June 30, 2012
Oh the glories of stinky cheese. Took me thrity years to appreciate it, now I can't get enough.
I have enjoyed the 'Big Four'...Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Cabrales and while each one is different, each one has a certain place in certain recipes.
If you don't find that you like the really stinky cheese, try a Danish blue, it's a lighter style blue cheese.
When adding to a salad, I find that Gorgonzola works well.
Stilton is wonderful on a cheese board, Roguefort with fruit and Port (think poached pears) and Cabrales is super with a sangria.
The whole idea is to pair the cheese with an opposite. Gorgonzola is my choice to pair with beets, it is so creamy you can spread it 'like butta'. It is the perfect cheese for blue cheese dressing.
I like to buy the new Kifir Yogurt dressings, crumble the cheese in, add a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, a squeeze of honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Toast up some walnut pieces, throw in some diced tomato, sliced radishes and start to assemble your salad.
I like to slice my greens in 1" strips and make a bed at the bottom of each plate.
I slice my roasted beets in 1/4" slices and shingle them down one side of the plate and top them with the walnut pieces. Arrange some tomato wedges in another corner and a garnish of radish in another. The Nudge loves hard boiled eggs, so that completed the last corner.
Top the whole thing with Gorgonzola crumbles and serve with the dressing on the side.
To roast beets:
Trim the greens to 1" of the beet, reserve for later.
A 12x12" piece of heavy duty foil, place washed beets in the center, sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper and a spritz of olive oil.
Roast in a 350° oven for up to 1 hour, depending on the size of the beets. Small one will take 45 minutes, and large ones 1 hour. Let them cool but still warm, peel the skins off in a bowl of water and refrigerate. Slice right before serving.
Sprinkle plates with sea salt for its great crunch and freshly ground pepper.
A nice light salad for a hot summer meal.
Cook's Note: This was so good the first time, The Nudge asked for a do over, which I agreed it would make a wonderful supper tonight (94° is also a good reason).
June 28, 2012
Potatoes not only taste great, but they're good for you. One medium sized (5.3-ounce) potato, eaten with the skin on has just 110 calories and is packed with more potassium than a banana and half your daily value of vitamin C. And while potato salad is a much-loved traditional summer side, it can also be heavy on the calories and fat.
The United States Potato Board is challenging Recipe ReDux members to create a healthy potato salad dish that is just as tasty as the real thing, but without the extra calories.
I knew when I tasted my recipe I had a winner. This extremely simple recipe has a secret ingredient and I dare anyone who makes this to ask your family if they know what it is.
They will never guess. Every ingredient in this salad is natural and not processed in any form. I am talking about using ingredients everyone should have in their pantry.
Now, the dressing does have a smidge of lite olive oil mayonnaise (I used Hellmann's) and a smidge of lemon Greek yogurt for the taste plus lots of garlic, yum. The ingredient that completes the sauce and makes it so totally healthy is white beans.
Yup, cannellini beans. You can cook them from a dry state or just open a can. I like cannelloni better than the navy beans for their creaminess and a less "beany" flavor.
It is spicy, sweet, tangy, creamy and really, really good.
When I make mashed potatoes I always use bean puree instead of butter or cream and The Nudge always says how good they are (he doesn't even know) so why not use it in a potato salad dressing?
I baked my potatoes (making them diabetic friendly), peeled and chopped them into a large dice. This recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.
Figure one potato per person if small and half if large.
makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings
* 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 2 scallions, white & green sliced separately
* 1 tablespoon Greek Lemon yogurt
* 1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnaise
* 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
* Dash hot sauce of choice
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Bake potatoes in a 350° for 45 minutes. Remove, cool and peel.
Dice cooled potatoes into large cubes.
3. In a processor, blender or stick blender, puree all ingredients but the potatoes.
Taste for seasoning and add more hot sauce if needed.
4. Mix the potatoes with the aioli and garnish with the scallion tops or chives.
Serve and enjoy!!
Disclosure Statement: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the United States Potato Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
For the whole scoop on potatoes and Diabetes, read this PDF and remember to save it to your computer.
June 27, 2012
This Saturday we traveled to the far Northwestern corner of New Jersey to recycle a few large household items. There are only two days a year when you can drop certain things off and under the gun to get there before closing time, we started our weekend by getting lost, thanks to our Garmin, which for some ungodly reason, would not except the destination address correctly and sent us into God's country. The Nudge had no choice but to ask directions at a local gas station.
