Friday, July 18, 2008

Mmmm...roasted peppers...

M and I have decided to try and takle the newlywed pounds we have put on. So back to low carb it is! I have to say, I haven't really made anything the past week that would be blog worthy. I have made plenty of cheeseburgers, steak, chicken breasts, hot dogs, eggs, bacon, sausages, etc. I did make chili verde in the crockpot. M liked it, it was okay, but was lacking something...maybe the rice and beans to go with it!

Anyway, back to roasted peppers. We went to Costco to stock up on all things meat and I decided to get a package of the gorgeous bell peppers they had. Red, yellow and orange. So summer-y!

I decided to cook a skirt steak to have with the peppers. I marinated the steak with some mexican spices for about 12 hours. It was supposed to fajita style. Too bad the steak was so tough, we each ate about 2 pieces and ended up throwing it away. I am not sure if it was the skirt steak, how I cooked it (on the grill) or that I didn't slice it thin enough. Or maybe it was the wrong cut of meat. Was I supposed to use flap meat (which in and of itself kind of squiks me out to say!). Anyway, I took a couple of pictures before eating. Sure looked pretty...too bad we couldn't eat it!

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to comment!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This recipe was chosen by Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking With The Kids. I had made this before for NYE, I think, when we were having chili and all the fixings. It is a great cornbread. Not too sweet, not too spicy...just right.

Since we like things a little spicier in our home, I sliced up an additional 3 jalapenos, de-seeded about half of them, and placed them in the top of the cornbread. It reminds me of a jalapeno cheddar bagel. Mmmmm!

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan (You can cut the amount of butter by about half, with no real consequence)
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions ( I didn't have any on hand, so i omitted them)
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Espresso Shortbread with Vanilla Ice Cream

Now, I know I will get some flack for this post, as it has no vegetables and no real nutritional value. But it is oh so good! I saw the recipe for the espresso shortbread on Peabody's blog. I thought to myself, that I don't normally like traditional shortbread, but put coffee and chocolate chips in, and I am willing to give it another try. And I am glad I did. And you will be glad too!

I paired this yummy treat with some homemade vanilla ice cream. We got an ice cream maker for our wedding and I had been wanting to give it a test run. Being diabetic, I have trouble eating ice cream - I think it is because it is a liquid sugar and therefore i absorb it much more quickly than say...a 2x2 inch square of espresso shortbread (yeah, yeah, I know I should not have even eaten the shortbread, but I am weak.) But, I knew that I could replace the sugar in regular ice cream with Splenda. I used the standard recipe for vanilla ice cream that came with the ice cream maker. Recipe to follow.

Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread
1 ½ sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 TBSP espresso powder
1 ½ TBSP dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I used 60% Ghiradelli chips, less sugar, ya know!)

Special Equipment: 9 by 9 inch baking pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
Next add the flour, espresso powder and cocoa powder and mix until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute.
Spray the shortbread pan with cooking spray and scatter the chocolate chips across the bottom of the pan. Gently press the dough evenly into the espresso covered pan. Place the pan into the top half of the oven and bake until the shortbread is set, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 15 minutes.

Using a sharp paring knife score the top of the still warm but cooling short bread. Cut in any size you prefer, we like 2 inch squares. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a cutting board. Give 1 sharp rap and the shortbread will release from the pan. Let cool an additional 10 minutes.

Source: Adapted from the Food Network

Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from Cuisinart recipe booklet

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I substituted Splenda)
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract, to taste
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or a whisk (I was lazy and used my Kitchen aid mixer) to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is disolved, about 1-2 minutes on low speed. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla to taste.

Turn the ice cream machine on, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl through the ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Take out thickened mixture and transfer to a freezer proof vessel. Freeze for a few hours, until the ice cream has set up to desired consistency.

Chicken with broccoli and lemon pasta

I knew I should have written this recipe down the night that I made it, but I was tired and had enough to do with just doing the dishes. So, here is what I did, to the best of my recolection.

Chicken with broccoli and lemon pasta
Recipe: the top of my head

1/2 pound of spaghetti
1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloved, minced
1 cup of dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup frozen broccoli florets

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt liberally.
Drop pasta and cook to al dente
Drain pasta, keep about 1 cup of the cooking water

Mix the flour, salt and pepper on a plate and dredge the chicken. Brush off excess flour.
In a large saute pan, melt butter and olive oil
Saute chicken breast about 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown
Remove chicken from the pan and set aside
Saute garlic in pan drippings for about 30 seconds
Add broccoli and saute for about 3 minutes
Deglaze the pan with white wine. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the alcohol cooks out.
Add the lemon juice
Add pasta water
Add pasta to the saute pan and toss with the sauce
Cut the chicken into strips and place back in the saute pan
Toss to coat the chicken with the sauce
Plate and eat!

This was light and refreshing. Just lovely on a hot summer day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An addiction from my past has reared it's ugly head

Fresh mozzarella and tomatoes

Seriously was a problem. Everyday for about a year I ate the same meal. At least once, but sometimes twice a day. Okay maybe more than sometimes.
M and I went to one of our favorite breakfast places on Sunday and on Sunday's there is a farmers market that goes on during the morning. So, we strolled down to the farmstand end and I saw great looking tomatoes. I got 4 yummy looking ones. I also got a basket of jalapenos. All for $2.50! I love farmers markets.
Ripe tomato
Fresh mozzarella
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Slice tomato and mozzarella
Arrange on plate
Drizzle with blasamic vinegar
Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper
Eat with gusto