Monday, March 31, 2008

Beet Salad with Feta

Mmmmm....beets. Did I just say that? My only exposure to beets as a child was on the occasional restaurant salad, where they were canned and pickled or something like that. I remember picking them off, but remaining curious about the vibrant pink juice that they produced and how it made my Ranch dressing such a stylish color. They weren't terribly offensive, just not my bag.

When I first started my blog just over a month ago, I stated that my goal was to try a new ingredient each week that I had never worked with before. This qualifies, big time. Other recent ingredients new to me were polenta grits and fennel.

From reading up a little, I gathered that the best way to serve these was roasted or cooked, sliced up in a salad with a light vinaigrette. Sounds easy enough. I didn't want to mess with the oven, so I just boiled them for 10 minutes. After I peeled and sliced them, I found that they were still a little crisp-tender on the inside, which was fine by me. Didn't realize the potency of the juice and the aftermath on my hands:

Anyways, after my experience today, I can't say that I "love" beets, but they were pretty darn tasty and it just felt like they were good for me. They lended a subtle earthy slant to my lunch, which was balanced by the lemony dressing and pungent feta. I only used 2 of the 4 and so you might see a post soon for some kind of beet soup.

Beet Salad with Feta

2 beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
handful of greens (I used baby greens and spinach)
1 T. feta cheese
8 pistachios, chopped

2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. Dijon
2 T. light olive oil

Use most of the dressing to coat the warm beets, and let sit for 30 minutes. Prepare dressing. Lightly dress the greens with rest of dressing. Put everything on a plate and sprinkle with feta and nuts and serve.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Monterey Bay Aquarium

My friend had a couple extra free tickets and so we decided to go to Monterey for the day. We got there at about 11:00 and despite our attempts with bringing snacks and drinks, the kids were hungry and antsy by noon. The place is a little different from when we last visited 4 years ago. It seems that almost every corner of the aquarium is geared to kids who love to push buttons and manipulate exhibits. This is a big plus for our guys. It was really cool, but very crowded, so keeping track of them was a little daunting. I would suggest, if you can, to make your visit on a weekday.
We really enjoyed the Jellyfish exhibit, the Bat Ray touch tank, the sharks and otters. There was an area called "Splash Zone" which was a great kids area, but again, so crowded that it was hard to navigate with the kids and a double stroller. I loved the concept though, and maybe on a non-spring break, non-weekend, it would be fantastic!

We ate at the cheesy Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, but it was perfect for us...they had a sand pit playground to use while we waited for food. (Notice how our restaurant choice revolves around 2 active boys). The kids got pizza, fries and jello with their kids meal ($4.99), and I had the clam chowder. It was pretty decent; the clams were tender and the thickness was perfect....a little too much celery, but that is my own opinion as I don't really care for it. Scott had a Cobb Salad with Shrimp which was served with a Raspberry Vinaigrette and Gorgonzola. He said the flavors were nice, but it was over-dressed. I didn't get a picture of the food because my batteries pooped out!

All in all, it was a nice day....but maybe a little too much work with the young 'uns. I would like to try in another year or two. Those of you that brave Disneyland in the summer with any toddlers in tow....hats off to you!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gnocchi Bake with Red Pepper Sauce

Not sure what possessed me to make this yesterday, especially since it is not the simplest of meals. It could have been a subliminal message from the Curious George cartoon, where George's cat friend is named "Gnocchi"....or it could have been a recent Food TV show on pasta making. Anyhow, my intention was to make a brown butter sage sauce, but realized that I was out of butter (gasp) and margarine simply won't do when you are going to the effort to make your own gnocchi. Here is what I did:

For the gnocchi:
2 russett potatoes: peeled, cubed, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Mix all ingredients until it forms a dough that you can work with. Add more flour, if necessary. Roll into logs about 1/2 inch thick and then cut into small pieces, about 1/2 inch long. Roll each piece in between the tines of two forks to get the classic shape. This was tricky and awkward for me...maybe there is some video tutorial out there? Let them sit in the fridge for at least a half hour covered with a napkin. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes or until they float to the top.

