Monday, May 29, 2006

Pan Pizza( Cook's Country)

I made these pizzas for dinner on Friday night. These came from the same issue of Cook's Country as the country captain chicken. Chelsea was spending the night and pizza is a favorite of hers. I loathe pepperoni, but Chelsea and Robin like it. I did buy some turkey pepperoni when I was in MI last week with this recipe in mind. Cook's Country billed this as " like your favorite restaurant pan pizza but with less fat". Robin liked it, Chelsea loved it( natch) and I thought it was just ok. I made one with shrimp, feta and asparagus. It was ok, but I really prefer a thin crust pizza. But, it was easy to make and from start to finish it only took 90 minutes.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sugar High Friday/ East- West Ginger Cake

When I heard that Ruth was hosting this month's Sugar High Friday and the theme was Ginger, I knew right away what I would make. I originally saw this recipe for EastWest Ginger cake in an older cookbook called Classic Home Desserts. I saw Nigella Lawson make a chocolate cloud cake using a recipe from this book and I knew right away I had to have it. When I came upon this recipe, it went into my go to pile of things to make. It did seem strange to me that I chose to make this at the tail end of Spring, because I think most people associate gingerbread with Winter. However, this recipe is so dead easy and so flavorful that it would truly be a shame to only serve in when its cold outside. Although this recipe is in the book Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax, the recipe is really from David Lebovitz. I left David a note and asked him if I could reprint the recipe here and he said sure. If you can't find Classic Home Desserts, the recipe is also in David's book Room for Dessert. As I said before, this is a very simple recipe to whip up. David suggests baking this in a springform pan, but I chose to use 6 jumbo muffin tins. I also made 1 thin 9 inch layer. There is also an accompanying recipe for Lemon cream, but I had no lemons and I was too lazy to run to the store so I served it with some whipped cream and uncrystallized ginger that I bought on my last trip to Trader Joe's.

East-West Ginger Cake
2 1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp each Cinnamon and Cloves
1/4tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut or other bland oil( I used canola)
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup minced, peeled fresh ginger, or to taste( use a food processor to chop this up)

1. preheat oven to 350f. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan.
2. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper on a sheet of waxed paper. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, molasses and eggs until well-blended. Add the sifted ingredeints and mix until just blended.
4. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water and quickly add to the batter and mix until just blended. Stir in the ginger.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hr( my jumbo muffins only took 20 min, but my oven is way off)

I tasted this once it fully cooled and then the next day and it was definitly better the next day.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Country Captain Chicken( Cook's Country)

apple, banana, coconut and toasted almonds.

As we all know by now, Robin doesnt really like fruit. This is exactly why I made this dinner( I'm on a neverending quest to get her to eat more fruit). I also had everything on hand. Which was amazing in and of itself.

I received a trial issue of Cook's Country last week. I'm not that fond of it because it reminds me of those charity church cookbooks that are sold around here. I much prefer their sister publication, Cook's Illustrated. Nevertheless,I felt like cooking tonight, because I haven't cooked dinner much this week, as we relied on meals that we made at the Community Kitchen.

The original recipe calls for dark meat( and by now we know how much I hate that) and the crock pot. I had taken out boneless, skinless breasts this morning with no clue as to what to do with them.

I cubed up the chicken, dusted it with flour, s + p and then sauteed it. I removed it from the pan and then sauteed some chopped onion, garlic and orange peppers( I had them frozen). Then I added some chicken stock and some chopped tomatoes. Next came the spices. Curry powder( mild, paprika and thyme) and an entire jar of mango chutney goes in next. I cooked this for awhile to marry the flavors, then I added back the chicken and simmered it until the chicken was cooked thru. I made some basmati rice on the side. The article suggests the traditional accompaniments of chopped apple, banana,toasted almonds and coconut. Robin not so willingly put all the fruit on her plate and said " This is a good way to get me to eat fruit". She really, really liked it. That's good, because we'll be eating leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

the dregs of the fridge......

Last night for dinner, I was determined to use up stuff that I had in the freezer/fridge. I'm the queen of "clearance" and "reduced" items and I often throw whatever it is in our chest freezer. I dug out 2 portabella mushrooms( they freeze wonderfully, btw) and a green pepper from the produce drawer. I had some whole wheat sub buns and some turkey sausage in there as well. I also am guilty of throwing half open bags of tortillas in the freezer too. Additionally, I had 3 chicken tenders left from Sunday's dinner. Those were already marinated.

