Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ten in 10 - I'm Taking the Challenge

After choosing to just skim past the posts about this on recipe girl's blog, I slapped myself upside my head and realized that I really need to do this.

My goals:

1. Lower my blood sugar.
2. Lose a little weight.
3. Eat and cook "healthy" - which for me, means low carb.

I'm going to have to make Kenny and Don finish the holiday treats, right? Well, I know they were good.

If you're interested in joining in, go HERE.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Roasting pumpkins again

This was in the bag of potatoes.

This is a Cinderella pumpkin, which is supposed to be one of the best varieties for roasting.

Very simple directions:
1. Cut open the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and membranes. Cut the pumpkin in large chucks.
2. Place chunks flesh side down on a cookie sheet.
3. Roast at 350˚ for about 90 minutes.
4. Peel skin off.
5. Pureé in food processor until smooth.
6. Store in 1-cup or 1-pint plastic zip bags in freezer. (A 1-pint bag equals one small can of pumpkin.)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ritz Cracker Pie

First let me clarify that this is NOT the "mock apple pie" that some people have tried (not me). This is made in a pie plate, but could just as easily be made in a small cake pan or baking dish. I have seen variations, including one with chocolate chips thrown in that I might try soon, but this is the original.

Ritz Cracker Pie

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
20 crumbled Ritz crackers (no substitutes)
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
cool whip, dream whip or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 inch pie pan. Beat egg whites and baking powder until stiff. Blend in sugar and add crackers, pecans and vanilla. Pour into pie pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool completely and top with whipped topping of choice. I used real whipped cream, sweetened slightly with a little sugar. Chill in refrigerator.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Roast Beef Hash - almost as good as Mom's

When I was growing up, Mom made roast beef at least once a month. She made sure to use lots of carrots and potatoes, since we loved the hash she made with the leftovers (if there were any!). I've had a craving for that hash, but didn't want to start with a roast and cook all day. So, believe it or not, I was able to recreate that same flavor using canned roast beef from Costco. There are two kinds of canned roast beef - one is hunks of beef in a brown gravy, and the other is what I used - hunks of brisket in beef broth. I added some burgundy, which Mom never did, but otherwise, this came out pretty close to how I remember hers.

Roast Beef Hash

carrots, diced (about a cup)
potatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
1 12-oz. can roast beef in beef broth, undrained
1/4 cup burgundy
1/4 to 1/2 cup water or beef broth

In a small saucepan, boil the carrots in a cup or so of water for about 10 minutes, or until nearly tender. Add the potatoes and a little more water, and continue boiling another 10 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Drain. In a large skillet, saute the onion in the butter until tender. Sprinkle with flour, salt, and pepper, and cook another 2 minutes. Add beef and broth from can, burgundy, and 1/4 cup water or beef broth. Stir and cook over medium heat a couple of minutes until thickened. Add carrots and potatoes, and heat through. Serve over some soft bread. Remember Mom fondly.

Baked Cabbage and Braised Autumn Pork Chops

I hauled a big head of cabbage to Lake Mead and back, and decided Sunday night I needed to use it before it went bad. We weren't in the mood for cole slaw or any other kind of salad, and since we were having pork chops, this recipe sounded like it would go well with them.

Baked Cabbage

1 medium cabbage
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole. Cook cabbage in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and let cool; chop finely. In mixing bowl, blend eggs, 3 Tablespoons butter, cream, salt and pepper; stir in cabbage.Turn into casserole dish. Blend remaining butter with bread crumbs and sprinkle over cabbage. Bake 30 minutes.

* Note: You might want to use some paper towels to dry the cabbage thoroughly before chopping it.

To go with the cabbage, I tried a recipe for pork chops that was in my old notebook - it sounded like something that was appropriate for Sunday. A cold winter storm had just come through southern California, and left several inches of snow behind.

Braised Autumn Pork Chops

2 boneless pork chops
¼ teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil
¾ cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium)
1 rib celery, diced
½ cup apple juice
2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sage

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. In a nonstick skillet, cook meat in oil for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned; drain. Remove meat; keep warm. In same skillet, cook onion and celery for about 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in the apple cider, vinegar and sage. Return meat to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until meat is tender.

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

(another recipe from the old notebook)

Don loves "sweet" breakfasts when I'm working and don't make time to cook - so I make him things like muffins, waffles, and quick breads that he can just grab and eat. This recipe is a bit different than other banana breads I've made since it's sweetened with brown sugar instead of white.

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons walnut or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 - 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 325˚. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to mix well. Put the banana and brown sugar in a medium bowl, and stir until the brown sugar has dissolved. Add the banana mixture, oil, and vanilla to the flour mixture, and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the walnuts. Coat an 8" x 4" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray (I use the kind with flour in it ). Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake at 325˚ for 50-55 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on a wire rack. Refrigerate any leftovers not eaten within 24 hours.

Confetti Chicken

I have two recipe collections - MacGourmet, which I use 99% of the time, and my old, typewritten collection, which is in a 3-ring binder in the kitchen. Several times I've gone through it and added recipes from it to MacGourmet, but this one slipped through the cracks. I used to make this often, and when I saw it recently I knew we had to have it so I could post it and then transfer it over to the computerized collection.

This recipe was one that I got through a mail-order cookbook - I don't remember what it was called, and I no longer have it. But you were given the binders for free, and each month you were sent sections of recipes for the binders. I still use a lot of the recipes that were in that cookbook. This one combines roasted chicken, which I now do with boneless breasts and thighs, and roasted potatoes, one of my weaknesses. I make sure now that Don eats 3/4 of the potatoes so I don't overdo.