For the sauce: In the blender, toss about a cup of roasted peppers from a jar with 1 cup milk, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp. parsley and salt/pepper to taste. I also added about 1/4 cup of marinara from a jar that I had in the fridge. Put half of the sauce in a baking dish, add the gnocchi, top with the remaining sauce and cover with parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 oven. Yum!

I suppose you could do the same thing with store bought gnocchi, and it would still be awesome and much easier than this. However, if you are looking for a real homemade indulgence, there is nothing like the fluffy and fresh version.

Happy weekend everyone!

P.S. I found a video for you:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shaved Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

Okay, I loved this salad. It was light and refreshing with an explosion of textures and flavors. The sour citrus, crunchy fennel, salty Parmesan and slightly sweet dressing all on a bed of delicately dressed watercress makes for a party in your mouth. I would absolutely say that you have to like grapefruit to enjoy it.
Shaved Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

1 bulb fennel
1 bunch watercress
1 grapefruit
Parmesan shavings
Juice of grapefruit core
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut peel off grapefruit and cut out sections, leaving the membranes behind (use that to get the juice for the dressing) Cut fennel into thin slices. Mix all ingredients of the dressing and lightly dress the watercress with half of it. Place watercress, fennel and grapefruit on the plate, drizzle with remaining dressing and top with Parmesan shavings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Barley Alphabet Soup

Do you ever just make stuff up? I guess once you figure out what spices go together, then whipping up a "dump" soup is pretty easy. I call it a dump soup because it always contains a couple of cans from the pantry...usually beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, etc. and whatever you happen to have in your fridge. I am getting ready to go grocery shopping so this is what I had left in my stock: 1 sweet potato, leftover easter ham, half bag of baby carrots, 3 green onions.

I almost feel challenged to create something interesting when there is so little produce in the a quickfire challenge. (By the way, last week on Top Chef the quickfire was to create something with 5 ingredients! - cool!)

Here is the "recipe" which actually came out quite tasty!

Barley Alphabet Soup

1 T. olive oil
half bag of baby carrots
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup leftover spiral ham, chopped
2 cans chicken stock
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T. ketchup
1 T. dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp dried parsely
3 chopped green onions
1 sweet potato, chopped
1/4 cup alphabet pasta
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the carrots, barley and ham in oil for 5 minutes, until barley gets a little toasty. Add the stock, water, tomatoes and seasonings. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add green onions and sweet potato and simmer for another 15. Using a stick blender, blend up for a few seconds to break down some of the chunks. There should still be a lot of texture, but the soup will now be thicker. Add the alphabet pasta and cook just until pasta is tender. Serve with cornbread or salad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Beef and Guinness Stew with Herbed Dumplings

Not your average light spring meal for sure....but darling husband saw the recipe in our local supermarket free monthly magazine (Raley's) and looked at me like Puss 'N Boots on Shrek....with those big wide eyes. "Okaaaaaaay, I'll make it." We were only a week late for this St. Patty's Day themed meal....

I'm posting the recipe because it was pretty decent. However, it seemed to turn a little "bitter" the next day and I'm wondering if it had anything to do with the beer. I might try the same recipe with red wine instead of beer and see how the leftovers taste then.

Beef and Guinness Stew with Herbed Dumplings
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 lbs. chuck beef or sirloin, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups each: Guinness Beer and beef broth
2 ribs celery
1-2 russett potatoes
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp each: fresh parsley, fresh basil
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in pot. Add beef in small batches and brown well on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add other tbsp. oil and saute onions, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 2 min. Add beer and broth, cook and stir until slightly thickened. Add beef back to pot with remaining stew ingredients and bring to boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Remove lid and simmer another 15 minutes. Prepare dumplings by mixing everything together and dropping by the spoonful onto the top of the stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bay Area Discovery Museum - Sausalito

Arrrrh, matey....where is that darn treasure?

Okay, mom...this is it. The most fake smile that I can muster.

