Friday, June 22, 2007

Yucatan Summer Salad

An Erika Original

1 pint cherry tomatoes -- halved
1 yellow bell pepper -- coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red onion -- finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile pepper -- finely chopped
2 Cups turkey breast -- cooked and shredded
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1 cup cucumber slices -- seeded and chopped
1/4 cup lime juice -- juice of 2 limes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic -- finely minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 whole avocados -- cubed
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup queso fresco -- or cheddar or monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
tortilla bowls for serving -- optional

Place the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, turkey breast, radishes, and cucumbers in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Pour over the vegetables and toss well.

Just before serving, add the avocados to the salad and toss gently. Garnish with cilantro,queso fresco, and tortilla chips if desired.

NOTES : For a vegetarian version, omit the turkey and add 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed.

For a vegan version, omit the turkey and the cheese.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

White Bean Sauce with Bacon

For tossing with pasta.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced bacon
1/4 cup finely diced onion
small handful cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
A few sprigs fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
pasta-cooking water reserved
Parmesan cheese (about 1/8 cup total)

In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle the 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the bacon and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add the onions and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beans, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes is using, along with about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Cook for about 7 or 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Just before serving, stir in fresh basil and top with Parmesan.

Easily serves 4 as a main course with a cheese-filled pasta.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Carrot Pineapple Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, and crushed pineapple. Mix well with a whisk. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins.

Pour into prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted near the middle of one loaf. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in loaf pans on a wire rack before removing from the pans. Cool completely before cutting.

Carrot-pineapple bread tastes much better the next day.

Friday, June 08, 2007

M&M Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 cups rolled oats, ground in a blender to a fine powder (alternately, use oat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package milk chocolate M&M baking bits
1 package toffee bits
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour, ground oats, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips, M&M's, toffee bits, and nuts if desired.

Scoop with a cookie scoop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 80 cookies

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lemon-Tarragon Grilled Pork Chops

from Cooking Light Magazine

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick) -- (6-ounce)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour water mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Add tarragon, rind, juice, and pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove pork from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle pork evenly with pepper. Place pork on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Grilled Salmon with Apricot-Mustard Glaze

from Cooking Light Magazine

(6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup apricot nectar
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remaining ingredient:
Cooking spray

Prepare grill.

To prepare fish, sprinkle fillets evenly with garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.

To prepare glaze, combine nectar and next 6 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; set aside.

Place fillets, skin side up, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 2 minutes; carefully turn over, and grill 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Brush each fillet with 1 tablespoon glaze; grill 30 seconds.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mocha Cream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 TBS milk
2 TBS coffee concentrate*
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 packets Whip-It whipped cream stabilizer

Combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, butter, milk, and coffee concentrate in a medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed with a hand mixer until fully combined, scraping the sides as needed.

In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream with the Whip-It until stiff peaks form. Gently fold about 1 cup of the frosting mixture into the whipped cream. Repeat this process until all the frosting mixture has been combined with the whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until use. Will frost about 60 cupcakes or two layer cakes.

**To make coffee concentrate I brewed one pot of Kona coffee at double strength. Then I placed 1 cup of coffee into a saucepan and reduced it until there was about 2 tablespoons remaining in the saucepan. Cool completely before using.

Devil's Food Cupcakes

from Whole Grain Baking
makes 2 9-inch layers, 3 8-inch layers, or 2 dozen cupcakes

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour the pan or pans of your choice or line with parchment.

Cream together the butter, sugars, and salt in a large mixing bowl until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape the sides at least once during that time. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cocoa, and baking soda. If lumps remain, sift or strain the flour mixture.

Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well (at least a full minute) after each addition, and stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the next egg. Mix in the vanilla. Add half the flour mixture and mix until evenly combined. Add the yogurt and water, and mix again. Add the remaining flour, mix, and stop to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once more, to make sure the batter is evenly moistened. Pour the batter into prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for the amount of time appropriate for the pan size. (30 to 35 minutes for layers, 35 to 40 for sheet cake, 25 minutes for cupcakes.) The cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Place on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Spaghetti with Spinach and Mushrooms

from Vegetarian Times Magazine

serves 6

8 ozs. spaghetti, broken into thirds (I used whole wheat)
1 15 oz. can low-sodium vegetable broth
2 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS harissa or 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp saffron threads
1 lb. mushrooms, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
1 lb. spinach coarsely chopped (I used baby spinach- no chopping required)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place pasta on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden, shaking pan once or twice to brown evenly.

Bring vegetable broth, 2 1/2 cups water, tomato paste, harissa and saffron to a simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add mushrooms, and cook 7 minutes, or until browned. Stir in garlic; and cook 1 minute more. Reduce heat to medium and stir in pasta and 2 cups hot broth. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add spinach, chickpeas and remaining broth. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and most of broth is absorbed, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.