Confetti Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
2 lbs. chicken pieces
2 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
6 small to med. red potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons white wine
salt, pepper, paprika
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375˚. Mix oil and garlic. Arrange chicken and potatoes in a shallow roasting pan. Brush well with oil and sprinkle with half the rosemary, and salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven, turn chicken and potatoes; sprinkle with remaining rosemary, salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Bake 25 minutes longer and check for doneness. Chicken should be crisp and lightly browned. Sprinkle green onions and red pepper over chicken, and bake 5 more minutes. Sprinkle lemon juice and wine over chicken. Place on hot platter and pour any pan juices over it. Serve hot.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Being Borderline Diabetic... really the same as being diabetic. I have to watch the carbs, cook and eat carefully, and test my blood sugar. The only difference is that I only check my blood sugar 2 times a week, fasting (in the morning before breakfast). (I made a big mistake on Saturday - I pricked my finger while sewing, and thought, "why not use this little blood to do a blood test?" It was right after lunch.... totally freaked me out how high it was! But this morning it was normal. Whew!)

I've learned how to "tweak" so many recipes, added so many new recipes to my repertoire, and continue to try new things - while I know I'm eating healthier, it just get so frustrating. I just hate it that so many good foods are so bad for me.

What does a diabetic eat for breakfast? I would love to keep working on this list - it's rather limiting, and you can't eat eggs all the time. I don't care that much for oatmeal, but I'll eat it just to have variety. What I really need is recipes for work mornings - things I can grab and take with me.

1. eggs - fixed every way you can think of
a. egg/cheese quesadillas on whole grain tortillas
b. migas (eggs scrambled with tortilla chips and salsa)
c. scrambled
d. "fried" (with nonstick cooking spray)
e. egg "muffins"
f. Huevos Rancheros
g. Sausage-Egg Breakfast Quesadillas
h. Mexican Soufflé

2. oatmeal - with additions like pumpkin purée or peanut butter
3. whole grain waffles - spread with cream cheese (Kraft makes some good flavors)
4. whole grain pancakes - with sugar-free syrup (Carey's tastes the best to me)

I started a list of general changes and tweaks - and will keep adding to it as I go. But it's been a long process, and continues to change every day. I fall off the wagon and climb back on all the time - you really have to take it one meal, one snack at a time.

Changes and Tweaks:

1. morning coffee - I use Splenda and sugar-free Coffeemate
2. white flour is no longer found in my kitchen - I use whole wheat, even for thickening gravy
3. Splenda granular - I now buy it by the "5-lb." bag, and the canister of sugar that used to be refilled monthly now gets refilled once a year.
4. fresh vegetables - we used to stock up on canned vegetables, which are still fine, but we rarely use them any more. I cook more fresh vegetables than ever before.
5. fewer potatoes - potatoes are my favorite "vegetable," and I've relegated them to an afterthought on most menus - if we have them, I deliberately make half of what I used to make, and serve Don the much larger serving.
6. substitutes for potatoes - I used to have potatoes as a side dish with nearly every meal (unless we had pasta - but that's another change). My mind still wants a white or yellow starch - so I use brown rice, turnips, cauliflower, okra, cabbage, sweet potatoes (sparingly), squash, corn, and other non-potato vegetables.
7. Dreamfields pasta - since it has a lower glycemic value (fewer digestible carbs), that's all we eat. I no longer buy any other kind. I wish, though, that Dreamfields made orzo or couscous.
8. If any ready-made product, such as ice cream, pancake syrup, or whipped topping, comes in a sugar-free version, that's what I buy. The only exceptions so far have been sweet pickles and jelly. The sugar-free versions of those were just nasty.
9. brown rice - I no longer buy any kind of white rice, with the exception of Uncle Ben's Converted - which, in addition to having a lower glycemic value than regular white rice, is good for making Spanish Rice.
10. fresh baby carrots as a substitute for potato chips - I have to have something with my sandwiches for lunch, and these give me that crunch.
11. popcorn as an occasional substitute for potato chips

This post will change often, as I learn more things about eating as a borderline diabetic. I'm open to all suggestions and ideas.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Roasting Pumpkins

Two weeks ago, before Halloween, I saw various posts on different blogs about roasting pumpkin to make pumpkin purée. Ree on Pioneer Woman said to make sure that I had a "sugar pumpkin" instead of the normal jack-o-lantern type, so I went in search of one. The first place I went to, our local fresh vegetable stand, had lots and lots of orange pumpkins. When I asked about "sugar pumpkins," the gal at the front said they only had "those," pointing to the ones outside. Since I was short on time, I grabbed two that were about the same size and took them home.

They were both small, so I decided to roast them at the same time. As I was cutting them up, I noticed that one had darker flesh than the other - but the difference between the two was more noticeable after they'd been roasted. For these two, I followed Ree's directions of cutting them in quarters (or eighths, depending on the size of the pumpkin), scooping out the guts, and then roasting at 350˚ for about 45 minutes. Next I peeled them. The one with the darkest flesh was very difficult to peel while the other one had stringy flesh and had peel that came off easily. I decided to mix them together while puréeing, and ended up making 6 cups of purée. This I froze in 2-cup bags. I've already used that purée up - in pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin butter.

The pumpkin butter recipe comes courtesy of Kevin, whose blog is called Closet Cooking. It tastes like pumpkin pie! I'm glad I discovered his blog - so many wonderful recipes.

