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July 9, 2007

Gnocchi, Shrimp, Asparagus and Pesto

Last night for dinner, I wanted something quick, since we got home late from the shore (GSP traffic sucks). You know that old joke, why do they call it a parkway if you drive on it and a driveway if you park on it? Well, yesterday, you pretty much parked on the Garden State Parkway, well, at least until many of the PA locals departed onto the AC Expressway (which I bet wasn't much of an expressway).

Anyway, as always, I digress. So I wanted something quick for dinner last night and since I had been a bit off program (can you say sticky buns and Johnson's Caramel popcorn?) for almost a week, I also wanted something healthy.

Continue reading "Gnocchi, Shrimp, Asparagus and Pesto" »

July 26, 2007

CSA Action

Man, that being on the out of control merry-go-round sensation is not abating these days. Hopefully, next weekend, after Becky's play, our century ride, and my family reunion, things will calm down some. But in the interim, I've been inundated with produce from my local CSA. Which, by the way, adds a certain level of pressure. I mean I feel guilty when I don't use it all (so please don't ask about the load of pickling cucumbers I just threw out). Luckily though, with some help from Chris and the kids, last week I was able to make a bunch of stuff and today a bit more, so I though I'd post some recipes.

Continue reading "CSA Action" »

July 27, 2007

More CSA Action

Okay - before I get dressed and hunker down with the rest of Boleskine's trip report (don't worry Jerry, it will be published soon), let me try to get the next couple of recipes up.

First one, Damn Hot Peppers (or Darn Hot, if you want to be "correct"). Actually, I think the batch I made yesterday should be called, "G-d Damn Hot Peppers," they're that hot. I got this recipe from Michael Chiarello at NapaStyle

It's a little different on his website than originally published in his NapaStyle cookbook. Anyway, here it is:

Continue reading "More CSA Action" »

101 Ways to Cook Zucchini

Okay one more before we head out to a wedding. I made this a couple of years ago and thought I'd resurrect it now. It's still in the oven, so I can't comment on this year's endeavor but if memory serves it was pretty good last time.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
From Cooking Light

Cake:
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
8 teaspoons fat-free milk
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust pan with 1 tablespoon flour.

Place sugars, cream cheese, and vegetable oil in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour and next 5 ingredients (2 1/2 cups flour through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in zucchini, 2/3 cup chocolate chips, and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare glaze, combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine milk, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, coffee, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave at medium 45 seconds or until chocolate melts, stirring after 20 seconds. Combine powdered sugar mixture with chocolate mixture, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over cake.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

CALORIES 281 (30% from fat); FAT 9.5g (sat 2.4g,mono 4.2g,poly 2.4g); PROTEIN 6.6g; CHOLESTEROL 27mg; CALCIUM 96mg; SODIUM 241mg; FIBER 2.6g; IRON 2.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45.6g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2002

For more ways to cook zucchini click here.

July 29, 2007

Now For Something Completely Different - Cucumber

In addition to all the zucchini I got last week (by the way the chocolate zucchini cake was good), I received a whole bunch of cucumbers. So yesterday I decided to make a batch of Amy's Chilled Cucumber soup, original recipe found on on the SlowTravel Talk Message Board . Warning, if you're not a premium member, you won't be able to access that forum.

Now I'm not a big fan of mint, so I left that out. Plus I like a little chunk, so I pureed the soup, but then threw back in about half a cucumber in a fine dice. Lastly, I didn't have time to get to the Lebanese market or Wholefoods for some good yogurt, so I used Stoneyfield Non Fat and combined it with some fat free sour cream too. Probably not as "tangy" but still delicious. Here's my version.

Cucumber Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 large cucumbers

  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (If you can get the Total Greek Yogurt at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, it makes all the difference)

  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • tablespoons skim milk (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel the cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Cut cucumber into slices.

  2. In a blender container or food processor, puree the cucumber until almost smooth. (I leave it a little chunky). Then, add the yogurt, lime/lemon juice, honey, cumin, and salt. Cover and blend or process until almost smooth. Blend in milk, if desired to thin out.
  3. Cover and chill 2 hours.

  4. Stir before serving.
  5. Makes 4 servings

August 7, 2007

Life Goes On - Green Beans

Well, the hullabaloo around the century ride is starting to settle and lo and behold, I still need to cook dinner and the CSA is still giving me produce, so I thought it was time to use up some of (well all of) the beans I had in the refrigerator, probably two weeks worth. I found a recipe in August's Cooking Light that looked promising, and since I was craving Chinese (and meat), decided to make Ginger Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry last night. I only used two teaspoons of the chili garlic sauce to tone it down for Becky (but it was still too spicy and she only gave the dish a "so-so" rating). I liked it and when making it for Chris will probably use three teaspoons. Mom, if you're reading this, you should barely use one. I also usually complain about the lack of sauce in many CL stir-fries, but this had plenty. It used up those beans nicely, was tasty and once all the chopping was done, assembled very quickly.

