Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lime-Cilantro Chicken

I've had this recipe starred in my google reader for a while now. I needed something easy for grilled chicken the other day, and this fit the bill! It certainly helped that I happened to have a bunch of fresh cilantro in the fridge waiting to be used. I only marinated it for a few hours instead of overnight, and it still turned out GREAT with tons of flavor! We loved it and will certainly be making it again!

Lime-Cilantro Chicken
From The Deen Bros. Cookbook - Recipes from the Road, seen on My Baking Heart.

~1-1/2 limes
~1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
~1/4 c vegetable oil
~2 tbsp honey
~1-2 jalapeno peppers, trimmed and sliced (remove seeds)
~2 tsp tomato paste
~4 cloves garlic, chopped
~Pinch of salt
~5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Finely grate the zest and squeeze the juice from the limes. In a blender, combine the zest and juice with remaining marinade ingredients. Puree until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 375. Place chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear. (We grilled them instead - yum!)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Round Up: Platinum Chef Challenge 8!

I must apologize for the delay in getting the round-up together. I have no real excuse other than I forgot!

This round of the Platinum Chef Challenge had us creating dishes tofu, eggplant, olives, plums and oats. (You can see mine here.) We had three great entries, and as host of this round I get to select the next host.

First up, we have Cara of Cara's Cravings. I think of Cara as incredibly creative and talented in the kitchen, so I was excited to see that tofu was a new ingredient in her own cooking. Taking inspiration from a favorite seafood dish, she created a mouthwatering Pan-roasted Tofu with Capers, Tomatoes and Olives. The flavor combination here sounds amazing!
For the remaining ingredients, Cara devised what seems to be one of her favorite healthy-meal tricks - turning vegetables into fries! Her Eggplant Fries with Sweet and Spicy Plum Sauce look just like huge steak fries, and the sauce sounds wonderful.

Next we have Catherine of Fresh From Cate's Kitchen. This was her first time participating in Platinum Chef and we are so glad to have her! Cate created a wonderful looking Herbed Eggplant Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing. I've never ventured farther than vinaigrettes when it comes to homemade salad dressing, so her use of tofu to create a healthy version of a creamy dressing is genius to me! This looks so good, I'm ready to dig right in!
For her second recipe, Cate went straight to my heart - I love all things frozen! And let's be honest, a little alcohol makes it that much more enticing! Her Plum and Port Sorbet in Oatmeal-Almond Buttercrunch Cups are SO cute! That sorbet recipe is so simple and looks so good - I can't wait to try it! The cups sound like a very versatile base for adorable little desserts.
The third entry comes from Lisa of Lime in the Coconut. Lisa is another first time participant! I am so excited to see new bloggers joining in. My typical PCC experience is much like Lisa described... as soon as the ingredients are posted, they are ALL I can think about until I settle on my recipes. Lisa also drew inspiration from seafood, using tofu in place of scallops for her Vegetarian Surf & Turf: Grilled Eggplant Steaks served with Panko-Encrusted Tofu "Scallops", Kalamata olive tapenade and a grilled tomato coulis. I love that she grilled the tomatoes and eggplant - making it a great summertime meal. Her presentation is stunning and the flavor combination sounds incredible. (and really, I love panko-crusted-just-about-anything!)
For her second recipe, Lisa chose a Rustic Plum Tart with Ricotta Cheese and Crumb Topping. I love the additions of the ricotta and topping to a traditional simple fruit galette. It really looks like it gives the tart some substance, and what could be better than a cream cheese pie crust! This was a VERY tough decision, but I have chosen Lisa of Lime in the Coconut as the winner of Round 8! I just can't stop staring at that surf and turf - it looks amazing! Congratulations Lisa! Look for the next round appearing in her blog soon.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

I made this dish as a part of the new No Rules cooking group, Dinner Divas. This recipe pick instantly appealed to me, as it was selected from Cooking Light. I loved everything about this recipe - it was quick and easy to throw together, and very flavorful! I served it with white rice (for my husband) and steamed snow peas and broccoli. Yum!

