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Fresh Ideas

Fresh Ideas

Here are some tasty ideas that bring out the flavor of fresh ingredients.

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  • Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

    Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

    Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

    These have everything I want in a good muffin: whole wheat flour, wheat germ, blueberries, bananas, and a little bit of sweetness. The muffin is light with bursts of berries throughout. If blueberries aren't your favorite, you can halve the amount of blueberries, or even cut fresh blueberries in half. The toasty wheat germ on top adds a little bit of texture to the tops.
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    Serves

    1

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
    • 1/4 cup wheat germ
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated
    • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 ripe bananas, (about 1 pound)
    • 1/3 cup reduced fat (2%) milk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup blueberries, frozen
    • 2 tablespoons wheat germ, for sprinkling on top
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    Directions

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork (you should have 3/4 cup); stir in milk and vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in frozen blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with a little wheat germ for an added crunch. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.

  • Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn

    Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn

    Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn

    This recipe is a great way to use up any herbs from your herb garden. The finished product is delicious, buttery and so fresh tasting!
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    Prep Time

    5 minutes

    Cook Time

    15 minutes

    Serves

    1

    Ingredients

    • 6 ears fresh corn, cleaned
    • 6 tablespoons sweet butter, softened and divided
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon fresh basil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
    • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
    • 6 pieces aluminum foil, big enough to wrap cobs
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    Directions

    Method

    Place each ear of corn on a piece of foil. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and dissolve the sugar and salt into it. Add to the remaining butter and blend well. Mix herbs together and add to butter. Rub mixture onto each cob. Wrap foil around the corn and grill 15 minutes, turning often.

  • Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata and Pine Nuts

    Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata and Pine Nuts Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata and Pine Nuts

    Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata and Pine Nuts

    We all love sweet juicy watermelon, but have you ever tried it in a salad? Here's a great recipe for a luncheon or light supper that uses fresh, seasonal ingredients.
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    Serves

    8

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 6 cups seedless watermelon, cubed into one-inch squares, rind discarded
    • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
    • 1/2 cup green olives, (like Picholine), seeded and coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1 bunch watercress
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
    • 4 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese, (can substitute Feta)
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    Directions

    Dressing

    Using a whisk, mix lime juice, olive oil and kosher salt together.

    Salad

    Combine watermelon, red onion slices, olives, cilantro and watercress. Drizzle with half of the dressing and gently toss. Transfer salad to salad plates. Garnish with pine nuts and Ricotta Salata and serve immediately.

  • Beets

    Beets Beets

    Beets

    If beets have a bad rap, it might be because people have only had them from cans, which is not very appetizing. But now, fresh beets are common and along with purple ones, you can find them in yellow and striped versions.
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    Serves

    8

    Ingredients

    • 15 baby beets, preferably assorted colors, root trimmed, rinsed and patted dry; or 4 large beets
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 8 slices walnut bread, thin
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 4 ounces goat cheese
    • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon tarragon
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 8 cups mixed baby salad greens, washed and dried (about 7 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves
    • 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons orange zest
    • 1 tablespoon orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons tarragon, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
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    Directions

    Roast Beets

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets with 2 Tablespoon olive oil; transfer to a sheet pan. Cover with foil. Roast beets until soft, about 30-45 minutes (depending on their size), or until a skewer inserted pierces the beet easily. Pour any beet juices that have accumulated into a bowl and set aside. Cool and then peel the outer skin off of the beets and cut them in quarters (for larger beets) or halves (for smaller beets). Toss them in kosher salt and set aside.

    Crostini

    Lower the oven to 350°F. Slice bread 1/2-inch thick on the bias. Brush bread with oil. Toast in the oven until golden, 10-15 minutes. After toasting, lightly rub both sides of the crostini with the peeled garlic cloves. Mix goat cheese with orange zest, tarragon and salt. Spread cheese on bread. Right before ready to serve, return to the oven for 2 minutes to warm/melt the cheese.

    Salad

    Mix together greens, chives and parsley. Set aside. Toast walnuts at 325°F for 10 minutes.

