Saturday, May 31, 2008
My poor hubby had foot surgery this past Thursday and has been basement-ridden since :( To cheer him up, tonight I made him this tart. He loved it, even though I had to sneak in the crystallized ginger (he can't stand ginger normally). This was my first attempt at substituting Earth Balance "buttery sticks" for butter or margarine in baking and it worked great! This is an easy recipe that is very pretty that even picky eaters will like. Just don't tell them about the ginger!
Fresh Strawberry-Cream Cheese Tart
1 1/2 c. AP flour
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. plus 3 T. confectioner's sugar
10 T. butter or margarine, chilled and cut into pieces
1 t. vanilla
3 T. ice water (I only needed 2, I think this was because of the Earth balance)
6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3. c. vanilla yogurt (or 1/2 c. sour cream)
3 T. chopped crystallized ginger
1 1/2 lbs. strawberries cut lengthwise in half
1. In food processor combine flour, salt, and 1/3 c. sugar. Pulse until blended. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vanilla, then ice water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about one hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375. On large sheet of parchment paper, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into 12" round. Using 11" dinner plate as guide, use sharp knife to cut 11" round from dough; discard trimmings.
3. Transfer round, still on parchment to large cookie sheet. Using fingers or cookie cutter, create decorative edge. Refrigerate on cookie sheet about 10 minutes to firm dough slightly.
4. Bake dough 10-20 minutes or until golden. Cool crust completely on cookie sheet on wire rack.
5. When crust is cool, in medium bowl, with spoon, mix cream cheese, yogurt, crystallized ginger and remaining 3 T. of sugar until blended. Spread mixture onto crust. Arrange strawberries wide ends down in concentric circles in cream cheese mixture.
Reference: Good Housekeeping, April 2008
Each serving- About 315 calories, 5 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 20g total fat (12 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 57 mg cholesterol, 285 mg sodium.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I had some fun things left over in the pantry and thought that a loaf of banana bread was the perfect place to use up some coconut and sun dried pears. The Banana Bread recipe was found at Good Things Catered. Of course, you know me, I can't leave anything the way it is...So, I made my own changes to the recipe. Below is how I've prepared this delightful loaf of bread!
1/2 c. margarine
1 c. sugar
3 bananas, smashed (about 1 1/3 c.)
3 T. vanilla yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
2 c. Flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. coconut, shredded, unsweetened
1/2 c. sun dried pears, reconstituted in boiling water, then chopped
Beat margarine and sugar. Add eggs, bananas, yogurt, and lemon. Mix well. Sift in dry ingredients. Fold together. Fold in coconut and pears. Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis is an old standby for me. I love spinach, garlic and goat cheese so this is heaven! I always serve this with chicken grilled with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and I ALWAYS use more cheese than what is called for. Oh, and a funny little tidbit- as my pasta was cooking, I noticed a suspiciously similar recipe on the box!
Penne with Spinach Sauce
1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
5 oz. fresh spinach
3 garlic cloves
2 oz. goat cheese
1 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
Boil pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile mince garlic in food processor. Add goat cheese, cream cheese, salt, pepper and 1/2 of the spinach. Pulse until smooth. Set aside. Place remaining spinach in large bowl. Spoon hot pasta over spinach and add cheese mixture. Toss to coat pasta and add 1/2c. -1 c. leftover pasta water to help consistency. Serve with fresh Parmesan on top.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Here is an easy, but impressive looking dessert. Perfect to serve to guests! I made it in honor of the American Idol Finale. This recipe reminds me of my Mom's recipe for "Brownie pudding", which is basically a cake that creates it's own pudding while baking. My brother Greg would ask for a Brownie pudding Birthday cake every year for his Birthday! The filling for these is a little richer and the cake a little more dry, but overall DELICIOUS!
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) margarine, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
fresh raspberries to garnish
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter (or spray - it's easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together.
Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until homogenous. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don't beat) them into the eggs. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. y chopped chocolate over the batter.
Bake the cakes for 13 minutes. Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.)
Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board. Use a wide metal spatula to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.
Reference: Baking: From my Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan
This is a marinade that would be great for beef or chicken. Makes enough for 4 servings of meat. I used it for 2 large sirloin steaks. Our side dish was smashed garnet yams seasoned with maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Maple Rosemary Steaks
2-4 steaks, cut of your choice
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. olive oil
2 t. salt
3 T. fresh rosemary
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Combine ingredients for marinade in large ziplock. Add meat. Marinate for 1 hour- 24 hours and grill meat to desired doneness.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I have been dying to make this recipe since I first saw the picture on Good Things Catered. If you have a chance- check out her blog. Her recipes are amazing! Well, tonight I had some strawberries about to go bad in the fridge and thought this would be the perfect time to make them! My husband has the day off tomorrow and this will be the perfect breakfast treat.
Juicy Strawberry Scones
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (depends on how ripe your strawberries are)*I used 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 AP flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 c. yogurt I used fat-free
1/4 c. milk I used skim
2 tsp orange zest
1 c. fresh strawberries, diced
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment
-In small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zest, whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
-In large bowl combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine.
-Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea-sized.
