Himalayan Cilantro Paloma

 I will be attending a “Mixology Pool Party” today with a cocktail contest, winner gets bragging rights.  I decided I will bring the fix-ins to make this delightfully refreshing cocktail I created for Steph and I’s pop-up dinner we did here in Phoenix last month.

Himalayan-Cilantro-Paloma-- This time of year the citrus trees are overly abundant and wonderfully ripe, especially the grapefruit; it’s hard not to put it in every cocktail!

I love Palomas, they are so refreshing, light and a perfect summer drink.

Himalayan Cilantro Paloma

 There are a few health benefits with this cocktail… Himalayan black salt and the cilantro.  The black salt is very high in sulfur, magnesium, iron and other minerals.  It is found in and around the Himalayan mountains and has been used for centuries for hypertension due to its low sodium factor compared to table salt. There are different qualities of the salt and you would want to be confident of your source before using it for certain health issues.

 Cilantro on the other hand is a wonderful herb to aid in the process of detoxification.  Studies have shown that cilantro removes heavy metals from the body and because of its chelation abilities, cilantro is also being studied as a natural water purifier.  Increased consumption of cilantro also has been known to decrease the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes and heart disease.   It is also great for promoting healthy skin and hair while increasing energy and overall lower weight.

Himalayan-Cilantro-Paloma-

Recipe:  Makes 1 Cocktail

  • 2oz Blanco Tequila
  • 2oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1oz Red Chili Simple Syrup (Fresno or Mirasol Peppers)
  • 2oz Club Soda or Sparkling Water
  • 5-6 Sprigs of Fresh Cilantro
  • Himalayan Black Salt

Profile: Refreshing Slight Spice

Glass: Collins or Double Rocks

Garnish: Fresh Cilantro

Instructions:  

In a mixing glass combine juices, syrup, 5 sprigs of cilantro and tequila.

Add ice to your shaker 3/4 full, shake for a few seconds just to combine.

 Using a lime wedge wet the edge of your glass and lightly dip into the Himalayan black salt.  Fill glass with ice.

 Pour mix into glass and top with soda.

Garnish. Enjoy!

*Red Chili Simple Syrup

Recipe:  Makes 4 oz’s or 4 Cocktails

  • 1/2 Purified Water
  • 1/2 Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Red Fresno Chili cut in 1/2

Instructions: 

In a small saucepan heat water to boiling point.

 Add sugar and chili. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove pepper with seeds.

Refrigerate.

Coconut Curry Potatoes and Peas with Black Beans and Jade Rice

This is a mild and creamy curry dish that is full of flavor.  I used my homemade curry powder, but you can use any store bought brand if you prefer not to make it yourself.  I highly recommend making your own though!

 It might seem strange to pair a curry dish with black beans but it actually works!  The rice is totally optional but you have to try jade pearl rice if you haven’t already.  It’s pretty cool!  It is dyed white rice that gets its green color from the chlorophyll of bamboo juice.  The texture is slightly sticky but also light and fluffy containing subtle notes of green tea flavor.

Curried-Potatoes-and-Peas

How was your 4th of July?  We had a very nice and mellow day with a nice picnic on the beach. Our beach is usually deserted due to the fact that we live in a neighborhood full of vacation rentals.  However, there are a lot of people on the beach on holidays like the 4th which makes it much more lively.

This potato dish is the perfect comfort food after a long day on the beach.  Ever so often Robby requests a dish that he is craving and this was one of those times.  I love it when he gives me a challenge because it is fun to see if I can make it how he envisions it.  He absolutely loved it!  He was also surprised at how well the black beans went with the curry flavor.

Coconut-Curried-Potatoes-and-Peas

This dish goes great with a Riesling,  Pinot Gris or a sparkling wine like a Prosecco.

Curried-Potatoes-and-Peas-with-Black-Beans

Recipe:

Jade Rice

  • 1 Cup Jade Pearl Rice
  • 1-3/4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Potatoes

  • 4 Large Yellow Potatoes or 3 1/2 lb – diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1 1/2 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk – I used full fat
  • 2 Tablespoons Homemade Curry Powder or Hunters Spice Organic Curry Blend
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas – or to taste

Instructions:

Start the black beans.

 While the beans are cooking, make the rice.

 Do NOT rinse the rice. Add the water, rice, bouillon, 1 tablespoon oil and salt to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Mash up the bouillon cube well, then cover, reduce to simmer in between medium-low and low for 20 minutes (use a timer).  Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.

 Dice the potatoes. Set aside

Add the diced onions to a straight-sided pan, along with 1 tablespoon of oil.  Sauté on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes then add the minced garlic; continue stirring until garlic just starts to become golden then add the wine and bouillon cube.  Mash the bouillon and when wine reduces to a syrup, add the potatoes and water.  Turn heat to medium and cover for 15 minutes make sure to stir a few times.

Add the can of coconut milk and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the spices and simmer for 10 minutes covered and then for an additional 10 to 15 minutes uncovered.  Make sure and stir frequently so potatoes don’t stick to the pan.  When potatoes are soft add the peas and cook for about a minute until peas are hot.

