Friday, January 30, 2009

Wheat Berries w/Roasted Goodness

Too many recipes that catch my interest, I haven't used wheat berries since that salad awhile back. Wait no more, I bring you this fantastic creation...

Wheat Berries w/Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Pears & Tofu
Inspired by this recipe
Serves 2-3

1/2c wheat berries
1lb brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, and sliced
1 Bosc pear, diced
1lb extra firm tofu, drained then cut into 1/2" cubes
1T honey
1T agave nectar
juice 2/3 lemon
zest of 1/3 lemon
~1t fresh grated ginger
s/p to taste
goat cheese, if desired

Preheat oven to 400deg. Toss sprouts, pears, tofu, EVOO, honey, agave, lemon juice and zest, and ginger. Season w/ salt and pepper and spread out on cookie sheet. This would've cooked quicker on two sheets, but I just used one... Oh, and it also would've been a good idea to line this with foil beforehand. oops. Roast until veggies have become browned at the edges, stirring every ~10min or so. Mine went a little long, but still tasty.

While veggies are roasting, cook wheat berries in large pot of salted boiling water. I forgot to look at the clock, but it probably takes ~20-30min. They're still slightly chewy when they're done, but they plump up and you'll probably see a few that will have cracked open. Drain these and set aside.

Combine wheat berries and roasted veggies. Drizzle with a little extra evoo if you'd like, or top with some goat cheese (I opted for the latter).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Salmon & Peas

This time they go together :) And it's all about presentation here!

I made Giada's Salmon w/Pea Puree. It sits in a lemon broth, which, to be honest, I had no idea if i was supposed to eat it or drink it or what! Good thing i didn't have any guests :) I sopped up some of the broth with some bread, but there was alot there so I didn't finish it. I left out the mint, as I didn't have any. My salmon seemed quite large, so I split it in half and made half of the puree and broth. The broth and pea puree both got made ahead, so all I had to do was to saute the salmon, warm up the broth, and serve! This was a really great dish, and I was especially impressed by the pea puree, very yummy! And my second serving was still good heated up the next day, so that was nice, too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Presto Pasta!

I haven't a clue why, but I can't remember the last time I had pasta! This weekend I made up a pasta salad to enjoy for dinner this week. Ready and waiting when I get home, that's the way I like it ;-) This is definately adaptable to whatever you have in your fridge, too.

Orzo Salad
inspired by this recipe
yield: 3 servings

6oz WW orzo
1 bag of artichoke hearts, defrosted, drained, and chopped (or canned)
1c cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 roasted garlic cloves
3T pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/3-1/2c crumbled goat cheese
1 can tuna (chicken, or chickpeas would also be fantastic), optional

zest of 1/2 lemon
salt, pepper to taste
equal amounts of red wine vinegar and EVOO (I think it was ~2T each)

Cook orzo until al dente and drain. While orzo is cooking, prepare dressing by combining vinegar, zest, s/p and then whisk in EVOO. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle dressing, toss to combine thoroughly. The flavors got better as they marinated in the fridge :) It was good warmed up, or cold, too, so pick your poison.

This comes just in time to submit to Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this week by Erin at The Skinny Gourmet! I remember seeing this pop up on everyone's blogs back before I started my own blog, so I'm excited to finally participate :)

And one last thing, anyone with creative snack ideas, head on over to the contest at Oh She Glows for a giveaway!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On a Roll

I figured out why I haven't been such a fan of fruit-stuffed meat. I love all the components, but the flavor just falls short. This recipe for Mediterranean Turkey Rollups really hit the nail on the head. It packs such a punch in the filling that it doesn't get lost amidst the wrapping. Served amidst a sea of butternut squash fries, I kept it a little light since I had the last wedge of Banana Cream Pie to finish up :) YUM!

I actually prepared the filling ahead of time, and also used turkey scallopini that I had picked up instead of pounding out cutlets. Not a meat eater? The filling would be a great match tossed with some pasta! Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Shrimp and Pears

Hmm, well it seems to be an Ellie Krieger kind of week with the addition of this post! First up was Baked shrimp w/tomatoes & feta. While it didn't blow me away, it was a good and will definitely stay in my arsenal for a quick, tasty meal. Oh, the pears didn't go in with the shrimp, don't worry! I had an ezequiel english muffin to help sop up the juices (it's hiding up in the top of the picture).

