Thursday, April 23, 2009

April Inspired

There is no easy/nice way to post this so I am just going to write it and hope that the message is not misconstrued.

April is a girl who writes a CR blog-- full of recipes, CR tips and other diet/personal stories-- much like this blog, but with the one exception that a ton of people read her blog!

I first found her blog when I enrolled in this study and wondered how people actually maintain a CR diet. I tried out her cauliflower soup recipe and while I did not love it- it was decent. I did not make it again though.

I still read her blog to keep up with the life of someone else who is restricted- but I will comment that none of her recipes have struck me as anything I would make. We all have our own tastes. In her defense, she does CRON (a CR diet where you eat all your vitamins/nutrients) because it makes being restricted easier for her. If you are going to embark on a CR diet you need to find a way to do it that will work for you- no one is going to have the same eating preferences- and it is a personal adventure on how to feel full/satisfied while eating less.

So recently I was reading her blog and was intrigued by one of her recipes: clam chowder. I recently went to BJs and bought a stack of canned clams and I am a bit "over" pasta with clam sauce right now- so this seemed like a great way to use the leftover clams.
I modified it a bit because TE recoils like I am killing him if I even mention "cream of mushroom soup!" Also I wanted to use a more natural product than canned condensed soup.
So here is what I did:

Liz's "April Inspired" Clam Chowder

2 bags/1 box of Frozen Corn Chowder, thawed
2 bags/1 box of Frozen Cream of Spinach Soup, thawed
2 cans of chopped clams (3.5oz ea)
1c frozen shelled edamame, thawed
6T shredded Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes to taste

Mix and aliquot into 3 containers for lunches! Microwave when ready to eat and enjoy!

It turns out that TE was so mortified watching me make this he did not eat it anyway (it does look gross- see below!) but I loved it!!

After this adventure into April's cooking- I was inspired to stuff something (if you look around April's blog she stuffs pretty much everything- peppers, cabbage, eggplant....). I was also reading Eating Well and they had an online recipe/article about stuffed mushrooms. That was all I needed! I was making stuffed mushrooms. I would say that this concoction was more inspired by EW, I will give additional credits to April, the queen of stuffing veggies.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
~125 calories per cap

4 Portobella mushroom caps
1c Full fat cottage cheese
1 10oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove water
Seasonings to taste (I used fresh thyme and red pepper- of course)
2 reduced fat string-cheese sticks

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray/tin foil.
2. Place mushroom caps, gill-side up, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mash cottage cheese, spinach, and seasonings in a medium bowl.
4. When the mushrooms are tender, carefully pour out any liquid accumulated in the caps. Return the caps to the pan gill-side up. Mound a generous 1/2 cup cottage cheese filling into each cap and sprinkle with the "string-ed" cheese. Bake until hot, about 10 minutes.

*Served here with a Quorn Gruyere cutlet! Yum!

Nutritional Info:
Clam Chowder
1/3 Recipe

*Not perfect (vitamin wise) because CRON-O-Meter does not have the soups in it and I was too lazy to add them.
Energy | 354.2 kcal 21%
Protein | 26.2 g 52%
Carbs | 25.2 g 19%
Fiber | 4.7 g 19%
Fat | 17.5 g 27%
Water | 304.8 g 11%

Vitamins (31%)
Vitamin A | 1676.7 IU 72%
Folate | 163.8 µg 41%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 41%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.4 mg 34%
B3 (Niacin) | 2.9 mg 21%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.4 mg 9%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.1 mg 8%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 28.0 µg 1167%
Vitamin C | 32.6 mg 43%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 0.2 mg 1%
Vitamin K | 0.3 µg 0%

Minerals (43%)
Calcium | 322.5 mg 32%
Copper | 0.4 mg 46%
Iron | 11.5 mg 64%
Magnesium | 67.1 mg 22%
Manganese | 1.0 mg 56%
Phosphorus | 358.1 mg 51%
Potassium | 833.2 mg 18%
Selenium | 16.7 µg 30%
Sodium | 1140.4 mg 76%
Zinc | 2.6 mg 32%

