Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Lemon-Raspberry Muffins: A "Baker's Delight"

This week the theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is "Baker's Delight", providing infinite choices of Nigella Lawson's sweet or savory baked treats, especially when you open up her book, How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. I had several recipes tagged in the book to make, but a sale on two containers of raspberries for $4.00, (a very low price for here) made her Lemon-Raspberry Muffins the winning choice. 

Nigella says, "I think of these more as teatime muffins than breakfast ones, but please don't feel constrained by my prejudices (and it's not often you'll hear me say that)."

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins
How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson
(Makes 12)

1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
juice and finely chopped zest of 1 lemon
approximately 1/2 cup of milk
1 large egg
5 ounces raspberries
12-cup muffin pan lined with 12 paper baking cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Stir together in a largish bowl, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and zest. In a measuring cups, pour in the lemon juice, then enough milk to come up nearly to the 1 cup mark (and it will curdle, but that's just fine), then beat in the egg and melted butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir briefly; the batter should scarcely be combined. Fold in the raspberries, spoon this lumpy mixture into the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes. When cooked, the tops should spring back to your touch. Leave in the pan for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then set them on a rack to cool for another 10-15 minutes. 

Notes/Results: These are some tasty muffins! My Mom especially liked the texture, they are moist and tender. I did make a few changes--although oddly for me, I didn't do anything to make them healthier--other than using the non-fat milk I had on hand. We have been being pretty good this week and I thought we deserved a little treat. The changes I did make were to reduce the oven temp to 375 F because I way over-baked a batch of Nigella's Lavender Trust Cupcakes several months ago that were also at 400 F, so I find a bit lower temp to be a better way to go. One lemon and 1/2 cup of milk did not give me the "nearly up to the 1 cup mark" the recipe called for so used the juice (and zest) from a second lemon. This gave the cupcakes a better, more intense (but not overpowering) lemony flavor so I would keep that second lemon in the recipe. Finally, I sprinkled just a bit of demerara sugar (raw cane sugar), on top of the batter for a nice sparkle and crunch. Nigella is right, these are perfect with a cup of tea, but we will be trying them for breakfast too. ;-)  I would make these again with my changes. (BTW: Aren't the little muffin liners cute?! I owe them to the wonderful Nancy since I won a gift card for King Arthur Flour on her blog several months ago and they were part of the goodies I ordered. Thanks again Nancy!)

You can see what the other IHCC members picked for this week's baking theme by checking out their links at the I Heart Cooking Clubs site, here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Things I Am Loving This Week

Time for some more "Things I Am Loving This Week", those (mostly) food-related things that I am enjoying and want to share,

First up, "I Love Assam 2"--the vegetarian Indian food class I took at KCC (the local community college) this Saturday. I took the first part earlier in the year and loved it, and this one was just as good. Our instructor, Alyssa is awesome and I always learn something from her. We had a demo and trial of a Carrot Halva Cake, basically an Indian spiced carrot cake that I will be making and posting at some point. We then made three dishes; a red lentil dal, a spiced rice and my favorite, these Veggie Kofta. Kofta are basically meatballs, often of lamb or beef, mixed with spices. There are vegetarian versions as well like these, which were made of chickpeas, zucchini and cabbage and lightly browned in the pan before finishing baking in the oven. Served with a delicious spiced yogurt sauce, they were easy to make and just delicious. I can see myself making these often as written, or changing out the veggies. 