Coconut-Curry-Potatoes-and-Peas-with-Black-Beans

Health Benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Black beans are high in cholesterol lowering dietary fiber, 1 cup of cooked beans provides you with over 1/2 of your daily requirements and reduces blood cholesterol that helps prevent heart disease.   The fiber supports the digestive tract and the colon, which helps constipation, diverticulitis and other gastrointestinal disorders.  They also maintain normal blood sugar levels, helping to prevent diabetes.   Black beans are a very good meat substitute because of their 15 grams of protein in 1 cup and contain only trace amounts of saturated fat and no cholesterol.  They contain phytochemicals, substances found only in plant foods that help fight cancer and other chronic diseases.  They increase energy with the good amounts of iron in them and have more antioxidant activity than other types of beans. They neutralize cell-damaging free radicals that may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.  Black beans are also rich in B vitamins, Folate, potassium (helps regulate your blood pressure and heart rate), magnesium, calcium (builds and maintains bones) and other heart-healthy nutrients.

Red,White and Berry Cocktail

Happy Fourth of July!  This holiday is always an exciting one for me because the day before is my birthday and there are always many festivities planned every year.  Last night my friend planned an amazing “girls night out” party for me with 10 other girls; it was too much fun!  We went to about 8 different places from the Clever Koi to the Phoenix Art Museum which has an amazing little restaurant and bar.

Red,White&Berry

I wanted to make a cocktail for this holiday that reflects the patriotic colors of the American flag also the time of year that it is with all the berries being in season.  This takes me back to my childhood, growing up in Oregon with all of the wild berries everywhere; I would stand there and eat them off of the bushes until I felt sick!

Red,White&Berry2

The components to this cocktail can definitely be used in other cocktails, also mocktails as well.  The mint syrup is delicious in sparkling water, it tastes like a natural mint soda.  The Hibiscus sugar can be dissolved in water and tastes like Kool-Aid!

Red,White&Berry3

Recipe:  For 1 Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin or Vodka ( I like the Gin with this one but either can be used)
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice (takes 1 whole Lime)
  • *1 oz Mint Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Sparkling Water
  • Fresh Blueberries and Raspberries

Instructions: 

Using a slice of lime rub it onto the rim of the glass and dip the edge into the Hibiscus Sugar.  Then in a mixing glass add gin, lime juice and syrup.  Add ice 3/4 full in the glass and shake with your mixing tin for a few seconds.  Pour into your coupe glass and top with the sparkling soda.

*Mint Simple Syrup Recipe:

  • 1 Cup of Purified Water
  • 1 Cup Organic Granulated White Sugar (if you use raw or turbinado the color of the syrup will be dark)
  • 10-15 Mint Leaves

Instructions:  

In a small saucepan on medium heat add water and sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved add the mint leaves and turn heat off.  Let sit until cooled with the mint leaves in the syrup.  Once cooled completely strain leaves out.  The mint syrup should be refrigerated.

Hibiscus Sugar Recipe:

  • 1/2 Cup Organic Granulated White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Hibiscus Flower Petals (Can be found in the bulk spice section at most stores)

 

Instructions:

In a food processor or coffee grinder pulse until blended very well into a fine powder.

Blueberry Chevre Crostini with Champagne Vinegar Hibiscus Flowers

This is a very unique appetizer!  The champagne vinegar soaked hibiscus flowers adds the perfect tang to the soft flavors of the chevre and the subtle sweetness of the blueberries.  Add all that onto a crunchy crostini and it’s outstanding!

Blueberry-Hibiscus-Crostini

The 4th of July was always a big deal growing up in L.A.  A bunch of us would walk the beach from Santa Monica to Venice, from party to party, trying not to get hit by bottle rockets.  I remember the skies flooded with them.  It was kinda scary!  They don’t allow that anymore.

Blueberry-and-Hibiscus-Crostini

When I moved back to Venice for a few years in 2007, I did the 4th with at least 20 of our friends that all grew up together.  We were all on bikes crusin the boardwalk.  We rode to the Venice canals before the fireworks started and watched them from the top of a bridge with the best view.  It was always a lot of fun!

Blueberry-Vinegar-Hibiscus-Crostini

Tis the season for appetizers and with the 4th of July coming up, I can’t think of a better appetizer than this red, white and blue crostini.

Blueberry-Hibiscus-Flower-Crostini

For a festive wine, I would pair these crostini with a Prosecco or a Cava.

Vinegar Hibiscus Flowers

Recipe: 12 Crostini

  • 12 Slices French Baguette
  • Approx. 5 oz. Chevre Goat Cheese – or to taste – room temperature
  • 1 Container Blueberries – 5 to 10 per crostini
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar Soaked Hibiscus Flowers – or to taste 

Instructions:

Hibiscus Flowers

You will need to soak the hibiscus flowers in the vinegar for 4 days to a week. (I did a week) Follow this recipe.