I grilled the chicken along with the sausages. I made a quesadilla with the mushrooms, peppers, some ramps( wild leeks), the chicken and spinach. I used some manchego cheese Christine and I got in Toronto. Wow, was that ever strong!!!

I saved some of the peppers and mushrooms and made sandwiches with those. I brushed the bread with some garlic spread( a wonderful locally made product) and melted some cheese on them.

During the day, I made some silly toffee squares. These were featured in this week's foodblog over on egullet. I wasn't that fond of them because they were really sweet, but they were easy to make. I did buy a large box of rice krispies especially to make these. Rice Krispies is a cereal I normally wouldnt buy. Now I have to find a way to use it up without resorting to rice krispie squares.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Hearty Pancakes....(CL)

I made these on Sunday morning. Chelsea( our niece) was here for the weekend. Unfortunatly, she didnt enjoy these pancakes, but I did. I was surprised though beause she drank a glass of vanilla soymilk and she did enjoy that. This was a simple recipe and I had all the ingredients on hand.

Hearty Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup uncooked farina (such as Cream of Wheat)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/2 cup golden raisins, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup

Lightly spoon the flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, farina, and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine milk, applesauce, and egg in a medium bowl, stirring until well blended. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Let batter stand 5 minutes.
Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto pan; sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons raisins and 2 teaspoons walnuts. Cook 1 minute or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over, and cook 1 minute or until bottoms are lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining batter, raisins, and walnuts. Serve with syrup.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 pancakes and 2 teaspoons maple syrup)

CALORIES 347(23% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 1g,mono 1.3g,poly 5.1g); PROTEIN 8.8g; CHOLESTEROL 35mg; CALCIUM 142mg; SODIUM 537mg; FIBER 4.3g; IRON 4.8mg;

Mother's day dinner......

We headed to my MIL's lake house for Mother's Day. I decided to recreate a dinner my friend Mike and I made last year in Florida. Sara Moulton's Parmesean Chicken and Penne Alla Vodka. This is a good recipe to make for a crowd because its not that labor intensive. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are marinated in a mix of dijon mustard and white wine vinegar. They are coated with breadcrumbs made from whole grain english muffins mixed with fresh parmesean. These are baked and come out surprisingly crispy. I made the vodka sauce with canned imported san marzano tomatoes( very low acid) garlic and onion. Grey Goose vodka and half and half were added towards the end of the cooking process. We mixed this with fresh reggiano.

Black Bottom Raspberry pie and mixed berry pie...

Let's start with dessert first!! I have a fear of pies as these two pictures will attest. LOL. They did taste very good though, they are just really unattractive. My MIL's favorite dessert is pie( Id much rather bake a cake) so pie she got. As you all know by now, Robin doesnt like fruit, so I made a chocolate cream pie from Its called black bottom raspberry pie( I subbed black berries). It was fairly straightforward. A press in chocolate cookie crumb crust, bake for 10 min, cool and add a basic chocolate pudding filling. The pudding was nice and easy because you didnt have to temper the eggs. The filling consists of milk, dutch procces cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, 1 egg, 1 yolk, some butter and sugar. That must chill overnight, then berries are added and some sweetened whipped cream is spooned on top.

The fruit pie was my second attempt. I accidentally bought lard instead of crisco. I proceeded to make the recipe on the lard package which used 1lb of lard. Big mistake. I ended up with a blob of solid fat. I tried to use my cuisinart to my detriment. I didnt bother to use it, I just tossed it in the trash and went up to the grocery store and bought some frozen crusts( Pillsbury refridgerated crusts are not sold here). The filling is rhubarb, raspberries, and blackberries. I used some instant tapioca for the thickener. As you can see, I overfilled it and it bubbled over. What a mess. Thankfully, the pie was really tasty.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thai Food and Toronto....

Christine enjoying a mango bubble tea.

On Thursday, Christine and I went to Toronto. She was my most awesome tour guide. We went to Chinatown/Kensington market, downtown for lunch and the Jewish area. Christine used to live in Toronto for 6yrs so she knows her way around very well. Thankfully, I just had to follow her. We both brought home cheese( manchego and salmon dill cream cheese for me) Brie, shropshire blue, manchego and possible something else for her). We brought back lots of asian ingredients and bagels and pastry from the jewish area. We had dinner in a kosher restaurant( the pics were too foggy from the humidity) to post. Unfortunatly, it was raining most of the day and I stepped in a giant puddle and my feet was all pruny when I finally took my socks off 7hrs later.

I used some of those ingredients tonight to make pad thai and yellow curry chicken. The curry was freaking hot!! I think I'll be giving Christine the yellow curry paste, I used half the amount called for and my mouth was on fire. Wowzers.