Wow, frogs!
How many crabs did we get this time?? That should yield us at least a hundred bucks!

Wes and dad at the water resistance machine.....Owen behind at the wind resistance.

On Owen's Pond...Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. --Henry David Thoreau

I know what I am doing here...

Just proof that we've been here, done that!

This was a fun trip for us, and a beautifully clear day in SF...what a treat! If you've never been to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, it might be worth the trip. I'd say that if your kids are under 7, they'd be pleased with the offerings.
They have several distinct areas to explore....a great outdoor area and playground, a train and boat room, a wave and wind room, art room, an exhibit hall that changes every couple months, shows and music in the auditorium, an exclusive toddler area for kids under 42 inches. They have a cafe and lots of picnic tables too!
We packed a lunch to save some cash, and we also have a ACM membership that gets us in free and includes Children's Museums from all over the country. If you don't have that, its $1o for adults and $8 for kids. Every second Saturday from 1-5 pm is free. One thing to consider...strollers are not allowed in any of the halls, so be prepared to leave your strollers outside as you explore the exhibits. Carry wallet and keys in your pocket and your camera around your neck if you are wary of that.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Polenta Brushetta with Peppers and Olives

I made a big pan of polenta yesterday to have with that piccata. I've never really made it before, and didn't know that one cup of dry grits would make so much. Here is my solution for the leftovers: it's an appetizer type thingy. All I did was cut the polenta, added a slice of swiss cheese, a basil leaf, roasted red pepper strips and green olives. Popped it under some heat until melty. I won't even post a recipe because it was so easy, and you really could top it with just about any combination of cheese/herb/produce. I think a sauteed mushroom and goat cheese would be awesome!

Chicken Piccata

Did you catch the season premiere of Top Chef last week? It seems that the producers are trying hard to create drama by picking contestants that are completely wacky. This guy Andrew is a loudmouth whiner drops the F bomb every chance he gets. And there is the obligatory heavily tatooed bald guy with a scowl. Don't forget the chemist chef who brings all kinds of gizmos and prefers to cook with liquid nitrogen. There are also 4 contestants from San Francisco, two of whom are a lesbian couple (Jen and Zoi). Again, drama.

Anyways, my point was that their first elimination challenge was to prepare a classic dish, two people each doing one of 8 dishes. The person who made the better classic dish was exempt from elimination. Their choices were Lasagne, Duck ala Orange, Crab Cakes, Chicken Piccata, Eggs Benedict, Steak Au Poivre, Shrimp Scampi, Souffle.

Ryan, who claims to have started cooking in a restaurant at age 11 is chosen to do the Chicken Piccata and on his shopping spree, he loses his notebook and picks up breadcrumbs and tomatoes!! He gets harped upon by the judges for making Chicken Milanese, and they are amazed that he doesn't even know how to make the Piccata. In my mind, I was like...haha haaa, even little ole me can cook up that dish. Now, if I had to do a souffle, that would be a different story!

Anyways, here is my tried and true recipe, which I got out of a magazine called "Cuisine at Home" a couple years ago. I also use their Italian meatball recipe, which I will post some other time.

Chicken Piccata


4 chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour

Saute in:

2T. oil, 2-3 min per side. Remove from pan and

Deglaze with:

1/4 c. white wine and 1 clove minced garlic


1/2 cup chicken broth

2T fresh lemon juice

1T capers

Sauteed cutlets

Finish with:

1 T. butter and fresh lemon slices

Garnish with:

Chopped fresh parsley

Monday, March 17, 2008

Banana Crumb Muffins

Nothing like the smell of fresh muffins wafting through your house...unless you are on a diet! Anyways, these are for my boys because like me, they do not like to eat the over-ripened bananas and I had 4 large ones turning brown. I used a recipe from and adapted the amount of butter, using more applesauce instead.

This is my second attempt at photographing this item. In the first I used a green tablecloth, a white plate and more direct light. The picture looked harsh and had a weird green glow on the muffins. Here things are looking a little more organic and soft. It is indirect kitchen light near a window, with a white tea towel.

