Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just in time for the holidays, you can tell your family exactly where to stuff your balls, in their mouth. After the first bite you won't have to tell them though, they won't be able to get your balls out of their mouth, they will just keep shoving them in there. 

Nuff Said.

Hey, and these are perfect for Valentine's Day, another chance to tell someone you love what they can do with your balls. The red center will really play nice with your romantic dinner setting too. As most readers of this blog know, I hate Valentine's Day, so I will not be making these for that occasion, but you should.

This particular holiday season I did a terrible job of not indulging at all of the parties that I went to. I think I may have to get myself a 3 month online subscription to weight watchers come the first of the year. Really, I've been that naughty. But, BUT, I did buy myself a treadmill for Christmas - so, I can certainly try to run some of this holiday cheer off. Not yet though - still have too many parties to attend in the next week. After the new year - after after.

Here's a link to the Bakeralla website with directions for the Balls.

Rating = So, so damn good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Meringues - don't eat while wearing black.

God I love meringues - why, I'm not sure, it's not like they are filled with ooey gooey goodness, or taste of hot melted butter. But, man. I love them. This is a Tyler Florence recipe - although his were not dipped in the Christmas sprinkles - I added that bit of genius myself. I prepared these for my first ever cookie swap and hot damn do you go home with a for sure shit ton of cookies when you go to a cookie swap. I'm set for cookies until at least Easter, and that's with bringing a whole tray to work with me this morning to share with the office. People just loved me today, and the whole office was speeding down the sugar highway by 10:00...caffeine and a shit ton of cookies, a sure recipe for efficiency?

I've got the holiday spirit all up in my face right now - so, tell me what is your favorite Holiday song, mine is most definitely "We Three Kings" by Sarah McLaughlin and the Barenaked Ladies. I absolutely love that song. Although, as Hallie might attest it really doesn't scream Yuletide Cheer like the Slutcraker does. I'm just saying.

Here's the recipe, let me know if you make it.
Tyler Florence's Chocolate Dipped Meringues - with SPRINKLES!
Click Here

Rating = So Damn Good (come on, it's meringues)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ad hoc in da house - my thomas keller experiment

Is there anything more daunting than having the boss and his wife over for dinner? Yes, preparing dinner for them when they are used to meals prepared by  the likes of celebrity chefs, like Thomas Keller. I've only had one Thomas Keller experience, I bought a $3 chocolate chip cookie at Bouchon Bakery when Chris and I went to Napa last year for our fifth anniversary. Besides that I have merely walked by The French Laundry, Bouchon Restaurant and Ad Hoc, three of his restaurants. Oh, sure I could have gone in to one of these restaurants for dinner, (had I made reservations months in advance), but a meal at one of his restaurants is my more than I budgeted for dinners for the whole week we were on vacation.

So, when i invited the boss and Mrs boss over for dinner, I decided to give them a little Thomas Keller in your face right from my own kitchen. 

I looked at a few of his recipes on line, and then borrowed the ad hoc at home book from the library. I decided on Iceberg Lettuces Slices with Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, Creamed Corn, and Seared Scallops. When I tell you that the creamed corn is most likely the best corn I have ever had in my life, I'm not being even remotely overreacting. I did make slight changes to the recipes, he calls for heavy cream, in all instances I used whole milk, and I reduced the butter amounts in the dishes as well. 

Here are links to all of the recipes that I used.

Iceberg Lettuce Slices with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Creamed Corn - look there is a reason its called this - its a virtual orgasm in your mouth, get it, creamed, whatever.

Whipped yukon gold potatoes - the recipe called for putting the potatoes through a food mill or a potato ricer, I own neither of these, so I whipped them in a food processor - worked fine.

Seared Scallops - use the big ones U7 or U8

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but they raved about the food, and even when we saw them a few days later at the office, they still were saying how awesome everything was. Need to impress some guests - this is the meal to do it.

PS - we pared each course with a california wine - that was pretty cool too.

Rating - so so so damn good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

David Lebovitz's Roasted Figs

Call it a tendency to watch too many talk shows when I was little, but growing up, I had a fear of being abducted and probed by aliens. Blame, Phill Doahue, or who ever, but I just imagined one sunny afternoon, while sitting outside, reading a book, and sipping iced tea, a small being, with a large egg shaped head, large eyes and no visible mouth to speak of, would come up to me and beam me into his/her ship to take random tissue samples, perhaps an egg or two out of my uterus. This was the hyped imagination of a growing child, understandable. What is not understandable is the fact that I listened to a podcast the other day in which the fact was stated, and then discussed that a quarter of American's believe they have been abducted by aliens. What? I digress.

