Written on November 21, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
On a recent trip to Granada, Spain, I bought these adorable Moroccan tea glasses, sold all over Granada because of its Moorish history. I drink a lot of tea during the day while working from my cabin in the woods, but I thought I’d mix it up and make some hot cider instead. (Feels very holiday!)
Since the word Granada means pomegranate in Spanish, I was inspired to add fresh pomegranates to the cider. Starting with this BHG cider recipe, I simmered apple juice, pomegranate juice and spices, then garnished each cup with fresh pomegranate seeds and an apple slice decorated with cloves. I think this would be a fun after-dinner drink on Thanksgiving Day to cozy up by the fire with (plus, it can be spiked with bourbon for the adults!).
Cheers…And Happy Thanksgiving!
Spiced Apple-Pomegranate Cider
Adapted from BHG’s Recipe, serves 6-8
1 gallon of apple cider or apple juice
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup or packed brown sugar
Peel from 1 organic orange, cut into strips
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves, plus more for garnish
Thinly sliced apple and seeds from 1 pomegranate for garnish
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine apple cider/juice, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup or brown sugar.
2. To make a spice bag, cut a double thickness of cheesecloth into a 12-inch square. Place the orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves in center of cloth. Bring the corners of cloth together and tie closed with clean kitchen string. Add spice bag to the cider pot.
3. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and discard.
4. To serve, ladle cider into mugs. Drop 1 T fresh pomegranate seeds into each glass. To make the garnish, slice an apple into ¼ inch thick circles. Then cut each circle into quarters and push whole cloves into the apple slice (see photo above). Make a little slit in each apple slice to hang it over the side of the glass.
Photos and Illustrations by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog and soon-to-be cookbook full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.
Written on August 20, 2013 at 8:30 am , by BHG Guest Blogger
Hello there! My name is Kiersten and I blog over at Oh My Veggies, a happy little vegetarian food blog with a focus on easy recipes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. I’m so excited that Better Homes & Gardens invited me to share a recipe with you–as someone who needs all the home and garden advice she can get (really, you should see my garden right now), I’m a pretty big fan.
I’ve been a vegetarian since middle school, so veggie cooking comes pretty naturally to me because I’ve been doing it for so long. When I started blogging, it surprised me to hear from people who were in a panic because they wanted to stop eating meat, but didn’t know what to cook or how to cook it. A lot of people think that vegetarian cooking is intimidating or difficult, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be. And you can take just about any recipe and make it meatless–yes, really, you can!
Better Homes & Gardens has a lot of tasty vegetarian options on their website, but I wanted to challenge myself, so I choose their Mango-Chili Chicken Stir-Fry recipe. I don’t use processed meat substitutes in my cooking, so I decided to replace the chicken with a package of extra-firm tofu.
Wait! Don’t click away! Don’t give me the side-eye!
When you prepare tofu the right way, it’s delicious, so I’m going to show you the best way to make it.
Tofu is packaged in water, so in order for it to absorb the flavors of the dish you’re preparing, you need to press that nasty tofu water out. If you just take the tofu out of the package, dice it up, and throw it in a stir fry, you will not like tofu. It needs pressing! I have a tofu press for this purpose, but this is how you press your tofu without one:
Put 2-3 layers of paper towels on a cutting board, put your tofu on top of that, then another layer of paper towels and another cutting board. Weigh everything down with bottles and cans and let the tofu sit like this for 30 minutes. Trust me, it’s worth it.
After pressing the tofu, I cut it into 16 triangles (there’s no real reason for triangles, but they look nice, right?), heated 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cooked the tofu for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until it was browned and crispy. (Oh, and you can use any kind of cooking oil you like–no need to go out and buy grapeseed oil if you don’t have it on hand.) Remove the tofu from the skillet and set it on a few layers of paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil, then stir fry the peppers, add the tofu back in, and stir in the fiery mango sauce.
The only other slight change I made to the original Mango-Chili Chicken Stir-Fry recipe is that instead of using dried chile peppers, I tossed in a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and I added some black sesame seeds at the end. Oh, and I diced the mango instead of slicing it because I still haven’t figured out how to slice a mango without potentially losing a thumb. I served this with brown rice and it was absolutely delicious–we loved the sweet-and-spicy mango sauce with the crispy, chewy tofu. If you’re looking for an easy Meatless Monday dinner, this is it!
Written on July 18, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
How fun and colorful are these Watermelon Margaritas?! I think they’d be perfect for a summer BBQ. I love the addition of the watermelon “ice cubes” to keep your drink frosty cool. You could also make a non-alcoholic version of this by eliminating the Triple Sec and tequila. Enjoy!