With the open bottle of red wine from my Stuffed Pork and a few pears in my fruit bowl ripening too fast, I decided to make some red wine-poached pears! Once poached, I sliced them up and added the liquid back as I refrigerated them until I was ready to get drunk, err, I mean consume. I served up some slices with greek yogurt sweetened with a little bit of agave and topped with a little wheat germ for a delicious dessert! I tried to get all artsy, but apparently from the lack of good photos I failed :)

Last but not least, I feel honored to mention a giveaway from one of my favorite bloggers, Ricki! (think chocolate pate, of late) Go visit her at Diet, Dessert and Dogs... ESPECIALLY if you live in the toronto area :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some Pork, Kale and a new read!

Wow, what a day yesterday, eh? I'm happy that he's planning on restoring science to its proper position (among other things)!

On tonight's menu, Apple-Stuffed Pork Roast and some Kale Skins. The pork was alright (might've benefited from some cheddar or goat cheese in the middle), the kale skins were quite good, but I think the book chilling in the corner of the picture was the highlight of my night! I received Healthy Indian Cooking in the mail today from a good friend of mine (thank you Anand!!!) and couldn't be more excited to try out these recipes! I'm beat, so I'm off to relax, have a great night everyone :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Heather Made Me Do It

I posted a comment about Ellie Krieger's cookbook on Heather's post, and she totally called me out, asking about the chocolate and banana cream pies. It just so happens that at the time she was typing that comment, I was wondering what to do with the ripe bananas that were in my fridge, and the open container of quick oats that need to be finished. Well, friends, I wish I could tell you I had the strength not to do it, but I caved. And made pie. ~sigh~

bananas layered over an oatmeal cookie crust

I have posted a few recipes on here that call for gelatin. If you really want to know what it is (and don't already), I'll leave you to that. I've avoided thinking about it when I make these desserts, not knowing an alternative. I did some research and it seemed that equal amounts of powdered agar (also labeled agar agar) can be substituted for gelatin (1x). Well, I couldn't find powdered agar, only agar flakes, which can be substituted in a 3x amount for gelatin (if a recipe calls for 1t, you'd use 1T, or 3t, of agar flakes). The catch being agar flakes are harder to dissolve. Why do I bring this up? Because the Banana Cream Pie recipe calls for gelatin, so I figured I'd give these agar flakes a try. Here's what I did...

Banana Cream Pie

Oatmeal cookie crust, made with whole wheat flour and 1/4c total turbinado sugar (instead of the brown sugar and natural sugar)
3T + 1.5t agar flakes
3T water
1/4c turbinado sugar
3T WW pastry flour
2 egg yolks
1.5c skim milk
1/2t vanilla extract (for some reason I halved this, don't know why, but I'd use at least 1t)
2 large bananas, sliced

Put the agar flakes and water in a small bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave 30sec to get the agar to start to dissolve. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and the flour. In a medium bowl lightly beat the milk and eggs together, then add to saucepan and whisk so flour and sugar dissolve. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionallyuntil mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract and agar mixture and continue to boil until agar completely dissolves. I let this boil for awhile and it didn't completely dissolve, not sure how to fix this, but I kep going...

Arrange the sliced bananas on the graham cracker crust and pour the pudding on top. Place in the refrigerator until the pudding has set, about 3 hours or overnight. Serve with fresh whipped cream, if desired. I did not, so I just enjoyed it in all its glory :) And how was Ellie's banana cream pie? I guess I didn't really make it... hehe

I couldn't tell that the agar wasn't completely dissolved by taste or texture, but you could kind of see it (click to enlarge the photo of the finished pie). It did set well enough, so it does seem like a good substitute, I'm just not sure if this was the way it's supposed to be or not. Feel free to chime in if you've used it for puddings!

I gave some to a friend of mine who reads the blog (Hi Rebecca!), so maybe she'll chime in with how she liked it :)

A couple more notes about agar:

--Acidic foods may require more agar (citrus, strawberries)

--Some foods may not work: kiwi, pineapple, fresh figs, papaya, mango, peaches, chocolate and spinach

Here are my sources:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spicing up the Aubergine

After seeing Gina rave about this eggplant curry quite a few times, I decided I had to give it a shot in my own kitchen. Not having tried it before, I found a few recipes online and adapted them to create my own version... can't say how authentic it was, but I enjoyed it!

