Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cherry Raspberry Tart with Walnut Streusel

For the Streusel Topping:

-1/2 cup white flour
-6 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 cup minced walnuts

Combine first 5 ingredients, cutting butter in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Cut in walnuts and set aside.

For the Cherry Filling:
-1 can cherry pie filling
-1/2 bag frozen raspberries
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-Zest of 1/2 a small orange
-1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix gently and set aside.

For the Tart crust:
I am not going to list the recipe I originally used for the crust because I didn't think it was any good, and was really more like a cookie recipe. Instead I am going to put a link to a very exciting sort of tart crust that I'm going to use when I make this again tomorrow (for an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends).
David Lebovitz's French Tart Dough. The French are so crazy!

Once you lightly bake off the dough in the tart pan, pour cherry mixture over dough and sprinkle with the oatmeal crumble, making sure the entire tart is covered. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crumbles are melted and beginning to crisp up. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes or so before serving.
This would be really delicious with vanilla bean ice cream and a little espresso on the side :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Potato Muffins

For the muffins:
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup raw sugar
2/3 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Streusel:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup walnuts, very finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make the streusel topping, combine the first seven ingredients, cutting in butter with either your fingers or a pastry cutter. Once you have a lot of small crumbs, add in the walnuts. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine oatmeal, flours, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate small bowl, mix together sweet potato, sugars, applesauce, yogurt, milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour liquid mixture into a well in the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened, being careful not to over-mix. Scoop into muffin tins, covering each muffin with small amount of streusel, and bake for 16-18 minutes.

(This recipe was derived from here)

Rice with Peas and Chicken

1 Cup long grain white rice
2 Cups water
1 Tsp olive oil
1/2 Cup frozen peas
1/2 Cup frozen green beans

1 Chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper and cut into thin strips
1 Strip of bacon, diced
1/2 Red onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, add the rice and olive oil. Once the rice has been coated with the oil, slowly add in the water. Heat until boiling, cover and turn heat to medium-low. Once rice has cooked halfway (about 10 minutes) add the frozen vegetables, and cover until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender.
In the meantime heat another teaspoon of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red onion and saute for several minutes. Add the bacon and cook until it begins to crisp. Move onion mix to the sides of the pan and add the chicken breast. Once the chicken is cooked, add the rice and vegetables to the skillet. Mix all ingredients well and coat with a thin layer of cheese. Once cheese is completely melted, it's ready to serve!
We also ate this the next night over a bed of mixed greens with an extra chicken breast added and topped with plain yogurt and balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Morning Glory" Muffins

I have the bad habit of going to work for five or six hours and not bringing anything substantial to eat. Possibly because we have neither a refrigerator nor a microwave at my place of employment, which limits my options since I'm weird about food being left out for long. As I was getting tired of eating peanut butter and jelly pretty much everyday I wanted to come up with an alternative that was easy to pack and very filling while still being nutritious. I found a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins and thought it was a great base to use and I could change the fruits and proteins that are in it to keep things interesting.

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour

1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup non fat yogurt
2 mashed bananas
1 egg

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flours in a large bowl. Using a whisk, add the next four ingredients to the flours and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, mash the banana and add the yogurt and egg. Stir until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt mixture. Gently stir all ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Carefully fold in the dried fruits, walnuts and coconut. Drop about 1/4 cup (or slightly less) batter into 18 lined muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Next time I would add a little bit of olive oil, raw sugar instead of brown sugar and some other protein, like ground almonds on top. Other things you could add/substitute/sprinkle on top would be:
-Oat Bran
-Wheat Germ
-Flax Seed (ground or whole
-Shredded apple or apple chunks
-Dried Cherries
-Fresh ground peanut butter
-Fresh ground almond butter
-Chia Seeds
-Toasted almonds
-Shredded Carrot
-Shredded Zucchini
-Sunflower Seeds