Lipids (29%)
Saturated | 4.7 g 23%
Omega-3 | 0.5 g 44%
Omega-6 | 3.7 g 34%
Cholesterol | 40.5 mg 13%
Stuffed Mushrooms
1/4 of recipe
Energy | 124.5 kcal 7%
Protein | 13.4 g 27%
Carbs | 9.4 g 7%
Fiber | 3.3 g 13%
Fat | 4.7 g 7%
Water | 189.0 g 7%

Vitamins (35%)
Vitamin A | 8456.9 IU 362%
Folate | 128.8 µg 32%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.1 mg 13%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.7 mg 62%
B3 (Niacin) | 4.2 mg 30%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 1.6 mg 33%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.2 mg 18%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 0.4 µg 15%
Vitamin C | 3.9 mg 5%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 2.1 mg 14%
Vitamin K | 264.3 µg 294%

Minerals (27%)
Calcium | 236.1 mg 24%
Copper | 0.5 mg 51%
Iron | 1.9 mg 11%
Magnesium | 69.5 mg 22%
Manganese | 0.6 mg 35%
Phosphorus | 283.3 mg 40%
Potassium | 716.9 mg 15%
Selenium | 20.3 µg 37%
Sodium | 323.3 mg 22%
Zinc | 1.4 mg 18%

Lipids (6%)
Saturated | 2.2 g 11%
Omega-3 | 0.1 g 8%
Omega-6 | 0.2 g 1%
Cholesterol | 16.6 mg 6%

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Passover Seder

OK OK no more Passover after this. I promise.

It's just that I cooked for what seemed to be forever- so I needed to finalize it all :)

These are photos from Mel's house- we did the Seder there- it was quick and fabulous considering Mel was sick and I was overtired.

We almost had our own Elijah: TE's cab driver! TE left his cell phone in the cab on his way back from the airport and "Elijah cabbie" kindly returned it within an hour of him leaving it!

How's that for Passover spirit?!?

Our crafty Seder plate! Note our shankbone :) The King enjoyed it later!

Dairy free appetizers-- Mel made an amazing eggplant, roasted red pepper dip (on the right)

Matzoh ball soup and the infamous gefilte fish course

Main dinner of brussel sprouts and brisket! Yum!

The King's BFF "Devil," as we will call him here, found the Afikomen (of course!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gefilte Fish

I am finally ready to blog about this experience.

Making gefilte fish is traumatic.
Well at least it was for me-- the drama queen!
This recipe tasted much more fresh and yummy than the jarred/doctored gefilte fish- but I like that stuff well enough not to need to make mine fresh every year.

So now onto my traumatic experience:
First- I had to special order my fish (pike, whitefish and carp are no longer regularly stocked in supermarkets), and so I ordered it from a local fish store that is located in a very rich part of town (read: fish would be overly expensive: like $80 for 3lbs of ground fish).

I am sure you are all asking yourselves the same question: why did she do this?!

The whole reason I was doing this was to use my new-to-me-family-heirloom meat grinder that I inherited from my Bubby and Pop-pop who used it to make their own gefilte fish back in the day- but as I was on the phone with the fish monger-- he clearly noted my inexperience with fish meat preparation and suggested that I have them prep it for me. I gladly conceded. But now with my whole justification for this adventure gone, I just had to get on board that this was an experience- all Jews should make their own gefilte fish once in their lives**, right???

So I picked up my fish meat and went home for the cooking marathon, day 2. TE was traveling for work so I had the house to my self... which was a good thing considering the chaos/stench that was about to unfold.

Armed with my recipe in hand, I got ready to dig into another night of playing with raw meat with my hands... ugh.

Gefilte Fish
Made 15 pieces
160 calories per piece
  • 7 to 7 1/2 pounds whole carp, whitefish, and pike, filleted and ground*
  • 4 quarts cold water or to just cover
  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 3 onions, peeled
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 small parsnip, chopped (optional)
  • 3 to 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste 1/2 cup cold water (approximately)
  • 1/3 cup matzah meal (approximately)
*Ask your fishmonger to grind the fish. Ask him to reserve the tails, fins, heads, and bones. Be sure he gives you the bones and trimmings. The more whitefish you add, the softer your gefilte fish will be.


1. Add fish stock (4c) and 4c of water to stock pot

2. Slice 1 onion in rounds and add along with 3 of the carrots. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes while the fish mixture is being prepared.