Baingan Bharta
Recipe by Shannon, adapted from several sources (see links above)
~2 servings if you include some naan

1 large eggplant, roasted at 450deg and flesh scooped out
1c chopped onion (i had a red one on hand)
2 cloves garlic
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
1/3 jalapeno, diced
3/4 can diced roasted tomatoes with chilis
1t cumin
1/4t tumeric
1/2t garam masala
dash of cayenne
1/4t coriander
1/4t paprika
1t chili powder
1/2c greek yogurt
, optional

Heat EVOO in pan over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened. Add ginger, garlic, jalapeno and saute 2-3 min. Add remaining ingredients (except yogurt) and cook maybe 15min. I prepared this ahead of time so I gave it a few days to hang out in the fridge, allowing the flavors to come together.

To serve, I prepared some WW Naan, and then warmed up some of the Baingan Bhartha. The spice level was a bit too much for me, so I topped it with some greek yogurt to cool it off a bit!! And then washed it all down with a glass of milk :)

Apparently, this was the week to make this dish, as it popped up at Serious Eats and then See Jess Run! I really like Jess' addition of chickpeas, I thought of it myself, but finished my last can on the pumpkin hummus.

Have you guys seen the Honest Foods giveaway over at Oh She Glows?? Hurry, it's only open until Saturday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pear Gorgonzola Risotto

The other day I saw a recipe for flatbread with carmelized leeks, pears and blue cheese. The flavor combination was definately one I wanted to try, I just didn't want even half a flatbread for myself since I didn't think it would reheat very well. The ingredients ran around in my head, then one night before I fell asleep I settled on risotto! Turns out the idea is not that unique, but it was delightful nonetheless! Mine differed slightly, so here's what I did...

with some chicken sausage

Pear Gorgonzola Risotto
Recipe by Shannon

1 medium leek, cut (half-moon shaped) and cleaned
1/2c arborio rice
2T white wine (the last of a bottle, I keep the small ones on hand for cooking, optional)
~2c stock, warmed
~1/3c gorgonzola
1 bosc pear, chopped (I left the skin on)

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook until nice and softened, but not browned. Add wine if using, stir and let rice absorb the liquid. Add stock, ~1/2c at a time, stir, then wait until liquid absorb. Once the rice is tender and no longer taking up liquid, stir in the gorgonzola and pear, and serve! I turned off the heat and left it on the burner for a little bit to allow the flavors to incorporate a bit more.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sorry for the delay on posting the winner... it's been busy at work and my tv also died at the end of last week so i've been on the search for the best way to spend money i wasn't expecting to :( Anyone having a tv giveaway? lol.

Thank you guys SO much for all of your comments!! Since I was behind the 8-ball, I "entered" everyone into the random number generator :) And I wish I had bought more so everyone could be the winner... but instead, I split up the goods to share the wealth! Erica, MacDuff and Heather McD, please email me at tri2cook [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing addresses and I should get these out to you soon!

While I'm here, I need to give a shout out for Megan's Black Beans & Rice w/Pumpkin Vinaigrette, which was fantastic! I used one of kashi's new packet grains, and also added a bag of spinach that I'd sauteed with garlic (thanks for the idea Heather!). Fantastic dish that will definitely be repeated. In the background is just a turkey scallopini that i seared in a pan and topped with salsa, seemed to fit the theme. And yes, that is a huge serving and a tiny piece of turkey!!

For a couple lunches this week I made up a small Apple Ham Bake with sweet potatoes (hence the container instead of a plate. It was quite yummy, but I used more curry powder than called for, and next time would use even more as I didn't taste it very much. It has potential, I might just play with the seasonings a bit. (Rosiecat, did you know I had this up my sleeve??)

Have you guys seen these? They are the snap -n-lock type, but with glass bottoms, which I prefer when reheating food in the microwave. Love 'em! I try to bring my lunch all the time, although there is too much free food around. One of the reasons I cook so many different things is that I try to scale each recipe to 2-3 servings, so as not to get bored and eat the same thing for lunch and dinner 3 days straight (done that, not much fun). What I bring, varies on what I am trying to use up or whether a particular recipe strikes my fancy. Often it's something that could pass as dinner, i'm not that discerning :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Go Healthy Go Fit

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I was honored to do a guest post for Andrew at Go Healthy Go Fit. You can see the post here, but be sure to check out the rest of his site as there's lots of good stuff over there!!!

