Wish Upon A Dish: August 2011

August 31, 2011

Grilled Goucho Steak Tacos

I haven't made a recipe from one of my cookbooks in ages. They are high up on a shelf and not easily accessible, so I usually turn to the computer for meal ideas and recipes.

Tonight I am making a recipe from At Home with Michael Chiarello's cookbook.

The Nudge will like this because he loves blue cheese with steaks. I will be serving thinly sliced iceberg lettuce along with the tomatoes and grilled onions.
Except for the tortillas (which I use my favorite healthy Tortilla Factory brand), this meal is totally diabetic friendly, low fat and low cal.

You could use grilled London Broil or Flank steak, freshly grilled or leftover.

You could serve it with Salsa Fresca instead of sliced tomatoes and Monterey Jack instead of the blue (I know kids don't always eat blue cheese).

This sauce is a thick version not the loose, oily version so often made.

Grilled Gaucho Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Serves: 8

* 3 red onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
* 3 pounds skirt steak
* Chili Water, *recipe follows
* 8 fresh pita breads or tortillas
* 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
* 1/2 pound blue cheese
* 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon Chimichurri Sauce
Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill.

Lightly brush the onion slices with olive oil. Place on the grill and cook about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a platter and reserve. Place the steaks on the grill. Baste a couple of times with Chili Water and cook until done, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter.

Lightly brush the pita bread with olive oil and grill for 1 minute to heat through.

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices and then cut the slices in half. Lay out the pita bread on 2 sheet pans and crumble the blue cheese on top. Transfer to the oven to keep warm. Slice the meat lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and put into a bowl. Toss the meat with 1/2 cup Chimichurri Sauce. Remove the pita from the oven and divide the meat between them. Place the sliced tomatoes on the side of the meat and top all with rings of grilled onion. Spoon the remaining 1 teaspoon of Chimichurri Sauce over top and serve.
*Chili Water:

1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup warm water
Mix all ingredients together.
Chimmichurri Sauce
Yields: 2 1/2 Cups

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the parsley, bay leaves, garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Put the sauce in a glass or plastic container, using as needed. Chimichurri will last for up to 1 month, refrigerated.

August 30, 2011

Yet Another Beer Can Chicken

I was hoping my Shop-Rite would have decent soft shell crabs. They were on sale this week for $3.99 each. They were tiny and anemic looking which means all shell and no meat. Not worth even at $.99 each.

When I plan my menu for the week, it is usually after I have seen the weekly circular. I try to schedule as many sale items into my week, along with pantry and freezer items on hand.

I found an organic roaster on sale at $.99 a pound and a Beer Can Chicken made it on to the menu. It probably is The Nudge's No.1 favorite dish.

I must make this recipe once a month on the grill in the summer and at least 4x in the winter. We love a traditional roasted chicken too, but the skin gets crisper and the meat is definitely more moist when it roasts standing up.

I like to throw in some soaked apple wood chips for a light smoke flavor. That you can not do in your oven.

Wash and dry your chicken. Rub it all over with olive oil and then sprinkle Italian Seasoning liberally over the front and the back of the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sit it on the can. The can is 3/4 full, with 2 whole cloves of garlic additional Italian Seasonings in it.

Set up a 2 zone fire on your grill. If you do not have coal containers, just place lite colas evenly on both sides of your grill. If using a gas grill, shut either front and back burners off or one side. You want to place your chicken for indirect grilling.

Place the chicken on a glass Pyrex pie plate and set it in the middle of the grate.
I have found that a chicken over 4 pounds tends to touch the top of my grill cover so I place a shawl over the top. It also helps to keep the breasts from over cooking and getting dry and tough.

Add a handful of soaked chips on each side of the coals, close the lid and grill for 90 minutes a temperature of no less then 350F. When the breast registers 160F on an instant read thermometer, I take the chicken off and let it rest.

I carve mine right off the upright chicken.

I bought carrot bunches and will throw them on the grill, with just a pat of butter, salt & pepper in a foil pouch for the last 20 minutes of the grilling time.

No pots to wash and we like that.

You could make mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes for the family but we are eating carbs less lately and I want to keep that up.

Healthy Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach healthy?

You betcha.

I forgot to post the recipe so here it is. Make this, please. It is soooooo good.

If you want a more souffled texture to it, beat 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 eggs) into it and bake in a casserole pan for 20 minutes instead of simmering.

Healthy Creamed Spinach
serves 4
* 1 box frozen leaf spinach, (I like Birdseye, there are no stems)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 small onion, chopped
* 1 large clove of garlic, minced
* 5 Cremini mushrooms, sliced
* 1/4 cup sherry or brandy
* 1 cup fat-free half and half
* 1 oz fat-free cream cheese
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon Frank's hot sauce
* pinch freshly grated nutmeg
* Salt & pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper with this)

1. Heat oil in non-stick pan. Add onions & garlic and saute until tender. Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

2. Add sherry and cook off, when liquid is gone add the spinach, half and half, cream cheese and parmesan. Stir to mix well.

