Wish Upon A Dish: September 2010

September 30, 2010

Tuna Casserole Throwdown

We have had fun over the summer, making 2 different recipes and picking the best one.
We had a burger throwdown, a pasta challenge, a pancake tasting and tonight we are doing tuna casseroles.

Both recipes are from cooking magazine sites and are chef recipes, not home cook recipes.

One is Italian based and the other is more traditionally American.

If one turns out to be excellent it will be the tuna casserole 'Go To' from now on.

I will then tweek it to make it diabetic friendly (if it needs it).

I made 3 ramekins of each one, so The Nudge has lunch for tomorrow.

We both decided that neither one was worth making again.
Back to the drawing board for tuna casserole.

Tomorrow night is Huevos Rancheros.

September 29, 2010

Moroccan Slow-Cooked Lamb

The Nudge does not like the taste of lamb. I think once it is slow-cooked with all these spices he won't even know it is lamb. He did finally try good grilled lamb chops at Bar American and loved them enough to order them the 2nd time we went there. His whole life, he never ate that much lamb.
My market did not have any shoulder for stewing so I bought a couple of nice sized shoulder chops. Same meat but with a bone, but bones are good in slow-cooking recipes.

Moroccan Slow-Cooked Lamb and Chickpeas
Adapted from Epicurious.com

* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 2 teaspoons ground coriander
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 2 1/2 pounds trimmed boned lamb shoulder
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large onion
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
* 1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
* 1 cup dried apricots
* 2 large plum tomatoes
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
* 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add lamb and toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 2 more tablespoons oil to skillet between batches, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to another large bowl after each batch.

Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits.

If using Crock Pot:
Add lamb and ingredients in the saute pan to your crockpot insert. Turn on low for all day cooking or on high for 4 hours.

If stovetop braising:
Return lamb to skillet and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lamb is just tender, about 1 hour.

Uncover and simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.)

I will serve this with a Mediterranean Bulgur. That is just soaked bulgur in chicken broth and then add some chopped apricots, olives, olive oil and salt & pepper.
You need something to soak up the sauce.

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September 28, 2010

Homemade Chile Sauce & a Tamale Casserole

I love making my own chile sauce. Buying canned and jarred just won't cut it. You just don't know what's in there. I am making a tamale casserole tonight and Huevos Rancheros on Friday so I need a good sauce.

Here's how I did it......

2 New Mexico dried chiles (or dried anchos)
3 cloves of garlic, skins on
1 medium onion, cut in half, skinned
2 cups chicken broth
1 chipotle pepper & 1 tbls adobo sauce
salt & pepper
1 heaping tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano, rubbed in palm to release the oils
1 28oz can fire roasted tomatoes, Muir Glen
1 good squirt agave nectar

On a broil pan, place dried peppers, garlic and onions and broil until blackened.
Soak peppers in hot water till pliable. Peel garlic and chop onions.
In processor or blender, add peppers, garlic, onions, some soaking liquid and tomatoes.
Process till pureed. It won't be totally smooth because of the pepper skins.
To heavy saucepan, empty contents of processor and add chicken broth, chipotle and adobo, oregano, cumin and agave.
Simmer for 45 minutes. Blend again and strain into pan, making sure to press on the solids. Simmer until thick. Adjust salt & pepper. Store in container and refrigerate.
Makes about 3 cups

Use this as a great enchilada sauce, over burritos, bake chicken in it, serve it over Macaroni & Cheese....the uses are endless.

I found this recipe quite a while ago on myrecipes.com.
I never had a tamale and not sure I would ever make them for just the 2 of us, this looked like a close enough recipe to what a tamale would taste like. I am a big fan of cornmeal and this was one of the easiest dinners to put together.
I love that it uses left-over chicken and a boxed cornmeal muffin mix. A win-win for me.

Tamale Casserole

* 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
* 1/3 cup fat-free milk
* 1/4 cup egg substitute
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
* 1 8.5-ounce)corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)
* 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
* Cooking spray
* 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso) or homemade (recipe above)
* 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
* 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

4. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces.

Using homemade enchilada sauce made all the difference in the outcome. Some sour cream over the top and.......dinner is served.

September 24, 2010

Must Read: Corn and Diabetes

I love cornmeal in any form.....white hominy grits, yellow polenta, cakes, muffins, bread and dumplings. I love it all.

I thought that corn would not be a viable ingredient in a diabetic diet but after reading about it, I am happy to say I can have as much corn product as I want......I will eat polenta instead of pasta and rice any day.

The Effects of Eating Corn & Being Diabetic
By Lesley Graybeal, eHow Contributor
Updated: January 15, 2010

1. While corn is a staple vegetable for many people, some may worry about the effects of eating corn and being diabetic. Fortunately for people with diabetes, corn is a nutrient-rich food classified as a starch on the Diabetes Food Pyramid, along with grains, potatoes, peas and beans. With a glycemic index (GI) of 42, corn is also classified as a low-GI food, meaning that corn raises blood sugar by a relatively small amount. The healthy effects of eating corn may be negated, however, by consuming the wrong type of corn products.

