Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Summer Recipes

It has been so (soggy) hot here lately, that I have been constantly trying to keep cool in the kitchen, and the oven off whenever possible. This Basil Cucumber Ginger Water keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while this Dark Chocolate Granola Bark keeps the smile on your (slightly dewy) face. 

Store bought granola is often packed full of excessive sugar and damaged oils, after sitting on the shelf or bulk bin for who-knows how long. The good news is that it is easy (and economical) to make at home with high quality ingredients. I used the Cherry Pecan Granola recipe I posted back in March, using pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins in place of the dried cherries and pecans. But I am pretty sure this would work with any of your favorite recipes and fruit/nut combinations, so go nuts! (OK, bad pun).

Here is the technique for a quick and healthy dessert:

Buy the best dark chocolate bar you can find (I used Nutty Steph's Single Origin Chocolate). In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. To prevent seizing, make sure NO WATER comes into contact with the chocolate. 

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread your granola out in a single layer. Drizzle melted chocolate on top, using a spatula and light strokes to spread. With any granola that did not get choc-o-fied, cover the top. Optional additional toppings can include toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, peanuts etc.
Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for an hour or so. When hard, break into pieces and enjoy! 

And now on to the Cucumber Basil Water. This idea was born from Sun Tea, which uses solar energy to brew tea outside during the hot summer days. I am growing tulsi basil in my garden this year, so that is what I used this time. Tulsi basil is an adaptogen that targets and aids any part of the system that needs it at that moment. An all around immune booster for sure. If you don't have tulsi basil, italian basil will be delightful as well, with a slightly different flavor. 

Here we go:

Place 10 basil leaves, 10 thin slices of cucumber and 5 thin slices of ginger in a half gallon mason jar. Fill with water and place out in the sun for the day (up to 24 hours). Chill overnight in the fridge and enjoy! I don't usually strain as I pour, but feel free if floaters bother you. 

Relax. Eat Well.


  1. We picked (and ate up) our first cucumber yesterday, lots more to come. This summer drink will be the perfect refreshment for the hot and steamy days on the way, yea for sun tea. Can't wait to give Nutty Steph's a taste. I love how chocolate blooms in your mouth when the weather is warm.
    Stay cool

  2. I can't wait for the cuke (and tomato) harvest to move along. Oh and you have to try the Sea Salt Terroir chocolate bar at Nutty Steph's as well, so delish! Thanks for sharing!


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