NW New Jersey is horse and farm country. Our annual State Fair is actually held at a horse farm and competition site and in the summer it is home to a large farmer's market. Once we took care of the recycling, The Nudge drove me to the fair grounds to see what's in season.
I bought a wonderful bunch of golden beets (and the greens were pristine for sauteing), a head of romanesco broccoli, white corn, oak leaf lettuce, and the cutest little baby potatoes. I know my Shop-Rite has bagged baby potatoes but I never know how old they are (I expect months sometimes) and these puppies were dug the day before.
When I saw this recipe in a little obscure quarterly magazine on-line, I just had to make them. Now I had premo potatoes.
Last night was the perfect time. I planned on a grilled spatchcocked chicken, the corn on the grill with the chicken and a batch of potato stacks.
I have a confession to make. I am not a potato person. I do get a hankering for a over-baked, baked potato with lots of butter and sour cream from time to time. You know the ones I am talking about. They come wrapped in foil, sometimes a prisoner of a warming oven for hours, but the starchy interior is something I can never obtain at home, so I don't try.
Two things I liked about this recipe, portion control and ease of preparation.
They are baked in a muffin pan, each one is equivalent to one potato, perfect for a buffet (and transports well), and if you can't find good baby potatoes (like me) just use regular Idaho potatoes and a Texas muffin pan. The slices need a bit of air space around them to properly crisp around the edges but small enough to contain the heat to bake to perfection.
Although there is a basic list of ingredients, you can up the herbs, double the garlic or keep them plain. Either way, they are delicious.
Remember to save 1/4 cup cheese for topping (I was bad and didn't read the directions before dumping all the cheese into the mixing bowl).
Garlic and Herb Potato Stacks
Adapted from Raleys.com
Makes 12 Stacks
* 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (2" in diameter)
* 3/4 pound red potatoes (2" in diameter)
* 3/4 cup finely shredded Dry Jack (Romano or Asiago works well), divided
* 1/4 cup butter, melted (I halved it with Meyer Lemon olive oil)
* 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and sage)
* 1 tablespoon spicy-brown mustard
* 3/4 teaspoon Steakhouse pepper (coarse ground)
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I used a smoked sea salt)
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
1. Preheat oven to 400° (I baked mine in my toaster oven) and spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray.
2. Cut potatoes into very thin slices (using a handheld mandolin), discarding rounded ends.
3. Place in a large bowl with 1/2 cup cheese, butter, herbs, mustard, pepper, salt and garlic. Mix well with your hinds, separating potato slices so that all are as evenly coated with mixture as possible. Get your kids to do this.
4. Stack slices in prepared muffin cups. Scrape bowl to remove all butter mixture and spoon over stacks, top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, then tent with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes more or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
Nutrition per serving:
7g total fat
1 g fiber
1 g sugar
18 mg cholesterol
180 mg sodium
June 26, 2012
I have adored Sara Moulton since her live show on the Food Network. I am glad to see she got another show on PBS and a website were you can nab the recipes showcased on "Sara's Weeknight Meals".
This morning I caught a new one on dinner salads and her Warm Steak House Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing was the perfect dish for an Asian Flank Steak I grilled.
Except vegetarians, I don't know anyone who does not like a good steak salad. This is a good steak salad, maybe a great one at that. I know I will be making this many times this summer.
The Nudge actually asked for seconds, said this was a perfect blend and amounts for this salad and devoured it.
I am using the leftover steak to make appetizers for a picnic I am attending tomorrow.
Warm Steak House Salad
Makes 4-6 servings
* 1 pound russet Potatoes (2 medium) (I used Yukon Gold)
* 5 T extra virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* One 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound beef sirloin steak (about 1 1/2 inches thick) (I used an Asian flank steak - recipe below)
* 1 large onion
* Blue Cheese Dressing (recipe follows) or store bought dressing
* 5 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups packed)
1. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Grate using the shredding disc of a food processor. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12- inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the potatoes and press down to make one big potato pancake. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes on the first side, pressing down frequently with a spatula, or until golden. Invert the pancake onto a baking sheet, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet, and slide the pancake back into the skillet, uncooked side down. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Season both sides of the pancake with salt and pepper to taste once they have been cooked.
