Berry Danish Recipe

The goal this summer was to beat cancer and to keep my daughter occupied. Both are big challenges, and I think I am winning both at this point in time. The first challenge has been a total battle, but being the warrior that I am, I think I am at the tail end in finding out the outcome, and the second one, as challenging as it might not sound, has been a tough one as well. I’ll be honest. My daughter is pretty bored this summer, and unfortunately there has not been a whole lot I can do based on my condition to keep her busy. There has been one thing I have been active doing though and that is teaching her how to bake and cook in the kitchen. This is something that she has always loved, and I can say that it has been a joy teaching her new things. This one in particular was teaching her how to make a berry danish.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

I knew that she was going to love pretty much all of this, but there is one thing that she was going to question and that was the cream cheese. Something that she doesn’t really like, nor eat on a regular basis. My hope is that by using it in the desert factor that she would get over that hump and really enjoy the combination of berries and cream cheese. I think she loved them!

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups of blueberries, washed
  • 2 cups of blackberries, washed
  • Pinch kosher sal
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 8 ounces package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • Splash water or milk

Begin by making the berry mixture. Combine the honey, half of the blueberries, half of the blackberries, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook this down for about 15 minutes, stirring during the simmer. About 15 minutes in add the rest of the berries and simmer gently about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside to cool to room temperature. The goal is to have some texture to the berries.

Next, make the cream cheese filling. Beat together the cream cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside. That’s it, simple stuff.

Get out two baking sheets and line them with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients
Homemade Berry Danish Ingredients

Unfold your puff pastry and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Try to keep the pastry cold while you continue to work on each individual one. The colder the better. No one likes working with room temperature pastry dough.

Roll the puff pastry into a 4-x-9-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment. Use a ramekin or cookie cutter and cut them into circles, repeating as you continue to lay them out on the parchment paper, leaving about an inch or so between each circle.

Take a fork and gently poke each  pastry circle. Add a tablespoon of cream cheese filling into the center of each pastry circle, then put the entire tray into the freezer for 20 minutes. Next, whisk together the egg and and water and set aside.

After 2o minutes, remove the the pan from the freezer and brush the edges lightly with egg wash. Spoon a very heaping tablespoon or so of the berries on top of the cream cheese.

Homemade Berry Danish Recipe
Homemade Berry Danish Recipe

Bake the pastries 15 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake 10 minutes more, until the pastries are deeply golden. Once cooked, remove the pastries to a wire rack and let cool. Now it’s time to dig in!

The result is a perfect bite. An awesome pastry that is creamy and fruity and is just a real treat anytime of the day. Did my daughter like them? I think so, especially after she investigated the cream cheese for a long period of time, but she got over it and asked for seconds. Hope you enjoy!

Hibiscus Iced Tea

I love shopping at my local Mexican grocery store. I have said it before and I will always say it as to how much fun I have browsing the aisles. Granted I’m pretty much the only gringo roaming the aisles, but that is just ok by me. At my particular store, one of the end caps is loaded with dried chilies and an array of spices. There are things I have never heard of before, such as different dried flowers for cooking, but one recently grabbed my attention, and one that I knew. Hibiscus flowers.  These dark burgundy looking dried flowers were grabbing my attention, only to be brought home and turned into a refreshing tea, that I knew my wife and I would love.

Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe
Hibiscus Iced Tea Recipe

If you are not familiar with hibiscus tea, don’t worry. This stuff is brewed all over the world, has a great taste, and is super easy to make.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bag of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • Additional items could be lime, ginger, or allspice berries

Start by adding 5 cups of water, sugar, and cinnamon stick to a pot. Bring to a simmer, add in the dried hibiscus flowers, and let this steep for about 30 minutes.  If you want to explore with lime, ginger, or allspice berries, go ahead.

After 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the hibiscus concentrate. This is your base, so if you are wanting to use this right away, mix about equal parts of concentrate to cold water, served over ice. My batch was pretty much gone in one day due to everyone loving it so much.

