Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fettuccine Alfredo

I've been on a quest to find a good low-fat fettuccine alfredo and always have problems. It's too bland, too seasoned (lots of lemon recipes!), too watery, etc. So many issues! But tonight I tried a recipe that I've had in my pile for a very long time. It's from a now-canceled show from the Food Network called Calorie Commando. It focused on low-fat cooking. I don't think I ever watched it.

Anyway, this recipe is 5-stars. It is better than many of the full-fat fettuccine alfredos I have eaten in my life. It was super delicious! Although it only uses vegetable broth and half-and-half, it gets a deep flavor from roasted garlic, which also functions as a thickener for the sauce.

We had it with some Roasted Broccoli, which was extra delicious when dipped in the leftover sauce!!

Definite make-again.

Side note: since I halved the recipe, we didn't have enough liquid in the pan for an immersion blender so I just pureed it in my mini-food processor, which I think worked a lot better.


Fettuccine Alfredo
From the Food Network

2 heads garlic
Olive oil spray
8 ounces fettuccine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup non-fat half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Fill a 4-quart pot with water and bring to a boil. Season water with salt.

Cut the first 1/2-inch off the top of the heads of garlic to expose all of the cloves. Place garlic heads in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle exposed cloves with salt and pepper, mist with olive oil spray, and then wrap up in aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes, and then allow to cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, squeeze cooled roasted garlic cloves into a small saucepan, add chicken stock, and heat over medium heat. With an immersion blender, puree garlic and stock. Simmer until reduced by half. Add half-and-half and simmer until thick. Add Parmesan and blend again with the immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add noodles to pan with sauce and toss to coat. Divide pasta among plates and garnish with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dip

Tonight we had some Boca Burger cheeseburgers - a nice simple entree. To go along with those, we tried these homemade potato chips from Cooking Light.

Though the chips received "the test kitchen's highest ratings" in CL, we were a bit underwhelmed. Only about half of them got crispy; the rest stayed kind of soggy or got burned. The dip was pretty good. We enjoyed our chips but we probably won't make this again. I'd like to try a different baked chip recipe sometime.


Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Dip
Cooking Light, April 2008

This recipe received our Test Kitchens' highest rating. Use a mandoline to cut the potato for the best results; hand-cutting is less likely to produce sufficiently thin and uniform slices. If you have any leftover chips, store them in an airtight container for up to a week. You'll need to bake them for two minutes at 450° to recrisp before eating.

1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound russet potato, thinly sliced (about 1 large), divided
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place baking sheet in oven.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill.

3. Place potato slices on paper towels; pat dry. Arrange half of potato slices in a single layer on preheated baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Turn potato slices over; bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining potatoes and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve immediately with blue cheese mixture.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bridal Shower

I had a huge lunch today (party for a coworker) so I'm totally not in the mood for dinner, so Gibby ordered some Chinese food and I'm going to tell you about the food at our bridal shower.

The shower itself was at the Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield, CT, which is a 300 year old inn (Ridgefield itself is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year).

Here is a picture of me, Gibby, my mom, and my younger brother Marc.

We had some paninis - all vegetarian - that had portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and yellow squash. They were very yummy.

The salad was the best, in my opinion. It was a great combination of greens, grapes, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese. I loved it!

There was some chicken for the carnivores.

My mom's favorite was the lemon-shallot green beans.

And of course, the dessert.

Let's take a closer look at the cookies.

Thanks, Nancy! And thank you to everyone who came. It was a lot of fun!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vegetable Biryani

A couple days after Gibby moved in, I made this Vegetable Biryani and he didn't like it at all. But now that we've been living together for a year and a half, his tastes have changed and grown and spanned out beyond chicken and caesar salad. So I decided to try it again. He liked it better this time! Yay!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Sesame Shrimp Salad

We ate out a lot while we were in Connecticut over the weekend, so we needed a nice, fresh, vegetable-filled dish to detox with now that we're back in Maryland. This salad was perfect for that purpose. It is spicy, so be warned!

Our nice, clean greens were prepared using our new salad spinner, a gift from my friend Stef.

