Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I was inspired to make a low fat healthy fish dish while watching an old episode of Martha. The tomato sauce original recipe had over 1/2 cup of olive oil in the salted cod & tomato sauce with the addition of another 1/4 cup of oil served over the finished dish. It looked fantastic, but it was so high in fat, even good for you omega 3 cholesterol lowering olive oil fat, that it had to be drastically reduced in calories. The recipe, while fairly easy, relied on too many cooking steps and methods to be realistic for a quick week night dinner by the home cook - even if the home cook is a pro! If the fat was being taken out of the dish, more flavor needed to be added in practical healthy ways. The answer was to add more vegetables while allowing the tomatoes to stand out. As I watched the tv segment, it dawned on me that the dish, hailing from
Puree the tomatoes in batches, until they are thoroughly smooth.The tomato puree will look so pink it will resemble watermelon puree. 2-3 pounds of tomatoes will yield 4 to 5 cups of puree.
Small dice all the vegetables and mince the garlic. In a saute pan over medium -high heat, sweat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil - 1 medium shallot or 1/4 cup of onion; 1 large celery stalk; 1 medium carrot; 1/2 small fennel bulb; 2 medium cloves of garlic. After the vegetables are softened, add in 2 Tablespoons dry Italian herbs and red pepper flakes or Picantisime Seasoning.
Add the pureed tomatoes to the sauteed vegetable medley and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the foam off the top.
As the tomato puree simmers, it will thicken and deepen back to a familiar tomatoey color. After 30 minutes, add in 2 tablespoons capers. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If necessary, adjust and add more Italian herbs and hot pepper flakes. Continue to simmer. Add 1 & 1/2 pounds of fresh cod cut into large chunks and poach the fish for 10 - 15 minutes before serving. Cod is cooked through when it turns opaque.
Serve with sauteed zucchini - such as patty pan squash or summer squash.
Monday, December 28, 2009
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Basil Flavored Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 1 Large Bunch Swiss/Rainbow/or Red Chard - rinsed, stems removed & roughly chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Can (14 to 16 ounces) White Beans - drained & rinsed
- 1 Can (14 to 16 ounces) Diced Tomatoes - plain & low-sodium or go crazy & try a flavor like Jalapeno or Basil & Garlic!
- 1 Pound Tilapia Fillets (about 4-5 fillets)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper - to taste
- Use a large non-stick saute pan or skillet with a tight fitting lid. Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer, about 1 minute. Stir in the minced garlic and saute 1 minute. Add in the chopped chard leaves, put the lid on the skillet and allow the chard to steam/saute until it wilts and collapses down onto itself. It may appear that the chard won't fit into the pan, but as it cooks down, it will fit. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes, stirring to mix into the chard. Pour in the white beans and the diced tomatoes with their juices. Season with a pinch of salt and a few dashes of ground black pepper.
- Lay the tilapia fillets on top of the chard/beans/tomato mixture. Season the fillets with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the lid on the pan and cook the fish for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and gently pierce the fish to see if it's cooked all the way through. The tilapia fillets should be opaque throughout. To assist in the cooking, spoon some of the sauce that is in the pan over the fillets.
- Serve immediately, over noodles or whole wheat pasta, with the chard, beans and tomatoes and a small drizzle of olive oil over the finished fish. Makes 4 Servings or 3 generous portions. Here's to your health!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- 1 Cup Williams-Sonoma Pure Milk Hot Chocolate Mix or 8 ounces of Bitter/Semi-Sweet Chocolate chopped Or Good Quality Bitter/Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 Pint (2 Cups) of Heavy Cream - Divided
- 8 Slices Country Style White Bread - crusts removed
- 1/2 Cup Freshly Brewed Espresso or an equal quantity of prepared Instant Espresso made according to package directions
- 2 Tablespoons Dark or Golden Rum, or Khaluhah (or 1 Tablespoon of quality Rum Extract)
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar - divided
- 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds - toasted (you can "toast" them in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and heat again for 33 seconds)
- Use a chilled metal or glass bowl and chilled beaters to whip 1 & 1/2 Cups of the heavy cream with a tablespoon of sugar, until stiff peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. Cream can be whipped up to a day ahead.
- In a large heat safe/microwave safe bowl, pour in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and add in the 1 cup of hot chocolate or shaved chocolate. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir and heat again for another 2 minutes or until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Set aside.
