I might be the worst food blogger ever.
OK, that’s dramatic. It has been three months since my last post though, which might be a new personal record of negligence (*sobs quietly into pillow*), but I’M BACK! It feels so good to be posting a recipe again after taking some time off to get settled into my new program. This first semester at Juilliard Historical Performance, aside from being completely surreal , has FLOWN by. Between performances, lessons, gigs, being a hashtagpracticehermit, academic courses, and life in general, I’ve been a busy bee. In the last few weeks alone, my HP friends and I have performed on the radio, played for a live-streamed master class, finished a series of concerts in Boston and NYC, and are now gearing up for our tour to Holland (!) in a few weeks. I can’t believe that, at least for now, this is the new normal.
As you might have guessed from my lack of posting since MAY (yikes – sorry!), this summer has been craaaaaaazy. In the best sort of way of course, but I am almost sure that I have NEVER been kept this busy! I started out the summer in Houston, where I spent my second year at the Texas Music Festival as an orchestra fellow. Now I’m in Duxbury, Massachusetts studying/performing at the Duxbury Music Festival. Once I leave here, it’s travel for the rest of the summer. That will include a trip that I am SUPER SUPER SUPER excited about – I will be taking a culinary birthright trip, which basically means I get to go to Israel, learn all about local foods and recipes, cook, eat, meet other people who love those things as much as I do… And do all of it for free. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
You’ve seen it on Pinterest.
I know you have… It’s everywhere.
Banana “ice cream” is a huge fad now, and for good reason – you can do pretty much anything with it, and it (basically) tastes like you’re eating soft serve ice cream. And I LOVE that, for a lot of reasons. Need I count the ways?
- It’s a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, especially if you’re not a banana person. The cold temperature takes out most of the banana-y flavor. Take it from a person who’s not a fan of eating bananas by themselves.
- It’s naturally sweet. Just like meee! (…If it’s a Friday and I’ve eaten recently.)
- It’s dairy free, for all those sensitive tummies out there.
- No fancy equipment needed. There are some fun contraptions out there specifically designed for banana ice cream, but an electric OR manual food processor works just as well.
- It’s another way to use up those spotty, soft bananas.
- You can add anything you want into or on top of it. Healthy Coldstone? YES. PLEASE.
- My favorite part – it’s SINGLE SERVING. You use one frozen banana, and then don’t have to fight the irresistible pull of a carton.
After all this glorification of banana ice cream, I WOULD be lying to you if I said that it’s exactly the same as ice cream. Ice cream certainly has its special time and place – like, melting over the top of a warm slice of pie on Thanksgiving, or when the Mr. Softee truck comes by on July 4th. Or, when you and your friends want to cry together and watch movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels. (Ben and Jerry’s was a stereotypical post-breakup staple in college for our group of friends, second only to the Whole Foods salad bar… We weren’t very consistent.) For the other 99% of your life though, I promise that banana ice cream can perfectly satisfy your frozen dairy craving.
This recipe is so simple, I almost feel bad calling it a recipe. But I swear to you, it actually tastes like cookie dough ice cream. I ate this about 3 times last week, and regret absolutely nothing. So go forth, and go bananas.
- 1 banana, frozen in coins
- 1/3 date and cashew bar, chopped (I used a "Cashew Cookie" Larabar)
- 1 tbs. dark chocolate or carob chips
- ~1/2 tsp. almond milk or water, if needed for blending
- Add frozen banana, chocolate, and date bar to a food processor, blending on low until bananas are smooth. If the mixture is too crumbly, add almond milk or water to assist with blending. If you want chunkier mix ins, blend bananas first until almost smooth, then add the chocolate and date bar and pulse until broken up. Serve immediately.
- For easier blending, freeze the banana coins on a flat surface or spread out individually in a freezer-safe bag.
Well, hey there. Long time no blog.
