Friday, June 18, 2010
I love grilled cheese sandwiches. The toasty, buttered bread and the gooey cheese are soooooo good! I could eat multiple grilled cheese sandwiches every single day, if I didn't care about being healthy.
But sometimes you've just gotta have a grilled cheese. So to make it a bit more filling and healthy, I cut back on the cheese and bulked it up with some turkey, avocado and sliced tomatoes. And I added a bit of a kick by using sourdough chile bread from Fresh and Easy. Yummy!
Turkey, Avo, & Tomato Grilled Cheese
Source: A Cooking in Cucamonga Original
2 slices sourdough chile bread
turkey lunch meat
sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 avocado, sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced
Heat a pan on the stove over medium low heat.
Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.
Slice 4 small slices of cheese.
Place one piece of bread on the hot pan, buttered side down, and top with 2 slices of cheese. Add a few slices of turkey, followed by the tomato and avocado slices, then topped with the remaining 2 slices of cheese. Set the 2nd slice of bread on top of the sandwich, buttered side up and gently press down for 2-3 seconds.
Grill your sandwich on medium low heat for a few minutes (about 3-4 minutes) until the bread is golden and toasty, and the bottom layer of cheese is soft and slightly melty.
Using a wide spatula, gently flip your sandwich over, cooking until the bread is golden and toasty.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I've been craving mussels for over a year now. At the start of last summer, the husband and I road tripped it on up to San Francisco for a long weekend and while we were there we met up with some friends of mine for dinner at Q, where our group shared a bowl of mussels in broth. The dish was incredibly good and we greedily soaked up the broth with hunks of warm bread. That dinner stayed in my mind throughout the trip, and in the year since then I've had a longing to recreate the meal.
I spotted mussels at a decent price in the seafood section of Henry's recently, so I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe (well, not really. I just picked the first hit on Google) and got to work. While mussels do take a bit of prep work, since you have to soak them, this is not a difficult or extremely laborious dish. My best advice would be to chop the garlic, shallots, and parsley while the mussels are soaking, rather than lounging on the couch watching Real Housewives of NYC.
Debearding the mussels is a bit weird--it feels like they are fighting back as you yank their beards off (maybe they are?)--but it's better than eating that hairy stuff attached to them. Make sure you scrape off any barnacles or other ocean debris on the outside of the shells as well.
Use a good white wine, as it is the base of the broth, and serve each bowl of mussels with a big hunk of crusty bread. Bon appetite!
White Wine Mussels
Source: Adapted from Food Network, Barefoot in Paris (Ina Garten)
3 pounds fresh mussels
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5-7 shallots)
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic (5-6 garlic cloves)
1 pint grape tomatoes, whole
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Fill a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and add the flour. Pour in the mussels and let soak for 30 minutes to dredge any sand. (My mussels opened a bit, gently sighed, then closed and sank. It was cute.)
Drain the water and rinse off the mussels. Throw away any with open shells. Using your fingers, grasp the beards and pull off. (I found the best way to do this was yank the beard quickly towards the top of the shell.) Scrub the shells with a brush to remove any lingering debris.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent.
Add the tomatoes, thyme (I throw the whole branch in), parsley, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. As the tomatoes soften, gently smash them with the back of a wooden spoon to incorporate their juice into the broth.
Add the mussels, stir them once or twice, then cover and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mussels are opened (throw away any that don't open). Shake the pot once or twice to ensure the bottom mussels don't burn.
Serve the mussels in a bowl with the broth and a hunk of bread.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The husband and I went to my parents' house, along with my brother and his wife, for a Memorial Day BBQ and my mom asked me to bring a dessert. I figured what better way to kick off the summer than with a cherry pie?
Though the picture is pathetic, this was a really tasty pie. Make sure you use tart cherries; the sugar will make sweet cherries too sweet for this recipe.
Source: Shared by an online cooking acquaintance (from Musselman's canned cherries)
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) red tart pitted cherries
1 cup reserved cherry juice
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9" pie dish and gently press in a pie crust.
Drain the cherries, making sure to reserve 1 cup of the liquid.
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in the reserved cherry liquid until the mixture is smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles.
Cook an additional minute until the mixture is thick.
Remove from heat and stir in butter, cherries, and almond extract.
Pour into prepared crust. Top with a lattice or vented crust (I cut out pie crust starts to top my filling).
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. (Note: I placed my pie on a baking sheet to capture any boil over of the pie filling.)
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The husband and I are still on our health kick, though I think it is becoming more of a lifestyle than just a phase. We've both improved in our running abilities, we've been keeping our commitment to run at least 3 days a week (the husband actually works out about 5 days a week!), and we're starting to see some results on the scale. I even ran my first 5K recently, finishing in 32:47 and 310th out of 1,000 runners (and 27th in my age group)!
All of this healthy living has also affected my cooking; We've been trying to eat healthier at home and limit the amount of baked goods and sweets, replacing junky snacks with fruit and baby carrots.
One of our favorite healthy snacks is hummus and I've been buying it by the truckload from Fresh & Easy. Since we not only like to be healthy, but we also like to save money, I decided to try making hummus myself; A can of garbanzo beans is less than 75 cents and homemade ensures that there's no funky additives or weird processing.
Even with the added step of making my own tahini, this homemade hummus was incredibly easy and tasted fabulous! The husband was skeptical, but after a bite, and then another, followed by a few more, he became a believer. We like to eat our hummus with carrot sticks....well, the husband also likes to make hummus sandwiches...but you could spread it on pita, dip crackers in it, or use it as a spread for turkey sandwiches. How do you eat your hummus?
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
1 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans
6 tablespoons tahini (see note at bottom for homemade tahini)
4 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 - 1/2 cayenne, depending on your heat preferences
Process the garbanzo beans, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne in a food processor until ground, about 15-20 seconds. Scrape down the sides.
With the machine running, add the lemon juice and water through the food tube. Scrape down the sides and process for another minute.
With the machine running, add the tahini and olive oil through the food tube, continuing to process until the hummus is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until serving.
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
Toast the sesame seeds on the stove in a large pan over high heat. Stir them gently as they toast to keep them from burning.
Once sesame seeds are golden brown, pour them into the bowl of your food processor. Add half the oil and process until crumbly.
Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the oil and continue processing until the sesame seeds form a paste (this took me about 2 minutes or so). Scrape down the sides and under the metal blade periodically.
This will yield a scant 6 Tablespoons of tahini.
Monday, June 14, 2010
The USB cord for my camera is still MIA. But never fear, I just bought a memory card reader at Big Lots for $10 and uploaded all the pics on my camera. So, once I get the laundry going and vaccum the living room (the husband leaves me long To Do lists in the summer since he is jealous of my time off), I will post a new recipe.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The husband has misplaced my camera cord, so I am unable to upload any pictures. Therefore, I am on a blogging hiatus for another week until we either A) find the cord or B) Order a new one. Blogging food without pictures is lame.
Don't forget about me while I am gone!
Don't forget about me while I am gone!