Wish Upon A Dish: August 2010

August 31, 2010

Penne Rigate with Brussel Sprouts and Gorgonzola

The Nudge picked brussel sprouts at Whole Foods on Saturday. I was going to cook them with the pork loin but when I decided that pork would be good with pineapple I had to find a meal for the sprouts. As I was making my monthly calendar, I opened a Food and Wine magazine from January and there it was.....

Penne with Brussel Sprouts and Gorgonzola
(serves 4)

* 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 pound(s) brussels sprouts, trimmed, loose outer leaves reserved and sprouts thinly sliced
* 1 long red fresh chile, halved, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
* 1 teaspoon(s) chopped thyme
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 pound(s) penne rigate (I use Dreamfields)
* 4 ounce(s) Gorgonzola cheese (I used a Smoked Roquefort)

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the sliced brussels sprouts, chile, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved sprout leaves, cover, and remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the penne to the skillet along with the pasta cooking water and cook over moderate heat, stirring to coat the pasta with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to bowls, top with the Gorgonzola, and serve right away.

(note: if you wanted to sprinkle some toasted walnut pieces as a garnish, that would be great).

Exchanges (per serving):
1 1/2 fat
2 non-starchy vegetable
1 starch
1 meat

I finished my September Menu Calendar and I have to say I picked some pretty nice recipes. As I post about them, I will include the Exchanges and Nutrition Facts. If I have time I will also list the GI. Since I do not know what YOU will be serving with that recipe I can not give you the load since that is an average of all the foods you eat together, not the individual recipe.

August 30, 2010

Non-traditional Pizza

I want to make a pizza but not a tomato, mozzarella kind, something different.

I can tell The Nudge isn't quite buying it, but I think once it's made he will like it.

I have so many small containers of foods in the fridge that I really need to use up, a rotisserie chicken breast, Chinese-style grilled eggplant & Shiitake mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes and a few ends of Jack and Manchego cheeses.

I have a half recipe of bread dough I can use for the crust in the freezer. I need a sauce. I have the last of the ricotta from the scones, I could make a ricotta bechamel with lots of Romano cheese.

This is going to be a multi-cultural pizza, that's for sure.

The Nudge said this was quite possibly one of the best pizzas I have ever made. That's quite a compliment because The Nudge is a pizza connoisseur.

The Nudge just told me he's going to Sweden in October for 2 days. Not a trip I would want to make, fly for 10 hours, sleep Sunday, meetings Monday & Tuesday, fly another 10 hours on Wednesday and go to work on Thursday....Not a trip I would want to take and NO pizza either.

August 29, 2010

Grilled Scallops with Hoisin Butter on Wilted Spinach

Seared Scallops on Wilted Spinach with Hoisin Butter

* 1/4 cup hoisin sauce*
* 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon hot chili sesame oil*
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
* 1/4 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large)
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
* 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
* 1 serrano chile, seeded, minced, divided
* 4 5-ounce bags baby spinach
* Coarse kosher salt
* 2 pounds sea scallops, side muscles removed
* 1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup finely chopped spring onions or green onions (white and pale green parts only)
* 1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*

Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend and reserve.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, 1 tablespoon ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, and half of minced chile. Sauté until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add 1 bag spinach. Stir until beginning to wilt. Add remaining spinach, 1 bag at a time, stirring between additions until just wilted. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Meanwhile prepare grill. Sprinkle scallops with coarse salt and pepper. Dip scllops in EVOO and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from grill. Transfer scallops to plate; tent with foil.

In saute pan, add 1 tablespoon butter, spring onions, remaining 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves, and remaining half of minced chile to skillet. Sauté until onions begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mirin and simmer until reduced to glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in hoisin mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide spinach among plates. Top with scallops, dividing equally. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Exchanges (per serving):
3 1/2 Meats
3 Fats
2 Non-Starchy Vegetables
1 Carbohydrate
1 Starch (Jasmine Rice)

I served this with Jasmine Rice. I have made this before and it was really good. There is just enough bite from the serrano without being hot, hot, HOT.