OK so here is our shrimp salad. It was really good and we liked it a lot, but we both felt that the mint was too overpowering. We've found that before, as well. I probably would omit it when we make it again.


Sesame Shrimp Salad
Cooking Light, 5/08

More adventurous greens, such as napa cabbage and watercress, add crunch. Shrimp boosts levels of lean, low–saturated-fat protein and omega-3s, while sesame seeds offer the minerals iron, magnesium, and zinc.

1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 tablespoon water
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee), divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 pound)
5 cups shredded napa (Chinese) cabbage
1 1/2 cups trimmed watercress leaves
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Combine sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, 1 tablespoon water, and garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 40 seconds or until sugar dissolves. Cool. Stir in 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
2. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice, remaining 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, marmalade, and 1 teaspoon oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add shrimp to bowl; toss to coat. Marinate shrimp in refrigerator 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove shrimp from bowl, reserving marinade. Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 (8-inch) wooden skewers.

3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp skewers and reserved marinade to pan; cook 3 1/2 minutes or until shrimp is done and glazed, turning once.

4. Combine cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle fish sauce mixture over cabbage mixture; toss well to coat. Arrange 2 cups cabbage mixture onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 2 skewers.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Note about Photos

The photos are temporarily down, but they should be up within 30 minutes. I've been messing with a new domain and I accidentally messed something up, so we're just waiting for my corrections to take effect.

Update: they're back up!

In a Hurry Green Curry

I spend a LOT of time on Gmail during the day, doing work, conversing with friends and coworkers, managing wedding stuff, etc. My Gmail is ALWAYS open. So sometimes I succumb to their evil marketing scheme of linking to various blogs and news stories in the feed at the top of the Gmail page. And the other day, a link to this recipe popped up, having been posted on I couldn't resist! I saved it and we made it tonight.

This has much of the appeal of our Asian Dumpling Soup in that it is healthy and tasty, but extremely quick to throw together. It probably took a maximum of 15 minutes to get onto the table. We really liked it a lot and would make it again.

A side note: We will be heading up to Connecticut tomorrow night to finalize things for the wedding. I may update if we have a chance, but if not then I'll be back Monday with a new recipe and a post about gifts from our bridal shower!!!


In a Hurry Green Curry

2 teaspoons green curry paste
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (light ok)
1 large onion, sliced
14 ounces water or light vegetable broth
6 ounces of firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments
squeeze of fresh lime juice
1/4 cup small basil leaves

In a large thick bottom pot over medium heat whisk the curry paste with the salt and a small splash of the coconut milk. Simmer for just a minute. Add the onion and saute until it softens up, just a minute or so. Add the rest of the coconut milk and broth and simmer for another five minutes. Taste and adjust for flavor - this would be the time to add more curry paste if needed.

Stir in the tofu and (JUST BEFORE SERVING) the peas and asparagus, simmer for just a minute or two, just long enough for the vegetables to cook a bit. Finish the pot with a squeeze of lime and basil leaves. Taste, and adjust seasoning again if needed.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mango Strawberry Griddle Cakes

I don't like Oprah. So I don't know how I got this recipe, because it comes from her self-titled magazine. But it sounded good, so I decided to make it. These pancakes were only OK. With all the delicious fruit that's involved, I really expected more sweetness and flavor. I think I was just let down that it didn't taste like anything more than just a regular pancake with some chunky pieces in it. I had expected more. Oh well, that's what I get for listening to Oprah.


Mango Strawberry Griddle Cakes

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
3/4 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white
1/3 cup diced mango
1/3 cup sliced strawberries

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, ricotta, honey, oil, lemon zest and vanilla.

Whisk wet ingredients into flour mixture until just blended. In a small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg white until it stands in stiff peaks when beaters are lifted. With a rubber spatula, gently fold white into batter until just blended. Fold in mango and strawberries until just combined.