I didn't get into figs years after my fear of being abducted by aliens subsided, actually, not until recently did I really begin to love figs outside of the blanket of cake cookie that is the Fig Newton. Now I love them and cannot get enough. I used this particular recipe for roasted figs as a topping for a green salad with blue cheese - delicious. Now, go out and grab yourself some figs and get yourself a roasting.

Use a baking dish or pan that will allow you to bake the figs in a single layer. One that is 2 quarts (2l) should do it. Depending on where you live, fresh fig season is near the end of summer and mid-autumn and the best place to find fresh figs is at a farmers market.

1 pound (450g) fresh figs
4-6 branches fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine or liquor, such as Chartreuse, Pernod, Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
three 1-inch (3cm) strips of fresh lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

2. Slice the touch stem end off the figs and slice each in half lengthwise.

3. Toss the figs in a large baking dish with the thyme, red wine or liquor, brown sugar, honey, and lemon zest. Turn the figs so that they are all cut side down in the baking dish, in a single layer.

4. For figs that are softer and juicier, cover the baking dish snugly with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the figs are softened and cooked through.

For figs that are firmer, with less liquid, roast them in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

5. When done, remove the baking dish from oven, lift off the foil, and let the figs cool completely.
Variation: For more savory figs, replace the liquor with one or two tablespoons balsamic or sherry vinegar.

Storage: Roasted figs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Rating = Put Em In Your Face

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Polenta and Tofu Skilet & What to Make for a Cookie Swap & Alcohol Cakes

Tofu Polenta Bake with Bok Choy

Today as I drove to work, sitting in traffic waiting for a green light, I spied on the side of the road what honestly looked like the lower leg, shin portion of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. I'm sure it was just a piece of laundry exhaust pipe or something with a similar use, but looking quickly, it was the dismembered leg of the Tin Man. I immediately created a scenario in which the Tin Man, dazed and confused from walking aimlessly in the dark after losing sight of the yellow brick road in his search of the fabled land of Oz, stumbles into the road, and WHACK! is immediately creamed by an oncoming FedEx truck speeding to make an early morning delivery. All that's remains of the horrid scene is his leg, left without its body on the side of the road. Poor Tin Man.

I've been wanting to make this recipe for some time now, and the plastic log of premade polenta had sat on the shelf in the basement long enough, it deserved its day in the sun. This is another great recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. If you haven't checked out her blog, please follow the link HERE to the recipe and spend some time looking around, I've enjoyed everything I've made from her site. And, Chris thought this was fantastic, there was not one bite left - no left overs - nothing. I will say however that if I were going to make this again I would double or even triple the amount of bok choy, just a personal preference for me. 

Cookie Swap - I'm taking part in a cookie swap in a couple of weeks, I'm thinking of making peppermint bark and chocolate dipped merangue cookies, got any other spectacular recipes that I can try my hand at?

AND - its that time of year again, the alcohol laden cake time. Do you have any recipes that are a must for the holiday season, all filled with boozy goodness? Send them along please.

Rating = Damn Good

Monday, November 29, 2010

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Herbed Candied Walnuts

Look, there's cranberry sauce, and then there's "holy shit, this is the best f'ing cranberry sauce I've ever had, don't look at me like that, what, everyone uses a shovel to eat cranberry sauce."

I'll be honest, the only reason I wanted to try this cranberry sauce is because 1) I was in charge or cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and 2) my herb garden is still cranking out rosemary, sage and thyme like no ones business and I really wanted to say that I had used ingredients from my own garden all the way into Thanksgiving.
I saw the recipe in the November issue of Bon Apetit magazine and thought I'd give it a whirl. What I can say now, with certainty is this recipe will be a staple at every Thanksgiving that I have my hand in going forward. Sorry I didn't post it before the actual Thanksgivign holiday so you could have tried it too, but that's the breaks, save it for next year.
Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Herbed Candied Walnuts  
Bon Apetit Magazine
November 2010 


  • 1 pound fresh cranberries or frozen, thawed
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Herbed Candied Walnuts

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

    If you can roast other fruit, why not cranberries? High-heat cooking intensifies flavors, no matter what you put in the oven. And in the end, you get soft and caramelized berries.



