Wish Upon A Dish: November 2010

November 29, 2010

Prosciutto, Cream and Tortellini - a marriage made in heaven

Peas, Prosciutto & Cream Tortellini

* 1 (20-ounce) package fresh cheese or meat tortellini
* 1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite green peas, thawed
* 1 teaspoon butter
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups fat-free half-and-half
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
* 4 ounces prosciutto or lean ham, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Add peas during last minute of cooking.
Drain pasta and peas; place in a large bowl.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
Combine half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add to pan.
Bring to a simmer; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. Toss half-and-half sauce, cheese, and remaining ingredients with pasta.

After all the turkey and the leftovers I always crave a bowl of creamy pasta. This was an easy one. In my refrigerator I always have peas in the freezer, prosciutto in the drawer and cream on the shelf. Yum, yum.

November 28, 2010

Turkey Leftovers - Pie Anyone?

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as relaxing as mine was. I will be driving back and forth to the hospital until my Dad (who by the way, came out of surgery with bells on his heels) comes up near me for 2 weeks of rehab. Since the hospital is 2 hours from me and his house is only 30 minutes, I will be camping there for 3 days at a clip. Thanksgiving was 1 day home and today is another.

I feel like a vagabond. I never know what day it is or what I should be doing. Luckily The Nudge is home so I can call and he can do if I forget.

I do have to call the Dentist Office to get an appointment for my teeth. I found a place in the same town as my dentist for my dad's rehab so I can do both in one day if need be.

I have learned alot about heart surgery and how Diabetes effects your blood and healing, but that is another post.

On to the food.............

I do not do turkeys for 3 reasons:

1. There are only two of us.
2. We are not big turkey fans (a well roasted chicken has much more flavor).
3. The Nudge will NOT do left-overs for more then 2x.

I made a turkey breast for my Dad, but after we got done eating, there was still a half a breast left-over. It will sit in that freezer until he comes home, probably 3 weeks from now.

My sister-in-law gave us just enough left-overs for 1 dish, which was good because I really did not feel like cooking a whole meal on the one day I am home before hoofing it back down to the hospital for 3 days.

I am making a turkey pot pie. I bought puff pastry and I have limas in the fridge and carrots from T-day. I am frying the stuffing in a non-stick pan until it gets GB&D. That will be the 'bottom crust' and adding a can of navy beans to round out the nutritionals.

I will use a small amount of the mashed potatoes (a better choice over the flour normally used) to thicken the sauce and chop up the sliced turkey meat. You could also used mashed sweet potatoes for thickening, but the sauce will take on an orange hue (which the kids will probably think was cool anyways).

I am making 2 small casserole dishes for dinner and 2 (1 cup) ramekins for his lunch tomorrow and my dinner at my dad's house (where I am staying because it is near the hospital).

I did buy a Stouffer's Stuffed Pepper but that is in case I do not eat at the cafeteria and get home at a decent time to cook something.

Do not yell at me, I think out of all the Stouffers, that was the best pick. I do not think there is anything in there not on our list of DO NOT's.

November 21, 2010

Lemon-Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake

I am a citrus lover of anything.

Yes, my favorite is lemon but I love lime, grapefruits, blood oranges and tangerines.

This time of year when I can get tangerines, I replace the orange in a recipe with them.

I saw this recipe over at Leite's Culinaria and just had to make it. A perfect hostess gift, a great Turkey Day breakfast (or any breakfast for that matter).

You have got to stop what you are doing and make this cake....I am serious, it is the best coffee-type cake I have ever eaten. Once you make it, the second time will be a breeze. It really isn't all that difficult once you understand the outcome. I am going to make a cranberry-apple version for Thanksgiving. This one is going to my Dad's with us (if it lasts that long).

Us Diabetics and dieters can use Splenda in this dish with no problems. The sugar does not effect a crust or a caramelizing and if you have the Whey Low Powdered you are very good to go (see tab on top for ordering information).