Vegetarian Kofta with Spiced Yogurt Sauce
by Alyssa Moreau
(Serves 4)

1 cup zucchini, grated, (Let sit 10 min then squeeze dry with cloth or hands)
1/2 cup cabbage, grated (Let sit 10 minutes then squeeze dry with cloth or hands)
1 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, mashed well
1/4 cup garbanzo flour or fine bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne 
1-2 Tbsp ghee or light oil such as high oleic salflower oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine ingredients through cayenne and mix well with hands. Form into balls about 1 1/2" in diameter, (if too wet, add in some more flour). Cook in ghee/safflower oil mixture (medium heat), turning to brown all sides, then bake for 20 minutes. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Spiced Yogurt Sauce

2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt (or regular full-fat yogurt, drained well*)
1 Tbsp ghee or light oil
1/4 tsp each of cumin, coriander, chili powder, and salt 
dash each of clove powder, cardamon powder, ginger, cayenne, black pepper
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup tomato, chopped

*Drain yogurt in a cheese cloth lined colander for 30 minutes or longer. Heat oil in a small pan and add the spices. Cook for one minute, then add in the cashews and tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes more, then add 1/2 cup of the yogurt. Heat through, then transfer mixture to a blender and blend with the rest of the yogurt. Adjust flavors to taste. Place sauce in a serving dish and top with the cooked kofta, garnish with cilantro.

Speaking of Indian food, we kicked off the weekend by attending an Indian-Themed Macrobiotic Community Dinner on Friday night. They hold them twice a month with different themes and types of food. On the menu for this one: Vegetable Samosas with Chutney, Red Lentil Dahl, Brown Rice, Cabbage and Peas Sauteed with Mustard Seeds and Garlic and for dessert, Carrot Halva with Kukicha Tea. I love to try new and different types of food and ways of cooking and lucky for me, my Mom, at 78 this month, is a good sport and game to try new things too. 

I know the plate doesn't look gorgeous--but hey when you are feeding tons of people out of a church kitchen, you do what you can and it tasted great. The dinners are very casual, plastic plates and "green" utensils, and this one was a full house, packed with a great variety of people, all different ages and backgrounds. Hosted by the wonderful Chef Leslie Ashburn of Macrobiotic Hawaii, they feature unprocessed, vegan, macrobiotic meals with lots of local, organic ingredients. You walk away full and satisfied but feeling healthy too. The baked samosas, stuffed with quinoa and veggies were my favorite part of the meal--Yum! Not familiar with Macrobiotics? It is basically a lifestyle that is based around achieving balance, harmony, and wholeness in all aspects of life. I am not expert, I just like to learn, so you can read more about it at the Macrobiotic Hawaii website, here

Finally, the perfect foodie afternoon yesterday, I finally saw Julie & Julia. Since the last movie I saw in a theater, Food Inc. made me not ever want to eat again, it was nice to see a movie that made me hungry this time. (I may have to drag out my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and jump on that Boeuf Bourguignon bandwagon!). Meryl Streep was phenomenal as Julia and the rest of the cast great as well, especially Stanley Tucci (love him!), as her husband Paul. Basically, a cute, feel good movie and some good Mother / Daughter bonding. 

Afterward we went to the newly-opened Red Mango in Kahala Mall. (So happy to have one closer than running into Waikiki). Having tried a lot of different frozen yogurt brands, I love Red Mango the best, and since a small one is only about 90 calories plus another 35-40 calories for the fruit, it is a great, healthy afternoon snack. My favorite is the original flavor with mango and blackberry. 

So that is it, the "Things I Am Loving This Week". How about you?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Chicken "Noodle-O's" Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

A while back I picked up some wheat pasta rings (from "Eating Right!" a Safeway house brand) to try. Feeling congested and a little under the weather last week and wanting to knock it out of my system, I decided some garlicky chicken noodle soup would be the cure I needed, and the wheat rings the perfect addition. (There is just something infinitely comforting about chicken soup made with pasta in fun shapes). I put a free range chicken and some veggies in the slow cooker on low overnight to make some healthy homemade stock and cooked chicken, and loaded the soup up with noodles and garlic. A delicious, and natural home cure for whatever ails you and it reminded me of a childhood favorite, Campbell's Noodle-O's soup--only much, much better!