Don't forget to visit Zesty(Cooks) and enter to win the Fundamentals of Photography book! Oooh, I have a giveaway too, did you catch it?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Dinner For 100

Before I forget, I hope you guys have realized that when I don't post recipes, it's because they aren't my own. I always link to them, but I don't know if I explicitly say that everytime-- so be sure to look for the link if you are looking for the recipe. If you try any of the recipes, please let me know how you like them, too!

I don't know if you guys noticed as I've been slowly approaching the big one-zero-zero! I can't believe it! Thank you all for reading, and taking the time to comment, I read each and every one and they definately are the bright spots in my day :) More on this in a moment, but first a fabulous dinner...

A simple salad of balsamic-dressed spinach tossed with roasted butternut squash and sliced almonds hung out humbly in the background. Leaving room for the goat cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin with a cherry-wine sauce!!

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Pork w/Cherry-Red Wine Sauce

Don't let the name deter you ;-) As soon as I saw this on Kevin's site, I knew I would be making it. This seemed like this was the perfect occasion for such an impressive dish. It actually came together a more quickly than I expected, even without the butchers twine... oops! I tried using some old scallions, but that didn't work so well so I just flew by the seat of my pants--gotta keep it interesting :) Thyme went into the filling instead of basil, as that's what I had on hand. If only I had company, this would've left quite the impression!

Chocolate Pate

A celebratory dinner wouldn't be complete without dessert, so here's the Chocolate Pate I had prepared a few days ahead of time. Holy Yum as Veggie Girl would say, this takes the "cake" :) I can't say enough good things about this, but it's rich, velvety, and even has an avocado! Ok, one more--DANGEROUS. Ricki is a genious!! The ingredients definately make a difference, and the intricate flavors of the Maya Gold chocolate bar I included really shined. I was going to save this for company, but after my first taste... decided to keep it for myself! hehe

Hodgepodge of Chocolate for the Pate

Ok ok, how to say thank you for your support?? A Giveaway!! I've got a small package of some of my favorite baking goods-- Hot Cocoa Kisses and Cinnamon Chips. Some other goodies may sneak in there too, but I'm not sure yet. All you lurkers out there, now's the time to speak up! To enter, leave a comment on this post before Monday, Jan 12, 8am EST with two things, 1. what would you like to see more of on this blog? (a discussion of ingredients, more about a tri or how i trained for my first... you name it, as long as it doesn't require me to be too web-saavy). 2. what would you do with these goodies?!?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Veggie Lovin

I forgot to tell you all that my dad loved that you all called his brownies cute :) Sorry dad! I'm sure they tasted very man-ly.

I came home tonight to the most wonderful dinner. When I was putting together this soup, I thought it would just be ok. Then it was done simmering and I had my first taste. Boy was I wrong! Wow, the flavors come together so well, it was fantastic!! I'd call it Pantry Goodness Soup, as I had everything on hand :) Ok ok, my artichoke hearts came from the freezer... but they could've come from the pantry. One last note, this makes a very large batch. I made half of the recipe, and it barely fit into my 2.75qt dutch oven. BARELY. I guess that means I "need" the larger one? haha.

On the side, a sprouted grain english muffin (both halves), with Pumpkin Hummus. I created my own version by forgetting the tahini, but this was another winner. I've tried it with veggies and pretzels as well. The bread pairing (pretzels or english muffin) just knocks it out of the park!! It'd make a great condiment for sandwiches I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bread, a guest, and some guac

We were running low on bread at one point when I was home, so instead of making a special trip to the store, I made this Oatmeal Sandwich Bread. We all enjoyed it, but next time I'd let the second rise go longer (true to form, it was 10 and i wanted to get to bed!). This homemade bread thing is fantastic... but dangerous :) As long as I keep it in loaf form it might be ok. Maybe I can just freeze some slices...

I also got to dog-sit for a couple of days, and I can't resist putting up a picture of Tip!!

And just because this doesn't seem like enough food, I'll share the guacamole I made to bring over to my friends while watching football this past sunday. Don't mind the tupperware container and avocado pits (i hear it prevents browning), I had a ways to walk :)

Recipe by Shannon

3 avocados
1 lime
1/2t kosher salt
dash cayanne
1/4-1/3c diced red pepper
1T frozen cilantro (the fresh didn't look good at the store, so i resorted to that which comes in the tube)
1 clove of garlic, pressed or finely minced
3/4 of a large jalapeno

Half and seed the avocadoes, and place the flesh in a medium bowl. Squirt the juice of the lime over the flesh. Add salt and cayenne pepper, then mash to desired consistency. Stir in the onions, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno. Mine sat for ~1hr at RT before shoveling in our mouths on blue corn tortilla chips :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Warming your soul!