I suggest you read the recipe carefully, there is a technique that is not normally used in a sweet bread or roll recipe. I only had a large loaf pan (11x5") for this so I probably should have made 8 stacks instead of 6. If you have the standard 9" loaf pan, this recipe works well. I will have to buy a standard loaf pan now. This cake could be made with jams or nuts or chocolate. The possibilities are endless.

Makes one 9-by-5-inch cake; 14 servings

Lemon and cream cheese have long been classic companions in American baking, and this fun-to-assemble, sweet-tart filled coffee cake makes it easy to see why. Showcasing the lively flavors of fresh citrus, the sweet, buttery filling is made with fluffy, fragrant lemon and orange zest. The warm loaf is brushed with a zippy cream cheese icing, whose tangy flavor marries marvelously with the sunny taste of citrus. Enjoy a slice of this pull-apart coffee cake whenever you need a pick-me-upper.


For the sweet yeast dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the lemon paste filling
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

For the tangy cream cheese icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Make the sweet yeast dough
1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Make the lemon paste filling
1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon and orange zests. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby (the sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create the consistency).

Make the coffee cake
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

2. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

3. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips width wise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.
4. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the tangy cream cheese icing
1. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

2. To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

3. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days.)

4. Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.

November 20, 2010

Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Flounder

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe that I saw Emeril make on his old Food Network show.

I liked the concept of a shrimp stuffing baked under a nice piece of flounder with a white wine butter sauce on top (almost like a piccata without the capers).

I never make it the same twice, but it is always good no matter what ingredients and amounts I use.

I will write it down this time so you all can enjoy this dish. I bake mine in individual oval ramekins but you could use a baking pan if you do not have enough oval ramekins.

I buy Swai. It is cheap, it is frozen and it is an Indonesian catfish, so it is flavorful and slightly fatty (which is a good thing for us - Omega's you know).
You could use what ever white fillet fish is on Special (usually Tilapia).

Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Flounder
* 4 pieces white fish fillets
* 1/4 pound shrimps, chopped fine
* 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
* Essence
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
* 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
* 1 cup white wine
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or 1 cup stuffing cubes from Thanksgiving, coarsely processed)
* 1 large or 2 small shallot(s), minced
* 1 tablespoon Spanish pimento peppers or peppadews
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 cup white wine, divided
* 1 tbls flour
* 3 tbls milk
* wedges of lemon

In a small frying pan add olive oil, shallot, garlic, Essence, peppers, lemon zest and a pinch of salt & pepper. Saute until soft and add lemon juice and 1/3 cup wine. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
In a small bowl with the bread cubes add the wine mixture, cover and set aside. In same fry pan add spinach and 1 tsp butter and saute until softened. Remove, cool and chop. Add to bread mixture. Cool.
Add cheese and shrimps to cooled mixture and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

In a baking pan or ramekins (buttered), put two scoops of stuffing for each fillet.
Top each scoop with 1 fillet. Salt & pepper fish.

Place 2-3 dabs of butter on top of each fillet.

Slice some lemons and place on top of fillets. The lemons, when cooked, are a nice addition to the white fish.

Heat a small saucepan and add butter, flour, milk, remaining 2/3 cup wine, lemon zest and more Essence. Heat to incorporate, cool and pour over fillets. The stuffing will absorb the juices from the fillets and most, if not all, of the sauce.
Bake in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.

Beauty of this dish is the small amount of pans to wash. Three pans to wash, one to saute in and one to bake, serve and eat out of.

It's a good thing.........

November 19, 2010

Jamaican Pork Tenderloin

This dish is not what you are thinking. It is not a pork tenderloin rubbed with Jamaican spices and roasted.

It is a tenderloin, baked in a tomato-based Jamaican spiced sauce.

I don't remember where I first saw this recipe but I know I have been making this for 25 years. I gave my sister this recipe for her Jr. Woman's League cookbook and based on my niece's age, 25 years is about right.

