Monthly Archives: September 2009
|September 21, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Asian, Fish and Seafood, Lent, Quick Weeknight Meals|
While I was on vacation, I drank a lot of ginger beer – both on its own and in dark and stormy’s (my new fvorite drink, where it’s mixed with Black Seal Rum). The sharp ginger flavor of the soda seemed like it would pair perfectly with Chinese food, and left me craving lo mein. Which is what I originally set out to make here, until I realized two things: I didn’t actually have about half of the ingredients that I plnned to use, and I don’t actually know how to make lo mein. So I used what I actually had in the kitchen to make these spicy noodle bowls, which were actually really good and killed the lo mein craving. And, just in case you were wondering, they went very well with a dark and stormy.
I lightly battered the shrimp in cornstarch and egg white, the sam way that I do in my kung pao shrimp. I really like the way that this comes out – it gives the shrimp a slight crispiness, without being heavy or greasy. I also borrowed from the kung pao by adding some peanuts to give the dish a little bit of crunch. Water chestnuts and snap peas rounded it out, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand – I think broccolini would be wonderful.
Spicy Asian Noodle Bowls
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tsp sake
- 1 egg white
- 1 Tbs water
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 2.5 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 Tbs sherry
- 1 Tbs grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cole slaw mix
- 1 cup snap peas, blanched
- 1/2 cup water chestnuts
- 2 Tbs peanuts
- 4 servings Chinese noodles (the kind that look like bird nests in the pkg), prepared
- Sriracha to taste
Sprinkle the shrimp with the sake. In a small bowl, combine the egg white, water, and cornstarch. Coat shrimp with the cornstarch mixture.
Combine the soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, and red pepper in a small dish. Set aside.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook about 5 minutes, or until nearly cooked through. Add the green onion and pepper – cook until pepper begins to softed slightly. Add the cole slaw mix, snap peas, water chestnuts, and noodles. Stir in the soy sause mixture and cook until heated through. Remove rom heat and mix in the peanuts. Season with sriracha to taste.
Approx. 400 calories, 7.5 grams fat, 3.8 grams fiber, 35 grams protein
|September 20, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Indulge|
You may not have realized that I was gone since I had scheduled some posts to go up while I was away, but if you were wondering why my posting has been slow or why I haven’t been returning comments it was because I was on vacation! A cruise to Bermuda which was fabulous – now I’m home and ready to get back into the kitchen! Regular posting will resume tomorrow. For now, here are some cruise highlights:
I didn’t take too many pictures of food on the boat, because it really wasn’t very good at all. It didn’t look very nice either. I guess that’s to be expected when the kitchen is preparing meals for 3,000 people, but I was still a little disappointed. There was a serious lack of seasoning, and the food just wasn’t fresh. I am now 100% convince that fresh, local food tastes a million times better than food that’s been shipped across the country and has sat for weeks. Even the eggs tasted totally different (and not good – almost spoiled). Food onBermuda was another story – fantastic! It was a little expensive, but i didn’t think it was too outrageous. Especially since it tasted so good.
The lunch buffet on the cruise had an Asian section, which I thought has the best food since it was actually seasoned. Shown here is some vegetable vindaloo, a lamb patty, and some rice. And some melon.
One of our first stops on Bermuda was the grocery store! It was really hot out, and we knew we were going to be walking so we needed some drinks. I found diet ginger beer! It was great – I need to find some of this at home! It’s a lot more gingery than ginger ale, and it was very refreshing.
Since Bermuda is in the British commonwealth, there was a lot of traditional British food around. I was so excited to find a Cornish pastry! I first discovered these in Wales about 10 years ago and I love them, but they’re very difficult to find and I havenn’t managed to make a good one at home yet (or at least a good one that doesn’t have about a million calories!!). Ground beef, turnip, peas, and carrots in a sweet pasrty shell. Delicious. And so not healthy.
I forgot to bring the camera to dinner that night, but we ate at a cute restaurant right where the boat was docked called Bone Fish. It was surprisingly not too touristly given the location, and the food was very good. I had an appetizer of fried olives stuffed with asiago and Shawn had the fish chowder. For entrees we both got pasta with spicy sauce and seafood. The seafood was amazing – it was so fresh! I never knew calamari could be as tender as what we ate – it melted in your mouth and wasn’t chewey at all.