Homemade Chicken Noodle-O's Soup
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 servings)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped 
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock or broth (homemade or use use a good low sodium broth)
1 heaping Tbsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups whole wheat pasta rings or other whole wheat pasta
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed

Heat large stockpot over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add carrots, celery and minced garlic and saute until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add stock, dried parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in pasta rings and cook as package directs (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally until pasta is tender. Add chicken and heat 5 minutes until warmed through. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Notes/Results: The rich, garlicky stock was just the thing to knock out whatever was in my system. I made mine full of the pasta, chicken and veggies so it was two parts soup to one part noodle bowl. Not the most exotic soup but it tasted great and sometimes a classic is just what you need. The pasta rings were not as chewy as most whole wheat pasta (I think you could easily sneak them in and kids wouldn't notice), and I liked the fact they offered a bit more fiber (about 3g per half cup), than normal pasta. I would make this again. 

Let's see who has a soup, salad or sandwich to share in the Souper Sunday Kitchen today:

Welcome Danielle from Cooking for My Peace of Mind, joining us from Southern California and making her first appearance at Souper Sundays. Danielle says, "The other day I wasn't feeling well but I was in the mood to cook something. I came across an old old mini cookbook that use to be my mother in laws: The All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook. I came across Minestrone. It sounded easy enough. And I had everything I needed to make it. Fannie says the soup should be very thick.I forgot to garnish with Parmesan Cheese (blame it on the cold)....but I didn't forget my homemade Italian Style Herb Bread...."

After ages of not being able to locate black-eyed peas and heirloom tomatoes at the same time, Kim from Stirring the Pot was finally able to get them both and make this beautiful salad of Heirloom Tomatoes and Black-Eyed Peas from Tyler Florence. Kim says, "We enjoyed it and would eat it again, but agreed that we missed the cheese like a Caprese salad would offer. This salad was stunning in presentation and would be healthier than a Caprese, a good option for anyone watching what they eat.

Chaya from both Chaya's Comfy Cook Blog and Sweet and Savory Says It All made salad on both blogs this week. First up, this Thai Slaw Salad. Chaya says, "This is a salad that I am going to add to my repertoire for the Sabbath. It is was crisp and tasty. We all enjoyed it. It is colorful and adds to the “soul” of the table."

Next she made this Red Salad by Nigella Lawson, saying, "When, I was a child, most of our salads had tomatoes and onions in them. No, we did not have the beans. That has been appreciated only recently. Yet, when I see those tomatoes, I think of my Mom's salads, a bit more "traditional" with greens rather than beans to make the salad. Those luscious tomatoes that we used to grow in our garden bring back fond memories."

Debby from A Feast for the Eyes used a basket of fresh figs to make some fig jam and then turned it into this delectable Brie and Fig Jam Panini. Debby says "Heaven, I tell you. My husband gave this five stars. I caught him rooting in the fridge for more fig jam. It's gone. I'm crossing my fingers that, tomorrow, I can buy more fresh figs. I want to make a lot more of this jam! Figs and Brie are meant for one another. Next time, I'd be very tempted to add caramelized, sweet onion to this sandwich... or maybe I'd add prosciutto!"

Also getting figgy with brie is Joanne from Eats Well With Others who snuck a small ziploc container of the little beauties from her Dad's fig tee on her last visit. She sliced her figs and paired them with the perfect cheese in this Grilled Fig and Brie Sandwich. Gorgeous! BTW, Joanne is hosting Regional Recipes this month and it is Scandinavian food, so if you have a hankering for Swedish Meatballs or Danish Ebelskivers, go visit Joanne to get the details for taking part in this event. 

Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies had a lot going on in her kitchen this weekend starting with homemade Kaiser rolls which morphed into Meatball Subs and finally a salad of Cherry Tomatoes with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing She says,"This weekend my son asked me to make him meatball subs, so I thought that would be a great way to showcase my kaisers.  I used a Rachel Ray recipe, for the meatballs, jarred marinara sauce, and a lovely topping of caramelized onions and beet greens. I thought of this topping in the eleventh hour, it added a nice adult touch to our subs, very tasty indeed. I served my garden baby tomatoes on a bed of greens with this light and delicious dressing."

