candacecooks

Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Tag: lime

Simple Syrup, 3 Ways: Or, The Best Lemonade Ever

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Last week was Daylight Savings, and the fact that world isn’t dark anymore after dinner makes me so outrageously happy. We had unusually good weather in Missouri; the world feels like sunshine and warm breezes and spring, even though spring isn’t official until Wednesday. And spring? I propose that we all celebrate this Wednesday with a tall, cold glass of your chosen flavor of this lemonade.

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The trick for delicious, fruity lemonade is simple syrup. Simple syrup is no secret – it’s used in many cocktails and drinks. But where it gets interesting is when you add your own twist to it. For today, I made three variations: raspberry + mint, strawberry + basil, and blueberry + lime.

I mixed them with some plain, pulpy lemonade, and made what I think is the prettiest lemonade I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for bright colors, which probably has something to do with it. I had a hard time deciding which one was my favorite, and there was no consensus among my family members either. I think this means you can’t go wrong.

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The process for all of them is the same – boil, strain, chill, mix. A fine mesh sieve is going to be your best bet, but I’m at my grandparents and used their colander. There’s a few more seeds and berry bits than there would be otherwise, but I’m okay with that.

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I used frozen fruit. You can use fresh, of course, but I think the way frozen fruit thaws and becomes soft lends itself well to infusing the syrup. I also kind of smooshed them (technical cooking term, learned it from Julia Child) (Just kidding) with a spoon as they cooked to release more juices.

This is the basic recipe that makes a half cup of syrup, but if you’d like to make more, just remember a one to one ratio of sugar, water, and fruit, and herbs to taste. The flavor of the herbs was very subtle in the amount listed; add more if you’d like a stronger flavor. If you’re making your own lemonade, dial back the sugar to account for the sweetness of the simple syrup.

Simple Syrup:

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

Put ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

…..that’s it. It’s called simple for a reason. Now, for some variations!

Raspberry + Mint:

½ cup raspberries

6 mint leaves, torn into quarters

Strawberry + Basil:

½ cup strawberries

6 basil leaves, torn into quarters

Blueberry + Lime

½ cup blueberries

2 limes

Juice the limes. Add water until it make a half cup, and use in place of the normal ½ cup water.

Mix to taste with your favorite lemonade or tea. Enjoy on your porch swing/deck/patio while thinking about spring-ish things, like….flowers. Okay, you don’t have to actually think about flowers.

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Last Friday, a friend of mine made some really awesome vegetarian nachos. They had cheese and corn and edamame and cumin and garlic and man, they were good. Since then, I hadn’t been able to get idea of an edamame and corn salad out of my head. But it couldn’t just be those two things; I also wanted it to have bit of heft, a source of protein. I wanted it to have crunch and color, a slight acidity and a subtle heat. I wanted it to ooze of summer and outdoor barbeques and fresh food, something that feels so far away here in Springfield, MO, where we are experiencing an odd thunder/sleet/ice storm.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

So, late last night, with the cold settling in, I made this and stuck it in the fridge until morning. I had tried a few bites the night before, for research purposes – I am committed to the scientific process and stuff, guys – but it wasn’t until lunch that I sat down with a bowl of it. It was, in a word, awesome. In many other words, it was the type of food that transports you from your current cold, icy existence to sunshiny picnics where you eat drippy watermelon and swat away mosquitoes.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Something cool about this salad is that it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect to bring to those aforementioned barbeques that can be a minefield for those with special dietary needs. If you’re one of those people, put this recipe in your regular rotation. If you’re not, make this and share with a friend who is. They’ll love you forever. (At least I would.)

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Serves 8, generously

1 cup black rice (wild rice), dry

1 lb. edamame, shelled

12 oz. frozen or fresh corn

1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

½ large or one small red onion, finely chopped

¼ – 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2-3 limes

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cook your rice according to the directions on the package.

Boil or steam your edamame and corn. The edamame I bought was frozen and steam in the package, which made things easy. If you have fresh edamame, use these instructions. For the corn, if it’s fresh, I’d boil it. I, again, bought it frozen (Thanks, winter produce!) so I just used the microwave instructions on the package.

When the rice, edamame, and corn are all cooked, combine them in a large bowl with the beans, jalapeño, and onion. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Add more jalapeño, lime, cilantro, or salt to taste.

Eat right away, or store in the fridge until chilled, no need to reheat.

Variations: Add feta cheese or avocado, experiment with different kinds of beans and peppers.