3. Place the ground fish in a bowl. In a food processor finely chop the remaining onions and the remaining carrot. Add the chopped vegetables to the ground fish.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and the cold water, and mix thoroughly. Stir in enough matzah meal to make a light, soft mixture into oval shapes, about 3 inches long.

5. Remove from the saucepan the onions, skins, and return the stock to a simmer. Gently place the fish patties in the simmering fish stock. Cover loosely and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste the liquid while the fish is cooking and add seasoning to taste. Shake the pot periodically so the fish patties won't stick. When gefilte fish is cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

6. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the gefilte fish and arrange in a 9x13 baking dish on top of sliced onions (skins on) and carrots. Season generously with salt and pepper.

7. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, allow to cool and place into a sealed container.

9. Eat gefilte fish cold served with hard boiled eggs and horseradish

**I will never do this again. My apartment smelled so so bad for about a week- they do not warn you ahead of time about that fact. Here is your warning. Do this if only if you live in a place where you can keep your doors/windows open for 3-4 days after the fact.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passover Meatballs

Just a short entry to give additional proof I am crazy. I hate. hate. hate. playing with raw meat. Hate. It skeeves me out beyond you could know. That was the reason I became a vegetarian back in high school. Ugh. But whatever craziness has infected me- I did not mind making these meatballs... Liz has officially lost it.

Passover Meatballs
Makes 20 meatballs
230cal for 2 meatballs

2lbs 93% Lean ground beef
1.25c ground matzo (4 sheets)
1/2c grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
3T chopped parsley (quite coarsely apparently)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix ingredients thoroughly with hands (!!) and shape into balls.

*You can cook these at this point but I froze mine...

Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze. Once the balls are frozen place in freezer bag/container.

Energy | 229.7 kcal 14%
Protein | 28.3 g 57%
Carbs | 9.6 g 7%
Fiber | 0.3 g 1%
Fat | 7.8 g 12%
Water | 63.7 g 2%

Vitamins (18%)
Vitamin A | 46.5 IU 2%
Folate | 10.2 µg 3%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.1 mg 7%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.2 mg 22%
B3 (Niacin) | 5.4 mg 39%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 0.7 mg 15%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.3 mg 26%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 2.4 µg 101%
Vitamin C | 0.0 mg 0%
Vitamin D | 1.8 IU 1%
Vitamin E | 0.4 mg 3%
Vitamin K | 1.3 µg 1%

Minerals (23%)
Calcium | 66.8 mg 7%
Copper | 0.1 mg 10%
Iron | 3.2 mg 18%
Magnesium | 25.1 mg 8%
Manganese | 0.1 mg 5%
Phosphorus | 235.3 mg 34%
Potassium | 309.3 mg 7%
Selenium | 26.7 µg 49%
Sodium | 135.9 mg 9%
Zinc | 6.5 mg 81%

Lipids (14%)
Saturated | 3.7 g 18%
Omega-3 | 0.0 g 4%
Omega-6 | 0.4 g 3%
Cholesterol | 91.3 mg 30%

Passover Part 1

I have been cooking up a storm.

I don't know what has inspired me- procrastination maybe?? But I am cooking like it is going out of style- which maybe it is since I can not seem to cook and work at the same time- I am either focused on school or focused on food. Food. School. School. Food. Exciting...

The focus of my cooking attention is Passover. I have not kept Passover in quite a few years. I used the excuse that I was a vegetarian and beans/soy/etc. are not kosher so I could not "really" keep it so why try at all?(I know, I know...) I usually always do a Seder though- since many of my non-Jewish friends seem to enjoy it... And it makes my mom happy.
So without making a plan for Seder festivities, I went to the supermarket and purchased a ton of food for Passover. I also special ordered fish so that I can make my own gefilte fish. --What got into me?? I am still not quite sure. It is something though.

So Monday night I made a brisket and meatballs. And a non-Passover casserole for my friend Rachel. TE had to work late and by the time he got home (at midnight) the kitchen was clean and the apartment smelled like wonderful braised beef (a stark contrast to the current smell)! We will be eating the brisket tonight at Mel's so I will report back on how it tastes- but from the smell and sampling I already did, I think it is going to be a success!