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 T. butter, melted
1/4 cup applesauce

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, applesauce and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Friday, March 14, 2008


It looks like pondwater" my friend Liz says as she's sipping away at her mojito (I think she said it was her first time drinking one). And then she quips, "shouldn't you take a picture of this?" Since it was cloudy out and turning to evening, I didn't want to pull out my photo light and make a big production in front of my guest. But she's one of the few people reading my blog, and said she didn't mind. Here is the resulting photo **

Something tasted a little off because we had to use Sprite instead of club soda, but we managed to choke them down without too much hassle. There must be an artful way of drinking a mojito without sipping in some mint and subsequently picking it out of your teeth....but we didn't know it. This is the recipe I followed:

10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste
1 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda

Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.
** Note: I really wanted to try again with a new photo, so this is one I took outside a few days later. And, darn, I had to drink this one too.

Mediterranean Chicken Roulade

Mediterranean Chicken Roulade

2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup feta
8 quartered cherry tomatoes
squeeze of lemon juice
chopped herbs (mint & cilantro, etc)
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Cut the breasts horizontally, so you have 4 thin pieces. You can pound them out a little if they are still too thick. Season with salt, pepper and garlic. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on the chicken, and roll up and secure with toothpicks. I like to brown them on the stovetop, then pop the pan into the oven to finish up the cooking. 8 minutes on med-high heat, then 350 oven for another 10.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

White Bean Dip

What to do, what to do? Had some toast for breakfast, so I really need to stay away from any more bread for the day. I'm also out of lettuce and threre are no leftovers lingering in the fridge...gasp!

Here is what I came up with. It was a nice lunch, but I ended up sneaking a piece of bread and dipping it in there anyways.....arrgh! I also think it would make a great appetizer with veggies. It would even be good with chips as an alternative to the refried bean dip at your next Mexican dinner. Next time I might add a dash of cumin too.


2 cans cannelini beans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 jalepeno, chopped
juice of one small lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all in a blender. Add a little water if its too thick.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thai Turkey Meatballs

This is my own creation...I'm sure there are hundreds of variations of the same type recipe. If you are lacking an ingredient, substitute with something else or leave it out. The ginger, garlic and herbs really give this a fresh and flavorful taste. I added ketchup for a little sweetness to balance the saltiness of the soy. You could easily add some pepper flakes or Sriracha to kick up the heat.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

1 package ground turkey
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 grated shallot
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 T. ketchup
1 thinly slice kaffir lime leaf
2 T. chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients and form into small meatballs. Pan fry or bake in a 425 oven for 25 minutes.

Veggie Stir Fry

1 lb. Pre-packed veggies
2 cups bean sprouts
2 chopped green onions
1/2 cup water
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
dash vinegar
cornstartch/water mixture

Heat water, soy, sugar and vinegar in your stir fry pan of choice. Throw in veggies and steam with the lid on until crisp-tender. Add the sprouts and green onions and cook another minute. Remove veggies from pan with slotted spoon and thicken the sauce with cornstarch/water mixture.

Here is the package of veggies I use: Its mostly broccoli and snow peas. It comes in a 2 lb bag at Winco for $3.99. It will last us for at least 2-3 meals and keeps for well over a week in the crisper.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I know its supposed to be a food blog, but if you have any musical bone in your body you will appreciate this sweet and subtle story of love lost told through the gripping songwriting of Glen Hansard from The Frames. Set in Ireland, this story is about a spurned yet passionate singer who meets a Czech girl that doesn't speak English. They are somehow able to compose beautiful songs together. I loved the film, and I'm enjoying the soundtrack as well. Check it out!!

