June 29, 2012

Cucumber Coleslaw for Foodie Friends Friday

Welcome to my first linky party!  I thought I would bring coleslaw to the party, because who doesn't love coleslaw at a summer party?  Instead of the traditional cabbage mix and mayo, I used shredded cucumbers and bleu cheese.  It is tangy and cooling and a great twist on a barbecue classic.

Lime juice, juice from shredding the cucumbers, and a splash of rice wine vinegar mixed with crumbled bleu cheese mimics the color of traditional coleslaw sauce with its own refreshing flavor.  Crunchy granny smith apple and cucumber with the sweet corn and a touch of honey contrast beautifully with the bleu cheese.  I made it a few years ago and it has been rattling around in my brain for the past few months, just waiting for the fresh corn to come back!

June 27, 2012

Strawberry Nutella Semifreddo

As a native Baltimoron, you think I would be used to ridiculously humid almost triple digit temperature mid-Atlantic summer days.  Nope, not so much.  Even though I love summer weather there is always that week where you can't even move it is so sticky hot.  All you need is a snowball and a beach chair.  Because I cannot get my beloved tastee tops or trek to Bethany yet, I decided I would make myself a frozen treat!

Semifreddo is an Italian frozen dessert that means "half cold."  Basically, you make a mousse and then freeze it!  No extra equipment is required, just a hand mixer for the whipped cream and a double boiler to cook the eggs.  Plus, it really makes an impression when it is flipped out of its mold.  I decided to stick with the Italian theme and went to my go to: NUTELLA.  I love dipping strawberries in nutella, so I decided to make a fast strawberry sauce to incorporate into one of the bases.

I sloppily layered the strawberry and nutella layers, but if you want even layers I would recommend freezing after each addition.  After about 4 hours of freezing, you'll be able to unturn the mold and present your beautiful semifreddo.  Decorate with some of the leftover strawberry sauce and nutella, maybe some fresh strawberries or toasted hazelnuts as well.  An easy ice cream fake out without the effort or extra equipment, the perfect project for a muggy summer day!

Asparagus Beans and Greens Salad: 38 Power Foods - #2 Asparagus

Hectic.  That is the only way to describe life right now.  I'm trying to eke out some time for writing here, but I think that writing and reviewing for the thesis is winning a little bit right now.  I think it will be better once I move over to the new house and reduce my anxiety, which has been heightened by not knowing exactly what day it is happening!  So my cooking has been simple, fast, and summery.  And thus, my interpretation of this last week's power food was a lemony salad with asparagus, chickpeas, edamame, and green peas.

Asparagus is a power food because it contains high levels of folate, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K.  Combined, it is thought that asparagus is great for detox, protecting against birth defects and cancer, reducing inflammation, and preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.  It is also considered an aphrodisiac just because of its phallic shape.  Fun fact - asparagus in French is asperge, which is a slang term for penis.  Note to self: must pick up a dirty French dictionary if I ever want to head to a French market.

Lemon, grated garlic, and tumeric flavor the fast vinaigrette over blanched asparagus, rinsed chickpeas, and defrosted edamame and green peas.  I almost feel virtuous eating this salad, everything is green, bright, and healthy!  Plus, because it is a vinaigrette salad without any lettuce it is a great take along to a summer party.

Here are the other ladies who played with asperge this week . . . (I couldn't resist)

Alyce - More Time at the Table,  Ansh - Spice Roots
Jeanette - Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Jill - Saucy CooksMartha - Simple-Nourished-Living, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink, Casey - Bookcase Foodie

June 23, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday: Family Food Finds - Greek Pesto Pizza

Friday's post was slightly delayed due getting caught in a thunderstorm on a bike (eep!).  But here is a recipe from the fantastic Lindsey of Family Food Finds.  She believes in healthy seasonal cooking for her family.  I was especially drawn to her Greek Pesto Pizza from this week.  Just your favorite pizza dough, a smattering of pesto, and all the veggies you would find in a greek salad topping the pizza.  As my smoke alarm goes off when you heat the oven about 400 F, I will have to swoon at this pizza until I move into my new place!  