Thanks again Christine, you're awesome!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mulit-grain sandwich loaf (CI).....

I've had this bread on my " list of things to make" for awhile. I woke up feeling a bit blah today, so I thought it was a perfect day to make it. I wanted to stay home and rest up for me and Christine's big day trip to Toronto tomorrow.

Like most CI recipes, it was a bit fussy. However, I didnt follow the recipe exactly and it still came out wonderful. Light and flavorful with a wonderful crust and texture. The recipe also makes 2 big loaves.

The recipe starts by soaking a 7 grain cereal( they recommend Bob's red Mill)( I used some from the bulk store.) in hot water. Then you add some melted butter, honey, instant yeast, ww flour, sunflower seeds, and AP flour. The dough was very wet so I ended up adding about another half cup of flour. After a brief mix, you add some salt. After mixing with the dough hook of the KA, you take it out and knead it a little bit. Then it rises, you shape it and place it in the loaf pan, top with oats and rise again.

Since my oven is funky, I always check my bread with an instant read thermometer. It reached 200 degrees after 40 min.

I wish I would have tried this last month when it was cooler out, I hate using the oven when its warm outside because it really heats up our house. Nonetheless, it was a very tasty loaf.

Low carb smoothie

Low-carb orange juice, 4 strawberries, half a banana, 1 scoop protein powder and 1 container low carb vanilla yogurt.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Better late than never......

For some odd reason, I didnt have my traditional matza brei breakfast this year. Growing up, my mom ALWAYS made us this during passover. I wasnt that hungry earlier but as I was looking thru food blogs, I felt slightly hungry( oh the pwoer of suggestion) I had some leftover matza so I decided to whip this up. I prefer sweet matza brei to savory and I always make it like my mom did. First, I broke up a couple of boards of matza. I poured over some hot water, then drained that off. Then I add 1 beaten egg and fry it up in about 2tsp of butter. I served with some macerated strawberries and sugar-free syrup. I offered Robin a bite( sans strawberries because she's allergic) and as predicted, she didnt like it.

Oh well, more for me.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cinco de Mayo.....

Cinco de Mayo is also knows as Mexican Independance day. Even though I'm not in California anymore, I still like to make some type of Mexican food to celebrate. Mexican food is probably the least popular ethnic food in Ontario though so its really not a big deal here. Robin loves, loves, loves burritos though. I introduced her to Chipoltle in California and Qdoba in Michigan and of course my homeade burritos. I prefer to make my black beans from scratch rather than using canned beans. I soak them overnight, drain the next day and add 2 whole jalapeno;s, a chopped onion and a maggie chicken boullion cube.

I made arroz verde( green rice) using the recipe from Fine Cooking. Spinach and cilantro are purried with milk and chicken stock, this is added to toasted rice, onion and garlic. I added a roasted poblano too( for a little bite).

I brined and grilled bone-in chicken breasts and put the whole thing together on a flax seed tortilla with salsa verde, cheese and light sour cream.

muy delicioso!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli...

Cook's Illustrated calls this a chain-restaurant classic. I guess I've never been to the chain that serves this because it didnt seem familar at all. The only dish that I could remotely compare it to would be the chicken giardinaria at Oliver Garden. I think I ate that when I was in high school, before I knew any better. I decided to make this even though I didnt have the right shape pasta and I only had half the amount of chicken and a few sun-dried tomatoes. It was a fairly straightforward recipe. Blanch some broccoli, saute chicken breast pieces with onion and lots of garlic. Add some red pepper flakes, and thyme, flour and 2 cups of chicken broth. The broth makes a sauce also known as a veloute. I used better than boullion, although the recipe advises using low-sodium broth. In my defense, I made the broth slightly weaker than the directions call for. Next, I used dreamfield's low-carb linguine because thats what I had at home. This was a nice light entree but nothing spectacular.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Spicy Korean style pork medallians with asian slaw

I passed over this recipe in the May 06 issue of Fine Cooking, but then I saw the demonstration on Egullet and decided that it looked good and I'd make it. It was very easy. I made the marinade and sliced up the tenderloin this afternoon. Half of the marinade is saved and then poured over some chopped napa cabbage, scallion and carrot. I added some chinese noodles for some more crunch. The pork is pan sauteed and placed over the slaw. I made our new favorite rice blend to go with it. Near East whole grain blends are a combination of brown rice and bulgar and barley. They cook in 25 minutes too so its possible to have your own " 30 minute meal" with no Rachel Ray in sight!!