27 December 2007

Pepperoni Bread

New Year's Eve coming up and an appetizer is needed. Super Bowl party on the horizon? Something simple to bring or have on hand is pepperoni bread. If you are so inclined, you can make your own dough, but this is just as good using frozen bread dough. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and it will be ready for baking the next day.

The amount of dough I have listed is the size my store carried. It contained 5 loaves that equaled approximately 2 pounds in total. So I ended up with 5 loaves of pepperoni bread. If your store carries differing sizes, use your judgement on the amounts of pepperoni, garlic powder and cheese. You don't want so much that the filling oozes out while baking, but you want enough so that people get a bit of each in every slice. You can brush the top with egg wash, but it isn't needed. I don't. You can also use regular pepperoni and substitute whatever cheese(s) you wish. For that matter, you could use salami or any other pre-cooked meat you choose.

2 pounds frozen bread dough
10 ounces turkey pepperoni, slices
8 ounces italian cheese blend, shredded
2 teaspoons garlic powder

1. Roll out or flatten loaves of bread.

2. Sprinkle a little of the garlic powder across the flattened dough.

3. Sprinkle some of the cheese on the dough, leaving about a 1/2" on each end and side.

4. Place slices of pepperoni on top of the cheese.

5. Now roll the bread, lengthwise. You can either roll so you have a pinwheel or bring one side of the dough to the middle and then the other side, then seal.

6. Now seal the ends.

7. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Place dough, seam side down on sheet tray. Spray the top of the dough with non-stick spray. Place plastic wrap over and let sit for 30 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool before slicing.

202 kcal

% Calories from Fat: 30
% Calories from Carbs: 46
% Calories from Protein: 24
Total Fat (g): 7
Saturated Fat (g): 2
Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
Polyunsaturated Fat (g): trace
Cholesterol (mg): 27
Sodium (mg): 615
Potassium (mg): 3
Total Carbohydrates (g): 22
Dietary Fiber (g): 2
Protein (g): 12
Calcium (mg): 81
Iron (mg): trace
Zinc (mg): trace
Vitamin C (mg): trace
Vitamin A (IU): 128
Vitamin A (RE): 0
Vitamin B6 (mg): trace
Vitamin B12 (mcg): 0
Thiamin (mg): trace
Riboflavin (mg): trace
Folacin (mcg): trace
Niacin (mg): trace

Food Exchanges:
Starch/Bread: 0
Lean Meat: 0
Vegetable: 0
Fruit: 0
Non-Fat Milk: 0
Fat: 0
Other Carbs: 0

19 December 2007

Raspberry Coulis

The term 'coulis' is French for strained liquid. You can make a savory or sweet coulis. A coulis is typically made from either fruits or vegetables and is thick with a smooth and creamy texture. As with any type of sauce, it is used to enhance the flavor as well as to add color to the plate, giving a more sophisticated presentation. Drizzled or pooled next to a dessert or main dish, it will certainly add a 'pop' to your plate. Adding a tablespoon of corn syrup will give the coulis a beautiful shine. I do not use corn syrup as I am against high fructose corn syrup in any application, but that is a rant for another time.

If you don't wish a raspberry coulis, substitute whichever fruit you prefer.

16 ounces pureed raspberries, strained
2 1/2 ounces Granulated sugar
1/2 fluid ounce lemon juice

1. Combine the strained fruit purée with the sugar. Add as much lemon juice as needed to balance the flavor of the sauce. Heat to dissolve sugar.