Pumpkin Butter
from Kevin of Closet Cooking

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup apple cider
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

Simmer everything in a pot until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.

As it got closer to Halloween, I decided to go ahead and spend a bit more money on my pumpkins. I went to Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Patch - not even 2 miles from my office - and asked for assistance in finding pumpkins meant for eating. They advertise that they have over 50 varieties of pumpkins - so it was quite fun to explore and try to pick out the "right" ones for me. These are the ones I got:

The large orange one is called a Cinderella. The gray-green one is appropriately called an Ironbark. The white one is a Casper.

Here's the Ironbark before I roasted it. This time, I followed the directions that were in a handout from the pumpkin patch and roasted it whole. I set the oven to 35o˚, put the pumpkin on a cookie sheet, and roasted it for 90 minutes.

This is the Ironbark after it was roasted and quartered. I decided I liked the other method better - where I cut it up before I roasted it. The flesh came out more evenly cooked that way. But this pumpkin had very smooth flesh that puréed easily without having to add any water.

Still down in the basement are the Cinderella and the Casper - they're supposed to last for months, so I'll do the next one in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

How Time Flies!

I cannot believe it's been over a month since I posted last! That's terrible; inexcusable - but I've been busy. I've been busy at work, since the California budget is in the tanks and our governor and legislators are idiots, and it's been affecting everything our district does. I've been busy at home - yes, I've been cooking - I even took pictures, but for a while I just didn't want to connect that little cord from the camera to the computer to transfer the photos. I DO want to share a fabulous new recipe I got from my friend Chris. He brought it to the Halloween party I went to; it was potluck and I brought my mom's macaroni salad. What Chris actually brought was a salad made with orzo, but since I need to lower the carbs, I made this today with brown rice. It has a lower glycemic value, and the salad still was yummy.

Debbie's Orzo Salad with Feta
from Chris Brunette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 box orzo (alternately, you can use 2 cups of brown rice)
6 cups chicken broth/stock (I cheat and use powdered bouillon)
2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (green parts, too)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
6-7 oz. crumbled feta (I used a 6-oz. container from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

In a small bowl, make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, and honey. Whisk in the olive oil.

In a large pot, bring the orzo or rice to a boil in the chicken stock. Boil until tender (orzo - about 7 minutes; rice - 40 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water. Add remaining ingredients and toss with the dresssing. Makes about 12 servings; keeps well several days in refrigerator.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Another Winner from Ruth

If you've been reading my blog for several years, you'll remember that I tested recipes for Ruth as she was preparing for publication of her cookbook, Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories. Some of my favorites were her chili, her chocolate bark, and her sour cream coffee cake.

Last week, Ruth posted a recipe for roasted Italian sausage, along with some mushrooms and potatoes. It definitely sounded like something I wanted to try, so that's what we had for dinner tonight. Oh, MY! It's a keeper - and a new favorite. I've only recently started eating Italian sausage in ways other than my father-in-law's sausage and peppers, and I really like this way a lot.

I made a couple of small changes to Ruth's recipe - I had a half a basket of cherry tomatoes that we needed to use, so I tossed them in there, and I used hot Italian sausage instead of the sweet. I also cooked everything longer - 45 minutes did the trick for us. But the basic recipe is the same as Ruth's.

Italian Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Roast

1-2 tbsp olive oil
4 Italian sausages (I used hot, but Ruth recommends sweet)
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 8 oz. basket cherry tomatoes (not in Ruth's recipe)
4 small new potatoes, cut in eighths
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, (quarter large ones, leave smaller ones whole or halved)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 heaping tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)

1. Preheat to 400°F/200°C. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan large enough to hold everything in one layer.

2. Toss all the ingredients in the pan and roast until done, stirring occasionally (Ruth's recipe said 30 minutes; I cooked mine for 45)

If you want to get Ruth's fabulous cookbook, which is also available on CD, go here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apple Blintz Pancakes

I love pancakes. I love all kinds of pancakes, and when I saw this recipe in Real Simple magazine, I knew Don and I would like it. The cottage cheese adds some protein and cuts the carbs a bit, and since the only sugar is the little bit added to the apples, it's not as sweet as if we'd had syrup on our pancakes. The original recipe in Real Simple called for applesauce; I wanted to use some of the apples we got in our organic produce distributions. The filling is simple: dice up a couple apples (don't worry about the peel - I never peel apples in any recipes), and sauté them in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend) until they're softened but not mushy.

Next, make the pancakes:

1 cup pancake mix (I used Trader Joe's multigrain baking mix, but any pancake mix will do)
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup cottage cheese
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup sour cream

Place the pancake mix in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, cottage cheese, milk, oil, and ¼ cup of the sour cream. Stir the wet ingredients into the pancake mix and whisk just to combine. Let the batter rest according to the pancake-mix label directions (or for 5 minutes if you make your own mix). Place a nonstick griddle or skillet coated with oil, butter, or cooking spray over medium-high heat. Spoon or pour about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Turn when bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look cooked. Repeat with the remaining batter. Before serving, spoon some of the apples onto one half of each pancake; fold in half and top with some of the remaining sour cream.

The ONLY way to cook fresh Bonito

Bonito is a kind of fish very closely related to tuna. There are some places that even call bonito "skipjack tuna," but the two are not the same thing. Last weekend Don went fishing out of San Diego, and in addition to 10 nice calico bass, he brought back four bonito fillets. We eat bonito grilled, and of course, fresh. I put it in the marinade Sunday morning, and we grilled it that afternoon - not even 24 hours off the boat.