This is my 'Go To' recipe when we have dinner guests. Easy to make, tasty and different, the tenderloin is always that....tender.
You can brown it ahead of time, make the braising sauce and set it in the oven.

Right before you are ready to eat, bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with a roasted vegetable and rice (or polenta) and you can actually sit down with your company and have a stressless dinner party.

Low in calories, Diabetic Friendly and Gluten-Free (if you leave out the pat of butter at the end), it is good for everyone, so no problem if your guests have dietary concerns. Pretty fantastic, huh?

Jamaican Tenderloin
Serves 4, can be doubled successfully
* 1- 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin
* 1 cup marinara sauce
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
* 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* salt & pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 cup vermouth
* 1 tablespoon of butter for finishing

1. Brown pork on all sides in an oven save dish.
2. To marinara sauce add all the spices, sugar, salt & pepper and bay leaf.
3. Pour mixture over pork, and then pour vermouth over that. Do not stir in the vermouth. Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 25 minutes in a 375F oven.
4. Instant read thermometer should read 145 degrees. Remove pork to a warmed platter and cover with foil.
5. Remove bay leaf from sauce. Stir in butter. Slice pork into 1/2" diagonal slices and pour sauce over. Serve.

November 17, 2010

Please Remember that November is American Diabetes Month

With all the recent activities going on around here (the Giveaway, the Daring Cooks November Challenge, my Dentistry, Thanksgiving preparations), I made two pledges and I admit am a BAD girl.

I have been eating beans this week but I have not been blogging about Diabetes everyday (I pledged to the American Diabetes Association to do just that).

Today The Nudge forwarded 3 PDF's to me that were forwarded to him from his company's Director of Human Resources about Diabetes. He thought my readers would like to read them. I agree.

If you already have been diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes, you have probably covered all the information that is, indeed, in these 3 flyers.

One flyer is geared for people who might be worried about actually having diabetes and not knowing if they really do (like I was 8 months ago).....
This flyer is for them.

This flyer is information on stopping Diabetes before it leads to loss of toes or kidneys.

This flyer is about maximizing and maintaining control over Diabetes.

Either one would be a good read and if you want (I think it might be a good thing) you could print them out and post them on the company's post board (you, know, where employees can post pictures, announcements or company policies). I would, of course, get permission to post them, but they are worth sharing with your friends and co-workers. Maybe your Human Resources Director can Email them to all the employees.

My sister-in-law has diabetes and for years I knew she had it, but never in my mind did I think I was "that close" to joining her. She went from pills to insulin shots in 1 year. I refuse to shoot anything into my body if I can control it with food and exercise. I had none of the symptoms and my blood tests showed nothing until the last one I took. My Doctor called the lab and ordered the AC1 test and I was at 115.

120 is Diabetes. What I did and what I have accomplished is in the archives on this blog. I didn't even know what a blog was BD (Before Diabetes). I am now empowered with the knowledge of food, nutrition and how it effects your body, to finally get a hold on my overall health.

Now it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

I have started to loose weight (slowly but consistently), I feel better, I have no digestion issues, I haven't had to 'down a TUM' in months and my sugar is being controlled.

Yes, I still have bad habits I can't shake......like not eating breakfast when I get up, not snacking when I know my sugar is low and, my most worse habit.....NOT EXERCISING.

If you have gotten 'HERE' than I have to thank you for reading this post.
If I help one person on the road to better health because of this post and blog, then I feel I have done something constructive with my life.

November 16, 2010

Panko Baked Halibut + a giveaway!!!

The chef´s secret is out - panko is in! A longtime secret of Japanese cuisine, panko is now a pantry staple for creating perfect crispiness in any dish. Lemon Pepper has joined the ranks of Progresso´s line of panko bread crumbs, which includes Original and Italian flavors.

I love panko for the extra crunch it adds to the healthier oven 'fried' foods.
The Nudge just loves the crunch.

