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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meyer Lemon Red Snapper and Round-up II

I do not recall when I have had red snapper which that tells me that it has been more than 10 years. I found some frozen filet's at Trader Joe's and decided I would use them in my meyer lemon madness....I mean lemon and fish are a classic right? So how would it taste with the orange essences? I think darn tasty.

Ingredients:
12 oz. red snapper filets
2 tablespoon meyer lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoon grapeseed oil
6 slices meyer lemon

1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
2. Squeeze meyer lemon juice into bowl, then add oil, garlic, sea salt and whisk together.
3. Place filet's onto foil (enough to make a packet), pour mixture onto filet's, and top with lemon slices. Seal filet's (like a packet) and let sit about 10 minutes. Place into oven and bake 30-35 minutes*
*The filets were quite thick so it took longer than I anticipated.

Meyer Lemon Round-up II:


Kathy of Healthy. Happy. Life. (that title makes me smile) made an amazing vegan dessert called 'Meyer Lemon Custard Island Parfait (she made me smile again) that is made with few ingredients and says that we can make it in 30 seconds.....shall we give it a try?


101 Cookbooks has a fabulous risotto recipe featuring the zest of 4 meyer lemons. Zesty!

Stop eating Pistachios

The government is warning all to stop eating pistachios. Read more about this latest Salmonella scare.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meyer Lemon Butter & Almond Green Beans; Meyer Lemon Round-up I

Welcome to a week full of fun recipes featuring a seasonal cutie called the 'Meyer Lemon'. But first, a little education: The Meyer Lemon is originally from China (discovered by Frank N. Meyer, who was on assignment from the USDA as an agricultural explorer) and is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. The fruit has a thin skin with a bright yellow rind that darkens to orange-yellow as it ripens and is much sweeter than a conventional lemon. It is favored for its mild, sweet, juicy flesh and, although still too tart to eat out-of-hand, they are useful for flavoring both savory and sweet dishes alike. On fish, poultry, vegetables and desserts, use the juice as a low calorie seasoning and even as a delicious, fresh alternative to high fat salad dressings and sauces.

TIP: For those of you that can not find the lemons, simply combine fresh lemon juice and fresh orange juice at a 3:1 ratio and you will do pretty good job in the flavor department. So go ahead and create some dishes with that formula.

Let's start with an easy way to add flavors to dishes. For all you moms & dads that want to way to brighten things up, make a simply compound butter with freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice and some rind. Make this butter just before bed so you have once step is all done when you start supper the next day.

Meyer Lemon Butter & Almond Green Beans
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon meyer lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon meyer lemon rind, minced
Mix well, spread into log form on wax paper, roll and let sit in fridge until ready to use. When ready, begin below.

12 oz. green beans
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds (I toast them myself)
Simply steam the beans, top with a few thin slices of the butter, mix well and top with the almonds.

Now onto the Round-Up Part I!

Lovely Natasha of 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures, submitted two of her delicious recipes for me to share (she shares so well doesn't she?). The first dish is a savory creation: Buckwheat Crusted Flounder with Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc.







and the second, a sweet creation of Crepes with Meyer Lemon and Sweet Strawberry Coulis.










Wow, I need to go get some more lemons and try these out!
Feel free to continue to submit to me all week.
One last thing: here are the other recipes I plan on sharing this week: meyer lemon dressing, meyer lemon-blueberry muffins, meyer lemon quinoa with peas and asparagus, meyer lemon meringues, meyer lemon tartar sauce with shrimp cakes and meyer lemon red snapper. Do you think that is enough? So does my family.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fast & Frugal Friday: Bison Steak ala Montreal

My friends often ask 'Do you cook like this every night?' My honest answer: NO! I take many short cuts and below is the perfect example.

It is also a perfect example of:
1. That you can cook something quick and not run to get fast food once a week.
2. You can eat meat and have it be on the healthier side and reap the protein/nutrient rewards.
3. There are great shortcuts out there that are delicious.
A perfect, and cult classic at this point, is McCormick's Montreal Seasoning. I am thrilled that there is now a 25% less sodium version as well. Shake onto your steak, grill to your liking and ingest.

I was lucky enough to find these steaks at the McQuade's Market in Mystic (same place where I acquired the ground bison featured in the burger's last week). They were $8.50 and all four of us has plenty.