Here's Don all geared up for the grill - notice the requisite beer? He cannot grill anything without a couple beers to keep him company.

Grilled Bonito

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
four to six bonito fillets

Mix melted butter, Worcestershire, and lime juice in a gallon-sized zip bag. Add fillets, and marinate at least 4 hours. Remove fish from bag and grill in a grill basket until done (about 10 minutes on each side).

Pioneer Woman's Coq Au Vin

I'm not EVEN going to post my photo of the Coq Au Vin I made last week. Mine looks pale and washed out. Do you want to see what it really should look like? Go HERE.

Regardless of how mine looked, it tasted fabulous. I've never tried the "traditional" version of Coq Au Vin, but when I saw Ree's version, I had to try it. So rich and tasty.

Coq Au Vin
from Ree Drummond - Pioneer Woman

1 whole cut up fryer chicken (this is a whole chicken the butcher has cut into pieces.)
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
½ medium onion, diced
½ cup roughly chopped carrots, washed and unpeeled
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb. sliced white mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups Burgundy wine
1 lb. pasta (egg noodles or fettuccine)
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh minced parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sautee bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium low heat until fat is rendered. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside. Increase heat to medium.
Salt fat site of chicken pieces, then place chicken, fat side down, in skillet and cook in bacon grease until both sides are nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside in a 2-quart baking dish, skin side up.
Saute onions, carrots and garlic in bacon grease until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from grease with slotted spoon and set aside.
In a separate skillet, saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter until golden, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
Layer half of the bacon pieces, carrot/onion mixture, and mushrooms in pan with chicken.
Drain most of the grease from the large skillet, then place over medium heat. Add flour to make a roux. Pour in 2 cups Burgundy wine, using a wire whisk to scrape loose all the burned/brown bits. Lightly salt liquid and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons butter.
Serve chicken in a pasta bowl with noodles, sprinkling minced parsley over the top. Spoon juice from baking dish over the top of everything.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken in the Crock Pot - a new (to me) recipe

The best crock pot recipes, in my opinion, are those that don't require any browning or pre-cooking of the ingredients. I want to be able to just put things in the crock pot, turn it on, and come home to a finished dish. This recipes fits in that category, except for the rice that needed to be made when I got home.

Brown Sugar Chicken

2 lbs. boneless chicken pieces (I used 4 boneless thighs and 2 boneless breasts, which I cut in half)
1 cup packed brown sugar
⅔ cup vinegar
¼ cup lemon lime soda (this could probably be omitted)
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Place chicken pieces in your slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the top of chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with rice.

Note: If you'd like thicker sauce you could add a cornstarch-water slurry (1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp cold water) about 20 minutes before serving to the liquid in the crockpot.

Verdict: A definite keeper; a recipe we'll have again and again. The chicken almost fell apart - even the breasts are tender instead of dry and tough.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Donna Hay recipe: Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes

I was first "introduced" to Donna Hay about 3 years ago when I participated in a Donna Hay cooking challenge. This recipe is from her book the instant cook, which has simple, quick recipes with very few ingredients. I spent this afternoon with my daughter at a car dealership (shoot me NOW) and needed something that came together quickly yet would feed my hungry hubby. With a green salad, this was a tasty, low-carb dinner.

Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes
from Donna Hay

1 small eggplant, thickly sliced
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
2 chicken breast fillets, cut in half
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a baking tray with baking paper (I used Reynolds' Parchment). Place the eggplant slices on the tray and top with the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Top each pile with a chicken breast fillet and sprinkle with the parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the chicken cooked through. Serves 2-3.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sour Cream Cake - a childhood delight

When we lived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, when I was in junior high school, a woman named Carol Scott lived upstairs from us. She gave Mom this recipe - in 1971 - and this cake became a Floyd family favorite. Mom included the recipe in an album of recipes she gave all of us kids about 18 years ago - and I can't believe that I've never made it until now. It is, in Don's opinion, "the best pound cake I have ever had!" I guess it's a pound cake. But it's better than any pound cake you can buy or make. Really.

Sour Cream Cake
Carol Scott, Ramstein AB Germany, 1971

1 cup butter, soften
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups flour, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300˚. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time. Add flour, alternating with the sour cream, until all is well-blended. Wash the beaters well, and in a separate bowl, cream the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites by had into the cake batter, and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 300˚ for 1 hour (check at 50 and 55 minutes with toothpick). Cool on wire rack about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Store covered.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Most Favorite Pie in the Whole Wide World

I grew up eating and loving this pie. We always called it Lemon Meringue Pie. I was shocked in my teens to learn that most of the public think Lemon Meringue Pie has a transluscent filling, consisting of eggs, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Yuck. Nope, OUR Lemon Meringue Pie has a filling similar to the filling in a key lime pie. It's made with sweetened condensed milk, and if I didn't have a crust, I could eat the filling out of a bowl with a spoon.

I experimented with the crust this time. Normally I would make a graham cracker crust. This time, I added 1/3 cup of finely ground almonds to the ground graham crackers. Yum! We both thought it was a great addition.