Heat a griddle or a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium flame until a drop of water sizzles; spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter by scant 1/4 cups onto hot griddle, making a few cakes at a time. Cook until tops are bubbly, some bubbles burst, and edges look dry. Turn with a wide spatula, and cook until undersides are golden. Transfer to a platter; keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying griddle with cooking spray when necessary.

Yield: 6 servings (I do not think this is accurate. It made 8 pancakes.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Orleans Style Shrimp

This is a fun shrimp dish. It tastes good, it is easy, and it is quick clean-up. However, it turns out that we really, really dislike the peel-and-eat method. I find it icky that there are little shrimp legs staring at me, and the whole thing is very messy and the shrimp is hot and then there are bits of shell all over the place and it's just bleh. We strongly prefer buying pre-peeled shrimp!

If you are a fan of peel-and-eat shrimp, this is a great recipe to try because it really is very tasty. We just don't like having to deal with the unpeeled shrimp!


New Orleans Style Shrimp
Cooking Light, 4/07

Peel these at the table, and serve with a slice of crusty baguette.

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 pounds unpeeled large shrimp
2 lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
4 teaspoons butter, divided

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fold 4 (16 x 12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil in half crosswise. Open foil. Remove shrimp mixture from bowl; reserve marinade. Place about 2 1/4 cups shrimp mixture on half of each foil sheet. Drizzle remaining marinade evenly over shrimp. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon butter. Fold foil over shrimp; tightly seal edges.

Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Place on plates. Unfold packets carefully; peel shrimp, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Chocolate Mint Cookies

This is a Paula Deen recipe for chocolate cookies with raspberry-chocolate chips and a raspberry frosting. I have the raspberry-chocolate chips, but the bag of mint-chocolate chips was calling out to me when I went to make this recipe, so I nixed the frosting and made this with mint-chocolate chips.

These are just OK. They are not fantastic. The cookies are not particularly chocolatey - I really prefer a darker, stronger chocolate taste. As is, you can barely taste the chocolate. Instead, I would make my favorite Deep Chocolate Mint Cookies next time.

I don't think I would even bother trying these with the raspberry chips because the chocolate base is so weak. I think I will use the raspberry chips in some other chocolate cookie.


Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
by Paula Deen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (6-ounce) package raspberry creme filled dark chocolate baking pieces (recommended: Hershey's Premier Dark Chocolate Baking Pieces Filled With Raspberry Creme)
Raspberry Icing, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars together at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in baking pieces. Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.

Remove to wire racks to cool. Once cool, drizzle with Raspberry Icing.

Raspberry Icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry preserves

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Yield: 4 dozen

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Buttercrust Corn Pie

It's been rather summer-ish so it seemed like a good time to make the Buttercrust Corn Pie we made last year. It was tasty and delicious. I skipped the tomato salsa, as per my own recommendations from last time. We had it with some fresh cantaloupe and it was a very enjoyable meal.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thai Noodle Salad with Sautéed Tofu

The tofu has to start marinating 2 hours prior to cooking, so he got it ready while I was at work. Then we finished it up when I got home. So he added wayyy too much Sriracha (we both get a little overzealous with it sometimes) and the tofu was wayyyy too spicy. But the meal as a whole was good and clean and simple. I don't know if the dressing was good because we couldn't taste it over the tofu. But the noodles and cold components were tasty. We both enjoyed this and would like to try it again with less Sriracha!


Thai Noodle Salad with Sautéed Tofu
Cooking Light, April 2008

This colorful salad is a zesty one-dish meal. Leftovers are great chilled or at room temperature. Draining tofu under a weight expels moisture, making the sautéed tofu crisp. For a pronounced nutty flavor, use roasted peanut oil.

3/4 pound firm water-packed tofu, drained
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon peanut oil

3/4 pound uncooked rice vermicelli

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. To prepare tofu, cut tofu into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange tofu slices in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels; top with a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove tofu from paper towels; cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Combine tofu, 2 tablespoons juice, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate at room temperature 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat; heat 30 seconds. Remove tofu from bag; discard marinade. Add tofu to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until crisp, carefully turning to brown all sides. Remove from heat.