Improved Metabolism
2. One of the most important links between corn and diabetes is the high level of pantothenic acid found in corn. A B vitamin used in processing carbohydrates and protein, pantothenic acid is important for helping people with diabetes maintain a healthy weight through improved metabolic function and for managing blood sugar levels.

Improved Heart Health
3. Another one of the major healthy effects of eating corn is a decreased risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke associated with folate, another nutrient found in corn. A cup of corn contains 19 percent of the recommended daily value for folate intake.

Improved Digestive Health
4. Fiber in corn and other starches is an important part of nutrition and overall digestive health for people with diabetes. The high levels of folate found in corn that make corn a heart-healthy food also contribute to digestive health as well, with folate offering a lower risk of colon cancer as one of the benefits of eating corn.

High Levels of Sodium and Fat
5. Eating canned corn with salt added, or adding table salt and butter to fresh corn, can cause people with diabetes to unconsciously consume unhealthy amounts of sodium and fat when eating corn with a meal. Butter and other fats should be eaten sparingly in a nutritious diet, so adding them to corn and other starches reduces the healthy benefits.

High Blood Sugar and Appetite
6. The most common negative effects of eating corn products come from high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener made from corn and commonly found in processed foods. A combination of glucose and fructose, high fructose corn syrup may not raise blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar does, but unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate the release of insulin or the hormone leptin, which triggers satiety. High fructose corn syrup, then, leaves people with diabetes in need of insulin to regulate blood sugar and unsatisfied with their meal or snack, resulting in the possibility of overeating.

Now, go eat your corn............

Bar Cookies in a Tart Pan

I have been collecting bar cookie recipes for some time now. I had never baked one and although my favorite is lemon bars, what started this odyssey into actually baking a bar cookie was this.....

The Nudge's Mom has cancer and we finally had to call Hospice Care.
She's 93, had a wonderful life, her death will be a painless one and she has her whole family around her. She's actually OK with it. She said she had to go sooner or later and she's happy she knows how and when.

Pretty nifty lady.

For us to visit her, you have read me mention, was a trip that took over an hour one way so we went once a month when none of the other kids were there so she always had company every weekend.

The last time we were there we noticed she would eat only 2 bites of her dinner (which by the way was a sandwich every night) so knowing she loved Lemon Meringue Pie I found a recipe on Martha's site and thought I would make bite sized Lemon Meringue bar cookies for her to eat.

The weekend we were supposed to visit she wasn't feeling well and we never when.
The desire to be so close to baking my first bar cookie recipe was enough to propel me over the edge.

I was going to make one or give up the chase.

Yesterday was the day...........YAY for me!!!

It was a toss-up between a Smitten Kitchen Blueberry Crumb Bar recipe and a recipe I got somewhere probably before the age of blogging (no name or credits on it), a Streusel Topped Jam Bar Cookie recipe. I choose the Streusel one because the top and bottom where two different mixtures and the crumb bars used the same mix for both.

The Nudge does not like lemon so I let him pick his filling.
He choose Blackberry.

Yesterday it was finally cool enough to crank up the oven and a good day to bake.
Dinner was a one pot pasta dish and easy, so I had the time.

Instead of a 9x9 Pyrex I used my tart pan again. I halved the recipe for the 9" pan but I think I would go up to the next size - to the 10". The crust was pretty thick. It is OK because it's a shortbread recipe and it wasn't overly sweet.

Actually the whole recipe had very low sugar in it. The only thing that was sweet was the streusel topping which I sprinkled demarara sugar on before baking.

The Nudge stopped on his way home for a pint of vanilla ice cream.

Dinner and dessert were deemed a keeper.

Streusel Jam Bar Cookies

Makes 24

1 c. (2 sticks) ICBINB baking sticks, softened
1 c. granulated Splenda No Calorie sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lg. egg or 1/4 cup substitute
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 (10 oz.) jar blackberry preserves

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. cold butter
1/4 c. granulated Splenda No Calorie sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

3. In large mixing bowl, cream the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour until well blended.

4. Press into prepared pan. Heat the strawberry preserves until melted. Spread over the base to within 1/2" of edges.

5. Streusel: Combine streusel ingredients til crumbly using a pastry blender or two forks. Sprinkle evenly over the preserves. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in airtight container.

And yes, for dessert, we eat off paper plates. I do enough dishes in this house.

