Sunday, November 12, 2006

a spot of tea

even though these scones did not turn out entirely as expected (they did not rise very much), i still found myself looking forward to a nibble or two. perhaps i didn't handle them quickly enough (being low-fat, they must be touched as little as possible to retain their light texture), maybe the whole-wheat flour was a bit too bulky to be light and fluffy, or maybe i was expecting the steroidal hulks of scones i see at coffee shops and such. these are tender little biscuits; not too sweet. and as reputed, they are perfect with tea.

Simple Scones
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 T. grated citrus zest (i used oranges, anything would be delightful)
2 T. butter, kept cold until use
1 T. vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Stir in the zest. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and add it to the flour. Blend it with your fingertips until it forms tiny balls in the flour.

Stir in the oil and buttermilk until a sticky dough forms. Put the dough on a floured surface. Quickly knead into a ball. Flatten into a 1/2 inch-thick rectangle. Cut into 12 pieces, place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack.

sunday night chili

sunday nights i generally make a large pot of something. this means that monday dinner is set with some left over to freeze or eat tuesday for lunch. our hero enjoyed this healthy chili recipe for days in a bowl, over spaghetti noodles, and as a nacho topping. it also freezes wonderfully. i've made this a few times since i clipped it from a Cooking Light last fall. i like that the seasonings mainly flavor the sausage, so when you go to assemble it all it's not too difficult. keep in mind; if you decide to make this, make the sausage the night before to get the maximum amount of flavor.

Mexican Black Bean Sausage Chili
1 1/2 T. paprika
2 T. minced garlic
3 T. dry red wine
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. black pepper
Dash kosher salt
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey (not breast)
2 T. olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. minced garlic
2 t. dried oregano
3 canned chipotles in adobo, minced
4 (14.5-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3 cups chicken broth, divided
3 cups water
1 (28-0z.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Low-fat sour cream (optional)

Combine sausage ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage mixture; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, cumin, garlic, oregano, and chiles; cook until onion is tender. Place 1 1/2 cups black beans and 1 cup broth in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Add pureed beans, remaining beans, remaining 2 cups broth, water, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 45 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in juice and cilantro. Garnish with sour cream and more cilantro, if desired.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

quick and easy

i clipped this recipe from some magazine, not sure which one - perhaps a fitness magazine? in any case, it's quite filling and is low in calories (one was more than plenty for me). i made some sweet potato fries with a horseradish-yogurt dip and set out some grapes on the side. no-cook recipes are my bread-and-butter in the summertime, since our apartment gets so hot that even boiling water is intolerable. i'm glad i saved this recipe - it proved tasty even when winds blow cold.

Thai Beef Rolls

1 1/2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. dark sesame oil
1 T. fresh grated ginger
1 T. grated garlic (microplaned or minced)
2 t. fish sauce
3/4 t. sugar
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
2 cups torn boston lettuce
12 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk. Brush tortillas with 2 t. juice mixture. Arrange 1/2 cup lettuce on eah tortilla; top with 3 oz. beef. Combine carrots and mint; arrange 3 T. carrot mixture over each serving. Drizzle each serving with 1 T. remaining juice mixture; roll up.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

more than a feeling

i am going to disturb the sanctity of this food blog to say something:

oh what a beautiful morning,
oh what a beautiful day,
i've got a beautiful feeling,
rummy is in his last days!

no victory is perfect, but damn it feels good! i'm just going to kick back and enjoy this extra spring in my step for a while. finally, a raise in minimum wage in sight! hallelujah!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The New American Plate Cookbook

last christmas, i put this cookbook on my wish list, and (lucky me!) my mom and dad made my wish come true . . . the American Institute for Cancer Research compiled the recipes for this healthy cookbook with the philosophy that americans should increase the amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that they consume, while reducing the amount of meat.

following research showing the cancer-fighting benefits of fancy-sounding scientific terms like phytochemicals and lignans, the recipes are bright and colorful, combining reds, greens, yellows, and oranges in a way that is both visually pleasing and tasty. i've made lots of recipes from this book, from delicious little steamed packets of whitefish seasoned with orange and topped with spinach, tomato, and kalamata olives; mini falafel patties; southwestern red pepper dip; a variety of muffins and breads; and lots more. recipes are not difficult and are explained clearly and concisely. i also like the introductions, which detail why these particular ingredients are cancer-fighters. nutrition information is included with each recipe.