My Homemade Hoisin Sauce
(Makes 9 tablespoons)

* 4 tbls Soy sauce,(GF/dark/light/usual)
* 2 tbls soy bean powder (Bob's Red Mill)
* 1 tbls agave nectar
* 2 tsp White vinegar
* 1/8 tsp Garlic powder
* 2 tsp Sesame seed oil
* 20 drops Chinese-style hot sauce
* 1/8 tsp Pepper

(note: if you make your own, it is by far better for you than the Kikkoman. Most authentic Chinese foods are gluten-free and dairy free, so much better for you).

Lemon Ricotta Scones

The Nudge loves a scone at work, in the morning with his coffee. I can not find a good scone unless I go to Panera Bread everyday and buy one, so a few months ago I started making my own. I have found that we both love the cream or buttermilk based scone and not a lot of fruits or sugary things in it.
I saw this recipe, I don't remember where, but I stored it in my recipe box until I could make them.

Today was the day.

They had a biscuit-like texture to them, not as crumbly or dry but the lemon zest was refreshing and the ricotta & buttermilk kept them moist.

I will make these again.

Lemon Ricotta Scones
(makes 8 scones)

* 6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
* 1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie
* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
* 1/4 cup chilled butter, grated or cut into small pieces
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
* 2 tablespoons cream, for tops
* 1 teaspoon demerra sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.
Cut in the ricotta and butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand,
using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers. Gently stir in the buttermilk.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently for 2 minutes
(the dough is crumbly but holds together).
3. Place the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle.
Cut the dough into 8 wedges (don’t separate the wedges).
Use a pastry brush to brush the surface of the dough with cream;
sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 17 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Yesterday at Whole Foods I was armed with a list of gluten-free baking products and today I decided to make my first recipe. They were very thin but if you buttered them and stacked them they were good to go. I would think if I made a creamy ricotta filling (sort of like a blintz filling) these would be decadent. Topped with a lemon curd syrup....yummy!

Light Lemony Oatcakes
(Makes about ten 3-inch pancakes)

These crepe-like light pancakes are a refreshing change of pace on those lazy Sunday mornings. They're perfect for rolling up fruit fillings or just dusting with powdered sugar.

* 1 cup vanilla soy or rice milk
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 heaping cup certified GF old-fashioned oats (or 1 cup oat flour)
* 1/2 Tablespoon tapioca flour
* 2 teaspoons GF baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon GF baking soda
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon nut butter or tahini (I used almond butter)
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Combine soy or rice milk and lemon juice. Set aside. Blend oats in a spice grinder or blender until finely ground. Mix oat flour with tapioca flour, baking powder, soda, lemon zest, and salt, making sure there are no small lumps. In a blender or with a hand blender combine milk mixture, nut butter or tahini, and maple syrup. Blend well. Mix wet and dry ingredients. Spoon onto a preheated griddle. Mixture will be quite thin. When bubbles form and break, turn carefully and cook until lightly browned.

Total calories per pancake: 67
Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 11 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 200 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram

(note : you could soak the oats in the milk overnight to make a mush and the pancakes would be thicker and more like traditional pancakes but I am not a fan of oatmeal and that consistency is not to my liking.)

Bruschetta Day - end of summer blues

Tradition in this house.....first good day of spring I make a bowl of bruschetta, grill some bread, open a bottle of wine and dine al fresco.

The Nudge decided he wanted a end of summer bruschetta day.

It was beautiful out, the perfect setting. We ended the day with a cheese board, a bottle of Sagrantino and a ciabatta loaf.

Yes, that means we went to Whole Foods !!! LOL

My Bruschetta
Equal parts of (about 1 cup):
Diced tomatoes
Diced fresh mozzarella
Diced roasted peppers
6 basil leaves, shredded
Splash of very GOOD virgin olive oil
Splash of good Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Thinly sliced & grilled baguette

Our Cheese Board
Goat cheese
Canadian Extra Sharp Cheddar
Fig Jam
Sliced Chiabatta Hoagie Roll

If this is the last chance we get to have a Bruschetta Day then I am happy we did it.

