Recipe ReDux – Frozen Treats: Coconut chia-seed fruit pops

Late August is the time when folks start to panic, worried that we haven’t taken advantage of summer’s uniquely tasty bounty. The ever-fewer days on this month’s calendar needle us, whispering, “There’s only this many left to grill.”

Thanks to Recipe Redux, however, you can at least stay calm, cool, and healthfully satisfied the next time you hear the tinny tones emanating from the neighborhood ice cream truck. This month, we’ve got nearly 30 recipes for frozen treats: ice creams and “ice creams,” sorbets and snow cones, pies and popsicles, and my own Coconut Chia-Seed Fruit Pops.

No need to chase the truck one last time before it heads to winter storage, my friends (although, I have to say, that sounds like a fun addition to my half-marathon training regimen). We’ve got you covered with chilly concoctions you can make at your leisure, in summer or any season.

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Eggplant Week: Agent Double-0 Aubergine

Who would have thought that a bulbous shape clad in shiny purple skin represents the cutting edge in radar-evading design?

Most weeks, I’ve told Tim (Mr Eating The Week) what theme I’m cooking up (get it?) for an upcoming blog post. But somewhere in the middle of coordinating babysitters, visiting friends for dinner, and our increasingly complicated workout schedules, I forgot to mention that eggplant (aka aubergine) would make repeated appearances on this week’s menu.

There’s no ulterior motive, like trying to fool Tim into eating something he doesn’t like. I promise he’s a fan of the purple beauties – after all, he planted the ones that recently ripened in our vegetable garden.

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Sandwiching the Week: Hummus, sesame-oil and veggie “meh”

More mundane than paper towels! As average in speed as a 7-year-old compact sedan! Apparent as the hand in front of your face! It’s…. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

That’s the moniker I’m giving to the hummus, sesame oil and veggie number among this week’s sandwich-focused recipes. I’ve been awash in “meh” thinking about writing this post, but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Do I dislike sandwiches? No. Have I picked unremarkable recipes for this week’s list? Nope. Don’t I have sparkling, witty things to say about the sandwich that is a staple of my lunchtime menu?

Aha, there it is. Because truth be told, I don’t. There’s just nothing terribly original about nestling carrots and spinach inside bread slathered with hummus and sesame oil – you can go to umpteen zillion food joints and see variations on this theme show up on their menu as a (often the only) vegetarian option.

This may be the right frame of mind, though. Sandwiches aren’t meant to be over-thought; they’re the food you idly munch from one hand while the other one’s busy with a task. Other dishes may jump off the plate and dazzle you, but sandwiches just need to show up and get the job done without attracting too much attention. So we won’t leave the spotlight too long on the sandwich recipes I’ve listed for you this week, but that should be just enough time to find a few you’d like to try.

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Can you out-Peel the Week? Peeled Snacks Ultimate Recipe Remix contest

Want a chance to win $250 by making a tasty appetizer or entree with Peeled Snacks? Then join me in entering their Ultimate Recipe Remix contest – just for entering, you’ll receive a $20 Peeled Snacks gift card!

You may remember these organic dried fruit snacks from the giveaway they sponsored on Eating The Week. Now it’s your turn to try them out & give them a new twist. To enter, create an original appetizer or entree containing Peeled Snacks as an ingredient and submit your entry to (up to 5 entries per person)

Entries must include:

  • Image of dish (either photo or video)
  • Dish name and recipe
  • Name(s) of Peeled Snacks used in recipe
  • Brief description of yourself

You can see entry examples at Peeled Snacks’ Tumblr page

Entries will be accepted through August 26, 2011 at 11:59 PST. Peeled Snacks will announce finalists on August 31, 2011 – seven chosen by their panel of judges, one chosen by fans via their Tumblr plage – who will be invited to a live cook-off in NYC in September.

You can find the full contest details at their site. Even though recipe development is not one of my better-developed skills, I’m going to try my hand at an entry. So if you enter, who knows? Maybe we’ll see each other & face off in NYC next month!

Disclosure: For helping them publicize the Ultimate Recipe Remix contest, Peeled Snacks offered me a box of their products.