Meyer Lemon Mania!

UPDATE: Many of you are having a hard time finding meyer lemons: be sure to look for little markets or 'fine food' mom and pops shops versus the big box grocery stores.

I caught the bug as so many of you have. Yes, meyer lemons. For those of you who do not know the big deal about the little guys here is the deal: they are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. I finally acquired a few pounds of these lovelies and once I cut one open, I was drunk with the intoxicating aroma. Since then, I have been making recipes all week to share with you next week and it hit me: let's have a huge round up, that is correct, since I hope to be very busy next week with PEEP entries (hint, hint), you can make things easy for me by featuring your recipes. Here is your chance to shine by sharing your healthy recipes featuring the object of our affection. This is a great way to share your joy and your blog so send me all the info. including links and photos (smaller than 400x400 pixels) please. Start sending me your stuff now so I can include some with my recipes each day....In closing, I will state again, that it will be a very busy week here as I hope to be receiving many PEEP contest entries .

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peep sneak attack

You are never going to guess where I just found a PEEP? What am I talking about? Follow this link.

Eating Well Wednesday - Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers

The second installment of Eating Well Wednesday features another 'Greek' titled recipe. This one titled Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers. I thought the filling was so tasty that I was happy there was some extra and ate it later in the evening. I enjoyed this recipe although my biggest suggestion is to not steam the peppers as they do, but to bake them the standard way as I found the to be soggy when steamed as they instructed.

Ingredients:
4 yellow, orange and/or red bell peppers
½ cup whole-wheat orzo
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Halve peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving the stems attached. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Add 1/2 inch water, cover and microwave on High until the peppers are just softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Mash chickpeas into a chunky paste with a fork, leaving some whole.

4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and oregano and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the orzo, chickpeas, 1/2 cup feta, tomatoes, vinegar and salt; cook until heated though, about 1 minute. Divide the filling among the pepper halves and sprinkle each pepper with some of the remaining 1/4 cup feta.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Newport Restaurant Week


This weekend we were lucky enough to take part in Newport Restaurant Week in Newport, R.I. Newport is a great town to visit in the first place: the mansions, the scenery, the quaint (meaning expensive with lots of breakables) shops and the ocean. This week, many restaurants
up the ante by having tastings and prix fixe meals. Although we did not dine at any of the amazing establishments, we enjoyed the local open market featuring Rhody Fresh milk, Cabot Cheese, and some local wines. All of the items are grown or produced in RI. The second event we attended was the chocolate dessert tasting at Architect's Inn. They featured Sweenor's Chocolates. We had a good laugh while we were trying to find the Inn as it felt like we were being taken on a treasure hunt as it was tucked away down a dirt road with old trees all around us. We sampled some great chocolates and then spent some time on the beaches and at stone cold creamery. What can be better than being with your husband and kids while enjoying food and the outdoors?

Monday, March 23, 2009

French Toast with Vanilla, Cinnamon and Agave Nectar

It is Priscilla's (Priscila's Baking Adventures) fault. Yup, she did it. She posted a recipe titled 'french toast with vanilla and cinnamon'. Gosh, how do you resist? I could not. Now, I must state this now and hope you stick with me: I do not have a photo. I started off just trying to modify a recipe and ended up whirling my family into such a frenzy over having french toast that it was attacked with little evidence that it ever existed. Try yourself and find out how good these two recipes are!

Ingredients:
6 slices organic whole wheat bread
6 eggs
1/2 cup 1% milk
3 tbsp. Madagascar pure vanilla
1.5 tbsp. cinnamon
Organic Agave Nectar

Directions:
1. Whisk eggs. Spray a skillet with non-stick spray (I used 'butter') and set burner to medium.
2. Add milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix well.
3. Coat bread very well with egg mixture. Place in pan. Cook on stove flipping once.
4. I used a small amount of butter and then drizzled agave nectar on each piece.

