Yellow Peach and Basil Shrub

I declare this the summer of shrubs! Not the lawn “decoration.” No, the delicious, refreshing and fizzy fruit/vinegar drink that’s popping up at coffee shops and restaurants around the country – a call back to a common drink popular during America’s colonial era.

Simple to make and a perfect way to  store your summer fruit for months on end, here’s our recipe (yup – it’s another Drought Friendly Recipe from me and Super Sous) for a Yellow Peach and Basil Shrub.

 

Yellow Peach and Basil Shrub

Yellow Peach and Basil Shrub

Yield: 28-ounces shrub mix

 

1½ pounds ripe yellow peaches, pit discarded, diced large (3 large peaches)

1 cup organic granulated sugar

1 tablespoon orange zest

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

30 medium basil leaves, bruised with your fingers

½ cup white wine vinegar, plus more to taste

 

Add diced peaches and sugar to a large bowl. Mash the peaches with a potato masher until mostly pulverized and the sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the orange zest, orange juice and bruised basil leaves.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring once, after 1 hour.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture, pressing on the solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.

(Use the solids in your next smoothie!)

Stir in the vinegar. This beautiful liquid is your “shrub” mix.

Transfer shrub mix into a bottle or jar, close to seal, and store in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.

Serve one part peach shrub mix for every four parts sparkling water.

Garnish with basil leaves and a few thin slices of peach.

Note: You can make it “adult” by adding a shot of alcohol, like whiskey or vodka.

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Switching it Up. From Sweet to Savory Breakfasts. And this Morning’s Sticky Rice with Bok Choy and Pickled Cucumbers

One of our (Super Sous & I) favorite things about our time in Asia was breakfast.

As luck would have it, the hotels we stayed in had huge buffet breakfasts (this seemed standard for hotels) and while there was a handful of sweet items available, the majority of choices were savory. Dim sum, pho, fish, salad, soup, congee, noodle dishes, stir fry vegetables… The choices seemed endless! There were western items as well: bacon, eggs, beans (British), breads, but the real gems were the local/regional specialities. 

What we came to experience after 2 weeks of savory breakfasts was that starting our day with savory instead of sugar was not only a great way cut sugar consumption, but to keep ourselves energized until lunch as we felt much more satiated. 

Even though we are used to eating a healthy breakfast, like nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, that breakfast alone can contain the equivalent of several tablespoons of sugar. 

It takes a little more forethought to eat savory for breakfast, but you can pull together something quick (photo below) like my sticky rice dish with pickled cucumbers and sesame stir fry bok choy. 



And… don’t forget about last night’s leftovers! How quick is that?!

Here’s to savor(y)ing the mornings… 

Quick and Sweet Pickled Shallots

Pickled shallots are just one of those things that add a special “something” to your dish. Whether it be a burger or a salad, it’s that extra punch of flavor that can turn a great dish into an awesome one. And, with a recipe like this, you can have said awesomeness in a flash!

Quick and Sweet Pickled ShallotsQuick and Sweet Pickled Shallots

Yield: ½ pound of pickled shallots

¾ cup water

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ pound shallots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

1¼ cup distilled white vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Place shallots in a medium bowl.

Heat water and sugar together in a small sauce pot until sugar is melted. Pour over shallots and add vinegar and salt. Mix together.

Cover, refrigerate and let sit, the longer the better. I usually wait at least 4 hours before I find the flavor of the shallots to be pickled, but I’ll admit I have thrown them on a burger after only 1 hour of waiting!

Store, sealed, in the refrigerator. They should last at least 1 – 2 months, but many more, like your other opened pickle jars in the refrigerator.

Those Tricky Juice Drinks

I love juice just like the next person.

I even sold fruit at farmers markets in Los Angeles for over 10 years.

That said, don’t be mistaken by its innocent appearance! Although delicious and full of vitamin C, fruit competes with the rest of those unsavory drinks when it comes to packing in the sugar.

The solution: water. 0 calories. 0 sugar. And one of the essential nutrients our body needs. Of course, there’s also Latte, which has its own very special place in our daily dietary requirements, but…