the months to come!)

There is so much more to share, but I think I should stop here.  I so appreciate you all; thank you for welcoming me to your inbox and lives!

Blessings and……….

I’ll see you later, not so hungry!

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Chocolate Chip Scones

How about a warm, chocolatey, tender scone with that cup of coffee or tea?  Forget about those dense "hockey puck" scones you find at some bakeries.  These are absolutely delectable, tender inside, with just a little crunch on the outside from the turbinado sugar sprinkled on top.  You may want more than one coffee break the day you make these! (This is adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten)  Makes 8 large scones

2 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

6 ounces unsalted butter, very cold, diced

1/2 cup cold cream

2 extra-large eggs, cold and lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon cream for egg wash

Turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the chocolate chips.  Combine the cream, eggs and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat until well-combined.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and combine with a large spoon or spatula until there are no streaks of flour and the dough is well-mixed.  Do not over-mix! 

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and using your floured hands and a bench scraper, turn the dough over, flour, then flip back over. (This dough is very tender, so be gentle and work quickly to avoid creating tough scones.) Quickly pat the dough out into a circle about 10-11" across, flouring the board and the top as needed.  Flour a chef's knife and cut into 8 equal triangles, flouring the knife between cuts. Using a broad spatula, transfer the scones to parchment lined baking sheets.  Brush all over with the egg wash and sprinkle liberally with Turbinado sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well-brown and crusty outside, and cooked through.

Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Serve warm!

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Panzanella

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella originated in Tuscany, and is basically a salad of tomatoes and stale bread (lots of other variations abound).  When I first discovered it I thought, "not for me, I don't want to eat soggy bread and vegetables!".  However, I decided to try Ina Garten's recipe and it transformed my opinion! This is my adaption of that recipe, and it is my absolute favorite late-summer salad.  It is full of colorful summertime veggies, tossed with toasted croutons and a flavorful vinaigrette.  I hope you will give it a try; I know you will love it!

4 cups of 1-inch cube of stale, dense baguette (sourdough or Italian)

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, a mix of colors, Heirlooms are my favorite, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 each, red and yellow bell pepper, seeded, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 small red onion, sliced paper thin

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly-chopped

2 Tablespoons drained capers (optional)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.

Toss bread cubes with olive oil and the 3/4 teaspoon salt until evenly coated.  Spread out on a sheet pan.  Bake for 12-18 minutes, checking periodically after 10 minutes, or until crisp and browned.  Remove and set aside to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.

In a large bowl place the fresh oregano, garlic, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, black pepper and whisk well.  While whisking, stream in the olive oil and mix until creamy.  Add the prepared vegetables and toss well.  Add the bread cubes and toss well.  Let sit for about thirty minutes before serving.

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Basil Pesto Potatoes

Pesto Potatoes

Pesto Potatoes

This is a fast and easy.way to dress up the lowly red potato! Whip up the Basil Pesto in this months edition, then toss it along with a few flavor enhancers with the warm potatoes. Sprinkle with some additional Parmesan, pine nuts & lemon zest, and enjoy. This is a nice side with Steak Pizzaiola or Grilled Chicken Breasts.  Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/2 cup prepared Basil Pesto

1 small shallot, finely-minced

1 Tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and minced

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest plus more for garnish

2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts, reserve a few for garnish

Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish, optional

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and cook until just tender (the tip of a knife will pierce the potato easily).  Drain and place in a mixing bow; allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

Combine pesto, shallot, capers, zest, and pine nuts in a small bowl.  Pour over the potatoesand mix well. Garnish with additional cheese & zest, if desired

Serve warm.

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Cain & Abel Panini

Cain & Abel Panini

Cain & Abel Panini

This panini was such favorite at the cafe!  The Italian flavor profile, crunch, and the unusual addition of an egg crepe really set this hot sandwich apart.  While delicious heirloom tomatoes are in season I have been adding a slice to this sandwich with fabulous results!  (In winter, no tomato is better than a flavorless one, is my motto!) A cup of Italian Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice is the perfect side!  I know you will love this panini.

For each panini:

1 Italian Ciabatta roll

Basil Pesto, 2 Tablespoons, or to taste

2 slices Provolone Cheese

1 Egg Crepe (see recipe below)

2 slices fairly thick-cut bacon, cooked crisp

2 ounces deli roasted turkey breast, thinly sliced

Olive oil spray

Heat a panini grill to high heat.  (If no panini grill is available, heat a cast iron skillet to high, and have a second, heavy skillet on hand.)

Lay out the ciabatta roll and spread both sides with a thin layer of the basil pesto.  Add a slice of cheese to each.  Layer the egg crepe, bacon, and turkey on the bottom piece of the ciabatta and lay the other half on top, pressing down slightly.  Spray the top of the ciabatta lightly with the olive oil spray.

Place the sandwich on the grill, making sure when it closes that the sandwich is pressed evenly.  (Or, lay the sandwich in the skillet and top with the second skillet. Once the bottom is browned and the cheese melts, flip the panini and finish cooking the other side, still pressed with the second skillet.)  When the panini is a deep golden brown and the cheese is oozing out the sides, it is ready to come off.  Let it cool for a minute or two, then cut on the diagonal and serve.

Egg Crepes:

1 extra-large egg

1 Tablespoon milk or cream

Preheat a small (6-7") non-stick skillet over low heat.  Spray with non-stick spray, or brush with butter, liberally.

Beat the egg and cream together until it uniformly yellow, with no streaks or lumps.  Pour just enough of the egg mixture into the skillet (rotate the skillet) to allow the egg to cover the bottom thinly.  Cook until the top is set, then flip, using tongs.  Almost immediately the egg will be set, so turn it out onto a plate or piece of deli paper.  Continue with the remaining egg mixture; you should get 4 crepes.  Cool.  (Crepes may be layered between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper, wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen.  Use within one month.)

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