Monday, April 29, 2013

Satsumaimo: The Japanese Sweet Potato

Wagashi is a term for Japanese confections often served with tea.  I've been wanting to make this particular rustic wagashi for sometime now.  Very simply named the  "Sweet Potato", it is of course made from the Sastumaimo, better known as the Japanese sweet potato. The Satsumaimo has a much more mild and delicate flavor than your usual yam or sweet potato and is easily a favorite in Japan.  During autumn months, you can find Satsumaimo flavored everything over there from Soft-serve ice creams to chocolates.  

There is something very comforting about the satsumaimo for me - like coming home.  Maybe because it never fails to make me think of my sis as it was a favorite of hers growing up.   Even now, I associate this maroon colored potato with my her just as I associate penguins with Cy ;)

The naturally sweet nutrient-packed veggie lends itself well as a dessert ingredient.  And this simple to make recipe makes for the perfect healthy sweet bite when you need a little tea or coffee break. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick Carrot & Enoki Salad

I've never been a huge lover of carrots growing up.  Sure I could eat the baby carrot here and there or have it as part of another dish, but I would never choose to seek out a carrot dish unless it was carrot cake (Hmm maybe that's why my eyesight is so terrible...)  But since we started juicing and we made our first carrot juice, I finally understood the appeal of carrots.  I suddenly crave the sweet crunchy goodness of raw carrots from time to time and this quick and easy side salad is the perfect solution.

This two ingredient salad only takes a few minutes to prepare (especially if you own a mandolin), keeps well in the fridge and tastes great chilled - so perfect now that the days are becoming warmer. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk

There have been plenty of cold-pressed juice places popping up all over the place this past year and our neighborhood is no exception.  We have a Juice Crafters within walking distance from our place and they have slowly converted us into juice drinkers.  Considering how pricey each of those drinks are, we finally broke down and bought a juicer to make our own.

I'm not going to lie, we ♥ our juicer.
I think we pretty much make some sort of juice (usually green) every day now.  I'm not sure if we would ever be able to do a hardcore juice cleanse or anything like that - we love solid food a little too much for that, but it does feel good to add another source of fresh fruits and veggies into our diet.

We usually make a green juice in the mornings (I will definitely post this sometime), but I wanted to try making almond milk.  And though it does require some prep work, I thought that the resulting drink was super fresh and delicious and well worth the effort.

There are many ways to make almond milk, but since we had a juicer, we used this method.

After soaking the almonds overnight, I don't know how necessary it was to actually peel the almonds but it was much easier to do than I expected.  Cy and I together finished this process in about 5min.  The skin literally pops out...kind of fun ;)

{Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk}


1cup Almonds 
3cups water
2 pitted dates
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp honey


1.  Soak almonds in the water overnight or at least 8hrs.
2.  Drain the almonds, reserving the liquid.
3.  Add just enough boiling water over the almonds and leave for a few minutes.
4.  Drain the hot water and rub the almonds in between fingers (the skin should pop off).
5.  Add the almonds and reserved water into your juicer along with the pitted dates.
6.  Strain the milk through a cheesecloth.
7.  Add vanilla and honey to your resulting milk, mix well and enjoy :)

*You may be able to get away with skipping steps 3&4 if you are pressed for time.
* If you don't mind a little bit (and I mean really little) of fine almond granules in the milk you can skip           step 6 also. (We actually did not bother to strain it).
*You can adjust the amount of water and honey to make the milk "creamier" or sweeter according to your own taste.

This is the pulp I was left with...I may have to try using it as "almond flour" though I guess most of the nutrients would be gone?  I'm not certain. If anyone has any good ideas what to do with the pulp aside from composting, please feel free to suggest!

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