Lunch the next day was at a cute restaurant in Hamilton called the Pickled Onion. Once again, the food was very good. We both started with the fish chowder since we had liked it so much at dinner. It didn’t disappoint. I’ll be making this at home very soon, so hopefully I’ll have a recipe to share with you all soon!
I followed my soup up with the “pickled onion burger” which, again, was far from being helathy (hey, it was vacation!) but tasted amazing. Four cheese sauce, fried onions, and hot sauce. On a whole wheat roll, which made me laugh a little.
After that it was back to the boat for the rest of our meals. Since they were disappointing, I stopped bringing my camera with me. It’s big and bulky so it’s kind of a pain to carry around if I don’t think I’m going to use it. I did have lamb at dinner one night that was presented beautifully and I wish that I had gotten a picure of it. It was huge! I think I ate about a third of it.
I did remember to bring the camera to lobster night though! I had a chilled pear soup with this, but I apparently didn’t get a picture of it. It was good, but a little too sweet. The lobster was nice, and it was served with some garlicky shrimp. The shrimp were overcooked (proably cooked and frozen and then reheated – ew) but the flavor was pretty good.
They also had prime rib. I’m not a huge fan of prime rib, but i did hae taste of Shawn’s and it was surprisngly good – very tender. It could have used more seasoning though. I think that rosemary garnish was the extent of their attempt at “seasoning.”
There was also a cooking demo on the ship. It was more funny than anything else, and they didn’t really do much of anything (assemble a cake), but it was pretty entertaining.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a new recipe! And a renewed focus on healthy foods – including some nutritional information for those of you who want it (after eating all of that food on vacation, I need it it for myself too!!)
|September 17, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Lent, Light, Mexican and Southwestern, Quick Weeknight Meals, Sides, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Avocado is one of my favorite things to eat, and it’s found in two of my favorite dips. When I was in Mexico, I pretty much lived on this guacamole. Luckily, the resort that I was staying at had a “class” where they thought us how to make it so I can have it all the time! The tomatillo salsa is based on one from Rick Bayless. Its a nice change from a more traditional tomato based salsa. Make these both and have an instant fiesta! It’ll bring a little bit of summertime fun and flavor into your fall.
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- 1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 small hand full of cilantro, chopped
- sea salt to taste
Combine all ingredients. Mix well so that the avocado gets slightly mashed. Season to taste with sea salt.
- 4 tomatillos, husked
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 jalepeno
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- sea salt to taste
- 1 avocado, diced
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Process util smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup of water if needed. Stir in the avocado.
|September 16, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Breakfast, Light, Mexican and Southwestern, Quick Weeknight Meals|
Growing up, I was never a big fan of eggs. They just didn’t do it for me. The, about a year ago, I discovered poached eggs and everything changed. Now I love eggs in all forms, and I can’t get enough! Which is good, because they make a super simple and delicious meal on those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking.
This omlette was particularly delicious. I picked up some Mexican Chorizo (the softer kind that isn’t smoked) at the farmer’s market and knew that it would be fabulous with eggs and leftover queso quesadilla that we had from making pollo fundido. Serves with some fruit salad, it made a great dinner. It would also be perfect for breakfast or brinch!
Mexican Omelette with Chorizo
- 2 links fresh chorizo (about 1/4 pound)
- 2 tsp butter, divided
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbs milk
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup queso quesadilla or other good melting cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper
Remove casing from the chorizo and crumble. Add to a small frying pan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat together eggs and milk. Melt 1 tsp of butter in a medium skillet. When the butter is hot add half of the egg. Let cook for about 3 minutes or until the edges begin to set. Sprinkle half of the chorizo, pepper, and onion over the egg. Continue to cook until the egg is set and the top is dry. Sprinkle half the cheese down the middle of the egg. Fold one side in over the cheese, then fold the other side over (like folding a letter). Remove from pan and place on a plate – the heat from the egg will melt the cheese and prevent the egg from overcooking. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
|September 14, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Indian, Lent, Special Occasions, Vegetarian or Vegan|
I was very excited to learn that the Daring Cooks challenge for September had an Indian theme! I love Indian food, but I haven’t posted many Indian recipes. I also haven’t eaten it in a while, so it was a nice treat! I had actually never had dosas before, but these were fabulous and I’ll definitely be making them again! It also wasn’t difficult to make – this took me a total of about an hour, most of which was spent on prep.