3. To prepare noodles, while tofu marinates, place vermicelli in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well. Set noodles aside.

4. To prepare dressing, combine 1/4 cup juice and next 8 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon red pepper), stirring with a whisk.

5. Combine vermicelli, lettuce, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss well to combine. Top with tofu.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pasta with Three Kinds of Garlic

Here is a tip: Before you eat this, take Beano or a Gas-X or something. There is sooo much garlic in this dish, your tummy will hate you.

So after we ate our Gas-X's, we enjoyed this deliciously garlicky pasta dish. You really have to love garlic to enjoy this because that is the star of the meal. Roasted garlic, crispy garlic slices, and minced garlic. Delicious! Even though the roasted garlic takes nearly an hour to cook, the rest of the meal comes together in less than 15 minutes. We really liked it and maybe would make it again.


Pasta with Three Kinds of Garlic
Martha Stewart via Joe's Blog

1 head plus 8 cloves garlic, divided
16 ounces dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425

Wrap whole head of garlic in foil - place in the oven and roast until soft, about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Separate and squeeze out the cloves - place in a small bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil - add pasta and cook according to package directions, drain.

Thinly slice 5 of the remaining garlic cloves - finely chop the other 3.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add sliced garlic - cook just until golden and crisp. Use a slotted spoon and quickly transfer the garlic to a plate. Add chopped garlic - cook until translucent, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in roasted garlic and white wine - simmer for 3 minuets. Add pasta, parsley and red pepper - season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss well to combine. Serve with the thinly sliced toasted garlic on top.

Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

American BBQ Tacos

At first, this recipe sounded really weird to me. While I was cooking it, I was afraid it was going to taste weird. It even kind of smelled weird. But it turned out to be really, really yummy! Instead of making the sauce, I just used some of my favorite bottled Sweet Baby Ray's sauce. It was great! We used flour tortillas because I never really like corn tortillas. We would make this again.


American BBQ Tacos
Vegetarian Times, via CLBB

BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or more to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup soy crumbles, such as Lightlife Gimme Lean (We use Morningstar Farms)
4 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon pickle relish, optional

1. To make BBQ sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl.

2. To make Tacos: Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, and carrots and cook 3 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, stirring halfway through. Add soy crumbles and 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce. Cook 8 minutes, or until soy crumbles are browned.

3. Fill tortillas with soy crumble mixture. Top with red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and relish, if desired.
Serve with BBQ sauce.

Yield: 4 servings (More like two! It only makes 4 tacos!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mexican Cobb Salad

Tonight's salad uses a lot of ingredients we like - corn, red onion, bell peppers, cheese, chips, and romaine lettuce. It came together nicely and only retains its "Cobb" title because of the composition of the dish: all the ingredients are made in nice pretty little lines. Which of course you could skip and just toss everything together.

It was good, but the dressing lacked oomph, it became boring after a little while. I liked it, but I agree that it wasn't as good as it could be. We wouldn't make this again, but we both enjoyed our salads. Score one!

Oh one more thing: we tried SO HARD to include jicama, but both of the ones we bought went bad before we could eat them. And we bought one of them earlier today!!! Giant obviously is just importing moldy produce.


Mexican Cobb Salad
Posted on CLBB

1 cup fresh corn kernels
8 cups shredded romaine
1 large tomato, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 cup bell pepper, red or green or a mix
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup jicama, diced
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette:
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded

Steam corn, covered, 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Rinse with cold water; set aside to cool.

Place 2 cups lettuce on each of 4 plates. Arrange 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup onion, 1/4 cup jicama, 1/4 cup bell pepper, 1/4 cup corn, and about 1/2 beans in individual rows over lettuce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup crushed chips over each salad. Drizzle 1/4 cup Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette over each.

Vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a blender or mix with an immersion blender; process until blended. Cover and chill.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Salmon "Bulgogi" with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

When I lived in Japan as a child (military brat), I was a huge fan of bulgogi beef, which is a heavily marinated Korean beef dish that is then barbecued. There was this one restaurant that made it with Kobe beef, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten.