Okay, my friend, Chantell....if you are reading this, you must give me the recipe to your "healthy brownies" that you brought to our last gathering. All I remember you saying is "2 Tbsp butter for the whole recipe" and some term called "whole wheat flour". You must relinquish your secrets here! Please comment...Thanks, Deanna

Lemon Bars

When life gives you lemons....make Lemon Bars! Life has been giving us lots of lemons in the past week, in the way of the stomach flu ripping through our house (again!). Fortunately, we didn't make Stomach Flu Bars; we made these instead. With no chocolate or popcorn to be found in the cupboard, my eyes wandered longingly to the pile of lemons on the counter. I could practically taste the sweet and sour combination on my lips as I squeezed each lemon....oh so bad, but so good! Anyone that knows me will know that I prefer my candy sour, so it only makes sense that this dessert is at the top of my list.


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 lemons, juiced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 5T. flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Worm Day

Okay, just wanted to share a couple of pictures of my boys being boys!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Guy Fieri's Chile Verde Pork

I was watching the Food Network last weekend, actually right before going grocery shopping. I don't suggest that. Ever tried shopping with several different recipes floating in your head and end up coming home lacking a key ingredient for all of them? I'm a pro at that. Anyways, I wanted to try his Chile Verde Pork because it looked yummy and low fat (besides the pork). Well, I fogot to get the pork I'm using chicken today, about 4 boneless skinless breasts. I ended up just throwing the peppers and tomatillos under the broiler, while I sauteed the onions. Once you get everything chopped up and in the pot, you can attend to other things while it simmers. My kind of meal. I only used 2 onions and more chiles. I only used 1 tsp. of salt and really, it didn't need any! This is much too spicy for my kids, but I'm tempted to pick out some of the chicken and give it a rinse to see if it can be tamed that way. Here is the original recipe as written:

Guy Fieri's Chile Verde Pork

4 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes, trimmed of fat

4 yellow onions, chopped

4 Anaheim chiles

2 jalapeno, minced

4 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 pound tomatillos, husk removed

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons ground oregano

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

In a medium Dutch oven, heat the oil, add the onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until translucent, do not brown. Remove and set mixture aside.
Lightly grill the tomatillos on open flame until lightly charred. Remove from heat, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep warm for 20 minutes.
Add pork butt to Dutch oven and cook over high heat until browned on all sides
Add the onion-pepper mixture and tomatillos to the pork. Mix thoroughly and then deglaze with white wine and vinegar. Let reduce for 5 minutes, then add chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
Let simmer for 1 hour.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

got allergies? snuck up on me this time. Spring has arrived, it seems. Good luck to all of you allergy sufferers (my husband included). I'm lucky that it doesn't really affect me much.

It's not like I prowled the neighborhood for flowers, either: these were all taken in my very own backyard while playing with my boys. We also found a few worms while digging around. I was so proud when they picked them up and laughed hysterically as they wiggled in their hands.

All of this reminded me that I should really start to plan out my garden for the year. Last season it was zucchini, basil and tomatoes. This year I'd like to do mostly herbs and peppers. And maybe try an heirloom tomato as well. It's kind of a small area, so I'd like to cut out the space invading squash. I'll get to that as soon as I catch up on laundry, which should be......late March sometime.

Grilled Pineapple with Spiced Rum Honey

f This is an easy dessert that may impress your friends by it's simplicity and elegance, without much work at all. Imagine that!

Grilled Pineapple with Spiced Rum Honey

Pineapple spears or rings
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Spiced Rum
1 tsp lemon juice
dash of cinnamon

Spray pineapple with Pam, and cook on BBQ or grill pan until you get some grill marks going. Meanwhile mix the sauce ingredients and pour over grilled pineapple.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tom Kha Soup...kind of.

Today I was craving the sweet-sour-spicy Thai soup called Tom Kha and decided to make it.....well a version of it, using the ingredients I had on hand. I don't usually stock galangal, lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves in my fridge, so I had to improvise. Before you are too impressed that I'm throwing around exotic terms like galangal, you must know that I took two Thai cooking series a few years back. Well, probably 5 years ago, since I was not yet pregnant with Owen.

