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.


Veggie Empanadas

These are easy, low fat and low in cholesterol:


2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch ground cinnamon

(* I used all of my leftover veggies, so feel free to "mix it up")

6 stalks of asparagus cut into 1" pieces

1 red pepper sliced

1 zucchini chopped

2 small heads of broccoli chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup canned black beans

1/2 cup canned corn with chipotle peppers

1 small can green peppers

1 tbs chipotle sauce

1/4 cup lowfat shredded "Mexican" cheese

1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

Empanada shells

1 Goya Sazon packet

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in heated, large saute pan

Add garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent

Add all spices and cook until fragrant

Add all of the veggies and cook until desired "softness" (JD likes his veggies crisp, so I only sauteed them for about 5 minutes)

Add black beans, corn and green peppers

Add chipotle sauce and salt and pepper

Remove from heat and mix in cheeses

I used an ice cream scoop and filled each empanada shell with one scoop of filling, then folded over in half and used a fork to "crimp" the edges.

Mix Goya Sazon packet with hot tap water and brush empanada shells (once filled)

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown

Serve with your favorite hot sauce!

The Beginning

I like to think that I am "tech-savvy", but I'm going to be honest... I didn't know what a "blog" was until about a year ago and since then, had no real interest in them or the foggiest idea of how to start one or why I even would? My life is not exactly "page-turning" material.

However, after speaking with my favorite "foodie", I realized how much fun a FOOD blog could be! I mean, how many times have I been teased for taking "useless" pictures of food (ie. my favorite kind to take!)? Now I have the excuse that I'm using it for my BLOG! And how "21st century" does that sound?!

So in three, quick, easy steps, here I am typing away, or rather "blogging" away on my laptop, so let's get it started!

My first "post" is dedicated to my friend, Tracey who requested I send her my recently (okay, just tonight) created martini recipe!

I dub it the "Apple Cider-Tini"


Thinly slice a Granny Smith apple and combine with honey, OJ, cinnamon and nutmeg - all to taste. (this can be used for my Apple Strudel recipe - stay tuned)

Mash or "muddle" the above in martini shaker

2 "capfuls" (I use the cap of my martini shaker) of rum

1 "capful" of Amaretto

4 "capfuls" of apple cider

splash of soda water

Add ice and shake vigorously to create a "foam" on top

Pour and serve!