It's about that time (even if you live down south, where you *think* it's cold, hehe) for soup! Here are some of yours I enjoyed...

With two stellar ingredients, I knew Jenna's Sweet Potato & Butternut Soup was going to be a winner. I used a delicata squash, and this was delish! It definately had a little kick, but not overpowering so I enjoyed it along with some toast (oh if only i had planned ahead and had some fresh bread...)

Topped with unsweetened coconut & dukkah

And another soup, slightly adapted from this recipe at everybody likes sandwiches. I pureed a little bit with my hand blender, but wanted to keep it chunky. I had some roasted corn (ah, trader joe's!) and also threw in some crab. While it went very well together, I think it was out of laziness from having to do something else with the crab that was already open :)

I leave you with a story. I brought some peppermint Joe Joes home over Christmas, mainly because I wanted to try them. With all the goodies around, we hardly made a dent in them, but all too quickly it was time for me to leave. I sent this recipe for Peppermint Cookies 'N Cream Brownies to my Dad, who is umm... not exactly Papa Bender, kinda joking that he should try making them. As he said, "the apple falls far from this tree!" But he decided to make them one morning while mom was asleep to surprise her with his skills, but warned me he may have questions, so I told him to call as much as he needed. I got a few phone calls, concerned about correct pan size and the use of sweetened chocolate instead of unsweetened, but he made it through and excitedly called me when they were in the oven. I would've loved the look on mom's face when she woke up that morning (i think it was a little messy), I think it said what the heck are you doing?? But they turned out great, and I couldn't be more proud! hehe :) Dad's questions reminded me of when I started my forrays into the kitchen. Guess what else? He even took some photos for me to put on the blog :) So here are dad's Brownies!

Friday, January 2, 2009

POM Wonderful

There are many a videos out there on how to open up a pomegranate, many I think advocate using water to help separate things out. Tried it, don't like it. I thought it actually made things harder. And it still left a little "tail" of white stuff (apparently called albedo) that I always had to go back and pick off.

To help out those who haven't done it before, or simply share the way I go about opening it up, I tried to take some photos along the way. I've never timed how long it takes, but leaves me with more of the beautiful arils and less of the albedo attached to the arils. I tend to do such things like chopping veggies or opening a pomogranate while watching a favorite show or, if i need some inspiration, the foodnetwork. Yesterday we had the Bones marathon... So here you are, take it or leave it :)

I start by cutting off the stem end, and scoring along the "edges" of the fruit. I know they are not true edges, but it's not round, more like a polygon :) maybe 5- or 6- sided? Don't go too deep, but just enough to cut through the tough skin. If you put pressure on the knife, you'll feel it's a little tough through the skin, then it will get easier--STOP! You've reached the goodness that lies within.

Then, using the scoring, I try to pry segments apart. The first is always hardest, but work it a little bit and it'll come apart.

Then I just pop the arils out of the membranes (or catching them as they fall away), pulling out more segments from the fruit as I go along. Did I mention it's good to have a container ready?

They say to look for fruits that are heavy for their size. Vague, I know, but if you pick up two, and one feels heavier, take that one. If not, your guess is as good as mine! I don't think I've gotten any that are entirely bad, sometimes if it's sat around too long there are parts that aren't good, but those are easily avoided. I have seen stores selling arils themselves, out of their skin, if you prefer to go that route! Whatever you do, enjoy the antioxidants :)

I just love the crunchy bursts of flavor these arils provide to any dish. The contrast is especially nice when paired with a smooth ingredient like yogurt, panna cotta, mousse, or even white or dark chocolate. How about in guacamole or a salsa or two for your upcoming football parties? They can dress up a salad or side dish (acorn squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, you get the idea). Add some flair to your main dishes. Don't forget to try them in your baking! I haven't thrown them in a stew our soup, but hmm, now that's got me thinking... They also look good with melty cheese. Alright, I need to stop with the link/idea love, it's getting me hungry!!

Here's to a happy, healthy, and tasty 2009!!! Hope everyone had a save and enjoyable eve :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips