Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My "Greek" 29th Birthday!

Turning 29 was rough for me this year; somehow the idea of no longer being in my "20's" is just so depressing. I vowed at 27, never to get any older, but I guess we don't have such say in these things, do we?
If I had to turn 29, I might as well do it in style, right?
Unfortunately with money being tight, as per usual these days, a trip to Greece was just not in the budget. Since I couldn't go to Greece, I brought Greece to me!
My sister-in-law, Erica and I spent all day cooking and drinking mimosas (what could be better in my book??). Instead of buying yucky store-bought pitas, we decided to make cast-iron skillet pitas! They were in a word, amazing.

The menu also included feta, grape tomato and cucumber skewers with a balsamic glaze drizzle; white bean hummus with lemon zest and lemon oil (to die for!); potato salad with goat's cheese and capers; and mini Greek chicken and beef burgers with tzatziki.
All in all, the food turned out to be delicious and even better than expected!!
Sipping a crisp Sauvignon Blanc by the bright, blue pool, surrounded by my best friends and nibbling on salty feta and juicy tomatoes, I'm left challenging Greece if it can top this?!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frittata & French Bread Casserole

Last Sunday we enjoyed Brunch with JD's family and I made a frittata and French Bread Casserole.

The frittata was pretty basic: I sauteed broccoli, shallot, garlic and peppers in a mixture of evoo and butter, then added a mixture of whisked eggs and half and half (season each step). Add shredded cheese (I used a mixture of swiss, fontina and "Italian blend") and cook until set up on the bottom and then place in oven at 375 degrees until cooked through (about 20-30 min.).

I also made Paula Deen's French Bread Casserole which was so sweet, it was almost like having dessert - for me, that makes a very happy brunch!

Mac n' goat cheese bites

My dear friend and super-mom, Tracey, makes these delicious macaroni and cheese bites and for my mom's birthday, I attempted to replicate.

My favorite macaroni and cheese recipe is Rachael Ray's Mac n' Goat Cheese.

In order to ensure that the pasta would hold together, I whisked one egg with some half and half, then added about a short log of goat cheese and whisked until smooth. I added the minced garlic to a pan and once golden brown, added the goat cheese mixture, then the tomatoes and wilted the spinach. Once the mini shells were cooked, I added to the cheese pot.

According to Tracey's instructions, I sprayed a mini-muffin pan with Pam , then coated each "cup" with grated parmesan cheese. I then filled each cup with the macaroni and cheese mixture and pressed down with a small juice cup and topped with fresh breadcrumbs and sprayed the tops with evoo. I baked for about 30 min. at 350 degrees.

Important: Do not attempt to un-mold until cooled for about 10-20 min. I made this mistake and was very discouraged until Tracey informed me of this little tip!

Artichoke, Leek & Potato Soup

Soup is one of those meals that JD really loves, so I'm always very encouraged to try new recipes.
This recipe was very easy because it required very little chopping or prep and had a delicious outcome - JD loved it!!

Vegetarian Times "Garlicky Leek & Artichoke Soup"
2 tbs olive oil
2 medium leeks (white parts - chopped) 2 cups
9 cloves garlic peeled
2 c. vegetable broth (I used bouillon cubes)
2 9.9oz. jars water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
6 thyme sprigs
2 tsp. lemon juice
6 tbs. prepared basil pesto

1. Heat oil in large suacepan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, and saute 5 minutes, or until leeks are softned and translucent. Add broth, artichokes, potatoes, thyme and 2 cups water, bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; season with s&p if desired; and simmer, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes and garlic are very tender.
2. Remove thyme sprigs, and strip remaining thyme leaves into soup pot. Transfer soup to blender (I used immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Return to pot and stir in lemon juice. Season with s&p if desired and dollop one tbs of pesto in each bowl.

Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry

I've never been very successful, as you know, at making Asian food, but I finally made a recipe that was both good AND JD liked!! Success!!

It's a Rachael Ray recipe and I pretty much followed all of the steps, except for the egg, which I did not have and snow peas, which I don't like.

Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry

Brocolli & Mushroom Risotto

What's better or more comforting than risotto? Not much.
I had broccoli, baby spinach, a huge portobello cap, a shallot and garlic, so I chopped (broccoli), minced (garlic & shallot) and sliced (portobello & spinach) and sauteed in evoo on the side while making my risotto. I also had leftover champagne, so instead of adding the "usual" white wine, I added champagne and then at the end when the risotto was ready, I added the sauteed shallot, garlic, broccoli and mushroom, as well as the fresh spinach (to wilt) and stirred together. I also added basil and a little bit of shredded swiss cheese.

Warm, gooey and the ultimate comfort food.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


In celebration of "Fat Tuesday", or "Pancake Tuesday", we decided to make crepes ~ one of JD's favorites (very appropriate for my French husband)!

I am about to admit a failure here, so please try to still think kindly of me afterward...
I am a crepe disaster! Not only have I never attempted to make crepe batter myself, but after ruining several crepes, I can confidently say that crepes and I do not work well together.
Thankfully, Mr. Frenchy-French himself not only makes delicious crepe batter, but has that special, gentle touch required when making the delicate little pancakes!
The crepe master himself.....

Our first crepe is a new recipe I found on another blog and it is delicious and incredibly simple!! I thinly sliced one portobello mushroom, minced 1/2 shallot, combined in a saute pan with a combination of evoo and butter, S&P and thyme, then once the shallot is translucent, I added two splashes of brandy and two splashes of cream. Decadence.

Mushrooms and Shallots in a Brandy Cream Sauce

While visiting Barcelona, JD and I stumbled upon the most amazing Creperie (see JD sipping his Spanish wine, in a French restaurant... in Spain.)

I found their menu online and thus inspired our next crepe - Honey and goat's cheese.
It's truly as simple as that - just make the crepes, add goat's cheese and honey and voila! It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory... think chocolate covered pretzels. Amazing!

The crepe batter recipe we use: *Note: JD says that you may add herbs to the batter; the "perfect" batter portion is 3/4 of a 1/3 measuring cup; and it's best to add the fillings once you flip the crepe on the second side instead of trying to reheat them on a pan later with fillings because they can get greasy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cous Cous Stuffed Peppers

Last night was leftover night!
On Friday night, I made veggie cous cous. I sauteed onions, garlic, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms (all diced) in a little bit of evoo and added some S&P and Italian seasonings.
On Saturday, we bought little peppers to stuff with cheese. I wanted to make a few "healthier", so I added shredded swiss cheese and a Mexican 4 cheese blend I had, as well as some minced roasted garlic, to the leftover cous cous and stuffed the little peppers with it.
This all leads up to leftover Monday! I bought one poblano pepper, cut out the top and cut the seeds away from it and dumped out the seeds, then stuffed the pepper with the above cheese/cous cous mixture, replaced the top, sprayed it with evoo and wrapped it in foil to bake at 425 degrees for about 30 min. It was very good and filling!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cheese Fondue

On Valentine's Day, does anything really show more love than a big bowl of ooey, gooey, luxurious cheese?! The answer, is of course, no! So this V-Day, we did just that - we melted our favorite cheeses and paired it up with yummy
"dippers" like baguette pieces, lightly sauteed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and asparagus and "faux" chicken nuggets. I also love to par-boil fingerling potatoes, but we didn't make any this time.

Below is the very rough recipe we used.

For my "bestie", Christine: I hope you and Matt enjoy this as much as we always do!! xox

Approximately 1 pound of shredded cheese: we used swiss, fontina and a 4 cheese Mexican blend
1 cup of white wine (we used 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup sherry because that's what we had)
1 tbls lemon juice
1 garlic clove - minced
2 tbls brandy or kirsch (we used sherry because, again, that's what we had)
2 tsp corn starch
Bring the cup of wine and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat, add the garlic and cheese. I add about 1/2 cup at a time and stir in a "figure 8" (I'm not sure why, but almost every recipe says to, so I do it, haha). Once all of the cheese is melted, whisk together the cornstarch and brandy/kirsch in a separate bowl and then add to cheese and stir together.

