saansaturday: (eggplant or radish?)
( Tuesday, 9 December 2008 00:31)
Tightening up my nutrition has had me eating well the past week. Part of this is that having rules and restrictions can foster creativity for me--it's sort of like writing a poem within the bounds of a form. It's also because eating out is difficult to do and I'm trying to eat more often--recently I'd reverted to only eating 3-4 times a day--so I really need to cook a tasty variety of food to keep myself happy. Here are a few of my creations.


Protein Kaiserschmarrn

This is not quite Kaiserschmarrn but the taste and cooking method really remind me of this German/Austrian dessert. I created this recipe by accident one morning when attempting to make protein pancakes. Our sea shipment from China, which had my good nonstick skillet in it, had not yet arrived. So I cooked the pancake in a not-very-nonstick skillet which I had left behind in Germany. It stuck like crazy, so I couldn't flip it. I broke the pancake up into pieces and continued flipping them around in the pan until everything was just barely cooked. This concoction was pretty amazing, like eating dessert for breakfast. It would make a delicious dessert--if you wanted to be decadent you could dust it with powdered sugar and/or serve it with applesauce, another fruit sauce or barely (or not at all) sweetened whipped cream. I do make this in my good nonstick skillet now, intentionally breaking the cake into pieces as it cooks.

2 scoops low-carb vanilla whey protein powder
3 eggs
about 1/2-1 cup rolled oats
about 1/3 tsp. salt
about 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
about 2 Tbsp. milk or water
(optional: about 2-4 Tbsp. milled flaxseed, or this milled flax mixed with dehydrated berry powder that I found at Costco)
about 1/2-1 cup frozen blueberries
a large handful of chopped pecans (I just break them by hand into the bowl, no need to get a knife and cutting board dirty)
unsalted butter

In a large bowl use a fork to whisk together the protein powder and eggs. Stir in the oats, salt, cinnamon, milk or water and if, desired, flaxseed. Add the berries and nuts and stir again. The batter will be pretty gloopy. You can use the blueberries frozen since they're small but if you use some other kind of larger berry it's best to at least partially defrost them first.

Rub a stick of unsalted butter over the bottom of a skillet, a thin layer to cover. Heat the skillet over medium, then add the batter. It will be very thick so you'll need to spread it out to cover the pan. Cook it for about 3-5 minutes, or until the bottom side is browning like a pancake. Use a spatula to flip the pancake in parts, breaking it into pieces. I like to have some nice large pieces as well as smaller ones. Cook for a few more minutes, flipping and breaking the cake more as needed, until it is just cooked--still moist in the middle. This serves two very hungry people. It has substantial carbs so I like it for breakfast or for a post-workout meal.


Five-Spice Tilapia

This is a variation on my Baked Salmon with Magically Delicious Fish-oil Drenched Onions. I have yet to get tired of this recipe, as there are so many variations possible. Another variation is to use basil and substitute sliced tomatoes for the citrus.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 bell peppers (I like one red and one orange), sliced
about 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
about 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced ginger (I like to make matchsticks)
about 2 tsp. five spice powder (I may have used more, I kind of spilled it into the pan)
a little salt
fresh ground pepper
4 tilapia loins, rinsed and patted dry
4 or 5 mandarin oranges (or other variety of orange), unpeeled, sliced thin

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium. Add the olive oil and after it's hot, add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, ginger and some of the five spice. Saute until tender and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and lightly salt the vegetables. Rub the tilapia with a little salt, pepper and allspice and place it over the vegetables. Arrange the orange slices over the fish. Slide the pan into the oven and bake about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked.


Vaguely Greek Spinach Burgers

I really wanted feta in these but I didn't have any. This is only the second time in my life I've made hamburgers. I know adding all sorts of things to burgers was a bit of a fad a few years ago I'm behind the times as I made up this recipe Friday afternoon.

about 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
about 5 cloves garlic, more or less to your taste, minced
1/2 yellow onion, minced
a lot of fresh spinach, as much as will fit in your wok, washed (you want some water still clinging to the leaves to help it steam a little in the wok)
a dash of salt

oh, let's say something like 16-20oz. ground lean beef. I don't really know. It was about 1/3 of a huge package we got at Costco.
1 egg
about 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 yellow onion, minced
a few cloves of garlic, minced
about 1/4-1/3 cup grated monterey jack cheese
about 2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat your wok over high heat. When hot, add the peanut oil in a swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic and onion and cook 20-30 seconds. Add all the spinach and a little salt and continue to cook, turning and stirring the spinach often (I like to use tongs) until it is wilted. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the beef, egg, onion, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess water out of the spinach, mince it, and add it to the mix. Let rest for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Form burgers--I attempted to go for about 5oz. each but who knows? This made seven burgers for me. I just got a new cast iron stovetop griddle/grill, so I cooked them on that. You can cook them in a skillet or grill them or whatever you prefer. Serve with sliced tomato and stone-ground mustard. (Or whatever your desired condiments are).