September 23, 2010

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers & White Wine

I love orecchiette pasta. I have not eaten pasta in 6 days. When I put pasta on the menu now, it's once a week when it used to be 2x. Maybe not a big deal but to me it is. I do not eat bread, OK, I do but maybe 5x a month. I do like rice and pasta, so for me to cut down 6 days of pasta and rice dishes to 2 a week is a good thing. We are eating grains & beans 4 days a week.

When I do eat pasta now, the dish better be outstanding.
This one is.....

You could substitute ground white meat chicken to cut down the cholesterol if you need to dietary wise, but veal has a zero GI and it is OK for a diabetic and it does lend more flavor to this dish.

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine
(Adapted from Food and Wine)
Servings: 4
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 pound ground veal
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
* 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
* 2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
* 3/4 pound orecchiette
* 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
* 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal, season with salt and pepper and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the white wine to the skillet and boil over high heat until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and capers and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.

Brand New Alphabetized Glycemic Index PDF

Took me all of yesterday afternoon and then 1 hour this morning to complete an alphabetized Glycemic Index list of foods in PDF format.

Click here for Alphabetized GI Downloadable PDF.

I will also post the link in the GI-GL tab at the top of this bog.

I had one finished last night but the columns did not line up so I redid it this morning. I have to say it is beautiful. I would like to find pre-made boxed foods and fast-foods and restaurant foods if I can and if I do I will ad them and update the list.

I know that, unlike us (who haven't set foot in a Micky D's, Burger King, Wendy's in over 10 years), most people eat in a fast food joint at least once a week.

I have nothing against and nothing to say to those people.

I'm sure they know what you are doing by ordering the best choices when in there and feeling it is better than no meal at all......
Yes, you are right.


Most people eat super-sized fried foods and the sodium alone would give me a heart attack.

Those if us with Diabetes, will look at a fast food menu and shake our heads. I suppose the salads are the best choices but as we learn from Oprah and Dr. Oz.....it is deceiving and confusing.

You could go out and buy all those Eat This, Not That books and make the author rich or we could just look up the information on line. I believe it is now a law that restaurants of any chain have to list the nutritionals for each item.

I have found a nutrition list for top fast-food joints and the foods they sell. Click on the tab at the top of this blog and then the link to access Fast Food Facts.

You can chose by restaurant, food category or specific item name. It's a great tool to have access too. Be prepared to be shocked at the reality of what you thought was a better fast food choice.

September 22, 2010

Roast Red Snapper in Sake Broth

This recipe originally called for Monkfish, but we tried 3 fish stores and last week they had them, this week they are out.

I knew I should have bought them when I could but The Nudge assured me they would have them again this week.


Why do I continue to listen to that man?

Out of all my choices of fillets, I chose a Red Snapper because I needed a fish that would not flake and have some heft to it. Red Snapper or Grouper would do but The Nudge called out "Snapper", so snapper it is.

The inspiration for this dish is this huge container of blonde miso that has been sitting in my fridge for weeks now. I typed in Miso at the Food and Wine site and this was one of my choices.
Since I adore Eric Ripert and my wish before I die is to eat at his restaurant, it was a natural selection for me.

You can make all the different components, except the roasted fish, ahead of time and just reheat and assemble. It is easier then it looks.

Roast Snapper in Sake Broth
(adapted from Food and Wine)
Servings: 4

Turnip Puree
* 1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Sake Broth and Mushrooms
* 1 tsp fish broth concentrate or boullion
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/2 cup sake
* 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon sliced fresh ginger
* 1 scallion, thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white or blond miso
* 2 teaspoons soy sauce
* Salt and freshly ground white pepper
* 6 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced

Snapper Fillet
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* Large fillet of a firm whitefish (haddock, Cod, Snapper, Grouper or Monkfish)
* Salt and freshly ground white pepper
* 2 teaspoons crushed Sichuan peppercorns
* Wondra flour, for dusting

1. MAKE THE TURNIP PUREE: In a saucepan, cover the turnips with water and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and simmer over moderately high heat until the turnips are tender, about 20 minutes; drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and the ginger. Transfer the turnips, ginger and cooking liquid to a blender, add the butter and puree until very smooth. Season with salt and white pepper and keep warm.

2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAKE BROTH AND PREPARE THE MUSHROOMS: In a saucepan, combine the fish boullion with the water, sake, garlic, ginger and scallion and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine strainer and return it to the saucepan. Whisk in the miso and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.

3. In a small skillet, combine the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the sake broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the mushrooms are tender, 2 minutes.

4. PREPARE THE FISH: Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil. Season the fish with salt, white pepper and the Sichuan peppercorns and dust with flour. Add the fish to the skillet and cook over high heat until golden on 3 sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the fish for about 5 minutes, until a metal skewer inserted in the center feels warm to the touch. Transfer the fish to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Slice the fish 1/3 inch thick. Reheat the sake broth and spoon it into shallow bowls. Spoon the turnip puree into the bowls, top with the fish and mushrooms and serve.

