Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not Your Typical Tuesday Night

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”
- Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

This weekend we picked up our dear friend's, T&S, CSA share (a local farm share) of vegetables- because they were away. We got a few great items, which reminded me of one of my favorite books quoted above:
Included in our vegetable share; kale, radishes, 3 ears of corn, beets, peas, 2 tomatoes, 2 yellow squash, 1 green zucchini, 1 light green zucchini/squash, 1/2 pint of blueberries, and 3 apples. Quite a bounty!

TE cooked his amazing Escarole and Bean soup with the kale and a mix of white and red beans on Sunday night.
We decided to thank T&S by cooking them dinner, where we served a meal using some of the veggies we got in the box!
So in light of my recent obsession, I pulled a few recipes from smitten kitchen! I will say that the food was well received, and looked and tasted amazing!

First I made a watermelon salad, inspired by Deb's

Chopped Watermelon and Vegetable Salad.
serves 4

  1. 1/4 of whole watermelon, balled
  2. 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  3. 1/3 of seedless English hothouse cucumber
  4. 2 scallions
  5. 1 ripe tomato
  6. juice of 1 lime
  7. 1c fat free plain greek yogurt
  8. 2T chopped basil
  9. 1 oz feta cheese
Combine all the fruits/vegetables (#1-5) and divide between 4 bowls
Combine yogurt and chopped basil and divide (2T ish) between each salad
Squeeze the lime over the salads
Top with 1/4oz of feta cheese

Next I made the Lemon Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza. I even made my own crust! She rocks. It was great!
275 calories/serving
serves 4

1c Bread flour
1/2c Wheat bran
1tsp salt
3/4tsp dry active yeast
1T olive oil
1/2c +2T lukewarm water

Mix dry ingredients together, then add the oil and water
Kneed the dough on a floured surface
Put it back into the mixing bowl and spray to cover with olive oil (I used my misto)
Cover with saran wrap for 1hr
Re-kneed and cover on counter with saran again, let sit for 20m before rolling out


Preheat pizza stone and oven to 400

4oz herb and pepper goat cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Mix together and spread over prepared crust

Slice 2 squash (1 yellow and 1 zucchini) using mandolin (which made mine a bit thinner than Deb's, since we only have one setting on ours)
Place into mixing bowl and add salt to remove excess liquid from squash (20m)
Place over goat cheese and crust
Squeeze remaining lemon over squash
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until done

TE also made a wonderful poached red snapper with onions and lemon, and S brought fresh beans from her garden!

We finished the meal with S's infamous blueberry cobbler, which was in the form of a pie last night :)

Definitely not your typical Tuesday night!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Guava Cheesecake

This cheesecake was very, very popular: It got the most votes in our summer lab cook-off.

Again- the New World Kitchen never steers us wrong :) There are only 15 dessert recipes in this book- so you know the ones that made it in here are good. I can not wait to try more.

As it is with any cheesecake- this was so not CR (I only tried a spoonful) so I am not going to calculate the nutritional information- no one needs to know. We all know how bad cheesecake is for you :) But if you ever have a need for cheesecake- bake this one. It is so worth it!
Here is the recipe (as I made it of course)

Guava Cheesecake with Gingersnap Cookie Crust

1 sleeve of gingersnap cookies (2 cups of crushed cookies)
6T Butter

1lb Cream Cheese (I used 1 regular and one 1/3 reduced fat)
3/4c granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1c Sour cream (I used low fat- but why bother at this point?!)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
12oz guava jelly (my normal supermarket actually had this!)

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir cookie crumbs and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press mixture onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter removable-bottom cheesecake pan with 3-inch-high sides. Bake crust until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For Filling
Preheat oven to 275°F
*Place a Pyrex dish filled with water into oven (*my addition) for humidity

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer for 4min, until soft and no lumps remain
Beat in the sugar and process until smooth
Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then beat in the sour cream, scraping down bowl as necessary
Using dull side of knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to mixer bowl
Beat to combine
Add half of the guava jelly and beat until smooth
Pour batter into prepared pan (with cooled crust) and bake at 275°F for 15min
Turn oven down to 250°F and bake for another 45min
Turn off oven and leave cake in warm stove for another 45min-1hr*
(I needed a bit more baking time for whatever reason... my oven is not good at low temps apparently)

Let cheesecake cool completely at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled and firm

Spread cheesecake with remaining guava jelly and refrigerate until ready to serve (I added a bit of water to my jelly so that it was easier to spread. Maybe guava marmalade is a little better to use for that purpose)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cashew Chicken Curry

Cardamom Pods

Recipe from Cooking Light

Originally I made this dish for Mel's birthday extravaganza last October. We both love Indian food- but since I am on a diet I figured I could make (with our friend Anisha's contributions) a healthier dinner feast than what we could order at our favorite local restaurant. I made this chicken cashew dish that turned out a bit bland for my liking, so I vowed next time I would use more spice. This time I did-- and it was great! Here is the recipe how I made it:

Serves 6-1c portions (or more if you are eating family style)

  1. 2/3 cup cashews, toasted
  2. 2/3 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup tomato paste (I used one whole small can of paste)
  4. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  5. 2 tablespoons garam masala
  6. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  7. 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  8. 1 tablespoon ground red pepper,
  9. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  10. 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika
  11. 3 crushed cardamom pods
  12. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  13. 4 -5 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces* (about 20 ounces) (I forgot to cut mine this time so after cooking the stew for a while I shredded the meat)
  14. 2 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (2 large)
  15. 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  16. 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick/ I used 1tsp ground cinnamon
  17. 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  18. 1 cup organic tomato puree (I used crushed tomato)
  19. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  20. 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Combine first 12 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Combine nut mixture and chicken in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

As you can see I did this in a bag and it had imperfect coverage of the chicken due to the fact that the marinade is so thick... It did not alter the final product taste though.

2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, cardamom, paprika, salt and cinnamon stick to pan; cover and cook 10 minutes or until onion is golden, stirring often.

Mmm... onions!

3. Add chicken mixture to pan; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, tomato puree, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 hour or until thick. Remove from heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired (I do not- eeeww!).

Nutritional Information (approx since I eliminated a few things like half and half, breast meat...)

Calories: 340 (36% from fat)

Fat: 13.6g (sat 3.4g,mono 5.8g,poly 2.6g)

Protein: 36.7g

Carbohydrate: 18.7g
Fiber: 3.8g
Cholesterol: 91mg
Iron: 3.2mg
Sodium: 435mg
Calcium: 83mg
I served this with brown basmati rice with fresh cooked peas!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I love my newest favorite blog:

To say I am smitten is an understatement. What hooked me was the birthday cake recipe.
Seriously- how much more could you want!? Beautiful pictures (really, really beautiful), and amazing food. Sign me up!

I am going to make the birthday cake.

And I will take pictures of it.

And it will not even compare to Deb's photo quality. But I am going to try out some manual settings on my Canon SD750 to see how I can improve my food photography skills.

So stay tuned for some new recipes- I made a fabulous cashew chicken curry dish last night. And my labmate Christine made me another batch of granola bars for feeding her cells. I love them so much, that I think I am going to seek out things I can do for her so that I can keep getting them! Haha! Thank you Christine!!