Monthly Archives: March 2010
|March 30, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breads, Breakfast, Special Occasions, Vegetarian or Vegan|
When I was really little, we would go to my grandparents house for Easter. At breakfast, they always had this really good bread called babka. I had forgotten all about it until a few years ago, when something triggered the memory. I went searching for some, but I could only find one bakery that had them and it was way more than I wanted to pay. Ever since, I’ve looked for them each year at Easter to no avail. This year, I decided I would just make my own already. A quick search of the internet showed me that this was easier said than done — recipes were few and far between, they seemed to have crazy differences (some had tons of sugar and few eggs, others few eggs and tons of sugar), and most recipes seemed like they would feed an army.
A little research showed me that there are actually two types of Babka – an Eastern European/Polish kind and a Jewish kind. The Polish babka is an eggy bread that is traditionally served at Easter, while the Jewish version is closer to a cake with a streusel topping. The Polish version was definitely what I was looking for, so I sent out a twitter message asking if anyone knew of any good recipes for it. It actually turned out that Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet was baking Babka that day too, and we shared out progress as we went along. It didn’t take long to realize that the recipe I was using was no good — my dough wasn’t rising at all! Hers was successful though, so she very kindly emailed me the recipe that she used. I gave it another try the next day, with much more success. The resulting bread was light and fluffy, with an eggy and slightly sweet dough that is similar to brioche. I filled my bread with chocolate and cheese, which I thought I remembered from my grandparents, but I think I actually remember it from when I was a little older and we bought babkas at the grocery store. When I read her post about eating raisin-studded babka slathered with butter, I remembered that’s how we ate it back then. Either way thought is delicious, and this would be a special treat on Easter morning.
I don’t have a bundt or tube pan so I made a makeshift one using a spring-form pan and a ramekin. I just set the ramekin upside down in the center of the pan and twisted the bread dough around it. It worked just fine, so I’m glad I didn’t go out and buy a special pan for this.
Chocolate Cheese BabkaTraditionally, babka contains dried fruit like raisins but more modern versions often include chocolate or cheese. I used both, but you can play with whatever fillings you like. The dough is lightly sweet like a cross between white bread and a danish. Thee rises mean that the bread is very soft and fluffy – I actually prefer it the second day when it becomes a little firmer. Enjoy this bred with tea for Easter breakfast, or as a dessert or afternoon snack any time!
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 package yeast (2 tsp)
- 3 whole eggs
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4-5 cups flour
For chocolate filling:
- 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tbs cream
- 1/2 brick cream cheese (reduced fat is fine)
For cheese filling:
- 1/2 brick cream cheese (reduced fat is fine)
- 1 egg
- zest from 1 lemon
Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in warm water. Add yeast and let stand for 10 minutes. The mixture should bubble up and look doughy. If it doesn’t discard, and start over with new yeas.
Beat the eggs and yolks until light and fluffy. Add remaining sugar, and beat for another minute. Stir in the butter, milk, salt, vanilla, and yeast mixture.
Mix in 4 cups of the flour, then add additional flour 1/4 up at a time, until a smooth dough is formed.
Knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover, and let rest in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let rise a second time.
Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the cream and keep warm. In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, egg, and lemon zest.
Divide the dough in half. Roll one half into a large rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Spread the rectangle with the chocolate mixture, then roll jelly roll style, starting with the long edge. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling with the cheese mixture. Twist the two rolls around each other like a braid, and arrange in a bundt or tube pan. The dough should fill the pan about 3/4 of the way. Cover and let rise for one hour.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it.
Congratulations to Linda from One Scoop at a Time, you’re the winner of my Le Crueset birthday giveaway!! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll have your prize sent to you. I can’t wait to hear what you make with it first!
|March 28, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals|
My Mom makes awesome lemon chicken. This isn’t it.
I’m not allowed to make hers anymore. See, I tried to make hers once — years ago before I had a decent kitchen or knew how to cook. I called and got the recipe, gathered the ingredients the best I could (wine had to be omitted since I was underage and couldn’t get any), and set off to make a delicious dinner. I’m not sure what happened, but what I ended up with wasn’t delicious at all. It was actually pretty gross. Shawn, who loves my mom’s version, has never let me live it down. Occasionally I’ll say something about wanting to make lemon chicken, but he just gives me a look and begs me to please just make something else.
This time I promised him it would be different. I wouldn’t use Mom’s recipe. In fact, I would make it as different from hers as I could, and the only similarities would be that it included lemons and chicken. He hesitantly said ok, so I came up with this recipe. It was a success!
