Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fruit Salad Dressing

We haven't been cooking indoors much this summer - mostly grilling outside to keep the house cool. I have been really lax about documenting these meals. I need to be better about it!

This is a quick dress-up of a basic fruit salad that I made when we had guests in for the weekend. I wanted a little something nice to go with breakfast. I had a cantaloupe, peaches, raspberries and mint.

I cut up all the larger fruits and put them in a bowl with the raspberries. It still needed something....

I decided a little green would be pretty, so I finely chopped up some mint from the yard.

I mixed the juice of one lime with a teaspoon of honey and whisked it until it was all blended. It's so simple, but it makes any fruit salad almost fancy! The mint & lime together are amazing over fresh fruit!

I forgot to take a photo before it was devoured, so I will photograph it next time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Coconut Curry Fish

We had some curry mix in the fridge, and some carrots and potatoes left-over from our corned beef dinner. We wanted to use them up before they got too old, so we made yellow curry fish with coconut cream!

Here's what you need:
1 onion sliced into rings
3 carrots
6 smallish potatoes
2 lime leaves
6 slices ginger
6 cloves of garlic
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons bamboo shoots
1 small can coconut cream (not sweetened)
3 tablespoons yellow Thai curry  
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 thai chilis
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro
1 fish (we used a pomano - our favorite dinner fish)

First get your pan hot over medium high heat. put in your curry, ginger and garlic. Fry them all together until fragrant.

Place the sliced onions in the pan to make a bed for the fish.

Place the fish on top of the onions.

Add 2 cups of water and coconut cream. Stir around to mix with the curry. Add lime leaves, fish sauce, sugar and chilis. Turn heat to medium low & cover the fish. Cook until it's almost done but not completely. About 15 minutes.

Add your chopped up potatoes, carrots and bamboo shoots. Cook until your veggies are tender.

When everything is done cover with chopped up cilantro.

Serve over rice. YUM!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Chocolatey Black Bean Brownies!

Forgive me. I forgot to take photos of this one...

So, since the weather has gone cold, we have been doing more soups and stews and hot pots. Gotta love the cold-weather comfort foods!

Anyway, I soaked a huge bag of black beans for soup - it made a LOT of soup! (I forgot to take notes, so I will do this recipe later. Seriously slacking in the blog department lately! I promise to do better!)

Anyway, since beans are so loaded with fiber & protein, and not to mention CHEAP!  I got to thinking, what other foods can I make with them? It didn't hurt I was dying for something sweet, but after the holidays, I thought perhaps I should reel in the junk foods...

I experimented a bit and found a recipe that works. These are gluten free, low-sugar, high fiber, and delicious! The texture is similar to typical brownies when they come out of the oven - a little soft & chewy, though you don't get the crispy corners as much as flour based brownies.... As they cool, they become more like a fudge....amazing!

So, here is my recipe for healthier black bean brownies!

1 (15 oz.) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained (or soak 1 cup of dry beans & then boil them until they are tender)
3 TBSP peanut butter
1 small carton (15ml) coconut cream (optional - I am a sucker for all things coconut, and I always have this on hand for whipped coconut cream! If you dont have it, you can use any kind of milk - approx. 1/4 cup - ooh or mayo would be good!)
1/4 cup honey
2 TBSP coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 TBSP ground flax meal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg


1.     Put black beans, peanut butter, cream, honey, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth.
2.     Meanwhile, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, flax meal, baking powder and salt (I did this in the bowl of my Kitchenaid)

3.     Add the black bean mixture to the flour mixture. Add in the egg, and mix well until completely combined.

4.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a brownie pan for baking. (I used my 9 x 9 Pyrex pan, and they were fairly thick - you could use a larger, shallower pan for more typical brownies but watch your cooking time)

5.     Pour brownie mixture into pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Check with a toothpick - mine took an additional 10ish minutes, but I kept checking it every few minutes.

Let them cool, and enjoy! 
(Note, since these are almond flour PLUS beans, they are surprisingly filling! Be prepared to have them around for a while - they last a long time in the refrigerator)

the whole recipe is about 2,122 calories. I got 18 servings out of it, making each brownie approx. 118 calories each - not bad! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Black Bean Mussels (or clams)

We wanted to do something yummy for our anniversary, so I went to check out what seafood was available at Costco (seriously, their meat / seafood dept is fantastic!). They had some amazing looking mussels, so we went for it! Since we wanted something a little different from the usual wine, garlic & butter broth, we decided to do black bean style! YUM!