Orange Mandarin Chicken
from: Robin Vitetta-Miller, Cooking Light, JULY 2002
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 6 tablespoons sauce)

~2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
~4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~1/4 teaspoon black pepper
~1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in light syrup, undrained
~1/2 cup chopped green onions
~1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
~1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
~1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
~1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
~2 teaspoons cornstarch

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.

While chicken cooks, drain oranges in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Add oranges, 2 tablespoons liquid, onions, jalapeño, and garlic to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Combine broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 212(16% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.3g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 27mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.2g; SODIUM 562mg; PROTEIN 27.2g; FIBER 0.7g

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BB: Ina's Butterflied Chicken

(sorry for the delay, everyone!)

So this week's recipe pick came from... me! I look to these blogging events as a way to challenge myself in the kitchen, hopefully doing new things and learning new skills. When I started looking for recipes, I knew I wanted something with chicken (as my husband doesn't eat pork or red meat, so we are always looking for new ways to serve chicken). I came across this recipe and pretty much stopped looking! I had never butterflied or deboned a whole chicken before, so I definitely would be setting up a challenge. As an added bonus, I have an overgrown rosemary plant on our balcony and this was a great way to use some up!

First, I needed to learn how to debone and butterfly a chicken. I went off to youtube, where I found plenty of deboning videos and plenty of butterflied videos, but none that showed how to debone AND butterfly while keeping the remainder intact. This site here described it with a few pictures, but that was definitely not good enough for my novice hands. With enough googling I eventually found a decent video, enough to get my started (regretfully, it seems I did not bookmark it and I can't find it again).

I set out with my paring knife and whole chicken, but given the fact that I was home alone and was, well, working with raw chicken, I didn't take any middle of the road pictures... but here is my finished product (before cooking):

No, it isn't the prettiest butterflied chicken (please try not to laugh), but I was dang proud of myself! I wasn't quite sure what to do with those legs, though. Cut them open? Probably. I just left them as is. I added the rub and wrapped it up.

Hot off the grill... I swear these are the best grill marks I've ever made!

We served atop a salad. YUM! I hope everyone that got to make it enjoyed it. We certainly did.
Butterflied Chicken
Check out the other Barefoot Bloggers here!

~1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs
~3 garlic cloves, chopped
~1 teaspoon lemon zest
~1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
~Good olive oil
~Kosher salt
~Freshly ground black pepper
~2 roasting chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), deboned and butterflied
~1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.

Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

Chicken Cobb Burger

I made this as a part of Dinner Divas (though I am apparently a little late). I am *always* looking for new burger ideas, as we don't eat red meat and grilled chicken gets a little old after a while! Though the burgers themselves were barely seasoned, the combination of all the other flavors was great! I will definitely keep this recipe around. :-) One word of caution... these are TALL! I handed them to my husband and said, "good luck!"

Chicken Cobb Burgers
from Bobby Flay

For the burgers:
~8 (1/2- thick) strips bacon (we omitted)
~1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, 90 percent lean (we used one pound of ground turkey)
~2 tablespoons canola oil (we omitted)
~Salt, Freshly ground black pepper
~1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (we used gorgonzola)
~4 burger buns, split
~1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
~1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 8 slices

For the vinaigrette:
~2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
~1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
~1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
~1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
~1 clove garlic, finely chopped
~1/4 teaspoon sugar
~1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
~1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
~3 tablespoons olive oil (we used 2 tbsp)
~1 cup finely shredded romaine lettuce

For the burgers: Heat the grill to medium. Place the strips of bacon on the grill (lay them across the grate so they don't fall through) and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Increase the heat of the grill to high. Form the meat into 4 (8-ounce) burgers, brush with the oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the burgers until golden brown on both sides and cooked completely through, about 5 minutes per side. Top the burgers with the blue cheese, close the cover, and continue cooking until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute longer. Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bun and top with a slice of tomato, 2 slices of avocado, 2 slices of bacon and some of the dressed romaine. Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve.

