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For a Refreshing Summer, Grow a Smoothie Garden

For a Refreshing Summer, Grow a Smoothie Garden

 

As you walk through New York City, it is hard not to find a store that offers green juices, kale shakes, and fruit smoothies. The health benefits of certain smoothies and juices, particularly green ones, are well-documented and common knowledge. Not only do these nutrient packed cups provide a condensed supply of our daily fruits and vegetables, which can be difficult to get amidst modern living, but they also tend to be quite delicious. At The Hort, we think it’s a great idea to fuse this healthy ‘fast food’ with your horticultural skills to cultivate your very own smoothie garden. Making your own smoothies can be a great way to save money, reduce plastic use, and increase your vitamin intake.

There are many options for what to grow in your smoothie garden. Green vegetables are important main components of any smoothie as they provide energy, stress relief, vitamins, and antioxidants in abundance. Nutrient dense fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries add essential vitamins and sweetness.

When planning your garden this spring, keep these vegetables and fruits in mind for delicious, healthy smoothies:

Vegetables

Celery is a surprisingly healthy vegetable but, fair warning, a bit difficult to grow. It requires copious watering, fertilizer and compost; however, the homegrown stuff tastes unlike anything at the grocery. Not only is celery loaded with anitoxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium, but it also can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Did you know one serving of Broccoli offers roughly 10% of your daily value of protein? It is also chock-full of calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

Carrots, being a semi-sweet vegetable, bring a unique flavor and an immunity boost to juices. Studies have shown that eating carrots greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Radish will add a nice spicy bite to your drink, the kind we often get from Ginger. The bright red vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, aids digestions, and known to help prevent viral infections. Don’t forget to add the folic acid-rich radish leaves too!

Fennel is another fantastic taste booster and as a cousin of celery; it has terrific health benefits. Fennel is a digestive aid, skin brightener, and brings a full stalk of antioxidants.

Fruit

Blueberries, America’s second favorite berry, comes with some surprising health benefits. Research has shown that these delicious orbs can benefit the nervous system and improve memory.

Far and away the most popular berry, Strawberries provide many antioxidants and plant compounds, vitamin C and manganese.

Raspberries have been known to increase metabolism in fat cells and help with the digestive process.

Smoothie gardens can be planted in the ground, in pots, or in raised beds — essentially anywhere as long as they are properly cared for and given ample room to grow. Various flower and herbs, such as mint and basil, can be arranged among the rows and the corners for a special smoothie twist. The flowers serve an important function by attracting pollinators to the plants.

So get out that sturdy blender and turn those extra veggies or your new garden into a yummy and fresh summer treat. For a great, delicious smoothie, try this simple formula: 

2 cups leafy greens or vegetables

2 cups liquid base

3 cups ripe fruit

Try freezing your fruit for a chilled, and frosty consistency. Add a 1/4 cup fresh mint for a unique flavor too!

 

 

End of Summer Recipes: From the Garden to the Table

End of Summer Recipes: From the Garden to the Table

summer-recipes-600

As summer draws to a close, it’s time to think about how best to use the remains of your summer gardening efforts. What better way to celebrate a successful summer season than with a garden party full of delectable summer fruit and vegetable delights? It’s a great way to share locally grown produce and your gardening skills. Treat your guests to this perfect garden party menu of easy and delicious recipes below:

Pan-Cooked Summer Squash With Tomatoes and Basil

Credit: Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes
Credit: Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.
Serves four to six.

Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chives

Credit: Faith Durand, The Kitchn
Credit: Faith Durand, The Kitchn

2 small zucchini, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ears sweet corn, kernels shaved off
1 cup minced chives
1/2 cup chopped mint, plus sprigs to garnish

Directions:

Place the diced zucchini in a colander or small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the butter. When the butter foams up, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender — about 5 minutes.

Drain any excess water off the zucchini and add to the skillet, along with the chives and mint. Sauté just until the zucchini is barely tender — about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while hot, or at room temperature.

Fresh Vegetable BBQ Pizza

Credit: Iowa Girl Eats
Credit: Iowa Girl Eats

1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup chopped red onions
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pizza Dough or Pizza Crust

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top of Pizza dough. Layer with Black beans, corn, tomatoes and red onions. Sprinkle with cheese until covered. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Let cool five minutes then slice. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving.