Apparently I am an amazing mother having invented the best breakfast ever. I, on the other hand, felt a pang of guilt having never offered french toast to either child in their lives. YIKES!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower & Edamame

My family enjoys roasted cauliflower but I wanted to add some more color and variety so I scoured the freezer. Score! I found some frozen edamame (soybeans) and thought I would give it another try (first attempt did not go over well with everyone). Did you know that edamame is packed with fiber and protein? Well, it is, so find ways to incorporate it into your repertoire of foods.
Another question: Have you also been discouraged after trying something new? Well, try again. Maybe try it sauteed instead of steamed or grilled instead of baked. Come on, I did with the edamame and I am sharing the winner below. By the way, I told my kids it is a big pea so they approached it with less reservation. Then, only after, they tried it, I told them that they are called edamame.

Ingredients:
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup edamame (thawed from frozen)
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 red sea salt (grinded a bit with a mortar/pestle)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees . Whisk together the oil, paprika, chili, pepper and salt in a bowl.
2. Pour half of the oil mixture over the cauliflower, toss well and place into the oven for 25 minutes.
3. Mix edamame with remaining oil mixture and then place into oven, with the cauliflower for 12 minutes. Serve.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feed the Peep - A Contest

While wandering through the grocery store, my daughter gasped and I spotted the object of her excitement - the large display of Peeps! We admired the pastel selection of bunnies and chicks and since we do eat healthy most of the time, we felt no guilt as we ripped that package open and bit the heads off two of those little sacks of sugar. And then, the light bulb went off and a contest was born! Easter is coming, and what is the one item that instantly pops into your head when you think "Easter basket"? No, after the chocolate bunny. Yes, Peeps! Let's have a contest where you all create a drink, meal, snack etc. and somehow, in some way, incorporate a peep. They are not an actual ingredient in the drink/dish but instead maybe they are they helping you prepare your dish? An honored guest for a dinner party? Is the peep nibbling the peas? Hiding in the photo ready to invade? To further motivate you and your creative genius, this time I am giving a prize: A copy of the book "Best of the Best: the best recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year". How will the winner be choosen? After I post the submissions, I will let all of you vote!

Can you believe this guy tried to invade my healthy tortellini soup?

1. Somehow incorporate a Peep (any variation in animal or color) into a post of any healthy drink or food or related event and create a blog post about it until the midnight, April 5th. Any previous blog posts you have where you've shown or utilized peeps is permitted.

2. Blog about your creation, including photos/videos and add a link back to my blog within your blog post; Savor The Thyme (http://savorthethyme.blogspot.com/).

3. Send an email titled 'Feed the Peep' with the following information to savorthethyme@cox.net
o Your name
o The name of your blog
o The name of dish/drink
o Attach the photo with a maximum size of 350 x 350 pixels
o The link to your event entry/post by midnight April 5th, 2009.
o You can participate even if you don't have a food blog or any blog at all. Non-bloggers can email the above information (sans blog details) and we'll include it in the round up.

4. Please keep it clean! Appropriate humor is always welcome.

5. All entries will all be posted on Monday, April 6th and voting will then commence.

Baby Lettuces with Sprouts, Apple, Pecans & Cranberries

Continuing in my need to eat veggies like a bunny on a feeding fest I enjoyed this salad the other day and had the bonus of watching the kids eat alfalfa sprouts with balsamic vinegar. Now they are hooked. I recall how I used to love eating lots of these sprouts with french dressing at Grandma's house during the summer.

Ingredients:
3 oz organic baby lettuces
1/3 cup organic alfalfa sprouts
1/2 organic green apple, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My kitchen buddy - Kuhn Rikon



I love my little blue paring knife from Kuhn Rikon. I had seen and heard of these little guys but I did not have one until a few months ago when I found them hanging in T.J. Maxx. I grabbed one for myself and some for stocking stuffers. I use my blue guy and a large chef's or Sudoku every day. I only hug it when the shelth is on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eating Well Wednesdays: Greek Bison Burgers

Welcome to Eating Well Wednesdays! I am going to feature recipes from Eating Well magazine every Wednesday. Their magazines statement is 'where good taste meets good health'. The first recipe I choose was the greek bison burger and I was thrilled to find some ground Bison at a lovely market in Mystic, CT.