the food in this book is healthy, but doesn't taste or look boring. recipes are fun to make and generally quite beautiful. i don't know if i like the term "foodie," but i consider food and cooking a healthy and exciting hobby. this book fits my lifestyle perfectly. (drea - perhaps a christmas gift for barb?)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

best meal in months

my parents had planned to come for a visit this weekend, but decided to forgo the possibly treacherous drive due to forecasted snow squalls, which i totally understood. a while back, my brother and his friend totalled a car driving through that mess on their way here for a visit. however, i was a bit blue. i missed them! i wanted to see them! a welcome distraction, then, this:

thanks to a generous benefactress (thank you, benefactress!), our hero and i enjoyed a wonderful "splurge" of a meal last night. i made some fresh sea scallops in a wonderful sauce served over baby arugula with a side of roasted cauliflower. we enjoyed this with a lovely bottle of rosé and a freshly baked whole-wheat baguette. who needs dessert with a dinner like that? it was an excellent way to spend a saturday night.

Greek-Style Scallops
From The New American Plate Cookbook

4 t. olive oil, divided
1 lb. sea scallops
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms (3 oz. - i used oyster, which are wonderfully mild)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 t. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1 t. chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup feta cheese (i used the delectable israeli feta, made from sheep's milk)
2 T. pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup white wine (optional)

In a skillet, heat 2 t. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes, until opaque throughout and tender in the center. Put in a bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, add remaining 2 t. of olive oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, parsely, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. (here's where i added white wine.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallops with their liquid and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Top with the feta cheese and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

cooking light's clam chowder

i enjoy a good chowder when it's cold and windy, so i whipped this one up last weekend. i would definitely recommend making it ahead of time, letting it cool in your fridge, and then reheating - the flavors develop nicely that way.

i had brought leftover chowder to work for lunch this week, which made me very excited. unfortunately, as i was taking the tupperware from my office to our mini-fridge, i dropped the container. the tupperware actually broke (who knew this was possible?), and i was left to cry over spilt chowder. luckily, i come in to the office earlier than everyone else, so there was no audience for this performance. consider all tears shed a testament to how delicious this healthy chowder is!

Plum Island Sound Clam Chowder
From Cooking Light

4 (6 1/2-oz.) cans chopped clams
2 (8-oz.) bottles clam juice
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (i used uncured bacon)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 t. butter
2 cups cubed red potato
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 1/4 cups evaporated fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 T. dry sherry (i used sherry vinegar because i had it lying around)
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Drain clams in a colander over a bowl, reserving juice. Add bottled juice to reserved juice to equal 3 1/2 cups. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving only 2 t. of bacon fat in pan (remove the rest). Return bacon to the pan, increse heat to medium-high. Add onion, celery, and butter; saute 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add clam juice mixture, potato, and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf), bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in clams, evaporated milk, 1% milk, and sherry. Cook 5 minutes or until heated, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

our hero's favorite pizza

so i've mentioned that i make pizza on a regular basis. it's easy, fun to come up with new topping combinations, and always pleases our hero (spouse of wellunderstood). Cooking Light strikes again! i made this pizza for "movie night" last weekend, and our hero raved.

i used my own crust recipe, adapted from Terry Blonder Golson's 1,000 Low-Fat Recipes.

100% Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-120 degrees)
1 t. honey
3 t. olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Combine yeast, water, and honey. Let sit until foamy (i love watching this part). Stir in the oil, salt, and whole wheat flour. Add the pastry flour a little at a time until a dough ball forms. Knead on a floured surface, adding flour little by little if necessary, until smooth and springy. (i test this by pinching the dough and seeing how much it springs back. it will be less springy than if you used white flour.) Put in a lightly oiled bowl (flip to coat the dough), and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place as long as you want, but at least 30 minutes. (in my drafty kitchen, i pre-heat the oven and let the dough rise on top of the stove.)

now's the time when i would slide my pizza stone in the oven to pre-heat. if you don't have a pizza stone, don't fret! a pre-heated baking sheet will work just fine!

Cooking Light's Wild Mushroom Pizza
1 t. butter
1 t. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. wild mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (they recommend Monterey Jack, i used Cabot's 50% Light Pepper Jack)
2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into short strips
Coarse cornmeal

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high. Add 1 t. olive oil. Add mushrooms; saute 10 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; stir.

Take dough from oiled bowl; stretch or roll it to fit your pan. Remove preheated pan from oven; sprinkle well with coarse cornmeal. Put dough on baking pan (or stone), slide into lower oven rack. Bake 8 minutes. Remove.

Spread mushroom mixture evenly over crust. Top with cheese. Sprinkle prosciutto over pizza. Bake on middle rack an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts.

Friday, November 03, 2006

hellooooo out there?

i'm feeling a bit lonely . . . are you enjoying the recipes? have you attempted any yourself or do you have one to share? does something look delicious or totally disgusting? please, leave me some comments - let's start some discussion!