I was recently given a gift pack including one package of Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko to try and an autographed copy of chef Chiarello´s new cookbook: Michael Chiarello´s Bottega.

The very kind people at General Mills and My Blog Spark are also providing another Prize Pack to one lucky winner!

I have looked at every recipe in this cookbook and The Nudge has requested I make them all, it is that good. I was aways a fan of Chef Chiarello, but now he moves right up there under Thomas Keller.

Since this is my very first giveaway (I am already planning another right before Christmas) this is what you need to do:

International readers can participate and as always, you don’t need to have a blog to enter.
You can do any or all of the following (the more you do, the greater your chances of winning!). Please leave a separate comment for each so I can count it as another entry:

1) Leave a comment here letting me know what you would make using the Lemon Pepper Panko.

2) Add me to your RSS feed and leave a comment here letting me know.

3) Link back to this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment here letting me know.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, November 30th at 9PM EST; after that I’ll use a random number generator to determine the winner. The winner will be announced on Thursday. Good luck to all!

While browsing the Serious Eats website recipes I was looking for a recipe that was healthy, seafood based and included hazelnuts (I had just bought a large bag) I stumbled upon a recipe for Pan-Seared Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower & Hazelnuts.

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower say fall while the panko coated seared halibut said healthy & seafood. I loved the addition of a rich Hazelnut Cream. I'll admit that the recipe is a bit complex, but some steps can be done in stages and even the day before.

Panko Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower and Hazelnut Sauce
serves 6

For the Hazelnut Cream:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup hazelnuts, skins removed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup fish stock
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the Caramelized Cauliflower Cream:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound cauliflower, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3/4 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Brussels Sprouts:
3/4 pound medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

For the Halibut:
6 skinless halibut fillets, 6 ounces each
* 1 cup Lemon Pepper Panko
* egg wash
* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Make the Hazelnut Cream: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast them until golden brown, stirring occasionally to keep them from burning, about 3 minutes. Add the fish stock and heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth (can be made a day ahead).

2. Make the Cauliflower Cream: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced cauliflower and cook until the slices are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has been reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Purée the cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper (can be made a day ahead)

3. Cook the Brussels Sprouts: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer the sprouts to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain the sprouts.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the hazelnuts and sauté until they just begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and continue cooking until the sprouts and hazelnuts are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook until the garlic and sage soften, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Sauté the halibut: Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Dip in egg wash, then in panko. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Place 3 halibut fillets in the pan and cook until the fish begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and cover it with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 halibut fillets.

5. To serve: Place a spoonful of cauliflower cream in the center of 6 plates. Top the cauliflower cream with the halibut, spoon the hazelnut cream on top of the fish, and scatter the Brussels sprouts around the fish. Serve immediately.

Now I know why people on low carb diets use cauliflower as their mashed potato. The Nudge went bonkers over the taste, he loved it that much. Said I could make it every night if I wanted. Amazing, I found a cauliflower recipe he will eat without an eyeroll............

Make this dish. The only carb and Diabetic Unfriendly ingredient in it would be the panko and there really wasn't that much to begin with.

November 15, 2010

Bottega - Michael Chiarellos new cookbook review & a giveaway

The minute I picked up Michael Chiarellos new cookbook, I drooled over each and every recipe & picture in that book from page 1 to the end.

It is spectacular, his best work. His older 'At Home' is a very informative cookbook on easy entertaining (which he based his Emmy award winning Food Network show on) but 'Bottega' is a book with recipes on actual dishes from his restaurant of the same name and is pure restaurant genius which can be made at home. Each recipe has a wine pairing suggestion, which makes it a no-brainer.

Although he uses traditional Italian ingredients (I am sure he has them shipped over) in his restaurant, he does offer substitutions for items that can be found at your nearest Italian deli or salumeria and if you are lucky, in your local market.

Simple but top quality has always been the Italian way. 5 Ingredient Fix was invented in Italy.