Lemon Meringe Pie

1 pkg. (about 9) graham crackers
1/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚. Put graham crackers in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin to smash into fine crumbs. Add almonds, and sugar, and then pour into a small bowl. Add melted butter. Pour mixture into a 9" pie plate (or use a 9-10" springform pan). Bake 6 minutes. Cool 15-20 minutes. Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl and then pour into pie crust. To make the meringue: in a small mixing bowl mix egg yolks and cream of tartar on high speed. When mixture is frothy, slowly add sugar, mixing until stiff peaks form. You want the sugar dissolved into the egg whites - to test this, rub a small amount between your fingers. You should not feel any sugar grains. Spread meringue on top of filling and bake at 325˚ until lightly brown, 15-20 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then chill until thoroughly cold

Quick-fix from frozen berries: Mixed Berry Pie

I keep a bag of frozen mixed berries from Costco in my freezer - and pull some out for quick and easy desserts. We've had them over ice cream, with shortcake and whipped cream, in cobblers, cakes, and muffins, and in pies. Last week I made a pie. It's a simple fix: Preheat oven to 425˚. Take 5-6 cups of frozen mixed berries and put in a large bowl so they start to thaw. Toss them with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar or Splenda, 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, and 2 Tablespoons of tapioca (the tapioca helps thicken the filling). When they're partially thawed (or even totally thawed), pour into an unbaked pie shell and top with another crust. Use a shield or foil to protect the edge of the crust from burning. Bake for 10 minutes at 425˚, then lower the temperature to 350˚ and bake another 40 - 45 minutes.

More Take-Alongs: Breakfast in a Muffin

Remember my Grab 'n Go Pumpkin Waffles and Take-Along Breakfast Pockets? Here's another great take-along breakfast. I've done some tinkering with a recipe I found on recipezaar (I think) and added fiber, lowered the sugar, and raised the protein. These were great warm, and are also fine eaten cold while I drive to work.

Breakfast in a Muffin
makes 22-24

6 eggs
¼ cup applesauce
1 cup flour
⅓ cup rolled oats
½ cup sugar
½ cup Splenda
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons bacon bits

Preheat oven to 350˚. Evenly coat 12 (3-inch) muffin cups with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together eggs and applesauce until well blended. Add flour, rolled oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Beat until well combined. Stir in cheese, parsley, and bacon bits. Divide batter evenly among the 12 cups.
Bake until lightly browned, and toothpick comes out clean when inserted, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday Visitor

Don and I were watching the end of the golf tournament, and were startled by the crashing and ringing of our wind chimes that hang right outside the kitchen window. I said, "Must be a squirrel hanging on my chimes." They kept swinging and crashing, so Don got up to look. As soon as he got to the window, he saw the bear paw come down from the roof and swipe at the chimes again. He said, "Nope, it's a bear." I didn't believe him, and got up to look just as the bear jumped from the roof to the tree next to the house. As it clambered down the tree, we heard our neighbors yelling at us to come outside and look. They'd followed it down the street as it must have smelled the brownies I was baking. Since there were 5 of us outside at the front of the house, the bear tried to jump over the back fence - and as soon as he was on the other side, a dog chased him back over into our yard. Here he is slowly making his way towards me.

As he got closer, and saw several people in his way (yeah, we should have left him alone), he climbed up the big tree to the roof again and wandered around on our roof for a while.

Don went inside and closed the windows, fearing that the bear wanted the brownies I'd just pulled from the oven. After about 5 minutes of wandering around on the roof, the bear climbed down our chimney to the deck, then jumped off the deck and ran down the street.

Just yesterday, the Forest Service re-opened the picnic area and trailhead that are about a half mile from our house - they'd been closed since the 7th of July because people were feeding a bear there (probably this one). Don blames today's visit on Melanie's brownies.

And here they are - full of sugar and fat and evil gooey-ness. We are going to do our best to eat these sssslllloooowwwwwllllyyyy.

Deep Dark Chocolate Brownies
from Melanie of My Kitchen Cafe

2 sticks (8 oz) butter
8 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs
⅓ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Alternatively, you may use parchment. These are pretty sticky at first!

Melt butter and chocolate in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the hot chocolate mixture. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.

Whisk in remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until mixture is glossy and smooth. Whisk in salt and cocoa powder, then add flour and stir until it disappears (do not overbeat).

Spread in pan and bake until a pick inserted in center comes out with crumbs, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature then chill for an hour or more. Lift from pan, place on a cutting board, cut into squares.

Makes 1 13×9 inch pan (yield depends on how big you cut your brownies, but they are rich, so small is fine.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Recipe for Yucatan-Marinated Grilled Chicken

1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, or 8 small boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt to taste
8 leaves of butter lettuce

In a pan or bowl, whisk together orange and lime juices, chile powder and garlic. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade. Grill or broil about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked completely.

Serving idea: Place each piece of chicken in the center of a lettuce leaf; top with a sprinkling of cilantro. Roll and eat.

Lemon-Blueberry Roll-ups

I have two inspiration sources for this recipe:
1) Sandra Lee has a new show, and while I'm not a rabid fan, I do like the concept of her show. She takes her "semi-homemade" touch and applies it to cooking inexpensively. I've watched two episodes, and in one of them, she made some apple "pies" using tortillas, peanut butter, and apple pie filling. (In my opinion, if I were to make them, which I probably will, I'll substitute some cream cheese for the peanut butter.)
2) I had some crepes at a food stand during the quilt show in Sisters, Oregon, last month, and they had this filling.

Here's the "recipe:"

1. Cook some flour tortillas (the kind you can get at Costco that are uncooked) until very lightly browned. I suppose you could use regular tortillas, and heat them slightly until they're pliable.
2. Spread each one with a couple tablespoons of canned lemon pie filling.
3. Top the pie filling with a small handful of fresh blueberries (thawed from frozen will do, too).
4. Roll up the tortilla, and top with some sweetened whipped cream. I use Sugar-Free Cool Whip.

