Tangerine soda and other goodies

I guess it goes without saying that we have a better selection of citrus fruits now that we live in California. Not only that but it’s quite a bit cheaper. So after I got the Meyer lemons, I decided to try some tangerines. They’re a little warped looking from the outside, but inside they are the brightest orange color, and so juicy.

Taking a cue from Kristin’s mocktail, I thought I’d try making the juice into a soda. So I mixed the juice of one tangerine with about 8 ounces of sparkling mineral water, and it turned out great.

Definitely less sweet than regular soda. It feels sort of like a grownup version of soda.

I couldn’t seem to get a decent photo of the drink, but I liked it, and I think I’ll try it with other juices. Sometimes I get sick of water and tea, yanno?

Speaking of trying new things, I had to show you this yogurt I got.

Every time I saw these cute little crocks of St. Benoit yogurt in the store I wanted to buy one, but at $2.95 I couldn’t quite justify it.

Well, it turns out you’re really just paying a deposit for the returnable container, so I bit the bullet and got one. Along with these huge strawberries and some locally made granola, I thought I’d make myself a little yogurt parfait for breakfast.

The yogurt itself is a lot like my old favorite, Cultural Revolution. It’s kind of soupy with chunks of cream mixed in. Not pretty like the Yoplaits you’re used to, but that’s how you know it’s a little closer to it’s original form.

I have to say, though, that I liked the cute crock a lot better than the yogurt itself. It was so watery it turned my granola into mush. It didn’t seem creamy or tangy or any of the things that make yogurt so good. Plus it has a lot more calories than Cultural Revolution. I can’t get that here, though, so I’ll stick to my new favorite, Clover Organic.

A couple other tips to share:

• Dates are my new pantry staple item.

Mike eats them plain as snacks, and I use them to make my fruit/nut bars. They are super sweet, and the perfect binder when blended.

I like medjool dates. Just make sure you take the pits out or buy them already pitted. Those things will mangle a food processor.

• I decided that if I was going to eat salad more often I better get good at making my own dressings. I got this cute little dressing shaker at Target.

It even has recipes on the side that show you how high to fill the ingredients so it couldn’t be any easier.

I’ve been eating the honey mustard this week. It’s a little heavy on the honey, but I can always change that next time.

What else makes a good salad dressing?

Braised red cabbage

My friend Kimberly brought this recipe to my 30th birthday fancypants potluck, and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. For a cabbage dish it has really complex flavors, and when you add some crunchy walnuts and creamy goat cheese, it becomes even better.

Braised red cabbage with walnuts and goat cheese

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 onion, chopped
1 head red cabbage, shredded
2 tart apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
salt to taste
Goat cheese and chopped walnuts (optional)

Use a saute pan with high sides or a big pot, as the cabbage starts out pretty big but cooks down.

Heat the oil and sugar over medium for two minutes, then add the onion and cook until the sugar starts to brown. Stir in the cabbage, apples, vinegar, cayenne, salt, and red wine.

Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, add water and cook (covered) for 40-50 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts before serving. The original recipe called for blue cheese, so feel free to substitute that if you like it better.

We ate ours with fried eggs, which just seemed like the right accompaniment. Mike said his German ancestors would be proud.