This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Debyi from Healthy Vegan Kitchen. She chose the Indian Doasa from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. This month also carried a second challenge – we were allowed to make whatever changes we wanted, but the final dish had to be 100% vegan. I’ve made vegan meals by accident before, but never intentionally and it certainly was a challenge to pass up the butter! I have to say though, I could easily be a vegan if everything tasted this good, because this recipe was downright awesome!
The dish consits of three parts- a pancake that’s sort of similar to a crepe, a curried filling, and coconut-curry sauce. I did take some liberties in making substitutions – since Shawn has basically told me that he’ll stop loving me if I ever make him eat spelt, I used garbanzo bean flour (which is totally my new favorite ingredient!!). Since i was using garbanzo bean flour, I halved the amount of beans in the filling and added potatoes and peas. Finally, I substituted habenero for chili peppers since I had the brilliant idea of planting 6 habenero plants this summer and now am up to my ears in the things.Despite the habenero, the dish isn’t really hot – the rest of the ingredients balance thing out very nicely.
The sauce is very good served over rice, but the recipe really makes way too much. I have a bout 3 cups left over! Luckily it freezes well. I’m going to use it to poach some chicken or fish, but the sauce recipe could stand to be halved.
- 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 ½ cup water
- cooking spray, if needed
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly add the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 potato, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 habenero, seeded and minced
- 2 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP oregano
- 1 TBSP sea salt
- 1 TBSP turmeric
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 cup peas
Boil the poato until it begins to soften – about 5 minutes.
Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, and poato cooking until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and mash slightly with a potato masher. Add the peas and cook until heated through.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
- ¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
- 3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
- 3 TBSP (30gm) garbanzo bean flour
- 3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
- 2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
- 3 large tomatoes, diced
Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the spices, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally. Let it simmer for half an hour.
To serve: Wrap pancakes around the filling. Spoon sauce over the top. Top with diced cucumber.
|September 9, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Cake and Pastry, Desserts, Special Occasions|
Ever since I made that delicious dobos tort, I’ve been in the mood to bake cake. I’m usually a chocolate cake kind of a person, but I decided that I wanted to mix it up and make a yellow cake to bring to my parents house this past weekend. Specifically, I wanted to make a yellow cake filled with raspberry and iced with chocolate buttercream. As much as I love chocolate, there’s something wonderful about this combination.
Since I don’t bake cake very often – and since I don’t bake yellow cake ever – I needed to find a recipe. I scanned a few of my favorite sites before deciding on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I filled it with organic raspberry conserves , which were delicious and had much less sugar than other jams and preserves, and used the icing recipe from the Dobos Tort.
The yellow cake was wonderful – the batter reminded me of funfetti (and you can bet I’ll be experimenting with homemade funfetti sometime soon!) and when it first came out of the oven it was incredibly moist. Unfortunately, it did dry out a little after sitting overnight – if you don’t plan to eat this the day that you make it, it could probably benefit from being brushed with simple syrup to keep it moist. I was hesitant to do that because I thought it might be too sweet, but the final cake was a lot less sweet than the batter was and I think it would have been fine. I actually liked that the cake wasn’t overly sugary though, so if you don’t mind the cake being a little on the dry side you might want to skip it. Its up to you.
I’m not sure what happened with the frosting, but it tasted a lot less chocolaty and a lot more buttery than the first time I made it. I’m not sure if this could have been from my butter not being soft enough, but I’m blaming it on the fact that no one whoudl be making frosting before they’ve finished their first cup of coffee. I added some cocoa powder to it to try to hide the butter flavor, and no one had any complaints. I also kept the frosting layer very thin to prevent it from overpowering the cake with its sweetness. I decorated the top edge with a smattering of cocoa nibs that got a mixed reaction. Five year olds do not like cocoa nibs.
Yellow Cake with Raspberries and Chocolate Buttercream
- 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1sp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups milk
- 10 oz raspberry conserves
- 1.5 batches of chocolate buttercream
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egss, one at a time, mixing well in between additions. Slowly beat in the milk, then add the mixture of dry ingredients in three additions, stirring until just incorporated.
Divide the batter between the two pans. Drop on the counter from about 2-inches high a few times to get the air bubbles out and allow the batter to settle. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool for 15 minute in the pan before turning them onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Split each cake into two layers. Spread with raspberry conserves and stack. Frost with buttercream.
Yields 12-16 servings.
This cake is nowhere even close to being healthy. I’ve gotten a little off track lately. Starting in about 2 weeks I’ll be posting more healthy recipes, complete with calorie counts. (Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of cake! And I still refise to eat “diet food.”)