Note: I bet these would be even better with some of the lemon curd you can get at Trader Joe's.

Two Rachael Ray Recipes: Chicken Salad PIccata and Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese

Every once in a while I get some time to peruse the recipes on My favorites usually come from people like Rachael Ray, since they're easy, they're made with ingredients I often have, and many times they're done in 30 minutes.

This one caught my eye because I love chicken piccata, and the idea of a one-dish meal sounded good. (I also think any kind of new potatoes are divine!). I had an Italian potato salad once at Matano's Little Italy (a deli in Yucaipa), and liked the fresh green beans that were in it.

When you make this, be prepared for the contrast between the warm chicken and the cold/cool potatoes and green beans. Once I was mentally prepared for that, it was wonderful. This will be a repeat in our house!

Chicken Salad Piccata
from Rachael Ray

1 ½ lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
½ lb. green beans, halved crosswise
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
¼ cup flour
Two 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, lightly pounded
¼ cup chicken broth

1. In a large saucepan, add the potatoes and enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Drain in the colander with the potatoes; let cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon capers, 3 tablespoons parsley, the lemon peel and half of the lemon juice. Add the potatoes and beans and toss; season with salt and pepper.
3. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg. In another shallow bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken breasts with the seasoned flour, then dip in the egg, allowing any excess to drip off, and coat with the flour again, shaking off the excess. Add to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into strips.
4. Add the chicken broth to the skillet; cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon capers, 1 tablespoon parsley and lemon juice. Top the salad with the chicken and drizzle with the pan sauce.

The next dish was one we had twice this week - once on Tuesday, with some turkey burgers, and then again on Friday with some fish. It makes a LOT, so we still have some leftovers. I saw this in this month's Everyday magazine, and since we like jalapeño poppers, we thought this would be good. It was. I wish it were "gooey-er" though. Don't skimp on the peppers - they might look like a lot when you chop them up, but the cooking lessens the intensity of the capsicum, and I wish I'd added an extra jalapeño.

Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese
from Rachael Ray

Salt and pepper
1 lb. hollow, ridged corkscrew pasta, such as cavatappi
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. In a skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium heat. Add the jalapeños, serranos and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add to the pasta. Preheat the broiler. In a saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and onion over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until smooth, 5 minutes; stir into the pasta. Stir in the jack cheese; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a baking dish and broil until browned, about 3 minutes.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tinkering with Recipes: Applesauce Puffs

Sometimes we get tired of eggs or pancakes for breakfast, so this morning I was looking for some muffins. I found this recipe in my files, and decided to tinker with it a little to make it a little healthier.

Here's the original recipe:

Applesauce Puffs

2 c. Bisquick
½ c. sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ c. applesauce
¼ c. milk
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in applesauce, milk and egg. Drop into well greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. While still warm dip into melted butter and dip in a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Makes 24 muffins.

Now, while I have Bisquick, I hardly ever use it. I prefer using Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix - and I've learned you can use it for any recipe that calls for Bisquick.

Here are the changes I made:

1. Substituted Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix for the Bisquick.
2. Used Cranberry-Raspberry Applesauce + Fiber instead of regular applesauce
3. Used Splenda Granular instead of sugar
4. Added 1/2 cup chopped pecans

So here's my revised recipe:

Applesauce Puffs

2 cups Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix
½ c. Splenda Granular
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ c. Cranberry-Raspberry Applesauce+Fiber
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in applesauce, milk and egg. Drop into well greased muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. While still warm dip into melted butter and dip in a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Makes 24 muffins.

Potato Bundles from Pioneer Woman

Don wanted steak last night; we hadn't had one in many months. So at the commissary, while I restocked my fridge, freezer and shelves after 6 weeks on the road, I picked up two ribeyes. Originally I'd planned on baking a large potato and sharing it, but I saw these potatoes on Pioneer Woman and had to try them. It won't be the last time - these are GOOD.

Go HERE for Bree's post, with pictures. Mine is much simpler, since I don't document every step with photos. She's a much better photographer. Plus, I forgot to take a picture of them after they were cooked.

Potato Bundles
from The Pioneer Woman

Russet potatoes, cut into chunks

Yellow or white onion, cut into chunks
Butter (regular, salted)
Heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley

Pile potatoes and onions on a square of foil. Add 2 tablespoons butter, splash on some cream, then sprinkle on salt, paprika, and black pepper. Wrap bundles tightly and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until extremely tender.

Imagine a photo of some yummy potatoes here!

Roasted Chickpeas

Don't these look good? My first try. I made some Four Bean Salad, but the can of garbanzos/chickpeas was one of those double-sized ones. I used half of them for the salad, and made a good snack for Don and me with the rest.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 15-oz can. chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425˚. Line a baking sheet with foil (otherwise, the chickpeas leave marks on your baking sheet). Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and dry on paper towels. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with cayenne and garlic powder. Don't salt them yet. Roast approximately 30 minutes - keep an eye on them, and when they're all brown, test one for crunchiness. You want them all crunchy, because when they cool, the ones that were still a little chewy become rubbery. When they're all brown and crunchy, cool on paper towels.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Found it! It's Dukkah

Thanks to SarahKate at Abercrombie & Feast, the recipe I wanted has been found. It's called Dukkah, and I plan to make some as soon as I get back home (we're still on our long camping trip). I'll make some changes - the recipe I found called for, among other things, hazelnuts, fennel, and mint - none of which I like or were in the dukkah I had at Kokanee Cafe. I'll use almonds like they did.