Next Friday we are going fishing and the week after that The Nudge is traveling to Arizona for a conference and I will be at my Dad's.

Might be too cool to eat outside after all that.

August 24, 2010

Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad

I just made one of the best salads a Diabetic could want and should make...
Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad.
Thanks to Hank over at Simply Recipes.

I know it makes 6-8 servings but I will eat this every day for lunch. It will satisfy your hunger with less and stay with you longer. Just wonderful.
Check out the Nutrition Facts -- Over the Top!!

Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad
Serves 6-8

* 1 1/2 cups barley
* 1 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Olive oil
* 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and strained
* 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
* 1 cup diced dried apricots
* 2-3 chopped green onions or scallions
* 1 cup chopped parsley
* Zest and juice of a lemon
* Ras El Hanout spice mix
* Salt to taste

Ras El Hanout Spice Mix:
* 1 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 teaspoon cardamom
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
* 1/4 teaspoon ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the barley and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the broth, water, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the barley is tender, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how old the barley is.

2. Strain the cooked barley through a colander or sieve and run cold water over to cool it quickly. Toss and mix in the colander to strain as much water as you can.

3. Lay out the barley on a sheet pan and drizzle olive oil over it. Mix to coat well and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, pistachios, apricots, green onions and parsley and mix well. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and mix again. Add the barley and mix. Sprinkle the ras el hanout spice mixture over the barley and mix well. Taste, and add salt if needed.

5. Let the salad marinate for an hour or so before serving. If the barley has absorbed all the olive oil, drizzle a little more on right before serving.

Exchanges :
1 1/2 starch
1/2 lean meat
1 fat
1/4 fruit
1/4 non-starchy vegetable

Glycemic Index :
a lovely low 28

August 23, 2010

Carb Counting and the Glycemic Load

I spent the better part of yesterday doing math, yes, math.

To get the Glycemic Load of a food you have to first, get the carbohydrates of that food, second, figure the amount in 50grams of that food (50 is considered a proper portion of food) and third, multiply that by theamount of carbs in a 50g serving.

For example, the glycemic index of carrots is about 47. Carrots contain about 7 grams of carbohydrate per 100g of carrots. So, to calculate the glycemic load for a standard 50g serving of carrots, divide 47 by 100 (0.47) and multiply by 3.5 (half of 7g, remember you need a 50g serving, not 100). The glycemic load (GL) of carrots is therefore 1.6.
Another example : the GI of barley = 25 In 100g there are 28 carbs 25 divided by 50 = .5 x 14 (14 carbs in a 50g serving) = 7

It is really time consuming so I will just list as I post a recipe. The good thing is I get to see first hand how bad certain foods are for me, foods I would think was good and vice versa.

My brain hurts, it's Monday, it's rainy and damp and I have a sink full of dishes to do, so tonight I am just defrosting the second half of the Southwest Egg Rolls I made last month.

August 19, 2010

Pluot Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel

The minute I saw this in the current issue of Food and Wine magazine, I had to make it right away. I have been collecting crisp recipes since the summer fruits started to appear in my market. They pretty much all looked the same, except this one.
A chef and restaurateur came down with pancreatitis and had no choice but to change his diet. Well, you should read the article yourself, but the gist of it is, his new diet is that of a diabetic. I will tell you that this was delicious, crispy and a healthier version all rolled into one. I halved the recipe to make only 4 and it divided perfectly. I did not have nectarines or plums, I had just bought pluots (never had them, thought I would try them). They actually taste like an apricot married a plum.

Pluot Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel

Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes 8 ramekins or 8 servings

* 1/2 cup golden raisins (I used dried cherries)
* 1 cup hot water
* 3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar blend
* 1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie
* 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
* 6 ripe nectarines, cut into 1/2" wedges
* 6 ripe plums, cut into 1/2" wedges
* 3 large pluots or 6 small ones, cut into 1/2" wedges, then halved into chunks

* 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
* 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/3 cup oat flour, can use AP flour
* 4 tablespoons non-butter spread (Smart Balance, ICBINB blend or Land o' Lakes Spread)
* 2/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar blend
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, soak the raisins in the hot water for 20 minutes; drain. Stir in the sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, lemon juice and orange juice. Fold in the nectarines and plums. Scrape the fruit into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish or 8 ramekins. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
2. In a bowl, combine the oats, flours, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Work in the butter blend. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake the crisp for 30 minutes, until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve.