2. Serve warm or cold.

Calories: 41 kcal
% Calories from Fat: 3
% Calories from Carbs: 94
% Calories from Protein: 3
Total Fat (g): trace
Saturated Fat (g): trace
Monounsaturated Fat (g): trace
Polyunsaturated Fat (g): trace
Cholesterol (mg): 0
Sodium (mg): 1
Potassium (mg): 77
Total Carbohydrates (g): 10
Dietary Fiber (g): 1
Protein (g): trace
Calcium (mg): 7
Iron (mg): trace
Zinc (mg): trace
Vitamin C (mg): 26
Vitamin A (IU): 13
Vitamin A (RE): 1.5
Vitamin B6 (mg): trace
Vitamin B12 (mcg): 0
Thiamin (mg): trace
Riboflavin (mg): trace
Folacin (mcg): 8
Niacin (mg): trace

Food Exchanges
Starch/Bread: 0
Lean Meat: 0
Vegetable: 0
Fruit: 0
Non-Fat Milk: 0
Fat: 0
Other Carbs: 0.5

Raspberry Sauce

Making a fresh fruit sauce is simple as can be, not to mention it is tastier and far healthier than anything you can buy. You can substitute and equal amount of whatever fruit and perform the same steps. Some fruits will take longer, some will go quicker. You may need to add more or less sugar depending upon your taste. If you prefer honey over sugar, use the same amount. I've not used any sugar substitutes so I am not sure how they will react. I just cannot get past the chemical taste of sugar substitutes.

Using a squeeze bottle makes for an easier time when decorating a plate. Squeeze a dot or several dots, drag a toothpick through to make designs, or just squeeze the sauce out into a design. Depending upon how long you simmer the sauce, it will not be super thick and will spread, so wait until just before service to decorate.

Fruit sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also freeze the sauce.

2 pints fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Cook fruit over medium heat with the sugar until juices are released and the sugar is dissolved. This does take a little time, but once the fruit begins to release its juices, you can take a small wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula and begin to mash the fruits, which will shorten the cooking time a bit.

2. Allow to simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will have some reduction, which is good as this makes for a thicker sauce.

3. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth. I do this by cutting off a large piece of cheesecloth and doubling it. Then I either get a sauce pot with handles. Tie the cheesecloth to the handles and then pour the sauce in, and allow to drip through, leaving the pulp and seeds behind.

*It is a good idea to rinse your cheesecloth first to get the residue off. This will give you a cleaner looking sauce.

The nutritional analysis is for 1 serving. This recipe will make 4 servings.

Calories: 86 kcal
% Calories from Fat: 6
% Calories from Carbs: 89
% Calories from Protein: 5
Total Fat (g): 1
Saturated Fat (g): 0
Monounsaturated Fat (g): trace
Polyunsaturated Fat (g): trace
Cholesterol (mg): 0
Sodium (mg): trace
Potassium (mg): 193
Total Carbohydrates (g): 21
Dietary Fiber (g): 9
Protein (g): 1
Calcium (mg): 28
Iron (mg): 1
Zinc (mg): 1
Vitamin C (mg): 32
Vitamin A (IU): 165
Vitamin A (RE): 16.5
Vitamin B6 (mg): 0.1
Vitamin B12 (mcg): 0
Thiamin (mg): 0
Riboflavin (mg): 0.1
Folacin (mcg): 33
Niacin (mg): 1

Food Exchanges
Starch/Bread: 0
Lean Meat: 0
Vegetable: 0
Fruit: 1
Non-Fat Milk: 0
Fat: 0
Other Carbs: 0.5

18 December 2007

Chocolate Sauce

Use a good quality chocolate like Vahlrona, Scharffen Berger, or Guittard (many others, but these are my favorites). There is a huge difference in these chocolates which you will notice. Allow a chocolate, any chocolate to just melt on your palate. Pay attention to the mouth feel. Vahlrona leaves you with a clean palate, the typical grocery store chocolate leaves a waxy film.

If you cannot find one of the premium chocolates, the others will do, as this is what most people are used to eating, but if you really want to wow them with flavor, sometimes you get what you pay for.

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate or white chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk and sugar in heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add small pieces of chocolate, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and add butter, stir until melted, add vanilla extract. Liqueur may be added if desired.

Per Serving (8 servings)
115 Calories
6g Fat (44.6% calories from fat)
1g Protein
16g Carbohydrate
0g Dietary Fiber
6mg Cholesterol
24mg Sodium

0 Non-Fat Milk
1 Fat
1 Other Carbohydrates

Crème Anglaise or Vanilla Custard Sauce

I love Crème Anglaise. You can use it as a sauce of course, but the best part is you can make it into ice cream. Any of the sauce that is leftover, you can put in a container, stick in the fridge, and once frozen, voila, you have vanilla ice cream. Better than any vanilla ice cream I've bought in the store.