 *You will have leftover hibiscus vinegar.  You could use the leftovers for salad dressings like this one.  You could also half the recipe.  Other uses for the leftover vinegar flowers would be as a topping on a sandwich, on a salad, or anywhere you would use any pickled vegetable.

Crostini

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Place slices on to a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil.

Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and broil for about 1 more minute.  Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.

I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching.  They cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.

Let cool.

 Assemble

Spread the chevre on to the crostini and top with the blueberries and vinegar flowers.  Serve as is or drizzle with maple syrup.   I sometimes put them in the toaster oven for a minute or so, which is also really good!

 

_Hibiscus-Blueberry-Crostini

Health benefits:

Hibiscus Flowers is a simple way to increase your antioxidant intake due to the high vitamin C content.  The antioxidant properties can help reverse the inflammatory process in your body and has the ability to lower high blood pressure.  It protects against chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  It helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, therefore it helps protect against heart disease and blood vessels from damage.

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C. They are a super food and are one of the highest in antioxidants compared to most fruits. They are a great source of fiber. The fiber helps reduce abdominal fat, lower cholesterol and helps lower glucose. They are great for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and they are known to heal damaged brain cells. So they help you keep your memory intact.

 

Fresh Herb and Edible Flower Salad with Hibiscus Champagne Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite summer salad, if there could be just one.  The salad’s vibrant colors are so beautiful and the herbs make it extremely flavorful.  The blueberries add a subtle note of sweetness and the chevre cheese perfectly compliments the zesty hibiscus dressing.

Herb-Salad

This weekend Robby and I were invited to our friend’s Swedish midsummer party.  The theme was very appropriate for me as I am a quarter Swedish.  The party invite was last minute, so I didn’t have time to make something elaborate.  However, I did make my cilantro asiago pesto, which was a huge hit.

 It was a small group of great people having great conversation and lots of laughs.

For starters we had a lot of wine, champagne, Swedish meatballs, cheese, bread, crackers, grapes and pesto.  For dinner, we sat outside on their deck, which was lovely.  There was skirt steak, new potatoes, local grilled corn, asparagus, kale salad and bread with pesto.  Everything was delicious!  I would have loved to been able to bring this salad if I had more notice.  Next time, I will.  There is nothing better than hanging with good friends enjoying great conversation, food and wine!

Fresh-Herb-Salad-with-Hibiscus-Vinaigrette

This salad pairs well with a Rosé, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

Herb-Salad-with-Hibiscus-Vinaigrette

Hibiscus-Vinegar-and-Dressing

Recipe: 4 – 6 servings

Hibiscus Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Dried Hibiscus Flowers
  • 1 Bottle Champagne Vinegar (I used 12.7 oz. Napa Valley Naturals)
Hibiscus Champagne Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 Cup Hibiscus Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Small Shallots or 1 Tablespoon – minced
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove or 1 Teaspoon – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Salad
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts or Raw Almonds – toasted
  • Hibiscus Vinaigrette – to taste
  • 1/2 Pound Mixed Baby Greens
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup Edible Flowers
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – chiffonade – roughly chopped – or torn
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Mint – chiffonade – roughly chopped – or torn
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Chives – thinly sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Dill – minced
  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Basket Yellow Cherry Tomatoes – cut in half
  • 1 – 8 oz. Chevre Goat Cheese

Instructions:

 Vinegar

Prepare this 4 days to a week ahead.  Add the hibiscus flowers to a jar and pour the vinegar over the hibiscus.  Let sit for 4 days to a week.  (I did a week) Strain into another jar.  Save the hibiscus soaked flowers for other recipes. (I have one coming soon)

Nuts

If using hazelnuts, follow this post.  If using toasted almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread almonds out onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 18 minutes and let cool completely.  Roughly chop.

 

 Vinaigrette

While the nuts are toasting, make the vinaigrette.

In a bowl of a blender or food processor, add the hibiscus vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Turn on the blender/food processor and slowly add the oil.  (Or, add ingredients to a bowl and puree using an immersion blender.)  Mince the shallot and garlic, and whisk them into the vinaigrette.  Set aside.

Salad

Add the mixed greens and edible flowers to a large bowl.

Add the basil and mint to a large bowl.

Add slice the green onions and dill to the bowl.

Add blueberries (I had some really large berries so I cut some in half)

Add tomatoes.

Crumble the cheese with a fork and add to the bowl or onto individual salads.

Add nuts and dressing to individual salads.

Fresh-Herb-and-Greens-Salad-with-Hibiscus-Vinaigrette

Health benefits:

Hibiscus Flowers is a simple way to increase your antioxidant intake due to the high vitamin C content.  The antioxidant properties can help reverse the inflammatory process in your body and has the ability to lower high blood pressure.  It protects against chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  It helps lower “bad” LDL cholesterol from the body, therefore it helps protect against heart disease and blood vessels from damage.

Blueberries are high in Vitamin C. They are a super food and are one of the highest in antioxidants compared to most fruits. They are a great source of fiber. The fiber helps reduce abdominal fat, lower cholesterol and helps lower glucose. They are great for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and they are known to heal damaged brain cells. So they help you keep your memory intact.