Until then, go check out Lindsey's Greek Pesto Pizza HERE!  And to see all of the other Foodie Friends Friday Posts, head HERE!

June 20, 2012

Roasted Broccoli and Prosciutto Pasta

Last weekend, I had to run errands in the home stores on M street in preparation for moving.  My sister and I were text-decorating: seeing things that were adorable and needed to be in the condo and texting pictures back and forth.  I was exhausted by the time I stumbled into the Dean and Deluca for a quick bite to eat overlooking the canal (the little things), huffing and puffing from the heat and the extra exertion required for my broken bike.  But boy did I perk up when I saw a chunk of prosciutto di parma for SIX BUCKS!

Elated, I knew I had to get this hunk into my freezer in order to get the delicious almost-melt-away thin prosciutto slices with a super sharp knife.  While the ham was chilling, I quickly roasted up some broccoli.  Yes, roasted!  Until a few months ago I had no idea this was even possible but the flavor is more pronounced.  Added bonus?  There is less of a smell the next day as compared to steamed or blanched broccoli, which normally puts me off to cooking for one with broccoli.  Just a little olive oil and 8-10 minutes in a super hot oven, it is a super easy way to jazz up the veg.  I even added a sprinkle of parmesan in the last 2 minutes of cooking for a little added flavor!

This whole dish can come together in under a half an hour, from turning the oven on to tossing the pasta.  Just some whole wheat noodles, olive oil and lemon juice, roasted broccoli, parmesan, and a few salty shavings from my prosciutto hunk (or a few thin slices of packaged prosciutto).  Simple and healthy with a touch of indulgence!

June 18, 2012

Mango Lime Salad with Adobo Tilapia

Recently, I made a trip to a salad and sandwich place and had the most addictive mango and lime vinaigrette on a Caribbean chicken salad.  Tangy and sweet with a little herb-y kick, a perfect summer flavor.  Unfortunately, the contents of my salad were mostly limp and flavorless.  The supposedly spicy chicken was tame and it was seriously lacking in avocado, or really anything other than lettuce for that matter.  But that vinaigrette was worth a revisit so I decided to "dress" up the salad!

Using my food processor, I buzzed up a chunked champagne mango with lime zest and juice and a couple cloves of garlic.  Rice wine vinegar was added followed by streaming in olive oil until I got the perfect texture.  Out of the processor, I added some chopped cilantro, cumin, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

For the fish, I just used the spicy adobo sauce from the chipotles in adobo can.  (If you like super spicy, go ahead and mince some of the chipotles and add to the adobo sauce!)  After seasoning with salt and pepper and a shake of ground cumin, I rubbed about a teaspoon of adobo sauce on each filet.  After a quick sear, I flaked the tilapia over spring greens, red bell pepper, cucumbers, and chunked avocados tossed in the mango vinaigrette.  The end result was a great summery salad that I can make for much less at home!

June 15, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday: A'lil Country Sugar - Zoodles!

This week for Foodie Friends Friday, I pulled Angie from A'lil Country Sugar.  Using a julienne peeler, Angie made gorgeous looking "zoodles": zucchini noodles!  This is the perfect time of year to use the zoodle, as they will be popping up shortly at the farmers markets.  Fresh and local, they will have the best flavor.  Angie used the zoodles in a soup, but I could see these blanched and used in a summer "pasta" salad!

So head to A'lil Country Sugar to see the recipe for Turkey Zoodle Soup:

And to see the rest of the posts head to Foodie Friends Friday!

PS: A little bit of self promotion, my Mango and Beef Stir Fry was featured at Foodie-a-Saurus.  Go check them out to see all of the other bloggers they feature!