  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix first 7 ingredients on heavy rimmed baking sheet. Roast until edges begin to bubble, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven; maintain oven temperature. Bring wine mixture to boil in small saucepan. Stir into cranberry mixture. Roast until juices bubble and cranberries shrivel, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to medium bowl; cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Herbed Candied Walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Stir sugar and wine in small saucepan over medium heat until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Stir in walnuts and herbs. Transfer mixture to sheet, spreading out and separating nuts. Roast until nuts are brown, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. Break up any clumps of nuts. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Add nuts to cranberry mixture. 

 Rating = So Damn Good

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cranberry Apple Butter

Cranberry Apple Butter

Similar to last year, I have canned my face off this summer and fall, and I'm not done yet, I've still got a few recipes that I want to crank out before my craft fair in December. I made this recipe twice this fall, once with Hallie at her house, on an electric stove, and once at my house on my gas stove. I cannot stress enough that this recipe is a bitch to make on an electric stove top. I can't explain the physics behind it all, but if you make it on an electric range you will be cleaning hot apple butter off your ceiling, and most likely be covered in splatter burns all over your arms, ask Hallie if you don't  believe me. I had no issues making this recipe on my gas stove last weekend. I can't explain it. 

This butter is smooth and fresh and tart and rich all at the same time. Very good, especially on a piece of hot toast.

This recipe comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which my copy I am glad to say is finally showing its battle scars, with dog eared pages, drips, spears and notes written all over it. I love this book.

This makes lovely little hostess gifts, or teacher gifts, or just gifts to have around the house for when someone comes over and gives you a gift that you weren't expecting and you're like, shit, I didn't get a gift for this person, TaDa, instant gift and awkward moment averted

Cranberry Apple Butter
Makes nine 8-oz jars (I actually got ten jars from my second batch)

6 pounds apples, cored, peeled and chopped
8 cups cranberry juice cocktail
4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1. In a large stainless steel saucepan , combine apples and cranberry juice cocktail. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15 minutes.

2. Working in batches, transfer apple mixture to a food mill or food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree just until a uniform texture is achieved. Do not liquify.

3. In a clean large stainless steel saucepan, combine apple puree, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon. (This took at least two hours at Hallie's on the electric range, and one hour at my house on a gas range. Again, I can't explain).

4. Meanwhile, prepare canner jars and lids.

5. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding hot butter. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.

6. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Rating = Damn Good

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Pasta with Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Toasted Walnuts

So, I'm back in the saddle again, so to speak. Home without an extended business trip until next year. YIPEE. I can't even tell you how happy that makes me. In the six weeks between October and today I took eight flights, spent 16 nights in 6 different hotel rooms, racked up countless miles in my car, ate out approximately 56 meals out. Blah. Blah. Blah. Cry me a river, I know.

So, the first thing I wanted to do was grocery shop, the house just didn't have the staple foods that I always have on hand. So, armed with my coupon book and store flyers I planned out my shopping trip to maximize my dollar, with Chris starting his own architectural practice, we've been uber cautious about spending money. I've always felt that we were super savvy spenders, but now I'm going way back to my childhood days to pull out the "welfare Julie tips and tricks for stretching a buck". Now, before you get all high and mighty on me because you know someone on welfare and I've just offended them tangentially through you, shut it, because growing up we actually were on welfare for a time so don't give me any crap; and just like my Nana who grew up in the depression, some things just stick with you and put an indelible impression on you and the way you live, being poor will do that to you. The poor kid in school always knows that he or she is the poor kid, believe me.

The Healthy Harvest past was $1.59, I had a dollar off coupon for the Healthy Harvest whole wheat pasta, and I had a double your dollar coupon, so Shaw's actually had to pay me .41 cents to buy the pasta. I love it when that happens (which isn't very often, believe me) and I had made the pesto over the summer with basil from my garden, so that was virtually free because I made it and froze it so long ago, the goat cheese was left over from a party, and we always just have nuts on hand. Super Simple, Super Economical.

Just boil pasta according to directions, and when the pasta is done, reserve a cup of the pasta water, drain and add ready made pesto to the hot pasta, add the pasta water, and crumble as much goat cheese as you would like into it and top with toasted pine nuts. Wicked Fast Dinner.