This dish was very good, very light and surprisingly easy to make. I would make it again but with the monkfish.
I think I am starting to really like this miso product. Lots of flavor but it's soy...how can it be bad?

3 meats
1 1/2 non-starchy vegetable
1 fat

September 21, 2010

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Muenster

As the days get cooler my time to grill grows shorter. I am not one to stand outside in freezing weather to grill a burger, sorry, just not me.

Next weekend we are going the Giants vs. Tennessee game at the new Stadium and it's the early game which means lots of morning sun and good tailgating goodies.
I am not one to want to sit in Giant Stadium when the sun goes down, it is windy, breezy and very cold in the Meadowlands. I like that we can come out after the game, re-lite the grill for a quick burger while the parking lot empties and the traffic is gone.

Tonight is the best night this week to grill, rain predicted tomorrow into Thursday, so I am happy to make one of our two favorite styles of cooking chicken......Stuffed and Beer Can.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Muenster and Prosciutto
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

* 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves(about 12 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and skin
* Table salt
* Vegetable oil for cooking grate
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
* 4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
* 2 ounces muenster or fontina cheese, cut into four 3 by 1/2-inch sticks
* 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
* Ground black pepper

1. Starting on thick side of breast, closest to breastbone, cut horizontal pocket in each breast, stopping 1/2" from edge so halves remain attached. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1 quart cold water in large container. Add breasts, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).

3. Meanwhile, combine butter, shallot, and tarragon in small bowl. Roll each piece of cheese in 1 slice prosciutto. Remove breasts from brine, dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towels, and season inside and out with pepper. Spread equal amount of butter mixture inside each breast. Place 1 prosciutto-wrapped piece of cheese inside each breast and fold breast over to enclose. Evenly space 3 pieces kitchen twine (each about 12 inches long) beneath each breast and tie, trimming any excess.

4. Place chicken breasts, skin side down, over hot part of grill and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until second side is just opaque, about 2 minutes. Move chicken, skin side up, to cool side of grill, with thicker side of breasts facing fire. Cover grill and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of stuffing registers 160 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest, tented with foil, 10 minutes. Remove twine, then carve breast meat from bone (see photo below). Carve into 1/2" thick slices and serve.

Stuffed Rosti

I am thinking Rosti. A stuffed Rosti to be exact.

A thin layer of shredded potatoes, baked on a sheet pan, then stuffed with cheesy, gooey vegetables and served with poached or over easy eggs.

The Nudge would even like that.

I have 1 1/2 baking potatoes in the fridge, roasted red peppers and Muenster cheese. I need a side for dinner tonight.

Roasted Potatoes with Cheese and Red Peppers has a GI of 27.....
Good enough for me.

Here's how I made them:

I shredded 1 large Idaho Russet, soaked in water, drained them and squeezed them dry.

I sprayed a small non-stick pan with PAM and placed 1 cup of the shredded potatoes in and flattened them with a spatula. I then sprayed the top, covered with a lid and, on low, cooked them for 3 minutes.

I removed the lid and placed a thick slice of Muenster cheese in the center. Re-covered and let the cheese melt for about 1 minute, just to make it pliable.

I then added a 2" slice of roasted pepper on one half of the potatoes.

With a spatula I folded one half of the potato over the other and removed to a sheet pan. Just like you would a pan omelet.

I baked these on a high 450° right before eating.I wanted the potatoes to stay crunchy crisp.
Remove to cool slightly and serve with your meal.

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September 20, 2010

Pork and Spinach Pot Stickers with Citrus-Soy Sauce

I love pot stickers. The only place I could have them was at TGIF.
I was very happy because I like the place but I do not like the food, well, except for those pot stickers. They come served on a bed of shredded cabbage with a traditional soy-sesame dipping sauce but with more vinegar than usual. I liked that after eating the dumplings I would pour the remainder of the sauce over the cabbage and get a salad as a bonus. There were 6 of them but they were larger then the ones that are made with Gyoza skins.

When they removed them from the menu a while back, we stopped going there. The rest of their menu is so-so and the pot stickers were really all I liked to eat there.

The Nudge would always get a burger but I always ordered the pot stickers.

When I could not ease my craving for pot stickers anywhere near here, I had to learn to make my own. Besides the fact that they seem labor intensive, you can knock out 30 of them in about an hour. Best thing to do, as with any Chinese dish, get your mise en place in order before you even attempt to make them. Once you are set up it's boom boom done. You really can't cook them ahead, they don't reheat well, so I have them lined up on a sheet pan with a towel over them, ready to go when The Nudge gets home. They only take 20 minutes to cook.

I could not find Gyoza skins so I used Wonton wrappers which are thinner and square.

Wonton wrappers are very diapropriate, which means they are excellent for diabetics.
The Nutrition Facts are excellent and the filling, as with most Chinese-based dishes is low in calories, fat and carbs.

