Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Smooth on over

I love smoothies for breakfast when the weather turns warm. They are the perfect breakfast for an on-the-go morning. It is basically a "one-pot" meal that you can put in a to-go cup and drink while driving to work, or at work while prepping for class. I love that there are endless variations on the smoothie, almost all being extremely yummy and customizable, and healthy to boot....let me introduce you to today's smoothie yumminess!

Liquid Sunshine (aka, Pineapple-Mango-Orange Smoothie)

1/2 can Dole crushed pineapple in juice
1 mango
6 oz. plain yogurt
1/2 cup (or more to taste and thickness-consistency) Mango-Orange Jucie (I used Santa Cruz's organic)
fun plastic tumbler
bendy straw

I need to confess that, knowing I would be making a smoothie in the morning, I prepped the mango and pineapple last night. Basically I cut and smooshed off all of the edible mango that I could from the seed [those darn seeds are such a pain, how many of us have found ourselves sucking the mango juice off the seed? Um, yeah, me neither ;)] I then put the mango and 1/2 can of pineapple in a tupperware container and stuck it in the freezer overnight. When I got up this morning I took it out of the freezer so it could thaw to slushy consistency (the microwave will also achieve this w/o any forethought).

In the blender I put the slushy fruit, the yogurt, and the juice. Blend on "liquify" (or equivalent) until desired thick/smoothness. I sometimes find that I have to turn the blender off and swirl things around with a spoon or spatula to help the process along. This comes with having a cheap, but mostly effective, blender.

Pour into fun plastic tumbler (in this case I made two smaller smoothies; one got covered with a sanwich baggie and put in the freezer for tomorrow).
Insert bendy straw.

**I often add wheat germ to the mix, but forgot this morning.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We recieved our CSA delivery yesterday, and with it approx. 12 oz or so of fresh goat's milk ricotta cheese. Mmmm....I wanted to prepare it in a very minimal way, so we had it on a pizza (I seem to be on a weekly pizza kick lately). I had a dough in the freezer (recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone), which my hubby defrosted while I was at the gym taking my first-ever water aerobics class with my friend Noel(What fun, and not just for the AARP crowd!).
The dough was not quite squishy enough, so we took the doggies on a stroll. We came home, rolled it out, and did the prebake thing (~ 7 mins. at 425 degrees on the stone).

I then brushed the hot crust with a bit of olive oil and seasonings (dried basil, oregano, etc.). Smooshed on (I don't really know how to describe this) small bunches of ricotta until the dough was pretty much covered. I then added freshly sliced basil and sliced grape tomatoes (and sliced/chopped green onion on DH's half -- ick). This was all topped with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a lightish dusting of shredded mozzarella. Baked for 14 minutes on 425 so the cheese would just start to brown.

The Details...

The verdict -- creamy, rich, decadent, heavenly. I could only ingest two pieces (and they were not huge NY slices by any stretch of the imagination), but DH managed to put down three. I mentally wanted more, but the belly said no!

I love that homemade pizza lends itself to endless variations!

Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm on an eggroll.....

YES! I made eggrolls, successfully for the first time. I have been having an overwhelming hankering for Thai food, intensified by the very icky food a friend and I had at a place that calls itself a Thai Diner (this is in Franklin, TN). Ummm, I may not be a Thai connoisseur, but I do know that Pad Thai is not supposed to be bologna pink and stinking like old fish!

So, Saturday after working on the house (although I am not sure exactly what I accomplished!), I made a run for the local Kroger to pick up much needed supplies. I used a recipe for mini-eggrolls with spicy mustard sauce from the January 2006 Vegetarian Times. In this recipe the filling is sauteed ahead of time, and the assembled eggrolls are put on a hot cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. The rolls themselves are also sprayed and put in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 mins, flip and bake another 10 mins (I think mine only needed about 5-7 mins on each side). They come out just as crunchy as if they had been fried, but w/o the guilt. YUM-O!

We also had Tofu Paht Thai, a recipe given to me by my colleague that she found on the Splendid Table website. Very quick and yummy. It will be the house Paht Thai recipe from now on!

Baked Mini Egg Rolls & Hot Mustard Sauce (Vegetarian Times)

1 T. soy sauce
1 t. rice vinegar
1 t. cornstarch, plus some extra for dusting baking sheets
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
2 T. finely chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 t. dark sesame oil
26 won ton skins
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, and 1 t. cornstarch in bowl to blend; set aside.
Warm large nonstick skillet over med-high heat; coat with cooking spray.
Add cabbage and carrots; cook, stirring, until cabbage is softened, 3-4 minutes.
Add ingredients down to dark sesame oil, stirring just until heated, about 1 minute.
Add cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to plate; cover, adn chill about 20 minutes to cool.
Place several won ton skins on work surface, with a corner of each facing you (in diamond shape).
Brush top corner of each with egg.
Put 1 T. filling in center of each; fold bottom corner, then both side corners over filling, and roll up.
Place egg rolls on baking sheet dusted with cornstarch and cover loosely with plastic as you go.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Put second baking sheet in oven for 2 minutes.
Remove, coat with cooking spray then quickly put egg rolls on it.
Spray rolls and return to hot oven.Bake 10 minutes, flip rolls and bake 10 minutes more, or until golden brown.
Serve with mustard sauce (below).

Hot Mustard Sauce

2 T. powdered yellow mustard
1 T. water
1 t. honey or rice syrup
1 t. rice vinegar

Whisk all ingredients in bowl to blend. Transfer to dipping bowls.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Couscous is yumyum

My sister and nephew came for a visit last week, and we had planned to do lots of cooking (note -- planned!). The first evening we made a medley of "grilled" dishes ("grilled" as in on the George Foreman -- my favorite-at-this-moment kitchen gadget! Can't believe I am such a late-comer to the GF grill bandwagon!), including:
Grilled Vegetable Salad (Vegetarian Times May 2006)

I don't have the recipe with me right now to add here, but I can, so if you would like it, please leave me a comment. Basically it is spinach tossed with grilled asparagus, portabello caps (sliced), and red onion that have been marinated in a balsamic/EVOO vinagrette. The leftover marinade is warmed in a pan on the stove, then tossed into the salad right before servine. Good flavors, healthy, and quite easy, thanks to George Foreman!

Next up: Saffron Couscous (Cooking Light May 2006)

The actual recipe is for zucchini ribbons on the couscous, but we had no zucchini, so just the couscous was made. I really liked this dish, as it was easy, tasty, and really good leftover. First you sautee some small-dice carrots and onions in a small amount of EVOO, then add veggie broth and saffron threads, bring to a boil, add couscous and peas (mine were thawed frozen), turn off and remove from heat. Next time I am thinking of adding lima beans and corn as well. My sister wasn't a huge fan of the couscous ("It's a texture thing!"), but her little boy (my nephew!) sure was!

Next up: GF Grilled Tofu (My own creation!)

I drained and pressed all of the excess water out of a tub of Extra-Frim Tofu, then sliced into 1/2-inch slices. I then sprayed (liberally) the grill and the tofu w/ Pam, and put them on the grill. In about 7 mins. total, my tofu was grilled to perfection. I then cut the slices into cubes, sprinkled a very small amount of kosher salt over them, and dipped them in a Sesame-Ginger Vinagrette dressing my husband had bougth. So good!

All in all, I was super pleased with my vegetarian portion of the dinner. My sister, newphew and hubby had chicken as well, but honestly the food was perfect for a May evening on the deck.

Dessert? Double Chocolate Truffle Cookies (however, these were not made on the GF!)