Rating = Good

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Pumpkin Hummus

Silly me to think that things would slow down in November. Silly silly me. I'm not sure where I got that cock-a-mame idea, but boy was I dead wrong. Bright side people, its winter squash and root vegetable time. I love this time of year, mostly due to the fact that not only is orange my favorite color, I'll eat just about anything that is orange, including bags of candy corn at a single sitting. I'll eat them until my teeth ache - that's usually the sign to stop. I've got a few more business trips this month, but nothing like last month thank Jebus, where I spent 14 of 31 nights in a hotel room - meaning 16 days on the road eating road food. I came away with only putting on 3 pounds which I am going to take as a minor victory, it could have been worse, much worse. 

So, need an idea for healthy snacking, try this recipe from Cooking Light, its great with carrots, celery and pita crisps as dippers, and it's orange. Whip some up for your Thanksgiving appetizer hour, or as I like to call it, "someone better open up that friggin wine before I lose my shit" hour. Ah, the holidays, aren't they swell.

Pumpkin Hummus | WW 2pt
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon pumpkinseed kernels, toasted (optional)  

Place tahini and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add parsley; pulse until blended. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl; sprinkle with pumpkinseed kernels, if desired. Serve with pita wedges.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 3 tablespoons hummus and about 3 pita wedges)

CALORIES 117(20% from fat); FAT 2.6g (sat 0.4g,mono 1g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 3.7g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 43mg; SODIUM 330mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 1.6mg;
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October = Travel and Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

If you've followed this blog for any period of time you know that I basically fall off the face of the earth in October due to business travel. In the past two weeks I've spent most of my time in Pittsburgh and DC. I'm off again on Tuesday and then again a couple days after that. 

I miss the blog while I'm traveling and home cooked meals. But, the great thing is that I get back just in time to start making all of the great fall recipes, you know, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, butternut squash, cranberry sauce...I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Before I took off for Pittsburgh I made a few batches of soup to freeze so that I would have easy suppers on the nights that I was actually home. One of the soups that I made was a Butternut Squash and Pear Soup. Very Very Good. Sorry I don't have a picture of it, but trust me, it was tasty, and I don't  have any left in the freezer, it has all been consumed. 

Low Fat Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Makes 6 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 C finely chopped onion
1 tbsp curry powder
1 pound butternut squash peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ripe Bartlett pears peeled cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 1/2 C fat free vegetable stock

In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium heat, gently sautee onions until tender about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and stir, saute for about 1 minute. Add butternut squash and pears, saute 3-4 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes until squash and pears are tender. Use an immersion blender to puree soup together. 

Per Serving: Calories 119, Fat 1.9 g, Fiber 3.2g

Rating = Damn Good

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

White Bean - Garlic Dip | WW 1 pt

White Bean Dip
Remember when you were little and you used to get bored? Where have those days gone? What I wouldn't give to have a lazy Sunday afternoon where I was just bored, where my mind and hands were not busy doing half a dozen tasks at once, where I just thought to myself, "shit, I'm bored, I wish I had something to do. Remember when you were little and Christmas seemed like it was a lifetime away? Christmas is 87 days away and all I can think is "shit, it will be here before we know it". Why, why is time moving so damn fast right now? Is it because every year that we get older, a year is indeed a smaller piece of your life span on this earth, therefore it actually is a smaller unit of time as it relates to the time you've been alive? Want to hear something that will make you feel like time is on an unfair trajectory? I was running the other morning and happened on the Oldies 103.3 radio station, and, they led of the next block of "oldies" with Prince's iconic hit Party Like It's 1999. I nearly crapped my pants. When did Prince become an Oldie? Oh, and then the next artist...wait for it...Madonna. Madonna. 

I'm speechless, we've become our parents generation and it happened without us even noticing.

Well, if age is inevitable at least this dip will help me get there without orthopedic shoes and elastic waistbands on all my pants.  

White Bean Garlic Dip
6 servings | 1 pt

1/2 garlic bulb
1 cup canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, minced
1/4 orange or red bell pepper seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro or parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne

1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Cut off a thin slice from the pointed end of the garlic bulb. Wrap the garlic in foil and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Unwrap the foil and let the garlic cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a food processor or blender. Add 1/2 cup of the beans, the lime juice and oil; puree.

2. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in the remaining 1/3 cup of beans, the scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, salt and cayenne. Refrigerate covered until the flavors have blended, at least one hour.