If you want to make all sorts of filled pastas, I suggest you purchase a set of three dumpling makers. I use them all the time.

I made these with ground pork but chicken would also be good. If I was serving these as a side I would have made them totally vegetarian but they were the main dish and The Nudge likes something more substantial. I followed the recipe as was written except for the ground pork and wonton's.

Gyoza with Soy-Citrus Sauce
Adapted from My Recipes

(makes 28 dumplings + 8 tbls sauce)
* 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
* 1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
* 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
* 8 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
* 2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
* 2 garlic cloves
* Cooking spray
* 6 ounces chopped fresh spinach
* 28 gyoza skins
* 2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
* 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth, divided
* 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
* 1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
* Fresh chives (optional)

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor, and process until finely chopped.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork and brown, then add mushroom mixture and spinach to pan; cook 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently. Cool slightly.

3. Moisten edges of gyoza skin with water, working with 1 gyoza skin at a time (cover remaining skins to prevent drying). Spoon about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture into center of circle. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal. Place dumpling, seam side up, on a baking sheet (cover loosely with a towel to prevent drying). Repeat procedure with remaining wrappers and filling.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of dumplings to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and remaining dumplings. Add 1/4 cup broth, 1/3 cup juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and vinegar to pan; bring to a boil. Place dipping sauce in a small bowl.

5. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth to pan; bring to a boil. Add dumplings; cover and cook 2 minutes or until tender. Remove from pan. Serve with dipping sauce; top with chives, if desired.

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September 19, 2010

An Italian celebrates Yom Kippur

I am not Jewish but my best friend is. For years he has been telling me about all his holidays and the traditional foods and I always look up them up and make them.
I love Jewish cooking. It is a lot like Italian. Use the very best ingredients, make them simply prepared and make them with love.

His wife, also a Diabetic, and I share tips with each other about our diets.
Jewish religion is based on the earth and the seasons, eating healthy and respecting where you came from and where you are today.

Well, that's my version of it, looking in from the outside.

Traditional Jews do not eat shellfish because shellfish are bottom feeders and therefore not healthy to eat. I can eat shellfish, so I combine tradition with what I like to make it a multi-cultural meal.

I found this recipe for caviar scallops over potato pancakes and then in the Shop-Rite's Jewish Calendar there was a recipe for Garbanzo Bean Potato Latkes.

I thought that by combining the 2 recipes I could make it Diabetic Friendly.

You could use Roasted Monkfish medallions or a nice firm whitefish in place of the Scallops.

When you have a high GI food like potatoes halving it with a low GI food like Garbanzos, makes the average GI well within the 'Under 50 GI' acceptable level for a diabetic and you can have potato latkes. Everyone wins !!!!

Garbanzo Bean Potato Latkes
* 1 baking potato, peeled
* 1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained
* 2 cloves garlic
* 3/4 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp ground pepper
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 3 tbls matzoh meal
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1/4 cup grated onion
* Vegetable oil, for frying

Scallops and Creamy Wine Sauce
* 3/4 cup Chardonnay or Sparkling Wine
* 4 black peppercorns
* 2 thyme sprigs
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 1/2 tablespoons crème fraîche
* 3/4 stick (6 tbls) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
* Salt
* 8 large sea scallops (1/2 pound)
* 1 tablespoon minced chives

1. Coarsely shred the potatoes and squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the egg, matzo meal, onion and a large pinch of salt.
2. In food processor, blend beans, garlic, cumin, pepper and baking powder until almost smooth.
3. Stir in potato mixture.
4. Shape the mixture into 8 scallop-size cakes, about 1/2 inch thick; press the cakes to compress them.
5. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the pancakes over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Lower the heat if the pancakes brown too quickly and add more oil if necessary. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.

1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the Champagne with the peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, shallot and lemon juice and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 15 minutes.
3. Strain the sauce into another small saucepan. Stir in the crème fraîche and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season lightly with salt. Cover the sauce and keep it warm.
4. Heat grill. Salt & pepper scallops. Brush with oil and grill, about 3 minutes each side. Remove.
5. Rewarm the potato pancakes in an aluminum pan on the grill. Arrange the pancakes on a platter and set a scallop on each one. Add the chives to the wine butter sauce and spoon over the scallops. Serve right away.
(Wine pairing: Marques de Riscal Rueda Verdejo (Spanish White)

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes and Me

I finally did it....I made buttermilk pancakes that The Nudge approved of. He even requested the blueberries.

I'm in complete shock.
Thank you, than you Smitten Kitchen and Martha.

I don't own a Martha Stewart cookbook but I think I am going to try to get her Original Classics Cookbook. I seem to see a lot of blogs using her recipes with great success.

