Monday, September 29, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
It's the last Thursday of the month and that means one thing-Barefoot Blogger Day! Barefoot Thursday comes twice a month and it’s a day when food bloggers everywhere (well about 100 bloggers right now) prepare a recipe created by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Why don’t you join in?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I've tried other Fiber One things, like their cereals and granola bars with mixed results. The cereals I will often snack on and while I really like the taste of the granola bars, I'm not exactly sure what's in there, but, about half an hour after eating them I have stomach cramps and gas. Now why you ask given those results would I try another of their products? Well...I don't know exactly, but I did and I can say that the muffins were delicious and gas/cramp free.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We're moving over to the gardening section with blogger Margaret Roach from A way to Garden. She has some of the most beautiful pictures of gardens and wild life in the garden- especially to someone such as myself who is only capable of growing mold on old food in the fridge.
We're moving on to the final segment... I promise to post pictures! Oh wait Martha just announced that we are all getting a wireless printer courtesy of HP! How cool!!
I"m going to take pictures now!
Perez Hilton is on stage talking with Martha-he refers to himself as the Michael Phelps of blogging. His entertainment blog is one of the most popular blogs out there and is said to be able to make or break careers. He blogs 50 or 60 times a day! Yikes I have a hard enough time getting out a few posts a week! He was very coy about how much money he makes blogging which makes me think it's lots!
Next up Matt Bites. Matt is making cookies with Martha...he's so calm, if I were baking cookies with Martha I'm pretty sure I'd be so nervous that I'd get my spatula caught in the beaters. They are making alfajores...a buttery cookie with a dulce de leche filling..mmm.
On to crafting next with Eddie Ross. Eddie is a senior style editor at Martha Stewart Living and is currently a contestant on the reality show Top Design. He shared with Martha some cool flea market finds. He showed Martha how he makes magnets out of vintage earrings and wrapping paper out of vintage cards.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Since my first attempt at cooking eggplant a few days ago, I’ve made a few kinds of eggplant dishes and this one-Roasted Eggplant Linguine with Smoked Mozzarella-was a favorite. I only made enough for two, since my son decided that he was going to make homemade pizza for himself and the other two kids.
Just a few words about the Italian seasoning grinder that I’ve included in the recipe…I love this stuff. Not too long ago, McCormick came out with spice grinders: seasoned salts, peppers and pizza seasoning. The Italian seasoning (originally called Pizza Seasoning) incorporates garlic and spices and I have found that it comes in very handy when you don’t have any fresh garlic in the house. It gives a mild garlic flavor without overpowering. Of course you can go ahead and substitute fresh garlic if you have it on hand, but in a pinch the Italian seasoning comes in mighty handy, it's great for seasoning pastas, omelets, sauces and pizza. You can find the spice grinders in the supermarket spice section.
Roasted Eggplant Linguine with Smoked Mozzarella
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch red pepper flakes
6 ounces linguine shaped pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon McCormick Italian Seasoning Grinder
1/2 cup diced smoked mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread the eggplant in a single layer on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown.
While the eggplant is cooking combine the tomatoes, basil, rosemary and red pepper flakes with the remaining salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Heat the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the pasta, tomato mixture and the eggplant; cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pizza seasoning and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
Yield: 2 servings
For dessert, we decided to have an Oreo vs. Hydrox cookie taste test.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hydrox Cookies, the original cream filled chocolate cookie, Kellogg’s (the current owner of the Hydrox brand) decided to bring the cookies back.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Did you ever have one of those days when you just needed a salad? Maybe you've over indulged a bit (eating a plate of mac and cheese with a full day's worth of fat and calories comes to mind for me). Or perhaps it's a warm day and you just don't want to heat up your kitchen.
Today was a salad day; one for lunch and one for dinner. I made one salad with a bit of supermarket purchased rotisserie chicken on the side and made one without.One of the many reasons I love making salads, particularly for dinner is that I can adjust them to meet the whole family's needs. The kids, never interested in having just a salad as a meal, can have them on the side. My H and I can choose to just eat the salad or nibble on whatever else the kids are having. With the many bagged varieties available in supermarkets today, salads can be a quick, healthful meal for everyone before rushing out to dance, karate, baseball or whatever.
Super salad tips for families on the go:
Cut vegetables in the morning and store them in zippertop plastic bags with a damp paper towel then salads will be ready to assemble at a moments notice.
On nights when everyone can't eat together, make the salads in individual plastic containers with dressing in small baggies, so everyone can grab one and go.
For lunchbox salads, stuff salad mix into a pita with a bit of shredded cheese and the dressing in a small zipper top plastic bag-no fork needed!
Green Bean Mesclun Salad with Maple Walnut Vinaigrette
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 plus 1 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 cups halved, trimmed green beans
8 cups mesclun greens
1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 thick slices
1 cup diced tomatoes
In a small food processor or blender combine the vinegar, syrup, olive oil, water, shallot, cayenne pepper, salt and 1 tablespoon of the walnuts; process until smooth.
Divide the green beans and the mesclun greens between four salad plates. Scatter the cucumbers and diced tomatoes on top. Drizzle each salad with the dressing and scatter with the remaining walnuts.
Yield: 4 salads
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Why is it that all the foods I love are so high in fat and calories? I found on a website called The Culinary Review that this recipe has 1407 calories per serving! Could that be true? I didn’t skimp on the cheese and bacon that’s for sure. I actually quintupled the recipe-not for myself (although I can shovel down Mac and Cheese with the best of them). This is my week to cook for a local women’s shelter; but now that I know that I am serving them a meal of 14,070 calories (not counting salad and dessert) I feel a tad bit guilty that I didn’t buy reduced fat cheeses.
Oh well, it sure is a tasty comfort meal though. I did make one slight change to the recipe and that was to eliminate the bread crumbs (yeah I know that’s like throwing a deck chair off the Queen Mary). But wait, I replaced the crumbs with frizzled shallots…shallots I coated with flour and cooked until crispy in some of the bacon drippings! I guess we can just go ahead and round off that calorie count to 15,000. Would anyone care for dessert?
Grown Up Mac and Cheese by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.
Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I don't know about in your neck of the woods, but here in New England the corn is mighty tasty right now.
I love trying the different varieties and from a color perspective I can't decide whether or not I'm partial to the all yellow, all white or mixed kernal variety. It doesn't really matter, all I really know is that I just can't have enough of it right now. I do have a pet peeve about shopping for corn though. I hate when people take the ears of corn and pull the husks down to examine the corn and then toss it back in the bin. There are other ways to figure out if the corn is worthy of your cart. Here are a few super tips on selecting the most succulent corn:
- Make sure the outer leaves are a vibrant green free of brown spots.
- Look for the silk nearest the corn to be a light shade of yellow.
- Feel the corn to make sure it is firm from end to end.
This time of year when corn on the cob is so plentiful at farmer's markets and in supermarkets, it's usually so sweet and tasty it doesn't really need anything additional-just husk, cook and go. But if you're having a special dinner or cookout and want something to make ordinary corn seem a little less ordinary, compound butters are the ticket. Prepare several varieties of butter ahead of time and let your guests choose.
Here are some super tips for cooking your corn:
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the corn (husks and silk removed) to the boiling water, remove from the heat and let sit for at least 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
Grill the corn right in the husks, just loosen husks and remove just the silk then place the corn directly on the grill cook until charred.
Remove the husks from the corn place on a baking sheet coat lightly with oil and salt then roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Fiery Habanero-Basil Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons finely chopped habanero pepper, seeds removed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; chill until ready to use.
Use about 1 tablespoon of butter for each ear of corn. Wrap any remaining butter with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer. The butter would be great on grilled steak, you may want to substitute Worcestershire sauce for the orange juice though.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 basil leaves
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups basil leaves, packed
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
12 thin tomato slices
6 tablespoons mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the flour, salt and pepper on a small plate, pour the breadcrumbs onto another small plate and pour the beaten eggs into a shallow dish. Dredge the eggplant slices first into the flour, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place the slices onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown and tender.
To prepare the sauce, in a small food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and pepper flakes; process until almost smooth. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and warm over medium temperature for 5-10 minutes.
To prepare the pesto, in a small food processor or blender combine the basil, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and parmesan cheese; process until smooth.
Preheat an oven broiler.
To assemble the stacks, divide the pesto between the eggplant slices spreading on one side of each. Place a tomato slice onto six of the eggplant slices then top the tomato with the remaining eggplant slices (pesto side up). Top each with the remaining tomato slices then sprinkle each with a tablespoon of the mozzarella cheese. Place stacks under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.
To serve, spoon a portion of the sauce onto each of 6 serving plates, top with an eggplant stack. Garnish with basil leaves and additional pesto.
Yield: 6 servings
Friday, September 5, 2008
Please don't forget to vote for my recipe on Dole Way to Snack! See the upper right hand corner of the screen for a link. I only need about 10,000 more votes to win the trip to Hawaii!!