2. At the same time, in a separate medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat until hot. Season the steak with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the steak to the skillet, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Set aside the skillet.
3. While the steak is cooking, halve and thinly slice the onion (about 2 cups). Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and the onion to the steak drippings in the pan; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Stir the steak juices from the steak plate into the onion.
4. While the onion is cooking, prepare the Blue Cheese Dressing. To serve, cut the potato pancake into 4 wedges and place each on a dinner plate. Top each wedge with sliced steak, onion, spinach, and Blue Cheese Dressing.
Blue Cheese Dressing
Combine 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in a blender; press in 1/2 garlic clove (about 1/2 teaspoon). With the blender running, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil in a stream until the mixture has emulsified. Add 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 3/4 cup) and 1/3 cup sour cream; blend until the mixture is well mixed. Add water, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in extra blue cheese to taste, if desired.
Asian Flank Steak
makes 6 servings
* 1 1/4 pounds beef flank steak
* 1/2 cup beef broth
* 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
* 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1/4 cup sliced green onions
* 3 tablespoons dry sherry or apple, orange or pineapple juice
* 1 tablespoon black locust honey, or agave nectar, or palm sugar
* 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* Nonstick spray coating
1. Trim fat from beef. Place beef in a plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a small bowl stir together beef broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, green onions, sherry or juice, sugar, ginger, and garlic. Pour over beef. Close bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Drain beef, discarding the marinade. Spray the unheated rack of a broiler pan with nonstick coating. Place beef on the prepared rack. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat to desired doneness, turning once. Allow 12 to 14 minutes for medium. (Or, grill the beef on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals to desired doneness, turning once. Allow 12 to 14 minutes for medium.) To serve, thinly slice beef across the grain. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving of steak:
- Servings Per Recipe: 6
- Calories: 144
- Protein(gm): 18
- Carbohydrate(gm): 1
- Fat, total(gm): 7
- Cholesterol(mg): 44
- Saturated fat(gm): 3
- Sodium(mg): 113
- Iron(DV %): 2
- Lean Meat(d.e): 3
June 24, 2012
Yesterday I found myself in the predicament that I am sure would have driven a less stoic foe of Micky D's right up to the drive in window. I was in the middle of no where, going to no where and I had not eaten breakfast, or lunch and I still had two more hours of appointments to fulfill.
Luckily I remember passing a Panera's and it was possible to backtrack without adding any more additional wasted drive time (ie; it was on my way to the next appointment).
As usual the place was packed and with an empty table not in my foreseen future, I ended up getting it to go and sat in my car to eat. Gees, I hate doing that. You should sit, relax and eat slowly but I had no choice.
What I don't understand is how people who grab burgers to eat in the car can walk away feeling refreshed, satisfied and revived? Food should feed the soul as well as the tummy.
During the summer it is virtually impossible to pack a lunch bag to go and while just sitting in the car for 10 minutes between blasts of AC will turn that bag into a bomb. In a perfect world, I would pack a small cooler with one of those frozen blue containers, but I am not perfect. Usually, I am home by noon, all my chores and appointments done for the day.
To help other diabetics who find themselves in the same situation (or anyone who wants to eat healthier), I have decided to post about the best choices at each of the most popular fast food establishments that won't make us feel guilty. Every Sunday, as you start your week, I will pick a different chain and showcase the most popular items on the menu.
Let us start with Panera's salads since that was what I chose to eat.
Turns out I picked the one with the highest carbohydrates, but the least fat. You need to decide which is more important - fat/calories vs. carbs.
I am just showcasing the important areas for a diabetic, but for more in depth information click here.
Join me next Sunday for another list.
I hope this series of posts will show you that diabetics have lots of healthy, friendly fast food choices that they can eat and enjoy. Just remember to sit down and take that 30 minute break that your body really deserves, to be happy.