- Remove the crusts from the bread and lay the bread slices onto a sheet tray. Set aside.
- Prepare the espresso and pour it into a mixing jar or bowl. Stir in the Rum or Khalulah and the 2 tablespoons of sugar; stir until the sugar dissolves. Carefully pour the espresso/rum mixture into the melted chocolate, stirring and blending the chocolate with the espresso mixture, until it is smooth and pourable.
- Pour some of the chocolate mixture over the bread slices. Flip the bread over and pour more of the chocolate mixture over the other side. Reserve some (about 1/4 cup) of the chocolate mixture to drizzle over the top of the finished parfait.)
- To assemble the mixture, break or cut the chocolate soaked bread slices and layer half of them into the bottom of parfait glasses or into a trifle bowl.
- Next, add a layer of whipped cream on top of the chocolate bread slices. Sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of the whipped cream. Drizzle some of the reserved chocolate over this layer. Repeat with the next layer of bread, whipped cream and almonds. Drizzle the remaining chocolate sauce over the top layer of whipped cream and almonds.
- Serves 4 to 6. Recipe is best when assembled and served immediately, though it will hold for several hours, refrigerated.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
For this month's one-pot cooking - set it and forget it meal, I present to you:
Beef Short Ribs Braised in Coca Cola. That's right, a can of Coke!
Brought to you by the letters A & P! (The beef ribs were on sale at SuperFresh aka A&P Supermarket)
Coca-Cola Braised Beef Short Ribs Ingredients:
- 3-4 Pounds Beef Short Ribs
- 1- 12 ounce Can Coke (NOT DIET! Dr. Pepper or a good Rootbeer will work well too)
- 1/2 Cup Worchestchire Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Williams-Sonoma Hickory Smoked Seasoning Rub (or Thyme, Smoked Paprika, Oregano, Black Pepper, Cumin, Cayenne & Sugar)
- Freshly Ground Pepper - to taste
- 3 Medium Carrots - Large Dice
- 1 Large Onion - Large Dice
- 2 Celery Ribs Celery - Large Dice
- 4 Garlic Cloves - Roughly Chopped
- Dutch Oven
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Place half of the diced/chopped vegetables in the bottom of a Dutch Oven. Next, place the ribs on top of the vegetables. Put the remaining vegetables on top of the beef ribs.
- Pour the can of Coke over into the pot, along with the Worchestchire Sauce, water and seasonings.
- Put a tight fitting lid on the Dutch Oven and place in the preheated 425 degree oven. Roast, covered at 425 for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 375 and continue to roast for an additional 1 to 2 hours. If the liquid in the pot reduces too quickly, lower heat to 350 and add in another 1/2 cup of water. If after 2 hours, the liquid in the pot has not reduced enough and actually appears to have increased (due to the vegetables releasing their juices and the ribs’ fat melting), remove the lid and continue to roast until the liquid has reduced by about half its volume.
- Short ribs are done when the meat is tender and falling off the bones.
- Serve hot over mashed or smashed potatoes.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sautéed Squash with Red Bell Pepper and Chickpeas
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper - cut into 1/4 thick by 1 inch long dice/slices
- 3 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 2 Medium Zucchini - cut into 1/4 inch thick half moon slices
- 1 Medium Yellow Squash - cut into 1/4 inch thick half moon slices
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Dill
- 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1- 14 to 16 ounce Can Chick Peas - drained and rinsed
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
- Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers.
- Saute the red bell peppers until they become tender and slightly caramelized - about 8 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and the zucchini and squash and saute the vegetables until the squash are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the dried seasonings and saute to bloom the herbs’ flavors.
- Toss in the chick peas and pour in the wine. Lower heat and reduce the wine down by half its volume. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve as a side dish or over wide egg noodles or rottini pasta.
- If serving over pasta or noodles, a sprinkling of grated cheese is perfect!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Cranberry Walnut Cornbread Stuffing Ingredients:
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Butter
- 1 Medium Onion - small dice
- 1 Medium Carrot - small dice
- 1 Celery Stalk - small dice
- 2 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris or Sauvigon Blanc)
- 1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning or Combination of Dried Thyme, Parsley, Dill, Oregano, Marjoram, Sage & Black Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 Cup Walnuts - chopped
- 1/2 Package Dried Cornbread Cubes (about 4 cups loosely packed)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock - Hot
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
- Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers or the butter begins to turn light brown.
