Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Excellent Vegan Microgreen Soup – Is this a first?

September 11, 2011
microgreen soup

Microgreen Soup

When I Googled “microgreen soup” and “cooked microgreens”, I found nothing in the first category and only limited information in the second. I was searching because I stumbled across the microgreen concept and found that I could grow a crop of microgreens hydroponically without mess or much effort all year long. I could keep several tray going and have fresh greens daily.

The problem was, microgreens wouldn’t bring much added value to my life unless I could discover unique uses. I tried broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and arugula and the only salad green that was a keeper in my mind was arugula because it substituted for something I was already eating a lot of. The others were OK, but since I buy reasonably priced and hydroponically grown cucumbers, watercress, Chinese spinach, and arugula, the other microgreens don’t add much to the salad except as a garnish. Also, since I live alone, a lot of what I grew was going bad.

I love soups of all kinds and I have fond memories of the children’s story Stone Soup and have made it with magic stones with my daughter and granddaughters. I let them choose the smoothest magic stone they can find which is then washed prior to cooking.

This recipe is as close as possible to making a fantastic soup out of next to nothing and I used wilted root cellar crops that would eventually go bad. This is actually two recipes as the blended soup is excellent for lunch or a side dish. I just added the potatoes and carrots as I wanted a heartier soup for my dinner.

Excellent Vegan Microgreen Soup

Ingredients

1 T. olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves diced

2 celery stalks diced

1 oz. Rum

3 cups water

6-8 oz. microgreens (mixed broccoli and cauliflower)

1 T. Dried parsley

½ tsp. Thyme

1 tsp. salt

1 large potato cubed

2 carrots coined.

Directions

This recipe can be scaled up and made in either a Crockpot or coffeepot. Since I am cooking for one, I used my coffeepot.

  1. Add oil to pot and put on hot plate of coffeemaker.
  2. Chop onions, dice celery and garlic add to the pot
  3. Add rum
  4. Add three cups of water to the coffeemaker and let it drip into the pot. This will heat up everything quicker.
  5. When onions are soft (about 1 hour), add the microgreens and cook for 1 hour more.
  6. Add spices and salt to the pot. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Place in blender and blend until the consistency of pea soup.

Taste this soup right now! It is fantastic!.

  1. Coin carrots and add to pot.
  2. Dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes and add to pot.
  3. Cook for 4 more hours and serve.

This should have been enough for two meals but I enjoyed it so much, I only had a cup left over which wasn’t enough for a full meal. I really love this soup. It has only natural ingredients with no artificial thickeners, or bullion of unknown origin.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

January 24, 2011

Parade Day Breakfast

The butternut fritters came out so well I decided to try the classic Pumpkin Fritters and I asked an old friend if their was any way to reduce the sugar. I was told that in the old days, there were always bananas and pumpkin growing in the yard but not always enough money for refined sugar so her mom would combine the banana and punkin and make the fritters without sugar.

I decided to give it a try and made them the same as the butternut squash but used a little extra water to thin it out. Vanise and I decided to try them for brunch and even though she’s not a fan of sweet fritters, she liked these. I saved the extra batter and about a week later used the fritters and scrambled eggs as the basis for a big breakfast brunch prior to going to the Festival Parade to party for the next six hours.

I must admit this was a much heather breakfast then the eggs and spam I had a year earlier. I also will acknowledge that my drinking habits for the day were also much healthier for both me and my community as I have to drive about 15 miles to the parade route and festival village and was far more responsible this year.

The plate above has one scrambled egg, with three dots of hot sauce, local fresh cucumbers, and tomatoes, and the pumpkin banana fritters. Filling, healthy and delicious, a wonderful way to start my day.

Ingredients:

1 pound pumpkin

2 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground ginger

¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup flour

3/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Mash the boiled pumpkin and bananas to the bowl.

Mashed Pumpkin and Banana

2. Mix it and mash it well. (I used the potato masher and did it all by hand.)

3. Add the vanilla and spices and mix it into the pumpkin and bananas until uniform.

4. Add the egg and blend.

5. Add the flour and mix until uniform. I used a whisk for the rest of the steps.

Mix Everything Except Water

6. Add the water and mix until done. ( I used some water I boiled the pumpkin in.)

7. Fry until Golden Brown.

8. Serve as a side dish Crucian style. We snacked on these for brunch and then I ate the rest for my breakfast shown above.