Some wonderful recipes again this week--thanks to everyone who shared. If you have a recipe you want to share for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays, click on the logo on the side bar for all the details.

Note: I am posting a bit early today and before the noon (HST) deadline since my Mom is here and I want to get her out of the house rather than sitting around watching me blog. So if you still have an entry for this week, I'll add it to the round-up tonight. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Peach-Mango Lassi--A Healthy "Simple Saturday Sipper"

I forgot to plan a "Simple Saturday Sipper" for this week, but with a very muggy afternoon it felt like the perfect time to make a cooling lassi, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make one. This Peach-Mango Lassi is full of fruit and non-fat Greek Yogurt with a touch of cardamon and rose water. It's the perfect delicious and healthy snack with plenty of calcium, fiber and vitamins A & C. 

Peach-Mango Lassi
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt 
1/2 cup nonfat milk (I often use almond milk)
1/2 cup frozen peach slices
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp rose water (optional)
1 pinch ground cardamon

Place all ingredients in blender and blend about 1-2 minutes until well blended and frothy. Pour into a glass and serve.

Notes/Results: Cool, refreshing and soothing, perfect for breakfast or as a pick-me-up on a warm afternoon. The rose water and cardamon give it an exotic taste that complements the peach and mango. Easy and delicious! (& my Mom liked it too--she is finally breaking her diet soda habit. Yay Mom!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Tyler "Twofer"--Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic

This week I have two recipes for Tyler Florence Fridays. The first, Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana is a repeat for me, I made it back in December of last year and really enjoyed it, and recently found myself craving it again. I decided to serve it with Tyler's Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic, (substituting some baby Yukon gold potatoes for the fingerlings). My Mom arrived today for a visit and I thought that these two dishes, combined with a simple salad, would be an easy but delicious dinner for her first night.

The recipes can be found at Food Network, the veal here and the potatoes here.

Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romana
Eat This Book, Tyler Florence
(Serves 4)

4 (5-ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets (scallopini)
4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the veal cutlets side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece of veal and cover with another piece of plastic. Gently flatten the cutlets with a rolling pin or meat mallet, until the pieces are about 1/4-inch thick and the prosciutto has adhered to the veal. Remove the plastic wrap and lay a couple of sage leaves in the center of each cutlet. Weave a toothpick in and out of the veal to secure the prosciutto and sage.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic
Tyler's Ultimate, Tyler Florence
(Makes 2-4 servings)

2 pints fingerling potatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for sheet pan
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking sheet inside to heat. Add potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan. Place potatoes in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.

Notes/Results:  Delicious dinner. Saltimbocca means "jumps in mouth" and once again, this recipe certainly did. The veal cutlets at Whole Foods were pretty tiny, even pounded and rolled out, so I used just a half piece of prosciutto on each. They were incredibly tender though and paired so nicely with the sage. In addition to serving it with a wedge of lemon, I like to add the juice of a lemon to the sauce and find that it really brightens the dish. If you don't do veal, try the recipe with chicken, so you don't miss out. For the potatoes, although the recipe doesn't say to cut them, I like crispy sides, so I cut them in half and placed them on the pre-heated pan cut side down for about 25 minutes and they were perfect. To get some green on the plate, I made a simple salad of lettuce from my CSA box and local tiny sweet tomatoes with a vinaigrette dressing. A wonderful dinner that only looks like you made an effort, and my Mom loved it. Both recipes are keepers for me.

