Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dear Mark Bittman,

My husband is your biggest fan. We love the Minimalist articles in the NYT. I know this is not news or unusual. Last night we made your latest recipe for Tortillitas with Shrimp.

I am now your #2 fan.
I have loved your no-knead bread best and have thoroughly enjoyed most of your articles, but before last night did not fully understand all of the adulation.

Today: I am on board.
You rock.

My dinner last night got overwhelming praise from my foodie husband, and it was quick, tasty, and so so easy! Most people may not have chickpea flour in house- but we do- and we had frozen shrimp and fresh herbs. It was perfect.

Thank you for a fast, easy dinner that restored my confident love of cooking.

Liz- your newest groupie

PS. I am still working on my food photography skills, so I apologize that my picture does not do your recipe justice. And what I mean by "working on-" is thinking about how I can make the picture better about 30 seconds before I need to take it...

Tortillitas With Shrimp

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Water (1-1.5c)

1/3 cup chopped onion or scallions (I used ~1/4c scallions)

About 1/2 cup raw shrimp, chopped, or scallops or other shellfish or fish

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley, thyme or cilantro (I used 3T parsley)

Olive oil (used 1.5Tbsp).

1. In a bowl, combine flours and baking powder with salt and pepper. Add a little more than a cup of water and stir to combine; consistency should resemble pancake batter (if batter is too thick, add more water, a little at a time). Stir in the onions, chopped shrimp and herbs.

2. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and film its bottom generously with olive oil. When oil is hot, pour in half the batter until it fills center of pan; spread gently with a spoon to form a large pancake.

3. Cook about 3 minutes, or until pancake is set around edges; flip pancake and continue cooking for another 3 minutes, then flip it again and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until it is crisp on outside but still moist inside. Remove from pan and serve immediately, while remaining batter cooks.

Yield: 4 or more servings (we just made 2 pancakes).

For 1 serving (1/2 recipe)
Energy | 386.7 kcal 23%
Protein | 26.0 g 52%
Carbs | 38.8 g 30%
Fiber | 3.8 g 15%
Fat | 13.5 g 21%
Water | 83.8 g 3%

Vitamins (37%)
Vitamin A | 1003.2 IU 43%
Folate | 170.2 µg 43%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 36%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.2 mg 21%
B3 (Niacin) | 4.5 mg 32%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.5 mg 11%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.2 mg 17%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 1.0 µg 41%
Vitamin C | 13.4 mg 18%
Vitamin D | 129.2 IU 65%
Vitamin E | 2.7 mg 18%
Vitamin K | 116.8 µg 130%

Minerals (32%)
Calcium | 72.7 mg 7%
Copper | 0.5 mg 55%
Iron | 5.2 mg 29%
Magnesium | 81.2 mg 26%
Manganese | 0.6 mg 36%
Phosphorus | 287.4 mg 41%
Potassium | 440.3 mg 9%
Selenium | 44.9 µg 82%
Sodium | 144.9 mg 10%
Zinc | 1.9 mg 24%

Lipids (30%)
Saturated | 1.9 g 9%
Omega-3 | 0.6 g 52%
Omega-6 | 1.8 g 16%
Cholesterol | 129.2 mg 43%

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Smoked Corned Beef

Ahem....Its time for temporary live blogging...let me rephrase that...Its time for temporary live blogging from memory. This is the hottest live food blog on the scene... Wired magazine has given it two plugs up...and Culinary Weekly is calling it the "the new buzz word in casual cooking"...whatever that means....

Does this blog currently have a new tone and feel?????

We'll it should, because Liz is on hiatus heeling her wounds from the discovery that eating 12 cheezeburgers a day is not the way to optimum health. Instead I...her husband...am filling the void to give you olde worlde nutritional wisdom with scotch in hand...

So in honor of the patron saint of the Celts I wanted to smoke a corned beef-- I thought I'd put a Southern twist on an Irish American favorite.....

Smoked Corned Beef on a Gas Grill

Served 8

Night Before Cooking:
4lbs Corned Beef
Simmer beef (do not boil) for approx. 45 minutes to release some of the salt from the corning process
Strain all the gross fat foam
Rinse the beef and put back in the simmering pot
Let cool and pat dry.

Dry Rub:
1T Fresh cracked black pepper
1T fresh cracked coriander
1T paprika
1 tsp cayenne
2T dry mustard
1T garlic powder
2-3T brown sugar
2-3T olive oil
1T chili powder

Mix spices and oil and apply to beef
Wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight

Next Day:
Remove from fridge and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Soak some hickory or mesquite chips for at least 30 minutes in water.

Wet Rub/Baste
1 whole onion chopped
1 whole jalapeno seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
2T honey
2T brown sugar
1T chili powder
2T olive oil
2T butter

Add olive oil to sauce pot.
Saute Onion and jalapeno for about 6 minutes
Add garlic, cook for a minute or two
Add butter and the rest of the wet ingredients, boil reduce to 1/3 of its original volume.
Cool mixture a bit and then blend together with an immersion blender.

Rub beef with wet mixture.
Create smoke packs (tin foil pierced with holes, folded with wood chips)and start grill
Place smoke packs on grill burner
Get some smoke rolling
Once grill is smoking, leave the back burner on until grill temp is around 250 degrees
Place meat on a roasting rack over a disposable aluminum pan. Baste and rotate every 30 minutes
Add additional smoke packs once they stop producing
Figure cooking will take about 30 minutes per pound of meat or until 165 internal temperature.
A meat thermometer is great for this occasion.

