Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Spicy Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Potatoes from our friends Scott and Katie's garden and garlic and broccoli from the Farmers Market
as well as
Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon and still didn't find it spicy at all)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch broccoli or broccoli rabe, minced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 pitted black olives, sliced (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and bake, cut side down, on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, until soft. Remove from the oven.
  2. Sauté the garlic and pepper flakes in the oil for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and water, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. When the potato halves are cool, scoop out the centers, leaving 1/4 inch of pulp on the skin. Mash the scooped-out potato pulp and stir it into the stuffing. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Refill the potato skins and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with sliced olives and serve.

Nutritional Information (per 10-oz serving):
228 calories, 5.9g protein, 5.7g fat, 41.4g carbohydrates, 0.7g saturated fatty acids, 0.4g polyunsaturated fatty acids, 1.8g monounsaturated fatty acids, 0mg cholesterol, 333mg sodium, 5.9g total dietary fiber

Notes: Very easy to make. While these bake for a while, prep and cleanup are very easy. I added about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan into the mixture before stuffing the potatoes. What can I say, I love cheese!

Liz's Rating: 9/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Negimaki (Japanese Beef and Scallion Rolls)

The first leg of The Amazing Race, in Tokyo
Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations (adapted from an Epicurious recipe)

  • 12 small scallions, trimmed to 6-inch lengths
  • 1 (1-lb) piece flank steak (roughly 6 to 7 inches square)
  • 1/4 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup mirin* (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Prepare scallions:
    Blanch scallions in a pot ofboiling salted water 45 seconds, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Transfer scallions to paper towels to drain and pat dry.

  2. Prepare beef:
    Cut flank steak with the grain holding a large knife at a 30-degree angle to cutting board into 12 (1/8-inch-thick) slices (1 1/2 to 2 inches wide). Arrange slices 1 inch apart on a very lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, then cover with another very lightly oiled sheet of parchment or plastic wrap (oiled side down) and pound slices with flat side of meat pounder until about 1/16 inch thick.

  3. Assemble rolls:
    Arrange 3 beef slices side by side on a fresh sheet of plastic wrap, overlapping slices slightly to form a 6-inch square with short ends of slices nearest you. Sprinkle square lightly with a pinch of salt, then lay 3 scallions (with some white parts at both ends) across slices at end closest to you and tightly roll up meat around scallions to form a log, using plastic wrap as an aid. Tie log with kitchen string at ends and where meat slices overlap. Make 3 more negimaki rolls in same manner.

  4. Marinate rolls:
    Stir together sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
    Put rolls in a small baking dish and pour marinade over them, turning to coat. Marinate, loosely covered with plastic wrap, turning occasionally, 15 minutes.

  5. Cook rolls:
    Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. While skillet is heating, lift rolls out of marinade, letting excess drip off, and pat dry. (Save marinade.) Add oil to skillet, swirling to coat bottom, then cook rolls, turning with tongs, until well browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer rolls to cutting board. Add marinade to skillet and boil until slightly syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
    Cut off and discard strings, then cut each roll crosswise into 6 slices. Pour sauce into a shallow serving dish and arrange negimaki in sauce.

My Notes:
I love negimaki. We always order it as an appetizer when out for sushi. I thought this was a nice version; the sauce was a little different than what we usually have.

Liz's Rating: 8/10
Tim's Rating: 8.5/10

Next week on The Amazing Race: Vietnam!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Amazing Race: Season 15!

Season 15 of The Amazing Race begins on Sunday, September 27th!

I will be cooking along with the race once again.

The first leg will depart Los Angeles for Tokyo.

You can see the official route map HERE.

Can't wait!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Pomodoro

Amish Paste tomatoes from my garden, chicken from the Farmers Market
Cuisine at Home magazine

  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup scallions, minced

  1. Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dust with flour.
    Saute cutlets in oil. Transfer to a platter; pour off fat from pan
  2. Deglaze pan with vodka (away from heat) and cook until vodka is nearly gone. Add broth and lemon juice. Return cutlets to pan and cook each side 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to a warm plate.
  3. Finish the sauce with tomatoes and cream. Heat through, then pour over cutlets. Garnish with scallions.

Notes: This was fairly easy and a great way to use up some tomatoes from the garden. I doubled the vodka, broth, lemon, and cream and quadrupled the tomatoes; the sauce was delicious!! Don't skip the scallions as they add some good texture and flavor contrast.