Continue reading "Life Goes On - Green Beans" »

August 9, 2007

Caponata

The last few weeks we received several eggplants from the CSA. Not the big bulbous variety but the long slender ones. Still, they sat in my refrigerator's produce drawer until I could figure out a) what to do with them b) had time to do something with them.

So the other night, I dug out my falling apart copy of Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian (yes, that Frugal Gourmet, of someone dubious subsequent fame). He has a recipe near the front of the book for Caponata that we love, then he has subsequent recipes for what to do with the caponata once you prepare it (e.g., serve over pasta). Here's his recipes, with my changes:

Caponata
2 pounds eggplant - 1 inch dice
4 stalks celery - thin slice
1 medium onion - chopped
olive oil
1 can Italian Plum Tomatoes, crushed (I use a 28 oz. can of whole Italian tomatoes, and give them a quick whirl in the blender first)
2 T tomato paste
1/3 cup white wine vinegar (I was out this time and used red wine, no discernible difference)
1T sugar
2T capers, rinsed and drained (I through the entire drained jar in).
6 large green olives, sliced
4 - 5 anchovy fillets, he cuts them in half but I mince them

First he has you sprinkle the eggplant with 1T salt and let it sit, with a weight atop to "squeeze" out the bitterness. Then rinse and dry it. I didn't bother with this step.

Then he sautes the eggplant in batches, in olive oil, in a large skillet for about 10 minutes each batch, to soften. I didn't do this either - didn't want to use all the oil. Instead, I sprayed a large jellyroll pan with Pam. Then I put the eggplant on it (gave it a quick shot of Pam), and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes or so, until softened and very slightly browned.

In a large dutch oven, I put 1T heated 1 T olive oil, and sauteed the celery and onion until soft, but not brown (about 15 minutes). At one point, I covered the pot, so it steamed a bit. To this I added the roasted eggplant and the rest of the above ingredients. Brought it to a boil, covered and simmered on low flame about 20 - 30 minutes. Voila!

You should know, he also adds toasted pine nuts to this after it's simmered, which I sometimes do too but I'm currently out of them. I think 1/2 cup would do nicely. And he adds raisin at this point, which I would love to do but Chris thinks raisins are the devil's food, so I don't add them (it would be about 1/4 cup).

In addition to the sauce I mentioned before (use sliced garlic, some white wine, maybe some pasta water to loosen), this is great atop bruschetta.

Enjoy!

Oh and if someone knows if I can can this in a hot water bath, please comment and let me know.

January 16, 2008

Updated Bistro Salad - Mix It Match It - Weight Watchers

Last week I received a $5 off coupon to Weight Watchers new book, Mix it, Match it, so I bought it. Each page is divided into three, so you can make "x" many permutations of daily menus by selecting one from the breakfast category, one from the lunch category and one from the dinner category. The points range from two to seven for breakfast, three to seven for lunch and four to seven for dinner. Each recipe has a picture which is nice.

So yesterday, I made the Updated Bistro Salad and modified it for just me (the recipe serves 4 normally).

  • 1.5 ounces Canadian bacon, diced
  • 4 cups packaged mixed greens (the recipe calls for 2 cups (if broken down into individual servings but I just used an entire mixed bag for me, which I think is about four cups).
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 medium shallot, minced (I used 1 small shallot)
  • 1T fat free chicken broth (they used reduced sodium but I only keep fat free in the house)
  • 1.5t white wine vinegar (I used champagne vinegar - I'm out of white wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 t dried tarragon (okay I just used a bit more than 1/2 t of tarragon mustard I brought back from France rather than these two).
  • pinch of salt and pepper

1. In a nonstick skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until brown. They want you to transfer to paper towels to drain but it was pretty lean so I didn't bother. Toss this with the greens in a large bowl.
2. In another skillet (doesn't have to be no stick), fill 1/2 way with water, bring to a simmer. Crack the egg into a small cup and then slide into simmering water. Reduce the heat and cook egg until whites are set, about 2 minutes. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and put this on paper towels. I did this because I didn't want a lot of extra water in my salad.
3. Now back to the first skillet (the one you did the bacon in). Add the oil to that skillet and put back on a medium flame. Add the shallots and cook about 2 minutes, until soft. Add the broth and simmer until it's reduced to a glaze (roughly 20 seconds but who is counting?). Remove from the flame and add everything else, mix. Pour over the greens and top with the egg.

I liked this one - it wasn't real "quick" but really good and I'll make it again. Wish I had taken a picture though, but I ate late and was starving - sorry.

Fala Cookies

fala_cookie.jpg

On New Year's Eve day, Chris, Becky and I went to New Hope PA in search of some gloriously spicy pretzels (unfortunately, Suzie Hot Sauce was closed) but still ended up having a great time walking around the town, visiting the little shops. In one of them I found a Scottie cookie cutter, which of course I had to buy.

So today, in honor of Fala's birthday, I baked Fala Cookies! I used the same sugar cookie recipe I use at Christmas but rolled them a bit thicker and instead of using all vanilla extract or part almond extract, used 1/2t lemon extract. It made a dozen Fala Cookies, and about 1.5 dozen little circle cookies that will be great with tea. The Fala cookies Becky iced with royal icing (one egg white, to 1 cup powdered sugar plus coloring).

Give them a try if you like. The Fala cookies, because they were so big are 4 Weight Watcher points, if you use normal size cookie cutters, they're 1 point each.

  • 1 cup butter or margarine -- softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 large egg -- beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or lemon or more vanilla or whatever you feel like).
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
2. Add egg and extracts.
3. Combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to the creamed mixture, mix well.
3a. Chill for at least one hour.
4. On a surface lightly sprinkled w/ flour, roll out a quarter of the dough to 1/8" thickness (because the fala cookies were so large, I rolled them thicker - maybe a 1/4").
5. Place on ungreased baking sheets (I line mine with parchment paper).
6. Repeat w/ the remaining dough.
7. Bake at 350 for 7 - 8 minutes or until the edges begin to brown (Fala cookies cooked for 15 minutes)

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 59 Calories; 3g Fat (48.4% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 12mg Cholesterol; 54mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

NOTES : Cookies may be sprinkled with the colored sugar before baking or frosted after being baked and cooled.

February 16, 2008

Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce & O'Reilly's

A few weeks ago, Jerry, posted a recipe for Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce that he originally got from Cooking Light. It looked so good, I knew I wanted to make it but always having the hardest time finding Red Curry Paste, I wasn't sure when. Then last weekend we popped into Dean and DeLuca and I saw the paste. I couldn't remember what I needed it for, but I knew I needed it, so I bought some. When I got home, and was planning our weekly menu, with fish for Friday because of Lent, I remembered, so ta da!

tilappia.jpg

I know, I glopped on a lot more sauce than Jerry seemed to. Also, I didn't use Basmati rice but one of those Lundberg rice blends instead. All this along with some steamed sugar snap peas drizzled with a bit of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds and that was one good dinner.

I'll post the recipe for those of you too lazy to check out Jerry's blog but you really ought to - lots of good stuff over there.

Continue reading "Tilapia with Thai Coconut Curry Sauce & O'Reilly's" »

May 12, 2008

SSB5 - Lemony Semolina Biscuits (aka Biscotti di Limone e Semolino)

Jerry picked Biscotti di Limone e Semolino for this week's challenge Sunday Slow Baker's Challenge, initiated by Krista. I'm cheating this week, since I made them before, when I first got the book, Dolce Italiano, you can check out my previous entry: Lemony Semolina Cookies.

Lemony Semolina Cookies

September 7, 2008

SSS - Peach Ice Cream

I have two disconnected memories of Peach Ice Cream from my childhood. One, I'm not sure is real but I remember visiting cousins of my mom, at their house on a lake, and having peach ice cream. Another time, I remember our neighbors, across the street, making it in this big wooden thing you had to crank. Not much came out in the end (at least I thought for what you put into it) but what came out (considering I wasn't a peach ice cream fan - I mean c'mon peach when you can have chocolate?), was pretty darn good.

So other than those two memories, since childhood, I hadn't really given much thought to eating and/or making peach ice cream.

Of course, that was until the Sunday Slow Scoopers stepped in.

Now let me start off by stating, if you don't get good peaches, don't bother with this. Your peaches taste bland, your ice cream tastes bland - there's no way around that axiom.

So while I'm on the subject of good peaches. Let's take a moment to educate the masses on how to choose a peach. Never, ever, ever squeeze a peach. I hate to tell people, but odds are most of the peaches in the bins (especially at the supermarkets) aren't ripe. Squeezing a hard peach, only leaves bruises that won't appear until the peach actually does ripen - so that perfect peach you bought at the market, a day or two later, will be completely bruised from where you poked and prodded it (or worse yet, my perfect peach will be because some shmo before me squeezed the crap out of it - can you tell I'm passionate about my peaches?). To choose a peach, simply pick it up, gently cupping it in the palm of your hand, and sniff it around the stem. If it smells like peach, even if it's hard, it will taste like peach. When you get home, stick it in a paper bag on your counter for a day or too and voila, good peach.