If you want to impress your family and guests at this years Christmas Party or Dinner, this cookbook is for you.

Starting tomorrow you can have a chance to win a signed copy of this wonderful cookbook. Keep it yourself or give it as a Christmas gift.
Details will be in tomorrows post (Tuesday).

Now a sneak peek recipe from the book......

Tagliatelle with Bread Crumbs, Mint and Tomato Carpaccio
* 1 pound your fresh Tagliatelle or fresh Linguine
* 6 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced or pint of grape tomatoes, halved
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Sea salt
* Freshly, ground pepper

Garlic Bread Crumbs:
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1 1/4 cups dried bread crumbs

* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus 3-4 leaves, finely shredded
* 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano

Make a pound of your favorite homemade pasta dough and run it through the small spaghetti cutter or buy a fresh linguine-style egg pasta.

Lay the tomato slices on a large serving platter or pasta bowl, overlapping them. Drizzle a good quality EVOO over the slices and season with sea salt & pepper. Set aside.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. When it foams, add the garlic and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir until well mixed. Remove and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, bread crumbs and chopped mint. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water or more if needed. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the platter on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with shredded mint and pecorino. Serve, making sure each person gets tomato slices with their pasta.

November 14, 2010

Three Sisters Souffle - Daring Cooks Challenge November 2010

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge!

Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

For my souffle, I choose the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans.
The three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops. Several maize seeds are planted close together in the center of each mound. When the maize is 6" tall, beans and squash are planted around the maize, alternating between beans and squash.

The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch", creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.

I made a base with puree of roasted butternut squash, baby Lima beans, chickpeas, cream-style corn aromatics, spices and toasted Pepita's. I add that to a standard bechamel sauce and will add a dry grated cheddar cheese.

I know from making a polenta souffle, the denseness of the base effects the rising power of the egg whites so I always like to add 2 extra ones for the normal amount usually asked for in a basic recipe.

I thought long and hard about what the spices or flavorings would be, and since the squash is native to the Americas, I chose chili powders.

First thing I did was whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Knowing I would be doing this hours before, the stiffer the better. I will have to rewhip them right before folding into the base.

Roasted Butternut Squash
* 1 large peeled, deseeded butternut squash, cut into 1” chunks
* 1/2 head of garlic, separated into peeled cloves (about 7-8)
* 6 large sage leaves
* 3 tablespoons of olive oil
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup Pepitas or sunflower seeds, shelled
* Cedar planks or papers for baking
* 1 tsp New Mexico chili powders (I make a blend using 1 part ancho powder, 1/2 part guajillo powder, 1 part negro pasilla powder and 1 part hatch peppers)
* Oven set to 425 degrees.

Spread first 5 ingredients on planks on rack or papers on a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.
Last 5 minutes throw in seeds. Remove to bowl.
Cool and puree, add chili powder and taste.
Adjust seasonings.

Three Sisters Souffle
* 1/2 cup baby Lima's, defrosted
* 1/2 cup squash puree
* 1/2 cup chickpeas
* 1/2 cup cream style corn
* 4 yolks
* 6 egg whites
* pinch of cream of tartar
* 3 T butter
* 3 T ww flour
* 1 cup milk
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 cup finely grated smoked cheddar cheese

I gently folded in the egg whites until only small streaks of white were showing.

I baked it at 375F for 40 minutes.

I have made a few souffles over the last year and they are really quite easy as long as you have everything prepared ahead of time and you bake it right before serving. You can make the base a day or two in advance and the only thing left would be the egg whites, which can be stored in the fridge.
Just bring them to room temperature while the oven is preheating and since it only takes 2-3 minutes to whip them, let the Kitchen Aide do that while you set the table.

It was light, airy, extremely tasty (for a total vegetarian base), and even though we ate it solo, I think it would be a wonderful side made in a small ramekin.

November 11, 2010


I absolutely adore a good Madeleine. Golden brown along the edges, buttery interior, light and airy and not too sweet. After all, they are for eating with a good cup of coffee and we all know that if the dessert is too sweet it alters the taste of a good cup of coffee. Desserts, like foods, should work with the coffee, not against it.

That is why the French never drink coffee with their dessert course. I have tried my share of recipes and I finally think I found a good one.

It is actually flavored with sweetened flake coconut so the texture has a little chew to it. I like that. I am also dipping half of them in melted chocolate and then a sprinkle of coconut while the chocolate is still warm.

The Nudge, not a fan of coconut, agreed with the dipping in melted dark chocolate but not with the extra coconut sprinkled after.

I bought my coconut from Whole Foods and there is a difference in that and the bagged brand often found at a basic market.

Even though this recipe only uses 1/2 cup of sugar for 24 cookies (1 teaspoon in each cookie) and we are allowed 4 teaspoons of sugar a day, I used the Splenda anyway.

Coconut Madeleines
makes 24 cookies

* 1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
* 3 large eggs
* 1/2 cup Splenda
* 1 cup GF all purpose flour mixture
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar (optional), or
* 1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels + 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Coat 24 indentations in madeleine pans with melted butter.
2. Pulse coconut in a processor until ground.
3. In a large bowl, with electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until blended and slightly foamy, about 2 minutes.
4. On low speed, beat in flour, ground coconut, baking powder and salt until just smooth. Add melted butter and extracts; stir until combined. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
6. Scoop, using a small 1oz scoop, a generous amount into each indentation.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cookies are done when they are golden around the edges and springy when pressed with your fingertips. Let cool 5 minutes. Remove from pans to rack, let cool completely. Dust with sugar (optional).

8. In a bowl over boiling water, melt chocolate with cream. Dip each cookie, rounded side, into chocolate and place on a pan with parchment or waxed paper. I find that freezer paper works well also.

You can see from what's left of my madeleines, they were good undipped also.

November 10, 2010

What can I say about Ina's Chicken w/Forty Cloves of Garlic?

The Nudge makes a face every time I put this recipe on our monthly menu.

I have made this 3 times already and each time he loved it. He has the memory of a fish (which by the way is ZERO).

Yup, not even a molecule of memory exists. When it comes to food he says that's my area of expertise and he trusts me to feed him good things.

This recipe is a good thing.

Ina buys a whole chicken cut up. I use pieces. Ina makes her own stock with the scraps, I do not. I do not need a backbone or giblets.

Plan on 1 quarter chicken per person. The Nudge likes the breast and I love the thigh. When I get the leg quarters for $.49 a pound I buy many, many, many. This is the perfect recipe for leg quarters. Make 4 leg quarters and no breasts. All up to you.

This is also a very Diabetic Friendly recipe if you serve it with creamy polenta and a vegetable. I would choose a soft vegetable like spinach or escarole and if the chard looks good, go with that.

I am just reheating the roasted vegetables from last nights double duty dinner with a half can of yellow and white corn. I have a busy day today and making double last night helps me tackle that "ToDoList".

I probably should have sprinkled some chopped parsley over the chicken before serving for some color. It is a little brown, huh? Next time.

This is an excellent and easy dish to prepare. One pot rules again.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

* 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
* 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
* 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
* 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
* 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream


Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

November 9, 2010

Italian Pot Roast (Stracotto or Brasato)

Italians eat pot roast. There is no major difference to theirs, they also marinade their chuck (or bottom round) in a soffritto of processed carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, peppercorns and garlic.

Here's the Italian twist.

Red wine.

A good red wine.

A good Italian red wine.

You might have heard of beef braised in Barolo?

I can not afford a bad bottle of Barolo. I choose a Sagrantino instead. I can afford a decent wine using that grape.

The other difference is while browning on both sides they throw in a few whole garlic cloves and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Luckily, my rosemary bush still has a few left.

