Wednesday, August 27, 2008
This grilled portobello mushroom recipe was great for showcasing those tasty summer veggies. It had such a fresh taste...and surprise, surprise, we didn't even miss the meat!
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Artichoke Puree and Roasted Corn and Tomato Topping
(Source: Shape, July 2008)
For the Artichoke Puree:
3/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
For the Corn-Tomato Topping:
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 ears corn, in their husks
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Mushrooms:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
sea salt (optional)
1. Place the artichoke hearts, oil, thyme, garlic, and a small pinch of salt in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add more salt to taste. Set aside.
2. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with oil. Add garlic, basil, and parsley and toss gently to combine. Set aside.
3. When grill is hot, cook the corn, turning frequently, about 10 minutes, or until husks are charred and pulling away from cobs. Let stand until cool, then strip husks and remove silk by rubbing with a dish towel. Cut kernels off cob and toss them with tomato mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. While the corn is cooling, grill the mushrooms. Pour oil into a small dish. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each mushroom with oil. Place mushrooms on grill, gill side down, for about 8 minutes. Flip mushrooms and continue grilling for 6-8 minutes more, or until edges begin to brown. Lightly sprinkle with salt, if desired.
5. On a large serving platter, place mushrooms gill side up and spread artichoke puree over them. Top with corn-tomato topping and serve.
A mushroom, topped with 3 T of artichoke puree, and 3/4 cup of the tomato corn mixture is just 4 Weight Watcher points! Yum!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I think I really found a winner. I was trying to find something that was comforting in the way that only home cooked sweets and meals can be. And I don't know about you, but when I think homecookin', I think Paula Deen. I stumbled across this recipe for her Three Chocolate Cookies and once I read the raving reviews, I just had to try them myself.
The reviewers did not lead me astray! These cookies are AMAZING. The combination of the semisweet, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate along with toffee bits is enough for me right there....but the texture of these cookies is just perfect. In the past, I've made cookies that are soft right out of the oven but soon become a harder version of themselves. These cookies maintain that soft, chewy texture even after they have cooled and have been stored. I'm hoping they maintain that softness as they travel overseas too!
Paula's Three Chocolate Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup milk chocolate morsels
3 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup almond brickle chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in chocolate morsels and almond brickle chips.
4. Drop cookies by 1/4 cupfuls about 3-inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool.Since Paula's creations aren't always what you would call "figure-friendly," I definitely recommend these cookies for times when you know you can give them away and share them with friends. They are WAY too hard to resist if left lying around too long!
Hopefully this little token of appreciation will brighten the day of Colin and his friends!
Monday, August 18, 2008
2. Sprinkle salmon fillets evenly with salt and pepper. Cook salmon in a large nonstick skillet in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil over medium-high heat 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Information: CALORIES 375(0.0% from fat); FAT 16.4g (sat 2.4g,mono 7.4g,poly 5.2g); IRON 3.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 94mg; CALCIUM 74mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.3g; SODIUM 683mg; PROTEIN 37.8g; FIBER 4.8g
Friday, August 15, 2008
Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage
3/4 pound mild turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
One 28-oz can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 oz dried whole wheat ziti, cooked according to the package's instructions and drained
6 oz fat-free Mozzarella cheese, grated
1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Brown the sausage over medium heat until it crumbles.
3. Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring often.
5. Stir in the pasta and half the grated cheese. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Top evenly with the remaining cheese.
6. Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The chopped barbecue, sweet tea, coleslaw, and the hushpuppies were all unbelievably good (and don't forget the banana puddin')! But what really makes lexington barbecue is the sauce...a deliciously tangy combination of ketchup and vinegar.
When I saw this recipe that included a sauce based on ketchup and vinegar, I just had to try it out. While my expectations were unfairly high, this barbecue sauce was delicious! We're pretty picky about our barbecue and this recipe was deemed a definite keeper by both of us! Now that I have a good base to work from I think I just might be able to approximate the original sauce...stay tuned!
