Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Testing of the Blog

This is a test of the system

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mixed salad with Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette and toasted walnuts

from Cooking Light, Dec. 2005

1 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 (10-ounce) packages Mediterranean-style salad
2/3 cup Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

To prepare salad, combine onion and lettuce mix in a large bowl. Add Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette, and toss well. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Vanilla-Pear Vinaigrette
1 (15-ounce) can pear halves in juice, undrained
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of ground red pepper

To prepare dressing, drain pears, reserving 1/3 cup pear juice. Combine pears, juice, vinegar, and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

Yield: About 2 cups (serving size: about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Moosewood macaroni and cheese

From the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which I suggest you check out in person because it is very awesome.

I also threw some fresh spinach in here, just into the mixture before the breadcrumb step, and it turned out really well.

1 1/2 c 1% cottage cheese
1 1/2 c skim milk or buttermilk
1 t dried mustard or 1 T prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne (or more)
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 c grated onions
1 c grated sharp cheddar (4 oz.)
1/2 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni (or other tubular pasta)
2 T finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1/4 c bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare square baking pan with a light spray of oil.

In a blender, combine cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. In a large bowl (actually, I did this right in the baking dish), combine pureed mixture with the onions, cheddar and uncooked macaroni. Stir well. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into the baking pan. Combine the grated Pecoino or Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over top.

Bake about 45 minutes, until topping is browned and the center is firm.

Serves 4.

Lime snowballs


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon lime oil (we didn't use lime oil, we just used more peel and juice)

Additional powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in lime juice, lime peel, and lime oil. Beat in flour mixture until smooth. Refrigerate dough until just firm, about 45 minutes.
Using scant 1 tablespoon for each, form dough into balls and place on prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
Bake cookies until pale golden on top and browned on bottom, about 23 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to racks; immediately sift generous amount of powdered sugar over cookies. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets. (Can be made ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 weeks. Dust with more powdered sugar before serving.)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lobster bisque

from Cooking Light December 2005

5 cups water, divided
2 cups clam juice
3/4 cup dry white wine, divided
2 (1 1/4-pound) whole Maine lobsters
1 1/2 cups chopped carrot, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 cup chopped fennel bulb, divided
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped peeled baking potato
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons brandy
Chive sprigs (optional)

Combine 3 cups water, clam juice, and 1/2 cup wine in an 8-quart stockpot; bring to a boil. Add lobsters; cover and cook 10 minutes or until bright red. Remove lobsters from pan, reserving liquid in pan. Cool lobsters. Remove meat from tail and claws. Discard any roe or tomalley. Chop meat; chill until ready to use. Place lobster shells in pan. Add remaining 2 cups water, 1 cup carrot, 1 cup celery, 1 cup onion, 1/2 cup fennel, broth, tarragon, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 hours. Drain through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Melt butter in pan over medium heat; add remaining 1/2 cup carrot, remaining 1/2 cup celery, remaining 1/2 cup onion, remaining 1/2 cup fennel, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle flour over carrot mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved cooking liquid and potato; cook 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Place one-third of mixture in blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure twice with remaining mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan. Stir in lobster, milk, cream, and brandy; cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Garnish with chive sprigs, if desired.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)
CALORIES 153(24% from fat); FAT 4.1g (sat 2g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 16.3g; CHOLESTEROL 84mg; CALCIUM 83mg; SODIUM 407mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9g

**My notes: This soup was really, really good. I used three lobster tails instead of the whole lobsters, and it turned out just fine. Also left out the brandy, because the Gabs was eating. Very tasty...we tried it last weekend before I make it as the first course on Christmas this year.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Spiced Nuts

from Grazing by Julie Van Rosendale

1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 c. unsalted mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 325. Set a large saucepan over low heat and add oil and spices, except salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the spices begin to toast. Add the nuts and cook, stirring, until well coated.
Transfer nuts to a baking sheet and bake for 15 min, shaking the pan occasionally so that they will toast evenly. Toss with coarse salt and cool.

** My notes: I didn't have unsalted nuts (there's a really good Ann's House of Nuts warehouse by my office, and I can buy nuts in bulk for cheap, but the salted ones were cheaper), so I omitted the salt from the recipe. And I didn't use garlic salt, because I think granulated garlic tastes better. Also, I didn't add any of the chili powder and just a couple of dashes of the cayenne. But I have a 3-year-old that likes to eat everything, and isn't so sure about spicy yet.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Maple-glazed chicken with sweet potatoes

*from Real Simple

Serves 4

3.5 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1-inch wedges
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp maple syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken in 9x13 baking dish. Arrange vegetables around chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Drizzle with maple syrup. Lay thyme sprigs cross top. Bake until chicken is cooked through, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring vegetables once during cooking. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

* I did not use a whole chicken. I used one package of boneless, skinless thighs and one package of drumsticks.
* I would recommend seasoning the chicken first, because when you add the vegetables they mostly cover the chicken, and then the chicken misses the salt and pepper, and it's kind of difficult to stir this dish when you have big pieces of chicken in there.
* When I took the dish out to stir the vegetables halfway through, I drizzled some more maple syrup over the whole dish before putting it back in the oven.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chocolate covered popcorn

I just made this for Gaby's teachers this year (and for us, too) and it's really good. Super easy to make. I had it in the oven while we were dipping buckeyes, Oreos and peanuts.

recipe from Nestle

12 cups popped popcorn
1 (12-ounce) can (2 1/2 cups) salted peanuts
1 (11.5-ounce) package (1 3/4 cups) milk chocolate chips
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter

1. Heat oven to 300F. Butter large roasting pan. Line serving plate with waxed paper.
2. Combine popcorn and nuts in prepared roasting pan. Place morsels, corn syrup and butter in medium heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
Pour over popcorn; toss to coat.
3. Bake, stirring often, for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly in pan; remove to prepared serving plate. Store in airtight container for up to two weeks.