Summer Drink Ideas

I’m delivering a list of quenchers today. A quick summer drink round-up to keep you hydrated and full of good ingredients while enjoying the sunshine. xo -h

Summer Drink Ideas

Vanilla Rose Water: I’ve encountered vanilla water in various guises over the past year or two. It’s fantastic. The first time was at Héctor Galván’s La Casa Tropical studio – it was sparkling water with a small segment of beautiful Mexican vanilla dropped into it. And again, the other night, my friend Bonni made a version combining a vanilla segment with fresh, fragrant rose petals, and a splash of rose water. It was a beautiful refresher. I did this version of Bonni’s (pictured above) and added ice-cubes frozen with a mix of summer berries to the rose petals and rose water.

Summer Drink Ideas

Pineapple Coconut Water: If you’ve never had absolutely fresh pineapple juice, you are missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. I juiced my little pineapple, enjoyed the first glass straight, and proceeded to use the remaining in this quencher – made with coconut water, lime, and straight ginger juice. It is invigorating, fragrant, hydrating, and a pure, intense shade of yellow that somehow tips us off to its strength and vitality before ever picking up the glass.

Summer Drink Ideas

Paloma Rosa: One of our favorite cocktails, Palomas push all the buttons – bright, refreshing, tart, with a kiss of sweet and salty. They also couldn’t be simpler. Combine the juices and tequila ahead of time, and mix in a flash.

Summer Drink Ideas

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary: Perfect this time of year, it’s the bloody mary I want to drink – fragrant herbs, yellow heirloom tomatoes, shallots, and a bit of kick from vodka and serrano pepper.

Summer Drink Ideas

Iced Green Tea: Cold-brewed after an initial hot splash of water to awaken the leaves, you can enjoy this chilled green tea straight, or accented with rose and a bit of whole coriander. A beautiful warm weather hydrator.

Summer Drink Ideas

White Peach Maple Soda: Make this when stone fruit is at its sweet and ripest.

Summer Drink Ideas

Blackberry Limeade: Put those plump, juicy summer berries to work. This blackberry limeade is a stunning jeweled-toned refresher, perfect for summer, from the cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose.

Summer Drink Ideas

Green Juice: Everyone should have a green juice recipe in their repertoire, and this one is a ringer. Its heart and soul is straight green, not at all sweet, with a good amount of lemon-lime tang, and invigorating ginger lift.

Other summer spirited drinks that have caught my eye lately:

Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Basil and Honey Sweet Iced Tea (Half Baked Harvest)

Louisa Shafia’s Watermelon, Mint, and Cider Vinegar Tonic (Food52)

Ranier Cherry Muddler (Sprouted Kitchen)

Pink Grapefruit, Ginger, and Lemongrass Sake Cocktails (The Bojon Gourmet)

Pink Gin & Tequila & Tonic (New York Times)

Curious about what your go-to summer drink favorites are as well! -h

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Elsa’s Berry Cupcakes

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After quite a few years of cooking and developing recipes, we have managed to build up a little bit of confidence and don’t panic over kitchen fails or people’s opinions as easily anymore. But whenever our daughter asks me to bake for a few of her friends, my palms get all sweaty and my heart starts pounding. Seriously, nothing makes me more nervous than having to bake for a bunch of five- and six-year-olds.

Elsa is finishing preschool this summer and her favourite teacher is also retiring, so last week she wanted to bake a dessert for all the children and teachers at the preschool. She started out with grand plans for a big cake shaped like a princess but (luckily for me) we landed on mini cupcakes with a raspberry frosting. We had just bought a mini muffin pan and it was the perfect opportunity to try it out as we got a lot of muffins from one batch so it was enough for all the children and teachers.

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These muffins are really delicious and moist with hints of coconut, banana, almonds and cardamom. It’s one of our go-to recipes that we change slightly every time. They are only sweetened with fruit and entirely gluten free (and we are aslo sharing a vegan version below). If you are allergic to nuts, you can blend (100 g / 3 1/12 oz) sunflower seeds and use instead of the almond flour.

Whenever Elsa initiates one of these baking sessions, she always starts with lots of enthusiasm only to loose interest after about 45 seconds, leaving us to do the actual work. This time she was much more persistent. She measured, blended, worked the batter and dropped it into the muffin tins. Halfway through the batch, we also started dropping a raspberry in the centre of each muffin and they turned out even better with that little berry pocket in the middle. Piping the frosting was the hardest bit. Elsa was utterly disappointed that hers didn’t turn out as pretty as the ones she had seen on our screens. But towards the end they at least started looking better than in the beginning.

Since that first batch, we have made this recipe two more times. One time to check all the measurements and another time so we could try a vegan version. We are sharing both methods here below. You can of course also make normal size muffins and skip the frosting if you want to keep it simple.

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On another note, today we celebrate Midsummer in Sweden. We are going to be enjoying the last of these cupcakes and then we are off to find a maypole covered with flowers so we can jump like frogs around it! You think I am kidding? I am not.