I am making The Nudge mashed potatoes.

Yes, again.

Yes, he raved.

I also need them for tomorrows dinner.....Ina's Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.

Why not make double and save myself some time.

I will be serving roasted baby carrots and broccoli.

If I only eat a 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes this meal is well within my exchange plan and if I eat 1/2 cup of vegetables the 2 actually cancel each other out.

I wanted to add a can of cannelloni beans to the sauce but I was out of them. The only thing I had was black and red beans. Not exactly what you would put in a red wine sauce.

If you have a can of any type white bean, it would be a good thing to add to your braising liquid the last hour of cooking.

Italian Pot Roast
makes 4-6 generous servings

* 3 1/2 pound bottom round or chuck roast
* 2 carrots, chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 4-5 whole cloves
* 7-8 whole peppercorns
* 1 bottle of red wine
* 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
* 3-4 whole garlic cloves
* Bacon or pancetta fat, or canola oil
Place first 8 ingredients in a gallon zip bag and marinate at least 6 hours, overnight would be ideal.

Remove meat from bag and pat dry. Strain marinade through colander, removing solids.

In Dutch oven or large saucepan, saute garlic cloves and rosemary until fragrant. Add meat and brown on all sides for at least 4 minutes per side. If garlic starts to burn remove it but reserve.

Once meat is browned add wine marinade and large pieces of the carrots & onions.

Cover tightly and on low heat, braise for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Last hour add beans.

Roasted Vegetables
* A mixture of any vegetables you have. I like to use a head of broccoli and a small bag of baby carrots.
* Make sure they are cut the same size or they will not cook at the same rate of time.
* Olive oil and salt & pepper, toss onto a baking sheet pan and in a 400F oven for 35 minutes.

November 8, 2010

Tuscan Peasant Soup with Rosemary & Pancetta ♥ A hearty warming soup for a cold dreary night

The perfect meal for this dreary, hail laden night. Even the electricity went off in protest. Another healthy, Diabetic friendly but totally delicious soup.
I always imagined Tuscany to be inhabited by warm, welcoming people feeding family and friends with love. This soup is the epitome of a place I would love to visit and where my paternal family still lives. 7 second cousins split up amongst 6 or 7 provinces. I would never come back.....yup.

Tuscan Peasant Soup with Rosemary & Pancetta
Serves 8

* 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1-1/4 cups small-diced pancetta (about 6 oz. or 6 thick slices)
* 4 cups large-diced Savoy cabbage (about ½ small head)
* 2 cups medium-diced onion (10 to 12 oz. or 2 small)
* 1-1/2 cups medium-diced carrot (about 4 medium carrots)
* 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
* 2 Tbs. minced garlic
* 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
* 1 tsp. ground coriander
* 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
* 7 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth
* 2 15-1/2-oz. cans small white beans, rinsed and drained (about 2-1/2 cups, drained)
* 1 to 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
* 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 4-5qt Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until quite shrunken, golden brown, and crisp (the oil will also be golden brown), about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and with a slotted spoon or strainer carefully transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off and discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pan.

Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the chopped cabbage. Cook the cabbage, stirring occasionally, until limp and browned around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat again and transfer the cabbage to another plate.

Put the pot back over medium heat and add 2 Tbs. more of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, carrots, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and the vegetables are browned around the edges and beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the last 1 Tbs. of olive oil, the garlic, 1 Tbs. of the fresh rosemary, and the ground coriander and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, stir together, and cook the mixture 2 to 3 more minutes.

Return the cabbage to the pan and add the chicken broth. Stir well, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes to infuse the broth with the flavor of the vegetables. Add the beans, bring back to a simmer, and cook for a minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, and let rest a few minutes.