Pumpkin Banana Fritters

Good, Better Best never let it rest. This is healthier but the next time I try it, I will switch to whole wheat flour and see what happens.

Good Salad – Bad Salad!!!

January 14, 2011

Good Salad - Bad Salad???

It seems that a lot of people want to be immortal and are searching for a fountain of youth and many are finding it in their own way. Not so amazing, once they find it, they post the story on the internet and try to cash in on their discovery. Obviously, I am not opposed to that as I have made good money in the service industry for the past 15 years. However, I can’t believe that my genetics will adapt overnight to place my body in harmony with these new discoveries.

I tend to accept that anything that your grandparent or mine ate and drank in moderation will not kill me. Historically, man had a life expectancy of 33 years from mitochondrial Eve 200,000 years ago until about 1850 when things began to change. It wasn’t fire, housing the arts or a zest for life that led to people living longer. It was good old fashioned improvements in personal hygiene and public health.

From 1860 to 1910, life expectancy grew by about 10 years as Doctors learned to clean there hands and cities cleared the sewage and garbage off the streets. Life expectancy grew by a very big 20 years between 1910 and 1960 where we reached the biblical age of three score and ten. That was the era of sulfa drugs and improved antibiotics plus a continued focus on personal hygiene. Since the advent of infomercials about diets and exercise machines we have added 10 more years to our life but I would be hard pressed to give all the credit to exercise machines and weird diets with the advances in medicine and care for the aged that has taken place.

So given that I am a skeptic, how could one salad possibly be better than the other when both salads had about the same amount of ingredients including the olives and pepperoncini, they both had about 5 ounces of meat and the both used locally grown and very fresh arugula, tomatoes and cucumbers. The first salad I called Emperor’s Salad and first made last winter when tomatoes cucumbers and arugula were abundant and the meat is a sous vide Turkey Confit made from 5 ounces of steak cut from a turkey leg. I thought it was fantastic and healthy a year ago so I made it again this week.

I believe firmly in seasonal eating especially when it comes to tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula and will eat it every night in every way including BLT’s. The second salad is based on canned tuna with the rest of the salad ingredients being the same.

Bad Salad - Good Salad???

The tuna salad is simple to make and you just stir the following ingredients in a bowl and use a mold to fix the shape. The topping is 1 tablespoon of horseradish.

Ingredients:

1 can (5 ounces) of tuna in water well drained

1 Tablespoon of soy sauce

½ tsp fish oil (optional but it does add a lot of flavor)

Both salads have about 500 calories but because of the soy sauce and fish oil, the tuna salad had about 50% of my salt requirement for the day. Since that was my only salt for the day it turned out to not be a factor. So which Salad is the truly healthy one?

If you put your trust in the Inflammation Factor, the Turkey Salad is wickedly inflammatory and the Tuna Salad is soothing. Funny thing a cold front came through paradise the day I ate the Tuna Salad, my arthritis kicked up and if I didn’t know better and attributed my pain to the food I ate, I would have to conclude that the Turkey Salad was better for me. Oh well, one more reason I eat what I want in moderation.

Acorn Squash and Pasta – A work in Progress

January 12, 2011

Acorn Squash And Pasta

I love everything about acorn squash. I love it baked in a half shell with butter and brown sugar, I love it as a base for a vegan or vegetarian soup. I even love the way it looks and and because of the affordable price I usually forget I have one and buy an another one before I use the one I have. Because I love to have a variety in my diet, I started searching for new ways to cook it and stumbled upon a Rachael Ray recipe for Penne-Wise Pumpkin Pasta.

Seem that this was not a crowd favorite as most people called it bland and the only ones who gave it high enough ratings to bring the average up to 3 stars out of 5 had altered the recipe and added meat to the meal because it wasn’t vegetarian to start with. Still it was an interesting concept and it got me to thinking?

What if I used Italian spices instead of pumpkin pie spices? What if I used a acorn squash instead of pumpkin? What if I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth? What if I used ricotta instead of milk and Hot pepper instead of Pepper sauce? The only way to find out was give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil

3 shallots diced (optional)

3 coves garlic minced

1 thin slice Scotch Bonnet Pepper

1 onion diced

2 tsp Parsley

6-8 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp dry

½ tsp thyme

1 bay leaf

1 acorn squash

1 Can Vegetable Broth

1 cup ricotta

½ tsp salt

Grated Parmesan to sprinkle on top

Directions:

  1. Cook the acorn squash until soft, and remove pulp from shell and set aside.
  2. In olive oil, simmer shallots, garlic, hot pepper, onion, parsley, basil, time and bay until onion glazes over.
  3. Add broth and acorn squash and let simmer for an hour.
  4. Remove Bay and hot pepper and blend in blender.
  5. Add ricotta, bring to temperature and serve over pasta. (I used a bowl with extra sauce).