3. Add hot sauce, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust.

4. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve.

Chili Rubbed Rib Eyes w/Creamed Spinach

I always make our rib eye's this way. Got the idea from Rick Bayless who rubs his steaks in a chili spice mixture. I hear they are to die for.

Yes, I could make my own, but I find that a packet of Fajita Seasonings has just what I want in a rub.

I found a lower sodium packet of spices that still has all the flavor.

Pour the whole packet onto a plate and dip each steak into it, pressing to cover the whole steak, both sides.

You need a heavy hand with the spices. It might sound like too much, but it isn't. These packets are not "hot" spicy. For more then 2 steaks you may need 2 packets. When they go on sale, or when I get a coupon, I stock up on these.

When I make creamed spinach I use fat-free half & half and a schmear of fat-free cream cheese. You get the creaminess it needs without any fat. I also saute up mushrooms to give it a little meatiness and lots of flavor.

The Nudge wants roasted potatoes but I want to grill them.
I will slice them in 1/4" slices, nuke them for 4 minutes and toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper and grill them with the steaks.

A picture speaks a thousand words. These were perfectly cooked.

With the potatoes and the spinach, it was a good steakhouse meal. The Nudge just loved the creamed spinach and did not even realize it was a no-fat, low cal version, it was that good.

Next time you make a steak, any kind, use the chili rub. You won't go wrong.

August 29, 2011

Toaster Oven Turkey Tetrazzini

Lots of rain, lots of water.

We have 2 pumps working and our neighbor has 4 pumps going.

I have a built-in sump pump but at 7:30 this morning it just could not keep up with the ground water. Even though we are 1000 feet above sea level, we live at the bottom of a huge hill and all that water just flows to us, so a few years ago we bought a submersible pump. I am so glad we invested in that because we have never gotten over 2" of water in our basement since.

I am chained to my house, plugging in the submersible every 15 minutes until the water is gone. Once it stops raining the sump pump should be able to handle the job, I am not relying on that, so going out for dinner in out of the question.

I have a turkey breast in the fridge and am making a turkey tetrazzini in the toaster oven. I have a 5x7 inch Pyrex baker that fits perfectly and will give me 4 servings, so we have lunch for tomorrow. I am hoping I can get out and about tomorrow and run to the store when not many people will be there.
I could not get near it on Friday and wouldn't have tried on Saturday, but I do need cat food and fresh vegetables.

I am making my own take on a tetrazzini. A traditional dish made with a roux-based cream sauce with sherry, mushrooms and turkey pieces. I will make a sauce with ricotta and provolone cheeses, using chicken broth to loosen it up, whole wheat spaghetti (broken into 2" pieces), frozen cooked mushrooms and Parmesan cheese crumbs as the topping.

Toaster Oven Turkey Tetrazzini
serves 4
* handful whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 2" pieces
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup provolone, grated
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 4-6 oz turkey pieces
* 1/4 cup dry sherry or Marsala wine
* 1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
* 1 shallot, minced
* 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup frozen peas
* pinch nutmeg
* 2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
* salt & pepper to taste
* Olive oil

In saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute shallot, mushrooms (if fresh) and turkey pieces until lightly browned on edges. Add sherry to deglaze and pour mixture into a baking dish.

Boil spaghetti pieces until 2 minutes before recommended cooking time. Drain and add to baking dish.

Mix ricotta and provolone in a bowl. Add chicken broth and taste for seasoning.
Adjust salt & pepper.

In another bowl, mix bread crumbs and cheese and moisten with oil.

Add cheese sauce to baking dish and adjust moisture level with more chicken stock. It should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Top with bread crumbs and bake, at 350F, until bubbly and browned on top, about 30-40 minutes.

The Nudge said it was light but very flavorful. This was exactly what I was going for.

Tip: To get the most out of your crumbs with half the oil usually called for, swirl your crumbs in a processor as you slowly pour in the oil.
Each crumb will get evenly coated and you will have used half the oil.
It's a good thing.........

August 27, 2011

Italian Sausage, Pepper & Onion Pasta

I'm not quite sure what will happen this weekend. I live pretty far west in Northern New Jersey but as they have been saying all morning, the models can't exactly pinpoint which direction it will go once it hits land. According to The Weather Channel, there is one blue line that goes right over my house.

If Irene decides she's tired of swimming, she will hit the dirt and then I am in big do-do.

We have a spanking new generator sitting in my shed, which The Nudge never filled with gasoline and started, so I know what we will be doing tomorrow morning.

If we get a lot of insane rain we can say bye-bye to the freezer, washing machine, dryer and heater. Bye-bye to my pantry, all our tools and a lot of paper products. We will try to bring the important stuff upstairs.

My old GE Electric Hotpoint oven coil went POP Tuesday while baking muffins for my Dad. The stove works and it is still grill season so I am not in a panic. I think the best thing to do is to wait till after this storm blows over.

Why have a new stove you can't use if the power is off?