Artichoke and Leek Crostini: 38 Power Foods - #1 Artichoke

I've reach a bit of a milestone today . . . my 100th post!  I'm proud of myself for sticking to this little project and putting myself out there after years of thinking "I can do this".  Now I'm thinking why did I wait so long?  This blog gives me an opportunity to be creative and to take time for myself.  Not only that, I've met a lot of great new bloggy friends.  In that vein, let me introduce the next series that I'm participating in: 38 Power Foods!

Started by Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits, it is based on the book Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Whole Living Magazine.  The first week's ingredient is artichoke.  The artichoke is high in antioxidants and fiber, helps to lower cholesterol, and aids in liver and gall bladder health.  There is a bit of a controversy in the scientific community if artichokes actually help hangovers (seriously, check out google scholar!) but I say they are so delicious that you should splurge on spinach and artichoke dip the next time you're dragging at brunch!

I made a quick crostini featuring the artichoke and caramelized leeks.  I always have a box of frozen artichoke hearts in my freezer; I just thawed a box, chopped them into bite sized pieces, and squeezed out any water before adding caramelized leeks.  There is a kick from crushed red pepper flakes, savory minced garlic, and a touch of sweetness from the leeks and a squirt of honey.  But the most important component to any artichoke dish?  A good squeeze of lemon juice.  There is something so harmonious about the combo of artichokes and lemon.  Paired with crisp crostini and a buttery cheddar cheese, these crostini are decadent AND healthful!

And here are the fellow bloggers investigating these 38 power foods:

Alyce - More Time at the Table,  Ansh - Spice Roots,

June 14, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Habanero Curd

Coconut flakes are gross.  They are chewy and get stuck in your teeth and taste artificial.  The texture had put me off to the flavor for years.  But recently, I have really warmed up to coconut due to my new love of all food Thai.  Coconut milk is the basis of a lot of Thai dishes and my pantry normally has 3-4 cans of coconut milk at any given time.  Curries, soups, and quick sides, I had yet to try any desserts.  Enter Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes!

Ina is my favorite so I thought I would give the flaked coconut one more try.  Sorry, lady, but I still hate the texture.  So I decided to improvise a bit and use reduced coconut milk, as suggested by Bon Appetit in April 2009, instead of the buttermilk in the recipe and left out the flakes.  Incredible.  The cupcakes have the scent of coconut and work perfectly with the pineapple habanero curd!

After injecting the curd in the middle of the cupcake, I topped the cupcakes with a thown-together lime and coconut cream cheese frosting.  They were a tropical treat!  I brought them to a barbecue as a kit: cupcakes, the curd loaded into a ziptop bag with a pastry tip in an air tight container, and a large ziptop bag of the frosting.  At the party I cut little x's into the center of the cupcakes, injected the curd, and then snipped a corner in the frosting bag to pipe the frosting on the top.

Special thanks to the ladies hosting as well as the guest-guinea pigs who were game for a dessert with habanero!

June 13, 2012

Pineapple Habanero Curd

I have cried one time in my kitchen due to a failed dish.  Like full stop, crocodile, cannot be consoled tears.  The formidable foe?  Pineapple curd.  I thought I could just use the Ina method, where I mix everything in the food processor and then heat over the stove.  Nope nope nope, the thing curdled and I broke down.  It took me a year to gain the courage to attempt the damn thing again.

So after much research, I learned that corn starch is the secret ingredient in pineapple curd.  FIVE whole tablespoons to 6 egg yolks stabilizes the curd and gives it the distinct velvety curd texture.  I love the combination of sweet and spicy with pineapples so I decided to spice it up a little with habaneros, (without the ribs and seeds, wimp).  With my food processor, I blended the peppers into one can of pineapple juice.  Gloves are suggested, but I just used the bag I got the peppers in to hold the habanero, cut out the ribs and seeds with a paring knife, and thoroughly washed my hands before touching anything else.

The end result is an addictive and versatile curd that I enjoyed throughout the week on a graham cracker with a little ricotta, plain on toast, and injected into a coconut cupcake that I brought to a barbecue.  And look, no tears!