Liz's Rating: 8.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Low-Country Seafood Boil

A fall get-together with friends, including our co-host and friend Eric
Captain Jim Lemke and Patrick Nolan's recipe, promoted by Bobby Flay

  • 4 to 6 ounces crab boil spices
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 3 to 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 pounds mushrooms, cleaned
  • 3 to 4 scallions
  • 2 to 3 peeled whole onions
  • 9 ounces hot sauce
  • 10 pounds smoked hot sausage
  • 5 pounds tiny whole potatoes
  • 25 to 30 ears corn
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 7 to 10 pounds mussels
  • 15 to 25 pounds medium or large shrimp

  1. Start with a 20-quart pot filled over 1/3 with fresh cold water. In the pot add crab boil mix to the water. Squeeze juice from 2 of the lemon quarters into the water, and drop in the rinds. Add the garlic cloves, red and green pepper slices, mushrooms, scallions, whole onions, and hot sauce into the water. Bring to a boil, and then add sausage and potatoes. Bring to a second boil, and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes, or until potatoes start to get soft. Add the corn, chopped garlic, and start a count of 5 minutes. Do not wait until water boils. At 5 minutes, add mussels. 3 minutes later, add shrimp. Boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Drain immediately.

  2. Serve with plenty of napkins.

Recipe Notes:
Serves 25-30. For different variations, any seafood could be added to the pot.

My Notes:
  • I don't think it could be much easier for a party planner than choosing a menu that involves only one pot!
  • We had 10 guests and scaled down the recipe to include 2.5lbs sausage, 3lbs potatoes, 10 ears corn, 3lbs mussels, 3lbs shrimp, and 2.5oz Old Bay. We probably had enough to serve 12-15 people.
  • We had a smaller pot for our vegetarian friends, with all ingredients except sausage and seafood. Our friend brought veggie sausage, which was a nice addition.
  • Luckily our friend Eric has a big (16 gallon) pot, and a spoon with a really long handle. Plan on borrowing some large pots if you aren't so lucky!
  • This was a fun event that will likely become an annual experience.

Seafood Boil
Cornbread and Collard Greens, brought by a guest
Peach and Pear Custard Pies, brought by a guest

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust

Heirloom tomatoes from my garden
101 Cookbooks

  • 6 perfect, colorful, medium-sized heirloom tomatoes - washed and sliced 1/6-inch thick

  • 1 t. fine-grain sea salt

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, well chilled + cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • 4-ounce chunk of good fresh Parmesan, microplane-grated (you should end up with about 2 cups loosely packed grated cheese. Save any leftover grated cheese for sprinkling on the crusts when they come out of the oven.)

  • 2 T. ice cold water

  • 2T. best quality extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup slivered basil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  2. Prep the tomatoes:
    To avoid a soggy crust later on, you need to rid the tomatoes of some of their liquid. Clear a space on your counter and put down a double layer of absorbent paper towels. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with about 1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit here until you are ready to use them.

  3. Make the tart crust(s):
    Place both flours, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, punctuated with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2T of ice water. The dough should stick together when your pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

  4. Bake the tart crust:
    Pull the tarts out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and very gently peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Let cool to room temperature before filling.

  5. Assembling the tart: Just before serving, arrange tomato slices in a concentric pattern inside the tart shell. Drizzle with your best quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Notes:
This recipe will make one 9 or 10-inch tart OR five 4 1/2-inch tarts.

My Notes:
WOW! This was fantastic. The tart shell tastes so good-- like a nuttier Parmesan. Make this now, while heirlooms are still in season! It will not be close to as good with pale winter tomatoes.
I used Hungarian Heart and Yellow Pear tomatoes from my garden.
This is perfect for a light lunch. Serve with salad tossed with vinaigrette.

Liz's Rating: 10/10

Monday, September 7, 2009

Moosewood Restaurant's Lower-Fat Macaroni and Cheese

Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 c 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 c skim milk or buttermilk
  • 1 t dried mustard or 1 T prepared mustard
  • pinch of cayenne (or more)
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c grated onions
  • 1 c grated sharp cheddar (4 oz.)
  • 1/2 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni (or other tubular pasta)
  • 2 T finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare square (9 or 10 inch) baking pan with a light spray of oil.

  2. In a blender, combine cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. (I used my immersion blender.) In a large bowl, combine pureed mixture with the onions, cheddar and uncooked macaroni. Stir well. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture into the baking pan. Combine the grated Pecoino or Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over top.

  3. Bake about 45 minutes, until topping is browned and the center is firm.

    Serves 4.

Recipe Notes:
Probably no macaroni and cheese could meet the nutritional needs of a heart patient, but this version is a vast improvement healthwise, especially for kids who eat it a lot.

My Notes:
Tim and I have been attempting to eat a little more healthfully-- more fruits and vegetables, less meat, lots of fiber and protein. However, once in awhile you just need some macaroni and cheese. This recipe is really quite delicious considering how much less fat it has than a traditional macaroni and cheese recipe, like Paula Deen's.

Nutritional Information:
Per 10-oz serving: 471 calories, 30.7g protein, 13.2g fat, 55.7g carbohydrates, 7.7g saturated fatty acids, 0.8g polyunsaturated fatty acids, 3.7g monounsaturated fatty acids, 38mg cholesterol, 1008mg sodium, 1.9g total dietary fiber.

Liz's Rating: 9/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10