Panera - Chopped Chicken Cobb with Avocado
Total Fat 36g
Total Carbs 11g
Panera - Classic Cafe salad
Total Fat 36g
Total Carbs. 15g
Panera - Greek salad
Total Fat 48g
Total Carbs. 17g
Panera - Caesar Salad
Total Fat 32g
Total Carbs. 18g
Panera - Grilled Chicken Caesar salad
Total Fat 34g
Total Carbs. 19g
Panera - Roasted Turkey Fugi Apple
Total Fat 40g
Total Carbs. 32g
Asian Sesame Salad
Total Fat 24g
Total Carbs. 33g
Panera - Strawberry Poppyseed
Total Fat 13g
Total Carbs. 34g
Steak and Blue Cheese Chopped
Total Fat 54g
Total Carbs. 35g
Fugi Apple Chicken
Total Fat 34g
Total Carbs. 36g
Thai Chopped Chicken
Total Fat 19g
Total Carbs. 45g
BBQ Chopped Chicken
Total Fat 22g
Total Carbs. 50g
June 23, 2012
Rummaging in the depths of your standup freezer can be hazardous for your sanity.
For years The Nudge has asked me to label the bags that I pack to freeze, and for some unknown reason I don't so when I go down for chicken I find all these interesting looking frozen, ice covered bags with no idea what's in them.
When he's right, he's right but that doesn't mean I will be good and label.
I grabbed a bag, of what looked like chicken thighs only to find it was a bag of cuttings from a whole pork loin I butchered a few months ago.
Unfortunately I did not know that until I defrosted the whole bag. You know the rule, once you defrost something, it must be cooked. That meant some ingenuity on my part because not only was I NOT planning on this surprise, I was not leaving my AC to buy a few ingredients for one dish.
I was knee deep in recipe testing yesterday and my counter looked like my pantry had been transported, so while I was making dressings for other items I made an Asian-inspired marinade for the pork (which I ground in my processor).
I thought about meatballs, then moved on too egg rolls or dumplings but I had no wrappers in the freezer (at least I didn't see a bag that looked like frozen wrappers, because nothing's labeled....sigh) so a stir-fry would have to do.
I do have a bag of frozen spinach (but did not use), some water chestnuts, a red pepper and onions but I am cheating and using a packaged asian sauce mix to finish the dish. Sorry, I am just to uninspired to drag all those bottles back out of the pantry.
I stumbled on a blog that is no longer being maintained but she did have a recipe that fit my criteria and since I am all about the honest, I will give credit where credit is due.
Spicy Asian Pork Stir Fry
Adapted from The Whole Kitchen
* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 tsp oil
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced
* 1/2 onion, sliced
* 1 jalepeno, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 T grated ginger
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
* 1/2 cup chicken stock
* 3 T cooking sherry
* 2 T soy sauce
* grated zest of one orange
* drizzle of toasted sesame oil
* chile sauce to taste
* handful of basil, chopped
* 3 green onions, sliced
1. Combine sherry, stock and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, crumble the pork into the pan and brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. When pork is cooked through, pour it into a colander in the sink, so any fat can drain off. Set aside.
3. Wipe out pan and return to heat and add 1tsp oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the bell pepper, onion and jalepeno. Saute until veggies begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic to pan and stir. Add pork back into the pan, stir, and add the liquid. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce reduces a bit. Add the peas, chile sauce, orange zest, sesame oil, basil and green onions, and cook for 1 more minute, until peas are heated through. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
June 22, 2012
The Recipe Redux challenge this month was to make a mini-portion sweet treat.
There were a gazillion ways I could go but experiment, not this month.
I think what the girls over at The Recipe Redux had in mind was taking a full sized dessert and deconstructing it (while also keeping it healthy) so that it is reborn as a single bite rendition.
My business pops this time of year so I was at a disadvantage time wise. I bowed out of last months challenge and I did not want a repeat this month. I needed to think of something healthy and tasty, toot sweet.
I was planning on making a Meyer Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake for this weekend, so I simply divided the recipe into 12 portions and baked them in muffin liners but used yogurt instead of sour cream. I learned a few things.
1. You need to drain your yogurt overnight.
2. You need to use no less then 2% fat (I use 4%), anything less will not set up correctly.
3. You need to add an additional egg white.
I assure you, wallflower they ain't. Perfect for large gatherings, double the recipe and make 24.
I always add the egg product last so I can taste the filling for adjustments. I liked the tang of the yogurt (sour cream is sweeter) and with the sweetness of the cracker crumbs and the blueberry compote on top, the filling was not overly sweet. A perfect companion for the yogurt.