Here is the recipe from epicurious with photos:

Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes
Serves 8 (?)
Approx 450 cal/serving

  • 1 4-to 4 1/2-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, trimmed of most fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
  • 2 pounds onions, sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted large prunes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon prune juice
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Pat brisket dry; sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy extra-large skillet over high heat. Add brisket and cook until deep brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer brisket, fat side up, to large roasting pan. Add tomatoes with juice and wine to skillet. Remove from heat, scrape up any browned bits, and pour mixture over brisket. Distribute onions, carrots, and garlic around brisket. Add prunes and thyme; drizzle with 1/2 cup prune juice and 3 tablespoons vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pan over 2 burners and bring to boil. Cover pan with heavy-duty foil; place in oven.

Photo taken before putting into oven:

Braise brisket until tender, about 3 hours 15 minutes. Uncover and cool 1 hour at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with foil and chill. Bring just to simmer over 2 burners before continuing.

Remove brisket from roasting pan, scraping off juices. Place on work surface;cut across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.Spoon off fat from top of pan juices.

Place 1 cup vegetables (no prunes) and 1 cup braising liquid from pan into processor and puree. Return puree to pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon prune juice and 1 teaspoon vinegar to pan. Heat sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Overlap brisket slices in 13x9x2- inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over brisket, separating slices to allow some sauce to flow between. DO AHEAD:Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Rewarm brisket, covered, in 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle brisket with parsley; serve.

Calorie information was calculated with help from super-dietitian LR!! Thank you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bittman Inspired Beet Salad

I know. We are getting stalker-ish.

At least MB has inspired us to make a few new meals!
This is aiding our vegan efforts and lets us "give the goats a break" (and make Liz very happy!)

Bittman Beet Salad
Makes 7-8 servings, 160cal/serving

9 Beets (baked roasted in aluminum foil for 1+hr)
1/3c Olive Oil
6 cloves of garlic
1/3c Chopped walnuts

Roast the garlic cloves in oil for 5min (ish) then add the chopped walnuts and toast for another 5minutes.
Process in food processor until the consistency is like a thick salad dressing (we did not use orange juice like he recommended... next time)
Mix over chopped roasted beets.

We served these beets with:

Soy Lime Baked Tofu
Makes 5 Servings/90 cal per serving

1 14-ounce package extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice

1. Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Combine soy sauce and lime juice in a medium shallow dish or large sealable plastic bag. Add the tofu; gently toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 4 hours, gently stirring once or twice.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
3. Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (discard marinade). Spread out on a sprayed large baking sheet, making sure the pieces are not touching. Roast, gently turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Both served on top of:
1c blanched (boiled for 2m) beet greens
1c blanched kale
1/2 of a blood orange

Such a yummy lunch and very healthy! If anyone wants the nutrition breakdown of any of the individual parts let me know.
Here is the nutrition info for 1 serving of the salad.

Energy | 359.8 kcal 22%
Protein | 18.1 g 36%
Carbs | 39.5 g 30%
Fiber | 12.9 g 52%
Fat | 17.8 g 27%
Water | 488.7 g 18%

Vitamins (46%)
Vitamin A | 28969.0 IU 1242%
Folate | 163.7 µg 41%
B1 (Thiamine) | 0.4 mg 34%
B2 (Riboflavin) | 0.6 mg 55%
B3 (Niacin) | 2.7 mg 19%
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)| 1.0 mg 20%
B6 (Pyridoxine) | 0.6 mg 43%
B12 (Cyanocobalamin) | 0.0 µg 0%
Vitamin C | 133.4 mg 178%
Vitamin D | 0.0 IU 0%
Vitamin E | 5.3 mg 35%
Vitamin K | 1765.1 µg 1961%

Minerals (48%)
Calcium | 380.7 mg 38%
Copper | 0.8 mg 86%
Iron | 6.6 mg 37%
Magnesium | 166.5 mg 54%
Manganese | 1.9 mg 106%
Phosphorus | 184.6 mg 26%
Potassium | 2125.4 mg 45%
Selenium | 4.2 µg 8%
Sodium | 1016.9 mg 68%
Zinc | 1.7 mg 21%

Lipids (25%)
Saturated | 2.3 g 12%
Omega-3 | 0.7 g 62%
Omega-6 | 3.1 g 28%
Cholesterol | 0.0 mg 0%