-Add strawberries, and toss to coat.
-Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with fork until dough just comes together.
-Turn dough out onto well floured work surface and pat into large ball.
-Cut dough in half.
-Shape half of dough into flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices.
-Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough.
-Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar and place in the oven.
-Bake until turn slightly brown, about 25 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
-Transfer to a wire rack and let cool (or eat right away!)
I love falafel and this recipe is awesome. It is the first falafel recipe I've tried and I think I really lucked out and found a great one! The recipe is from The Foods of Israel Today, by Joan Nathan. The recipe says that it makes about 20 walnut sized falafel, but I have found that in order to get that amount, I need to double the recipe.
My Favorite Falafel
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (I skipped this, Joe is allergic!)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Pita bread (I used whole wheat pita bread)
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained. I have tried this recipe with canned chickpeas and with dried- tastes great both ways.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.
NOTE: Egyptians omit the cilantro and substitute fava beans for the chickpeas.
Friday, May 16, 2008
This fabulous (but spicy) recipe is from Gaga in the kitchen.
My husband and I both loved this and it was a snap to throw together. I made a few changes from the original recipe, but the flavor is intense and wonderful! And good news, my husband is officially a tofu fan!
- 1 block of soft tofu cut into cubes
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 tbsp of chili paste(original recipe calls for hot bean paste)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- cornstarch slurry (~1-2 tsp cornstarch mixed in a tiny bit of cold water until dissolved)*I did not need this*
- 1 c. shelled edamame
- 1 tsp ground szechuan peppercorns (optional)
- 1 scallion sliced for garnish (optional)
- Heat up your wok/pan and put enough oil in to coat the bottom
- Put the ground meat and the minced garlic and the soy sauce and cook until most of the pink in the meat is gone.
- Add in the tofu, chili paste and peppercorns. Stir gently to avoid breaking the tofu. Taste and adjust accordingly. Sometimes I'll add a bit more chili, salt, or even some sugar, depending on how it tastes.
- The tofu should release some water. If it's pretty dry, feel free to add a bit of water or chicken stock. Then add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the liquid. If it doesn't thicken up immediately, don't worry, it will thicken more after you turn off the heat. Or you can always add more cornstarch slurry. This step is actually completely optional, you'll just get a more watery sauce.
- Add the scallion
- Eat over rice!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
This is a great recipe, perfect for a cold fall evening. I definitely consider this healthy comfort food. I used broth to cook my cous cous instead of water and it made a huge difference. Mmmmmm! I love sweet potatoes, but I think the chickpeas are the "meat" of this dish and will probably double the amount next time. This is a Good Housekeeping recipe.
Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew
2 t. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1.5 t. cumin
1.5 t. curry powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth (or vegetable to make this vegetarian)
1 c. chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small zucchini's cut into chunks
Whole grain couscous prepared as packaging recommends.
In large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until begins to brown. Stir in garlic and spices. Cook 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except for zucchini. Cover and heat to boiling on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cover, cook for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for additional 10 minutes. Serve over cous cous and garnish with mint if desired.
I've been trying unsuccessfully to find the perfect granola bar recipe. They usually end up too bland or too dry. This is a fabulous, healthy recipe that would be easy to modify to suit your changing tastes. You could easily switch the type of nut, add chocolate chips, use a different type of dried fruit or even use ground flax seed in place of the wheat germ. This is a recipe that I will keep handy and use often.
Good Granola Bars
2½ cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or instant)
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I omitted these)
1/2 cup wheat germ (I used dry hot oat bran cereal)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (I used chopped pecans)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
While your oven is preheating to 300°F, spread the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and almonds evenly on a 9" x 12" baking sheet. Bake these dry ingredients for 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat the butter (or margarine), brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan, allowing the brew to simmer until the oat mixture is ready to come out of the oven. (If you or yours like really crispy granola, bake the dry ingredients an additional few minutes.) As soon as the oat mixture is out, add the raisins, stirring them into the other ingredients.
Now remove the honey from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then pour the hot liquid over the oat mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated.
Next, press the granola firmly into the bottom of a greased 8" x 8" pan (I used a 9x13) and place it in the still-warm oven to bake (at the same 300°F as before) for 20 minutes. (An 8" x 8" pan makes bars about an inch thick; if you want thinner bars, use a slightly larger pan.) Allow to cool slightly, then cut bars- but do not remove from pan until completely cooled.
Reference: Mother Earth News, Denise Garouette
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I'm always looking for the perfect curry recipe. This one was very good. Next time I make it I will probably omit some of the tomato in the hopes of a more "coconutty" flavor. The original recipe is from allrecipes.com
As always, I've made a few changes and the recipe below is how I prepared it. I made this for some friends and everyone liked it! (Or they are good liars)
Curried Coconut Chicken
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast- cubed
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Red curry paste
1/2 onion thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14 oz)can lite coconut milk
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 (14oz) can tomato sauce (will omit next time)
3 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
dried, unsweetened coconut
Chop chicken into chunks and salt and pepper. In large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil and curry for 2 minutes. Stir in onion, carrots and garlic. Cook one minute more. Stir in chicken and coat with curry mixture. Cook until chicken is done, approx 10 more minutes.