You could really use any fruit for the topping, as long as it will go with lemon, these were very lemony.
Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake
Makes 12 mini cheesecakes
* 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 1/4 cup ICBINB, melted
* 2 tablespoons Palm Sugar
* 1 (8oz) brick 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
* 1/3 cup 2% fat Greek yogurt (I used 4% because that is what I buy)
* 2 whole eggs + 1 egg white or 2/3 cup Egg Beaters
* 2 teaspoon flour
* 1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons), regular lemons will work also
* 1 tablespoon zest from squeezed lemons
* 1/2 cup honey
* pinch of salt
* 1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
* 1/4 cup water and honey
* pinch of salt and cinnamon
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine crust ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoon of mixture into each muffin liner and tamp down with your fingers.
Bake at 325° for 7 minutes. Remove and cool.
Meanwhile, in a processor, blend yogurt, cream cheese, flour, salt, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Remove mixture to a bowl and add honey. Taste for sweetness and adjust to your preference. Every lemon has different levels of tartness and sweetness.
Add eggs and whisk until incorporated. Using a 2oz ice cream scoop fill each liner with one scoop and repeat until all liners are evenly filled.
Turn oven down to 300° and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is set but still moves slightly when shaken. Remove to cool.
Simmer berries, water and honey until the berries pop. Use a slotted spoon to remove berries, add cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
Store compote in a plastic container, refrigerate until ready to serve. Add 1 spoonful to each cheesecake.
June 21, 2012
I happen to turn on the TV just as the CBS morning show was discussing the future of the tablet industry and where Apple stood since Mr Jobs passing, yadda, yadda, yadda.
What caught my ear was the disclosure about Microsoft entering the hardware arena with their android tablet.
It sure was impressive but they were saying it may be a year before they make the big unveiling, and they were just building up the suspense, etc. so I asked my keek about it. He said October and that the price is very competitive at $400.00.
I turned out the store and said "See ya in October". I sure am happy I waited.
Running errands all day in 95° heat certainly did not make me happy about having to cook dinner so I am cheating and making Italian Beef sandwiches.
The Nudge had them in Chi Town and at least once a year I indulge him.
They really are easy to make if you buy the beef on sale at the Deli counter.
You need the following items:
* 1 cup beef stock
* 1 pound thick sliced Italian Roast Beef
* 1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
* 1 onion, sliced in half moons
* 1 clove garlic, sliced
* Provolone cheese (optional)
* Submarine rolls or loaf of Italian bread
Saute the peppers and onions with olive oil until tender. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a sliced garlic clove and simmer until you can smell the garlic.
Add the beef stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile pre-heat the toaster oven to 400°.
Slice the beef into 1" thick slices and add to the stock. Stir until coated, then shut off the heat.
Slice open the bread, place on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until edges start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan, add the beef mixture to the bottom half, place a slice of cheese on the beef and top it with the other half of the bread.
Take a piece of foil or butchers paper and place the sandwich into the middle of foil, spoon a nice amount of juice over the sandwich and wrap it in the foil, like you would a burrito. Place the sandwich back onto the sheet pan and place back in the oven foe 5 minutes. Turn over and repeat.
Serve the sandwich with a bowl of juice for dipping.
This sandwich is the reason why I love my toaster oven in the summer. It doesn't heat up the house but if you want, throw the wrapped sandwiches on the grill and you won't have to even turn on the oven.
June 19, 2012
There was just 'something' about that orange sherbet covered vanilla ice cream pop that not one person who ate these as a kid can refuse to admit it was their favorite Popsicle®.
The Popsicle® brand is an American classic, with more than 30 creative variations of the original Popsicle® product. And believe it or not, it all started with an accident!
In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick in a cup on his porch. It was a cold night, and Epperson awoke the next morning to find a frozen pop. He called it the “Epsicle.”
It was a hit with his friends at school, and later with his own kids. They constantly called for “Pop’s ‘sicle.” So in 1923, Epperson changed the name and applied for a patent. A couple of years later, Epperson sold the rights to the brand name Popsicle® to the Joe Lowe Company in New York. The rest is history!
I also am a huge fan of the alcoholic drink of the same name (you haven't? You MUST).
Having had so many disappointments in the dessert arena lately (don't ask), I needed to hit a home run for my ego, and whenever I go for the win, I bake what I can with my eyes closed.....a cheesecake.