Well the jury is out on this recipe. Believe it or not I found it bland while my vegetarian friend loved it. I tried it before I added the ricotta, and the flavors were actually bolder. I do believe this will have a better chance of me cooking it again as a vegan meal with the addition of diced tomatoes and am actually looking forward to the challenge of getting a bold flavor out an acorn squash and pasta meal. I love my acorn squash and would like to eat it more often if I can find different ways.

Puerto Rican or Caribbean Barbecued Chicken

January 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce and Grilled Potato

In cooking any barbecue meats, there are three elements which make it special,

  1. Preparation of the meat
  2. The Cooking Process
  3. The Barbecue Sauce

In St. Croix, regardless if from Hispanic Heritage or not the focus is on the first two steps and only rarely will anybody get totally competitive about the Barbecue Sauce because many don’t use it except as a dip on the side. Don’t get me wrong, Barbecued Chicken is extremely popular but the preparation of the meat and the slow cooking over a banked fire produce a chicken that has a very crisp skin and is extremely moist. Because everyone loves the crisp skin, we sprinkle hot sauce on it and eat it as is. Once we get to the meat, we either put more pepper sauce on it or dip it in a small 2 ounce cup of barbecue sauce for extra favoring on the very tender and moist chicken.

While my wife loved the locally prepared chicken she also loved her barbecue sauce and had a tendency to favor a honey, mustard, vinegar blend whereas I admit to having gone native. I simply love the slow cooking of the crisp skin and the juicy meat with a generous sprinkle of Caribbean Hot sauce, the hottest in the world.

Preparation of the meat is a simple process. The secrete ingredient is the soak in Lime Juice (or Lemon if necessary). This trick also works to make crispy skin on a pork roast but the topic today is Chicken and a 10-30 minute wash or soak is sufficient.

Wash the Chicken with Lime

Real purists would insist on making their own spice blends but look out salt is cheap so many blends contain too much. Other spices have variable flavor depending on freshness so should be prepared by taste and not by quantity. However, the most commonly used seasoned salt is Goya Adobo a Puerto Rican style seasoned salt made with garlic, oregano, black pepper and turmeric. Of course depending on the cook, many will sprinkle additional pepper, sage and thyme on the meat and trust me Adobo is a better starting point than a poorly made spice blend.

Season Generously

There is some debate about the best charcoal, but locally made charcoal is getting rare and expensive as a smokey charcoal kiln in the back yard is the fastest way to brink out the Fire Marshal, and local EPA. Still there are a few experts who are able to comply with modern standards and do a pretty good job of making smoke free charcoal and other vendors simply import it from countries with lower standards. This is the same as America’s save the nation hybrid cars being made with imported steal from countries with low standards of occupational safety and environmental protection. Oh well, when local charcoal is not available from vendors I know, I buy American to do my little bit to save the world.

After the meat has been picked clean of excess fat, washed with lime and seasoned the job is mostly done. A banked fire is made with the minimum amount of Charcoal and the chicken placed about 8-12 inches away from it on a grill or homemade rotisserie. Then you walk away and join your own party. The easiest way to understand this is to go to a local Barbecue shack in the Caribbean and closely observe the art form.

The Le Reine Chicken Shack in St. Croix

The picture is of a barbecue rack at The Le Reine Chicken Shack in St. Croix run by my friend Millin. On a busy day he can cook hundreds at a time and repeat the process almost continuously with the chicken remaining on the grill for an hour. Take note that no chicken is above the coals so there are no grease fire flare-ups on the chicken to scorch and blacken the chicken as it cooks.

For those who still want to try a mustard honey sauce this is the one we use at home. We cook all the chicken the same way and at the end use a paint brush to paint both sides of the piece with barbecue sauce and then let it dry out on the almost cold coals. Those who want honey mustard get this, those that want red sauce can have it and those who want it crisp for hot sauce can have it their way. To each their own!

Honey Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients:

1 T Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Honey (just poor an equal amount to the mustard into the mixing bowl)

2 T Balsamic Vinegar

1 T Brown Sugar

Mix the ingredients until uniform,. This should not be a thick paste but a rich liquid to paint on the finished leg and let dry so as not to destroy the crispness of the skin.