The highlight of this dish is the sauce, which is a lot more like a gravy than my mom’s version. The sauce is very bright, and the lemon flavor is extremely powerful without being at all tart or sour. I kept the seasonings simple, with just some thyme and leeks, which I cooked right in the pan with the chicken so they would soak up the lemon while infusing the sauce with their subtle flavor. Together, the lemons and the leeks scream “spring!” and this is the perfect dinner for a rainy March or April night. I served this with rice, but mashed or roasted potatoes would also be nice with the sauce.
Lemon Chicken with Leeks and ThymeThe chicken legs I used in this recipe were extremely small — only about a quarter pound each — so they cooked up very quickly. If you’re using larger legs, you’ll want to be sure to adjust the cooking time. If you use a thermometer, pull them out of the oven when they reach 160. If you don’t care for leg meat, you could also make this with thighs or breasts. I left the skin on while these cooked, but discarded it before I ate. Nutrition information is calculated with skin. I also prefer to use organic lemons, which I find to have a much less astringent and much more “lemony” flavor than conventional lemons.
- 4 chicken legs (approx. 1 Lb)
- Zest and juice from 2 lemons
- 1 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large leek, cut into half moons
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 Tbs cold butter
- pepper to taste
Combine the lemon zest, garlic, thyme, and salt in a small dish. Rub this mixture into the chicken and set aside to rest.
Place a large, oven proof pan over high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is heated, add the chicken. Cook until the skin turns golden and begins to crisp. Add the lemon juice and the leeks to the pan, cover and transfer to a 425-degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160-degrees.
Remove the leeks and the chicken and set on a plate tented with foil to keep them warm. Place the pan on a burner set to medium heat. Whisk in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the lemon slices. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to about half. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the chicken and leeks.
Approx. 117 calories, 7 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams protein
Don’t forget to enter my Le Crueset Giveaway! You have until Tuesday to enter if you haven’t already.
|March 25, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Italian, Lent, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals, Vegetarian or Vegan|
We don’t make frittatas very often, and I really don’t have a good excuse for that. They’re healthy, super easy to make, and so much more convenient than omelets if you’re cooking for a crowd. Since you don’t have to worry about folding it, it’s easy to pack it chock full of vegetables – I like to think of the egg as a binder for the veggies rather than as the main component of the dish.
You can use whatever vegetables you have around, which makes frittatas a great way to use up leftovers, but I always try to include eggplant when I make them. It doesn’t sound like it would go well with eggs, but trust me — it’s delicious. For this Mediterranean version, I also added some sun dried tomatoes, a few spoons full of pesto, and a light sprinkle of feta cheese. The resulting dish was phenomenal! The tomatoes and pesto really kicked things up a notch and made this frittata special.
I forgot to put the spinach I had in it, so I made a little salad with it on the side. Since the frittata was so savory, it went really well together. If you want to add more bulk to your eggs though, you can wilt the spinach with your vegetables.
Mediterranean Vegetable FrittataFeel free to use up whatever vegetables you have on hand, or to use all eggplant or all zucchini. I bet this would also be fantastic with artichoke hearts in it. A little bit of baking powder keeps the fritatta light and airy. Feta provides a touch of saltiness, but a sprinkling of grey sea salt on the plate is a nice touch as well and will brighten the flavors. The frittata reheats well, and can also be served at room temperature.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, peeled and sliced
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 Tbs sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 6 Eggs
- 1/4 cup fat-free milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbs pesto
- cracked black pepper
- 2 ounces feta cheese
Preheat the broiler.
Spray a 10-inch saute pan with olive oil. Add the onion and cook on medium-high until it begins to soften. Add the remaining vegetables and cook until soft.
While the vegetables cook, beat together the eggs, milk, baking powder, and pesto. Season with black pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, giving it a good stir so that the vegetables are spread evenly throughout. When the sides are just set, but the top is still wet, sprinkle the cheese over the egg.
Transfer to the broiler and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the top is set. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 6 wedges.
Approx. 130 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 9 grams protein
|March 23, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Special Occasions|
I can hardly believe it, but I missed the 1 year anniversary of me starting Healthy-Delicious.com! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I’ve had the blog for much longer than that, but I only started posting regularly last winter, and it was last March that I moved it to my own domain.
Anyway, CSN stores offered me a product to giveaway and I thought it would be a fun opportunity to give away a great gift to one lucky reader in celebration of the blog’s birthday. This is a good one, folks! I spent hours pouring through the CSN websites choosing the perfect gift… they have everything imaginable: from cooking gadgets to board games, and dog beds to tv stands. It’s all divided up into smaller stores though, so it’s pretty easy to navigate. They also have some really awesome deals and special values on some of my favorite cookware. So what did I choose for you? You’ll have to read on to find out. You won’t want to miss this one!