1 quart half and half
1 whole vanilla bean, split
12 whole egg yolk, whole
10 ounces Granulated sugar

1. Using a heavy nonreactive saucepan, bring the half-and-half and vanilla bean just to a boil.

2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Temper the egg mixture with approximately one-third of the hot half-and-half, and then return the entire mixture to the saucepan with the remaining half-and-half. (if you don't temper to bring the egg yolks to the same temperature as the hot mixture, you will have scrambled eggs, and that's just not attractive as a dessert)

3. Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow the sauce to boil.

4. As soon as the sauce thickens, remove it from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Chill the sauce over an ice bath, then cover and keep refrigerated. The sauce should last 3 to 4 days.

Per Serving (20-2 ounce servings):
154 Calories
9g Fat (49.9% calories from fat)
3g Protein
16g Carbohydrate
0g Dietary Fiber
145mg Cholesterol
24mg Sodium

0 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
1 1/2 Fat
1 Other Carbohydrates

17 December 2007

Bitter Chocolate Tart

This could be served atop a simple creme anglaise, or a white chocolate sauce, but would go magnificently with a raspberry coulis or raspberry sauce. A simple piping of freshly whipped cream on top with a few fresh raspberries, maybe some white chocolate shavings and then topped with a brandy snap or tuile cookie and you'll have a most elegant dessert that was really quite simple to execute.

Since I have mentioned the creme anglais, white chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, raspberry sauce, brandy snap, and tuile, I guess I know what I'll be posting tomorrow.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces, chilled
¼ cup sweet dessert wine

1 ½ cups heavy cream
10 ½ ounces extra bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (if you cannot find the extra bittersweet or do not like the extra bittersweet, regular bittersweet will work)
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse two or three times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running, pour in the wine and process until the dough comes together. Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and gently press into a disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate 30 minutes. (See notes at end).

2. Butter a 10" fluted tart pan. Roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to a 12" circle about ¼" thick.

3. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line the tart pan with the dough. Refrigerate until chilled and then trim the excess. (See notes at end).

4. Prick the shell and bake the tart shell for 12 minutes or just until set. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. (See notes at end).

5. To make the filling, in a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir to melt. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool for 20 minutes.

6. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolk together. Whisk the cocoa and eggs into the chocolate mixture, then whisk in the crushed anise seeds and anisette. Pour the filling into the tart shell, bake for 15 minutes or just until the filling forms a shiny skin, and is slightly firm, but still loose at the center.

7. Cool the tart for 15 minutes on a rack, then remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.

8. To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, beat the powdered sugar with the milk and vanilla to a thin, pourable consistency; add a few more drops of milk if needed. Drizzle over the cooled tart with the glaze. Allow the glaze to harden before service.

The reason you wrap the pastry dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes is to get the butter chilled once again, but to also allow the glutens to relax. Flour contains gluten and the more it is worked, the bigger these strands get. This results in a tough product, whether bread dough, tart dough, or pie dough. Allowing the butter to chill helps you to achieve a flaky crust. As the liquid in the butter turns to steam and evaporates, the dough surrounding that particular piece of butter puffs a bit, giving you the desired flaky texture.

The reason you line your pan with the dough, allow to chill, and then trim is that as the glutens relax, they shrink. If you trim your crust to fit the pan and then chill or immediately bake, it will shrink, resulting in a crust that does not reach the rim of your pan or wherever you had initially wanted the crust to reach.

Pricking the shell is called docking. This allows the steam to escape from the tart shell while keeping the tart shell from puffing too much, as it should be flush with the pan.