Serve with your favorite dippers!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mexican Fiesta!

Mexican food has to be one of my most favorite cuisines and what I love about it is that's easy to make and because of the demographic in our area, we have a plethora of ingredients readily available! I absolutely love Asian food, but for the life of me, I cannot make anything that tastes any where close to what it tastes like in restaurants! Mexican food - now that's something I can make!

Now I'm not sure if corn fritters are necessarily "Mexican", but corn and cilantro are used heavily in Mexican, especially Tex-Mex, dishes, so I figured that it was an acceptable addition to our fiesta!

The filling for the fritters is absolutely delicious (and I used frozen corn since it's not available fresh right now locally) and very easy to make! If you like mint, than you will most likely enjoy the mint-pepper topping. I will say that it does add a freshness and even a bit of a "kick", but since I do not like mint, I wouldn't make it again next time.

I went to the farm stand will all intention of making Butternut Squash, Leek and Feta quesadillas, but then I saw portobello mushrooms and well, that went out the window! So instead I decided to make Portobello mushrooms and leeks in a swiss cheese-bechamel sauce quesadilla!

4 portobello caps - gills removed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1 chipotle pepper - minced (adds a lot of smokiness and heat, so if you don't like spicy foods, omit)
1 leek - cleaned thoroughly and sliced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour (I just guessed)
1/2 cup skim milk (again, guessed)
1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped swiss cheese
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
S&P and white pepper
4 corn tortillas (I used white corn)
In a medium saute pan, add some evoo to the pan and heat (medium), add garlic and leeks and saute for about one minute, add mushrooms and S&P. Saute until somewhat softened and then add wine and chipotle pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
In another medium saute pan, add the butter and melt. Once melted, add the flour and stir until light brown and smells "nutty". Slowly add in the milk and whisk until bubbly, then reduce the heat to low, add salt and white pepper. Once thickened, add the swiss cheese and stir until melted.
Assemble the quesadillas by spreading some of the bechamel/swiss cheese mixture onto one tortilla, top with mushroom mixture and then add more of the bechamel/swiss cheese mixture to another tortilla and top. Place in a heated pan with a little bit of Pam or evoo until golden brown on both sides.

And finally, we made Meyer Lemon Margaritas! Yum! Very light and zesty. Only change I made was that I made a simple syrup and added about 1 oz. to the cocktail shaker.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Roasted Apple/Caramel Brie

The Birthday Girl!

Over the weekend we celebrated my big sister's "Dirty Thirty"! We made a bunch of appetizers, but one "new creation" seemed to stand out the most (and conveniently, it's the only one I managed to take a picture of!).

Roasted Apple/Caramel Brie
2 red apples - peeled, sliced and cored
1 cup of caramel topping (found in the produce aisle)
2-3 tbs butter
2 tbs brandy (or bourbon)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 small wheel of brie

Rub the apple slices with butter and roast on 400 degrees until softened. In the meantime, place the caramel and butter into a saucepan and melt/stir together over medium heat. Once combined, stir in the liquor. Chop the apples and add to the caramel mixture. Add the walnuts and stir together. Cut the white off the top and bottom of the brie and then slice in half, horizontally. Place some of the apple/caramel mixture in the middle of the two brie slices and then top with more apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until all melty, gooey and delicious! YUM-O!

(pic is of the brie before being heated) The "Chefs" of the afternoon

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pappardelle Pasta

JD had to work late last night and since it was "girl's night" - I decided to make something that JD doesn't usually like! He isn't a big fan of wide noodles, but pappardelle noodles are my favorite! I don't know what it is about them, but they feel so luxurious and decadent!