Okay, yes, I am also starting to hum 'Home on the range" Why you ask? Because once I think of Buffalo (Bison), that songs pops into my head. Alrighty then, so you wonder why I am posting about animal meat if I am trying to eat clean and healthy? 1. Because it is my blog and I want too. 2. This is a great meat to use if you want, say, a burger, but want to eat a healthier meat. 3. You can still enjoy all kinds of food and eat healthy. So, let me tell you more about Bison/Buffalo, or rather, let Wisegeek tell you:
"Bison meat is very lean and has become popular in supermarkets. It contains far less calories and cholesterol than either beef or chicken. For example, bison meat contains 2.42 g. fat, 143 calories, and 82 mg. of cholesterol per 100 grams of cooked meat. By comparison, beef has 9.28 g. fat, 211 calories, and 86 g. cholesterol. Skinless chicken contains 7.41 grams of fat, 190 calories and 89 mg. of cholesterol."

Makes 4 servings *changes; refer to website link for exact recipe
Ingredients:
1 pound ground bison
½ cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry* I used fresh baby spinach
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Yogurt Sauce:
¾ cup nonfat or low-fat Greek-style plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint* we do not like mint so omitted
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 whole-wheat rolls, split and toasted (skip these and the meal is gluten free!)
16 thin slices English cucumber
8 slices vine-ripened tomato
4 thin round slices red onion

Instructions:
1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Place bison, spinach, feta, 2 teaspoons dill, oregano, cumin, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large mixing bowl. Gently combine without overmixing. Form into 4 oval-shaped patties roughly the size of the rolls.
3. Oil the grill rack (see Tip, below). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer
inserted into the center registers 155°F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.

4. To prepare yogurt sauce: Combine yogurt, lemon zest and juice, 1 teaspoon dill and mint in a small bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Assemble the burgers on rolls with the yogurt sauce, cucumber, tomato and onion.

My verdict: Excellent! A nice texture and flavor. It would be a perfect burger with just some ketchup (as the kids had it). We will definitely be making again however, with less oregano. Want to know more? Read what The National Bison Association has to say.
p.s.: Natasha I followed through with it like I commented I would after you shared some of your great recipes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Potato Frittata for St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day. To honor the holiday I made a potato and KerryGold cheese frittata. I am a big fan of frittata's but have never incorporated potatoes into them.



1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large potato, sliced
1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup baby spinach, chopped/torn
salt and pepper to taste
6 eggs
1/3 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup shredded KerryGold cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice potatoes and place on a paper towel to absorb excess water/fluid.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place potatoes in the skillet, season, cover, and cook about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk with a dash of salt and pepper. Flip the potatoes over, cook 5 minutes until tender but firm. Remove and place aside.

3. Place onions, red pepper and garlic into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, add spinach and cook 1 minute. Remove from the pan and then place potatoes back into the pan, distributing evenly and place sauteed vegetables back on top.

4. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet over the vegetables. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until eggs are getting firm on top. Then place the pan into the oven. When the eggs are almost completely set, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake, maybe a minute, until cheese is melted.

Garlic & Lemon Asparagus

I am feeling the urge for spring so badly, I ate vegetables all weekend. We used to eat asparagus and broccoli every other day for when my daughter was 2-3 years old. Since she grew tired of them, I find I am not making them as often but when I do, I chow down. I made a simple compound butter, steamed the asparagus and basically ate them all myself Sunday afternoon.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound green asparagus, cut into 1-11/2 inches pieces
garlic & lemon compound butter.

1. Place a steamer basket into a pot and place enough water to just below the basket. Bring to a boil while preparing asparagus
2. Prepare asparagus but snapping at natural break and then cutting into 1 to 11/2 inch pieces.
3. Steam approx. 2 minutes until tender but still firm. The time will vary based on thickness of stalks.
4. Place into a bowl with 3/4 tablespoon butter, salt to taste and enjoy.

Compound butter: I took 1/2 stick unsalted butter and while at room temperature, I combined with with 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice & a large clove of garlic (minced). I mixed them well and refrigerated overnight.

Awards

I want to sincerely thank my fellow food bloggers who gave these to me and also say that I promise to do my best to post quicker shall I receive more in the future. Danielle at So Many Cookbooks: The friendship award whose creator states "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

I pass this onto the following:
Natasha: http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/
Reeni: http://cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.blogspot.com/
Lisa: http://jerseygirlcooks.blogspot.com/
Donna: http://mytastytreasures.blogspot.com/
ChefT: http://chefbliss.blogspot.com/

Noodles: http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com/
Sara: http://www.imafoodblog.com/index.php
Greg: http://www.sippitysup.com/
Kevin: http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/
Gera: http://www.sweetsfoods.com/
Kreativ Blogger Award: Thank you to Gera for this thoughtful and supportive award. We all know how much work goes into our passion and being recognized is a 'sweet' reward.