- Add in the diced onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sweat the vegetables until the onions turn translucent and the carrots become knife tender. Continue to saute the vegetables until they take on a golden colour - about 8 to 10 minutes total.
- Pour in the 1/4 cup of white wine and cook to reduce down to a tablespoon.
- Add in the poultry seasoning and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- Put the sautéed vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Add in the cornbread cubes and stir to combine. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Pour the hot stock, 1/2 cup at a time over the bread and vegetable mixture, gently tossing to combine. If the bread seems too dry, add in more stock. Don't add too much stock - or else the mixture will be too wet and will turn mushy.
- Put the stuffing mix into a greased 9 x 9 baking or 9 inch round cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the top of the stuffing is golden brown and crisped.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
- 4 Lamb Shanks or a 3 to 4 pound Lamb Shoulder - excess fat and silver skin trimmed
- 1 Large Onion - cut into 1/4 inch half moon slices
- 2 - 3 Medium/Large Carrots - large dice
- 4 Garlic Cloves - coarsely chopped
- 8 Dried Apricots - cut into quarters
- 8 Prunes - cut into quarters
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks or 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 6 Whole Cloves or 1/8 teaspoon Ground Clove
- 4 All Spice Berries or 1/8 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 2 Tablespoons Zatar Seasoning or Curry Powder
- 2 Cups Red Wine
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 CupSauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Peel, wash and cut all the vegetables.
- Place some in the bottom of a Dutch Oven Pot or other heavy bottom pot. Place the lamb shanks on top of the vegetables, and add the remaining vegetables to the top of the lamb shanks.
- Place the dried fruit, seasoning of choice on top of the lamb and vegetables. Pour the wine, water,sauce. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Put a tight fitting lid on the pot and place the dutch oven in the oven and roast/braise for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 4 hours. The meat should fall off the bones and the liquid will have reduced by more than half. Serve hot over couscous. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This recipe has few ingredients and even fewer steps. I find it works better in a "Dutch-oven" pot rather than a slow-cooker. By cooking this in the oven, the beer reduces down and creates a sweet and sticky glaze on the short or country style short ribs. A slow-cooker or Crock-Pot won't yeild the glaze. The slow-cooker holds the moisture in and creates even more. You need the evaporation that happens in the oven. Beer substitues other than the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat are, Oatmeal Stouts; Coffee Stouts; Porters; Guineess; Pumpkin Ales. I'd look for hearty, heavy-bodied beers, preferably with a hint of sweetness to them. Use at least 3 pounds of short-ribs or country style spare pork ribs. Trim away excess fat, but do leave some on the ribs; it melts away and helps create the final sauce. Cooking time is largely unattended in a 350 to 375 degree oven. An oven-safe pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch Oven will work best. We're looking for long slow cooking. Total cooking time, 3 to 4 hours for best results.
Cherry Wheat Beer Glazed Short Ribs Ingredients:
- 3 Pounds Pork Ribs: Country Style or Short-Ribs
- 1 12 ounce Bottle Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer
- 1 Medium Onion - peeled and cut into large half-moon slices (about 1/2 inch thick)
- 1 Large Carrot - peeled and large dice
- 4 Garlic Cloves - roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Penzey's Barbecue 3000 Seasoning or a Mixture of Smoked Paprika, Ground Onion Powder, Ground Garlic Powder, Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Cinamon, Nutmeg and Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Worchestirshire Sauce
- Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees
- Use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch Oven and place all the ingredients into the pot. Stir to combine and submerge the pork ribs.
- Cover with a lid and place in oven.
- Roast, covered for 2 hours. Check the ribs after two hours and toss gently to redistribute the ribs. Cook, covered for another hour or up to 2 hours more.
- Ribs are done when they are falling off of the bone and the beer has reduced down to a few tablespoons. The pork should be sticky and glazed, the onions and carrot will have cooked down as well and appear to be "candied" or caramelized.
- Serve hot over mashed potatoes.
- Makes 4 servings.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
"Dear 'Welfare-Cheater' Acuser, You have the wrong house. My wife and I are both hard-working young people who do not receive any money, or food, or anything else from the government. Stop leaving notes in our door. Thank you."