Thanks, SarahKate!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Looking for a recipe

We ate dinner on my birthday at the Kokanee Cafe in Camp Sherman. Before the meal, the waitress brought out a small plate on which she had placed a little pitcher of olive oil and a container of a mixture she called doha. I even asked her to spell it. It had roasted chopped almonds in it, along with some "middle eastern" spices (her words). We were also given some slices of crusty bread. We were told to put some of the olive oil on the bread, then some of the doha - the olive oil was to help keep it on the bread.

Has anyone heard of this? I would LOVE to get a recipe for it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

Hello from Bridgeport, California, stop # 2 on our summer trip up through California, into Oregon, and back. You can get pictures and details on my travel blog, Wanderlust.

A couple of mornings ago, Don mentioned we still had 2 bananas left, and that they were at the perfect stage of ripeness. He was just going to eat one with breakfast, but I decided to use them IN breakfast. I forgot to take a picture, but trust me, this was wonderful.

Take some eggs and milk and mix them together in a shallow bowl.
Spread slices of bread (I used whole wheat) with some cream cheese. I used brown sugar-cinnamon flavored, but plain would work just fine.
Make sandwiches of the cream cheese-slathered bread with the bananas as a filling (keeping the cream cheese on the inside, of course).
Dunk several times, coating well, in the egg-milk mixture.
Fry on a buttered griddle until browned on both sides.
Serve with some maple syrup. Or not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spinach and strawberries on the menu tonight

Since we got fresh spinach in our distribution Saturday I looked through my recipes for something to make that was different from the usual sautéed spinach. This recipe is from Cooking Light, though instead of using the egg substitute I used real eggs. We liked the flavor - but I felt the egg-flour part was a little dense. I was hoping for something along the Bisquick-type casseroles I've made in the past. I think I'll experiment in the future and try Trader Joe's Bisquick-type baking mix. It's whole grain and makes great pancakes, so it might be good for a dish like this.

Spinach-Cheese Casserole
from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 6 oz. packages fresh baby spinach
1 ¼ cups shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups fat free milk
1 cup egg substitute (I used 4 eggs)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚. Pour the butter into the bottom of a 13 x 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray; tilt dish to coat. Place spinach evenly in bottom of dish; sprinkle evenly with cheeses.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Pour milk mixture over cheese. Bake 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

I also had some fresh strawberries, and after seeing this recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen, tried it using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It was FABULOUS!

Strawberries Romanof
from Kalyn Denny

1 pound fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sour cream (I used Fage 0% Greek yogurt)
1 T Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, or 2 T brown sugar (or to taste, depending on how sweet you like it)

Be sure to buy the reddest and ripest strawberries you can find for best flavor. Wash strawberries and cut off stems. Cut each strawberry into fourths. Mix sour cream and brown sugar and spoon over strawberries, or stir to coat strawberries. Makes 4 small servings.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'll try anything once - roasted radishes?

Yes! Roasted radishes. I saw that Kalyn had tried roasting radishes, using some soy sauce and sesame seeds to finish them, and have planned on trying them if I got radishes in my produce share. Today I got my chance. My share included a bunch of HUGE radishes - several of them were as large as golf balls. Don is eating the smaller ones raw, since he really enjoys them, but I used the larger ones for dinner tonight - along with some of the carrots and onions we received in the share.

Roasted Radishes, Carrots, and Onions

to serve two:
3 medium carrots, cut in 3-4" lengths, then sliced lengthwise
4-5 Mexican green onions, trimmed about 2" from bulb, then split lengthwise
4-5 large radishes, quartered
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450˚. Toss vegetables in a bowl with olive oil and garlic. Spread in a single layer on a metal cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and then LIGHTLY with cayenne pepper. Roast in oven approx. 30 minutes (watch for burning). Serve immediately.

While the vegetables were roasting, Don did his thing at the grill - since I, being female, am utterly incapable of cooking anything on the grill. I'd marinated the chicken breasts all day and they maintained the flavor through the grilling.

Asian Grilled Chicken Breasts

1 6-oz. can pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and red pepper flakes in a gallon-size ziploc bag. Shake/squeeze to mix. Add chicken, press out the air, seal, and marinate 4-8 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from bag, discard the marinade, and grill until cooked through.

Dessert was a low-sugar peach crumble, made a tad healthier by the addition of oats, oat bran, and pecans to the crumble mixture on top. We received 5 peaches in our share, and my volunteer share included an additional 5, so I had 10 peaches to use for this dish. I used a larger tart pan than a regular pie plate, so it turned out perfect.

Peach Crumble
adapted from a recipe from Nicole of Baking Bites
5 large, ripe peaches (white or yellow) (I used 10 small ones)
½ cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
3 ½ tablespoons butter, cold

Bring a small but deep saucepan of water to a simmer on the stovetop. Set a bowl of cool water next to it. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach and submerge 3 or 4 at a time in simmering water for about 30 seconds. Dunk in cold water, then peel off skin. Repeat with all peaches. Slice peeled peaches into about 10-12 pieces each. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Cut butter into 6 or 8 pieces and rub in to flour mixture to create coarse crumbs.
Place peach slices in a pie dish and distribute crumble topping over the top.
Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, until the crumble browns at the edges and the peaches are tender. Let cool for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Our produce share yesterday included:

1 bunch large radishes
1 bunch Mexican green onions (the ones with large bulbs)
1 bunch carrots
5 peaches
5 bananas
2 cucumbers
5 lbs. russet potatoes
1 bunch mint
2 green bell peppers
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch spinach
2 mangoes
1 bunch chives

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cookbook Giveaway - A Winner!