The Missing Week: Fiber

Fun fact: for a year during middle school, I was a cheerleader. Pleated skirt, herkie jumps, the whole nine yards. Back then, I was cheering for our basketball team (go, Bulldogs!); but since then, I’ve focused my boosterism on an entirely different area.

If you can’t make out that scribble in my anatomy & physiology class notes, it says, “Yay colon!” I’ve researched it for work, read about it in school, and even toured it (twice!) when the Colossal Colon exhibit visited Boston many years ago.

Inside the Colossal Colon (photo by David Lapidus)

Sadly, not everyone shares my love for the large intestine. Why else would roughly half of North Americans fall short of their daily recommended fiber intake? (For reference, women should target 25 grams daily if under 50 years old, 21 grams if 50+; men should get 38 grams if under 50 years old, 30 if 50+) So why do we care? Head past the jump…

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Recipe ReDux: Summer drinks – sparkling melon fizz, nice & naughty

The basil is coming! The basil is coming! Now that summer has finally arrived in the Northeast, our garden has taken off. The result: more basil and mint than I know what to do with.

So when I saw this month’s Recipe Redux theme, summer drinks, my main goal was to find a way to get those sweet leaves into a tasty beverage. When it’s hot and sticky, a light, clean-tasting drink is the way to go. The subtle flavors of melon salads with basil and mint are a favorite of mine, and I figured they could be easily transformed into a refreshing summer drink: sparkling melon fizz.

Head past the jump for the simple recipe, and to see how I Reverse ReDuxed it to make a naughtier version.

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Hello again, stranger

Ready to revisit the strange-foods theme? Last time, I tackled a full week’s worth of ingredients I’d never prepared before – chia seeds, cactus paddles, farro, phyllo, star fruit, sunchokes, and tomatillos. This time, we’re going to have to abandon our strict definitions along the space-time continuum. First, I’ve only got four strangers to introduce; that’s technically not a week’s worth unless it’s shortened by holiday time or a three-day-long blackout. And second, I didn’t actually try these all in just one week, but have been trying things here and there for the last month or so.

But if you can forgive those tweaks to the usual rules, let’s get on with the introductions to amaranth, coconut oil, fiddleheads, and pepino melon. Just head past the jump to meet each of these ingredients, and see the recipes I dug up to feature them.

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Twisting the Week away

We’re fairly adventurous eaters at Chez ETW, but apparently we are anything but creative cooks:

Me: “I’m doing a ‘twists on old classics’ theme for Eating the Week, but I’m drawing a blank for an original recipe. Can you think of anything we make that fits that?”

Tim: substantial silent pause. “Sometimes we microwave-steam vegetables for stir fry?”

So… this is not going to be a post presenting any madcap, winsome, inventive recipe that originated from our own kitchen. But I’m happy to highlight many other folks who are exceptionally skilled at turning the tried-and-true into something tasty and new.

First up: Peanut-butter sushi, from Peanut Butter & Co via Serious Eats (here).

Our son likes conventional (seaweed-and-fish) sushi and maki rolls, but I don’t have anything like the skills or patience required to make them at home. Lucky for me, a few basic household ingredients can be squished together, rolled up and cut into a cute take on sushi.

Interested in new twists on meatloaf, pizza, lasagna and more? Head past the jump.

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From the looks of things at the farmers markets in our area, it’s a good time to be a zucchini lover. When we went to pick up our meat CSA share last weekend, all the farms’ stands had a great selection of the usual lean green zukes, little yellow ones, squat little globe zucchinis, and several other types.

It is not, however, a good time to be a long-winded blogger. (Probably obvious from my blatant recycling of that photo of our farmers market haul, huh?) Long story short, summer vacation looks a lot like a zillion work projects and a boatload of school work from where I stand. So while I’d love to give the mild-flavored, versatile zucchini its due in a winsome, photo-packed post, I’m afraid this just isn’t the month.

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Peeled Snacks giveaway goes to…

After random drawing via, the winner is Dan, who blogs at The Real Blind Taste Test. Congrats & enjoy the Peeled Snacks sampler!

Thanks to everyone who entered! There were 11 total, and I rounded up to make a $20 donation to the North Reading Food Pantry.

Many thanks to Peeled Snacks for contributing the sampler & sending me tasty fruit to review!