I will tell you, these pancakes were the best. I still love my buttermilk oatmeal recipe but I will try to duplicate this recipe using GF flour and Xantham Gum.
At least I know I will be able to eat 2 on a Sunday when I make them for him.

During the week I will make mine.

The key to fluffy pancakes is not to overmix the batter; it should not be beaten smooth. If serving these pancakes with bacon, reserve half a teaspoon of bacon drippings to grease the griddle instead of butter.

I nuke my bacon so there were no drippings. I also put 12 blueberries in each pancake, so they didn't even need syrup the berries were so sweet.

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
(makes 12 - 6" pancakes)
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 3 cups buttermilk
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

1. Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

2. Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

3. Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

4. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

September 18, 2010

Flat Bread Pizza

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Pizzas with bleu cheese, roasted red peppers, scallions, mozzarella, pepperoncini asiago, mascarpone and tomato sauce finished with sea salt and EVOO.

The beauty of using flat breads is you do not have to mess with making dough, which makes it perfect for tailgate parties. Prepare the toppings, place them in separate zips and assemble once you get the grill up and going.

I made 3, but a package comes with 5 in it. You could just double the ingredients to make the package or, since I made much more than I needed (these babies were overflowing), you could honestly get away with making all 5 pizzas with the recipe amounts listed.

Buffalo Chicken Flat Bread Pizzas
* 3 Onion flat breads
* 1/2 rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded
* 2 tbls mascarpone cheese
* 2 tsp Franks hot sauce or Buffalo Sauce
* 1/4 cup pizza sauce or pasta sauce of choice
* 2 scallions, sliced, white parts only
* 1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
* 1/3 pound shredded mozzarella (if using pre-shredded, about 1 cup)
* 1/2 cup Pepperoncini Asiago or Peppper Jack cheese, shredded
* 1 whole roasted pepper, minced
* Sea Salt & a good finishing EVOO

1. In a large bowl (before taking to go or before grilling), place shredded chicken, mascarpone, cheese crumbles, hot sauce, scallions and nuke for 1 minute to soften the mascarpone and make it easier to blend.

2. Divide mixture into as many flat breads as you are making and spread evenly on breads leaving 1/4" edge.

3. Sprinkle with asiago or pepper jack, mozzarella and then peppers.

4. Set grill to 3 zones (coals against opposite walls and an empty space down the middle) placing the breads in the middle. If the grill is small then make a 2 zone setup and place all the coals on one side and leave the other side empty. You are basically baking the breads to melt the cheeses. Cover the grill for about 15-20 minutes or until cheeses melt.

5. When cheese is melted, place breads directly over coals to crisp the bread and remove when browned to perfection.

6. Remove from grill, finish with sea salt and the oil, slice into pieces and......pizza is served.
(Wine pairing: Martin Codax (Spanish White)

All I can say is.....WOW, this was good, baby!!!

September 17, 2010

Homemade Goat Milk Pasta Sheet Lasagna

Wow, that is a mouthful.

While drying my pasta sheets they started to crack. I made them on the thick side just like boxed lasagna and I guess fresh dries differently. It's OK, in a lasagna, you never see the splits and cracks in the pasta with all that sauce and filling and of course the melted cheeses in it.

Because they are fragile until cooked, I am simmering them in a frying pan for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes I then put them in a container with olive oil and water until I am ready to use them. They will keep this way for about 1 hour. They are still firm so any water they absorb will not make them mushy.

The filling will be chevre, sauteed mushrooms, fresh spinach (1" slices), mozzarella cheese, fresh ricotta cheese and grated parmigiana. I will use a small amount of the red sauce I made last night to keep it moist while it bakes, but basically it is a white lasagna.

Ladle a spoon of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish of choice. I love this one from Kohls because it is enough for dinner for 2 plus a lunch for The Nudge.

Layer the noodles until the bottom is covered, tucking in where needed.

Spread 2 large spoons of filling over the noodles and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Cover with grated mozzarella and repeat making 3 full layers, ending with a layer of filling, Parmesan and mozzarella.

Place on a baking sheet with foil (to protect the pan from drippings, and there will be drippings).

After 30 minutes of baking at 350F, place a foil sheet that has been sprayed with PAM over the lasagna (do not crimp over the pan, just lay it on top).
Up the oven to 400F and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Top pic is before foil, bottom is the lasagna after 30 minutes more with foil.
Remove and let it settle. Baked pasta dishes are notorious for tasting better the next day or after it has cooled and the juices are absorbed into the pasta.

This is going to be a good and healthy lasagna.