Here is what we did:

3 large pinches black fungus (optional - avail. at Asian mkt.)
1 big pinch lily buds (optional - avail. at Asian mkt.)
1 cup hot water for soaking

2 lbs mussels (or clams)
1 package Cantonese noodles
1 bulb garlic (or any obscene amount)
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger 
1 jalapeno (or thai chili or serrano pepper...etc)

2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 cup (approx 1/2 jar) black bean sauce

3 Japanese eggplants
3 green onions
pinch salt
dash white pepper
First soak the black fungus & lilly buds in hot water (approx 15 min.) and set aside

Cube eggplant for cooking (small pieces, about 1" sq)

Cook the noodles for about 2 min & set aside.
Sautee garlic and ginger in a large pan or wok until slightly golden on high.

Toss in eggplant and stir. Reduce heat to med. high & cover for about 8 min. (until soft)

Deglaze pan with water from fungus & lilly buds
Add in mussels, fungus, lilly buds, cover and cook on med. for about 8 min (or until mussels start to open)
Add sauces and jalapeno. stir for 1 min or so
stir in noodles & garnish with chopped green onions

serve hot & enjoy!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rack of Lamb

So recently we had my mama over for Sunday dinner. We wanted to do something a little special, but not a huge, all-day-long production, since the weather is warming up a little...didn't want to heat the whole house up cooking all day. We went to Costco to check out our options, and we picked up a nice rack of lamb! YUM!

Here is what we did:

we got 2 racks from Costco. each was about 1.5lbs.
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped
2 slices old bread or 1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
 First season your meat on all sides with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary.

 we were at the end of our mustard, so we used the wine to clean out the jar.

 Place the racks in a big bowl & pour your mixture over all your meat so it is well coated.

Let your meat hang out in your wine / mustard mixture for as long or as little as you wish.
then coat thoroughly with bread crumbs.

Lay out your racks on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 1 hour.

We served ours with roasted potato / celery root au gratin and an arugula salad with beets, tangerines, candied walnuts and goat cheese. Recipe here. Make sure you have a good bottle of wine for this meal. We had a Zinfandel, and it was great!

Celery Root & Potato Au Gratin

To go with our delicious Sunday lamb, we needed a hearty side dish. We have been experimenting with different root veggies lately, and we have really come to love celery root! We decided to make a celery root / potato au gratin. It's really decadent, so we made a small one (8 x 8 pan)

Here is what we did:

2 medium potatoes washed and sliced
1/2 medium celery root washed and sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 oz each sharp cheddar and gruyere cheese grated
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste

 First slice up your root veggies and set aside.

 Then grate your cheeses.

 Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and add course chopped garlic.

 Once your pan is hot, toss in your sliced veggies and cook on medium until they are almost soft.

 Rub a sliced clove of garlic on the bottom of your baking dish.

 When your veggies are tender, add your cream, cheeses (we tossed in a little extra goat cheese too!) and seasonings.
 Cook until it's all melted together - stirring occasionally.

We didn't have any bread crumbs so we toasted a few slices of bread and ran them through the blender.

 When your mixture is ready, pour it into your baking pan.

 Then top with shredded cheese and bread crumbs.

 Bake on 425 for 30 minutes until the top is browned and you see bubbles at the bottom of your pan.

 Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seafood Pasta

We were really in the mood for mussels and / or clams the other night, so we headed over to Costco to pick some up. Unfortunately, they didn't have any fresh shellfish that day. We wandered around for a bit deciding what to do instead when we came upon the frozen seafood area. We spotted a bag of frozen seafood, and voila! Seafood pasta! 

This is a fairly simple recipe, so it was an easy dinner. You can make your own noodles (like we did) or just buy some boxed pasta from the grocery store. It works fine either way.

Here is what you need:
mixed seafood (we used about 1/3 package from Costco)
1 bulb garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay works well)
1/2 bunch parsley
parmesan cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 fennel root (optional)
1 box of pasta or home made pasta (here)

First you want to bloom some garlic.
Take most of your bulb of garlic & chop it up fine or push it through your garlic press.

sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon (or one pinch) of kosher salt. Cover with olive oil (1 - 2 tablespoons) add chopped parsley, stir it all together and set aside.

At this point, get your pasta water going - you will cook your pasta to al dente (usually about 10 minutes from when you toss the pasta into your boiling water). If your cooktop is as inefficient as mine, you will need lots of time to get your water boiling.

If you have your fennel, start cooking it while you are waiting for the water to boil.

Place some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. 

 Chop up your fennel and add it to the pan.

 Cook over medium heat until caramelized. 

 Next you will get your pan hot to cook your seafood.
Add about 3 cloves of chopped garlic, your butter and a little olive oil to raise the smoking point of the butter.

Once your butter is melted and your garlic is starting to sweat, toss in your seafood mix, lightly salt and pepper, add wine and cook until it's almost done. 

About 5 minutes. (Any clams or mussels should be opening, and your shrimps should be just pink)

At this point, toss in the capers and remove from heat. Strain your pasta & return it to the pot. Pour seafood mixture over it and add your bloomed garlic and fennel. Stir everything together and top with fresh lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

Here it is served. Delicious!