For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to meld. Just before assembling the burgers, place the romaine in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TWD - Chocolate Banded Torte

I had SO much fun making this! Maybe it's my love for ice cream, or cool looking desserts, but I had noooo problem with the waiting game that some people weren't crazy about. I loved making my layers! Of course, I loved digging in even more, so the pictures were quick and therefore not so stellar. I didn't bother re-freezing it after the unmolding, so it got a little messy. My chocolate layers really started to melt down.

I halved the recipe and filled 3 (7 oz) ramekins with plenty of ice cream and ganache leftover. I used the saran warp method, which resulted in less than desirable wrinkling, but the parchment paper was not playing nice that day. I used my homemade vanilla ice cream, combined with mixed berries instead of just raspberries. My ice cream is designed to be lower in fat, and I think that contributed to the crystallization from all the freeze-thawing that took place. For the best texture, you really need a full fat ice cream. Taste-wise, this can't be beat. The strawberries really came through in the ice cream, and the ganache was like a great hot fudge. Next time, I think mint ice cream would be great in this! YUM!

Chocolate Banded Torte
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Amy of Food, Family and Fun.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cherry Limeade Sour Cream Ice Cream

As promised, I played around with the idea of making cherry sour cream ice cream. It took a few trials to get right, because I decided... what would be better than cherry sour cream ice cream? Cherry LIMEADE Sour Cream Ice Cream! The amount of lime juice/zest took some tweaking, but thanks to the goddess, I got it figured out.
Cherry Limeade Sour Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

~20 cherries, pitted and halved
~1/3 cup sugar
~pinch of salt
~grated zest of 1 lime
~juice of 1.5 limes
~3/4 cup heavy cream (or, if you are like me and trying to slim things down, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup fat free half and half)
~1/2 cup sour cream

Put the cherries, sugar, salt and lime zest and juice into a medium nonreactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture boils and the cherries soften, about 4 minutes. Turn the cherries into a blender and whir until you have a fairly homogeneous puree, about one minute. (It will never be completely smooth, and that's just fine.) Add the heavy cream and sour cream and pulse just to blend. Pour the custard into a bowl and refrigerate until it is chilled before churning it into ice cream. (I recommend at least 4 hours) Scrape the chilled custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pack the ice cream into a container and freeze for at least 2 hours, until it is firm enough to scoop.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

JM Blueberry Muffins

As I mentioned, my parents were just here visiting and I had made some blueberry muffins for them. My mom mentioned that she had the recipe from Jordan Marsh... a recipe for which they were famous. Of course I told her to send it to me, and of course I used the leftover blueberries to make the Jordan Marsh recipe as soon as I had time!

Despite the fact that I just didn't bring my A-game to the kitchen that day and they don't *look* spectacular.... they certainly do *taste* spectacular! I planned to take just a bite of one, as I had already had breakfast, but couldn't help but to eat the whole thing! If you are in the market for blueberry muffins, this recipe, at the very least, deserves to be on the short list!

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12

~2 cups sifted all purpose flour (I used 1/4 whole wheat flour)
~2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
~½ cup butter
~1 ¼ cups sugar
~2 eggs
~½ cup milk
~2 ½ cups blueberries
~2 tsp sugar, for dusting tops

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease well muffin pans (bottom and top).

In large bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well blended.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Then add flour mixture to butter/egg/sugar mixture alternately with milk, beating by hand just until combined.

With a fork, mash ½ cup blueberries and add into mixture. Add rest of blueberries, mixing in gently. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool in pans about 1/2 hour before removing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stuffed Zucchini

My parents were visiting us for a long weekend, and my Dad's garden is notorious for overproducing tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. Much to my surprise (as they spent 4 days driving out to our place), he brought some zucchini and cucumbers for us to enjoy. I decided to take advantage of the larger zucchini (they ones in the store are so tiny!) and make stuffed zucchini. A friend had sent me a recipe that I struggled to find (unsuccessfully), so I turned to google.