So now, once you have your perfect peaches, and they've ripened, you can make the ice cream (you need four good size peaches for this recipe, 600 grams or 1 1/3 pounds).

First you peel them. Does anyone have a good method for peeling peaches? Because I gotta tell you, those suckers get slippery as your working your way around them and almost lost a couple to the sink. Once peeled, slice all the way around the peach, dividing it in half and basically pry it apart to get the pit out. Now chunk it and throw it into a non-reactive medium-sized pot, with a half a cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar. Cook that on the stove for 10 minutes, covered, on a medium flame stirring once or twice during the process. Let it cool to room temp.

peach_ice_cream_1.jpg
Peach Mixture After Blending

Now take your peach mixture and in a blender or food processor (I used a blender), puree that with 1/2 cup of sour cream (I used full fat but may try light or no fat next time to see how it changes the consistency), 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and a couple of drops of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. You want some chunks in this sucker, so don't puree too long. I think I did mine for a few seconds at most.

Chill the mixture in the fridge - I've taken to chilling mine overnight. Stick it in your ice cream machine and let it do it's thing. That's it - easy peasy. Oh and Dave says you can do this with nectarines too (follow guidelines above for choosing peaches), but you don't need to peel them because they soften enough during the cooking process.

peach_ice_cream_2.jpg
Peach Ice Cream w/ Blackberries from the CSA

So here's my question though: can I make that sugar-syrup peach step and can or freeze it during the summer, then use those all winter long to make fresh peach ice cream? We didn't go peach picking this summer, but if we do next summer, it may be a good way to use all those peaches!

Update: A 1/3 cup serving is 3 weight watchers points. A 1/2 cup serving is 5 WW points.

January 12, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes

Reading Diana's, Creative Structures, I saw the entry on the coconut cake her niece baked from the Barefoot Contessa and that got me hankering for some too, only going through Ina's cookbook, it wasn't the coconut cake that caught my eye but the coconut cupcake. And before we go any further, let me tell you, cooking light, this is not!

coconut_cupcake.jpg

Continue reading "Coconut Cupcakes" »

January 23, 2009

Creamy Feta and Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Yesterday, David Lebovitz posted a recipe for Creamy Feta-Red Wine Dressing, which sounded easy and delicious. And since miraculously I had all the ingredients in the house, and I had been craving a "Greek" salad for weeks, I decided to whip up a big salad for lunch.

Mine contains mixed spring greens, sliced red onion, grape tomatoes, pignoli nuts and dried blueberries (antioxidants and all). His picture, of course, came out better than mine (hey, what do you expect using a cell phone camera) but here's yesterday's lunch.

feta_dressing.gif


January 25, 2009

Grilled Gaucho Steak with Blue Cheese and Pita

Chris found this recipe recently, in the copy of At Home with Michael Chiarello that he bought me a few years ago. We've made it twice and when he gets home from taking Becky to her first Semi-Formal (well, not her first, but her first with a date), we're going to make it a third time. You can find the recipe on the Napastyle website, and here's a direct link: Grilled Gaucho Steak with Chimichurri Sauce but it's not exactly the same as in the cookbook, which I'm going to give you now.

gaucho_steak.jpg
Grilled Gaucho Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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April 1, 2009

Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Garlic, and Parmesan

As life returns to "normal" I've started to cook again. Though, with the expectation that I'll be tired by the end of the day, I'm selecting recipes that are labeled either quick and easy or under 30 minutes. Last night, I snagged Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Garlic, and Parmesan from Cooking Light as it was tagged Quick and Easy, and it was.

gnocchi with broccoli raab
Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe, Caramelized Garlic, and Parmesan
.

We totally enjoyed this dish, and the only thing I may do differently next time is up the crushed red pepper a tad (or perhaps buy some fresh crushed red pepper). I may also bulk up the boccoli rabe because I love it, and that will increase my vegies and portion size while also increasing the number of vegie servigs I get in a day.

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April 6, 2009

Chile-Spiced Tenderloin Steaks

Tons of beer left in the fridge from last weekend, a beautiful day and a major craving for red meat, sent us out to the grill last night for some Chile-Spiced Tenderloin Steaks. We went back to Cooking Light, looking for Quick and Easy recipes to grill and these came through. You marinade them only for as long as the charcoal grill warms up, so no need to pre-think this either (well, except for the ingredients). They had a nice kick but not burn your mouth spicy and I would definitely make them again.

Chile-Spiced Tenderloin Steaks
Chile-Spiced Tenderloin Steaks

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April 11, 2009

Matzoh Crunch

This has been a big deal on the Slow Travel Talk Food forum for a while now but I've never made it... until now. Since Becky is keeping kosher for Passover (which is another story), I wanted to get some decent snacks for her (as that blueberry muffin mix that was kosher for Passover was quite gross). Anyway, while she was away, I did a test batch (and brought them to my cousin's much to their delight), which came out great and will make another batch today. In the mean time I thought I'd share it with you.

chocolate_matzoh_crunch_img.jpg
Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch

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April 26, 2009

SSS: Foraging the City Salad & Weight Watcher Vinaigrette

Well, the folks from the Slow Travel Talk Food Forum are back at it again. This time though, to go along with the spring/summer heat, we're doing salads! So welcome to the first edition of the Sunday Salad Samplers.

Today's edition is brought to you by Eden of Wanderings and Wonderings and she's titled her salad Foraging the City Salad (aka Palma and Jerry salad, named for the two individuals who inspired this creation). I believe the Foraging came from the search for blood oranges.

Foraging the City Salad
Foraging the City Salad

Continue reading "SSS: Foraging the City Salad & Weight Watcher Vinaigrette" »

June 6, 2009

Sunday Salad Samplers #4 - Thai Chicken Salad

In my effort to continue playing catch up with the salad samplers, for dinner Monday night, I made Jerry's, Thai Chicken Salad. Both Chris and I enjoyed it though Becky wasn't 100% thrilled. I'd make it again though.

I've got many notes here because I skipped some "exotic" ingredients and blew preparation a bit.

Thai Chicken Salad
Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

For the chicken:

4 roasted chicken breasts (I bought chicken breasts on bone w/ skin, seasoned w/ salt and pepper and roasted them in a 425 degree oven until they were done)
½ tsp chopped galangal (can substitute with ginger and I did)
Juice of two limes
1 ½ tsp minced bird’s eye chilies (or 1 tsp chili paste such as sambel oelek - I opted for the chili paste)
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 kaffir lime laves – centre rib removed, cut in a chiffonade (I didn't have these so grated the zest of a lime)
¾ tsp fish sauce

Shred the chicken breast. Mix all of the dressing ingredients. Toss the shredded chicken with the dressing. Adjust the seasonings – there should be a balance of hot, sour, and salt. To adjust seasonings in Thai food follow these rough guidelines . . . if it is too sweet add more fish sauce . . . too salty add more sugar . . . not tangy enough - add more lime juice . . . not hot enough - add more chili or some sambel oelek

For the salad base:

2 T fish sauce
2 T palm sugar – (can substitute with regular or brown sugar - I used brown)
¼ cup lime juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 bird’s eye chilies, minced (I, again used chili paste - too lazy to mince, and very little because I thought it would be too spicy for Becky).
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
8 Napa cabbage leaves cut in a chiffonade (I stole Amy's idea and used a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw because I didn't think Chris could handle finding/buying Napa cabbage)
16 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
½ bunch cilantro, leaves trimmed and coarsely chopped
½ bunch mint, leaves trimmed and cut in a chiffonade (I used more cilantro and a little basil because I'm not a big fan of mint)

½ cup roasted peanuts (non-salted) or cashews, chopped

Mix the fish sauce through to chilies in a jar. Stir/shake well to dissolve sugar. Taste for seasonings). Store it in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors come together. I forgot to do this the night before, so they had very little marinating - also I mixed everything in my blender.

Mix together the watercress through mint in a large bowl. Toss with dressing.

To serve:

Divide the vegetable mixture amongst 4 plates (I just put everything in one big bowl). Add the chicken on top of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with chopped, roasted nuts. You can also add some cilantro to garnish.

June 7, 2009

Sunday Salad Samplers #7 - Roasted Corn & Wild Rice Salad

Deborah, of Old Shoes New Trip provided this week's recipe. It sounded like a great side salad to our barbecue dinner last night (gaucho steak sandwiches) so I made it yesterday evening, not realizing the flavors were supposed to blend overnight. Oh well! It was still darn good, and am looking forward to having it again this evening with our Greek-Style Burgers.

Roasted Corn and Wild Rice Salad
Roasted Corn & Wild Rice Salad


Roasted Corn & Wild Rice Salad

The recipe is very easy. It keeps well and freezes well. You can serve it both chilled or at room temperature. Great for picnics where you don't want to worry about spoilage.

1 package - uncooked wild rice. (the original recipe called for wild rice blend, but I prefer the stronger flavors of only wild rice.)
2 cups - frozen roasted corn nibblets (Deborah uses Trader Joes. I don't know if our local shop rite carries such a thing, so I bought frozen corn kernels and then sauteed them in a non-stick pan until they were caramelized a bit).
1 cup - finely chopped celery
3/4 cup - shredded carrot
3/4 cup - Craisins
2/3 cup - toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup - finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup - raspberry vinegar
1 tbs - olive oil
1 tbs - low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp - grated orange peel
1/2 tsp - pepper

Cook rice according to package directions: omit salt and fat. Cool.
Combine rice, corn and all other ingredients in a bowl; stir well; chill overnight to blend flavors.
Serve cold from fridge or bring to room temp if you prefer. (I like room temp., Dan likes cold)

This makes a pretty big batch, so you might want to halve it.

I have to say I was a bit leery on the orange zest addition but it really gives the salad a nice, refreshing flavor.

Oh, and for Weight Watchers out there figure 12 servings, serving size 2/3 cup and 3 points per serving.

November 2, 2009

Sunday Small Bites - Pumpkin

Sunday Small BitesThose SlowTrav cooks have been working on these small bites based upon different ingredients for weeks now. I had intended to participate from the beginning but well, you know what they say about the road to hell...

Anyway, last week's ingredient was pumpkin. And, basically, each cook is challenged to make something small (most thing appetizer but I guess it can be a dessert too), which utilizes that weekly ingredient. Some are pulling out tried and true recipes, some are finding new recipes to try and others are creating things on the fly.

For this week's challenge, I decided to sort of join the last group. I was inspired by a pumpkin-sausage quiche recipe that Barbara (of Barb and Art fame) posted for me when I inquired what to do with a cheese pumpkin I received from our CSA. Instead, I changed it into something that I could use for the small bites.

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November 10, 2009

Sunday Small Bites - Mushroom

Sunday Small BitesOkay, I'm a little late, but at least I did it. This week we had to make something with mushrooms. At first I thought I'd do some sort of strudel-type dish with phyllo dough and a mushroom cheese insert (I thought this because let's face it, many dishes made with mushroom look like poo or barf and I figured with the shrooms inside, it would look good). But then I got lazy and I found the Godfather on AMC, so I needed something quick and easy.

I settled on a poo-looking but delicious tasting and easy to make stuffed mushroom recipe instead. I had this recipe in my files for almost 20 years, since I took my first cooking class at Dierberg's in St. Louis, but don't think I've made it since then. I figure the points using my lightening (hey all that oil was left in the bowl), they come in at one point each as opposed to the two points in the original recipe. Again, don't let the images dissuade you.

shrimp stuffed mushroom
Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms

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December 19, 2009

Sunday Small Bites: Artichoke

Finally made last Sunday's slow bite. This is one of my favorite dips. Tonight I made it with low fat mayonnaise and Chris couldn't tell, so that's good. It's incredibly easy too.


Artichoke Dip

1 cup mozzarella cheese -- cut in small cubes (I used shredded)
14 ounces canned artichokes packed in water -- drained and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise (I used low fat)
2 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients together. Bake uncovered for half-hour at 350. Serve with crackers or I guess vegies would work too.

artichoke dip


January 18, 2010

Sunday Slow Suppers: Smoked Paprika Chicken

Sunday Slow Suppers I know I've been a bad Slow cook lately, but along with a bunch of other New Years resolutions (post to come shortly), I'm recommitting to participating in this weekly ritual. So now we're doing suppers and focusing in on different techniques. We're all preparing the same recipe (you can see a list of participants in the sidebar) but of course, everyone has their own twists and turns, so it's worth checking out the others. You can also see a complete schedule here.

This week we're doing roast, and Amy, from Destination Anywhere provided us with the recipe for Smoked Paprika Chicken.

Smoked Paprika Chicken
Smoked Paprika Chicken - beautiful color

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August 1, 2010

Sunday Slow Sides - Week 2 Avocados

A few weeks ago we started doing a Sunday Slow Sides cooking group, focusing on ingredients from the summer's bounty. I've actually been making most of the recipes, just not posting. So I'll be catching up over the next few days. Unfortunately, I missed the first week which was a pea dish provided by Amy of Destination Anywhere called Petits Pois a la Francaise but someday I will get back to it.

Next up came Avocados from Shannon. She provided two recipes and gave us a choice:

Grandma's Recipe

Avocado
Hard Boiled Egg
A Little Mayo
Onion Salt (or regular salt.)

Basically, smash these four things up until it is good and mashed. You can use more egg, more avocado, whatever. I think it is probably one avocado to 2 eggs. She says you don't need to add mayo even, unless you want to.