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Simple Lunch

On a skillet over medium-low heat, place a small amount of olive oil and a flour tortilla. On top of that put 2 slices turkey, several slices of sharp cheddar cheese, fresh tomato, spinach and a "dollop" of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with S&P, leave on the heat long enough for the cheese to melt, roll it up and then bask in the delightful tastes and textures as you devour it.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I first saw this recipe while watching The Food Network in a hotel room one morning last February. My husband and I were supposed to be checking out (it was our 6 month anniversary, I believe), but we just couldn't stop watching this delicious soup being made! It's been on my "to cook" list since then, and last night seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it. The original is here, but mine is easier :)

2 cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 strips of bacon
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 large carrots peeled and cut into small chunks
1 1/2 sticks of celery, cut into small chunks
1 quart chicken stock
salt and pepper

Place bacon and onion in a large stock pot and saute for several minutes. Add in beans, carrot, celery and chicken stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper and simmer for several more minutes.
Strain soup, making sure to reserve all the liquid, and blend the solids with 3-4 cups of the stock. You will probably have leftover stock that you won't use. Once the soup is blended, strain it through a fine mesh sieve back into the stock pot so that you have a velvety smooth soup. Discard what is left in the sieve (you could skip this step, but you would have a chunkier more rustic style soup. Either way it would be good.

Top soup with this:

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup loosely packed basil, cut into thin strips

Place all ingredients in small skillet over medium heat. Cook until garlic just begins to turn golden and all ingredients are sizzling. Serve hot over soup with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

The Magic of Oats

Oatmeal is the most perfect breakfast I know. It's warm and filling and you can put pretty much anything on top of it. Lately I've been "whipping" (stirring very aggressively) a banana into the oats while they cook so that the texture becomes extremely thick and creamy. I also like to mix a drop of vanilla into it and top it with some sort of nut (almonds, peanut butter, walnuts, pecans) and dried fruit. Here is a recipe for Butterscotch Walnut Oatmeal:
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup 2% milk
Dash of salt
1/2 banana cut into tiny chunks

Place all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir to incorporate and then "whip" the oatmeal to emulsify the banana. Add a drop or two of vanilla and continue to stir until the oats are cooked through (5 minutes). Top with a sprinkle of walnuts, a sprinkle of butterscotch chips and a splash of milk.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Max

He is our very handsome and incredibly masculine "Morkie".

Chicken and Caramelized Onions

The other day we went to see a movie called 35 Shots of Rum. It's a French movie by director Claire Denis, and it was so good. The two main characters often ate rice with chicken in a really brothy sauce, and after leaving the movie that was all we wanted to eat. So last night I made this dish:

1 large chicken breast cut into thin strips and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp port
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup medium grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp olive oil

3 small crowns broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse broccoli and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, put rice, water and olive oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium high heat. Once water is boiling, cover and turn heat to low.

While the rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and tender. Push onions to once side of the pan and on the other, add the chicken strips. Once the chicken is lightly browned, stir the onions and chicken together (the onions should be very brown and caramelized at this point). Slowly add the chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time. When stock is boiling, add port and spices. In a small bowl, mix a little bit of water to the 2 Tbsp flour. Once you have a nice liquidy paste, pour in a slow stream into the boiling liquid. This will help the sauce to thicken nicely.

Serve with broccoli on the side and chicken on top of the rice, with plenty of sauce and a little bread to sop up the extra broth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

It is a tradition in our family that every Halloween I make Pumpkin Muffins. Each year the recipe has been different, but this year's was my favorite. I'm going to put a link to the recipe because I didn't change anything and it's sort of a long process (it took me about 2 hours, all told) but it was so completely worth it. We still have a bag full of them in the freezer that I've been slowing putting a dent in. They are especially good heated up so that the cream cheese filling gets really gooey and melty. Best served with a steaming cup of coffee.