You can check out what the rest of our TFF members made this week and what they thought of their recipe picks by going to the TFF site here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Indian-Spiced Fish "Tacos" with Curried Tomato Yogurt Sauce--From Indecision Comes Inspiration

A stop by Whole Foods on my way home today led me by the fish counter where they had a good price on fresh, local opah (moonfish). Opah is perfect for making fish tacos so I bought a piece for dinner, intending to knock some quick tacos out. By the time I got home, tacos sounded good but my mood shifted and I kind of wanted curry and I thought I might use the opah in a fish curry of some sort instead. Tacos or curry? Curry or tacos? I just couldn't decide which sounded better. Finally I thought, why not have them both and make Indian-Spiced Fish "Tacos" using my favorite Whole Foods whole wheat naan bread? Perfect! I had some leftover tomato puree from making pan con tomates  that needed to be used so I added curry powder and non-fat Greek yogurt to make a flavorful sauce. In about 15 minutes, I had a delicious dish on the table and both cravings were fulfilled. 

Indian-Spiced Fish "Tacos" with Curried Tomato Yogurt Sauce
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 2)

8 ounces firm fish of your choice (I used opah)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
olive oil or pan spray
2 whole wheat naan or flatbread
eCurried Tomato Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
shredded green lettuce
parsley or cilantro for garnish

Cut fish into thin slices. Mix whole wheat flour, curry, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper together and place in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge fish pieces in flour mixture, coating both sides and set aside. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add a light coating of olive oil or pan spray. Add fish pieces and cook about 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness of fish) until fish is cooked through and flaky. Drain on paper towel covered plate. Warm naan in oven or in pan on stove. Spread warmed naan with the Curried Tomato Yogurt Sauce. On one side, add shredded lettuce, parsley or cilantro and top with fish. Fold and enjoy!

Curried Tomato Yogurt Sauce
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(makes a bit more than 1/2 cup)

3 Tbsp tomato puree (fresh baby Roma tomatoes whirred in the mini chop and seasoned with salt and pepper).
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

Blend tomato puree, curry powder and yogurt together in a bowl. Season to taste with additional salt & pepper if needed. Serve

Notes/Results: YUM! These tacos were delicious, a great combination of flavors and textures. The lightly spicy fish, combined with the crunchy lettuce and cool yogurt sauce was perfect in the soft, warm naan bread. I was going for speed, ease and what I had on hand here but you could add more veggies, lentils, even some chutney for a little sweetness to change it up a bit. A very quick, yummy dinner that is pretty healthy too. I will make these again. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe

This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "Family Favorites" so since Max's favorite dinner is just a bowl of tuna, I figured I should go with one of mine. I have lot of "favorites" that I eat for dinner, but when I am tired, it has been a busy week and I really am not much in the mood to fuss with anything, I crave carbs, usually in the form of some kind of pasta with some type of cheese. It seems like I always have pasta in the pantry cupboard and good cheese in the fridge so I can whip up a simple, tasty dish in 15-20 minutes. I went with Nigella's version of Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe (or really just pasta with cheese and pepper), from her cookbook, Forever Summer (on page 40). Since I am madly running around getting ready for my Mom to visit this week, I was happy to have such an easy comfort food dish to enjoy.  

Nigella says, "This is another gloriously simple, intensely flavored pasta, best eaten quickly and hungrily under a warm sun though the deep heat of the pepper is gratifyingly warming on cold winter nights. I list pecorino cheese here rather than Parmesan, simply because, in the first instance, that's how I came across it (In Rome, many summers ago) and in the second, because I love its sharper, sourer edge. Sometimes, though, I use Parmesan I always have hanging about, with the zest of a lemon, or half of one, grated in alongside. You need the black pepper really quite coarsely ground here (though not quite so coarsely as to induce a coughing fit), so if you can't adjust your pepper mill, bash some peppercorns in a pestle and mortar instead." 

Capellini Con Cacio E Pepe
Forever Summer, Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4 as a starter; or 2 as a main course)

10 ounces capellini
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
10 Tbsp freshly grated pecorino Romano
1 Tbsp black peppercorns coarsely ground

Put a panful of water on to boil for the pasta; once it's come to a boil, add salt then the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Just before you drain it, though, remove a coffee cupful of its cooking water.