Add coconut milk, tomatoes and sugar. Stir. Remove approximately 1/3 c. of sauce and mix with cornstarch. Return cornstarch mixture to skillet.
Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of dried, unsweetened coconut on top and over Basmati rice.
My husband and I have been trying to eat better. This is a great option for a dessert that is not as horrible for you as the typical baked goods we usually eat. I found this recipe on the super cool website Happy Foody. This recipe makes a TON of these delicious little guys. Sara from Happy Foody mentioned that she froze her macaroons because she doesn't have a dehydrator. I froze half of them and am saving the remaining dough (in the freezer) to put into the dehydrator next time. Any way, they are amazing frozen! This is a great recipe. I'll update when I have tried the dehydrated version, but I'm sure they'll be just as wonderful!
Raw chocolate macaroons
3 cups dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (I prefer carob’s milder taste)
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut butter or oil
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir well to combine. You can also use a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.
Using a small ice cream scoop, your hands, or a big tablespoon, spoon rounds of the dough onto dehydrator screens (or a plate/cutting board to freeze). Dehydrate for 12-24 hours at 115 degrees F…until crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Indian Lentil Soup
2/3 cup green lentils
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
3 T. oatmeal
1 tsp. tomato paste
4 cups water or vegetable broth(this was even awesome using water)
Vegetable oil (I used olive)
Juice of 1 lemon
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander, curry powder, and garlic. Stir for 1 minute until the flavours bloom/become fragrant. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Stir in the tomato paste.
2. Add 4 cups water or broth, carrots, lentils, and oatmeal. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. You can add salt and pepper to taste if desired.(I added the lemon right before the lentils were done)
**Note, the original recipe also called for 1/3 cup diced potato.**
This recipe is from "Fresh Mama's: Whole Cooking for Our Whole Families"
Saturday, May 10, 2008
1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
1 clove garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/4-ounce package rapid-rise yeast (I used 2T. plus 1 t. yeast)
1 tsp. dried rosemary (crush it a little with a mortar and pestle)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (I used about 3/4 c. colby-jack mix)
1/6 cup mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
1 2/3 cup warm water (it should be about 110 degrees F)
1. Rub a large bowl with olive oil. Mix 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil with the clove of garlic. Cover and let sit. Combine the flour, chopped fresh rosemary, sugar, salt, yeast, and dried rosemary in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, stir in 1 2/3 cup warm water and mix until kneaded (about 2 minutes). The dough will seem wet and sticky.
2. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.
3. Line a baking sheet or baking dish (I used a glass lasagna dish) with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray. Stir the cheeses into the dough and transfer the dough onto the baking sheet. Spread to the sides of the sheet/dish with wet fingers. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil-garlic mixture. If desired, sprinkle with additional (whole) fresh rosemary. Sprinkle with top with salt. Let the dough rise 1 hour more or until it is level with the sides of the pan.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom. Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding and serving.Mine only took 15 minutes, but our oven is on the hot side.
Stats from the original recipe (I used less salt and part-skim mozzarella so mine may be a bit different...)
Per serving: 216 calories; 6 g protein; 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat); 39 g carbs; 4 mg cholesterol; 929 mg sodium (eek!); 1 g fibre; 3 g sugars.
This is based on the Oregano and Asiago Focaccia recipe from the April 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times. I used Baking Illustrated to figure out the ideal water temperature.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
This recipe is for the true cheese lover.
Below is how I've combined these two recipes and of course, I've made a few of my own changes!
Croque Monsieur Ravioli
2 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 C. Milk (yes, skim will work)
2 C. Gruyere, shredded
1/2 c. Parmesan
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
Additional Parmesan to top
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour all at once using wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Turn heat up to Medium and whisk continuously until thickened. Remove from heat and add cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
1 package won ton wrappers
2 T. water
2 c. shredded Gruyere
.5 lb. shaved smoked ham, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan
Start boiling water in large pot.
Whisk together 1 egg and 2 T. water. Set aside. Combine Gruyere, ham, garlic, salt, pepper, egg and Parmesan in bowl. Spoon 1 1/2 t. of mixture onto won ton wrapper. Brush edges of wrapper with egg/water mixture and place another wrapper on top. Seal edge well. Use cookie cutter or glass to cut into round shape. Do not leave square. Once all ravioli are filled gently place in boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Remove from water using slotted spoon and place in baking dish.
Cover ravioli with croque monsieur sauce. Grate fresh Parmesan over top of dish. Broil until bubbly and some of the cheese has browned.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I really am trying to eat better! I just have an addiction to baking. This is a recipe I came up with on the fly. Just enough banana to make you go, 'hmmmm' but just enough chocolate to not taste healthy...at all :) These are moist and fudgy, not a chewy brownie.
Double chocolate Banana Brownies
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 banana, mashed
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/3 c. cocoa
1 c. mini chocolate chips, some for sprinkling
Combine oil, sugars and vanilla. Mix. Add egg and banana. Mix. Sift in dry ingredients. Stir in chips. Pour into greased 8x8 pan. Sprinkle a few chips on top. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.