Chicken Sandwiches

-1 large chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise (the way you might cut a baguette all the way down the middle) both pieces sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper
-2 Multigrain rolls (ours were from Whole Foods...so good)
-1/2 an avocado, thinly sliced
-Extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot, also so good)
-Spinach leaves

-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 420 degrees and place the sweet potatoes on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a generous amount of olive oil and salt. Place in oven and cook until crisp-tender, 25-35 minutes (sometimes it takes even longer, depending on how much water the sweet potatoes have in them).
While the potatoes are crisping, grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Place cheese slices on the chicken while still in the pan and cover with a lid to help the cheese melt. Place chicken on rolls smothered with hummus and mustard. Put Spinach and avocado on top of the chicken. Serve with sweet potato fries.
*We both thought that while this was a very delicious meal, the sandwich would be much improved with the addition of some sort of dipping sauce. Next time, maybe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Apologies

It's been a terribly long time since I've posted. There are several reasons for this, the main reason being that I haven't been cooking much due to an extremely erratic schedule. Also, we're having camera issues and now that I've started including pictures with my recipes I don't want to stop. As an act of penance and for your entertainment I have included a picture of me wearing a beekeepers suit (I'm not really a beekeeper. I kind of wish I was, but I'm not) and smiling like an idiot.
To prove my point that the food we've been eating is not blog worthy I will tell you the meals we have eaten for the last 5 nights:
-Taco salad
-Burritos (Mexican food, much?)
-Tuna salad with peas and rice
-Spaghetti and Salad

So there you have it, you've been missing out on absolutely nothing. Although, there is one thing that I baked in the last week that is post worthy: the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever known to man.
The only thing I changed was adding 1/2 raw sugar to the amount of brown sugar (i.e., if it calls for 1 cup brown sugar add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raw sugar)...trust me, this gives the cookies a seriously addicting crunch. Also, adding course sea salt was a great idea even if it seems weird at first.

Starting next week I will begin posting on a more regular basis and including higher quality photographs. This is my solemn vow.

(photo credit: Gina Binkley)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pesto Cream Cheese Pasta

No pictures of this one unfortunately, but back in September I did a post about parsley pesto and talked about how I like to make it with other leafy greens, such as Spinach, and that is exactly what I did last night. The recipe is pretty much the same, the only difference being that you add 2 cups packed spinach instead of parsley.
First I prepared the pesto and let it sit out while I made the rest of the meal.

Boil an entire pack of pasta noodles of your choice in salted water. While that is boiling heat 4 oz of cream cheese over very low heat until completely melted and smooth. To the cream cheese add 3/4 cup pasta water, several tablespoons at a time to ensure the sauce will be smooth. Once you have a nice creamy sauce, stir in the pesto. Keep on low heat, covered, until ready to use.
Drain pasta and immediately return to the pot you cooked it in on, turning the heat to low. Toss in 2 cups fresh Spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1/3 cups toasted walnuts. Pour cream cheese pesto sauce over pasta and stir, allowing to sit until the fresh spinach is wilted.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and more salt and pepper if desired.
This meal is best eaten on an evening when creamy comfort foods are in order :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Banana Bread

I borrowed this recipe from a wonderful food blog that I just ran across the other day called "Whipped". I didn't change a thing about it, and it turned out great. The only thing I would do differently next time is instead of making two short loaves (in the 7x3 pans) I would like to make one great big loaf. This is especially good lightly toasted and topped with lots of butter! Fat? What's that?

1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. In medium size bowl, roughly mash banana. Add eggs to the banana mash and whip lightly until yolks are completely broken and incorporated into banana. Fold the banana mixture and butter into the dry ingredients. Pour into 2 7x3" loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans and bake 40-45 minutes.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then turn onto baking sheet and allow to cool completely before wrapping them up...if they last long enough to be wrapped up! Ours didn't!

Casserole Shmasserole

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package chicken flavored Rice-a-Roni
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of water
1/2-1 cup chicken broth
1 head of broccoli, all the little bunches cut apart
1 cup green beans, cut into 1" pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in large casserole dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper and half of the "flavor packet" from the Rice-a-Roni over the entire casserole. Cover with tin foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, removing and gently stirring ingredients one time.
I topped mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt because I like to put that on pretty much everything. Sometimes casseroles are just a good idea.