Palava Chicken

I made this one this afternoon. I particularly liked how the peanut butter made the sauce creamy. The flavors were quite harmonious.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed, patted dry and sliced fairly thin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
about 4-5 cloves garlic, roughly minced
6 small or 4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt people!)
about 2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
lots of fresh spinach, probably 6 cups or so
about 1 Tbsp. extra hot New Mexican red chile powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet (or chef's pan, which I prefer) over medium. Add the olive oil, then the chicken. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is browning a bit on all sides, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion, garlic and tomatoes to the pan juices and saute for about five minutes or until they are soft. Reduce the heat to low and add the peanut butter and half the water. Cook, stirring pretty much constantly to keep the peanut butter from burning, for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the remaining water, thyme, chile, spinach and, if desired, a little more salt and pepper (I didn't add more as there was plenty of salt on my chicken and in my peanut butter). Stir the spinach into the liquid until it is starting to wilt enough that there's room to add the chicken back to the pan. Add the chicken and cook the whole mess, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, about another 5-10 minutes. If your chicken breasts are large you can probably get about 6 servings of stew out of this recipe.
I've been working on writing down my favorite recipes, particularly for New Mexican food. (In the past I was generally sharing experimental food with you, not old favorites). There will be many more of these recipes coming in the future. Here are the results so far:

Corn Tortillas )

Flour Tortillas )

Calabacitas )

Green Chile Spinach Enchiladas )

Green Chile Stew )

Tortilla Soup )

Frijoles Pintos (pinto beans) )

Frijoles Refritos (refried beans) )

Sopa )
Pumpkin Pie )
saansaturday: (botticon)
( Wednesday, 19 October 2005 14:25)
Dinner last night:

1 spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper

250 grams spaghetti
more olive oil and a little butter
about 1 cup bread crumbs from stale bread (I used potato bread)
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
a little less than a cup of walnuts, chopped roughly
a handful of fresh sage leaves
juice of half a lemon
about 1 cup parmesano reggiano
salt and fresh ground pepper

Cut the squash in half and remove its guts. Place cut side up in a roasting pan. Rub the cut surfaces with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast in a 190 C (375 F) oven for about 1-1.5 hours, or until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh into a bowl and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add some olive oil and a little butter, then add the breadcrumbs, garlic and walnuts. Cook, stirring often, until the breadcrumbs and walnuts are toasty. Remove the breadcrumb mix from the pan and set aside. Turn up the heat a bit, add a little more olive oil to the pan, then add the fresh sage leaves. Fry the leaves for about a minute or until they are crispy. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Then add the spaghetti squash to the pan along with a little more butter or oil, if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water. When the spaghetti is almost but not quite done, add it with some of its cooking water to the squash. Cook and stir until the spaghetti is done. Then add most of the breadcrumbs and fried sage along with the lemon juice, parmesano reggiano and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the reserved breadcrumbs and fried sage leaves.
I made this up tonight. I'm not sure I have the words to describe how good it was.

1 small hokaido pumpkin (or another variety of your preference)
about 3 Tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, minced (or less if you're not a garlic freak like me)
400 grams cream
about 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
salt and fresh ground black pepper
about 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
200 grams Italian sausage, cut into slices
250 grams squid ink (black) spaghetti

Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and membranes, rub the cut sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the garlic-infused cream sauce. Sweat the onion and garlic with a bit of salt in butter over medium-low for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for another 20 minutes. Then add the thyme, chipotle powder, salt and pepper to taste.

When the pumpkin comes out of the oven, let it cool enough to handle. The skin should easily peel away from the flesh. Break it into pieces of whatever size you like and set aside.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high. Add a little olive oil, let it heat, then add the sausages and fry until browned on all sides. Turn the heat down and add the pumpkin pieces, turning them gently. You can let them fry a little but you do have to be gentle to keep them from breaking. Add the cream sauce to the pan with the sausage and pumpkin. Stir gently and keep at a bare simmer, stirring often, while you cook the pasta in boiling salted water.

When the pasta is just a bit undercooked, add it to the sauce with some of its cooking water. Toss and stir gently to combine, and serve. :)
saansaturday: (further back and faster)
( Saturday, 1 October 2005 14:02)
I just typed this up for elsewhere and even though it's such a simple recipe that everyone should know, maybe some of you don't. So I'll repeat it here. :)

My favorite fast/easy dinner is Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

You'll need:
3 eggs
1/2 cup or more Parmesano Reggiano (or half Pecorino Romano and half Parmesano Reggiano)
about 125 grams of pancetta (or prosciutto), chopped in small cubes
500 grams spaghetti
about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
garlic (as much as you like), sliced very thin
about 1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile break the eggs into a bowl, add the cheese and whisk. I also go ahead and add my salt and pepper at this time but the first time you make it you should add them at the end so you can find out by tasting how much you like.