Not one to miss an opportunity to try a new flavor, Creamsicle® immediately came to mind. Was time I tackled that puppy, and a perfect one to start the summer with.
I thought for my first try I would make a smallish-sized test one (in case I had to throw it away) and one that would feed two people a size you would not get tired of, before finishing.
Did I just say tired of cheesecake? Please, slap me quick.
Actually, it was a good idea and I was glad I did. There were a few things I could have done better and my next one will now be perfect for company. I will list the recipe as baked, but with revisions in red that I will make next time.
My neighbor went Lady Ga Ga over his sample and put in a request for his own 'Private Idaho'.
It was as refreshing as it's namesake and by unanimous vote, the perfect dessert for our annual Clam Bake in September.
I will say that the taste was spot on and not only did I hit a home run, I hit a grand slam!!
makes 1 (9") tart-sized cheesecake
* 2 (8oz) bricks of cream cheese (4 bricks next time)
* 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or regular 8 oz whole fat strained to 4 oz) (1 cup cottage cheese)
* 2 eggs (4 eggs)
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 2/3 cup sugar (1 cup)
* Pinch of salt
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 teaspoon orange extract (1 1/2 teaspoons)
* 10 Oreo® Creamsicle cookies, processed to crumbs (or vanilla cream cookies)
* Red and Yellow food coloring (I used gel)
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and press the cookie crumbs into the bottom and 1/4" up the sides.
2. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove and cool. Reduce oven temp to 300°.
3. Meanwhile, blend the first 6 ingredients in a blender or processor until smooth (Do not use a stand mixer. It beats in too much air and will cause cracks).
4. Divide the batter into two pourable containers (I used my Pyrex measuring cups).
5. Add vanilla extract to one half and the orange extract to the other half.
6. To the orange extract half, add 3 drops of yellow and 7 drops of red food coloring. Make adjustments to get a good orange color. It will lighten when baked so make it darker then you think it should be.
7. Pour about half the vanilla into the middle of the crust and let it spread. Pour the same amount of orange the same way, then the rest of the vanilla, followed by the last of the orange.
8. Using a skewer or knife, drag it through the filling going one way then the other.
9. Bake for 1 hour (90 minutes). Open the oven 2-3", wedge with a rolled up towel and leave the pan in for another hour. Remove to refrigerator for minimum 4 hours, overnight even better.
* 1 can Mandarin oranges in syrup
* 1 tablespoon sugar and cream
Drain syrup into a saucepan. Boil down to half. Add sugar and cream and boil until thick. Spoon orange segments into syrup and arrange on top of cheesecake and then pour remaining syrup over to cover.
June 18, 2012
I've always been a little weird, or as The Nudge would say "a little?!?!"
OK, more then the average person. Everyone has their quirks, mine are just stranger.
I love the thought of cleaning out my crawlspace. I love that each box is a surprise and it's like receiving many gifts all in one day.
Ah, come on. You know, I know you know what that is like.
Picture this....you're surrounded by boxes of what you have no clue, you're covered in dust and spider webs, yet you're in your element.
When you hit a certain age and you have moved many times or raised a family, you have an spot in your house, that over the years boxes accumulate.
I found things I forgot I had and it was like getting a gift many times over.
It is funny what you find in boxes that are still unopened when we moved here over 15 years ago. I still haven't found my china set. Oh, it's down there alright, just not sure where.
What I did find was an old Rubbermaid recipe file box, all 3x5 cards, most hand written and some typed (yes, there were no computers and you used a typewriter, scary huh). You woulda thunk (yes, it's a word) I opened a box of antique jewelry.
What was I so excited about? It was like going way back in the day, getting a glimpse of what we were eating and seeing what recipes caught my eye. It was interesting to see that my tastes have basically stayed the same. I was pretty adventurous back then. Really, the only thing that changed over those years is the awareness, availability and uses of spices and herbs you can cook with today, so with some updating, these can make it, finally, to our dinner table.
On the menu today is Chicken with Orange Sauce. We've all heard of lemon chicken with almonds, this time the juice is orange. Easy enough, simple marinaded chicken breasts that uses the marinade as part of the sauce. What I loved the most about this recipe is that there is no additional sweetener in the sauce. The raisins and the juice will give just enough to the party.