August 8, 2010

A Burger Throwdown between.............

........Bobbby Flay and a recent winner in the site I have been submitting recipes too.

I choose Bobby's Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onions and Horseradish Mustard because it was the closest to the other burger that I could find of Bobby's.

I thought it would be fun to do a throwdown.
2 reasons. #1 : The Burger Club at Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice is rating Bobby Flay hamburgers this month and...

Reason #2 : I wanted to see if the winner of the Best Burger Contest was a winner.

I am remaining unbiased even though I have met Bobby and I simply adore him. If you want to catch a glimpse, just eat at Bar American on a Saturday at around 9-10 PM when he comes in to cook. Yes, he actually cooks in his restaurant and he's so cool about signing books and menus and taking pics.
If I sound like a groupie, I am.

Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onions and Horseradish Mustard.
* 1/2 cup Dijon and 1 tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
* 1 1/4 pounds ground chuck
* 8 (1/4") slices of Cheddar cheese
* 4 hamburger buns
* 4 leaves romaine lettuce
* 4 slices grilled Vidalia onions (brushed with olive oil and grilled till charred)
* 4 (1/4") slices beefsteak tomatoes (about 2)

The New Englandah Burgah
* 1 pound lean Black Angus ground beef
* 1/4 cup Maple Syrup (preferable made in New England)
* 4 thick slices cooked applewood smoked bacon
* 1 MacIntosh apple, grilled
* 4 slices Vermont Cheddar Cheese
* 2 rolls
* Salt & Pepper to taste

As the burgers are grilling, the maple syrup is brushed on as a glaze. At first I thought it would be in the burger, but I like that it is the glaze. It produced just a hint of sweetness.

Hubby called it a tie. I leaned to Chef Jason's burger because I did not like the horseradish mustard. I was wishing it would be creamier like a mayonnaise-based sauce.

So, congratulations Chef Jason, you have won the throwdown.
Bobby's recipe got a "2" rating.

August 5, 2010

Chicken dinner and today is dessert making day

I am making a buttermilk cheesecake right now, finally using up the last of my plums. Since I only had a cup left I chopped them fine and added them right to the cheesecake filling. I will use the red and gold syrups to decorate the top.
I wanted a sour cream type filling, but did not have enough goat cheese, nor did I want to waste my Coach cheese on something that might not come out well.
I have been baking cheesecakes for 40 years, selling them to small bars and pubs since I was 30. I still take orders from old clients and friends and every Christmas I bake 8 of them to give out as gifts, like people would bring a plate of cookies, I bring a cheesecake.
I have gotten so good at it, I can bake them right in the cookie tins so I just cover them, bow them and tag them. It's easy to ship in the winter, no refrigeration required.
Last year was Mint Chocolate Chip, then Espresso, the year before that it was Pumpkin and The Nudge requested Baileys Irish Creme.

They were all good but the best one to date was the red (raspberry), white (regular) and blue (blueberry) I made to bring to a picnic. They still talk about that cheesecake. It's a legend & I forgot to write down the proportions of fruit jams to cheesecake filling. I do know one thing, I used sour cream for the first time in my cheesecake baking career and the fruits went well with that tartness.
That's why I am making this one tart also, but because I did not have any sour cream and had a half a quart of buttermilk, you can guess the rest.