Salt the water, add the spaghetti, and cook until just under al dente.

Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium, add the olive oil, then add the pancetta and sauté until it's crispy, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the wine and let it reduce while the spaghetti continues cooking.

When the spaghetti is nearly done, drain it and add it to the pan with the pancetta and garlic with a bit of its cooking water. Stir until the spaghetti is cooked to your liking. Dump the contents into the bowl with the eggs, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. Yum. :)
As the two of us hungrily gathered over the large skillet brimming with succulent golden rice, dark turkey pieces, squid, shrimp, tiny whole fish (I've already forgotten their German name, never knew their English name), Spanish ham (oops, another memory-omission, was it serrano?), red and orange bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, onions and garlic ringed by eight lemon wedges that seemed a pale yellow compared to the rest of the dish, V asked, "do you want to take a picture?" . . . well, no. It was gorgeous; I don't know why I've not been feeling like photographing my food recently. Of course I am talking about paella. :)

For dessert we had yogurt and mashed berry panna cotta, with little shortbread cookies on the side. Let me tell you how I arrived at this dessert:

Saturday night I made broiled salmon with a chipotle-berry glaze, along with a bean/tomato/spring onion/parsley salad with a chipotle-lime-cumin dressing. I let the salad sit at room temperature for about an hour before we ate it, it got so juicy and tasted not too far off from salsa. I even got out some tortilla chips to dip in it, and to help cut the heat from all those chipotles. To make the glaze for the fish, I had first let some frozen mixed berries defrost in a strainer over a bowl. Once they were defrosted I added to the juice already in the bowl by smashing the berries in the strainer with a spatula. As I only used the juice in the glaze (reduced with chipotle, lime and ginger) for the fish, I had leftover berry mush.

So yesterday my desert plans came together quickly. I've been making yogurt panna cotta (not a true panna cotta, but a seriously healthy and easy variation) almost regularly (maybe even once a month!) The first time was vanilla-cardamom panna cotta with orange syrup and marinated orange slices. The second time was Stracciatella. Yesterday's was the best yet, though, mixed berry mush, hints of cinnamon and cardamom, with a whole, fresh, beautifully ripe cherry (halved to get rid of the pit of course) sitting at the top once they're unmolded. When I tasted the mixture before pouring it into custard cups, I instantly thought that it would taste good next to shortbread. A strange thing to think so quickly, especially as I was not really looking to make a second dessert. :) But shortbread isn't difficult and I had plenty of time, so why not?


Yogurt and Mashed Berry Panna Cotta with Lemon Shortbread

Yogurt Panna Cotta

this makes two large or four small (to make small ones, just fill custard cups halfway) Panna Cottas . . . oh, and if you don't have custard cups you can use small coffee cups or teacups :)

1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
1-2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
healthy pinch ground cardamom
healthy pinch ground cinnamon
a tiny pinch of salt
mixed berry mush (about 1/2 cup)
4 tsp. water
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 black cherries, pits removed

Whisk together yogurt, sugar, vanilla, spices and berry mush in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust the sugar content--I like mine just barely sweet (berries are sweet enough!)

Put the water in a very small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let stand for one minute to soften. Then heat over low, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved.

Whisk the hot gelatin into the yogurt until combined.

In the bottom of each of four custard cups, place one halved cherry. Pour the yogurt into the cups. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1.5 hours (until set).

To unmold the panna cottas, run a thin knife around between the panna cotta and the cup, then dip the cup into a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds. Invert the panna cottas onto plates. They might take a moment or two to come out, or a little whacking on the bottom of the cup. :)

Serve with a single shortbread:

Lemon Shortbread

This recipe makes about 8-12 cookies.

1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
2/3 cups flour, plus more for rolling
grated zest of one lemon

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth (an electric mixer is best for this). Beat in flour (with electric mixer on low speed), mixing just until a dough forms. Stir in lemon zest.

