Sunday, November 30, 2008

It was a Cooking Light kind of day

Every once in a while I sit down with my recently-delivered Cooking Light magazines, and go through them to see what I might like to fix. I found a lot of recipes from the October and December issues (was there a November one?), and tried three of them. I'm always looking for good ways to fix fish - since A) it's good for you and B) Don often brings back fish from the ocean or Lake Mead. This recipe was simple, quick, and tasty. The fish itself was prepared as I often prepare it, but with the added touch of sprinkling it with garlic powder before it was breaded. The rémoulade was rich - I LOVED it. You have to be careful how much you use, because you could easily use too much. The recipe said it made enough for 2, but I cooked up 3 fillets and still had a little sauce left over. It reminded me of a tartar sauce, but I thought it was better.

Pan-fried Fish with Rémoulade

adapted from Cooking Light
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped capers
1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
(I used 3 mahi mahi fillets)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I substituted garlic salt for the salt and garlic powder)
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 2 lemon wedges
1. To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients.
2. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place panko in another shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish.
3. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt and garlic powder. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge fish in flour, shaking off excess. Dip fish into egg white, allowing excess to drip off. Coat fish completely with panko, pressing lightly. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining fish, flour, egg white, and panko.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add fish to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce and lemon wedges.

In addition to a salad, I fixed this dish with the fish:

Eastham Turnip-Potato Gratin

adapted from Cooking Light

1 ¼ pounds medium turnips (about 2, the size of baseballs), peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
Cooking spray
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ pound baking potato, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
¾ cup (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
¾ cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1. Place turnips in saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Drain; pat dry.
2. Preheat oven to 350°.
3. Arrange one third of turnips in a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with one third of salt and one third of pepper. Arrange half of potato over turnip. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons cheese evenly over potato. Arrange one third turnip over cheese; sprinkle with one third of salt and one third of pepper. Arrange remaining potato over turnip. Arrange remaining turnip over potato; sprinkle with remaining salt and remaining pepper. Pour broth over vegetables. Cover with foil, pressing foil down onto turnip slices. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
4. Preheat broiler.
5. Uncover turnips; sprinkle with the remaining 6 tablespoons cheese. Broil 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the recipe calls for broiling, I just added the cheese and continued cooking another 10 minutes. I also had to drain off some liquid before I added the cheese topping.

Dessert was a dish that somehow made its way into Cooking Light, but definitely wasn't light. It was a makeover, and I suppose that since they reduced the calories somewhat from the original, it qualified to be in the magazine. But ONE SLICE (which was ONE-TWELFTH of the cake) was 52 grams of carbs. Hmmm. I think next time I'll make it (and there will be a next time), I'm going to omit the sugary topping and add the coconut to the cake batter.

Sticky Date and Coconut Cake
adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter
Dash of salt
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons fat-free milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes or until dates are tender.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Stir in date mixture, granulated sugar, vanilla, and egg until well combined. Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
4. To prepare topping, combine brown sugar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Pour brown sugar mixture over cake; bake at 350° for an additional 13 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around outside edge. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Acorn Squash - a new vegetable for us

I "discovered" a new vegetable - acorn squash. We'd never had it before; I never knew how to fix it. I was shopping for groceries at the commissary, and an older couple was discussing which ones to get. I asked the woman, "How do you fix that?" She explained that it was really simple - cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, add a little brown sugar and butter, and bake.

I did a little research to refine the technique further, and this is what I came up with:

Baked Acorn Squash

1 medium acorn squash
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar (we like ours sweet)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a small baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut squash in half vertically through the stem. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides and discard them. Place face down on baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Turn over. (You might have to move them to a dish with sides so they don't fall over.) Place a tablespoon of butter and about a tablespoon and half of brown sugar in each half. Bake another 35-40 minutes. Serves 2.

The taste is reminiscent of sweet potato, but not as sweet. This is a joy to find something new and good. I found a different way to fix it here, a nice recipe by Alanna of A Veggie Venture.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's Been A Long Wait

In January of 2005, I put this bracelet on. It says THINK BLUE 11/04/08. I've never taken it off - and have proudly explained to anyone and everyone who asked about it what it said and meant. I told myself that eventually I could take it off for the right reason - President Barack Obama.

I told my sister this morning that I'd have a "ceremonial removal of the wristband," and would cut it into little pieces. So, there it is.

I can't wait to see how our country changes and how the world reacts to this. I really don't know what else to say - except that watching Jesse Jackson cry tears of joy said it all just now. I am so proud to be an American.