A green juice even your kids will drink

Green juices and smoothies are everywhere I look lately.  They made such a splash a while back that everyone has a version of it, and every version claims to be the very best one.  But the thing about tastebuds is this: every single person is different.  It is ridiculously hard to figure out a recipe everyone likes.  And there’s always going to be someone who really doesn’t like it, no matter how good the recipe is.  So this is less like a recipe and more like a build your own.  There’s certain things most people like in a citrusy drink.  Tanginess.  Sweetener.  Some people like bitter.  Some like floral.  Some like grassy.  But if you have some solid base components and an open mind, you can make a drink even your kids will like.  Come experiment with me.

Tangy component

Choose one or two of these, based on how much zip you like in your drink.  I recommend picking one lemon no matter what, and adding citrus from there.

Lemon

Grapefruit

Sour orange, such as blood orange – just not navel unless you only want a sweet juice with no zing

Sweet component

Add one to two, again based on how sweet you like the drink.  You can add things like honey and other sweeteners, but I really like the clean flavor of just fruits and vegetables.  I think you’ll like it too, but you’ll have to keep an open mind and give it a shot.  Maybe even two.  Sometimes we don’t like things the first time just because we aren’t used to it yet.

Apples – Reds and yellows are sweeter, greens tend to lend a little tanginess back in, so if you used navel oranges, a granny smith apple might pair nicely

Navel oranges

Pears

Berries – But be sparing if you do this, a lot of berries are going to color your lemonade kind of red or purple and when it mixes with the green later, it ends up a lot more brown

Pineapple – just a quarter pineapple per person works great

Green component

It’s not a green juice unless you have something green.  I know, you put a granny smith in there.  Awesome.  But seriously, the point of a green drink is to get more spinach or kale or whatever green thing you can’t bring yourself to eat pounds of in a day into your diet.  And after you drink a green juice a few times, the overwhelming weirdness of drinking your spinach just isn’t a thing anymore.  Trust me.  I get it.  It’s weird at first.  Push through.  You can do it.

Kale – About a head is good for one to two people, but I use one head for my husband, both kids, and I and we like the concentration of that

Spinach – We also like to use both kale and spinach so you aren’t limited to one out of each category

Arugula – if you like some bite

Lettuce greens – They tend to be a good starter, they have a higher water concentration and are a little milder on the palate for beginners

Other stuff

I get bored.  I like to do new things on a pretty regular basis, and my food is a pretty safe place to play with things like flavors and mixing things that seem odd.  Whatever you think might be interesting, try it out.  I mean, try it in a small amount, don’t make a gallon of it.  But try it.  You never know if you might really love it.  In the meantime, here’s a few of my favorites.

Ginger – Just a small chunk will do, it has some bite fresh

Cayenne – be gentle, it’s easy to overdo it.  Maybe a quarter teaspoon at first

Coconut – I’m obsessed with coconut.  I put it in everything.  It’s delicious.

And I can’t say this enough, if you know you won’t like something don’t put it in your drink.  The point of this, as far as I can tell, is to improve your health through taking in fresh foods you don’t normally consume a lot of.  But you don’t want to chug a disgusting, weird drink every day in the name of health.  You want something that you like. Something you’d gladly do every day.  Something that makes you feel good, and something that makes your tastebuds happy.  I’m all for trying new things and seeing if you like it.  But you know you.  Don’t do stuff you’ll hate and you are much more likely to keep doing it.

Advertisements

French Yellow Cake

I know.  This is supposed to be a place for recipes about fresh, seasonal produce you’ve grown yourself.  But I know I personally grow a few berries and get plenty of peaches and plums every summer.  And one of my favorite things to do with all that fruit is to pair it with a flavorful, neutral base cake.  This particular cake recipe is one that I modified in order to make my wedding cake.  It’s easy to change to suit your specific tastes, and takes well to gluten free flour mixes.

 

6 cups of flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sea salt (not table salt, it will over salt the cake)

8 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 pound unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons flavored extract (vanilla is pretty typical but I love almond)

1 tablespoon coordinating extract (orange and lemon are quite nice)

1 teaspoon citrus zest of your choice

1 cup milk of any type

For chocolate cake, add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and increase milk by 3 tablespoons

 

A nice example of the options are to use coconut milk, lemon zest and extract, powdered cocoa, and vanilla extract.

 

Start by buttering or oiling your pans, and coating the pan in flour.  You will need two 8” cake pans, two 12” pans, or one to two 14” or 16” pans, depending on how high you want your cake to rise.  For 8 and 12 inch pans, set your oven to 350 degrees F, and 450 degrees for 14 to 16 inch pans.

Next cream the fat and sugar together, working them together until you can see sugar granules in every part of the butter.  One by one, add the eggs and yolk.  Incorporate each egg fully before adding the next.  Doing this slowly and patiently will give the eggs already added time to be fully whipped, incorporating air into the mixture and making the final product lighter and fluffier.  Add the extracts and zest, followed by the cup of milk.  Set aside and prepare the dry ingredients.

Take the flour and baking powder, and sift them together using a flour sifter or a strainer.  This will again help to lighten your final cake.  If you don’t have either tool, you can put the flour in a bowl too big for it and fluff with a fork until all the big chunks are broken up and it looks crumbly like sand.  Add the salt.

Take the wet mixture and about a cup at a time, add to the dry ingredients.  Mix well, but don’t over mix.  It’s better to leave lumps than to whisk the mixture too much in this case.  Pour into your prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  This part is very dependent on your oven and altitude!!! I live in Colorado, or about a mile above sea level.  Oven temperatures often need to be roughly 25 degrees less at sea level, slightly more sugar, and slightly less liquid.  It may also need a little more baking soda at sea level.  Bear this in mind if you live at a different altitude and need to adapt the recipe a little for your specific area.

As far as baking times, a good rule to operate by is to set your timer for five to ten minutes less and check it regularly.  In this case, I would set the timer for 20 minutes and check every ten after that.  You can feel the top of the cake to see if it’s done.  If it is, it shouldn’t be sticky, should spring back from your touch readily, and will smell faintly like toasted sugar or caramel.  If you’re not confident in that, do a toothpick test.  It’s really not going to damage your cake and it’s pretty foolproof.

Once the cake is finished, let it cool slightly so the pan isn’t hot to the touch.  Once you can remove the cake, flip it out onto a plate and then flip again onto a cooling rack.  Let it cool fully at this point.  Once cool, you can cut it, frost it, add whipped cream, loads of your fresh fruit, anything you feel it needs.  Or you can just eat it straight.  It’s cool.  I don’t judge.  Enjoy!