Ginger Lemon Limeade

Ginger Lemon Limeade

I never knew an Oakland summer might transport me back to Texas. And yet, last summer if the house already pulsated with warmth as we woke up, we knew the day would unfold, sticky and sweltering. I contemplated visiting a mall or seeing a movie just for the coolness of the commercial space or darkness of the theater.

We survived Texas summers in swimming pools, air-conditioned domiciles with doors that palpably cut off the heat from entering, and tall glasses of iced drinks, sweating from the effort. In Oakland as with most of the Bay area, you’ll be hard pressed to find a pool unless it’s indoors at a gym. Air-conditioning is a novelty of other places. But, iced drinks, they are quite possibly the one salvation for cooling down, to be sipped even if your impulse is to chug.

So it brings me back to my obsession with ginger juice. It might seem anachronistic to suggest drinking something heating as a method for cooling down, but whole cultures rely upon hot tea in the heat of summer for the body to self-regulate through the surprising method of sweating. I still find it hard to abide by this idea personally as my mind logically reaches for cold brew tea or coffee instead of pining for a cup of hot. When I set out to make a pitcher of Ginger Lemon Limeade, my goal was a drink spicy enough to make your head whirl, tart with citrus, and just sweet enough. I wanted a drink that would keep me coming back for another taste, but not so pared down that I could drink it quickly. After several attempts, this is what I will be sipping on summer days that have yet to unfold. And, I would invite you to make the drink your own—add chia seeds to it for texture. Perhaps muddle a sprig of mint leaves to add to the mix. I like to drink it with a splash of sparkling water just for the bubbles and effervescence. Whatever you do, stay cool this summer.

Ginger Lemon Limeade

Ginger Lemon Limeade

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 7 limes)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup ginger juice
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons simple syrup
4 cups still water
1 3/4 cups sparkling water

Stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, ginger juice, simple syrup, and still water. When ready to serve, pour 1/4 cup sparkling water into a glass full of ice and top off with about anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the ginger lemon limeade until the glass is filled. Stir and serve.



Obsessions: Ginger Juice

ginger juice - anneliesz

Talking about food is almost as good as actually eating it. Obsessions can start innocuously. Trolling the farmers’ market and tasting the sweetness of the season’s first albion strawberries. Tasting beets as if for the first time in Santa Monica. Once an obsession is in its full throes, it makes a person practically quicken creatively in the kitchen.  

It started with golden milk. But, more on that later. Instead, I’ve been on a bit of a tear, trying to find as many ways as I can to get this one ingredient into as many dishes as possible. No, it’s not tea. It’s ginger. I’ve always appreciated the bit of zing it brings to chai but before now, I hadn’t played outside of fresh or ground. Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s cookbook Zahav included a tahini sauce that’s been a mainstay in our refrigerator ever since we first tried it. You toss in unpeeled cloves of garlic into the blender, blend, and strain. On a lark, I turned my attention to ginger and wondered how our high speed blender might make mincemeat of its golden fibrous chunks. Color me obsessed. This flaxen hued liquid made its way into one dish after another. I wanted to figure out how to use the entirety of the glass jar in as many ways as possible not letting a drop go to waste.

What’s not to love about ginger? It’s helped in a pinch of digestive distress brewed hot as a tea and offers other health benefits.  When pickled, a slender slice makes cucumber avocado rolls perfect. Candied, it’s the niblets inside chewy ginger cookies like tiny crystalline treasures to discover in baked batter. This Ginger Juice is a concentrated flavor bomb. It adds an extra layer of heat, where a little goes a long way. I’ve got a bevy of recipes headed your way in coming weeks to feature my latest obsession and to fuel your own. 

Ginger Juice

Use fresh ginger root that’s firm and unwrinkled. Don’t worry about peeling the ginger root, just chop it into chunks and lob them into the blender–you will be straining out the fibrous bits and peel leaving a smooth, silky liquid behind. 

YIELD: 2 cups ginger juice

2 cups water
8 ounces fresh ginger, chopped into 2-inch chunks

Pour the water into the receptacle of a blender. Toss in the chunks of ginger. Puree until smooth. Pour the ginger juice through a fine gauge strainer set over a large bowl. Stir the ginger juice with the fibrous pulp in the strainer until the pulp is dry and all the liquid has been extracted. Store in a quart-sized mason jar in the refrigerator. 


Buckwheat Huckleberry Pancakes with Plum Ginger Compote


When looking for ways to quell pain, to stanch the source, people do interesting things. I know someone who signed up for a half marathon as a way to let her body know how really strong she is after something traumatic happened. Other people retreat into themselves and the comfort of their own company, even if one submersed in the waters of turmoil.

Then, there’s a matter of pancakes.

I’ve never really understood the lure of pancakes for breakfast probably because my Mama tried to keep our home relatively free of sugar. Like any good, enterprising child, though, I found my ways to break out of that rut and get the sweet fix. But pancakes in all their bready circular glory were lost on me. Even smeared with a pat of butter giving up the ghost or the rivulets of maple syrup meandering across the broad expanse, around and down the edges of the pancakes, I could never quite submit to the idea of this being my breakfast choice. French toast has suffered a similar fate and don’t get me started on bread pudding.

A few weeks back, we trolled the farmer’s market at Pike’s Place in Seattle. Between sampling chocolate noodles (bizarre) and locally made jam, my eye caught baskets of huckleberries, their tiny round reality brought me hither. And, like a delicious reminder of our weekend escapade, they bobbed in my carry-on, in the “travel-proof” packaging that had been fashioned from scraps.

Now, I’ve never eaten a huckleberry. The closest I can claim to having partaken of them would be a cocktail, concocted by Scott Beattie at a fundraiser earlier this year. His drink featured pickled huckleberries. I trusted my lips to that glass because Msr. Beattie has earned that right and I found those berries to be the tart cousin of the blueberry, but the one with all the swagger.

I considered folding these safely ensconced food souvenirs into homemade scones. I then thought about making a new batch of shrub or perhaps trying my hand at a specialty chutney.

Somehow, we ended up at pancakes.

Pancakes- that dark breakfast horse in the running came in first place as the winning steed. Go figure. I knew that their bold, sassy flair needed something as equally compelling and here my noble fascination, some might even say obsession with buckwheat came into play. Here, at last, I had found a suitor suitable for my heroine. And to take it up a notch, I had free leftover cereal from work that I thought might do something interesting texturally.

Cue a phone call from a friend bound in personal strife. As our conversation about one thing began devolving into terrain that took her almost to tears, I ushered an invitation to come over and enjoy a home-cooked meal that Friday.  I found myself mulling a variety of menu ideas, weighing them and looking for the right combination of elements that would compose a meal of healing and nourishment. I had a hunch pancakes might be a part of that equation and began sourcing ingredients.

Friday arrived and not too soon. In the process of trying out one recipe for a project, time elapsed more quickly than I could have imagined. Waiting by the stove, the bowl of pancake batter had been mixed and was ready to be spooned onto a hot pan. I let it wait thinking I would let her do the pancake-making honors.  The doorbell buzzed and before long, she was suited up in an apron.

The routine went something like this: brush oil onto the hot pan and ladle pancake batter onto its sizzling surface. Watch for holes to begin pocking the face of the batter as if the man in the moon had descended from on high. Lift a corner to check for doneness. Flip and watch for the few minutes it took to ensure the other side had cooked. Remove from the pan and repeat.

We chattered about current projects and life, then plunged into silence, as the simple task began to take on new form. I began to understand the role pancakes can play in one’s repertoire of recipes.

I don’t usually set a guest to work but kind of understood this consecrated time of talk baking into silence was exactly what would bring restoration to my highly creative friend. I knew the cooking, conversation, even the luscious pancakes would not change her circumstances. But perhaps the rote movements, the simplicity of task and meditation of being fully present might be breeding grounds for renewal. We had quickly settled on the idea that the pancakes would be rustic- no need for perfect rounds here.  And so, as we slid them onto their plates, she showed me how to serve them Swedish-style and I dripped yogurt and ginger plum compote on mine. We sank into the happy silence of solitude that good friendships and good food can bring on a dime. When she left, I knew I had unlocked a great truth through a humble breakfast food. I now had an ace up my sleeve.






These pancakes smell and taste reminiscent of the fall with their bold flavors and comforting presence. Do note that these are not the sturdy buttermilk pancakes made of all-purpose flour but do have more heft. I would encourage you to try them as my creative friend enjoyed them- Swedish-style with a spritz of fresh lemon juice and sprinkling of powdered sugar. If you’ve got an itch though to crack open the door to fall, go for the version as lined out below. I would heartily suggest not skimping on your yogurt and using a plain whole milk yogurt. Then, if you have sad plums, nearly bursting at the seams with juices. Neglected plums work well in this compote and you will certainly give them a second life. I find that a little bit of the compote and yogurt end up working their way into one another from the heat of the pancakes.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
YIELD: 16 pancakes  & ½ cup of compote


1 cup buckwheat flour

1 ¼ cup buckwheat and hemp cereal, coarsely ground (yields 1 cup once ground)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon real salt

3 tablespoons maple sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups plain kefir

1 cup huckleberries


Plum Ginger Compote

6 very ripe plums

¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon


Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and maple sugar. Then whisk in the ground buckwheat and hemp cereal a stroke or two. Next, stir in the eggs, buttermilk and kefir until just combined and then gently stir in the huckleberries.

Prepare your large pan by brushing it with safflower oil and setting it on medium high heat. Add ¼ cup of pancake batter to the pan and let cook for about 2 minutes before flipping. Let cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and start a stack of pancakes on a large plate.

Chop up your plums and begin to cook them down with the brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon over low medium heat. I kind of gently mashed them in the pan with the back side of my spoon to draw out all of the water from the plums. Cook them for until most of the liquid has been cooked out, about 5-7 minutes. Now, you can certainly cook them for the earlier side of the time for more liquid but you don’t want the compote to be runny, unless you do. Your choice.

Serve your pancakes with a dollop of whole milk yogurt and a spoonful of the ginger plum compote.




Gingered Chocolate Orange Muffcakes

DESSERT RECIPES- Gingered Chocolate Orange Muffcakes

I love a challenge.

Well, let me preface that by saying maybe not the kind that makes a mathlete’s head whir and spin or even the kind you might see on Survivor.  The other day on Twitter, Linda (aka SaltySeattle) initiated a baking party of Muffcakes, all to be posted on December 27th. While she may not have been the instigator, she piqued my curiosity. I visited Urban Dictionary and found something that reminded me of the jackalope’s elusive thrall in the form of a hybrid baked good.

Muffcake– Not quite a muffin. Not quite a cupcake.

Jackie (aka Jaxies), Mariko (aka TheLittleFoodie), and Angi (aka Riceandwheat) all signed up ala tweet for the challenge. Who was I to not join in?

See this particular Sunday afternoon I had been invited to a holiday party. But this was not just any holiday party. No, this was a bad Christmas sweater party and twist dance-off. Do you see where I’m going with this? Friends shaking their groove things while children jumped from sugar highs. Yes, this was a perfect crowd to introduce to the muffcake.

In fact, Kristen snickered when I told her my contribution to the potluck. Katie commented shortly after I arrived, “Oh, I heard you were bringing them.” You can’t help but smile at the inanity of a word such as muffcake.

And we all know the truth: muffins really could be called cake.

Maybe not in the world of the pastry chef with specific definitions, but let’s face it, muffins probably have more sugar and butter than one really needs on any given morning. Then again this is spoken from someone who delights in a bowl of oatmeal for brekkie.

In church this morning, I considered flavor combinations, rolling them around on my tongue and in my mind. Nothing was quite sticking.

I kept coming back to ginger.

Truth be told, I am a bit of a ginger fiend, so no surprise there. And next came chocolate.

Yes, this was tasting good. I decided to infuse a bit of citrus into my muffcake as it felt both seasonal and getting closer to my beloved orangettes.

Years ago, Olga brought me a hot pink and black box gilded with the word Fauchon on the lid. Tucked inside like sleepy stow-aways were slivers of candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate: the orangette. This flavor combination might possibly be one of my quintessential impressions of Paris. Last year in my two day stint walking the city streets, I made a point to include la Madeleine and a boutique called Fauchon…

Let’s just say they left an indelible mark.

Then it occurred to me to take inspiration from the Orangette herself, Molly as her recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip bread with crystallized ginger baked hearty loaves in my oven just last month. Oh yes, these were going to be muffcakes all-dolled up.

Back to the party.

I toted my muffcakes & my Bittersweet chocolate cake with candied cranberries (for my rather pregnant GF friend Michelle) to the party.

Upon arriving, the revelry had already commenced  and like a good party, every room held a point of intrigue. Travis lounged around in his Christmas onesie which actually suited him more than the Santa outfit he changed into later, his get-up scaring little Soleil and making her cry her way back into her mama’s arms. Soleil had decided after that, she was ready to go home and began blowing air kisses at anyone walking by the couch. But later on she got a chance to twist and that set her aright.

After awhile of mingling through rooms and meandering in and out of conversations, Kristen and Katie started the twist-off. We shook our hips down into our knees, grinding our toes into the ground. Fats Domino mandated it, crooning, “Come on Baby, let’s do the twist.”

Group one stepped aside as groups two and three followed. Lucy, the cat, sometimes poked her head and body out from the kitchen before skedaddling out the back door into the darkened backyard. The final round of the groups’ winners found Sarah the proud recipient of the twist-off plaque.

Katie doesn’t mess around when she’s throwing a shindig. The group thinned out as parents ushered their kids toward bedtime and we finally got a glimpse albeit a brief one of a friend Steve who moved back East.

And the muffcake? Well, let’s just say it was spotted in a few different pockets of the room tonight making mischief and spreading cheer.



Gingered Chocolate Orange Muffcakes

adapted from Orangette

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces), melted
  • 2 cups A-P flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ginger dark chocolate bar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest


  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and cardamom. Add the chocolate, crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat eggs. Then add the yogurt, melted butter, vanilla and orange zest and stir to mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently, scraping down the sides as needed until just combined. Do not overmix.

Fill cupcake holders 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes and then set to cool.

Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, cocoa and orange juice in a small bowl until smooth. The consistency will be thin and will glaze your muffcakes nicely.