So drain the pasta and add the butter to the hot pan and then tip in the capellini and toss well, dribbling in a tablespoonful or so of cooking liquid as you do so. Now add the grated pecorino and coarse black pepper and toss well in the residual heat of the pan--adding a little more pasta-cooking liquid if you need the lubrication--before tipping into warmed bowls.

Notes/Results: Perfect! Creamy and cheesy with a kick from the black pepper, this is a very simple and very delicious dish. You have to love such a low-effort recipe with big flavor results. I actually used a thick spaghetti rather than a capellini because it was what I had on hand, although I do like a slightly sturdier pasta like this when cheese is involved. Nice with a side salad or if it has been a tough week, just consume most of the bowl of pasta while sitting cross-legged on the couch, preferably without thinking any deep thoughts. ;-)

Max with his "Family Favorite
(He would look up, but that would require him to stop eating so he really can't be bothered with being polite) ;-)

In addition to it being my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs, I am also sending this dish to Presto Pasta Nights being hosted this week by Sara of imafoodblog. Check out the PPN round-up on her site on Friday. There are always so many wonderful pasta recipes to enjoy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things I Am Loving This Week

Fall is on my brain lately. Even though here in Hawaii we don't have the turning of the leaves and the crisp cold weather, I still try to get into the spirit of my favorite season through food and drink. So here are the "Things I Am Loving This Week", the autumn edition. ;-)

Fall makes me think of apples and some of my favorite desserts and baked goods include this delicious fruit--like apple pies, apple cakes, apple muffins and especially apple crisps and crumbles. I saw this recipe for Apple Crumble with Oats in a magazine (Heart Healthy Living) in a waiting room and sneakily ripped it out (yes I am THAT annoying person). From Fitness Guru, Denise Austin, it is low fat, low cholesterol and heart healthy which I love. Plus it makes the kitchen smell like a little bit of heaven when it is baking. I love that it isn't as sweet as other crumbles so the apple flavor really comes through. With a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt, it is the perfect fall dessert. 

Apple Crumble with Oats
By Denise Austin, Heart Healthy Living Magazine
(Makes 6 servings)

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 Golden Delicious apples, cut into thin wedges
1 Tbsp fresh lemon
Frozen yogurt or low-fat vanilla yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix with a fork until combined. Add butter, cutting in with a fork until the mixture forms clumps. 

In a large bowl, toss the apples with 2 Tbsp water, lemon juice, and remaining 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over the apples. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve warm with frozen yogurt, if desired.

Per Serving (2/3 cup): 137 cal., 3g total fat (1g sat. fat), 5 mg chol., 17mg sodium, 27g carbs., 3g fiber, 3g protein.

Sometimes I want a little something salty and crunchy and right now I am munching on and loving these Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips from Food Should Taste Good, and they put me in a fall mood. Perfectly crunchy, nutty and just slightly sweet they are great with dip but also perfectly delicious on their own. 

I like that they have a short, natural ingredient list (stone ground corn, high oleic sunflower and/or safflower oil, sweet potato, corn bran, evaporated cane juice & sea salt), the fact that they are gluten and dairy free, low in sodium and are a good source of fiber. They are baked first and then lightly fried in a small amount of high oleic oil, (monounsaturated and trans fat free), giving them a great crunch. What more do you need in a snack chip? 

Of course I can, (and do), drink it pretty-much year-round, but it is still nice to get into the autumn season with one of my favorite hot teas, the Sweet Cranberry Black Tea blend by Tevana

Made with Ceylon black tea, blackberry and pieces of dried cranberry, it has a naturally sweet and fruity flavor that is perfect any time of day. I especially love it hot for breakfast with a muffin or English muffin and jam. This tea is sweet and "juicy" enough that it works great as an iced tea as well, no sugar needed.

So these are the "Things I Am Loving" this week. How about you? Anything you are loving for fall?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pasta & Bean Soup with Smoked Fish for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I found the recipe for this week's soup in a newsletter for Vital Choice Seafood from which I have ordered wild salmon and other seafood. I saw this recipe for Pasta & Bean Soup with Smoked Fish, a different take on a pasta e fagioli, and thought it sounded interesting. The recipe uses smoked sablefish but says that you can substitute with salmon or other smoked fish so with a trip to Whole Foods fish counter, I ended up with some smoked black cod and some local smoked swordfish. Served with a slice of pan con tomate or grilled bred rubbed with garlic and tomato it was a delicious dinner.

Pasta/Bean Soup with Smoked Fish
From Vital Choice Seafood, adapted from a recipe by J.M. Hirsch. 
(Makes 4 servings)

3 Tbsps organic extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
Leaves from one sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp chopped organic rosemary)
1 large yellow onion, diced
15-ounce can navy beans, drained
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups ditalini (or other small) pasta
8 ounces (2 fillet portions) smoked fish like sablefish, salmon or swordfish
Sea salt and organic black pepper, to taste

Heat a large saucepan to medium, and add the oil, garlic, cayenne, rosemary leaves, and onion. Sauté onion about 8 minutes (do not burn). Add the beans and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the soup is chunky smooth, return to the saucepan and stir well. Add the pasta and return the soup to a simmer. Break the fish into bite-size chunks, discarding any bones. Add the fish to the soup and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the fish is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Notes/Results: GoodThis is a very rich, thick and slightly decadent soup with a slight kick from the cayenne pepper and a smokiness from the smoked fish. For my soup, I ended up pureeing one can of navy beans and then adding an additional can when I put in the pasta. I couldn't find the ditalini pasta anywhere so I used some mini "wagon wheels" instead. I also added the juice of one lemon to add a bit of acidity to the soup. Although it is so rich, I wouldn't eat this soup often, I would make it again. 

The pan con tomate or tomato bread was the perfect pairing with the soup. Just brush a piece of good bread with a little olive oil and grill it on both sides. Then rub the cut end of a garlic clove all over the bread and then the cut side of a tomato (or if you are like me and only have little baby roma tomatoes, you can pulverize them in your mini-chop and spread it on the bread). Finally drizzle a bit more olive oil on the bread and sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Let's see who is in the Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays Kitchen this week:

Graiziana from Erbe in Cucina went with an Indian favorite this week. She says, "Daal is one of my favourite indian dishes: it's a legume spiced soup made with every kind (and colour!) of lentils. I tried Madhuram's Zucchini Daal from the blog Madhuram's Eggless Cooking, that uses also zucchini and black mustard. Madhuram uses cooked Toor Dal, in my recipe you will also find the direction to cook it."

Looking for the perfect lettuce wraps gave Alisa of One Frugal Foodie this gorgeous Creamy Thai Tomato Soup. Alisa says, "I decided to go with a different inspiration, one with a tomato-y base. I used a recipe as my general guide, and all seemed to be going well, until I added the coconut milk. Way, way too much. The seasonings were so diluted in the sauce that I knew the remaining chunks of veggies and meat wouldn’t be flavorful enough on their own. I was about to give in, serve them in the lettuce wraps, and chalk it up as another mediocre attempt when something compelled me to just give the sauce a little taste to see if it was worth salvaging in some other way. IT WAS DELICIOUS. I seriously impressed myself. Not wanting to waste a drop, I added more light coconut milk and served it up as a chunky soup / stew. We licked our bowls clean within mere minutes."

Kait from Pots and Plots says, "When I called for inspiration last week on what I could do with leftover tomato paste, my Twitter pal Mamastephf was kind enough to send her recipe for White Bean-Turkey Chili. It sounded divine and pretty light, so of course I had to make it. I did make a few changes based on what I had on hand and adapted it to the crock pot for Thoughtless Thursday. The end result? Big yum! So this was definitely a recipe I have to share for Souper Sunday over at Kahakai Kitchen."