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar 1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses (I only had sugar free maple syrup and it was a great substitute)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloins, trimmed of all visible fat
1. Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare the grill for indirect heating over medium high heat.
2. To prepare the spice rub, combine the brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne,and pepper in bowl.
3. Rub half of the mixture all over the pork and let stand 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, to prepare the Mop Sauce, combine the ketchup, vinegar, molasses, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
5. Rub the pork with the remaining spice rub. Place over the indirect heat section of the grill.
6. Grill 15 minutes. Turn the pork and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 160 degrees F, 12-15 minutes longer.
7. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with foil, and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the Mop Sauce.
A serving of 3 oz of pork and 2 T of sauce is just 4 points!
Lexington BBQ photos from here
Monday, August 11, 2008
I found this tilapia study after reading about the importance of selecting ocean friendly seafood in this month's Shape magazine. In addition to considering the mercury and PCB levels (and now long-chain omega-6 fatty acids!) in the fish you consume, it's worth considering farming and fishing practices that are being used. As more and more people increase the amount of fish and seafood in their healthy diets, it's important to pay attention to the resulting environmental impact. I thought this mini-guide put out by the Blue Ocean Institute was particularly handy...it's wallet size so you can take it with you the next time you go to the seafood counter!
I'm a firm believer in enjoying most things in moderation...so here's a great tilapia recipe (though I'll probably be taking a break from tilapia for at least the near future until a rebuttal study is published...too many other good fish out there!). We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and thought the cherries and almonds and onions were a great complement for the mild fish!
Tilapia with Cherries and Almonds
(Adapted from here)
1 Tbsp almonds, sliced
1 pound raw tilapia, four 4 oz fillets
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
3 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin, divided
1 small onion(s), chopped
1/2 cup cherries, sweet, pitted, halved
1/3 cup chicken broth, reduced-sodium, fat-free
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1. Toast the almonds in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-low heat until aromatic and golden, shaking the pan often, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet, then add the fish. Cook until firm and lightly browned, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook about 2 more minutes. Remove fish to serving plates.
3. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the skillet, then add the onion. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cherries, broth and thyme, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Heat until simmering; cook for 30 seconds to reduce slightly.
4. Divide the sauce and toasted almonds among the fish and enjoy!
Just 3 points per serving! Recipe makes 4 servings.
**Update: I'm submitting this recipe to Joelen's Chef Spotlight: Health Conscious Chefs this month! Check it out!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I pulled this Marinated Mozzarella recipe from a Southern Living last year and found it again last week when I was trying to find picnic type foods to take along to go see Casablanca at Leu Gardens with some friends. This recipe does require some planning ahead since it has to sit for at least 8 hours but it really couldn't be simpler. And I found some adorable bright pink flamingo picks (so Floridian!) which made it even easier to eat!
Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate and allow us to see the movie....but we still enjoyed a great inside "carpet picnic" with friends!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
The combination of caramel and chocolate and pecans was a great topping for the rich cheesecake. And the 2-bite portions were way more manageable than the obscenely large pieces of cheesecake you are usually offered when you eat out.
Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Bars
1 cup pecan pieces, divided
1.5 cups crushed Nilla Wafers
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 T flour
1 T vanilla
1 T water
3 squares (or 3 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
1. Finely chop 1/2 cup of pecans and mix with wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of foil lined 13x9x2 pan. Be sure the foil hangs over the sides of the pan (you'll use this to lift the cheesecake out later). Refrigerate.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended (yay for stand mixers!). Then add sour cream, flour and vanilla and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low until just blended. Pour over prepared crust.
3. Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely.
4. Microwave unwrapped caramels and 1 T water on high for 1 minute or until caramels are completely melted when stirred. Pour over cheesecake.
5. Top caramel with remaining 1/2 cup pecan pieces. Melt chocolate and drizzle over cake. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Use foil handles to remove cake before slicing and serving.
**One tip, when slicing these bars, make sure you point the knife straight down. Dragging the knife through at an angle can take the topping off.
Monday, August 4, 2008
5 large eggs
4. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, half and half, whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, and salt in large bowl to blend well.