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Banana & Coconut Cupcakes with Raspberry Pockets
Makes 24 mini cupcakes or 12 regular

Dry ingredients
100 g / 1 cup almond flour
120 g / 3/4 cup rice flour
45 g / 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 pinch salt

Wet ingredients
14 soft dates (1 cup / 150 g), stones removed (if using dried dates, soak them for an hour first)
1 ripe banana, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 tbsp coconut oil or butter, room tempered
180 ml / ¾ cup plain yogurt or plant based yogurt
3 eggs (for a vegan version soak 3 tbsp chia seeds in 9 tbsp water for 15 minutes, stir around and use instead of the eggs)

24 raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Berry Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Grease a muffin tin (mini or regular size) or line it with paper or silicon cup liners. Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir together and set aside. Add the dates to a food processor and blend on high speed. When smooth, add the banana and coconut oil and blend again. Finally add yogurt and eggs and blend until smooth and entirely mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and stir together. Drop the batter into the muffin tins, place 1-2 raspberries in the centre of each muffin and cover it with batter. Bake for 10 minutes (17-20 minutes if you are using normal size muffins) or until golden and just set. Prepare the frosting while the muffins are in the oven. Leave the muffins to cool before piping the frosting on top. Serve immediately or store in the fridge.

Berry Frosting
70 g / ½ cup raspberries (or strawberries)
3-4 soft dates, stoned
200 g cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)

Mix raspberries and dates in a food processor or with a hand blender until completely smooth. Whisk the berry mixture together with the cream cheese in a medium size bowl until pink and smooth. Scoop the frosting into a piping bag. Place it in the fridge for 20 minutes (or longer) to firm up before piping the frosting on top of the cupcakes.

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4 o'clock No-bake Energy Bites

Energy bites aren’t a new thing, but if you’re a person that grabs commercial power bars regularly, and you’re not already on board, give these a try as a DIY alternative. I make them for a 4 o’clock late afternoon snack to reach for when I’m at the studio, but they’re also a great travel option. Kids love them. Adults love them. The best part is that you’re in control of the ingredients, and they’re a breeze to make. That said, I deploy a few, small, but (I’ll argue) significant personal preferences when I set out to make energy bites. Most recipes tend to use raw coconut flakes, and raw oats. I find a light toasting of both is worth the slight extra effort. I also like chia seeds here, and tend to use them as my seed of choice, but I first beat them up in a mortar and pestle a bit before adding them to the mix. Also, feel free to swap things up a bit – trade in alternate seeds, use whatever sweetener you prefer, add spices if you like, or an alternative nut butter, or keep things simple, and just go with this version – Enjoy! —I posted the recipe here—….

No-bake Energy Bites
No-bake Energy Bites

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Favorite Summer Recipes

As I was updating my favorite summer drinks list this morning, it occurred to me that a round-up of favorite summer recipes might be helpful as well. I’ll keep it short, summer-friendly recipes I have a special fondness for, and revisit regularly. xo! -h

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad: Please give this a try – it’s incredibly delicious. Particularly when tomato season is at its peak. Made with roasted and ripe tomatoes, capers, mozzarella, almonds, and chives. A+!

A Nice Berry Pie

A Nice Berry Pie: My go-to berry pie recipe – a rye flour crust and mixed berry filling seasoned with fresh thyme leaves. It’s the pie I bake most often!

Quick Pickled Zucchini

Quick Pickled Zucchini: I make these coin-shaped zucchini pickles every summer. They’re quick to make, great to have on hand, and I don’t bother canning them. Delicious on crusty, goat-cheese slathered grilled bread (or just about anything cheesy or crunchy) and simple salads.

Fourth of July Salsa Recipe

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa: A deliciously vibrant, earthy, and slightly smoky-tasting salsa recipe. Different from salsa fresca, the deep, caramelized flavors of the roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotles make for a richly beautiful and balanced salsa.

TLT Sandwich

TLT Sandwich (done on the grill):A vegetarian TLT sandwich inspired by the classic BLT sandwich. This version includes chipotle-marinated tempeh alongside oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, a bit of shredded lettuce, and a generous avocado slather on a thin slice (or two) of great bread.

Guacamole

Guacamole:My philosophy on great guacamole – you have to go off-recipe. Because, quite frankly, it’s all about the in-between steps, decisions, and knowing when avocados are at their best.

Summer Berry Crisp

Summer Berry Crisp: A favorite summer berry crisp – ripe berries cook into a thick, jammy, wine-spiked fruit sludge beneath a crispy, oat-flecked top.

Favorite Grilled Kabob Recipe

Favorite Grilled Kabobs: A kabob recipe featuring grilled mushrooms, lemons, tofu red onions and a delicious red pepper walnut slather – muhammara.

Pluot Summer Salad

Pluot Summer Salad: A pluot-based fruit salad, with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro.

Sopa Verde de Elote

Sopa Verde de Elote: There is an wonderful Sopa Verde de Elote (green corn soup) in Diana Kennedy’s Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico published in 1978, I used it as inspiration for this variation – sweet corn and peas are off-set by a spike of green chile, a finishing dollop of creme fraiche, and generous squeeze of lime.

Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts

Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts: An herb-packed rice salad recipe with peanuts, toasted coconut, and a strong boost of fresh lime. A recipe to keep in your back pocket this summer.

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Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

We’re ramping up to peak summer fruit season here in San Francisco. I thought I was covered after stocking up at the weekend market, but had a bonus windfall thanks to this thoughtful lady. It is fruit madness in the refrigerator. I’m looking at tiny black raspberries, the sweetest blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, and pluots. No complaints. Those of you who have been reading for a while know I love a quick fruit salad, particularly if it has a little wink, or twist, or surprise. One of my past favorites is this version made with plump strawberries, sweet cherries, lemon zest, and coriander brown sugar. Today I decided to throw together a new version using lemongrass, lemon and lime juices, and plenty of mint. Toasted walnuts added a bit of crunch. Give it a try, the honey-lemongrass dressing with mint works not only in this summer version, but with other fruit combinations as well.

Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

If you live in a more tropical environment, I imagine a pineapple and mango version would be incredible. Enjoy! -h

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