So since a)I don't eat meat, and b)even if I did, there's no way we'd get Kobe beef, I was intrigued by this recipe that applies a bulgogi-like marinade to salmon.

It was easy and on the table within 15 minutes, but I was disappointed. Maybe I had my hopes up too high? Gibby loved it and said it was great. I should have liked it since it has all the spicy Asian flavors that usually help me to enjoy fish, but not so much this time. The vegetables were good though.

P.S. Today we passed 10,000 hits on this blog! That's freaking amazing! Thanks for reading, people. :)


Salmon "Bulgogi" with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
Bon Appetit, June 2008

Bulgogi—beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings—is a popular Korean dish. Here, we've subbed in salmon for the sirloin.

2 large garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
1 3/4-inch cube peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce*
4 6-ounce center-cut skinless salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bok choy, cut crosswise into
1/2-inch-wide strips (about 7 cups)
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced

Blend 1 garlic clove and next 7 ingredients in mini processor. Arrange salmon in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon marinade over. Let marinate 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500°F. Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging, on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add bok choy and mushrooms; using garlic press, press in 1 garlic clove. Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon. Brush fish with glaze.

Yield: 4 servings

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fresh Pasta

I've been reading a lot about homemade pasta lately. I have Giada's pasta book, I have a new cookbook about pasta that I got from a cookbook swap, and there was a huge article about making homemade pasta in last month's Cooking Light. So of course I decided I should learn to make pasta. I decided to pick an easy recipe to begin with, so I picked Giada's.

This was apparently a terrible choice. I am not sure if the recipe was written incorrectly and is missing an ingredient (such as water), but the "dough" was horribly dry and crumbly. I managed to smush it out and form it into little pasta nuggets, so I figured we were OK. But no! I was wrong! The pasta WOULD NOT COOK THROUGH. We must have boiled it for like 20 minutes, and the center just would not cook. Fresh pasta should only take a few minutes to cook. Not only that, but once it was boiling, it smelled strongly of eggs and was quite off-putting. I ended up pouring out the still-uncooked pasta and throwing in a bag of penne, since I had already reheated our Vodka Cream Pasta that we made and froze a couple months ago.

Which, by the way, was also a terrible idea. The Vodka Cream Pasta loses its flavor and specialness when it is frozen and then reheated.


No photo since I don't think anyone wants to see a picture of my garbage can.

Fresh Pasta
Giada de Laurentiis

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Place the flour in a food processor. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the salt and olive oil to the eggs and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture to the food processor. Pulse to combine the ingredients, scraping down the sides once or twice. Continue, with the machine running, until the liquid is evenly distributed, about 1 minute. The dough should stick together if pinched between your fingers. The dough will be cornmeal-yellow in color. Some of the dough will be sticking together, but it will not form a single ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a ball and knead gently until the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to your desired shape.

Yield: 22 oz.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce Over Coconut-Scallion Rice

A couple years ago, I went with friends to eat at Veggie Planet, a restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. While I was there, I had a Thai pizza with tofu and broccoli on it. It was good but I didn't really eat the crust and enjoyed it more as just a main dish.

Tonight we decided to try the non-pizza version of the dish, which is printed in Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, who also owns the restaurant. I've put off trying this recipe for a long time so it was nice to finally get around to it. And WOW it was great! It was even better than I remembered from the restaurant. The rice was cooked so beautifully perfectly, the tofu was nicely browned, and the lime-peanut sauce was delicious (even though I used lime zest rather than kaffir lime leaves). This is a definite make-again!!!


Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce Over Coconut-Scallion Rice
Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, page 215

10 dried kaffir lime leaves, or 1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) coconut milk
2 3/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups jasmine, basmati, or long-grain white rice
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1 Tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce, or 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil or corn oil
3 Tbsp hot chile sauce, or 2 Tbsp chile paste
1 16 oz pkg firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces (about 4 cups)
1 cup minced scallions

1. Soak the kaffir lime leaves in 1 quart very hot water for 30 minutes.

2. While the leaves soak, bring the coconut milk, 2 1/4 cups of the water, and the 1 tsp salt to a boil, then add the rice. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice cook, covered, for 25 minutes.