She used to put it on HomePride Buttertop bread for me which I adored because lets face it that is not really bread, it is junk food. Use whatever kind of bread you want. A hearty wheat would be good... or sourdough. And garnish with whatever you think would be good. My childhood memories has them unadorned, of course.

Because that is so simple here is another sandwich recipe to try, along with Grandma's (or instead of.)

Open-Face Avocado and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feninger
(from Saveur Magazine)

1) Mix 1 T. lemons juice with salt and pepper to taste in a bowl - stir well.

2) While whisking constantly, drizzle in 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil to form a dressing, set aside.

3) Put 4 oz. soft goat cheese, 2 T. lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. pepper, the flesh from 4 ripe avocados, and a few dashes of Tabasco in a bowl. Lightly mash with a fork, season to taste with salt.

4) Divide avocado mixture between 12 lightly toasted small baguette halves and spread to cover each.

5) Transfer baguettes to baking sheet and broil until just warmed through, 1 - 2 minutes.

6) Top with tomato and cucumber slices, and drizzle with dressing.

I opted for the first recipe and because I'm me, and because I'm on Weight Watchers, I made some adjustments.

Grandma's Avocado Mash

First I hard boiled 3 eggs, and used all three whites but only one yolk (for you WW people that's 2.5 points). Then I only used half of the avocado (another 2 points - but I probably should have used more), a little salt and a little smart beat mayo. Then I had 1/2 of the mixture on one of the new Thomas's Bagel Thins things (1 point) for a total of 3.25 (i rounded down) - 3 point sandwich. Oh, and I didn't have tomato in the house but wanted some, so I chopped a few grape tomatoes into the mash.

Avocado Mash
Shannon's Grandma's Avocado Mash

August 18, 2010

Sunday Slow Scoopers - Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

perfect_scoop.jpg I think it was two years ago (right, not last summer?) that the Sunday Slow Cooks decided to make their way through Dave Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop. Since then I've spent some time making other recipes of his, as well as experimenting a little too.

Sammi's been hocking me to make ice cream for her (I made three batches last week, but brought them to a friend, so I promised to make some this week with her), and since I had milk chocolate in the house, I opted for this flavor.

You should know a few things.

1) His ice creams are for the most part way fattening. He justifies the eating of these by limiting yourself to one perfect scoop. But even with that, I still found many of them overpoweringly rich in that I could feel the fat on my tongue. So as I've been making them recently, I've been swapping the milk proportion with the cream proportion. Or reducing in some other fashion. They are still in no way low fat, but at least my tongue doesn't feel coated with fat when I eat them.

2) For this flavor, he suggests using good milk chocolate, that has at least 30% cocoa. The first time I made this, I found some organic chocolate that did specify how much cocoa, percentage-wise, the bar contained. The second time, I had Lindt chocolate that does not specify, and that's what I used.

3) His recipe calls for 8 ounces of chocolate. The bars I had were 3.5 ounces and I only had two. Using a total of 7 ounces of chocolate didn't seem to affect the recipe at all.

milk chocolate ice cream


Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

7 ounces good milk chocolate, chopped fine
1 cup cream (he uses 1.5 cups)
2 cup whole milk (he uses 1.5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar (I used a scad less and might consider reducing it a bit more)
1 big pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 t cognac (I used it the first time, and didn't use it the second time - do what you like).

Melt the chocolate in the cream in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water (I used the top of a double boiler). Set aside with a sieve over the top (I scraped my mixture into a bowl and then put the sieve over the top).

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

Heat the milk, sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan. When warm (not boiling), slowly add this to the egg yolks, stirring with a whisk as you go (if working alone, wrap a dish towel and base of bowl that holds the yolks, so it doesn't spin). Return yolk-milk mixture back to pot and warm on stove until it thickens, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or in my case a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom. The mixture is done when it coats the back of spoon/spatula and you can trail a finger through it and the pathway remains (the more ice cream you make, the better you'll get at figuring out when it's done).

Pour the custard (aka egg-milk mixture) through sieve into bowl with chocolate mix. Put bowl in ice bath (I actually do this ahead of time, so it's already there when I add the custard), and stir to cool, adding cognac if you want. Pour into a container and put in fridge to chill thoroughly (I like to chill mine over night).

Put mixture in ice cream maker, following manufacturer's directions.

Oh, and if you can get 16 "perfect scoops" out of it - they're five points each. I'm going to try this as ice milk soon - that should knock it down some but of course, it won't be as creamy.

August 28, 2010

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

perfect_scoop.jpgBack to making ice cream. This time, toasted coconut. Again, from the Perfect Scoop.

Okay - the recipe...