June 11, 2012

Thai Chicken and Dumplings

I am a proud dog person.  After years and years of begging, we got our english springer spaniel Monty (he needed an english name) as a puppy when I was 10 years old.  When I was about to go off to college, we got him a golden retriever companion named Bailey.  Because Monty never shed and Bailey was like a ball of loose hair,  I quickly discovered that I was allergic to dog dander.  Unfortunately, Bailey is no longer with us but we did pick up another shed-prone golden from the SPCA named Brody.  Because I was the only one who would discipline Brody the first night we brought him home I am his "pack leader" (and FAVORITE).  When I am home, he is my shadow and climbs me like a jungle gym.  As much as I love my Brody bonding time, I usually forget to take allergy medicine and end up with no voice by the end of the weekend.

The last time I went home was no exception.  Brody slept right next to me and the next day I developed the tell-tale sore throat.  Five days later and I was still sans voice!  So despite the warm weather, I knew needed something spicy and comforting to help me get back to fighting form.  Enter thai chicken and dumplings, a cross between the coconut and lemongrass soup Tom Kha and traditional chicken and dumplings.

I started the soup with sliced red onions, minced garlic and ginger, green curry paste, and lemongrass paste.  A can of coconut milk and some homemade chicken stock are added and then a simple (buttermilk) drop dumpling batter is poached in the spicy soup.  Topped with thai basil, mint, and a squeeze of fresh lime, it is the perfect way to get over a cold or a sore throat!

And here are the obligatory photos of Monty and Brody:


June 08, 2012

Flat Zucchini Omelette: 50 Women Game Changers - Wrap up with Ruth Reichl

I first found this group because Mary from One Perfect Bite and gave me my first not-family-or-friends feedback on my little space on the internet.  I started following her and was intrigued by the 50 Women Game Changers in Food series, not only to explore the recipes of these incredible women but to also join in on the camaraderie of a lady blog group.  I have learned so much from the list of ladies as well as new recipes from this group, and for that I am grateful.

Today, I wanted to highlight one of the women who brought this list to us, Ruth Reichl.  Ruth began her career in 1972 as a food writer with her book Mmmmm: A Feastiery.  As co-owner of The Swallow from 1973-1977, she played a major part in the Berkeley culinary revolution.  She continued her career as a food editor and restaurant critic until she took the helm of Gourmet Magazine in 1999.  Gourmet unfortunately stopped their presses in 2009, but still runs a weekly Gourmet Live app where every Wednesday a mini-issue is released.  In one of these mini-issues, the list of food game changers was released.

Because of Ruth's association with the magazine, she was unfortunately not featured in the 50 Women Game Changers.  But trust, she is definitely a game changer!  Any women who can claim to be apart of a "food revolution" should deserve a spot on a list of game changers, women or not.  Her mission to demystify the world of fine cuisine helped both in her success in food writing and editing as well as gaining readership from little girls like me who read Gourmet from cover to cover every month thinking "I can make this too!"  Even if I didn't realize it until this series, this woman has definitely shaped my life.  And for that, I'm also grateful.

Gourmet cover August 2008 John Kernick_thumb_w_580.jpg
To honor Ruth, I chose a dish she featured for a WNYC interview in 2009 called Recession Recipes with Ruth Reichl.  Listening to the podcast, you can hear the passion in her voice to remind people that food should be honored by cooking thoughtfully.  As a graduate student, I don't have the luxury of not being thoughtful of what I cook, at least in terms of price and use.  I wouldn't call myself a vegetarian (read: bacon fan) but I do often cook that way to avoid meat costs.  I chose the Flat Zucchini Omelette because despite its simple appearance, there are little tricks in there that are unexpected and ingenious.  Zucchini is shredded and browned before combining with marjoram, a beautiful combination perfected by the French (which I will be using a lot more now).  Then the omelette is cooked in nutty browned butter to add another punch.  It is these simple touches that make a dish remarkable and memorable, even without the meat.