Per Serving (8 servings):
669 Calories
52g Fat (66.0% calories from fat)
9g Protein
51g Carbohydrate
7g Dietary Fiber
170mg Cholesterol
175mg Sodium

2 Grain(Starch)
1/2 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
10 Fat
1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates

(Substituting the heavy cream for light whipping cream will save you about 20 calories and 2 grams of fat. Leaving off the glaze will save you approximately 100 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. To save on calories, this is the way I would go. A rich dessert such as this, deserves the richness of the heavy cream)

15 December 2007

Sweet Potato Soup with Lobster & Orange Crème Fraîche

This is a most decadent soup and excellent for a first course. Despite how it may sound, it is deceptively simple to make and will certainly wow your guests.

Both the crème fraîche and soup can be made up to 2 days ahead. Just make sure to cover and refrigerate them each separately.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons orange peel, grated
10 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut 1/2" thick
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 large leeks, chopped, white and pale green parts only
1 1/3 cups celery, finely diced
10 cups low sodium chicken broth(may need more for thinning the soup to your preferred thickness)
1 1/3 cups orange juice
3 pounds lobster tails
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

To make crème fraîche:

Mix cream, sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, about 3 hours. Cover and refrigerate.

Making the Soup:

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add sweet potatoes and sugar and toss to coat. Pour sweet potatoes out onto 2 baking sheets. Roast until very tender and beginning to brown, stir occasionally, about 30 minutes.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks, celery and remaining ginger. Sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sauté 2 minutes. Add 10 cups broth and orange juice. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until leeks and celery are very tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Working in batches, puree soup in processor. Return soup to pot. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Remove lobster meat from shells. Slice into 1/3" thick medallions. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add lobster; sauté until heated through, about 1 minute.

5. Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Spoon small dollops of crème fraîche atop soup. Draw a toothpick or skewer through crème fraîche to form design. Arrange lobster on top of the soup and Sprinkle with parsley.

This soup is just as good without the lobster. If you leave out the lobster, your calories drop to 342, lose 1g of fat, protein drops to 12g, lose 1g of carbs, cholesterol drops to 57mg and sodium drops to 570mg. In your exchanges, lean meat drops to 1, while all others stay the same.

Per Serving (12 servings):
444 Calories
20g Fat (44.6% calories from fat)
33g Protein
33g Carbohydrate
3g Dietary Fiber
165mg Cholesterol
905mg Sodium

1 1/2 Grain(Starch)
4 Lean Meat
1/2 Vegetable
0 Fruit
0 Non-Fat Milk
4 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates

Because of all the goodies in this soup, I'm adding a few other bits of nutritional data:
134mg Calcium (13% of your RDA)
39 mg Vitamin C (65% of your RDA)
63 mcg Folacin (16% of your RDA)
4 mg Zinc (28% of your RDA)

13 December 2007

Butterscotch bars

Love me some butterscotch bars (as does everyone else who has ever tried them). These are always a big hit at potluck type dinners with friends and family.

Very simple to make and they are so rich, you could probably cut 32 pieces instead of 16 and everyone would be just fine with that, unless of course you have someone with a super sweet tooth. These are seriously rich, even with the fat-free milk and 1/3 less fat cream cheese. I'll give the nutritional analysis for both types as well as for 32 and 16.

Yeah, yeah, I know they aren't organic and there is nothing remotely good for you about these things, but every now and again, we need a little something sweet.

10 ounces butterscotch chips
1/2 cup butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 ounces cream cheese - 1/3 less fat
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
14 ounces fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 cup pecan halves, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Put the butterscotch chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. When melted, add the graham crackers. Set aside 2/3 cup. Press the graham cracker/butterscotch mix into the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking pan coated with non-stick spray.

3. In seperate bowl, beat the cream cheese till smooth. Add the milk, egg, and vanilla. Beat until mixed well. Add pecans and mix some more.

4. Pour this on top of the crust mixture in the baking pan. After you have smoothed it out, take the reserve 2/3 cup of the crust mixture and sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture.

5. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

6. Store in fridge.

Per Serving (16 servings):
320 Calories
15g Fat (42.6% calories from fat)
5g Protein
42g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
39mg Cholesterol
219mg Sodium

1/2 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
2 1/2 Fat
2 Other Carbohydrates

Per Serving (16 servings-full fat version):
344 Calories
19g Fat (49.3% calories from fat)
5g Protein
40g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
53mg Cholesterol
207mg Sodium

1/2 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
4 Fat
2 Other Carbohydrates

Per Serving (32 servings):
160 Calories
8g Fat (42.6% calories from fat)
2g Protein
21g Carbohydrate
trace Dietary Fiber
19mg Cholesterol
110mg Sodium

1/2 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
0 Non-Fat Milk
1 Fat
1 Other Carbohydrates

Per Serving (32 servings-full fat version):
172 Calories
10g Fat (49.3% calories from fat)
2g Protein
20g Carbohydrate
trace Dietary Fiber
26mg Cholesterol
103mg Sodium

1/2 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
2 Fat
1 Other Carbohydrates

12 December 2007

Arugula and Prosciutto Salad

Arugula is an aromatic, peppery salad green and is very popular in Italian cuisine. It grows wild in Asia and all over the entire Mediterranean. In Roman times arugula was grown for both its leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils. Arugula is more than just a salad green and can be sauteed or cooked in many other ways.

The making of prosciutto dates back 2000 years. True prosciutto, Prosciutto di Parma, has the DOP label. You will know it by the trademarked ducal crown. The ham is aged for at least 10-12 months and there is only one ingredient used in the treatment and curing and that is salt. This is why Prosciutto di Parma is an absolutely natural product that manages to be delicious, easily digestible and nutritional all at once.

Arugula and Prosciutto Salad

1 large bunch arugula (about 4 cups) - you can substitute with spinach
8 thin slices Prosciutto (about 4 ounces), cut in 1/2-inch wide strips
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, combine arugula, Prosciutto, cheese and pine nuts. Toss gently with salad dressing to coat completely. Serve immediately.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a cup whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt until blended.

Per Serving (8 - 1/2 cup Servings):
85 Calories
6g Fat (60.9% calories from fat)
7g Protein
2g Carbohydrate
trace Dietary Fiber
14mg Cholesterol
537mg Sodium

0 Grain(Starch)
1 Lean Meat
0 Vegetable
0 Fruit
1/2 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates.

11 December 2007

Quick Angel Hair Pasta with tomatoes and basil

Looking for something quick, easy, and healthy? By simply changing the chicken stock to vegetable stock, you can have a tasty vegetarian meal, well, except for the cheese.

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which I discuss here and here . Of course, there are many more places on the Internet where you can find information on lycopene.

Distender, godere di e mangiare nella buona salute

1 pound Angel Hair, uncooked
3 tablespoons olive oil, prefer extra-virgin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 cups tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon basil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add hot pasta to skillet; toss well. Add chicken broth and stir. Toss with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Per Serving (6 servings):
397 Calories
10g Fat (22.0% calories from fat)
13g Protein
65g Carbohydrate
4g Dietary Fiber
3mg Cholesterol
365mg Sodium

4 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
1 1/2 Vegetable
1 1/2 Fat

09 December 2007

Duckbreast Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Yummm, yummm, duck breast. This is certainly not something someone on Weight Watchers would want to fix for lunch, but you Atkins people, you are gonna love this. Not really in a typeative mood, so I'll just jump right to the recipe.

2 12-ounce whole boneless duck breasts (350 g)

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 ounces hazelnut oil
3 ounces walnut or light olive oil
1 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces mixed baby greens
2 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped coarse

Per Serving (4 servings):
923 Calories
95g Fat (91.8% calories from fat)
16g Protein
3g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
93mg Cholesterol
135mg Sodium

0 Grain(Starch)
2 Lean Meat
1/2 Vegetable
0 Fruit
17 1/2 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates

1. Trim the excess fat from the duck breasts and separate the breasts into halves.

2. Combine the marinade ingredients. Thoroughly coat the duck with the marinade and marinate for at least 2 hours.

3. Combine the hazelnut vinaigrette ingredients at least 2 hours before service so that the flavors will develop.

4. Wipe the marinade from the breasts and sauté them, skin side down first, in a dry sauté pan until medium rare, approximately 2 1/2 minutes per side. Do not overcook.

