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Archive for March, 2009

broccolini

DING DING!!! IT’S THE BONUS RECIPE CHALLENGE!!!

This month’s challenge was Sauteed Broccolini, chosen by Mary Ann of Meet Me In The Kitchen.  Good choice Mary Ann, as this dish went perfectly well with the Chicken Piccata in the last post.  My first challenge with this dish was actually finding the broccolini.  Luckily I went to the store armed with the visual aid of the pretty picture from the website.  So, I went up and down the produce aisle in Sainsbury until I found it.  True, I could have asked someone, but I’ve had enough odd looks from the employees there in the past when asking for “American” things that I was just not going there.  (FYI: Some things that get odd looks: canned pumpkin, corn meal, fat free cheese… the list goes on.)  Sigh… 8 more days and I’ll be back on American soil!

SO….. this dish was ridiculously simple.  Blanch the broccolini, or ‘Tender Stem Broccoli” as it was called, in hot salted water.  Then saute it in a pan for like 2 minutes with some stuff.  The end.  And, it was delish!

 

Here is the recipe:

Sauteed Broccolini

Source: Ina Garten

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to pull it all together

  • Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.
  • Melt the butter in a large saute pan.  Add the lemon zest  and garlic and stir.  Drain the broccolini and add it to the garlic mixture and heat for 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, and toss well before serving.

If you care to join us at the Barefoot Bloggers click here to link to the site and hop aboard! :o)

PS: To make this South Beach and/or WW friendly, you can replace the butter with a trans fat free spread.

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chicken-piccata-2

 

So the Barefoot Blogger recipe for March was chosen by Lindsey of Noodle Nights & Muffin Mornings.  Lindsey chose Ina’s Chicken Piccata!  Sounds great and it went well with one of this month’s Bonus Recipe Challenges.  This recipe was a bit different then my usual recipe for Chicken Piccata, but since we’re all about branching out from the familiar I gave it a whirl.  And I have to say, I was a bit disappointed!  I know.. I know… disappointed with an Ina recipe?  I can’t even really say disappointed because it tasted fine.  Seriously, it was actually pretty good.  It just didn’t taste like  Chicken Piccata to me.  Where were the capers???  That was the big missing thing for me… Also, I wasn’t a fan of breading the chicken.  It tasted good, but it also just tasted like a breaded and fried chicken cutlet with a lemon sauce.  So while it was a pretty yummy meal, it just wasn’t what I expected, and I will be sticking with my regular go to recipe for Chicken Piccata.  (Will post soon, as it’s on the menu this week.)

Here is the recipe:

Chicken Piccata

Source: Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • Good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine ( Note, never use a wine in cooking you wouldn’t willingly drink by the glass)  
  • Sliced lemon, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line the sheet pan with parchment paper. ( I skipped this part, it was fine)
  • Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4 ” thick. ( I skipped this because I’m lazy. I just used my fillet knife to thin them out and it was fine. I do it all the time).  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow plate.  In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon water together.  Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. 
  • Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Here are some visual aides:

flour

egg bread-crumb

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat.  Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5-10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  • For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel.  Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes.
  • Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine.  Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate.  Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and sprinkling of parsley.

 

 wine-label I used Wolf Blass Chardonnay Semillon 2007  

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greek-bean-stew-with-feta-2

 

I ♥ FETA!!

And…. I’m starting to like beans.  But only certain ones… not the nasty ones! Let’s just make that very clear.  However, in an effort to expand the repertoireof recipes I make I happened upon this one.  Once again, I was a sucker for marketing. Yup, the pretty picture in the cookbook sucked me in!  Reading through the ingredient list it sounded pretty simple and non yucky (even with the beans). I mean, how can you go wrong with yummy, tangy, creamy feta cheese?  You can’t!  So I tried it out and had it for dinner as hubby is at some Darts and Snooker night (weird British Pub thing… don’t ask).  Anywho… it was super delish and very filling!  I find beans in general kind of confusing… especially over here in England as sometimes they are called something different.  So, I just looked at the picture in the cookbook and tried to match it to one of the cans in the local Sainsbury.  Turns out I used butter beans… they were good even plain!  I may be converted yet! 

The recipe is from the book Good Cooking, The New Basics by Jill Dupleix.  So far, everything I’ve tried out of this book has been awesome!  The little trivia portion of the recipe says that the traditional beans to be used are dried gigantes(What the heck is that? Sounds a bit scary!).  It then goes on to say that since those beans need overnight soaking (too much work for me) you can use canned jumbo lima (hurl!), cannellini (um ok) or red kidney beans (shudder unless they are in chili).  I (as you can read above) just matched the pictures like a 3 year old would.  And I’m glad I did!

This recipe is both South Beach and WW friendly (ballpark @ 5 pts per serving, but you can get it lower)… it can be made more so by halving the amount of olive oil and replacing with cooking spray… you can also use low fat feta and replace the sugar with a sweetener.

 

Here is the recipe:

Greek Bean Stew with Feta

Source: Good Cooking, The New Basics by Jill Dupleix

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled (dur? why do they put that on there? Like you’re going to cook the onion in it’s skin whole? eww!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (I minced mine up with the knife)
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (you can replace with a sweetener I would think if you are carb counting, although I don’t think 1 tbs will kill you)
  • 3 cups canned beans
  • 4 oz feta cheese

How to pull it all together:

  • Halve and finely slice the onion. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion until soft but not browned. 
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and 2 cups water. 
  • Stir in bay leaves, parsley, half the dill, the sea salt, pepper, paprika, and sugar, bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer, partially covered, until nice and thick, 20-30 minutes.  Drain and rinse beans, then add them to the stew and simmer gently for 10 minutes longer.
  • Rinse the feta cheese (I didn’t do this), pat dry, and cut into chunky cubes.  Add to the pan and simmer until the cheese is soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve in small bowls, drizzled with a little extra olive oil (I didn’t do this either) and sprinkled with the remaining dill.  Serve hot or room temperature, with some warm flat bread and a Greek salad.

 

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banana-blueberry-muffins

            Here is another sneaky recipe to get some fruit and veg into your picky eaters.  I’ve adapted this recipe from one for Banana Bread.  The original recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively DeliciousThese muffins are so good you won’t even know your eating veggies!  This is the second time I’ve made them and although they were good they were not as sweet as the first time.  I think that is because my fruit was not overly ripe.  The bananas still had a bit of green tint on the tops and the blueberries I stupidly didn’t taste before tossing in the mixing bowl.  If that is the case, you may want to add additional sugar. 

Ok… here is the original recipe.  I’ve put my modifications in italics. (I just discovered how to change color! Dur!)

Banana Bread

Source: Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld

Makes a 9×5 inch loaf, 2 mini loafs, or 12 big muffins

  • Non stick cooking spray  I used muffin cups, so no need for spray
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour  I used all purpose flour, due to dietary restrictions in my house
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) I tend to add a dash more :o)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups banana puree  
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower puree I used sweet potato puree
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pint blueberries

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 325° F.  Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or 2 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.  Put muffin liners in the muffin tin.
  • In a bowl or a zipper lock bag, mix the flours with the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, if using.  Set aside
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Mix in the egg whites, banana and cauliflower sweet potato purees, and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan muffin cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-60 minutes for large loaf, 25-30 minutes for the mini loaves.   I had to bake my muffins @ 35-40 minutes but my oven is all wacky and the temp fluctuates.  SO…keep an eye on them and check them.
  • Let cool on rack for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.

FYI: This recipe is awesome on it’s own without any modifications.  It’s really good with peanut butter smeared on it and a cold glass of milk.

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