Posts tagged ‘food’

March 29, 2011

Panko crusted salmon with roasted potatoes and garlic kale

This dinner was AMAZING. It was one of those nights where you don’t plan to cook, but a little window of time opens up  and you get creative and fresh and delicious and are so glad you did!

There isn’t much too much follow for this one – its simple.

For the salmon:

I covered the flesh side of the salmon with a little spicy mustard and added panko bread crumbs – panko is a flakey light bread crumb often found in Japanese cooking, it tends to be more crunchy and crispier than regular bread crumbs because it is baked without crusts. Because its easy to find, I recommend McCormick Crusting Panko Blend, with garlic, lemon and rosemary – especially if its your first time cooking with panko, you can always explore after that. Keep in mind – it also goes very well as a crust on baked chicken.

Then I added the salmon filets, skin side down, in a saute pan that had about 1-2 tablespoons of hot olive oil in it. I let them cook about 4 minutes, then threw the entire pan in the oven at 375 for about 10 more minutes – your kitchen will begin to be filled with the wonderful aroma of rosemary and garlic.

In addition, I chopped red bliss potatoes, added parsley and garlic and olive oil, and baked them for about 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes were done.

And of course the garlic kale you’ve seen before. In case you missed it the first time, simply heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, add chopped garlic and shallots and the kale. Let it cook down for about 10-15 minutes, depending on how much you cook.

Simple, fun and healthy!

nutritionally speaking: excellent source of vitamins A*, C, B6, B12, Niacin
great source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate

*one serving of kale is 354% of your vitamin A!

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March 2, 2011

white chocolate chip & coconut gingerbread

when basic chocolate chip cookies and brownies just won’t do, i recommend this white chocolate chip and coconut gingerbread recipe. there are so many delicious and warming flavors in this dessert – it is a great treat for parties or dish-to-pass events.  and the molasses officially makes this a perfect comfort food, i’d recommend eating the gingerbread warm with ice cream, whipped cream and a tiny bit of cinnamon and sugar!

white chocolate chip & coconut gingerbread:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 12 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes

directions:

1) preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2)  in a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and all of the spices.
3) in a mixer (or regular large bowl if you want an arm workout) cream the butter and sugars at low-medium speed until well mixed and a lovely shade of light brown.
4) add eggs, and single egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well between. after 2-3 minutes add vanilla and molasses.
5) set mixer at low speed (important!) and gradually add the floor mixture until everything is just incorporated – don’t over mix.
6) add white chocolate chips and coconut and mix on lowest speed… make sure you are not mashing up the chips – this is just to distribute the chocolate and coconut through the batter!
7) spread the very heavy mixture in the greased pan, a trick i use is wetting my fingers or a wooden spoon to push the mixture into the corners and level it.
8 ) bake at least 35 minutes.. the gingerbread is done when a toothpick comes out clean, or almost clean, the top is golden brown, and the edges have begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. they might need more than 35 minutes. mine took about 45 minutes. watch carefully towards the end!
9) let the gingerbread cool completely, then cut into squares.

February 11, 2011

grilled cheese & apple sandwich


grilled cheese has to be one of the best comfort foods ever. lately restaurants have been including traditional versions of both grilled cheese and mac & cheese, as well as variations on both classic dishes on their menus. yay for cheese!

this is a classic grilled cheese and apple sandwich. made with toasted whole grain sour dough bread, extra-sharp cheddar cheese and slices of gala apple you cannot go wrong. this sandwich is ideal for saturday afternoon lunch- in any season- but seems to hit the spot extremely well in late fall and winter.

to create this delicious masterpiece at home (its simple!):
1) make sure to have good, hearty bread. i prefer whole grain, 3-grain, sourdough, or something similar.
2) slice apples and cheese
3) butter the bread very lightly on two sides, layer the apples and cheese in-between the buttered bread slices (butter facing out)
4) with the stove on medium, heat a small amount of butter on a fry pan until the fry pan is thinly covered with the butter in the center
5) cook sandwich on both sides until the bread is nicely browned, usually about 3-4 minutes a side
6)  sometimes it helps to put a small plate on the sandwich to get it closer to the heat source – this can help make the bread crispy
7) serve with trader joe’s creamy tomato soup (highly recommended)
8) enjoy!