Finally, I updated the recognition my first award here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Zucchini & Mushroom Saute

This type of saute is an excellent one for using up those vegetables that you just do not have enough of to make a side on its own. Super yummy and good for you.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, chopped
3/4 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Prepare the zucchini by first splitting horizontally, then cutting each 'strip' on the diagonal
2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Food Magazine

Have you seen this yet? reviews? I was able to quickly glance at it in line at the store and it looks like gourmet/celebrity chefs approachable to home cooks & families? Am I right? The website looks promising.

Celebrity Chefs' Recipe Roundup on Oprah

Did you see Oprah today? Chefs Cat Cora, Curtis Stone and Tyler Florence share their recipes for kid-friendly breakfast dishes, healthy desserts and everything in between! Try these at home with your family.

I am watching now and plan on making some of the recipes.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken 'Caprese'

This weekend offered us a taste of spring. This lead me to daydream of the days of summer and the many days at the beach. What tasty wraps, salads, etc. would I pack for our lunches? Caprese salad popped into my mind and chicken but what about the combination? Did I have mozzarella? yes. Did I have tomatoes? Yes, grape. Did I have basil? nope. But I have baby spinach leaves! perfect.

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 baby spinach leaves, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1. I first pounded the breasts gently to thin them out just a bit. Then, with small knife, make a slit in the chicken to create a small pocket. Stuff half of the cheese into pocket, followed by the spinach. Secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle chicken with the salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the chicken approximately 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle with the remaining salt & pepper and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, scatter the tomatoes over the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove toothpicks before serving.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wheat Berry Tabouleh

The term wheatberry or wheat berry refers to the entire wheat kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm) minus the hull. Wheatberries have a tan to reddish brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. As a whole grain, they also provide nutritional benefits since they are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

For my first foray, I picked up some hard wheat berries at a wonderful gourmet grocery store in town and drove home excited to try the new find. I cooked them, which is a maintenance free, but not particularly fast process. Once I ingested the first bite, I knew that my family would not be consuming them unless I found someway to liven things up. Therefore, I decided to make a tabouleh. As a friend, I will tell you that all four of us needed a few minutes to adjust to the chewy texture but once adjusted, were able to welcome this new berry into our family.

By the way, my smart hubby turned it into the main dish for dinner by adding leftover chicken.

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked wheat berries
1 cup english cucumber, chopped
3/4 cup roma tomato, chopped (about 1-2 tomatoes)
3/4 cup red peppers, diced
1/2 cup sweet onion*
1/2-3/4 flat lead parsley, minced (I know that seems like so much but hey, this is tabouleh and makes the dish)
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil**
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice**
salt & pepper

* I planned on using a red onion but forgot to buy one but I was quite pleased with the sweet onion.
** This is a guesstimate as I did not write it down but I seem to recall measurements that approximate this. Suit to taste.

'Eating Your Words' Round-up: Part I

It all started a few weeks ago when I saw an expression of 'Thanks' in pancake batter and decided that I needed to give it a try. I 'wrote' with my pancakes and suddenly an idea was born. My visual reference is this:
& =
So the 'Eating Your Words' challenge began and boy, you did not disappoint. We have had so much fun time doing this and can not wait to do it again. For Part II, head over to Tangled Noodle. So, without further ado:

1. Mr. Robert McKay, a family friend, joined in on the pancake fun and sent us a simple expression and let the plate do the talking.


2. Scott of Scotty Snacks wanted to personally extend a Happy Fat Tuesday to all of the New Orleans, Louisiana folks down in the dirty, dirty celebrating Mardi Gras. He graciously provided all of us with a 'Mardi Gras Flavored Beignets' recipe so that we could curb our Cafe Du Monde cravings.


3. While at work, Manang of Kusina Ni Manang was told that she was staying an extra shift. She was very disappointed that the evening would be void of ‘whoopie’; Hence, an idea of 'Whoopie Pies' was ‘conceived’.


4. Meaghan of chiccookiekits manages to beautifully juggle having this super sweet shop , a happy blog called ‘chic cookie kits’, a fantastic book and an amazing craft column. Meaghan felt the frustration of inanimate cookies everywhere and decided to give the smileys cookies a voice.