Rating = Good (better the next day)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup | WW 2pts

Broccoli Cream Soup

Every once in a while a recipe surprises you. This was one of those recipes, it was a cold night, I wanted soup, we always have carrots, celery and onion in the house (what's the fancy name for that? Mira-poi? said with a French accent and a twirl of the right hand as you play with your imaginary mustache) whatever, I had all the ingredients, I made it, and we at the whole freaking pot that night. Do yourself a favor, double the recipe. Make extra, freeze it. Whatever, we thought it was that good.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 1/2 tbs canola oil
1 inion, chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1/2 celery stack chopped
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1 pound broccoli florets
3 cups fat free chicken stock (of course I used veggie stock)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup fat free milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. in a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered until broccoli is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat add lemon juice and let cool for a few minutes.

At this point you can use an immersion blender to blend together or blend in batches in a blender and return to pot. Add milk, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes to reheat.

And as you can see from the picture I topped it with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.

Rating = So Damn Good (especially for Weight Watchers)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Weekend to Make My Eye Stop Twitching

Yellow Flower

Yes, the left eye, the "tired" eye as the eye doctor puts it, has started its Mexican jumping bean dance again. This happens in time of holy shit stress. Many things, too many to count really are stressing the ever living shit out of me right now. But this past weekend...labor day weekend was dedicated to doing whatever the hell I felt like doing at the time. We got in the car, no agenda, no itinerary, no plans and just enjoyed the weekend and our time together. We stopped and smelled the proverbial flowers, and as you can see from above, the not so proverbial, the actual.

We picked blackberries...

Blackberry Picking

We visited the glass blower...

Glass Blowing_2

We found some waterfalls...


We made pizza with our home grown tomatoes and basil, and drank too much wine...

Pizza Margherita

We remembered that most of our labors, are labors of love. 

Friday, September 03, 2010

More from the Garden Goodness | Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup 

My mind has been in a million directions lately, I've been canning, cooking, gardening, working, stressing, running, meditating, grinding my teeth, getting a zit, flipping through cookbooks. I just don't have a singular stream of consciousness right now, its all jumbled hence the randomness of these thoughts and observances:

1. I feel like the worst place to get a zit on your body is right where the leg meets the ass, because this is where your underwear elastic hits and it will bug the ever living shit out of you until it goes away.

2.  I saw a sign on the side of the highway, it was bright purple and it screamed in large letters FREEDOM FERTILITY. This is fine, its the fact that on the sign there was an image of what I think was supposed to be a lively sperm swimming up stream, but it ended up looking like an angry octopus, you know, right before it shoots you in the face with poisonous ink. I don't think that was the message the fertility place was looking to send. Just really bad marketing on their part.

3.  I was driving the other day and happened to look in my rear view mirror and saw the woman driving the car behind me (with her windows up) take an enormous can of aerosol hairspray out of her bag and spray her hair for a good 45 seconds - while she was driving, with the windows up, I mean the only think that would have made that worse is if she was smoking a virginia slim or something like that.

4. Chris has informed me that I fart a lot in my sleep. He could be making this up, but I tend to believe him. Thank goodness I'm asleep and don't have to deal with that.

5.  I haven't had a pedicure in forever. My feet suck right now.

6.  George Clooney is still wicked do-able

7.  The garden is still producing. The other day when the sky was all angry and the temperatures dipped 30 degrees, I went out and picked four beautiful leeks and created this wonderful creamy rich soup to warm the bones. It was even better the next day.

Low Fat Potato Leek Soup
2 tsp canola oil 
2 medium shallots, minced 
3 medium leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only) 
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces 
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth) 
1 2/3 cups fat free milk 
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh snipped chivevs
Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add shallots, leeks and potatoes, and cook on a low to medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken or vegetable broth and milk, and simmer half covered on a medium heat for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. [Transfer vegetables and some of the liquid to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more of the remaining liquid until desired consistency.] I have a handy dandy motor boat blender so I just blended it in the bowl.

Ladle into 4 soup bowls; season with black pepper and add chopped chives or fresh parsley. 
Per Serving: Calories 170, Calories from Fat 24, Total Fat 2.7g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 2mg, Sodium 211mg, Carbohydrate 29.9g, Fiber 3.7g, Protein 6.7g
4 servings = 3pts each

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This is where the magic happens people


Chris spent so much time renovating this kitchen so that I could have an awesome place to cook and entertain. We're on the CB2 website up for best design. Please click the link and vote for Chris' uber functional and totally awesome renovation of our glorified galley kitchen.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homegrown Eggplant | ATK Light Eggplant Parm

Home Grown Eggplant

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing better than grocery shopping in your own back yard. Grabbing three eggplants, some fresh basil, fresh tomatoes and making this.