I hope you’ll forgive my absence. It has been THE craziest two weeks since returning from a month in Texas, but at least it was worth it, since I just took over the lease for my New York City apartment! One of its many amazing attributes is a redone kitchen with LOADS of counter space, and new, FULL SIZED appliances. Such a find is only slightly unheard of, and I’m more than slightly in love. I’ve been told that it’s not possible or legal to marry a kitchen, but together, I truly believe our love can conquer.
Now, BEFORE meeting the kitchen of my dreams, I spent the month of June making music day in and day out. I mean that literally, because I was in rehearsal or practicing every day from when I woke up until I climbed into bed. And I also mean “climbing” literally, because my bed frame was set too high, so getting into bed required climbing onto my desk first. (Short people problems…) In my limited spare time, I was feeding my foodie soul, and feeding it well. Sure, my usual meals consisted of salad or oatmeal in the dining hall (which did, if you’re wondering, get old horribly quickly), but the rest of my meals resulted from convincing my oh-so-patient car-owning friend to drive me to some the best food joints in Houston.
I miss being at the festival and making great music with friends (I also miss the Mexican/Tex-Mex food in Houston – it’s kiiiind of the best – I’m talking to you, Torchy’s Tacos), but it’s quite nice to be back where the temperature is consistently below 100˚F. I REALLY have a whole new appreciation for summer on the East Coast. I got to relive the Texan weather a bit last week while running all around NYC in humid 95˚ heat, but otherwise, it’s quite luxurious to be able to walk from place to place outdoors without fear of melting. It’s also great to be back in the kitchen – not having one readily available is the slowest form of torture for me.
So, naturally, I filled the void by dreaming up a boatload of new summer recipes just for you. And this is the first of (hopefully) many.
I haven’t had many empanadas in my lifetime, but for some reason, the idea of dipping a flaky, doughy pocket of seasoned beef into a summery, fruity salsa just seemed very appealing the other day. Also, grilled fruit is one of my favorite summer foods, and I can guarantee you that this won’t be my only recipe this summer featuring it.
This recipe is probably one of my absolute favorites to date, and I will definitely be bringing it back. My parents and brother are my best taste testers (and also the most honest), so in accordance with their approval, I’m sure this would be a hit as an appetizer at the big, fancy dinner parties that I never have. But who knows, living in New York with a dining table that can sit six (generously) might change things for me.
This recipe is labor intensive, I cannot lie. But, the fruits of your labor will be well worth it at the end, I promise! And to me, food just tastes better when a little sweat went into it. Not literally.
- 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbs. cold water
- 1/3 cup + 4 tbs. olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten (to brush onto pastries before cooking)
- 1.5 lbs organic ground sirloin
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 1/2-1 tsp. dried chipotle powder (depending on spice preference)
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 yellow peaches
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 lb. tomatillos
- 1/4 white onion
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450˚F.
- In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Alternate adding cold water and olive oil slowly, pulsing the food processor until a solid ball of dough is formed.
- Chill dough just until firm and ready to use, about 30 minutes-1 hour.
- While dough is chilling, brown the beef in a pan over low-medium heat. Break up the meat with a spoon until it's crumbly and browned on all sides.
- Add the chopped onion and cover until the onions are translucent.
- Add the lime, cilantro, and chipotle powder and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat.
- Separate chilled dough into 12 equal balls. Roll out each ball of dough into a thin, flat circle about 4.5 inches in diameter. Fill each circle with 2-4 tablespoons of filling. Fold dough over the filling to create a half moon. Pinch the edges with a fork, or fold over the dough from the corner to create a "twisted" edge.
- Arrange on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden.
- Quarter both peaches and remove the pits.
- Place peach slices onto a hot grill or grill pan, and cook until soft and the skins are easily peeled off. Remove from heat. Once cool enough to touch, remove the skins.
- Remove the tomatillos from their husks and rinse, and then cut each into quarters.
- Sauté the tomatillos until they become very soft and form a "jam." Let cool.
- In a food processor, combine grilled peaches, tomatillos, and remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper). Pulse until the salsa is at your desired consistency.
- For smaller, snack-sized empanadas, create smaller balls of dough and use less filling per each.
- For a spicier salsa, leave the ribs of the jalapeño pepper intact.