5. Heather was very excited about this challenge yet found herself drawing a blank about an entry until her lovely little daughter ran up and requested her beloved Blueberry Pie. No need to feel blue after seeing this lovely creation.


6. Elizabeth Sterling or 'Chef E' was gave us two lovely submissions. The first she created during a allergy-related-drug-induced-soba-noodle-making-festival. Don't believe me? take a look.

The second of her submissions was inspired by a poem. Which one? Well, 'Save of Ship' of course' .


7. Aoife (aka The Daily Spud) took a minimalist approach and voilĂ , a vegetable that comes with its own initial. All quite self-contained, see?


8. And finally, and what a finale this is: A VIDEO! You need to go to Sippity Sup and watch this amazing video titled 'Let Your Food Do The Talking'. Get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor. I hope this becomes viral....because a can, can can-can. WAIT..see below.

Wait! Did you challengers think that we would really reward you with nothing for all your efforts? No way, we are too generous, so check your email for a badge from Tangled Noodle. Go ahead, show off your badge and brag about your participation.

For Part II, head over to Tangled Noodle.
THANK YOU for your participation,
Jennifer

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken

I promise. I deliver. Here is the 'Bride's Dinner Chicken' dish. Courtesy of Erica via Knorr. She alters it in two ways:
1. Omitting the additional olive oil
2. Used butterflied boneless breasts.

Ingredients:
4 butterflied chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
1 package Knorr® French Onion recipe mix
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
1 jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shrimp Scampi with Lemon Pepper Pasta~Healthy Version

Dizzy? Tizzy? How do you best describe my feeling in head while shopping at Trader Joe's? I have only gone with two kids shoved into a tiny cart or while trying to keep them next to me. I mean, can you really take your time? No, but that is to the benefit of TJ's and our family as I grab a bunch of stuff that catches my eye and will aid a quick meal. This time was their 'lemon pepper Pappardelle Pasta'. I heard you, say it again 'Ohhhhhhhh'. Yes, and even the packaging is lovely. As soon as I saw it, I thought shrimp and so did TJ's because they have a simple shrimp recipe on the back. However, I thought I would take it a bit further and attempt a healthier
shrimp scampi. I think it rocks.

Ingredients:
1 package of Trader Joe's lemon pepper pappardelle pasta
1 lb. frozen 31-40 shrimp, uncooked, thawed, shells removed, tail on or off*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
zest of 1/2 lemon**
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, minced

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and boil for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute. Mix in chicken broth, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2. 3. Toss in shrimp, parsley and butter into the saucepan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp are opaque. Stir in the pasta, and continue cooking 1 minute, until well coated.
*I used 51-60 which looked tiny next to the pasta, use the 31-40's.

I also thought this would be a great recipe to enter into Festa Italian over at finding La Dolce vita and Proud Italian Cook.
**By the way, the pasta is quite lemony and has some heat from the generous 'peppering' so try to restrain from adding lemon juice and pepper.

A Bride's Party: A Yummy Time

The moment we received the evite, the switch boards around Westerly went crazy. I mean seriously. I got a call from my buddy (and amazing photographer) Kim and she could barely contain her excitement. She said 'Have you checked your email?!' I said 'no, why?' She said 'Erica has invited us to a bride's party. We have to wear our dresses and then we go to her house for dinner." I pretty much hung up on her, ran upstairs, told my husband to stop working and help me get into my dress. I mean, there was no way I was replying until I knew the dress situation. What does this have to do with food? Stick with me, I will get there. Here is a snipet of the evite: I am having a brides dinner party. Thats right time to dig through the basement or the attic and find your wedding dress, seems like a waste to only get to wear it once! So if you have diet goals here is another one...to be able to zip it!

Here is the lovely hostess.

So more about the evening: We first met at a restaurant....picture it: looking out a window enjoying your dinner and seeing a number of women in wedding dresses walking in randomly.
We created quite a stir. After a bit of time chatting and enjoying some wine, we converged upon Erica's home.

Naturally, there was lots of shrieking, hugging, admiring and modeling before we dug into the eats. There was a lovely shrimp cocktail dish to nibble on and some wine to sip. After a bit, we sat to a beautifully set table (the woman has 3 kids under 4 and somehow did this!). Erica asked us not to bring anything and I was so excited to see what was coming.