Place the dough on a floured piece of parchment. With floured hands, gently roll into a 1.5 inch diameter log. Wrap tightly in the paper, twisting the ends to make a nice tight round cylinder. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Unwrap the dough and slice it into 8-12 slices with a serrated knife. If it starts crumbling, let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before resuming the slicing. Arrange the cookies with at least an inch of space between them on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
V took a couple of photos while I was making dinner last night. The camera ran out of batteries and we didn't have any others charged, so there's no photos with the sexy red peppers from the Nuoc Cham dotting the surface . . . you can see my hands )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Monday, 14 February 2005 12:36)
cabbageFriday: take-out sushi

Saturday:
Pulled Pork with Cherry Chipotle Chutney on Poppy Buns recipe )
Coleslaw (Good Eats recipe) cavolo bello )

Sunday:
Banana Insanity Pancakes (buttermilk pancakes made with walnut oil instead of veggie oil, with loads of toasted walnuts and bananas, spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, served with maple syrup &/or butter &/or cardamom whipped cream)

Fantastic Roasted Chicken with Celeriac and Potatoes (Jamie Oliver's recipe)--the flavor "bits" as I called them--prosciutto, lemon peel, garlic and fresh thyme in butter under the breast skin--brought this chicken to the food for the gods level. :)
Homemade Whole Wheat Cloverleaf Rolls photo )

The real stars were the chicken and the sandwiches, both of which I neglected to photograph because I was too involved in devouring them. :)
for the love of foodMmmm, 'twas a tasty weekend.

I started with a Turkish feast on Friday night--Imam Bayildi and Kabak Mücveri. Imam Bayildi ("the Imam fainted") is an almost simple combination of eggplant, tomatoes and olive oil that somehow manages to be a nearly unearthly delight. The eggplants are peeled in a striped pattern and halved lengthwise. After frying the eggplant halves in olive oil, they are stuffed with a simple oily tomato and onion sauce. A bit of water is added to the pan and they are braised in the oven. The dish is allowed to come to room temperature before the carnal indulgences begin. :)

Kabak Mücveri are zucchini fritters. Grated zucchini is drained of its liquid, then mixed into a batter with feta, eggs, flour and seasonings. The little zucchini pillows are fried in olive oil, of course. The insides are soft and light, the outsides just slightly crispy. Gods, I could eat thousands of them. They're good dipped in yogurt or mayo that's been seasoned with garlic. (Recipes for the Turkish feast can be provided upon request).

We had duck soup on Saturday. I found some yummy-looking duck pieces (legs and thighs) at the market and already had duck broth sitting in my freezer just waiting for such an occasion. The soup was simple--after browning the duck pieces and pouring off the fat for another use, I moved the duck to the edges of the pan and let my mirepoix sweat until the veggies were tender. I added lots of water and the duck stock (I only had about 2 or 3 cups of stock) along with some whole fresh herbs and brought everything to a boil. I turned it down to simmer for about an hour, then removed the herbs and duck pieces. I took the duck meat off the bones, added it back to the soup, adjusted the seasoning, then added my homemade wide egg noodles (pappardelle). I served the soup with the last slices of my Italian Bread.

On Sunday I made Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia, using this recipe. The flavor is so divine with the truffle oil. I just have this thing about truffles, they give me such pleasure. It made a huge loaf, I mean huge. I'm going to think of some sandwichy way to eat it for lunch today, maybe with marinated cherry tomatoes, maybe avocado?

cheesyThen for dinner I made Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese. V was asking for Mac and Cheese, so I bought a big block of Irish Cheddar at the market. But Sunday night when I started cooking dinner I found that I didn't have any macaroni. But I did have these great mini penne. After a lot of experimentation, I finally found my favorite recipe for this dish...and it's revealed right here! )

I only took pictures Sunday night. Here's the photos of the Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia and Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Monday, 31 January 2005 12:50)
Purpleberry Pie with Cardamom Whipped Cream:

Filling:
3/4 cup raw sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

recipe continued )


I made a Sienese dish called Uova Trippate, "tripe eggs," which are called so because they look like tripe. The eggs are made into omelets, which are then cut into strips that resemble wide noodles. The omelet noodles are then tossed in a simple tomato sauce.

recipe and photo )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Friday, 28 January 2005 16:37)
pici(Pici with a Sauce of Tomatoes, Sausage and Mushrooms)

This is my attempt to re-create a dish I had in Siena. Pici is a speciality of the region, best described as a very thick version of spaghetti. The thickness gives the pasta more bite than other pastas. As I recall, pici should be rolled by hand. I didn't make my own pici, though, but used some dried pici that I brought back with me from my last trip to Italy.

This is probably the 50th time V and I have declared "the best pasta dish I've ever made." Either we have short memories or I do keep cooking better food. :)

recipe and photo )
potato cake(adapted from Didi Emmons' Vegetarian Planet)

This pretty cake is one of my favorite things to do with potatoes. Pan-frying helps the potatoes caramelize a bit, making for a lovely presentation, especially if you have a large platter that isn't as ugly as mine is. :)

The sweetness of basil, the bite of raw garlic, the sourness of lemon and the creaminess of mayo are enchanting against the earthy backdrop of carrots and potatoes.

recipe and photo )
.

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