Goat Milk Lasagna Sheets with Mushrooms, Chevre and Ricotta

* 1 shallot, minced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup ricotta cheese (homemade if possible, recipe on this blog)
* 1/4 cup goat cheese
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
* 3 shiitake mushrooms chopped
* 1 large portobello mushroom, diced
* 3 cremini mushrooms, diced
* 2 good handfuls fresh spinach, sliced 1"
* 2 tbls hvy cream
* 2 tbls vermouth
* 10 basil leaves, chopped
* 1 beaten egg
* Salt & Pepper
* 2 tbls butter and EVOO

Saute shallot and garlic in butter/EVOO. Add mushrooms and brown. Deglaze pan with vermouth. Add spinach, goat and ricotta cheese till melted, then add cream, egg and basil.
Remove from heat and cool.
Assemble lasagna as shown above.

September 15, 2010

A Very Healthy Food Day

Yesterday I had oat pancakes and for dinner I had............

It is especially good for those who are suffering from diabetes as it is a complex carbohydrate. The essential nutrient which bulgar provides you with are many. It is a source of complex carbohydrates which provide energy to the human body. The fiber content in it is helpful to the digestive system and helps to clean it out.

Broken wheat like all wheat products has amino acids which provide protein, but are not a complete protein, so combining this with other sources of proteins like legumes and meats will give you all the proteins that your body requires. However, broken wheat has more protein content in it than corn or rice.

Bulgar wheat contains several vitamins and minerals which are essential for the body too. Wheat is a good source of thiamine which is one of the vitamin Bs and is essential for digestion and for healthy nerves. Another vitamin B content in wheat is Niacin, which helps in assimilating the protein in the body. Iron, zinc and riboflavin are also found in wheat which are good for the hemoglobin content in the blood, have healing properties and are good for the eyesight. Apart from all this there are traces of minerals like magnesium and selenium which are beneficial to the heart.

Along with the bulgar,
I baked a Miso marinaded chicken leg quarter for 40 minutes at 375F.

It is a simple, easy and healthy marinade that keeps in the refrigerator for at least a month. It is good with seafood, chicken and vegetables.

Miso Marinade
(Adapted from Simply Ming)

* 1 cup sake
* 1 cup Ponzu
* 1/2 cup sugar, agave nectar or substitute
* 2 cups red miso
* 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
* 1 cup canola oil

Whisk everything together and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

I love the taste it gives the food.
Ming says....
"This recipe is based on a traditional Japanese marinade that pairs sake and miso. I've brightened the classic blend by adding ponzu, the Japanese dipping sauce made with citrus juice, among other flavorful ingredients. Both sake and ponzu help "cook" the marinade into animal and fish protein, which is why the marinade delivers such deep flavor.

Make sure to buy ponzu without added soy sauce."

Make sure you make this, you will use it on everything.

September 14, 2010

Oatmeal Pancakes with Creme Fraiche

I wanted breakfast today.
I needed to eat something.
I didn't want eggs.
I don't eat toast.
I kept thinking about those pancakes and how they filled me up and I didn't snack all day.

That was it, but this time I had no buttermilk. I did have homemade creme fraiche which never really got thick but was OK taste wise.

I have decided that this pancake mix will work with any milk based product as long as it's 1 1/4 cups. I always keep a container of dried buttermilk and dried goats milk but boxed soy or almond milk would work well also.

I could not let it sit overnight like I did Sunday night, so I gave it an hour to soften the oats. I know it says 10 minutes but I think it has a better consistency saoked longer.

Today I made 6 (6") pancakes, I ate 3 and will refrigerate the other 3 for tomorrow.

Buttermilk-Oatmeal Pancakes
(makes 8 (5") pancakes)

* 1 1/4 cups skim buttermilk
* 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 tablespoon cooking oil
* 1/4 cup egg beaters
* 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
* 2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine buttermilk, oats and vanilla in a bowl. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oil and egg. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt; stir well. Add oat mixture to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot non-stick griddle. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

1 1/2 starch
1/2 low fat milk

I tweeked it more to make it lower in calories and healthier still, and I believe these were better than the ones I made yesterday.

I am telling you now, with a sugar-free syrup or fruit the kids will think they are eating cookies. These pancakes are wonderful. Make enough to last the whole week.
Wrap them in saran and nuke for 1 minute. Light, tasty, filling and healthy.

Where does the time go?

I did not accomplish half of what I wanted to do yesterday. Having The Nudge here until the early afternoon put a crimp on my time.
I had to fold his shirts, then his suit then make him brunch. Before I knew it I had nothing done, it was 2:00 and more than half the day was gone.

I did make the pudding, I started the terrine and washed a ton of pots.

I wanted to head out to run to a few stores. I have to return 3 shirts we bought The Nudge at Kohls. He will only wear Dockers when he can buy them. Problem is Kohls seems to be downsizing their Docker section for cheaper made pants and shirts. When we find them, we buy in bulk. Unfortunately they had different letters on their labels that I thought meant large but I think I need to go to the Dockers site to see what they mean. It seems the 3 shirts we bought with a LGG on the label are fitted and The Nudge felt they were very snug across the back. I have to exchange them and probably get a different brand, which he might not wear.