Light Eggplant Parm

It is a rather involved recipe start to finish, but so amazingly good. I would however suggest that you double the sauce in order to make the dish a little less dry overall. I will also say that I would not limit this recipe to just eggplant, if garden is producing eggplant, zucchini, squash, etc. I would use slices of each of those and make a big vegetarian parmesan dish that would be a knockout for any dinner occasion.

Here's how to do it.
ATK Best Light Recipes | Eggplant Parmesan

2 medium globe eggplants (1 pound each) ends trimmed cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds
Kosher salt
1 1/2 C panko 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ounce Parmesan cheese grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper
3 large egg whites (I used egg beaters)
1 tbsp water
vegetable oil spray
5 C Quick Tomato Sauce for Eggplant Parm (recipe follows) warmed
8 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese shredded (about 2 C)
2 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves

1. Toss half of the eggplant with 1 tsp salt then place in a large colander set over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and 1 more tsp salt, and transfer to the colander with the first batch. let sit until the eggplant releases about 2 tbsp liquid, 30 to 40 minutes. Spread the eggplant slices on a triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, and wipe odd the excess salt.
2. Adjust the oven racks to the lower middle and upper middle positions and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs into a shallow baking dish and let cool slightly; when cool, stir in the 1/2 cup Parmesan. Combine the flour, garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp pepper together into a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.
3. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and coat with vegetable spray. Season the eggplant with pepper. Lightly dredge one side of each eggplant slice in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the floured side of the eggplant into the eggwhites and then coat the same side with breadcrumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the eggplant, breaded side up on the baking sheets in a single layer.
4. Lightly spray the top of the eggplant slices with the vegetable oil spray. Bake until the top of the eggplant are crisp and golden, about 30 minutes, rotating and switching the backing sheets halfway through.
5. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer in half of the eggplant slices, breaded side up, overlapping the slices to fit. Distribute 1/2 cup of the sauce over the eggplant , sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Layer in the remaining eggplant, breaded side up, and dot with 1 cup of the sauce, leaving the majority of the eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan.

Quick Tomato Sauce for Eggplant Parm
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 medium garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 C minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Process the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until mostly smooth, 15 to 20 pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Off the heat stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Eggplant Parm Nutrition Information: Cal 330; Fat 9g; Sat Fat 4g; Chol 15mg; Carb 40; Protein 22g; Fiber 6g; Sodium 1529mg

Tomato Sauce Nutrition Information: (1/4 cup serving) - Cal 25; Fat 0g; Sat Fat 0g; Chol 0g; Carb 4g; Protein 1g; Fiber 0g; Sodium 220mg

Rating = So Damn Good

PS - If you have left over baked eggplant they make for an awesome eggplant panini melt the next day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tonno e Fagioli (Tuna and Bean Salad)

So, if you have already checked out the new Cooking Channel, then you probably have seen one of there shows, David Rocco's Dolce Vita. I'm in love with this show strictly for the scenery and the easy Italian recipes that he showcases. Chris hates this show because the way they shoot the show, camera wise would give anyone with the most remote inner ear issues vertigo. I tape the show and watch when I have time. Recently I watched an episode where David made Tonno e Fagioli, Tuna and Bean salad. I ran to the pantry, tuna: check, beans: check, fresh herbs in the garden: check. I made it slightly different than he did, in that I didn't use an obscene amount of olive oil in mine and used whatever herbs needed a little cleaning up in the garden, and I used to kinds of beans, not just one. Here's what I did.

Tonno e Fagioli
1(15oz) can Cannellini Beans (drained, rinsed)
1 (15oz) can Garbanzo Beans (drained, rinsed)
2 cans tuna (use whatever you like, dark or light, in oil or in water)
Fresh herbs - I think I used sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary (see how I wouldn't list them in the order the song puts them in)
olive oil (drizzle however much you want to put on to coat the beans and tuna)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for a couple hours. Mmm. This is a great dish to bring to a cookout because there isn't any mayonnaise to worry about, plus its chock full of great protein to make you strong like bull.

Rating = Damn Good