3. Drain the lime leaves, and, with a very sharp knife, chop them into pea-sized pieces. In a food processor or blender, combine the lime leaves (or lime rind), 2/3 cup chopped cilantro, garlic cloves, and the peanuts. Run the machine in spurts until the lime leaves are pulverized, pushing them down with a rubber spatula if necessary. Slowly, with the machine running, add the fish sauce and 3 Tbsp of the oil, then add the chile sauce or paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.

4. Into a wok or nonstick skillet, over high heat, pour the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the tofu, and cook until the pieces form a golden crust on the bottom. Then turn them with a spatula, and let the tofu form more golden crust on the other side. Transfer tofu to a place.

5. Into the same wok or skillet, put the broccoli and the remaining 1/2 cup water. Cover, and steam the broccoli for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime leaf-peanut paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the tofu and toss.

6. Stir the scallions into the rice. Mound the rice on plates, and spoon the tofu and sauce around it. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

Tomorrow we're having a party in my multicultural counseling class to celebrate the end of the semester (and thank god this semester is OVER) so I whipped up some of Paula Deen's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding" that Gibby and I loved so much. I kept a little aside in bowls for Gibby and me to eat later (he is at a party right now because he has GRADUATED and now has his bachelor's degree in psychology!!!) and I am excited because it is delicious. I hope my class likes it as much as we do!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tuna Melts

I made these Tuna Melts a couple of years ago and forgot about them until the other day, when I suddenly found myself craving them. So I made them tonight. I still liked them, but Gibby felt the horseradish was too overpowering, and missed the celery that is in a traditional tuna salad. But I still liked my dinner.

I didn't have a photo from the first time, so here is one from tonight:
tuna melt

Monday, May 05, 2008

Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise

So it's Cinco de Mayo and I figured that instead of going to Taco Bell and drinking Corona, I'd make some Southwest Pinto Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise. We still love these burgers! Yum yum.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crispy Tilapia Sandwiches

At the last minute yesterday, we decided to go out to Joe's Crab Shack with Steven before going to see Iron Man (which was awesome). I had a shrimp po'boy, which was delicious. I wish I'd realized we were going to go there before making our meal plan and subsequently buying groceries, though, because tonight we had tilapia and that's two fish sandwiches in a row for me.

However. This sandwich is very delicious. And it is easy. I was even able to cook the fish all the way through without some sort of catastrophe. It tastes great with all of the condiments, and the Saltine coating is great. We both really enjoyed it a lot and would definitely make it again!


Crispy Tilapia Sandwiches
Cooking Light, March 2008

Made with a whole wheat hoagie bun and lots of fresh veggie toppings, this sandwich is an easy way to obtain one of your two weekly fish servings.

2 tablespoons light sour cream
2 tablespoons creamy mustard blend (such as Dijonnaise)
15 fat-free saltine crackers
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 (5-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 (3-ounce) whole wheat hoagie rolls, toasted
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
12 thin slices red onion
4 romaine leaves

1. Combine sour cream and Dijonnaise in a small bowl.

2. Place crackers in a food processor; process until fine crumbs measure 1 cup. Place crumbs in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dredge 1 fillet in flour. Dip in egg substitute; dredge in crumbs. Repeat procedure with remaining 3 fish fillets, flour, egg substitute, and crumbs.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

4. Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream mixture on each half of 4 rolls; place 1 fish fillet on bottom half of each roll. Top each serving with 2 tomato slices, 3 onion slices, 1 romaine leaf, and top half of roll.

Yield: 4 servings

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

This is the easiest side dish. It was yummy and simple and we would definitely make it again.


Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Food 911 with Tyler Florence

4 ears fresh corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place corn husks directly on the oven rack and roast for 30 minutes or until corn is soft. Peel down the husks and use as a handle when eating.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tacos al Carbón

Tonight we made Tacos al Carbón. I had flagged this as a make-again, but now that we've had it a second time I think maybe it isn't that special.