Tonight I am making an old favorite standby pasta dish, that never fails to satisfy and can be cooked on the stove.

I have a bag of frozen homemade whole wheat pasta fettucine that will be perfect with this dish.

Italian Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pasta
makes 4 servings
* 1/2 pound homemade whole wheat pasta (dried will do fine)
* 3 hot Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed or sliced
* 1/2 red pepper, julienned
* 1/2 sweet onion, frenched
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced
* 2 tablespoons of white wine
* 1 small can Muir Glen Fire Roasted chopped tomatoes
* 1 cup broccoli florets, optional

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta and broccoli in the same water. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta and broccoli.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in saute pan and cook sausage meat until browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and drain off the fat.

Add another teaspoon of oil to pan and add garlic, onions and peppers. Cook until softened slightly. Season with salt & pepper.
Add sausage back to pan and deglaze with white wine and cook off for a minute or two.
Throw in the can of tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add pasta and broccoli to peppers and onions and toss to combine. Add enough pasta water to create a slight sauce. Turn off the heat and add the cheese.

Serve immediately.

No broccoli? No problem. The onions, red peppers and tomatoes are enough of a vegetable to make this meal complete but the broccoli or a side salad is a nice addition.

August 26, 2011

Grilled Swordfish w/Lemon, Thyme, Artichoke and Olive Sauce

The Nudge does not enjoy swordfish, done any way.
I love it, done any way.

I can only order it in restaurants but the ones around here never have it on the menu.

My only option is to cook it while I am home alone.
Since that's about 1x each summer, the decision is....which way to prepare it?

I love lemons, capers, artichoke hearts and olives so I created this wet rub marinade and sauce that fits the bill.

I am pairing this up with a salad of Spring greens simply dressed with olive oil & lemon juice to reiterate the flavors in the sauce.

Any leftovers will make a great filling for a taco, which I will serve to The Nudge when he gets home. Maybe I can convert him.

Even if you do not make the sauce, make this wet rub and make it for any firm fish. It kept the meat moist and flavorful, juicy and very tasty on it's own, so adding the sauce just sent it over the top.

Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Thyme Sauce
makes 2 servings

* 12oz line-caught swordfish steak

Wet rub:
* 6 cloves garlic
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 Serrano pepper, chopped and divided in half
* 1 tablespoon Meyer Lemon Oil or Lemon infused Olive Oil
* 6 Black Peppercorns

Rub marinate over swordfish steaks and place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Grill outside or on grill pan.
Can broil in oven for 4 minutes on each side.
* 1 red onion , sliced
* Juice of 1 large lemon
* 1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
* 1/2 cup Meyer lemon oil
* 6 pitted & sliced Chermoula green olives (or large marinaded green onions from olive bar)(I used Kalamata olives)
* 1 teaspoon capers
* 1/4 cup artichoke hearts
* 1 bay leaf
* 3 sprigs lemon verbena (if possible)(I used lemon zest)
* 3 sprigs thyme
* The other half chopped Serrano pepper
* 1/2 cup white wine.

Boil sauce ingredients until thickened to sauce consistency.
Serve with Swordfish.

This label includes the swordfish with the sauce. I think the serving I put through the calculator was way more then I actually used on my fish, so do not let the fat scare you. It is the olive oil and it is the good fat you want to prevent heart disease.

August 22, 2011

Chicken Saltim-Suzie

I defrosted one of many packages of chicken breasts butchered into scaloppine for quick dinners when I really need one.

I dipped them in flour and sauteed them in equal parts olive oil & butter until they developed a golden crust around the edges.

I added white wine to deglaze and a pinch of my herb salt (a mixture of dried sage, thyme and salt) to the wine, reduced it down, poured it over the chicken and into the fridge it went.

Last night I needed a quick fix meal. I was bogged down with kitchen and computer work all day yesterday and only had an hour to prepare dinner. My breakfast pancake recipe test fell flat and I spent the better part of the morning making batch after batch of buckwheat, riccotta and blueberry pancakes until they were what I wanted.

It isn't really going to be an authentic saltimbocca, but I will put the chicken pieces in a baking pan, place a piece of prosciutto on top and then a small nob of torn fresh mozzarella. Bake at 350F until the cheese oozes slightly and the chicken is heated through, pour the juice from the container over and serve with buttered angel hair pasta (The Nudge loves buttered angel hair). By the time you get the pan to the table, the sauce will be hot and a splash of white wine and a squeeze of fresh lemon will wake it up nicely.

I really love meals like this and I should start doing more advanced meal preparations on the weekends to make the coming week easier.

The Nudge will be away for the middle of this upcoming week and I am trying to prepare recipes I have wanted to try and I see a Sicilian Grilled Swordfish in my future and maybe a banana muffin or two (posts will be later in the month).

Not your Momma's BLT

When we were in Maine three weeks ago, I went tourist and had lunch at a Johnny Rocket's.

I admit, I had never eaten there and was curious. I ordered the Chicken Club Sandwich consisting of a grilled chicken breast with applewood smoked bacon, iceberg lettuce, fresh tomato & mayonnaise on triple-decker sourdough.
A sandwich so simple it was delicious.

I have had a craving for a really good BLT on sourdough since then.

I bought a sourdough loaf at Panera's on Saturday and tonight I am making us the best BLT club I can.

Two slices of heirloom tomato, iceberg lettuce, 3 slices of applewood smoked butcher bacon, roasted garlic pesto mayonnaise and a thin slice of Vermont cheddar on a triple decker of toasted sourdough bread.

This was sooooooo good. The mayonnaise put it over the top. Before all the good tomatoes are gone, you have to make these.

August 20, 2011

Low-Fat, Sugar-Free Blueberry Mini Cheesecakes

I am a sucker for cute, mini baking pans. I would buy them all and I do have quite a collection. What I did not have was mini cheesecake pans.

I do now.

I should never go down the baking aisle at Walmart's, but I did.

I have mini bundt pans, mini pie pans, mini tart pans and mini brioche molds.

Last night I made 4 mini blueberry cheesecakes. I had homemade No Sugar Added Maine Blueberry Jam in my pantry and it was a no-brainer what the topping would be.

I rarely use a recipe for my cheesecakes, the ratio I use is a "per 8oz brick of cream cheese" recipe......

It works every time.

For these (4) mini cheesecakes I used: 1 fat-free brick of cream cheese, 1 brick 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, 1/2 cup egg sub (or 2 eggs), 1 tablespoon flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup Splenda (or Truvia, or Ideal) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

For the crust: 1 package honey graham crackers, 2 tablespoons Almond or Hazelnut flour, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 2 tablespoons sugar sub, 2 tablespoons ICBINB spread. Mix in processor. Press 2-3 tablespoons into each pan with the back of a spoon. You will probably have leftover crumb because I do not like a thick crust, but that would be up to you if you want to use it all.

Bake crusts at 300F for 11 minutes, remove from oven and cool to the touch,
Evenly divide cheese into 4 pans and bake for 25 minutes in a 325F oven, Shut off oven and let cheesecakes rest in oven for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, spread on topping and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

These were light, creamy and oh-so-good good. Easy to make, change the toppings with other no sugar added preserves and you have a dessert no one would suspect being healthy and very Diabetic Friendly.

We shared one cheesecake, it was more then enough at 4", so the nutritionals would be half of what's listed. That's a good thing.......

August 19, 2011

Goat Cheese Souffles - Enough Said

I have a confession to make. I scour the Manager Sales in the cheese section.

I look for Parmesan rinds, chunks of smoked turkey breast for salads and pasta dishes and the best find is goat cheese about to expire. I buy as many as they have and pop them in the freezer until I am ready to use them.

Goat cheese is wonderful as is, with a chutney, in pasta as a sauce, for stuffing in chicken breasts, for savory and sweet cheesecakes and tonight's dinner....souffles.

I snagged me a few 4oz packages of Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese and it is perfect for a Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Souffle recipe I found over at the Chateau Ste. Michelle site.

I divided the amounts in half, perfect for the two of us plus lunch. Due to a hopelessly old electric oven, I did have to bake mine for an additional 5 minutes for a total of 32 minutes. They came out perfect. I made a small Potatoes Anna and baked it until it was crunchy and browned, almost like chips. I cut up a 1" x 3" slice to serve with the salad.

These were as light as air. For some reason I can make a perfect souffle but I can not bake a muffin.

You could substitute a lighter cheese, maybe a fat-free cream cheese or those new Laughing Cow Wedges but it would drastically change the texture of the souffle and the flavor.

Individual Goat Cheese Souffles with Seasonal Greens
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

* 3 1/2 tbs unsalted I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, plus more for buttering ramekins
* 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
* 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
* 1 1/3 cup 2% milk
* 4 large eggs, divided
* 2 tsp Dijon mustard
* 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
* 2 Tbsp chopped roasted red peppers, well-drained
* 1/2 pound of mild goat cheese, crumbled
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
* Fresh salad greens

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 one-cup ramekins and coat lightly with bread crumbs; set aside.

Melt 3-1/2 Tbsp butter in a small non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Whisk in milk and increase heat to medium-high; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and transfer sauce to a medium mixing bowl.

Whisk egg yolks, mustard and tarragon into sauce to combine. Stir in roasted peppers and two-thirds of the goat cheese until combined well; season to taste with salt & pepper. Set aside.

In very clean copper or stainless steel bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold a stiff peak. Fold ¼ of the egg whites into the cheese mixture until well mixed - this will lighten the cheese mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites, taking care not to over mix.

Divide soufflé mixture between prepared ramekins and top with the remaining goat cheese. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and place in oven on the center rack. Pour hot tap water in roasting pan to fill halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly browned, puffed up and fully set. Remove from oven and cool for two minutes -- the soufflés with fall slightly. Gently remove soufflés from ramekins, either with a large spatula or by tipping them upside down until they fall out. Place them upright on individual plates. Garnish plates with greens and drizzle with dressing. Serve warm.

Souffles only-

GI: 8

Exchanges per serving:
1.25 fat
2 meat
1/2 starch
1/4 reduced-fat milk

Oven Dried Grape Tomatoes

Been dying to use my herb rub.

Since my grape tomato vine runneth over it was the perfect opportunity.

I put enough aside for tonight's salad and cut the rest in half tip to toe,
I placed a rack in my toaster oven over a bake pan, placed each half cut side up, drizzled olive oil over them, added a pinch of herb salt and cracked black pepper and into the oven at 225F they go for 2-3 hours.

I will store them in olive oil in the fridge and use the oil to make a dressing for the best Orzo, Spinach and Radicchio Salad you will ever eat.

Yes, just like the one they serve at the Macaroni Grill, only better. Theirs is too salty and is almost bland. I think they, like other restaurants are taking short-cuts and have eliminated ingredients.

Used to be my favorite part of the meal. They did away with it for a while, the patrons complained furiously and they brought it back, but it's not the same.

That's another post in a month or two, when the oil is sweet with the flavor of the tomatoes and the rub.


Now, back to my oven drying.

August 18, 2011

BBQ Chinese Pork Tenderloin

I opened Steven Raichlen's BBQ Bible this week, to find some good and unique BBQ recipes. He never disappoints me. There are no pictures in this book, but you just know the recipes are good.

I choose 2 recipes that I have never cooked and that looked good to make this week. The Baxter Road Chicken and the Susur Lee's Chinese Barbecued Pork.

The Baxter Road Chicken was OK but not outstanding, nothing to really blog about.
I am looking forward to Susur's tenderloin.

He has been on Simply Ming many times and he always shines. Steven took his recipe, which is normally roasted or fried, and adapted it to the grill.

I especially like when you boil the marinade down to a sauce and serve it with the meat.

Tonight the rain finally lets up and we can sit outside and enjoy a grilled meal.
I am serving it with whole wheat egg noodles and braised escarole with olive oil and garlic.

Pork tenderloin is an exceptional cut of meat for those looking to cut their fat and calories out of their diet. It is lower in fat and calories than a chicken breast and has much more flavor and doesn't dry out.

Two reasons to make this dish. The other reason is it goes so well with traditional Chinese ingredients. The Chinese cook more pork than chickens but in the city, chickens are cheaper so you will see more of that.

I remember watching a special on Walmart and the segment where they just opened a store in China. The first day, there was a mob and they rushed the case of cooking rotisserie chickens, breaking it in a million pieces. You have to remember that most Chinese have no ovens, so to them it was a delicacy and they just had to have a chicken. Just thought I would share that with you.

Susur Lee's BBQ'd Pork
makes 4-6 servings
* 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
* 1 medium rib celery, finely chopped
* 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
* 5 strips orange zest
* 2/3 cup rice wine or dry sherry
* 1/3 cup soy sauce
* 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons sesame oil

Trim the tenderloins of any excess fat or sinew. Combine the celery, carrot, onion, ginger, tangerine zest,sherry, soy sauce, maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a nonreactive baking dish and stir to mix. Add the tenderloins, turning to coat. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat the grill to medium-high

Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and blot dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade into a small nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil the marinade until thick and syrupy, 5 to 8 minutes.

When ready to cook, brush the tenderloins with the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Arrange the tenderloins on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the pork is browned on all sides and cooked through, 16 to 20 minutes in all. Start brushing the tenderloins with the reduced marinade after 10 minutes. When tested with an instant-read meat thermometer, the temperature should register at least 160 degrees F when the pork is done.

Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut each tenderloin on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices. Fan the slices out on plates or a platter and serve with any remaining marinade.

This was excellent. I would make it again, and The Nudge wanted me to give him some for his friend at work. You see, I added a red hot pepper and it was spiiiicy, whoopee!!

August 17, 2011

Mom's Marinaded Tomato Salad

My mom loved tomatoes. She was the person who would slather Hellman's on 7 grain bread, a couple of huge fresh tomato slices and lunch was served.

I even remember her just eating them like you would apples, as a snack.

Back then, over 40 years ago, the only way to get a fresh tomato was to grow your own and I do know that we did have a small garden way in the back of our yard, next to the garage where the sun shined all day.

I do not remember exactly what vegetables she grew but I do know there were plenty of tomato plants.

I have a bad history with fresh tomatoes. I was the person who took all the slimy seed packed, gross tasty sacks of "stuff" that was between the meat of the tomato and ate only the meat.

What did I know? Not much I guess.

As a second generation Italian it was mandatory that when you lived any place with a yard, you planted tomato vines. So I did. Big Boys, Romas, Early Girls....I had them all.

I never ate any of them raw, I used them in sauces.....until last year.

When you are diagnosed with a chronic disease like Diabetes, your whole life changes. This just isn't about going on a diet, this is about changing your life.

I knew tomatoes where high on the list of power foods for diabetes and made the conscious decision to eat fresh tomatoes every chance I got.

The tomato is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is easier for your body to absorb from cooked and processed tomatoes, such as tomato juice, than from fresh, whole tomatoes. According to Healing Gourmet: Eat to Beat Diabetes (McGraw-Hill, 2006), adding a little bit of oil while sauteing or cooking tomatoes can help aid in lycopene absorption.

Studies suggest lycopene-rich tomato products may help protect against certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer, and may offer cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory protection.

Check the Nutrition Facts food labels on packaged and canned tomato products to find those with the least sodium and sugar. Also, make sure you choose tomato sauce. The American Diabetes Association points out that tomato sauce is different than pasta or spaghetti sauces, which are categorized under starchy vegetables.

After doing research on tomatoes I made a conscious effort to eat as many raw tomatoes as I could. In salads, in salsas and in pestos.
I now am the kind of person my mom would smile at. I can eat a tomato sandwich.

Where as none of my large tomato plants are bearing fruit (I think I am feeding our deer....sigh), my yellow grape tomato vines have produced a plethora of tomato nugget goodness.

Tomorrow I will be harvesting what I know will be a huge bowlful. I will slice them horizontally and make my mom's marinade, which will envelope them in a quart Ball jar in my fridge, to serve with hamburgers, sandwiches and wonderful fresh mozzarella & red pepper salads. If you are using steak tomatoes, only make what you need, they get mushy if they spend the night with vinegar. Grapes and cherry tomatoes can stand up to the task.

Olive oil, balsamic glaze, crushed garlic, oregano, and pepper. The salt is added when served, and it just has to be sea salt.

I developed the ingredient list for a spiced balsamic glaze and have never given the recipe to anyone. They just know they love it on the Caprese salads I am always making. Also a hit on grilled chicken breasts, a wonderful Margarita pizza and just cubes of Parmesan cheese.

I have even served this drizzled on baked brie and apple crostini and talk about strawberries.......don't get me started.

Spiced Balsamic Glaze
* 1 bottle of good quality balsamic vinegar
* 5-6 juniper berries
* 3-4 whole cloves
* 1 Star Anise
* 1 - 2" cinnamon stick
* 3-4 allspice berries
* 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
* 1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones

Simmer everything until it reduces to a glaze. Watch it carefully once it gets to about 1/2 cup. It will go from OK to burnt in 3 seconds flat. Do not walk away from the stove. When it coats the back of a spoon, take it off the stove. It will thicken as it cools.

Store in a squeeze bottle for up to 1 month, but trust me, it won't last that long.

August 16, 2011

Corn and Scallop Chowder

We are tired of food. Yes, it happens to all of us.

You just don't know what you want to eat. These are the times when we are most tempted to eat out or grab take-out.

Worse, when we don't know what we want, we end up eating fried appetizers instead of a healthy dinner. I know, we all do it, fess up.

I decided to switch things up and make a chowder. When we were up in Maine I was dying to try their clam chowder, which is a huge favorite of mine, but it was too hot to even think about soup and a main course. I am sorry, but no matter how I think it, fresh caught lobster will always trump clam chowder.

Just so happens that Tasting Table highlighted a Corn and Scallop Chowder from the winery Chateau Ste. Michelle on a recent post about wine pairings and food. It looked good and was exactly what I wanted to try this summer.

When you can get fresh Jersey corn on the cob, you eat it any way you can and it was damp and cool enough yesterday to eat it in a light chowder.

While I have a good fire going on the grill and after I cook the main meal, I will thrown corn, red peppers or a head of garlic on the remaining heat and take care of ingredients I plan on using in up-coming recipes.

I brined the corn in half salt/sugar water, and threw them, unhusked, onto the grill. Closed the lid and steamed them for 15 minutes. I now had perfectly smoky and steamed corn for my chowder.

As usual I changed a few ingredients to make it Diabetic friendly.

Corn and Scallop Chowder
serves 4
* 1/2 lb. sea or bay scallops
* 1 Tbs. olive oil
* 2 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 c. finely chopped celery
* 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed, soaked and cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes
* 2 c. canned corn, drained or
 &nbsp 2 ears of corn, lightly grilled (kernels removed, cobs reserved)
* 1 1/2c. chicken stock
* 1 1/2c. fat-free half and half
* Pinch of Old Bay
* Salt and pepper, to taste
* Tabasco, as a garnish
* 2 Tbs. chopped chives or parsley

Season scallops with salt & pepper; set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet over moderate heat. Cook scallops until browned on both sides, approximately a minute per side. Remove from pan, cool and cut into 1/2" dice; set aside (if using bay scallops just cut in half).

In a large fry pan, cook pancetta over moderate heat until crispy. Add onion and celery; cook until soft.

In another 4 quart saucepan, add stock, half and half and bare corn cobs (cooking the cobs in the stock adds another level of corny flavor).
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove cobs, reserve liquid. Add a large sprig of fresh thyme and 1 crushed garlic clove. Let it steep while you cook the barley.

When the barley is cooked, rinse in cool water and add to the cream mixture.
Bring saucepan back to a simmer and add the sauteed pancetta, onions, celery, and corn. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

Add scallops, Old Bay, adjust salt & pepper to taste. Simmer for 1 more minute, remove from heat, fish out the thyme stem, add chives or parsley and serve.

I had cooked extra bacon at breakfast to crumble over the top of this chowder, but that is optional.

This is NOT a slow-cook-on-the-stove-top all day kinda soup. The corn should be crunchy, sweet and the scallops, not tough as rubber, OK?

Good, now enjoy. The Nudge said it was the perfect soup for a summery wet day and the corn and scallops were cooked perfectly, the broth wasn't a heavy creamy one, just like a Maine-type chowder should be. Brothy, not thick (he refuses to eat cream of "anything" soups).

Glycemic Index: 10

Exhanges per serving:
1 1/2 meat
1 1/2 fat
1/2 non-starchy vegetable
1 starch
1/3 fat-free milk

August 15, 2011

The Wonders of a Dutch Baby in a cast iron pan

I love cast iron skillets but the larger ones are too heavy for me to lift so I bought a nice pre-seasoned 8" pan.

I do own the 10 1/2" round griddle, but even that is heavy and I rarely ever use it.

You really need a cast iron skillet to make a Dutch Baby.

I wanted a small one to make individual ones.

Took me a two pancakes to finally nail the right mixture, the right amount, the right heat and the right cooking time.

Dutch Baby Pancake
makes about 3
* 1/4 c. butter
* 1/2 c. flour
* 1 1/2 c. milk
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a 8 inch skillet melt butter in the oven 3-4 minutes.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, milk, eggs and salt. Use a beater to beat until smooth (2-3 minutes).
3. Carefully pour scant 3/4 cup of batter into hot pan with melted butter.
4. Bake 15 minutes. It will puff up to form a shell.

Soon as it comes out of the oven, squeeze 1/2 lemon over the bottom and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

You could also use just syrup or sauteed apples or pears.

I love that this recipe uses a small amount of flour, making it Diabetic Friendly.

August 14, 2011

Top 20 Power Foods for Diabetes - #7 Fish (Salmon)


Seafood lovers rejoice! Fish is a great addition to your meal plan, especially omega-3-rich fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Omega-3s, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which is healthful, can help lower triglycerides. According to Healing Gourmet: Eat to Beat Diabetes (McGraw-Hill, 2006), omega-3s can also help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Although fish is good for you and is considered a lean-meat substitute for its high protein, concerns have been raised about harmful mercury levels and other toxins found in some fish.

According to the American Heart Association, swordfish, shark, golden bass, golden snapper, and king mackerel have the highest mercury levels, measuring up to 0.99 parts per million for a 3-ounce serving. Fish lower in mercury for a 3-ounce serving include wild salmon (.01 ppm), herring (.04 ppm), catfish (.05 ppm), and canned light tuna (.12 ppm).

Try preparing fish on the grill, baked, broiled, or steamed. Using the Exchange system, one serving of fish is 1 ounce.

I make these mignons almost every time I make salmon. The Nudge loves it done this way and to get him to eat salmon I will make it any way he wants.

When I get home from the market, I prepare the mignons and either freeze them for later or grill them that night.

When fresh caught King Salmon comes to market, I grab the biggest steak I can find. I cut the bone out and the skin off and make two "mignons" out of it.

King Salmon steak usually runs about 1 pound so each mignon weighs 6 ounces after bones & skin are removed. A nice portion of the best salmon in the world.

I have this marinade, created one day, just for salmon. Salty, sweet, spicy and bitter.
It's perfect.

My Salmon Marinade

* 1 part soy sauce
* 1 part water
* 2 parts brown sugar
* 1 part mustard
* 1/2 part ground ginger

Mix all ingredients, pour over salmon, turn to coat every 30 minutes, grill.

This salmon was perfect. We could have shared one mignon, but we both ate a whole one. As far as I am concerned I am done ordering salmon in a restaurant, they can't get anywhere near as perfect as these were.

August 13, 2011

Top 20 Power Foods for Diabetes - #3 Red Grapefruit

Red Grapefruit

Sweet, juicy, and delicious, the ruby red grapefruit packs more antioxidant power and possibly more heart benefits than the white grapefruit. In a preliminary 30-day test of 57 people with heart disease, those eating one red grapefruit daily decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20 percent and decreased triglycerides by 17 percent. In contrast, those eating a white grapefruit reduced LDL by 10 percent with no significant change in triglycerides, compared with a group of people who didn't eat the fruit.

Include the vitamin C-rich grapefruit as a juice, in salads, or by itself. The only way the body can get vitamin C is through food, such as citrus fruits, or supplements.

Grapefruit interacts with certain drugs, including statins and antiarrhythmic medications, so check with your health-care professional.