Plum Buttermilk Cheesecake
Serves 12

* 1 cup chocolate graham bears, crushed
* 2 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
* 3 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake Filling:

* 8 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature (overnight ideal)
* 1 brick cream cheese (no-fat, low-fat, regular - pick your choice), room temperature with mascarpone
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar or Splenda brown sugar blend
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar or Splenda
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 3 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute
* 1 cup maserated and pureed red plums + accumulated juices

1. Turn oven on to 350F. Place graham cracker mix in an aluminum cake pan, pressing down evenly on the bottom. I am not going up the sides with this crust.
2. In electric mixer bowl, cream cheeses with sugars. Add extract and buttermilk. When blended with no lumps, add plums and eggs, blend till pink streaks are incorporated.
3. Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove and cool.Turn oven down to 300F. Pour in cake filling into pan and on a cookie sheet, bake for 50 minutes. Middle should be slightly wobbly like jello when it's set.
4. Shut oven off with pan still inside. Crack the door 1" and leave it in for 1 hour.
5. Remove and cool on table, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Squirt syrups on top and save some for plate decoration.
6. Remove from fridge at least 15-20 minutes before serving. Heat knife in glass of hot water before slicing and clean between each slice.
7. Cook's Tip : If you want a bigger cheesecake, double the recipe and bake it in a springform pan, same oven temp but for 1 hour 15 minutes. The rest is the same. I find this size is good in the summer, because people are eating smaller portions.

This got a thumbs up from both of us. The Nudge said it's light and tart and sweet and perfect for the summer. He even asked for a piece to take to work for lunch, but changed his mind 'cuz he would fall asleep if he ate this at work.

August 3, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I don't think I ever made my spaghetti and meatballs for you.

I break all the rules when making this dish and it's wonderful every time. The Nudge tells me to never change the meatball recipe. That's good enough for me.

Broken Rule #1: I don't bake or fry my meatballs.
Broken Rule #2: I never add sugar to my sauce.
Broken Rule #3: I work meatball mixture to death.
Broken Rule #4: I use all beef, no pork, no veal, no meatball mix.
Broken Rule #5: I never use red wine in my sauce, only a good white.
Broken Rule #6: Scratch sauce and meatballs...1 hour from start to table.

Some cooking techniques should remain the same, never change them, just won't work. But a Sunday gravy with meatballs is an Italian Mamma's right to make it her way. There are no rights and wrongs, only happy eaters. I don't think I have ever had a bad tomato gravy just some that were not that flavorful and mostly because they use jarred sauces. Homemade can never be bad. It also doesn't have to take you all day to make.

* 1 pound of 80% ground beef
* 1 small onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 beaten egg
* 1/4 cup ketchup
* 1 1/2 tbls brown mustard
* 1 cup dried flavored bread crumbs
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup grated cheese

Mix all together. Roll into golf-sized balls and drop into sauce.

Quick and Easy Scratch Marinara Sauce
* 1 small onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced
* 1 tbls tomato paste
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup white wine
* 1 tbls Italian Seasoning
* 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes, or whole hand crushed with juice
* 1 bay leaf
* Red Pepper Flakes
* salt & pepper to taste
* Chopped basil & parsley at the end.

Saute onions, then garlic until browned. Add tomato paste, red pepper flakes and caramelize. Add white wine and reduce down. Add water, seasonings, bay leaf and then tomatoes. Simmer for 30 minutes while you make the meatballs.
Put meatballs into sauce, cover and simmer additional 30 minutes while water comes to a boil and spaghetti cooks.
Bim, bam, boom !! Call everyone to the table.

Next time I make a huge pot of gravy for canning I will give you that recipe. That is done in a large crock pot overnight.

With Spaghetti and Meatballs you have to have bread, so I made ciabatta dough.
It is a very wet dough with the moisture ratio to flour at 50%. Usually it is 20-25%. I saw in a test kitchen show that used milk to make the holes in the bread smaller and more consistant. I cut the dough in half and froze one half, making 2 loaves out of the other half. They are small but great for dunking in the gravy. And when there's only 2, small loaves is good. The one we don't eat will be great for meatball paninis. But that's another day.

I got this recipe from The Fresh Loaf. All I changed was the addition of milk. I also did the conversion to ounces so the bread flour was 12.5 and the semolina was 5.3 the rest was the same. I like that I can do this in my Kitchen Aid. If I had to knead the old way, I would not bake a loaf of bread.