5. Arrange a mixture of baby greens on 4 plates. Slice the breasts on the diagonal and arrange on the plates with the greens. Drizzle the hazelnut vinaigrette over the greens, sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve.

07 December 2007

Blueberry Scones

Scones are a traditional Scottish quick bread. The UK scones are typically less sweet compared to the US adaption. I like them both.

I love scones. For breakfast, a snack, with some coffee, and if I liked hot tea, I'd have them with tea too.

If you prefer, omit the blueberries altogether or add raisins instead. Use your imagination. Cranberries, cherries, whatev. Play around with it. You want to add dried apple and cinnamon, great choice, but be careful about adding extra liquids or too much in the way of extra dry ingredients as this will throw off the formula. 2 or 3 teaspoons of cinnamon or nutmeg is fine though.

1 pound All-purpose flour
1 1/2 ounces Granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Salt
4 ounces Unsalted butter, cold
2 Egg yolks
11 fluid ounces half and half
4 ounces blueberries

1. Sift the dry ingredients together, making sure they are blended thoroughly, then add blueberries.
2. Cut in the butter. The mixture should look mealy; do not overmix.
3. Add the milk and stir, combining only until the mixture holds together.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface; knead until it forms one mass, approximately five or six kneadings.
5. Roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 1/2 inch (1.2 centimeters). Cut as desired.
6. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for approximately 10 minutes.
7. Brush the tops with butter while hot.

Per Serving (1 scone):
136 Calories
6g Fat (40.2% calories from fat)
3g Protein
18g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
33mg Cholesterol
210mg Sodium

1 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
0 Fruit
0 Non-Fat Milk
1 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates

Now, if you prefer, use Fat-Free Half and Half. Your calories will drop to 127 and fat drops to 4g. You will lose 1g of protein and the cholesterol will drop to 28g. Sodium rises to 218.

06 December 2007


I guess the apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree. My 9yo would like to do an edible book report for school. She does enjoy cooking, so far it's been sauteeing things or baking cookies. She loves biscotti though and has chosen to do this book report by herself. Biscotti originated in Italy. They are twice-baked cookies served with coffee, wine or other beverages. This twice-baked process ensures that the cookies will have a long-lasting firm, crisp texture.

It's easy enough, no yeast or proofing involved. Following this recipe is the variation for chocolate biscotti. This recipe makes 3 dozen. Sealed in some type of air-tight container, they will last quite awhile, but if you are a coffee drinker, probably not that long. If you do gift baskets for Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, or any that I know nothing of, biscotti would be great for coffee lovers, cause well, they go so well together.

Enough chatter from me, on with the show.

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon, ground
2 teaspoons Baking powder
10 ounces Hazelnut flour
3 ounces Almond flour
1 pound Pastry flour
5 Eggs
1 pound Granulated sugar
8 ounces Unsalted butter, melted
10 ounces Whole hazelnuts
Chocolate, melted and tempered, optional, as needed

1. Sift together the cinnamon and ammonium carbonate or baking powder. Stir in the hazelnut, almond and pastry flours. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar to the ribbon stage, approximately three minutes. Add the melted butter. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula then stir in the whole hazelnuts.

3. Divide the dough into three even pieces. Refrigerate until cold.

4. Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch (30 centimeter) log. Place on a paper-lined sheet pan leaving at least 3-inches (7.5 centimeters) of space between each log.

5. Bake at 350°F (175°C) until golden in color, approximately 20 minutes. Cool the logs then slice them into 1-inch (3-centimeter) thick slices.

6. Place the sliced cookies upright on paper lined sheet pans.

7. Double tray the pans. Reduce heat to 325°F (162°C) and bake until the biscotti are thoroughly crisp, approximately 40 minutes.