A slight tasty glaze on the leg pictured above shows the finished effect.

What do you do with Broccoli Stems?

January 8, 2011

Broccoli Stems Pealed and Cubed

Over a lifetime of enjoying Broccoli, I knew I had to be doing something wrong. After all who in their right mind would buy a head of Broccoli cut off the flowers and throw the rest away. Finally, after making a pot of Broccoli Soup from the Carla Capalbo’s “Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking”. I started to get the big picture but now had the opposite problem. I was taking perfectly good flowers and throwing them into a pot of soup just to puree the whole thing and cook a few more flowers in it for garnish. What a waste of perfectly good broccoli flowers which are a delight to eat either raw or gently steamed.

Pealed and Cubed Butternut Squash

Then I got an idea! After using the perfectly good flowers as a vegetable, why not use the leftover stems in a different pot of soup without any flowers. I pealed the stems and cubed them and combined it with an equal amount of butternut squash and followed the recipe for the my Vegan Acorn Squash Soup . Now just to let my sense of humor kick in I served it to my children and their friends who all hail from DC, New York and Princeton and are moderately affluent. After all why not make a soup for the well off out of what was formerly considered garbage.

Cooking the Soup

My daughter knows my sense off humor and loved the soup as did all who ate it. She now buys a butternut squash every time she purchases broccoli and makes the soup as a follow up dinner with a completely different character.

The recipe is recipe is similar to the Vegan Acorn Squash Soup with an equal amount of squash and broccoli stems and it makes enough for 4 people. Oops, because I forgot to take a picture and because I used Gimelli, the soup looks more like this.

Top Ten Vegan and Vegetarian Posts

January 7, 2011

I know what I like to eat and I don’t look for exact recipes, I look for ideas. Naturally, I surf Foodpress daily in almost every category except baking and desserts.  It is probably a sin to destroy your temple by eating sweets when you have a tendency towards obesity and equally sinful to turn on an oven when cooking meals for one.

I am more of an accidental Vegetarian than a committed one and it probably started with my friend Tracey who talks the talk of vegetarianism but will start her day with a bag of Doritos and not even the original ones which were not too artificial. As the year progressed, I have cut my meat portions from 8 ounces to 4 ounces and reduced the number of times I eat meat in a week from twice a day to 3-4 times a week.  This means I have cut back from 7 pounds per week to about 1 pound per week due to the intentionally portion controlled meals and the unintentional shrift to a vegetarian diet.

Of course the shift involves my cooking for female friends all who happen to favor vegetarian diets.  Frankly  by focusing on the rich foods of India which have developed from centuries of a vegetarian diet and the foods of Italy which have had centuries of meatless Friday’s, I have not suffered from a lack of flavor or foods that I really like. Yet I still will honestly post on what I eat.

This post evolved from two Foodpress listings, one from the Teacher Cooks on her top ten posts for the year and the other from Lisa’s call for vegan and vegetarian recipes with the intent of moving “to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life through getting back to basics, especially through food.” While it may seem weird that I do a lot of cooking in my coffeepot, it is consistent with my goal of minimal energy consumption for a small amount of food.

I also purchase as much as I can from the local Vegetable Market which has great vegetables in the American winter and fantastic fruit in summer.  It is unfortunate that when cooking meals for one, you sort of rely on canned beans because the alternative is to cook large quantities  and have infinite leftovers or waste a lot of energy cooking a cup of beans because you still have to  keep the almost empty pot on the stove for the same length of time you would cook a full pot.

Well, Lisa here is the Ten Vegan and Vegetable meals from my site and I once again learned something as I did with my post The Peoples Choice – A Bakers Dozen of Top Recipes

In the case of the following list all of the top 6 are boldly flavored vegan recipes if you leave out the dollop of sour cream on two of the soups.  The last 4 are Italian vegetarian creations based on dairy products.  Super healthy meals that taste great like Diabetic Friendly and Vegan Tomatoes and Cannelloni Beans Over Barley which was one of my favorites did not make the list. Oh well healthy is good  – just not too healthy.