In closing, I want to thank Mary and the entire group, all of the women game changers, and Ruth Reichl.  Because I came in to the series very late in the game, I will try to fill in the gaps and continue my education of these amazing ladies.  In addition, a few of us will next be tackling a series on using great healthful ingredients based on the book Power Food: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Whole Living Magazine, starting with Artichoke.  I'm looking forward to what's coming next and I hope you are, too.

Here are the ladies who participated:
Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Heather - girlichef, Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita - Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Sue - The View from Great Island, Barbara - Movable Feasts
Linda A - There and Back Again, Nancy - Picadillo, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen, Annie - Most Lovely Things, Jeanette - Healthy Living
Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce - More Time at the Table
Kathy - Bakeaway with Me, Martha - Simple Nourished Living, Jill - Saucy Cooks 
Sarah - Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Also, here is a great place to see everything we accomplished along the way!

Foodie Friends Friday: What's Cooking in the Burbs

It is foodie friends friday!  Today I pulled Bridget from What's Cooking in the Burbs.  I decided to feature her Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese because I love putting chipotle anything!  I also chose her Southern Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches because it is my favorite food and I have yet to put a recipe of it up on here.  Please hold me accountable for one by the end of the summer, I am a perfectionist and none of my absolute go to favorites have gone up because of this!

Anywho, here is her Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese:

And here is her Southern Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches:

Foodie Friends Friday can be found here, go check out all of the other great blogs!

June 07, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

Recently, I have wanted to put buttermilk in everything but have been limited by availability.  Well fear not, dear readers, because I have finally found a source in my neighborhood!  Expect many more posts including buttermilk in the near future, on the heels of my pinterest-popular Nutella Buttermilk Bars.  Today, I'm using the buttermilk in a too-easy-it's-crazy buttermilk cake from Gourmet.

Instead of fresh berries, I used my roasted balsamic strawberries.  Buttermilk is notoriously tangy so I thought that it would pair well with the tangy-sweet roasted berries.  Light and fluffy cake with a little crunch from extra sugar sprinkled on top, it is the perfect pick-me-up bite at the end of the day.

So, what are your favorite ways to use buttermilk?

June 06, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Strawberries

Remember when I first told you how awesome strawberry and balsamic is together?  The strawberry cupcakes drizzled with a thick tangy-sweet balsamic glaze.  Let's just say I'm slightly obsessed with this flavor pairing.  This weekend, during the grand re-opening sale at my local grocery store they were selling 2 pounds of strawberries for 3 bucks a pop so I grabbed one too many.  Gorgeously plump and bright red, I couldn't let them go to waste due to my inability to say no to cheap fruit.

Recently, I had seen a few recipes for roasted strawberries here and there on the internets and thought I can do that!  So I hulled up my strawberries, preheated the oven, and got to roasting!  Just a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (good stuff, please) and olive oil, a drizzle of agave nectar, and a pinch of salt gives the most incredible depth to the roasted strawberries.

I took the finished product and used it in a quick crostini topped with fresh mozzarella, roasted berries, and a chiffonade of basil.  It was bright and simple and to die for!  But that's not all, tomorrow I will be showing you the most incredible buttermilk cake complete with the roasted strawberries!

June 05, 2012

Savory Strata Cupcakes

Cooking for one is annoying.  I love cooking but I don't always love to eat my leftovers and always end up with a fridge full of things I don't know what to do with.  This means things get shoved to the back or I eat weird little meals of everything together.  I definitely needed a solution when I had a loaf of ciabatta, one too many egg cartons, leftover roasted veggies, 1/2 a red onion, and chorizo.  So I made it fun!

Instead of a giant strata (like this one) I made them in muffin molds!  Spread with a mashed avocado and yogurt topper and a few snipped chives, they look like cupcakes with sprinkles!  Best of all, they are in individual portions perfect for lunch boxes.

Next time you've got leftovers, I challenge you to get creative!  Pull out everything you need to use so you can see what you're working with and start brainstorming.  You might surprise yourself!

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