I had my husband draw a name from the 3 who commented, and the winner is.....Adrienne!
I'll be contacting you soon for a mailing address. I hope you enjoy the goodies in the book.

Grilled Pear and Cheddar Stuffed Pork Tenderloins

I subscribe to dozens and dozens of food blogs on Google Reader. One that I have discovered lately is by Heather, a Canadian living in Bangkok, Thailand. She has some fabulous recipes on The Culinary Chase, and I tried this one tonight. I prepared it the night before, my first time to
butterfly a pork tenderloin. I almost totally messed this up, because I noticed one spot where the cheese was oozing through while it was grilling. It was nice to come home and throw it on the grill without having to do all the cutting, filling and wrapping up.

Grilled Pear and Cheddar Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
from Heather of The Culinary Chase
1 tablespoon (15mL) fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoon (45mL) extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 small pork tenderloins
1 Bartlett or Anjou pear, sliced thin
4 ounces (120g) 1-year-old cheddar cheese, sliced
6 slices prosciutto

Purée rosemary and oil in the blender and season. Cut tenderloins open lengthwise and brush inside with rosemary purée. Cover with overlapping slices of pear and cheddar. Close up tenderloins and brush outside with rosemary purée. Roll each tenderloin up in 3 slices of prosciutto, tie or close with big toothpicks that have been soaked in water. Season.

Oil the grill and preheat barbecue to medium-high. Cook tenderloins 4 to 5 minutes per side for meat with a hint of pink. Remove from heat, tent with foil and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Slice and serve with grilled vegetables and herbed noodles.

The Culinary Chase's Note: I stuffed the tenderloin with the prosciutto and the flavors coming from the pear and cheddar make this tenderloin absolutely delicious! Instead of making the purée, finely chop the rosemary and mix in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to slather this on the pork and enjoy a more rustic taste.

Cyndi's Note: I used ham, since I didn't have prosciutto, and served this with roasted potatoes (for Don) and turnip greens.

Thanks, Heather, for a great dish!

Mocha Budino di Ricotta (Cream Cheese Custard)

This is nice low-carb dessert, as long as you eat a small serving at a time!

½ lb. ricotta cheese
2 packets Splenda
2 teaspoons espresso powder
¼ cup grated milk chocolate
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon heavy cream, (more, if needed)
Cream the ricotta with the Splenda and espresso powder. Add chocolate and nuts and blend thoroughly. Add cream as needed for desired consistency. Serve in sherbet glasses. Good topped with strawberries or raspberries.

The hills were on fire

Luckily, only about 5 acres were burned in the Crafton Hills, but it was pretty scary at first. The flames came down to the back yards of the homes in Chapman Heights.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Take-Along Breakfasts for Work Days

I used to be such a morning person - I'd get up at 5 for coffee and a light (carb-filled) breakfast before I'd go to my classroom. I'd also go to bed before 9 almost every night, so I have little knowledge of popular television shows during the 1990s and early 2000s. Now that I'm president, my day lasts longer, and I enjoy evening sports and television shows. So I stay up later and get up at 6 or 6:30. I don't make time to cook breakfast, so I like to find breakfast that I can either eat in the car during the drive down the mountain, or eat when I first get to the office.

These waffles are made to be eaten cold and without syrup. They're whole grain, high protein and high fiber, and are 160 calories apiece (with 21 g of carbs). I've packaged them in little bags of 2, so I can have a nice meal to eat while I drive to work.

Grab & Go Pumpkin Waffles

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)

2 eggs
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
2 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup oat bran
1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and Splenda or brown sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, flax seeds, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil, and syrup. Mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Add pecans, sunflower seeds, oat bran, and raisins. Heat a waffle iron, and spray with nonstick cooking spray before adding batter. Grill waffles until browned and cooked through. Makes 24 4-inch waffles.

Our actual breakfast this morning was a pizza inspired by Jeff of Culinary in the Country. A couple of weeks ago he posted a recipe for Egg and Bacon Bread that looked really enticing. I told him I was going to give a try, using Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough, but when I started to gather everything together this morning, I realized I didn't have the hard-boiled eggs or the time to make them - we were hungry! So I took most of the ingredients from Joe's recipe, substituted Jimmy Dean sausage for the bacon, and made a pizza.

Breakfast Pizza

adapted from a recipe by Joe of Culinary in the Country

1 package Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
5-6 oz. Jimmy Dean hot breakfast sausage (I use 1/3 of a 1-lb. package)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons diced onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
5 eggs
2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚. Spray a rectangular pizza stone with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from package and place on stone for 20 minutes. While dough is resting, prepare the toppings. In a medium skillet, cook the sausage, garlic, and onion, crumbling the meat with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Add olive oil and mushrooms to pan and cook until mushrooms are tender but not overcooked, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to sausage mixture. Add eggs to skillet, and scramble until eggs are cooked. Turn off heat. Spread the pizza dough in the pan from edge to edge. Spread with mustard and sprinkle evenly with cayenne pepper. Distribute sausage and mushrooms over dough, then top with the cheeses. Bake 12-15 minutes until dough is done. You might have to check after about 8 minutes and top loosely with some foil to prevent the cheese from overbrowning. If you cut it into 8 slices, each slice has 385 calories, 25 g of carbs, and 2 g of fiber.