  1. Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica
  2. Super Vegan Acorn Squash Soup
  3. Caribbean Black Bean Soup (vegetarian)
  4. Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice
  5. Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters
  6. Picture Perfect Borscht Tastes Good Too!
  7. Penne with Cauliflower in White Sauce or “Penne con Cavolfiore”
  8. Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan
  9. Vegetarian Broccoli Soup
  10. Rotini Dolores

In the past year, I have lost 65 pounds without a diet.  I eat everything  I want for dinner in small portions and during the day I graze on all the items a rabbit would eat i.e raw carrots, celery,  lettuce and cucumbers.  When available I eat locally grown fresh fruits. I am not suffering from a lack of energy as I walk 2-5 miles a day in addition to some yard work and daily cooking.  I don’t really even count how many carrots or pieces of celery I eat or how much fluids I drink because I now eat as much rabbit food as I want and  drink all the fluids I want.

I am not perfect or even close to it. I party with my family and gain a quick 5 pounds because of the lifestyle change and when they are gone, I revert back.  The 5 pounds is gone in about 2 weeks without any draconian efforts.  I intend to drop another 15 pounds to 165 so I can claim to have lost 100 pounds from my peak weight but will settle for a permanent weight of 170-172 which last occurred in 1967. Oh well, it’s a plan, not a resolution or a dream.

Beef Bourguignon

January 7, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Beef was one of Dolores most favorite ingredient and same never tired or simple basic recipes. Her favorite was a grilled steak where she seasoned it and I grilled it. Since I was not a big steak eater and she wanted a thick cut of the Tenderloin Section of a porterhouse, there was usually enough to make a second meal and I guess, Beef Stroganoff won as her favorite choice.

Occasionally, she would buy a niece piece of chuck and pot roast it in the crockpot. If she found nice boneless sirloin tips she would make stew. While she liked Beef Bourguignon, she rarely made it and I now understand why. This meal has 17 different ingredient and while the directions are easy enough to follow there are a dozen different steps.

One Day when I was thinking of Dolores I made it and it was good. Honestly, for a lot less work, Beef Stroganoff is easier and tastes just as good. This was not my opinion on Coq au Vin which I thought was worth the effort even if there were multiple steps. Because of the temperatures required, this was done in my fondu pot.

Ingredients:

2 oz ham cut into pieces

2 T. Olive Oil

5 oz beef cut into bite sized cubes

2 carrots peeled and sliced

1 onion chopped

1 clove of garlic

1 eight oz. can of mushrooms

2 celery stalks diced

½ bottle of Red Wine (Barefoot Merlot)

1 beef bullion cube

1 oz flour

1 oz butter

1 T, Fresh chopped parsley

¼ tsp thyme

1 thin slice scotch bonnet peeper

10 small cocktail onions

salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Saute ham strips in olive oil.

    Saute ham strips in olive oil

  2. Make a cold rue of the flour and butter and hold til needed.
  3. Remove the ham when brown
  4. Brown the beef in the same oil add more oil if necessary
  5. Remove the beef and place with ham
  6. In the same oil, saute the hot pepper, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the excess oil.
  8. Add the meat to the pot
  9. Spoon in the cold rue on top and stir while heating to coat everything evenly. Cook about 5 more minutes while turning the beef cubes.
  10. Add the wine, parsley and thyme and bring to a boil.

    All in and bring to a boil

  11. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 hours.

    Simmer covered for 3 hours

  12. Add the mushrooms, cook for about 15 minutes and serve.

This was traditionally served with boiled potatoes but Dolores preferred noodles so noodles it was and is.

Obviously this can be prepared ahead of time allowing you to socialize with the guests and then the only work is to add the mushrooms and make the noodles which takes about 15 minutes of kitchen time.

Puerto Rican Green Banana Salad or Escabeche de Guineos

January 6, 2011

Green Fig Side Salad

The first two people who served me this side dish were of Puerto Rican extraction so I called it Puerto Rican Green Banana Salad or Escabeche de Guineos. Actually, it is common throughout the Caribbean because it evolved by eating green bananas as a starchy substance when times are tough. In addition to being called Green Banana in English, it is also referred to as Green Fig Salad although there is no relationship with Figs as most Americans understand the word. This is not to be confused with plantains which appear to be big green bananas as this salad is made from regular unripe starchy bananas.

Green Fig

I would imagine this side dish evolved from an era when you had fields of bananas and none ripe and nothing to feed the kids for lunch. The solution is simple, boil the green bananas and toss them in a salad with whatever you have. The recipes are more standard now but there are still personal and regional variations. Of course, the source for my recipe is once again my friend Chino who shared his kitchen with anybody who liked to drink beer and keep him company while he was cooking. This was not as difficult as going to a culinary college so I found myself joining him quite frequently.