- Watermelon cubes
- Kosher salt (to line glass rims, if desired)
- 8 lime wedges
- 3 cups Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
- 2 – 3 cups tequila
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup superfine sugar or powdered sugar
- 5 cups seedless watermelon, chopped
1.Freeze cubes of watermelon on a waxed paper-lined tray for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.
2. If you’d like to salt the rims of your glasses (I skipped this), place salt on a small plate. Rub rims of eight glasses with one of the lime wedges. Dip rims of glasses in salt to coat; set aside.
3. In a pitcher combine Triple Sec, tequila, lime juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
4. Pour 1/4 cup of tequila mixture into blender or food processor with chopped watermelon (working in batches if necessary). Cover and blend or process until smooth. You could strain it, but I don’t bother. Combine watermelon juice with remaining tequila mixture. Stir. Chill until ready to serve.
5. Place frozen watermelon cubes in glasses. Pour blended watermelon tequila mixture over watermelon cubes.
Photos and Illustrations by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.
Categories: Delish Dish, Let's Party | Tags: bbq, better homes and gardens, cocktails, drinks, easy, entertaining, fruit, margaritas, melon, Menu, Party, Party recipes, summer, vegan, vegetarian, watermelon
Written on April 11, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Erin Gleeson
Tabbouleh is a healthy grain based Mediterranean dish and serving it like this in little endive boats is so much fun! I started with this BHG Tabbouleh recipe and made it my own. You can buy boxes of tabbouleh mix at most grocery stores, and then customize them by adding lots of fresh veggies and herbs like tomatoes, bell pepper, mint and parsley. You really can’t go wrong! It’s colorful and great as an appetizer or a side.
- 1 5 1/4 ounce package tabbouleh (wheat salad) mix
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
- 1 cup chopped yellow, red, and/or green sweet pepper
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- endive leaves
1. In a large bowl combine tabbouleh mix with spice package. Stir in the boiling water. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
2. Stir in tomato, the sweet pepper, green onion, parsley, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper.
3. To serve, spoon onto endive leaves. (Or cover and chill up to 24 hours.) Make 6 servings and works as an appetizer or side.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and Instagram, @theforestfeast.
Written on January 17, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Erin Gleeson
In Northern California at The Forest Feast, I am getting oodles of beets in my weekly CSA box! But no matter where you happen to live, it’s likely that beets are available at your local farmers market during the winter. My favorite way to cook these vibrant little gems is to roast them until slightly crispy, with herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. I started with this recipe for Roasted Beets and modified it a bit, adding rosemary. It makes a great side dish during these cold weather months!
- 6 medium beets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Scrub beets; trim off stem and root ends. If desired, peel (I don’t bother).
2. Place beets in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. In a small bowl combine olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables in pan. Toss lightly to coat.
3. Cover pan with foil and roast in a 375 degrees F oven for 30 minutes; uncover and continue roasting for 20 to 30 minutes more or until vegetables are tender.
4. Makes 6 servings.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook.
Written on December 6, 2012 at 8:30 am , by Erin Gleeson
Hello from The Forest Feast! Lately I have been really into edamame. Since I don’t eat much meat, I am always looking for different sources of protein, and there is a lot you can do with these bright green little beans. Using this Edamame Humus recipe, I whirred them up in my food processor to make a colorful, healthy dip. Out here in the woods, we love having snacks with our cocktails before dinner, and this is a fun alternative to regular hummus. Considering its color, if you serve it with red bell peppers it’ll be a festive appetizer to serve at a holiday party this time of year.
A great cocktail hour snack! And easy to make ahead for holiday entertaining…
- 1 10 ounce package frozen sweet soybeans (edamame)
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (I left this out since I am not a big parsley fan, but you could alternatively add basil or cilantro)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (lime also works)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional, for garnish)
- 8 cups assorted vegetable dippers, such as sweet red bell pepper pieces, cucumber slices, baby carrots, snow pea pods, and/or celery sticks
1. Shell and cook edamame until tender according to package directions; drain. Several grocery stores sell pre-cooked shelled edamame beans in the frozen section.
2. In a food processor combine edamame, parsley, lemon juice, the water, tahini, garlic, salt, and cumin. Cover and process until smooth. With food processor running, slowly add oil in a thin steady stream, processing until smooth. Add additional water if necessary to reach desired consistency. If desired, sprinkle with paprika. Serve with vegetable dippers or crackers.
The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods last summer where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook.