Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Use the Wave

One of the easiest side dishes my mom used to make is a microwave cauliflower thing. Because it's so easy...I'll just go ahead and tell you how to do it! This has great antioxidants in it, so it is my entry to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Microwave Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
1 T mayonaise
2 T yellow mustard
1 T cheddar cheese
Clean off cauliflower and place in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 8 minutes on high. Stir together remaining ingredients. After 8 minutes is over, removed cauliflower and spread sauce over the top of the vegetable. Return dish to microwave and microwave for 1-2 more minutes.
NOTE: I really didn't measure the sauce ingredients...I just did it to taste, so be brave and wing it! This is really a yummy dish. Even your vegetable fearing child will like it...I mean it is white anyway! ;-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bostini Cream Pie

Have I gotten myself into something that I can't handle? I don't know! We'll just have to wait and see. My mom asked me how I was going to do it. I told her, it's only once a month...surely I'll have time. But will I have time? Will I succeed? What am I rambling about...I've joined the Daring Bakers!!! For months I've been watching, enjoying the posts, and thinking that would be fun. So I finally joined. Another reason...they make things that I can make but never would without "having" to make it...so it's a challenge for myself! This month the challenge was given by Mary to make Bostini Cream Pies. Yes...Bostini! Basically, it's a Boston Cream Pie made with an orange chiffon cake and a true custard rather than just a cream...and it's set up a bit differently...custard on bottom, then cake, then chocolate. I made this for a get together with some friends from school. I don't really have any good ramekins that can be put in the oven, so I decided to make a large version of this. In the end, it turned out okay but my original plan didn't work. I wanted to let the custard set in a round cake pan, flip the pan over on a plate, and have the custard beautifully slip out onto the plate. Well...the slipping out was just a dream! I ended up scraping the custard out and spreading back into the proper shape on the plate. Then I topped it with my chiffon cake, which I thought turned out great. Everyone at the party enjoyed the cake. If you want to see some other entries drop by the Daring Bakers site. I ended up halving the recipe because I didn't check how much cream I needed and only had half...it worked fine! In fact, a whole recipe would have been WAY too much!Bostini Cream Pie (from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)Makes 8 generous servings

3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean (EDITED: vanilla extract is okay)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
Chiffon Cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter

To prepare the custard: Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.

To prepare the chiffon cakes: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 8 molds with nonstick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed molds nearly to the top with the batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the molds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.

To prepare the glaze: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm. To assemble: Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately (or refrigerate and serve later).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sergeant Pepper

Well, I told you a couple of weeks ago that I would be back with another couscous dish. I aim to please, so here it is. One of my favorite dishes is stuffed peppers. These are so versatile, kind of like a frittata. Take a grain of some sort, add left over veggies or meat, put some cheese in there if you want, bake and you've got a great, healthy meal. I had seen a stuffed peppers recipe that used couscous and thought that was fantastic...so, I cooked up some couscous, used a half bag of leftover frozen broccoli and green beans, some leftover roasted squash and zucchini, added some feta cheese and put all this is a roasted pepper shell. It was super good. I'll be doing this again. Because of all the veggies, this is full of antioxidants so it is perfect for Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Stop by and check out the other great recipes! Although I like to think of couscous as being really good for you, it's only flour that has been mashed together and dried...not that this is BAD for you, it just doesn't have as much nutritional benefit as I THOUGHT it did...so, counteract that by getting whole wheat couscous! :-) As it turns out, this is a staple for Mediterranean nations, especially the African portion. These ladies take hours to make couscous by hand...we, on the other hand, have the benefit of prepared couscous that takes around 5 minutes to prepare...so enjoy this quick, healthy, and easy meal soon! Couscous Stuffed Peppers
2 bell peppers, whatever variety you please
1 cup prepared couscous (use chicken or vegetable broth to prepare it...this makes the flavor SOOOO much better. Couscous made with water is so bland)
1/2 16 oz bag frozen veggies*
1 cup roasted veggies *
1/4 cup feta cheese
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Cut off the tops of the peppers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Place them in an oven safe baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. To prepare couscous, follow instructions on box - basically boil some broth, put the appropriate amount of couscous in, remove from heat, and let it sit for five minutes...easy as pie! In a bowl, combine the 1 cup couscous, vegetables, and feta cheese. When the peppers are ready, remove the dish from the oven and lower the temperature to 325, stuff the peppers with the couscous mixture and return to the oven for 25 minutes. About 3 minutes before time is up, open the oven, slide the oven rack out, top the peppers with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, and return to the oven to brown. Remove and enjoy!

*You can use whatever vegetables you like, but the roasted ones were great. This would also be great with shrimp or even (if you can get it) lamb!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rainbow Trout and....Baseball?

Over Labor Day my parents went to my Aunt and Uncle's cabin on the Norfolk River in Arkansas. Daddy just LOVES fly fishing. Before they went, I asked him to bring some fish back home. You see, the only trout I've had is from a restaurant AND I was going to be going home the next weekend for Mama's birthday! I have such a good Daddy...he brought the trout home and then grilled it on the cedar planks I got them for Christmas. Let me say, it was SOOOO good! I paired it with roasted sweet potatoes, tomato, corn, and squash. Speaking of sweet potatoes...if you ever get bored in the kitchen on a Saturday, especially with your mom!, just grab a sweet potato, hand the a strawberry to your mom and strike a pose. Then, wait for the perfect pitch, swing away, and hit that strawberry across the kitchen. This will result in a busted strawberry, a stained potato, and lots of laughs! Yes, I promise, I'm still in medical school but we all have our weaknesses!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blueberry Muffins

The other day I was looking through other blogs and found this blueberry muffin recipe on Mommy Cooks site. It looked healthy but also had a crumb topping on it. So, I pulled out a bag of my frozen blueberries from this summer and set to work. In deed, this is a simple recipe and turned out very well. The batter that I had was VERY thin and that led to some of the topping settling to the middle of the muffin. Just a nice little surprise there! Because of the blueberries this is full of antioxidants; thus, this is my entry for Sweetnicks' ARF Tuesday. Stop by and check out the other great recipes.Blueberry Crumb Top Muffins
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter Heat oven to 400 degrees.Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffin cups or paper lined cups. Beat the milk, oil, vanilla extract and egg. Stir in the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt all at once until flour is moist THE BATTER SHOULD BE LUMPY-DO NOT OVERMIX. Add the blueberries, combine and divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle each using about 2 tsp of the prepared topping. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Simply Salad

Do you ever find yourself with just a little bit of frozen salad shrimp left over with nothing to do with them? Okay, so maybe you don't but my mom does, and I take after her, so I do too. What to do with them. There's not enough to make a dish but it's wasting them to throw away. Why do that anyway? Just take the shrimp, rinse them so that they thaw, and toss them on top of a salad made of spring greens, fresh berries, celery, some feta, and some raspberry vinegarette...at least that's what I did!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Basic Biscuits

I've been inspired by Erika at Tummy Treasure. All week she's been doing breakfast posts. You should check them out. She's done international breakfasts, grainy breakfasts, breakfasts from friends, and even some of the breakfast treats I've done! Seeing the blueberry biscuits made me want to make some biscuits...so I pulled out my Dorie Greenspan Baking from my home to yours. She has some great looking biscuit recipes. Now, biscuit making was always a skill that any good housewife had. The family would get up to prepare for a hard day of work and biscuits were a staple of the breakfast. Lots of people rave about their grandmother's biscuits. I don't remember biscuits specifically. In fact, our biscuits are usually the frozen kind. Now, don't pity my because these biscuits are puffy and yummy. In fact, it always amazed me that the biscuits from Pillsbury that are frozen always come out so fluffy, while homemade, which is supposedly the best ALWAYS, come out flatter. How is it that the frozen ones are so much better? So, I want to figure out this mystery. Maybe I'll do some homemade and freeze them. Maybe it's the freezing and baking from frozen state that makes them get tall. Anyway, I decided to try a version of Dorie's Basic Biscuits. I did make a few changes but followed her suggestion of using 1 3/4 cups AP flour and 1/3 cup cake flour. The biscuits were still a little flatter than a frozen biscuit but were very good. I've seen my roommate with one, so I know she likes them. Through the weeks I'm going to keep experimenting, but I would recommend these. If you want a little extra flair, throw in some blueberries or pecans before you start. Basic Biscuits adapted from Baking from my home to yours
2 cups AP flour (or 1 3/4 cups AP flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 T baking powder
2 t sugar
1/4 t salt
3/4 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Drop the butter in and, using your washed hands, blend the butter and flour together quickly. You can also use a pastry blending if you desire. Do this until you have a pebbly, sandy mixture.
Pour the buttermilk over the dry ingredient and toss with a fork until the dough comes together. Give the dough four quick kneads with you hands. Dust a clean work surface or pastry cloth with some flour. Press the dough until it is 1/2 inch high. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass cut the bisuits out. Do this as closely together as you can to get the most out of the first round. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet or stone. Gather the scraps together, press again, cut out biscuits. Follow this procedure until all the dough is used. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove immediately. Dorie suggests that these can be frozen after cutting by freezing them on a baking sheet, then wrapping them air tightly and placing in the freezer. They will just require a little longer to bake.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dinner in Tuscany

I'm really enjoying my time at Baptist. Primary care is SOOOO much better than surgery. You've got a lot of patient contact, which I really like. Another thing I like is cool weather. So, my favorite seasons, if we actually HAD them, would be fall and spring. However, just like the entire eastern side of the US, MS has had hot temperatures. But, in honor of the fall season, I made a yummy and healthy soup. This is from Ellie Krieger at the Food Network. She provides healthy and nutricious recipes that are still yummy. In fact, just posting these pictures reminded me how good this was. I may do it again soon and add some sweet potatoes or butternut squash. That would be good as well. This soup has lots of veggies and even provides protein through the beans. Because of the veggies, there are tons of antioxidants in this soup. So, this is my entry to Sweetnick's ARF Tuesday. Stop by her site for more GREAT recipes. Tuscan Vegetable Soup , adapted from Ellie Krieger, 2007
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
10 baby carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced, (about 1/2 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon prepared garlic
sprinkle dried thyme
sprinkle dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added stewed tomatoes, cut (I'd used chopped next time)
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional

In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.
Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Something New

Well, today I started two weeks at Baptist Hospital. It's kind of an interesting situation because, as one of my classmates said, we are redundant. Basically, nothing we write on the charts matters. The residents still have to write morning progress notes, even if it says the same thing we say. After rounds in the morning we either have class, go with a patient to a procedure, or sit around until 1 pm, when we can go into the lounge and eat lunch (the doctors don't want students taking their seats!). After that we might have class again, but the only other thing we have to do is write an afternoon note. So, it will be different but good. Just like my hair! I got it cut this Saturday. It used to look like this from behind....now it looks like this I have a 8-10 inch pony tail sitting on my dresser, ready to mail to Pantene to be used in a wig. I hope someone enjoys it! What else is new? This dish I tried from Cooking Light! It really is a summer dish, but hey, I had squash and wanted to try the dish. I haven't had couscous is forever and wanted to try something with it. Using chicken broth to make the couscous gave this an almost dressing-like flavor! SO GOOD! I'm probably going to try this again but put in more veggies to bulk it up some. I highly recommend this AND the other dishes that you will find at Sweetnicks' ARF Tuesday. Be watching for another dish using couscous...I plan on stuffed peppers! NOTE: This can easily be vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chiken.Baked Couscous with Summer Squash and Herbs from Cooking Light July 2005
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
3/4 cup uncooked couscous
Cooking spray
2 cups sliced yellow squash (about 2 small)
1/2 cup chopped onions (a change)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1tT prepared minced garlic (on 1 fresh clove minced)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded fontina cheese (I used Mexican)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Preheat oven to 400°. Bring 1 cup chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in uncooked couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add squash, onions, basil, oregano, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until squash is tender. Set aside.

Combine fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano; set aside. Combine couscous, squash mixture, and half of cheese mixture in a large bowl; stir in remaining chicken broth, egg substitute, salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese mixture. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
You can use this as a side dish or large portions for a main dish served with a salad and fresh fruit.