We thought they were great, and certainly something different. They came together quite easily, as well. I can't wait to make them again! (which will probably be a long time from now, since I typically can't find zucchini big enough to stuff!)

Stuffed Zucchini
from Kalyn's Kitchen

~2 large or 4 small round zucchini (or use regular shaped zucchini)
~1/2 onion, chopped
~1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (we omitted)
~2 tsp. olive oil
~1 lb. very lean ground beef (less than 10% fat) (we used ground turkey)
~1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (we used Mrs. Dash)
~1 tsp. chopped garlic
~1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
~1 cup cooked brown rice
~1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
~3/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
~1/4 cup chicken stock (we used white wine)
~1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms (our addition)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut stem and flower ends off zucchini, trimming off the smallest possible amount of the skin and taking care to cut it off evenly, since this will show. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then using a pointed teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out and discard most of the zucchini flesh and seeds, leaving an even 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin. If your zucchini are rolling around a lot, you can cut a thin slice on the bottom side of each to make them sit up. Microwave zucchini 3-4 minutes on high. (I think I forgot to microwave them - we had no issues after accidentally skipping this step!)

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan and saute chopped onions and peppers until they are just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. (They will cook more in the oven, so they don't need to be fully cooked at this point.) Remove onions and peppers to large mixing bowl, then add ground beef to hot pan and cook until starting to brown. When meat is about half cooked, season with Spike Seasoning and ground fennel and add garlic, and continue to cook until meat is well browned, breaking it into small pieces with the side of your turner. Remove cooked ground beef to mixing bowl. Add cooked brown rice, chopped basil, parmesan cheese, and chicken stock to meat and vegetable mixture, and gently combine.

Choose a roasting pan with slight sides, just big enough to hold the zucchini. Spray pan with nonstick spray or a light misting of olive oil. Stuff zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing in as much as you can into each zucchini, and mounding it up as high as you can, until all stuffing is used. Put zucchini into roasting pan, putting them close together so they hold each other stuffing-side up. Roast uncovered 20-30 minutes, until zucchini is tender-crisp, and filling is hot and slightly browned. Serve hot. This will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.


...very soon... you will be MINE!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TWD - Granola Grabbers

I was so excited to be making cookies this week. They tend to be quick, easy, and so yummy! These Granola Grabbers were no exception! The batter came together in a few minutes (while my stand mixer was working the butter and sugar, I got everything else together). I overfilled a 2 tsp cookie scoop to make my cookies, and just popped them in the oven. I went slightly over the suggested cooking time for my tray of larger cookies. I did notice that mine flattened right out. I'm not totally sure why. It didn't really bother me though because they were really good! I made a few adjustments... omitted the almonds and peanuts because my granola had almonds in it. I was cutting the recipe in half, but forgot to halve the egg (may have contributed to my spreading problem). Either way, YUM. As a side note, I found a granola I love! I had tried Bear Naked granola before, years ago, and at the first bite definitely noticed how little sugar there was. Maybe I have gotten used to lower sugar foods, or maybe this is just that good, but I LOVE their Vanilla Almond Crunch and almost didn't want to make the cookies and use up 1.5 cups of it! (Photo from Bear Naked website)
Granola Grabbers
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Homemade Protein Bars

I am always looking for something that packs a lot of bang for your buck for my husband to eat. He needed something to give him a good jump start in the morning, and when I saw these protein bars over at It's Melissa's Kitchen, I thought they looked great! I made them once, and my husband was hooked! He requested them all! the! time! and wanted them bigger (of course). So I tweaked the recipe and added a few things. We each have one everyday for breakfast! Here is my version:

Homemade Protein Bars
from It's Melissa's Kitchen
Makes 20 regular or 16 large bars