Here is the menu. Come back for the chicken recipe Friday.
*Mixed greens with candied walnut, dried cranberries and feta cheese with a choice of asian sesame dressing or a champagne Gorgonzola vinaigrette
*Risotto
*Pepperidge farm cracked pepper parmesan toast
*Chicken with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, onion soup and garlic.

The Hostess and The Foodie.

~I think I may use this ideas as some sort of a fundraiser...hum...bridesmaid party coming this spring

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My First Blog Award

I am sincerely honored to have received a blog award from fellow foodie, Chef Bliss! My first! She has bestowed upon me the 'Sisterhood Award'. Chef Bliss is a lovely woman whose blog is funny, informative, pretty to look at and has lots of great and inspiring recipes. Now, there are certain responsibilities that go with this award and I hope that I will do this correctly in order to show my appreciation. THANK YOU CHEF T!

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 people whose blogs you enjoy.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person who has nominated you for the award.

I am sharing this award with the following and in no particular order:
Heather: http://girlichef.blogspot.com/
Elizabeth: http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/
Aoife: http://www.thedailyspud.com/
Maria: http://lichtyfamilyblog.blogspot.com/
Annie: http://constructivesalad.blogspot.com/
Lori: http://www.fakefoodfree.com/
Andrea: http://cheeseandpears.com/
Cassie: http://foodiewithlittlethyme.blogspot.com/
Diva: http://beacheats.blogspot.com/
Katherine: http://smokymountaincafe.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 2, 2009

Frozen Assets: Light & Healthy Turkey Meatballs

1. Notice my subtle homage to a snowman below (I actually had 'him' standing but could not get a good shot.) 2. The 'background' is snow. Alrighty then, I thought I would begin a feature called "Frozen Assets" referring to recipes that are great to make ahead and freeze until you are ready to cook/bake them.

Ingredients (Makes approx. 30 meatballs):
3 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
2 teaspoons flax seed
1/4 cup 1% milk
1.3 lb. ground turkey, 93 percent lean
½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground thyme
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions
1. Place bread and flax seed in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Then mix the breadcrumbs/seeds with milk and set aside, at least 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, egg, salt, pepper, and breadcrumb mixture. Now get your clean hands in there and mix gently.

3. Using the now mushy hands, form the mixture into balls (each about 1.5 tablespoons); arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet/pan lined with parchment paper.

4. Transfer the baking sheet to freezer for 1 hour. Place frozen meatballs to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

5. When you are ready to bake: Take the meatballs out in the morning to thaw. Later in the day, preheat oven to 350 degrees, place meatballs onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grapeseed Oil: Good for you inside and out.

Sometimes the food industry reminds me of the cosmetics industry: just when you think it is saturated and everything has been invented, many new wonderful items emerge that you can not live without. Grapeseed Oil is a new love of mine and I have only begun to explore. Please join me in my quest:

Grape seed oil (also known as grapeseed oil) is pressed from the seeds of various varieties of grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking. It is used in dressings, marinades, flavored oils, baking and is popular for frying because of it’s high smoke point. Grape seed oil is also highly coveted in the cosmetics industry but we will stick to its cooking applications here. However, be forewarned: make sure that you are buying grapeseed oil that is clearly marked as food grade. You can read more about it’s adoration by the cosmetics industry here and here.

Grapeseed Oil is also on the radar of the health community. According to Wisegeek, "It is a polyunsaturated oil, and contains beneficial compounds such as linoleic acid" and Wikipedia states "The metabolic energy density of grape seed oil is comparable to that of other oils: However, because less oil is needed for cooking, it can be used within a low-fat diet especially when combined with good frying techniques which reduces the amount of absorbed oil.” Granted, it is an oil so it contains plenty of fat, it is nice to have another polyunsaturate option.
My bottom line: One of the most rewarding characteristics I have enjoyed about the oil is that it is light and refreshing and does not interfere with any other flavorings, such as herbs or spices that you combine with it. I have tried making a few vinaigrettes and each time, the vinegar and flavorings are surprisingly present. I have also sauteed with it and it sealed my fate as a true fan.

Enjoy and let me know your experiences.
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