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
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Adapted from—Nigella Lawson How to Eat: The Pleasure and Principals of Good Food
Clementine Cake Ingredients:
- 5 small Clementine oranges –(about 1 pound total weight; you want to yield 2 cups of puree)
- 6 eggs – beaten
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated white table sugar
- 2 & 1/3 cup finely ground, unblanched & unsalted raw almonds – (If using whole almonds & grinding yourself, measure out 2 cups whole almonds, then grind in a food processor. If using pre-ground almonds or almond meal, use the exact measurement given)
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- Cover clementines in a pot with cold water and bring to boil. Don't peel or cut them. Put them in the pot whole! Cover the pot & simmer for 2 hours; then drain and cool. When the clementines have cooled enough to handle, cut each in half and remove the seeds (if there are any). Some clementines are seedless, so this step may not be necessary.
- Chop the clementines in a food processor or blender – skin, pith, fruit, the whole shebang – until smooth. The mixture won’t be perfectly smooth, but you don’t want big chunks of orange either. This can be done by hand though it will take longer. If you want to make the cake at another time, measure 2 cups of pureed orange for each cake to bake and freeze. When you are ready to make the cake, take the puree out of the freezer and defrost.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Butter and line four miniature spring form pans. You can use an 8-inch size spring form pan, but you will need to adjust the baking time to 40 minutes of baking, uncovered, and then cook the cake another 15 minutes covered with foil to stop the top of cake from turning too brown.
- Beat the eggs; add the sugar, ground almonds and baking powder. Mix well and add the pureed clementines.
- Put the mini spring form pans onto a baking tray, to keep them stable. Pour the cake mixture into each spring form pan and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check to see if the top of the cake is becoming too brown, if so, cover with lightly sprayed aluminum foil (prevents sticking) to prevent further browning. Continue to bake the cakes another 10 minutes. If you are using a large size spring form pan, or if you are unsure of your oven’s actual temperature, you may want to check to see if the cake is done. When a skewer will come out clean, the cake is finished.
- Remove cake from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the pan. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan. The cake is actually better a day or so after it is made – the flavors bloom and develop more.
- Notes – Serve as is, at room temperature, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or as a special treat, with a drizzle of warm, bittersweet chocolate sauce.
- I use whole, raw, unblanched & unsalted almonds that I grind myself in the food processor. The extra crunch and coarser texture of the whole almond with its skin yields a nuttier and more interesting texture to the cake.
- I’ve made this cake every Christmas for the past 7 years, and have even given copies of the recipe along with the cakes as gifts. Baking the cakes in the smaller spring form pans allows me to bake many at one time, freezing some for later, or for baking in advance. The cake will hold for about 5 days, but it is best to refrigerate it after one day. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
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!