If I don't get up, shower right away and get dressed to go out, I will not do it at all. I had a bad night and woke up sleepy and all I really wanted was a hot cup of coffee.

Yup, you guessed it.....I am sitting here in my jammies with a hot cup of coffee and a long To Do list.

I will go out tomorrow and finish my list today, clean the house, take out the garbage and go to bed early. Tomorrow I will run to the cleaners, Kohls, Walmart, Shop-Rite, Michaels and Walgreens.

Walmart has these plastic containers I just love. I can fit 2 pounds of flour or grains and they are skinny so they stack like books on my pantry shelf. They have a big one with a handle. The picture shows the style but Walmart sells their brand (same sizes and styles) for half the prices I found online. I bought 2 of the 16-cup capacity ones and 1 large with the handle. At $3.00 each I will be buying 10 more.

Right now I have bins stacked and in rows where I can't see what I have and lately I have been duplicating my purchases. I need to organize my pantry.

On another note, I was thinking about this Chai obsession that everyone seems to have and yesterday while making the Chai pudding I see what the attraction it. The spices are warm spices that smell of comfort, you know like when you walk into the house and Mom just took an apple pie out of the oven.....???
That's the smell of comfort.

Anyways......I was thinking, a Chai ricotta or creme fraiche tart made with an almond crust and topped with spiced roasted pears.

What do you think? I think it sounds wonderful, and I just might make one for Thursday night when The Nudge is due to arrive home.

He will open the door after a long travel day and smell comfort. If it turns out the way I imagine it should, I will post the recipe on Friday.

Have a great day, y'all.

September 12, 2010

Bobby Flay's BOM Carolina Burger

Bobby Flay's Burger of the Month is the Carolina Burger.

We have been making a BF burger once a month and this looked good.

It was. Even The Nudge liked it.

It calls for a Spicy Mustard BBQ Sauce with a Green Onion Slaw. Actually tasted like Carolina BBQ. I could not find a BF recipe for Spicy Mustard Sauce so I used Big Bob Gibson's recipe which is a no cook one (liked that very much).

The Green Onion Slaw came from the Smitten Kitchen blog. She had seen an interview and recipe in a magazine, where Bobby gave out a few recipes, that being one of them. Only place I could find it. You gotta love these blogs, something out there always.

Green Onion Slaw
1 cup green onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pure olive oil
1 bag slaw mix
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Blend green onions, vinegar, chiles, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and oil in a blender until emulsified. Place cabbage and red onions in a bowl, add the dressing and stir until combined. Fold in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spicy Mustard BBQ Sauce
Carolina Mustard Sauce
3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Make at least 24 hours prior to usage for best flavor. Store refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for up to 2 weeks.

I gave it a 4.5 out of 5, The Nudge gave it a 3.5.

September 10, 2010

Grilled Skirt Steak with Paprika Butter over Yucca, Fregula, Beans and Pepper Hash

That's a mouthful in more ways then one.

I have never tried Yucca, I have heard of it (manioc, agave, cassaba) as I'm sure most of you have, but I have never eaten it (not that I know of).

Trying to find alternative 'good' foods for 'bad' diabetic foods brought me outside the US.

Yucca has a taste and consistency like potatoes, so they say. I am not sure if it is better for you than a potato (potatoes are a pretty good food by itself in moderation) but I do know that it has more health benefits than a white potato. They say the Incas had low cholesterol and they attribute it to the high fiber in yucca, which grabs the cholesterol and moves it out of your body. Combining it with the Navy beans evens the score out GI-wise. I will do more research on it.

I am happy to report that I like it better and will make it again. It has a chew to it unlike potatoes. It also doesn't break apart when cooked too long, so it was great in the hash dish.

Yucca Hash with Fregula, White Beans and Peppers

* 1 small yucca, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
* 1/2 cup Navy beans, canned
* 1 large shallot, minced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 3" piece roasted red pepper, diced
* 1/3 cup fregula (or Israeli Coucous or anci di pepe, toasted)
* Canola Oil
* 1 tbls butter
* 1/2 green onion, diced or 1 can chilies
* Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook fregula in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Strain & reserve.
Heat Stainless Steel pan until very hot and add 2 tbls canola oil. When oil is rippling, add diced yucca and saute on all sides until crusty browned. Add shallots, garlic and butter. Saute 2 minutes. Add beans and peppers and warm through. Season well with salt & pepper. Yucca is like a potato, it takes a lot of salt.

Sprinkle skirt steak with salt & pepper and grill until medium rare. Remove to rest. Meanwhile, heat 3 tabls unsalted butter with 3 cloves of minced garlic about 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp smoked hot paprika and cook until fragrant. Add 1 tbls fresh lemon juice and season with salt.

Slice steak and place over hash. Ladle paprika butter over slices and finish with parsley. Serve immediately.