Tom Kha is a coconut based soup spiked with lime juice to give it tang and infused with hot chili's for balance...since I was lacking some of the flavors, I decided to use a bit of red curry paste as a substitute. I also added cauliflower as the feature veggie. I'm not really a measure it out type of cook, so here is my best guess of what I did:

Red Curry Tom Kha Soup

1 tsp. Red Curry Paste (Mae Ploy brand)
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups broth
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 sliced jalepeno
2 cups steamed veggies or cooked meat
Juice of a huge lime or 2 small ones
6 button mushrooms, quartered
2 green onions
Sprig of basil

Heat up a few tablespoons of the cocconut milk and cook the curry paste in it for about a minute, releasing the aromas of the spices. Add the rest of the coconut milk and broth, heat to just below boiling. Add the rest of the ingredients, being careful not to let it come to a roaring boil, or the coconut milk will separate (If that happens, don't panic, it will still taste good). Let simmer for a few minutes and garnish with green onion and basil.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

The hype was worth it....these little puppies were amazing. Steel-cut oats are the less processed version that I'm more familiar with - rolled oats. Rolled oats have been steamed, flattened, steamed again and then toasted dry. A steel-cut oat is simply cut into three or four pieces and then dried. The result is a chewier and nutty tasting hot breakfast. I used honey, cranberries and raw almonds in mine. From a quick Google search, I found out that you can store the leftovers for several days, so I'm good to go for awhile. (This recipe makes enough to feed a small army) It's guaranteed to last you until lunch!

I used an adapted version of Alton Brown's recipe as follows:

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

2 tsp. butter or margarine

1 cup steel-cut oatmeal

3 cups hot water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

Directions: Toast oatmeal in the butter, stirring until fragrant and lightly toasted. Add hot water and simmer for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and any additives you like and simmer for another10 minutes.

Additives as desired: Honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, sky's the limit

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Perimeter Shopping

Okay, so I'm not really sure if this is a diet or not, but it should be. You know, the theory that if you keep most of your shopping to the perimeter of the store, then you should be buying the least processed and healthiest foods? I tried it today and here is what I came up with. I will tell you that it is not fool proof, because I had to pass up the bear claws and chocolate donuts in the bakery. And the triple-cream brie and salami in the deli.

My experiment in shopping also corresponds to starting "The Biggest Loser" tomorrow with my Mom's Club. I am going heavy on fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains and low fat dairy. I've never tried the steel cut oatmeal, but from the several times doing Weight Watchers, people have raved about it. I'm finding out that it takes almost an hour to cook though, so my plan is to have a piece of fruit and coffee when I wake up and eat this in the later morning. If its just too blah, I did buy some cranberries and almonds to throw on top. Good luck to all my fellow mommies....I will be posting my struggles and cravings on the Yahoo group.

Mashed Potato Latkes

I'm breaking it off. My long intense affair with creamy white potatoes is over. Don't call, don't write...I don't ever want to hear from you again. You make me feel so guilty, especially after one of our torrid rendezvous....I'm even giving up our exciting threesomes with your friend, Mr. Red Meat. I've had it! Okay, well one more time this morning and I will rid myself of you forever. Here is the photo of our very last encounter. I will always remember you fondly.....but don't come calling, not even in your clever french fry disguise.

Mashed Potato Latkes

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Splash of milk
Mix all ingredients, adding enough milk to make it the consistency of thick pancake batter. Cook on medium high heat in thin layer of oil or butter , flipping once like a pancake. Serve with condiments of your choice: butter, sour cream, applesauce.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cherimoya Revealed

This puppy sliced open like butter, revealing a custardy white flesh, with an almost pungent smell, like papaya. However, the taste was exquisite. While I read that it was supposed to taste like mango, pineapple and strawberry, I would describe it more like a creamy pineapple. It almost had a bitter finish, but not unpleasant, if that makes any sense. The pits were solid and about the size of coffee beans. I figured that scooping out the flesh and eating it from the spoon would be the easiest option. I put one half in the freezer for about 10 minutes, and it was even better that way. At $4 per pound, it's not an every day fruit, but if you get a chance to try one, don't be afraid....go for it!