After marinading the chicken, I put both the marinade and the raisins into a saucepan and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes. I then pureed the whole thing, strained it back into the saucepan and simmered until it reduced to a sauce consistency. A popped in a nob of butter at the end, and served it over the chicken.
It was delicious. A very good way to use up that last cup of OJ in the container.
Chicken with Orange Sauce
makes 4 servings
* 1 chicken, cut-up
* 1 cup orange juice
* garlic clove, minced
* 3 tablespoons parsley
* 3/4 cup flour
* 2 tablespoons paprika and salt
* Olive oil for frying
* 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in sherry, drained
* 1/2 cup dry sherry
* 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, slivered or sliced
1. Combine chicken, juice, garlic and parsley in a large zip bag and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
2. Mix flour with paprika and salt.
3. Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry and dredge in flour mixture.
4. Saute in olive oil until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to plate.
5. Add raisins and sherry to marinade, pour into pan and bring to a simmer. With a hand blender puree the marinade, strain and add it back to the pan and simmer until it thickens. Add chicken back to pan, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes till chicken is fully cooked. Remove the cover and simmer until the sauce is reduced and will coat the chicken.
6. Serve chicken on a platter, spoon sauce over and sprinkle toasted almonds on top.
Serve with brown rice, quinoa or bulgur (I had a cup of leftover mashed potatoes) and a nice roasted vegetable. I like carrots with chicken, so I roasted off a bunch of baby carrots.
June 16, 2012
Excuse me, please, while I let out a scream.
OK, that's better. Why the scream?
Well, I was attempting to make soft boiled eggs for my Scotch Egg recipe. I guess I did not follow my own advice on how to cook them perfectly, shell them successfully and wrap them deliciously because I ended up with half cooked eggs, broken and runny. Remember, this is an Italian kitchen and I don't throw any good food away. So, what to do with these eggs?
I made a scallion potato pancake, laid the eggs on top, smothered them with a cheese sauce and broiled until browned on top.
I just happened to have a nice slab of ham that I cut and used as a "wall" to keep the yolks corralled. It's not pretty but it's really, really good.
As you know...some of the best dishes were mistakes.
Scallion Potato Pancake
* 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, shredded
* 1 scallion, sliced
* Season All salt
* Black pepper
1. Heat a cast iron pan for 4 minutes. Add just enough canola oil to coat the bottom.
Mix scallions with shredded potato, place in pan and neaten the edges making a nice round pancake. Fry for 4 minutes on high heat, flip over and repeat.
Remove, season and set aside.
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon Flour
* 1/2 cup milk
* pinch of fresh nutmeg
* 2 tablespoons both Provola & Parmesan cheeses
* salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour, whisk until it bubbles, about 1 minute. Add milk and cheeses and continue to whisk until it melts and is smooth.
Remove from heat, add nutmeg and salt & pepper.
Soft Boiled Eggs
* 3 eggs, bottom poked with a push pin
* Boiling water
* 1 teaspoon vinegar or salt
1. Bring a small saucepan full of water to a boil. Add vinegar/salt and carefully lay the eggs in the saucepan. The vinegar/salt will stop any leakage of egg, so just let it simmer for 6 minutes. Drain and shake the eggs against the side of the pan to crack the shells. Add cold water and let the eggs sit till cool enough to handle.
2. Gently tap the shells with the back of a spoon to crack the eggs evenly around.
Under cold running water, remove the shells from the eggs and, if not serving immediately, refrigerate in a container.
June 14, 2012
Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!
A cannelloni is like a manicotti, but the difference between the two has blurred over the years. I am here to set the record straight.
Manicotti are made with egg crepes or crespelle and cannelloni are made with fresh pasta.
OK, I'm done. It's that simple and that simple to make.
I make fresh pasta all the time with all sorts of different flours and have even rolled basil leaves right into the dough, so making pasta our challenge only gives me another excuse to play with my dough.
For the filling I asked The Nudge what he would like and he says "what are my choices?"
I tell him "the world is your oyster."
He says "Hmmmmm, anything I want?"
"Yes, dear, anything."
"OK, ricotta and spinach."
"OMG, you're too funny, you can have anything and you pick spinach."
"You asked me what I wanted."
And that there is the is the crux of the problem.
I married a man with simple needs so remembering that, I planned my filling.