First, see all that delicious food up there? Remember last year’s 24-hour NYC food whirlwind? Well, we did it again, and this year it was even better! I met up with Mo, Sarah, and Carol on Saturday and we proceeded to eat our way through NYC (sharing portions here and there so as to not be completely gross about it)!. Our first stop was the Radiance Tea and Book House, where we shared a pitcher of the most amazing iced tea I’ve ever had (It was sweetened oolong tea with honey soaked fruit in it — it was almost like sangria with all that fruit!) and I ordered a side order of soupy pork dumplings. I love dumplings, and these were some of the best I’ve ever had. Sarah had an awesome looking ice cream sundae with homemade green tea, red bean, and mango ice creams and Carol ordered a really fun sticky rice and bean dessert with coconut milk and toasted nuts. I had a bit and it was SO GOOD! This place was a real find… not too crowded for a Saturday afternoon, it was the perfect place for a nice leisurely chat so we could all catch up. We did some sightseeing and stopped at the cutest little cheese shop for a snack — nothing like eating cheese on the sidewalk! Did some more sightseeing before we parted ways for dinner. Mo, Sarah, and I headed back to Mo’s neighborhood for a repeat of last year’s roast pork — which as even better this year! We also shared a few pitchers of sangria.
On Sunday, we headed out for breakfast at a Gluten Free Bakery called Tu-Lu’s that Sarah was excited to check out. This was the cutest little place and the owner is absolutely adorable! I got some mini cupcakes to test out (who said you can’t have cupcakes for breakfast?) I was really impressed with how soft and fluffy they were for being gluten free! I was worried they would be dense or gritty, but they weren’t at all. I would eat these again anytime. My favorite was the Red Velvet. Then we headed to S’Mac for lunch, where Mo and I shared a sampler. Eight kinds of mac and cheese. They were all really good, and it’s impossible to pick a favorite. After that, we hung out for a little while more and then I headed home.
Now, even though I did lots of sharing and really didn’t go too far overboard, that’s a lot of food! But it just so happens that last week someone from iChange.com contacted me about a free 30-day trial for myself and any of you that might be looking to lose a few pounds (summer’s just around the corner! Eep- shorts!). The site is new, so they’re looking for people willing to try it out for free and give them some feedback. The site looks pretty cool — they’ll put us in a private group and match us with a nutritionist who will help us analyze what we eat and keep us on track. It’s not a restrictive “diet” plan, but a way for a group of friends to support each other while easily keeping track of what they’ve eaten. If you want to join me in a 30 days challenge, you can do so by signing up HERE.
Ok, so back to that giveaway. Who wants some Le Crueset? I’m so jealous that I can’t keep this for myself! I recently bought my first piece of Le Crueset stoneware and it’s so much nicer than any of the other stoneware pieces that I have. It’s much heavier and sturdier, and the colors are gorgeous. Here’s your opportunity to win two pieces for yourself! If you win, CSN will send you a 10.5″x7″ baking pan and a 7″x5″ baking pan in kiwi (a really cute spring-y green). These are perfect for baking in and would also be great for transporting a side dish to a summertime picnic or neighborhood potluck.
To enter, leave me a comment on this post. For an extra entry, you can tweet about the giveaway (reference @HealthyDelish so I see it!) or for two extra entries you can link to it form your blog (leave me the link in the comments here so I see it!). You have until next Tuesday (March 30) to enter, and I’ll announce a winner on my birthday – March 31! (The giveaay is only open to US and Canadian residents — my apologies to everyone else!)
This is the color that you’ll receive:
But in the two dish set like this:
Good luck, and thanks for making this past year so great!
|March 18, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Uncategorized|
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and in this case I’m glad that I didn’t. I’ll be honest: Secrets of a Skinny Chef probably isn’t a cookbook that would catch my eye if I was browsing around Barnes and Noble. The cover is a dull yellow-green color (I couldn’t even take a decent photo of it!), the cartoon is kind of hokey, and there’s something about the word “skinny” that really turns me off. But the description pulled me in – Jennifer Iserloh and I share a similar food philosophy that includes moderate portions of real foods, lots of veggies, and not falling victim to food fads. Plus, her recipe for mac and cheese loaded up with cauliflower sounded really good (ever since I made that gratin, I’ve been obsessed with the combination of cauliflower and cheese).
In terms of layout, the book is very no-frills. Although there is a small insert of photos in the middle, the rest of the book is printed simply in two colors with a few small illustrations here and there. So you’ll have to use your imagination and actually read a little to decide which recipe’s you want to try. Which might be a good thing because, if your like me, you probably don’t usually bother to cook the recipes that don’t have photos. And you just might be missing out on some good ones.