February 1, 2011

food & philosophy

i knew i had to share this once i came across it, the jean-paul sartre cookbook, written by marty smith, is a hilarious look at food and philosophy.

my favorite entry, omelets and the meaninglessness of existence :

“Still working on the omelet. There have been stumbling blocks. I keep creating omelets one after another, like soldiers marching into the sea, but each one seems empty, hollow, like stone. I want to create an omelet that expresses the meaninglessness of existence, and instead they taste like cheese. I look at them on the plate, but they do not look back. Tried eating them with the lights off. It did not help. Malraux suggested paprika.”

January 27, 2011

what’s in season wednesday

brussels sprouts are the feature of this edition of what’s in season wednesday. a versatile vegetable with belgium origins (approx. 16th century), brussels sprouts are extremely good for you – one serving has more vitamin c than 3 whole oranges! about 75% of our nation’s brussels sprouts are grown in california. brussels sprouts have a notoriously bad reputation, but if cooked well and seasoned just right, brussels sprouts are a wonderful, delicious and nutritious side dish to any winter meal.

a beautiful cold season crop – the peak season runs september to february -brussels sprouts are lucky to be in the same family as the famously nutritious broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale and mustard greens. they really are just tiny versions of cabbage.

it is best to steam your sprouts, or roast them for an extra crispy texture and flavor. i’ve even had them fried buffalo style, and they were delicious. boiling/overcooking brussels sprouts is a bad idea because it will significantly reduce the amount of sulforaphane, which is believed to prevent cancer. they are also a great source of indole-3-carbinol, believed to block the growth of cancer cells.

to make delicious chili-powder brussels sprouts:

try to buy sprouts still on the stalk when possible. they’ll be fresher, and its fun to cut them off. sprouts already removed from the stalk work fine too. wash them well, and slice them in half. in a large fry pan heat up 1-4 tablespoons of butter (depends how many sprouts you have, and how much you like butter) and add sprouts. put a lid on the fry pan and steam for about 10 minutes.

next add flavor… season the sprouts with salt, pepper and chili powder. the chili powder is key here – i discovered last winter that brussels sprouts come alive when spiced with chili power, the combination is delicious. how much you add depends on your spice/heat tolerance. i add a lot! continue to steam on low/medium heat until sprouts are cooked well – tasting is the best method to determine if they are done. they should be slightly crisp, but easy to chew. if you have overcooked your sprouts they will be bitter and have a bad after taste (hence the bad reputation!). chili-powder brussels sprouts are simple and reheat very well so make extra!

nutritionally speaking: excellent source of vitamins a, b6 and c, great source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin and very high in dietary fiber. low in saturated fat, sodium, and no cholesterol

January 24, 2011

last night’s dinner – a collection of sides

sometimes a great meal can be found in a bunch of side dishes. too often its assumed that a meal must have a meat portion or fish portion, but some delicious meals can be made out of a collection of what would usually be considered sides!

last night’s dinner was just that. kale, rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions, and trader joe’s vegetable rice came together extremely well.

sauteed garlic and kale
kale is the king of nutrients! use an entire bunch of fresh kale. as its cooked it will wilt and one bunch can easily be eaten by 2-3 people (and it is great re-heated for leftovers). while heating 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, wash and chop the kale into smaller strips. add kale and stir every minute or so. add diced garlic and shallots after about 5 minutes and cook for another 12-15 or so. taste the kale to see if it is done – it should be cooked and easy to chew, but still slightly crisp.

rosemary roasted butternut squash and onions
first step, selecting a good butternut squash – the squash should feel heavy, and the skin should be firm and clear, no large indents or bruises. the skin should be a yellow/gold/orange color and when you tap the squash you should hear a hollow sound.


second step, preparing the squash.  peel away the skin of the squash with a traditional peeler until the orange flesh of the squash is visible – usually 2-3 layers under the skin. next, scoop out the seeds and flesh. chop the orange flesh of the butternut squash into cubes. in a large bowl add chopped onion,  a few diced garlic cloves, 2-3 diced shallots, lots of rosemary, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. mix together well to coat all ingredients with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.

although there are many dishes that could be included with the two above to make a complete meal i used trader joe’s vegetable rice to tie it all together. if you haven’t had this rice yet (and live near a tj’s) you have to pick some up on your next shopping trip -its in the frozen food section. in addition to being delicious and simple to prepare, i think it adds a healthy, warm and comforting food to bring the entire dish together.

nutritionally speaking – excellent source of vitamins a, b6, c, e, and k, manganese, copper, iron, calcium, dietary fiber, lutein, and potassium.
rosemary is an anti-inflammatory herb that increases circulation, stimulates the immune system and improves digestion. in addition, both garlic and onion have properties that help prevent colds and winter illnesses, and help strengthen the immune system.