8. Once cool, the biscotti may be dipped in tempered chocolate.

To make Chocolate Biscotti(which is what I am sure she will decide upon):

Replace 5 ounces (150 grams) of the pastry flour with cocoa powder. Add 1/3 ounce (9 milligrams) coffee extract and 1/3 ounce (9 grams) cinnamon to the flour mixture.

Per Serving (1 piece):
175 Calories
11g Fat (54.7% calories from fat)
3g Protein
18g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
40mg Cholesterol
36mg Sodium

0 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
1 1/2 Fat
1 Other Carbohydrates

04 December 2007

Panzanella aka Tuscan Bread Salad

Yeah, yeah, I know. Bread salad? Give it a chance. My camera still doesn't work and I'm not purchasing one between now and Christmas because I might screw up some individuals gift to me or something.

This is a great little side dish with some grilled chicken.

8 slices italian bread, toa and cubed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 cups cherry tomatoes, whole, halved
2/3 cup red onion slices, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cucumber slices, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup basil leaves, washed, drained, and shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1. Coarsely crumble the bread into a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and basil. Toss. Add the olive oil and vinegar over the bread mixture.

2. Season with salt and pepper

3. Toss well to coat.

4. Garnish with whole basil leaves if desired

Per Serving:
282 Calories
15g Fat (47.9% calories from fat)
6g Protein
32g Carbohydrate
4g Dietary Fiber
0mg Cholesterol
720mg Sodium

1 1/2 Grain(Starch)
2 Vegetable
3 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates

03 December 2007

Pasta Salad with a Gazpacho twist

Another vegetarian dish. Love pasta salad but want to make it a bit healthier and still give your taste buds a treat. Once again, the nutritional analysis follows.

Pasta Vegetable Salad

8 ounces Rotini, Twists, or Spirals, uncooked
4 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Combine pasta with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Per Serving:
152 Calories
4g Fat (23.7% calories from fat)
4g Protein
25g Carbohydrate
2g Dietary Fiber
0mg Cholesterol
275mg Sodium

1 1/2 Grain(Starch)
1/2 Vegetable
1/2 Fat
0 Other Carbohydrates

Miso Soup

Looking for a vegetarian dish or just plain like Miso Soup, well here ya go, with nutritional information to follow.

Miso Soup (serves 6)

1 teaspoon soybean oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 cup onions, sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup mushroom, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon dry sherry, to taste
4 cups water

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions, sauté until soft. Add fresh ginger root, carrots and mushrooms. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp tender.

Dissolve miso in 1/4 cup of the water and add it to the vegetables in the saucepan along with the remaining water and dry sherry. Reheat and serve.

Per Serving:
36 Calories
1g Fat (30.8% calories from fat)
1g Protein
5g Carbohydrate
1g Dietary Fiber
0mg Cholesterol
219mg Sodium

0 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
1/2 Vegetable
0 Fat

01 December 2007


I love spanakopitta. If you don't like feta, use cream cheese or even a mixture of cream and goat cheeses.

4 ounces onion, small dice
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted
24 ounces fresh spinach, cooked and cooled, or frozen spinach, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound phyllo dough

1. Sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of butter until tender. Remove and cool.

2. Combine the cooled onions, spinach, mint, feta and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

3. Spread one sheet of phyllo dough on the work surface; brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of phyllo on top of the first; brush it with butter. Place a third sheet of phyllo on top of the second and brush it with butter as well.

4. Cut the dough into 2-inch (5-centimeter) wide strips.

5. Place 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the spinach on the end of each strip of phyllo.

6. Starting with the end of the dough strip with the spinach, fold one corner of the dough over the spinach mixture to the opposite side of the strip to form a triangle. Continue folding the dough, keeping it in a triangular shape, like point-folding a flag.

7. Place the phyllo triangles on a sheet pan and brush with melted butter. Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) until brown and crispy, approximately 20 minutes.

Per Serving (1 piece) :
46 Calories
3g Fat (75.5% calories from fat)
2g Protein
1g Carbohydrate
trace Dietary Fiber
15mg Cholesterol
89mg Sodium

0 Grain(Starch)
0 Lean Meat
0 Vegetable
1/2 Fat