One of the better signs I've found around town. I would have loved to have seen and read the notes that were left at the house for the supposed welfare-cheaters. This sign should be partnered with the "Pooper-Law" sign I found on South 9th Street in my neighborhood. People in South Philly know how to say it like it is!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Some good or not so good lighting, as the case may be, can also add to the illusion of a cute Halloween Gingerbread Haunted House. Let's just say I put this together in time for a) Halloween. It's now proudly on display in my front window, the main attraction of my South Philly Halloween Window; b) I made it so that I can show it off to the Nibblet for his (hopefully) Halloween trip home from the hospital. While I am busy going back and forth to the hospital several times each day, as I stated in my previous post, cooking and to an extent, playing with food is relaxing to me. So is decorating my window for the holidays. Hey, it keeps me in sync with my routines. Now I just have to get back to the gym and on the bike. Of course, the Nibblet will have the ultimate say in how and when that happens.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My present for attaining my driver's license and for the baby's entree into our world (aside from the Nibblet himself!) was the Xpress Redi Set Go cook unit. Granted, I can and do purchase a lot of cookware from Williams-Sonoma, but there is something so soothing and addictive for me when I watch cooking Infomercials. I have watched for hours, the infomercial for the Magic Bullet. Even though I have a blender, a huge Cuisinart food processor, a mini-food processor, and a combo blender/food processor - I'm covered on my blending, whizzing, whirring and pureeing areas of the kitchen. However, I covet the Magic Bullet! The other infomercial that has hooked me is for the Xpress Redi Set Go! The thing about these infomercials is that they are so perfectly scripted, with a cast of hilarious characters and such easy to make food from your own ingredients, that you can't help but get convinced that you not only want these cooking machines, you entire culinary life depends on your having these items NOW! With the Magic Bullet, the dish that convinces me I need it is - Alfredo Sauce. I don't even eat that stuff any more. With the Redi Set Go, it's a combination of Instant Easy Pizza, Stuffed Chicken Breast made from scratch and the piece de resistance - cooking those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls - one or two at at time as opposed to turning on the oven and cooking the whole batch. Cinnamon buns whenever you want, without wasting oven heating time! Please baby please, I gotta have it! So, Liz ordered it for me and today it arrived. I wasted no time and made stuffed pancakes, which I will now share. Aside from my love of the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, I do believe that I will be blogging recipes and meals made with my new favorite cook tool. So far, I made breakfast and dinner using the Redi Set Go unit. Tomorrow I may make all three meals in it!
Caramelized Apples and Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip
Stuffed Pancakes Ingredients: (makes 4 large stuffed pancakes)
- 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Quick Cooking Oats
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Teaspoon of Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 Large Eggs, or 1/2 Cup Egg Substitute - lightly beaten
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk (I used skim, but any kind will do)
- Butter, Oil or Cooking Spray for the Xpress Redi Set Go
- 1 of Each - Peeled and thinly sliced apples and bananas
- 1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine - divided
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar - divided
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Walnuts - divided
- 2 Tablespoons Chocolate Chips - divided
- If you have the Magic Bullet, whiz all the ingredients together in that, otherwise follow on:
- Whisk the dry ingredients, flours though Cinnamon, together in a large mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla extract and the milk to incorporate. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine thoroughly, but do not over mix. There should be some small lumps. Set mixture aside and allow to sit for at least 10 to 20 minutes so the flours have time to absorb into the liquid. This allows the flavors to meld together and in general, makes a more tender pancake.
- Brush or spray oil or butter into the large well plate of the Xpress Redi Set Go cooker. Turn on the machine and allow it to heat up. When it's ready, melt some butter into the cooking plate sprinkle some sugar over the melted butter and arrange 5 or 6 apple slices over the sugar. Close unit and cook for 2 minutes to caramelize the apples.
- When the apples are cooked, pour the pancake batter over the caramelized apples. Close the unit and cook the pancake for 5 minutes or until the top portion is no longer wet.
- Carefully remove the pancake with the plastic spatula. Serve hot with butter, syrup, peanut butter, powdered sugar or whatever topping you desire!
- Repeat steps with bananas, except pour the pancake batter over the bananas before they caramelize. Next, top with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips (if using) and push the walnuts and chips into the wet batter to submerge them. Close the unit and cook for 5 minutes or until the top of the pancake is no longer wet.