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

This hibiscus iced tea is comparable to a blended cranberry juice flavor with that kick of cinnamon. Not only is it super refreshing to drink but it’s loaded with awesome health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, great for the liver, blood pressure, and it has anti-cancer properties, all of which my body probably needs.

If you are looking to impress some guests and help boost their immune system, why not give this hibiscus iced tea a try. It’s a winner! Hope you enjoy…

Spam and Avocado Toast

You know the buzz… Avocado toast. It’s all the rage, and to be honest, I can’t blame the rage. Avocado toast in itself is delicious, and avocados are typically on our counter during the week. So as I was sitting around one late morning, I noticed an avocado, a ripe one that was ready for the taking, and as I got up to look around to see what I could make with this lonely avocado, I decided I would do my spin on an avocado toast. Let me introduce to you the Spam and Avocado Toast recipe.

Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe
Spam and Avocado Toast Recipe

Now I know what you are probably thinking right now. Spam? Yes, spam. I’ve dabbled with spam over the years, and as some may frown on the idea of spam, I actually have grown to like it, especially when cooked properly. Properly, meaning nice and crispy. There are two reasons I decided to use spam in this recipe. One is that I did not have bacon (I know, I know…) and two, I had spam! This combination was actually really delicious, and if you did not know that it was spam, I think you would probably agree.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 piece of sturdy bread such as a whole wheat or 12 grain, toasted
  • 1 whole avocado, lightly mashed, or to your liking
  • 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup, spam, cubed and cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

Start by marinating your cucumber. To a bowl, add the sesame oil, chili flakes, soy sauce, and give a good mix.  Add the cucumbers, give a gentle stir, and set them to the side.

Now the spam. To a small skillet add the oil on medium to high heat. Let that oil come to temp for a minute then add in the cubed spam. Stir and cook the spam until it is nice and crispy.

Avocado Toast Recipe
Avocado Toast Recipe

During this time, get your avocado ready. To a small bowl, open that avocado, being careful not to slice open your palm (yep, people are doing it based on this whole avocado toast thing), and scoop it into the bowl. Use a fork and lightly mash it adding some salt and pepper to your taste.

Check that spam. Crisp? Cool. Remove it from from the heat and lets toast the bread.

Pop the slice of bread into the toaster and get it nice and golden brown. Toast it so it holds up to everything when you build the spam and avocado toast.

OK, lets build this baby. Take the slice of toast, spread on that avocado, layer on the on the cucumber (and only the cucumber) and crispy spam, and get ready to eat.

You tell me, but when you take a bite of this avocado toast, you will be blown away. That crunch and softness from the spam, the crispness and spice from the cucumber, and the creaminess from the avocado, all in a handheld bite sized form. Yep, I’m sold. It’s good, and good enough to have you questioning (possibly) why you haven’t been eating spam all of this time. Enjoy!

Dehydrated Pineapple

Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to get a gift of a dehydrator. I know, it sounds lame, but it is something that I have wanted for a very long time but never really pulled the trigger on the purchase. I was lucky enough, however, to have a wife that is either a really great listener, or one who wanted some beef jerky for that matter. Who knows. Whatever the case, I’m in heaven, and I have been looking at dehydrating everything from beef to vegetables, to fruit.

The latest was dehydrated pineapple and it was based on an idea from one of my colleagues. This stuff was awesome and my wife and daughter fell in love with this. Packed full of flavor and nutrients, what’s not to love.

Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe
Dehydrated Pineapple Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 1 pineapple, skinned, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Food dehydrator

I know… complicated, right?

I have a four tier dehydrator, but use however much pineapple, keeping about a 1 inch distance between each piece on each rack.

Turn on your dehydrator, and let that baby on for about 14 hours. Yep, about 14. Check the pineapple about 10 hours in to be on safe measure. Just be careful not to over dry this stuff. My family loved it with just a little bit of give in the texture.

Once you are comfortable with the texture and time, refrigerate them in a sealed tight jar, or vacuum seal them for future storage.

These things are like candy, but yield a nutritious bite, and if my kids are down with that, I’m down. Give these a try if you are looking for different ideas for dehydrating food. Hope you enjoy!