The book covers a really wide range of dishes, with chapters dedicated to everything from breakfast to side dishes to desserts. There are also some really cool extras, like a “skinny shopping list” and a section dedicated to using up leftovers. None of the recipes call for “diet” foods or specify that you use a specific brand of something, and all of them include nutrition information. The recipes are straightforward and easy to make — not intimidating at all for those of you who aren’t “cooks.” They don’t involve complicated or expensive ingredients, and they’re fast to cook up.
The first recipe that I made was the shrimp and corn fritters with sweet chili sauce. It was incredible!! The fritters were light and fluffy in the center, but crisp on the outside, and the seasoning mixture in them was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten. The sauce was a lot spicier than I expected, but it was full of flavor and paired perfectly with the fritters. The sweetness of the corn also went really nicely with the spicy sauce. One serving didn’t look like much on my plate, but the three fritters (302 calories) and a side of asparagus was more than I could finish. I plan to make these again soon!
The second recipe I made was the mac and cheese that I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, this recipe and I didn’t get along very well. It was most likely my fault – I was in a horrible mood when I started cooking and it was late and I was cranky. But my pasta turned to mush and my sauce was more solid than creamy.
The last recipe I tried was the pork lo mein, hold the grease. While I wouldn’t call this dish lo mein (the sauce wasn’t what I was expecting) it was, again, an excellent dish. It was packed full of filling vegetables, and the sauce had a ton of flavor. I also really enjoyed the use soba noodles in this recipe. For 293 calories, this dish was not only much tastier than take-out, but much healthier too.
|March 16, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Italian, Lent, Quick Weeknight Meals|
I remember for a while when I was young, we had linguini with clam sauce fairly often. I don’t know if the traditional dish had a surge of popularity in the 80s-90s or what. A Google search really didn’t provide me with any information on that. Anyway, we ate this stuff a lot when I was a kid. And then it sort of disappeared. To be honest, I totally forgot that it ever existed. Then, a few weeks ago, Shawn and I went out to a seafood restaurant. As we stood up to leave, I saw that one of the people at a table near us was eating a big bowl full of pasta with clams. It looked so good! The memory of white clam sauce came flooding back to me, and I knew that I would be making it in the near future.
When I sat down to try to create my recipe, a funny thing happen. I thought, “But clam sauce comes from a can!” and I got a little confused. Those of you who know me, know that I would never eat sauce from a can, so this really made me laugh. Of course you can buy a canned version of the sauce, but why do that when it’s so easy to make from the simplest ingredients?
Really, this sauce is super simple to make and requires little more than wine, garlic, onion, and parsley. I did use some canned baby clams in their juice but, looking back on it, fish stock would have worked just as well to thin out the sauce. This linguini and clam sauce doesn’t take long to make at all, and the use of fresh ingredients results in a dish that tastes so much better (and so much less salty!!) than anything you can get from a can.
I know I’ve written about DeBoles pasta on here a few times, but I want to mention it again – I love this stuff! All of the varieties are good, but my favorite is the line that uses jerusalem artichoke flour. The pasta I so soft, without being sticky and it seems to cook up perfectly al dente every time. The boxes are also a little smaller than your standard box of pasta — just 4 servings — which makes measuring it a little easier. I wither the whole box and plan to have leftovers or eyeball it and make half the box. Either way, it’s much easier than trying to portion out spaghetti from an 8 serving box.
I also wanted to mention the wine that I used here — it’s a 2008 Lacheteau Vouvray that I picked up a while ago at Trader Joe’s a while back. I don’t usually drink white wine, but I actually really enjoyed this one! It wasn’t sweet like a riesling, but it wasn’t as harsh like sauvignon blanc can be either. It also didn’t make my mouth go all puckery after I swallowed it. I’m not good at describing wine, but I’d say it’s dry but still slightly fruity – I think I tasted a little bit of apple? Anyway, it was good and I would buy it again.
Linguini with White Clam SauceI used canned baby clams in addition to fresh littlenecks in this pasta, but you could easily use one or the other. If you want to omit the canned clams, stir about a half cup of fish stock into the sauce. You’ll also want to be sure to slice the garlic, not mince it. This will allow it to melt into the sauce and will give you a nice, mellow flavor rather than a bitter one.
- 8 ounces dry linguini
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 head garlic, sliced
- pinch dried hot red pepper flakes
- pinch dried oregano
- 8 Tbs dry white wine
- 1/2 can baby clams, plus juice
- 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
- 1 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare the linguini according to the directions of the package.
White that cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet or pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, red pepper, and oregano and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to urn the garlic.
Stir in the wine (the sauce will turn white as you add it!) and the liquid from the baby clams. Cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Add the littlenecks, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes or until the clams open. Stir in the baby clams and cook until just heated through. Remove from heat and set aside the littlenecks. Stir in the butter and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Darin the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Top with littlenecks.Serves 4.Approx. 350 calories, 10 grams fat, 1.3 grams fiber, 15.5 grams protein