Welcome to Libby from Cooking with Libby, joining us for the first time with her Libby's Homemade Chicken Soup. She says, "For the past few days, everyone in my family has been sick. Either we have caught some kind of cold virus or we all decided to come down with sinus infections at the same time. In any event, this soup was on my list of things to I made it last night...sore throat and all. I don't regret making it because the moment I started eating it, I felt 10 times better! There is something about homemade chicken soup that is so comforting and healing."

Another new face this week is Sylwia from Unsifted. Sylwia made a Broccoli Red Pepper Cheddar Chowder for her daughter who got pushed down at school and ended up with a very sore mouth. Sylwia says, "Since this incident she of course can't eat all the things that she normally would, so I have to be creative with what I serve her...It seems that soup is a good solution. Olivia loves cheddar-broccoli soup so I decided to make a variation of it for her. This recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine, December 2001 issue. It was a nice variation of the classic flavors. I liked the addition of red pepper and potato. It was a truly delightful soup! You will really love it if you are a fan of cheddar-broccoli." Hope Olivia is feeling better. 

Back with a Thai-Style Chicken Soup is Debby from A Feast for the Eyes. Debby says, "I found this particular recipe in Cook's Illustrated in 2007, and I have made this several times-- always with great results. What I like about this version is that you don't need to find an exotic market to find the ingredients. This soup comes really close to the authentic Tom Ga Ka Thai soup from my favorite restaurant. We love it! It's very simple to make, and the red curry paste gives a nice little kick to the soup."

Kim from Stirring the Pot cooks so many Tyler recipes her husband has given him a nickname,"T-Flo"  Kim says, "Tonight I made T Flo's Crispy Asian Chicken Salad. It was easy and didn't require a sink full of dirty dishes! (Bonus points for Tyler) I loved everything about this salad and found it a welcome change to all the heavy Italian dishes, desserts and home cooking. I love the crunch of the wonton crisps, the bite of the sesame seeds, and the overall appeal of all the colors in this salad. It is a unique salad that is sure to please. I love the fact that I can feel good about eating this week's T Flo recipe."

Chaya from Sweet and Savory Says It All is busy cooking for the jewish holiday but managed to cook Paula Dean's Potato Salad. Chaya says, "Tyler Florence has a top notch potato salad and I should make it again but this also looks delicious. It is more fun to try new recipes so Paula wins - this time. A whole month of holy days......cook, cook, cook.... My blog will be full soon."

The Big Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad was on the menu for Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. Natashya says, "This salad has classic pub flavours of buffalo chicken and a lemony caesar vinaigrette. My recipe serves two dinner sized salads, but can easily be multiplied. Perfect with a cold beer! Cook up a couple of extra chicken breasts at the same time, they are handy to have in the fridge for quick sammies, salads, pizzas or pastas."

Joanne at Eats Well with Others loves her brie and homemade cranberry sauce too and she combined them into this Cranberry Chutney and Brie Sandwich. Joanne says, "If you know me, you know about my obsession with all things that involve brie cheese. My favorite way to eat it is baked and smothered in cranberry sauce. All that being said, just popping a wheel of brie into the oven with some cranberry sauce and then expecting myself to exercise any kind of self control over not eating the whole thing is a ludicrous suggestion. So I made it into a sandwich."

In addition to her chicken soup, Libby from Cooking with Libby also made Cooking Light's Monte Cristo Sandwiches this week. She says, "At first glance, it really looks like french toast. Once you take your first bite into it, you will find out quick that it is nothing like french toast. Of course, even though they were good, my husband was quick to point out that they are no substitute for the *real* Monte Cristo sandwiches that you can purchase at restaurants such as Bennigan's. I was quick to remind him that the recipe did come from a healthy cookbook, which is why it tastes a little on the *lighter* side :)"

And there you have it--this weeks wonderful dishes. Thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad, sandwich or combo of any, and want to share it, click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all the details.

Have a great week!