One serving of a large grapefruit is one half of the grapefruit or 3/4 cup of grapefruit sections.

I am on Crestor and I can eat grapefruit. For a diabetic, grapefruit is a wonderful way to start your day and if you can, I would push you to do so.

This year for my birthday, I am attempting to bake a Grapefruit Cheesecake. I would love to brulee the top using brown sugar over grapefruit supremes.

Grapefruit Cheesecake Tart

makes 1 - 10" tart
* 3/4 cup hazelnut flour
* 2 tablespoons almond flour
* 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1 tablespoon Truvia
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted
* 2 bricks 1/3 fat free cream cheese
* 4oz cottage cheese, pureed
* 1 egg or 1/4 cup substitute
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 2 tablespoons Truvia
* 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
* 1 container red grapefruit sections
* Ideal brown sugar

1. In a bowl combine first 5 ingredients. Place in tart pan and press out to sides and up 1/4".
2. Bake crust for 12 minutes in 350F oven.
3. In mixer add cream cheese, cottage cheese, vanilla, egg, Truvia, salt and grapefruit juice. Pour into cooled crust.
4. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes. Leave oven door ajar for 30 minutes more.
5. Remove and chill overnight.

When ready to serve place grapefruit supremes decoratively on top, sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and brulee, either in the broil or with a torch.

Serve immediately.

I used palm sugar for the topping and I should have used regular sugar. It doesn't take all that much sugar (maybe 1 tablespoon for the whole tart) to achieve a crisp coat so next time regular sugar it is.

I wished I had bought a larger bottle of grapefruit sections. The Nudge said this was refreshing and very tasty. I will make it again, but as a full cheesecake, not a tart.

August 10, 2011

Top 20 Power Foods for Diabetes - #2 Blueberries


Enjoy the benefits of blueberries on their own or in a variety of foods, including smoothies and pancakes. Blueberries provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient that offers antioxidant protection, such as boosting your immune system and fighting inflammation. Flavonoids may also help decrease the LDL (bad cholesterol)-oxidation process that can lead to arterial plaque, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Blueberries get their dark blue color from anthocyanins, another disease-fighting antioxidant that may benefit heart health. Blueberries have also been studied for their potential to protect and improve vision.

One serving is 3/4 cup and has 15 grams of carbs. You can enjoy fresh, in-season blueberries May through October or buy the frozen varieties year-round.

There are a million ways to enjoy blueberries but I think the overall favorite is in a pancake.
I created these pancakes because I wanted a blueberry pancake, that I could eat and have it stay with me all morning.

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

makes 6 medium pancakes, 8 small ones or 2 servings
* 1 packet instant oatmeal, any flavor
* 1 cup 1% milk
* 1 tablespoon melted butter
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 tbls sugar sub
* 1 1/2 to 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
* Dozen washed blueberries

In a large mixing bowl, add oatmeal, milk and butter and nuke for 75 seconds.
Let sit to soften the oats. Add the rest of the ingredients, along with 1 cup flour.
Stir adding more flour, spoon by spoon until it is lumpy thick but pourable.
Non-stick pan, pour batter, add blueberries. When bubbles appear, flip.
Remove to warm plate, place an inverted bowl on pancakes.
Serve with Cary's sugar free syrup. I have tried them all and this has the best flavor.

August 6, 2011

Top 20 Power Foods for Diabetes - #1 Asparagus


If you love asparagus, you'll really love that it's a nonstarchy vegetable with only 5 grams of carb per serving and nearly 2 grams of dietary fiber. It is also high in the B vitamin folate, vitamin C, and a health-promoting antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione may help boost the immune system and promote lung health by protecting against viruses.

The cardiovascular benefits of folate and other B vitamins have been studied in relation to homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that has been linked to a higher risk of coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends including foods containing folate and other B vitamins in your diet to help lower homocysteine levels.

A serving of asparagus is 1/2 cup, or 4 ounces cooked, and provides 33 percent of the daily recommendation of 400 micrograms of folate, according to the FDA.

Tonight, with our grilled Chili-Rubbed Rib-Eye, I made a simple side dish of roasted asparagus with goat cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Asparagus with Goat Cheese

2 servings (4 spears each)
Adapted from the BH&G Diabetic Living Magazine

* 1 pound thin asparagus spears
* 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (chèvre)
* 2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted

1. Snap off and discard the woody bases from asparagus spears. Place asparagus in a shallow pan and coat lightly with olive oil nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

2. For a charcoal grill, place asparagus on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place asparagus on greased grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

3. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts.

Per Serving: 35 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 2 mg chol., 87 mg sodium,
4 g carb., 2 g fiber, 3 g pro.
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 0.5 fat. Carb choices: 0.

Since I already had the toaster oven on to roast the asparagus, I threw in a few chunks of potatoes to roast as well. I am able to eat 2-3 (2") chunks of roasted potatoes because I am balancing the hi GI of the potato with the low GI of the asparagus combined with the zero GI of the steak.