Roasted Vegetable Pappardelle Pasta
1/2 head cauliflower - chopped
1 small zucchini - sliced into 1" thin strips (about 1/2" wide)
1 red pepper - sliced
1/2 "bushel" asparagus - cut into 1" pieces
1/2 yellow onion - diced
2 garlic cloves - minced
3 tbs capers
1/4 cup parmesan
1/2 cup white wine
1 tomato - seeded and diced
Pappardelle noodles (about 5 "nests")
Italian spices
For easy clean-up, I combined the cauliflower, zucchini, red pepper and asparagus in a large ziplock bag, added evoo (about 3 tbs) and spices, mixed it around and placed in a large casserole dish and roasted at 375 degrees for about 30 min.

Meanwhile, I boiled the water for the noodles and heated a large saute pan with evoo and sauteed the onion and garlic until translucent. I then added the roasted veggies to the pan, the diced tomatoes, capers and white wine. Once heated through, I added the noodles and tossed. Top with the parmesan cheese.


As I was preparing dinner for my wonderful friend, Tasha and I - I noticed that I still had leftover risotto (see Lettuce Risotto recipe). I hated to see it go to waste, but I had already planned to make Pappardelle pasta with roasted veggies (recipe to come). What to do?

Arancini (Fried Risotto Balls)
Using the leftover risotto, I made little balls, rolled them in flour, a mixture of beaten eggs and milk and breadcrumbs (all three "steps" seasoned of course) and then fried until golden brown.

Sure, it was a little heavy on the carbs, but you know what? Totally worth it!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mushroom & Pepper Polenta

Mushrooms & Pepper in a White Wine reduction over Polenta

1 cup polenta
3 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or less if you're trying to be "good")
Italian herbs
2 portobello mushrooms - gills removed and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion - thinly sliced
1 red pepper - thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic - thinly sliced

Boil water and vegetable bouillon cubes, once boiling, stir in polenta and reduce heat to low (I usually cover it at this point, with a little bit of ventilation, because it "pops" a lot) - keep an eye on it and keep stirring to prevent sticking.
Stir in butter, parmesan cheese and seasonings to taste.
In a large skillet, add evoo and once heated (medium - low heat), add onions and garlic and saute until softened, then add red pepper and saute for 3 min., then add mushrooms and saute for an additional 3 min. Add white wine and seasonings (to taste), raise heat to medium-high until bubbling, then reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced.

Top the polenta with veggies and serve!

White Bean Bruschetta

Who says Brushcetta has to exclusively be tomatoes, basil and garlic?

A little "Shelley creation":

White Bean Bruschetta
1/4 of a yellow onion - grated
1 (or 2 if you like it garlicky) clove garlic - roughly chopped
1 can of white beans (I used Great Northern) - rinsed
Lemon zest and lemon juice to taste
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 (or 1 whole if you like tomatoes - I used the whole tomato) tomato - seeded and diced
1 tbs parmesan

Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes in food processor and puree until smooth, but still a tiny bit chunky. Empty food processor into bowl and carefully mix in diced tomatoes.

I served this on toasted baguette slices with a slice of fresh mozzarella and then the bruschetta. Delish!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good-lookin' Pizza

What a fun Monday night JD and I shared! We decided to have a "pizza night" and try out two new recipes! We didn't follow the recipes exactly, but that's half the fun, isn't it?!

Grilled Mushroom Kabobs and Couscous Salad

Well, first off, I made a boo-boo and thought I had couscous, but didn't, so we used a blend of brown rice and bulgar (called "Whole Grain Blends" by Middle East I believe) which is actually much healthier anyway.

We used portobello mushrooms that I removed the gills from and chopped into quarters. We noticed that the marinade was too salty the first time we made it, so I would suggest leaving out the "pinch of salt". The second time we made it (because the mushrooms were so good, we made two batches!) JD also added white pepper, finely chopped scallions and a splash of lime juice.


Eggplant, Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza

We made our pizza crust super thin and brushed a little bit of evoo on the dough. We also added some of the broiled mushrooms from above because they were just too good not to! We also noticed that as great as the pizza was, it was a little dry, so we made a marinara dipping sauce for the pizza and it was pure perfection!!

Halfway through


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Asparagus Tapenade, Eggplant-Zucchini-Tomato-Mozzarella Salad & Lettuce Risotto

After rollerblading at Robinson Preserve in the morning and grouting the bathroom in the afternoon, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the grocery store! What does that mean? Leftover night!
I had an eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, field greens, tomato, swiss cheese and mozzarella. What to make?
I made this recipe a little differently. Friday night we had a Panini night at Michelle's house and I wanted to make this quick and easy appetizer, but didn't have time to roast a head of garlic. Now let me preface this by saying that under normal situations, I would never advise using jarred roasted garlic instead of fresh! But desperate times call for desperate measures, so I bought the jarred and used it both nights.
I also noticed that the first time I made it, it was too lemony, so this time I added lemon zest, but instead of lemon juice, I added about 2-3 tbs of Sauvignon Blanc.
Last note: I made this by sauteing the asparagus and roasting in the oven at 425 degrees (two different times) and both worked beautifully!

Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
Toss the eggplant & zucchini with evoo, s&p and Italian seasoning and roast at 425 until soft/golden brown. Pair with mozzarella and tomato slices and drizzle evoo, balsamic vinegar and spices. My favorite salad!

Lettuce Risotto

I started with the above recipe, but changed it around a little bit. I boiled about 4 cups of water with 4 vegetable bouillon cubes and reduced heat to low once dissolved.

I sauteed about 1/2 red onion and 3 cloves of garlic in 3 tbs of evoo and 1 tbs of butter. Then I added 1 cup of Arborio rice and sauteed until fragrant, added 1/2 cup of Sauvignon Blanc (my wine of choice for the evening) and once absorbed, started adding the vegetable stock.

Once the risotto was done, I added about 1 1/2 cups of chopped field greens, 1/4 cup chopped green olives (stuffed with pimientos), 2 tbs capers, 1 cup of shredded swiss cheese & 1 tbs of butter. It was delicious! I think on hind sight, I would've added less cheese, but JD, of course, loved it and it was after all, a Saturday night!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pink Flamingo

Well well well...Shell is glued to Gilmore Girls tonight. I'm feelin motivated here so I thought I'd take a jab at this post. It's Monday night and the Mrs. is thirsty, so I grabbed the martini shaker and reached for the fridge. After 3 minutes of shaking and 10 minutes of trial and error, the kitchen is now a complete wreck. Anyway, I love Cranberry juice and strawberry jello, go figure. It looks like this Man-Tini is wife approved!

3 parts O.J.
5 parts Cran juice
1 part strawberry jello
3 parts Bacardi
2 parts Triple Sec
1 part amaretto

I also use the cap of the martini shaker as an equal measure. Shake with ice till frothy and finish w/ a jello shot.. Woo-Hoo!
Lates, JD

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Portobello Relleno

One of MY favorite dishes at Ceviche is their Portobello Relleno - it's absolutely delicious!
I am thrilled to say that I was able to recreate this dish and will now be able to enjoy this at home!

2 portobello mushrooms, gills removed
1 pkg frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I place thawed spinach in a dish towel and wring out the water)
1 shallot minced
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup sherry - split
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 thin slices of Lite Jarlsburg (I wanted to use Manchego, but the store was out - this worked just as well!)

Saute in evoo the shallot and garlic until shallot is transparent, add the spinach, spices and 1/4 cup sherry and cook over medium heat until sherry is evaporated - remove from pan and place in bowl.
In same pan, add more evoo and cook portobellos on each side until softened. Stuff caps with spinach mixture and top with cheese. Place back in the pan with 1/4 cup of sherry over medium-low heat, cover and cook until cheese is melted.
Place over Sherry Cream Sauce.

Chicken Chimichurri with a Sherry Cream Sauce

JD's favorite dish at Ceviche is Chicken Chimichurri. I've never tried to make the chimichurri sauce myself, but have tried to purchase it pre-made a couple of times. The store bought kind received two thumbs down, but the fresh sauce purchased at the Sarasota Farmer's Market yesterday received two thumbs way up! We sauteed thinly-sliced chicken cutlets (one whole package), cut into about 3" pieces in evoo until almost cooked. We then added about 1/4 cup of chimichurri to pan and sauteed until completely coated and cooked through.

Ceviche makes an amazing Sherry Cream Sauce, which we attempted and, I'm happy to say, successful re-produced!

We paired the Chicken Chimichurri with pan-fried, thinly sliced fingerling potatoes (my favorite!). I heated about 3-4 tbs of evoo over medium heat with rosemary, red pepper flakes, finely chopped shallots and garlic, then removed the rosemary, red pepper flakes, shallots and garlic and placed the potatoes in a single layer and cooked until golden brown on each side.

Breakfast Panini

Since we were so good last night with our lowfat dinner, I decided to "splurge" a little with a breakfast indulgence!

Raspberry and Mozzarella Breakfast Panini

Recipe (for two paninis):
1/4 loaf of Ciabatta Bread
4 tbs Raspberry Preserves
2 slices Fresh Mozzarella
3 Eggs
3 tbs Skim milk
2 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pam or enough butter to coat pan

Whisk eggs, milk, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow pan. Slice Ciabatta in half and then slice each "sandwich" open and spread raspberry preserves on each side and top with 1 slice of mozzarella per sandwich. Dip sandwich into egg mixture on each side and place on preheated, butter-coated pan. Place a pan of similar size on top of paninis and press down. Cook until golden brown and then flip and repeat.

"Roasted" Vegetable Linguine with Fresh Torn Basil

This month's issue of Vegetarian Times (February '10) featured a recipe for Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Fresh Torn Basil. It sounded and looked (cover page recipe!) delicious and I couldn't wait to make it. I've got all my ingredients ready and I look over the recipe and realize that duh! it's almost exactly like my recipe for Pasta Pomodorini - no wonder I thought it sounded so good! The only difference is it includes sliced shitake mushrooms (I used cremini because that is what was available at the farm stand)and it required roasting all of the vegetables (garlic, onion, 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms). I, however, did not roast the veggies because I didn't feel like wasting the time to preheat the oven.
It was a wonderful meal, especially paired with our fresh "pesto" linguini purchased at the Sarasota Farmer's Market!
*If interested in making this, follow my recipe for the Pasta Pomodorini, but add mushrooms, one small onion chopped, asparagus cut into 1" pieces (which is included in the Pomodorini recipe at the end)and torn basil at the end - either roast or follow my directions per your liking!
(Approximately since recipe calls for Whole Wheat pasta and I used fresh semolina) Per 1 1/2 cup serving: 208cal; 7G port; 5G total fat (1G sat fat); 37G carb; 0mg chol; 15mg sod; 7g fiber; 6G sugars

Mushroom Soup

Last night we enjoyed Vegetarian Times' Creamy Mushroom Soup (Feb. '10 issue) which is both low in fat and cholesterol! It was very flavorful and even for non-lovers of mushrooms, like JD, it is still very yummy!
* The soup was not as thick as I would've liked it to be (even after adding more cornstarch), so next time I would add more flour in step 3.

1 oz. mixed dried mushrooms, such as oysters, porcini and chanterelles, plus more for garnish, optional (I chose dried porcini)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I make my own with vegetable bouillon cubes)
1 tbs olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, such as cremini and white button, chopped (2 cups) (I used both)
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1/2 cup sherry
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 cup soy creamer (I used half and half, but if you want to keep the recipe vegan, use soy)

1. Placec dried mushrooms in medium bowl. Cover with 2 cups of hot water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Cover, and keep warm.
2. Heat 1 1/2 tsp. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add rehydrated mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. salt; saute 2 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Transfer mushrooms to plate; set aside (I then chopped them because the pieces were a little large).
3. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil in same saucepan over medium heat. Add fresh mushrooms, shallot, pepper and reamining 1/4 tsp. salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in sherry. Simmer 3 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. Whisk flour into broth mixture. Stir broth mixture into mushroom mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes. Transfer soup to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot; stir in creamer and reserved rehydrated mushrooms, reserving a few for garnish, if using.

Per 2/3 cup serving: 88 cal; 3 G protein; 4G Total fat (<1g>

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I know my blog is supposed to be about food and while that is one of the primary focuses of my life (hence the title: Food Obsessed), I am going to stray away on this particular post.
As everyone who isn't living under a rock knows, Haiti suffered from a massive earthquake and has been experiencing daily after shocks ever since. They've lost over 150,000 people and there are more still missing. These people never had much to begin with, but now have lost even more... the basic necessities.
Please donate monetarily or material goods! Contact your local Red Cross for drop off locations. I contacted ours and the Bethesda Haitian Evangelical Church located at 3505 5th St. E. in Bradenton is collecting material goods. They have a plane leaving either today (Jan. 16th) or tomorrow, so time is of the essence! I dropped my package off yesterday.
Also, UPS is shipping anything under 50lbs for free as well!
Proverbs 14:31He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 21:13If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.
Isaiah 1:17Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
Thank you and God Bless You!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pasta Pomodorini

Several years ago I saw Michael Chiarello (love him! Can we all please live on a vineyard in Napa?!) make "Pasta Pomodorini". It's incredibly simple and easy and since then, I've created my own version!

1 carton of grape tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves (depending on your liking)
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbs capers
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Splash of white wine
2 tbs shredded parmesan cheese
Whole wheat noodles (penne, spaghetti - your choice)

Set water to boil for noodles and add noodles when water is ready
Mince garlic and add to medium saute pan with drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat.
Place washed grape tomatoes in a ziplock baggie and "whack" them until they've all opened (great stress reliever too, but don't get too carried away!)
Once garlic is very lightly browned, add red pepper flakes and tomatoes
Simmer over medium - medium low heat until tomatoes are softened
Add white wine and seasonings
Add al dente noodles to pan with tomatoes, toss, adding a drizzle of evoo if necessary and top with parmesan cheese

This is such a healthy "go-to" recipe for me - I almost always have all of these ingredients on hand and will add veggies to it if available.

I made this last night and added asparagus (cut into 1" pieces - I added it to pan after the garlic) and served over a bed of mesclun greens. That's a great tip - serve pasta either with or over greens (sometimes I will also add them to the pan to wilt them more) to bump up nutrients and it helps to "fill" you up more, without consuming so many carbohydrates!


For my dear sister-in-law:

I think everyone has their own special way of making bruschetta and it's always fun to see how other's make it and pick up new ingredient ideas!

Personally, I don't think I've ever made bruschetta the same way twice. I think it's a lot of tasting and testing.

The most important tip I can give is to use Fresh Ingredients! Since there are so few ingredients, you really want to highlight them.

My version of Bruschetta:

5 Roma Tomatoes - 1 chopped and 4 seeded and chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 small onion grated

squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of red pepper flakes

salt & pepper (and your favorite seasonings - I love the Mediterranean Sea Salt blend)

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh parmesan

Combine all ingredients in food processor/chopper and chop until your desired consistency.

I like to serve this with baguette slices (sliced on the bias - diagonal) that have been lightly sprayed with extra virgin olive oil and baked in the oven at 375 degrees until golden brown.

I also will slice fresh mozzarella and either melt it in top of the baguette slices or just serve it on the side and let guests eat it how they will!

(not the best picture, but the only one I have right now, haha...)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My most favorite salad... ever

Over the summer we went to Mrs. Byrnes' house for one of the best meals and evenings I enjoyed all summer-long! She served the most delicious salad, that I have then made about a zillion times since! So I can't take credit for this recipe, but I can tell you, it's super easy, super delicious and one of my ultimate "stand-by" appetizers! Paired with a nice, cold glass of white wine and I am a very happy camper!

Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Roast slices of eggplant (and I mix it up sometimes and also add slices of zucchini) on a pizza pan or cookie sheet at 400 degrees until desired "crispness"

Slice tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

Basil Chiffonade

Layer slices of eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette; sprinkle your favorite seasonings (or just s&p) and top with basil.
* I also will sometimes roast a few cloves of garlic while roasting the eggplant and then chop and sprinkle on top as well.