This dish took on many twists and turns until I finally settled on a non-traditional ravioli filling and a pesto pasta.
Traditional to Italians but not to Americans.
"OK, Lucy, 'splain".
Bologna as we know it here in the US, is a large roll of processed pork or beef meat with spices and other un-named ingredients that eventually becomes a mousse-like substance that is forced into a casing, cooked, refrigerated and sent to deli's nationwide. There it is ordered by the pound and made into at least, 50% of school children's lunches.
I know The Nudge ate bologna sandwiches everyday until the 7th grade. Scary, huh? Apparently not to him.
So, that's were I started, with Italian Bologna, called Mortadella. Trust me, a much better alternative to American bologna.
In Italy, they make a mousse using mortadella and ricotta cheese to spread on bruschetta or use as a filling for ravioli. Why not take that recipe and fill my cannelloni with it?
So keeping with the whole less cheese, more meat idea, I made a simple marinara sauce to bake them in and then a simple topping with grated Parmesan cheese.
Simple, simple and simple, just like my man.
makes 1 pound
* 2 cups flour
* 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
* 1 tablespoon of olive oil
* 1 tablespoon pesto (I used the tube version)
Process until it forms a ball, and run the processor for 1-2 minutes so it will do the kneading for you.
Remove, wrap in plastic and let relax for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 6 portions and roll each one out to the #5 setting on a pasta roller. I made them thin because i knew they would roll twice around the filling and any thicker would be too much pasta. You want a tender cannelloni and you want to taste the filling.
Spuma - Mortadella and Ricotta Filling
makes enough for 12 cannelloni
* 3/4 pound best mortadella you can find
* 2/3 cup light cream
* 4 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
* pinch of fresh ground pepper
1. Chop mortadella into bite-sized chunks and place in food processor
2. Blitz sausage until reasonably smooth – you’ll know when it can’t really get any smoother without adding any liquid.
3. Add cream, ricotta and nutmeg and continue to blitz until smooth and mousse-like.
4. Taste and season with black pepper or more nutmeg according to your taste.
5. Scoop your spuma into a non-reactive bowl, press plastic wrap onto the top, and refrigerate for at least an hour so mixture can set.
* 2 cups marinara sauce
* 12 cannelloni pasta sheets
* 1 recipe Spuma (above)
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large baking pan, ladle enough sauce to completely cover the bottom by at least 1/2".
2. Spoon 2 tablespoons spuma into each sheet of pasta and roll. placing seam side down in baking pan.
3. Continue until all sheets are filled.
4. Ladle the remaining sauce over cannelloni, evenly covering them.
5. Place a sheet of parchement paper over baking pan, then foil to seal.
6. Bake in a 350° oven for 45 minutes. Remove pan and set oven to broil.
7. Remove foil and parchement, sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly on top, and broil for 4-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
Let pan rest for 20 minutes, covered or refrigerate overnight and serve the next day.
June 12, 2012
Wine with food changes the taste of both food and wine. Most wine lovers know this and cook dishes to match a favorite wine and vice versa.
I find that the same scenario applies to certain proteins and condiments.
After cooking for a fussy eater for 30 years I have found to not even ask if he wants "this or that" with his meat/seafood/vegetables/burgers, etc....you get the picture.
I used to ask him if he wanted to taste something new I was cooking and he would turn and walk out of the kitchen. You would have thought I learned my lesson. It was like I was playing a game of chess with this man.
Eventually I got smart.
What's the one way to get a man to do anything? Stand in front of the TV.
What's the way to get him to eat something new? Just put it on his plate or in his food.
Case in point is this Italian Muffaletta. I knew what would happen if I asked him if he wanted a pickled vegetable salad on his sandwich.
Saturday I bought the makings for an Italian Hero sandwich, the kind you get at an Italian Deli.
Hot capicola, Genoa salami, prosciutto, provolone cheese, a jar of giardiniera (pickled vegetables) and two Portuguese rolls.
Instead of the olive salad that a traditional muffaletta from new Orleans uses, I finely chopped one part zucchini pickles with one part giardiniera and used that on both sides of the bread.
The Nudge told me it was the best cold cut sandwich that he's ever eaten!!
He went out on Sunday and bought a loaf of Italian bread so he could eat the same thing for lunch.