Taste the soup and add lemon juice to brighten it—you’ll want at least 1 tsp. Season with more salt if necessary and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Serve the soup hot, garnished with the reserved pancetta crisps, the toasted breadcrumbs, and the grated Parmigiano.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size: based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 370; Fat (g): 18; Fat Calories (kcal): 160; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): 37; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 1010; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 8;

November 7, 2010

Black Bean Chili con Carne

Many years ago I copied the winning recipe from an award winning chili contest. I, like many, have their own way to make chili and although most of the ingredients were the same standard ones, tomatoes, peppers, onions, stock, beans, etc., the one thing I found was the addition of layers of flavors. Not just dumping all the ingredients into a crock pot or Dutch oven and letting them boil away.

There really is a secret to making really good chili. Following Paul Prudhommes technique of adding spices all along the cooking process right up to the end made such a difference in my standard ole chili.

I make a big batch of dried 5 chili powder blend along with a chili sauce that I make from scratch. Adding these ingredients to the basic recipe elevates it to a level you never thought you could get to.

Let's start with the chili sauce. It is the basic Rick Bayless sauce, as easy as could be. I toast the onions and garlic with the chilis but the rest is the same. Keeps in the fridge for weeks and it great on enchiladas or Huevos Rancheros, nachos (YUM) and tacos. Like I said, this is done in stages. Prep first then we cook.

Ancho (or Guajillo) Chili Sauce
(makes about 4 cups)

* 8 medium (2 ounces total) dried Ancho chiles (your choice depending on your heat level), stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
* 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half horizontally
* 4 cloves of garlic, skins on
* 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted like Muir), drained
* 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
* 3 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 teaspoon sugar
* Salt

1. Toast the chile pieces in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 19 seconds per side. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in hot tap water to cover; place a small place on the top to keep the chiles submerged. Be careful of the fumes, I have problems with the fumes so I bake them in an oven instead.

Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a food processor or blender. Measure in 1 cup of water, add the tomatoes, toasted chopped onions and peeled garlic cloves and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.

2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium (4-5 quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12-inch) deep skillet over medium-high heat—you’ll need a lid for whichever vessel you choose. When hot, add the chile puree and stir until nearly constantly until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt, usually about 1 scant teaspoon. You should have about a generous 4 cups of brothy sauce.

Chili Powder Blend
* 3 tablespoons Ancho powder, Negro Pasilla Powder and New Mexico Green Peppers
* 2 tablespoons Guajillo Powder and Chipotle Powder

Here we go:

First heat up the Dutch oven, squirt a tablespoon canola oil and break up the chop meat.

On medium heat, brown the meat until you see the fond at the bottom of the pot (that's stage 1 of building flavor). Remove to a bowl.

Next, brown the chorizo and when that is done, add to the bowl of chop meat (stage 2).

Add another tablespoon of oil and saute the onions and garlic till soft. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and saute till that caramelizes (stage 3).

Add 2 tablespoons of chili powder blend and saute for another 1-2 minutes (stage 4).

Add the beer to deglaze, then all the other ingredients plus a cup of water. Bring to a boil, add another tablespoon of chili powder and cover, and simmer for 1 hour stage 4).
Slice 2 corn tortillas in strips and drop into the chili, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer, stirring often for 45 minutes. Serve with minced onions, green onions, sour cream and grated cheddar cheese.
I made cornbread muffins, The Nudge likes it with saltines.

Did you know that Bean Chili is very good for Diabetics, as long as the ratio of beans to meat is 2:1 (2 cups beans to 1 cup cooked meat).
November being National Diabetes Awareness Month I made my pledge to post and eat recipes using beans 3-4x each week.

So far week 1 - beans 4X.

Black Bean Chili con Carne
* 1 pound chop meat, 80%
* 2 Mexican Chorizo sausages, skin removed and chopped fine
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 6 cloves garlic
* 4 tablespoons chili powder blend
* Peanut or Canola oil
* 2 Serrano Peppers, seeds and ribs removed, minced
* 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can chopped green chilies
* 1 1/2 cup Ancho Chili sauce
* 1 bottle good dark amber beer
* 1 cup water