Zucchini Bread Cookie Whoopie Pie

Credit: Iowa Girl Eats,Iowa Girl Eats
Credit: Iowa Girl Eats,Iowa Girl Eats

For Bread Cookies:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated zucchini (squeezed of excess moisture then measured)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the icing:
2 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
4oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Combine butter, applesauce, and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes (mixture won’t be light and fluffy – it’s ok.) Add egg then beat to combine. Add vanilla then beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing well between each batch. Add zucchini and mix to combine then add oatmeal and mix to combine. Cover bowl then place in the refrigerator for one hour, or until dough holds it’s shape when scooped.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop 1 Tablespoon dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets then bake for 10 minutes, or until set on top. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the icing: While the cookies are cooling, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scoop into a piping or ziplock bag, snip off the corner, then pipe onto half the cooled cookies and top with the other half. Store whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge.

Seasonal Recipe: Green Bean Salad with Salsa Fresca Dressing

Seasonal Recipe: Green Bean Salad with Salsa Fresca Dressing

Green Bean Salad with Salsa Fresca Dressing

   

A delicious, colorful salad that is healthy, delicious, and refreshing on a hot summer day – definitely a crowd pleaser.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 bunch frisée or escarole, torninto bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Salsa Fresca Dressing

  • 1 cup Salsa Fresca
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 ½ cups Roma tomatoes,seeded and chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

1. Mix onion, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice in a bowl. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and salt; let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend.

Salad Instructions

1. Cook green beans until tender (approximately 2 -3 minutes) in a small pot of salted boiling water. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine frisée, onion, almonds, and goat cheese in medium sized bowl. Toss salad to mix ingredients.

Seasonal Recipe: Spring Vegetable Pizza

Seasonal Recipe: Spring Vegetable Pizza

Spring

   

This delectable recipe combines some of the most hearty spring vegetables with a traditional favorite: pizza. Don’t forget to buy fresh, local, and organic vegetables!

 

 

Ingredients

• 1 jar (12 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained well, reserving marinade, hearts quartered if whole
• 1 large bunch asparagus (1 pound), trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces, and halved lengthwise if thick
• 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen and divided in half
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 7 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (3 cups)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine artichoke hearts, asparagus, and tomatoes.
3. On a large piece of parchment paper, brush dough with artichoke-heart marinade and roll out to a make two 14-inch-long oval pizzas.
4. Transfer dough to a baking sheet and top with the vegetables, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush border with marinade and season entire pizza with salt and pepper.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pizzas, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until crust is deep golden and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters and Amari

Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters and Amari

Bitters
With the spirit of the season in full swing, The Hort invited Mark Bitterman, a leading culinary salt, chocolate, and cocktail bitters expert, on December 9th to lead an in-depth bitters making. Mark brought everyone on a small, cocktail inspired trip through history; he discussed the foundations of bitters, their prohibition survival, and modern developments. Sticking with the bitter’s tradition, he mixed a classic Manhattan, a tempting Angostura Sour, and a mystery drink – made complete by attendee-made bitters.

The evening also highlighted Mark’s new book, Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters & Amari – the most comprehensive handbook available on selecting, understanding, mixing, and cooking with bitters. For any additional tips, tricks, or supplies, Mark’s artisanal shop, The Meadow is located in the west village and is a great place to find the perfect gift for any cocktail or cooking aficionado!

View pictures of the workshop on Flickr.

Green Family Circle Seasonal Fall Recipe

Green Family Circle Seasonal Fall Recipe

Sunflowerseed Brittle
Sunflower Seed Brittle
line

   

Nut allergies are a common occurrence among children. Bring the crunch of nut-brittle candy without the reaction by using sunflower seeds instead! Full of vitamin E, sunflower seed brittle will make an excellent after-school snack.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or cherries, roughly chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup brown rice syrup

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine the sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, dried fruit, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir well.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Add the syrup and whisk until uniform. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and fold quickly to incorporate it before the mixture becomes too sticky. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth out the top with the back of an oil-greased spatula.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
5. Crack the brittle into pieces and store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.