~1.5 cups natural peanut butter (I use Smuckers Natural, Crunchy)
~3 cups chocolate whey protein powder
~6 cups oats
~6 tablespoons ground flax seed
~6 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
~1 cup milk (plus additional as needed to blend)

Combine protein powder, oats, flax seed and wheat germ in a large bowl, stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. Add peanut butter and milk, and stir with spoon or mix with hands (messy, but the most effective method!) until thoroughly combined. Add additional milk as necessary to bring all ingredients together. Line a 9x13 pan with parchement paper. Press mixture into the pan evenly. Place pan in the freezer until bars are set. Remove from pan using parchement paper, then peel the paper off. Cut into 20 regular bars or 16 large bars.

Nutritional Information for 1 regular sized bar:
Calories - 290. Total Fat - 11g. Sat. Fat - 2.1g. Carbohydrates - 29g. Fiber - 4.5g. Sugar - 4.4g. Protein - 22g.

BB: Panzanella

Panzanella is a bread salad. I had never even heard of it before, but it definitely sounded interesting! My parents were visiting last weekend, and it turned out to be the perfect light lunch before we headed south for a Cubs game. I made the full recipe, and it was great for 4 adults. I only used 1/2 to 2/3 of the dressing, though, as I didn't want it saturated in oil. We all thought it was great! It came together very quickly, I can definitely see us having it again!

from Barefoot Contessa Parties! on page 102
Chosen by Melissa of It’s Melissa’s Kitchen
See the other Barefoot Bloggers here.

~3 tablespoons good olive oil
~1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
~1 teaspoon kosher salt
~2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
~1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced
~1/2-inch thick 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
~1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
~1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
~20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
~3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette:
~1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
~1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
~3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
~1/2 cup good olive oil
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
~1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD - Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

I sorta feel like I am cheating a bit here. I made this over a month ago and just never posted about it. I have all intentions of either making it again tonight or making cherry sour cream ice cream tonight... so hopefully you'll see the latter (if I make it) tomorrow. I really liked this ice cream, despite my probably going overboard with the sour cream. It was very pronounced for me. I will definitely be measuring more carefully in the future!

Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PCC8 - Plum Squares and Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives

Today I present my entries for Platinum Chef Challenge #8: Plum Squares and Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives. I really enjoyed hosting this round, be sure to look for a wrap up of all the great entries towards the end of the week!

I tried a few different ideas that kind of flopped, and eventually found two great recipes that I was very happy with. The plum squares turned out a little different than I was expecting, but I was really proud of my first attempt at making fruit preserves. They were so good! I chose eggplant as an ingredient because I had never cooked with it before. I had a great time experimenting with it! The final dish came together with great flavor and would be great with either rice (as I served it) or pasta.

Roasted Eggplant with Tofu and Olives

~1 small eggplant
~about 1 tbsp olive oil
~3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
~1/3 cup diced onion
~12 oz firm or extra firm tofu, chopped into cubes
~about 20 kalamata olives, chopped
~1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used homemade ones!)
~1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
~1/2 cup white wine
~1/2 cup chicken broth
~1/2 tsp chili powder
~1 tsp dried thyme
~1/2 tsp dried oregano
~1/2 tsp coriander
~pepper to taste
~juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Dice the eggplant into 1" cubes. Place in a colander in the sink and salt well. Let drain for one hour, then rinse the eggplant well and dry by pressing between paper towels. Prepare a pan (jelly roll works fine) with a little olive oil or cooking spray. Place eggplant on pan in a single layer and roast at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until golden.

When eggplant is done, heat olive oil in a large pan. Saute garlic and onions 1-2 minutes, until onion softens. Add tofu, olives, sundried tomatoes, and artichokes to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add white wine, allow to reduce by half. Add chicken broth and spices, allow to reduce by half, stirring to coat other ingredients. Add eggplant and toss to coat and heat the eggplant through. Add lemon juice, toss to combine. Service over rice or pasta.