**The next entry from TE will include mashed red potatoes and balsamic cabbage, both of which are an excellent side dish for this smoked corned beef! Yum

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi(e) Day

I survived the rest of my physical (more stories to come) and now I am at my in-law's house relaxing and preparing for tomorrow's "baby girl party" to welcome TE and my new niece who is expected to make her grand appearance in April! We are making some fabulous stratas and french toast casseroles for the brunch party so I will be sure to update the blog with those recipes.
Today for Pi day (3.14) I made two quiches that I have been trying to make for a little while- it was actually only supposed to be one quiche but when TE and his mom saw me putting canned pineapple in the eggs they made faces, so I left the pineapple out of one of them and made a "safe" quiche.
This recipe was from Mel (via J) and I agree with her that it is a keeper- very tasty and easy.

I will call it a...

Canadian Quiche
3 eggs
2/3c Milk (I used 2% -- the "real" recipe calls for cream)
1/2 bunch of asparagus: diced and sauteed in 1tsp olive oil and 1tsp garlic salt
3oz smoked salmon
1/3c crushed canned pineapple (drained) OR
2T whipped cream cheese, dolloped on top of quiche
1 pie crust (Mel made hers with a homemade crust- I made mine with a local made (still store bought) whole wheat crust)

Beat eggs and milk together
Layer sauteed asparagus on bottom of pie shell
add diced smoked salmon and crushed pineapple
Pour egg/milk mixture on top of the veggies/fruit/fish
If making it with cream cheese- now add the dollops to the top of the pie
Bake for 1hr at 350

*Also the "real" recipe calls for fontina cheese with the pineapple, but I did not have it, nor did I need the extra calories- so I omitted it!

Before going into the oven:
The cream cheese version:
The pineapple version:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Snow Day Cooking/Baking

I got busy on Monday after feeling the guilt of doing nothing- busy cooking that is!

First up: Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. TE said it was lacking "something:" which is probably fat, or sausage flavor ;-) Any additional flavors/spices would go great with this- it is a pretty simple garlic flavored bean dip. Note the photo highlights TE's Christmas gift from me- an immersion blender! It was perfect for this use. Sorry for the lame tupperware bowl... I need to work on plating things better that I am showing off on this blog...

Homemade Hummus
1 15oz can of chickpeas
1 medium red bell pepper
1 head of garlic
1tsp olive oil (for roasting garlic)

Roast pepper and garlic/oil in [toaster] oven at 350 for 25min
Peel skin from pepper and remove garlic cloves from head and blend with chickpeas
Season with salt to taste

Next I made an EW recipe for dinner. Pork with mushrooms and thyme. It was yummy and a keeper for my cookbook-in-progress. I served it with a side of quinoa topped with feta cheese and grape tomatoes- mmm!

Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Thyme

2 5-ounce boneless, center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed and pounded to 1/4 inch thick (I bought them thin already- and used only 5oz total)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces)-- I used 10oz baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup dry vermouth (I used 1/4c sherry cooking wine)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (I used dry)

1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the pork chops and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to 2 serving plates; tent with foil to keep warm.
2. Swirl oil into the pan, add shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add vermouth and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in mustard, thyme and any juices that have accumulated from the pork; cook until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately.

And finally I made Swag Bars- a recipe makeover from the most recent Cooking Light. I am happy to report that these yummy bars turned out very well considering that I changed almost every ingredient :)

Swag Bars- Liz's Changes

1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter (I used chunky)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) chopped lightly salted, dry-roasted peanuts (I used a mix of 3oz cashews and 3oz pecans)
3 1/2 cups (4 ounces) whole-grain flaked cereal (such as Total), finely crushed (I used 2.37oz fiber one cereal, and 1.63oz graham crackers)
Cooking spray
1/3 cup (2 ounces) chopped dark chocolate (I used semisweet)

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 4 minutes or just until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in peanuts and cereal. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
2. Place the dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate melts, stirring every 20 seconds. Drizzle chocolate evenly over peanut mixture (my chocolate didn't drizzle- I had to smear it). Score into 36 bars while warm (I waited until they cooled and it was v. difficult! I used TE's muscle power).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Working and Eating From Home

I am working from home today- since I do not have to teach due to the snowy weather. I am totally loving it- but I have done absolutely nothing productive since I got up- which is nagging a bit on my love of the snow day.
I find that when I am home all day I do not eat according to my normal set times, and I am constantly feeling hungry- even though I know I am not actually hungry- maybe just bored and looking for a distraction.
I wonder how people who work from home do it....

I am eating strictly this week, in an effort to get better DLW results, and I was pleasantly surprised with my restraint this weekend. We ate out all 3 nights- and while I can never know exactly how many calories I consumed, I was good about listening to my body, eating slowly, and stopping well before I felt full. I was impressed with how even though I wanted to keep eating the delicious meals I could stop and even if I felt a little bit hungry- it didn't seem so bad.

I also bought a new treat that has helped me stick to my goal: Lindt 60% dark chocolate truffles. OMG- these suckers are so, so good- and at 70 calories a pop, a perfect calorie controlled, decadent dessert! I never miss "real" desserts with these buggers around.

In an effort to post something useful to my readers, I will tell you about the oatmeal I made this morning for breakfast. I am not a huge fan of oatmeal- I don't usually like mushy foods- so when I make oatmeal it has a lot of "stuff" in it for consistency sake :)
Today's special:

"Peanut Butter and Jelly" Oatmeal
Serves 2, 400cal each

1c Old Fashioned Oats (TE and I have been enjoying a multi grain blend recently)
1 3/4c Water
40g Chopped walnuts
40g Dried Cranberries
2T Peanut butter

Boil water
Add all the ingredients and cook until most of the water is incorporated

Note: the King pup was also a big fan of this breakfast- he loves anything with peanut butter :)