At a Crucian Breakfast or Brunch, you will traditionally find a salt-fish dish, johnnycake, various fritters and Green Banana Salad. After that the variety of side dishes for breakfast is an endless combinations of old fashioned foods. At other meals Green Fig can be served as a side dish from a bowl like seasoned rice or any other vegetable or can be garnished and served as a salad as above. Eating it on new years will bring you green for the year.

Ingredients:

2 Green Bananas

¼ cup olive oil

2 T. distilled white vinegar

2 T. lemon juice

10 sliced green Spanish Olives stuffed with pimento

1T. Crushed Garlic

1 tsp. capers

1 Onion thin sliced and separated into rings.

½ green pepper cut into thin rings

1 bay leaf

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut the ends off the green bananas and score it lengthwise. Try not to go deeper than the skin as a deep cut will discolor. Leave the skins on and boil for 20-25 minutes on the stove top or cut in half put in coffeepot and run 10 cups of water through the coffeemaker let stay on hot plate covered with foil for 1 hour.

    Prepare Green Banana for Cooking

  2. Remove skin from the cooked bananas and slice into pieces – your choice I have seen them cut from 3/8 inch discs to 1 inch long pieces. Some people serve them whole without any dressing. They are all good. I used about ½ inch pieces.

    Boiled Pealed Green Fig

  3. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork until evenly distributed.
  4. Add bananas and gently toss until all are coated with the dressing and blended with the other ingredients.

    Tossed Salad Ready to Serve

  5. Serve from the Bowl or make as a side salad.
  6. For the simple salad plate,  I used a bed of lettuce and fresh ripe tomatoes locally grown.

Winter is our strongest growing season for vegetables as that is when it is cool enough to grow a lot of North American summer crops. We have fantastic tomatoes and cucumbers but since the salad was already white, I left the cucumbers out for appearance but if you like cucumbers and have them on hand, why not include them?

Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

January 3, 2011

Hibiscus Punch – A Beautiful Natural Pink Limeade.

When my granddaughters, family and friends visit, we swim or walk in the morning, take a mid day break, referred to as quiet time, where everybody can read or join me in the kitchen and back to the beach in the afternoon. My granddaughters go on food fads where one trip they will drink gallons of juice and not enough milk products, the next trip it’s all milk. Last trip is was no juice at all. However, I try to balance this by what we cook together and since they help make the healthy item, they alter their consumption to eat what they cooked.

When I suggested we make Hibiscus punch to increase their juice consumption, everybody, except my son-in-law came to play. Let’s get the ingredients out of the way and then we can explain the method by showing everybody’s participation.

Ingredients:

6 Hibiscus flowers in full bloom

5 Ripe Limes (about 4 ounces of juice)

water as needed to make a half gallon

½ cup sugar

½ tsp ginger

Helping Mom Make Juice

In this picture Ms. Ana is helping her mother extract the fruit from passion fruit for juice which we made at the same time but that’s a story for another day.

Flowers for Hibiscus Punch

The starting point is 6 beautiful red hibiscus flowers which really don’t add much taste but they certainly contribute to a wonderful pink lemonade.

Putting the Petals into the Pot

The petals are removed from the flowers and placed in a pot to be covered with water and heated to extract the color. In our case when we are playing and cooking with kids, it is just more fun way to use the coffeepot although my daughter who is a lover of passion fruit juice used a real pot to make hers.

The Cooked Flowers Turn The Water Purple

Water is run through the coffeemaker on to the petals in the pot and you get that wonderfully rich purple color from red flowers. (about 10 -11 cups)

Rolling the Limes

Now to squeeze, limes by hand, you first roll them under pressure and you can use either your hands or feet. I demonstrated how to do one with my foot and then rinsed it off but Todd and Cayla opted to use their hands. Yes the yellow fruit is actually limes that are tree ripened outside my front door.

Turn Inside Out to Free Juice

Once the pulp is broken down, you cut the limes in half and turn them inside out over a cup, the juice is freely extracted from the pulp.

Pour Lime Juice into Pot

The juice is added to the pot after the flowers have been removed being careful to keep the seeds out.

Stir in Sugar and Powered Ginger

After that, the sugar and the ginger is added to the final jug it is to be stored in and any adjustments to sweetness, ginger or sugar is made at this time.

A good time was had by all and no local juices were wasted. The kids and I drank the Hibiscus Punch for breakfast, the other adults seemed to prefer Cruzan Rum and Passion fruit juice later in the day.