Plum Squares
Makes 16 squares

For the plum preserves:
~12oz plums (about 3)
~4oz of cherries (about 10) (or an additional 4 oz plum)
~2 tsp lemon juice
~5 Tbsp sugar
~1/8 cup water
~pinch salt
~1/2 tsp vanilla

For the bottom crust:
~1 1/4 cup flour
~3/4 cup oats
~1/4 cup brown sugar
~1/4 cup white sugar
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
~1/8 tsp baking soda
~1/8 tsp salt
~8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

For the upper crust:
~1/2 cup oats
~1/2 cup brown sugar
~1/4 cup flour
~1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
~4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

To make the plum preserves: Wash and pitt the plums and cherries. Quarter the plums and halve the cherries. Combine with other ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 45 minutes, until fruit is soft. Blend into a puree with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Set aside to cool slightly.

To make the squares: Make the bottom crust by combining the flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, until there are pea sized bits. (Alternately, use a food processor). Press into an 8x8 pan that has been prepared with a baking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the top crust. Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, until there are pea sized bits. (Alternately, use a food processor).

When the bottom crust is done, spread the plum preserves over the bottom crust. Sprinkle the top crust over the plum preserves. Place back in the oven for 30 minutes more. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut squares once fully cool.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TWD - Black and White Banana Loaf

This week's recipe was a Black and White Banana Loaf. I had lots of fun trying to make a nice marble without actually reading any of the marbling techniques. ;-) I think they still turned out pretty good. My loaf was quite dense, and I almost forgot it was going to be chocolately when I bit into it. The chocolate was very subtle for me (I used semi-sweet), so being a non-chocolate lover, I really liked that. I served it to friends who loved it, and one even was able to pick out the run flavor.

Black and White Banana Loaf
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Light Butterscotch "Blondies"

Cara shared a recipe for blondies by Marc Bittman, indicating some substitutions she made to make it a bit more healthy. I set out to try them, but along the way made a number of substitutions myself! I decided that chocolate brownies shouldn't be having all the fun, so I wanted to make blondies that incorporated some white beans (I picked on the can on navy beans in the cupboard). I then subbed out some of the AP flour for ground oats. I also included some of my usual subs - unsweetened applesauce for oil (though here I guess it is replacing butter - thanks to Cara for trying out this particular substitution!), and wheat germ for more of the flour.

The end result, while very tasty, was slightly more fluffy than I wanted... it wasn't quite as dense as I expected, and therefore, I'm not quite sure if it is really a blondie. It's a cross between a blondie and cake. Whatever you end up calling them, they sure are good! And NO, you can't taste the beans!
Light Butterscotch Blondies
Makes 16

~2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
~1 cup brown sugar (I actually meant to do 3/4 cup, and think you'd be fine that way, but I misread my own notes!)
~1 can navy beans, pureed
~1 snack size container of unsweetened applesauce (111g or 3.9 ounces)
~1 egg
~1 tsp vanilla extract
~1/2 cup oats, ground
~1/4 AP flour
~2 Tbsp wheat germ (or use an additional 2 Tbsp AP flour)
~1 tsp baking powder
~pinch of salt
~heaping 1/2 cup butterscotch chips (I weighed out 130 g)

Combine butter, brown sugar, and pureed navy beans, beat until smooth in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Beat in applesauce, then egg, the vanilla, incorporating each before adding the next. In a separate bowl, combine ground oats, flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to mix together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing with a spoon just until combined. Pour batter into an 8x8 pan that has been lined with parchment paper or sprayed with a baking spray such as Baker's Joy. Top with butterscotch chips. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool on a wire rack in the pan. Cut into 16 pieces once fully cooled.

Nutritional Information per blondie:
Calories - 135; Fat - 4 g; Sat. Fat - 2.7 g; Cholesterol - 17 mg; Sodium - 110 mg; Potassium - 53 mg; Carbohydrates - 23.6 g; Fiber - 1.3 g; Sugar - 18 g; Protein - 2.2 g