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2.5 cups whole milk (original recipe called for 1 cup whole milk)
1/2 cup heavy cream (original recipe called for 2 cups cream)
dash of salt
1 vanilla bean
2/3 cups sugar (original recipe called for 3/4 cups sugar)
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon rum or vanilla

I think I'm almost at the point where I could make a basic custard for ice cream in my sleep.

Now with this one we have some pre-steps. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the coconut out on a jelly roll pan and toast in the oven for 5 - 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until golden brown. The first time I made this ice cream, not realizing that you strain the coconut out later, I didn't toast the coconut (b/c Chris doesn't like toasted coconut), and I couldn't find unsweetened, so I used sweetened. I did strain the coconut as I was supposed to but Chris still remarks that he liked the bits of sweetened coconut that escaped the strainer and made it into the ice cream. Anyway ...

In a medium pot, warm 1 3/4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup cream, sugar, salt and toasted coconut. Split the vanilla bean and add the little seeds to the milk mixture and the bean, then cover and let steep off the heat for 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 5 egg yolks.

In another bowl, put remaining milk (3/4 cup) and cream (1/4 cup) and put a sieve over it.

Strain out the coconut and vanilla bean from the milk mixture, using a sieve, and rewarm it.
Slowly, add the rewarmed milk to the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Return the milk-egg mixture to the pot, and rewarm, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat proof spatula until mixture thickens (coating the back of the spoon/spatula - if you can trail a finger across it and leave a path, it's done). Add this custard to the bowl with the milk/cream and stir in the rum or vanilla (I once used coconut extract instead - not bad).

Put in ice bath and when it's cool, stick it in the fridge to cool overnight. Churn it according to your ice cream machine's directions.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture last night. Oh well.

September 30, 2010

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Yes, I promised recipes and here's another (from March again). It's in the Weight Watchers Slow Cook It book and it's pretty darn good (and easy).

classic chicken noodle soup
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

2 (1/2 pound) bone in chicken breasts, skinned
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1T chopped fresh thyme or 1t dried
1/2t salt
1/4t black pepper
2 32oz cartons low-sodium chicken broth (I used the fat free kind)
1 1/2C no-yolk egg noodles
1/4C chopped fresh dill

1. Combine first 10 ingredients (up until broth), in 5 - 6 quart slow cooker. Pour brother over all that stuff, cover and cook until chicken and vegies are tender (4 - 5 hours on high or 8 - 10 hours on low).

2. At end of cooking time, remove parsley, garlic and bay leaf. Transfer chicken to a plate and let stand for about 10 minutes (until you can handle it). Remove the meat from the bones and cut into bite size pieces (I just shred it using two forks).

3. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the noodles.

4. Add chicken meat and noodles to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until chicken is hot again, about 5 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with fresh dill.

October 1, 2010

Pasta with Sausage and Swiss Chard

This is my own creation. Although, really it's based on the broccoli raab and sausage dish you see in lots of places. I make that too but we've had an abundance of Swiss Chard from our CSA this year, so I've used that to make this too.

Pasta with Sausage and Swiss Chard
Pasta with Sausage and Swiss Chard

First, I take anywhere from 1/2 pound to 1lb hot turkey Italian sausage, removed from its casing, and brown that in a big pan. Then I remove it.

Then, I take two or three cloves of sliced garlic and put them in the pan with olive oil (If I'm watching my weight go down, I use maybe 2t to 1T oil; if I'm watching it go up, I just pour it in), I cook the garlic and some crushed red pepper (depending upon how much heat you want) until the garlic is just shy of toast (you should be able to smell it). Then I toss in a whole bunch of sliced, washed chard (don't worry it cooks way down and really, it's hard to get too much). I don't worry about draining the chard well either b/c the water helps it cook. I sprinkle it with a bit of salt.

Meanwhile, I've boiled water for pasta (I may even take some of this water - like a 1/2C and add it to the chard to help it cook). I add pasta to the water (any short type - orrecchiete, shells, rigatoni, penne - just not spaghetti or linguine or something like that).

Once the chard has wilted, I add the sausage and if my timing is right, my pasta is ready about a minute later. I set aside about 1C of the pasta water before I drain the pasta, and add the drained pasta to the sausage and chard. I add some of the reserved water to "loosen" it a bit, scraping up the browned bits and basically giving the pasta a nice coating of flavor.

Serve with some grated cheese on top.

By the way, using 1/2 pound of whole wheat pasta, 1T olive oil, 1/2 pound turkey Italian sausage, and up to 1/2lb chard gets you 6 weight watcher points for a serving of 4 (no cheese).

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What I Really Think in the Recipes category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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