    Vinaigrette

    Mix the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, tarragon, dill, salt and sugar. Add the reserved beet roasting juice. Toss beets in 2 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss the greens in the vinaigrette. Divide the greens among 8 plates. Put a few beets on each salad, sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with a slice of the warmed goat-cheese walnut bread. Serve immediately.

  • Asparagus Soup With Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche

    Asparagus Soup With Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche Asparagus Soup With Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche

    Asparagus Soup With Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche

    The next time you see fresh asparagus at the grocer's or farmer's market, think about trying this delicious, savory soup. It makes a lovely first course with fish for a light, healthy meal.
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    Serves

    12

    Ingredients

    • 3 pounds asparagus, half inch of tough ends removed and discarded
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 onion, chopped coarsely
    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, (plus 2 cups more)
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
    • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
    • 2 teaspoons preserved lemons, inner pulp discarded, skin finely chopped (can sub 1 tsp. lemon juice plus 1 tsp. lemon zest)
    • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
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    Directions

    Cut Asparagus

    Remove tough ends from asparagus. Slice the top inch off asparagus tips by slicing diagonally into thin slivers. Set tips aside for soup garnish. Cut remaining stalk into 1/2-inch long pieces.

    Make Soup

    In a soup pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the 1/2-inch asparagus pieces (still reserving the tips for garnish) and cook asparagus until tender, about 8 minutes. Take off heat and add the extra 2 cups of room temperature stock to help it cool.

    Batter

    Working in batches, puree the soup by filling a blender no more than 2/3 full. Puree the soup until very smooth and light, 2 to 3 minutes per batch on high speed. NOTE: If soup is still hot, it could spit from the blender; take care by holding the lid on with a towel and venting the lid slightly if possible. Strain soup through a strainer into another soup pot. Add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and season with 1 Tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add asparagus tips to pureed soup. Reheat soup.

    Garnish

    In a bowl, mix together crème fraîche with preserved lemons, salt and pepper. Add water if necessary to make the consistency of heavy cream.

    To Serve

    Ladle soup into bowls. Put a dollop of crème fraîche in the middle of the bowl and serve immediately.

  • Spinach Wrap with Black Beans and Salsa

    Spinach Wrap with Black Beans and Salsa Spinach Wrap with Black Beans and Salsa

    Spinach Wrap with Black Beans and Salsa

    These veggie wraps are loaded with Mexican flavor. Roll up a few for a quick meal or a great snack anytime.
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    Serves

    4

    Ingredients

    • 4 12-inch spinach tortillas
    • 1 can black beans, drained
    • 1 can corn, drained
    • 1 avocado, cut into half-inch cubes
    • 1/4 cup mild tomato salsa, plus more for serving
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
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    Directions

    Warm Tortillas

    Wrap tortillas in foil and warm at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.

    Mix Filling

    Combine black beans, corn, avocado, salsa, cilantro (optional) and salt. Mix well.

    Assemble Wraps

    Place warm tortilla on work surface and line the middle with a fourth of the bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. If the circle were a clock, fold the sides at 3 and 9 o'clock towards the center. Then roll the wrap starting at 6 o'clock rolling to 12 o'clock. Serve at room temperature or wrap in foil, and heat at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve with extra salsa.

  • Mango Ginger Iced Tea

    Mango Ginger Iced Tea Mango Ginger Iced Tea

    Mango Ginger Iced Tea

    Beat the heat with this refreshing iced tea. Mango and ginger put an Asian twist on your favorite summertime beverage.
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    Serves

    4

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 half-inch slices of ginger
    • 4 black tea bags
    • 1/2 mango, cut into cubes
    • mint sprigs, for garnish
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    Directions

    Preparation

    Bring water to boil. Add sugar and slices of ginger and let sit for 5 minutes. Add tea bags and mango cubes and let sit steep for 5 more minutes. Strain tea into a heatproof pitcher. Cover and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Serve tea over ice (or shaved ice) in tall glasses garnished with mint.