Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hours and Hours in the Kitchen

I will talk about this delicious dish that we just finished tonight at the end! Read below!
I spent an insane amount of time in the kitchen this weekend cooking, cleaning dishes, baking, cleaning dishes and cooking more. A perfect weekend for me! On Friday, I planned my weekly menu and then I went shopping on Saturday after my freezing cold run. I love planning everything out! I may not cook everything on the exact day I plan for it, but I like to try!
So the plan is:
Monday: Open Face Eggplant Sandwiches & Eggplant, Chickpea, Tomato Curry (both inspired by Food & Wine)
Tuesday: Quinoa Chili
Wednesday: Stuffed Poblanos
Thursday: Stuffed Portobellos
Friday: Leftovers or out!

Now on to everything I've already cooked! We went to a Potluck dinner last night so I had a lot of cooking to do! Yesterday, I first prepped Kale, Squash, Cheddar Bread Pudding from Bon Appetit. I've made this three times and have always loved it and I think it's fun to bring vegetarian meals to Potluck dinners. You can see the recipe here, but here are the basic steps. I've liked seeing the methods of how people cook on other food blogs, so I thought I would do it on mine when I remember to take the pics! First, cut your squash into tiny squares and bake at 400 for 25 minutes with salt, pepper and EVOO.
Next cut up your french bread in cubes and soak it in the egg, wine, cream mixture. Throw in the fridge and marinate while the squash is cooking.
Then saute the shallots and kale, but keep the bright green color. Then you should have three layers ready to go. Grab the cheddar cheese and your ready to start layering.
Then bake at 350 for 20 minutes with foil and 20 minutes without. And yum! It seemed like people liked this at the party!
In addition for the party, I made
Spiced Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce for the party. This was inspired by Tyler Florence.

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon of tumeric

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips

20 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes

Vegetable oil, for grilling

Sesame Seeds

Green Onions

Instructions: Combine the ginger, garlic, and spices in a shallow mixing bowl, stir to combine. Place the chicken strips in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at up to 2 hours (or while you make the peanut sauce and while the skewers soak. Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked skewers working the skewer in and out of the meat, down the middle of the piece, so that it stays in place during grilling. Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush it with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grill the chicken satays for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and cooked through. Serve the satays on a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with a large bowl of peanut sauce and dipping trays for people to take with their chicken.
Peanut Sauce
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons red chili paste

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 limes, juiced

1/2 cup chicken broth (or more if needed to smooth it out)

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili paste, brown sugar, and lime juice in a food processor or blender. Puree to combine. While the motor is running, drizzle in the broth to thin out the sauce. Pour the sauce into a nice serving bowl and serve with chicken satay.
The last thing I brought to the potluck was these fun
Mini Black-Bottom Cheesecakes from Food & Wine. I changed a little bit of this recipe but they were so fun to make and yummy even if my presentation wasn't the best.

Mini Black-Bottom Cheesecakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)
1/2 package Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies (about 24 wafers)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cups sour cream (this was supposed to be fromage blanc but I couldn't find it)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves, warmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with foil or paper baking cups. (I only had reusable cups so I think that why my cakes didn't look as cute- they were smaller than the ones they pictured in Food & Wine magazine.) Spray each cup with cooking spray. Crush the chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor. Add the butter and process until fine crumbs form. Spoon the chocolate cookie crumbs into the prepared muffin cups (about 1 tablespoon cookies each). Press cookies into bottom of cups with bottom of a glass or shot glass. Bake for 5 minutes, or until almost set. Remove from oven and leave oven at same temperature. Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed in large bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sour cream, then add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour the cheesecake batter into the muffin cups, filling about three-quarters full. Bake the cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from oven. Warm the raspberry preserves 15-20 seconds in microwave. Spread one teaspoon onto each cheesecake. Place muffin tins in the freezer and chill until set, about 15 minutes. Remove cheesecakes to serving plate and chill in refrigerator 4-24 hours. Remove from refrigerator right before serving.
I think people liked these! I enjoyed them and will definitely make them for a party again. Just need to work on my presentation : )

Tara and Jay's was a blast! All of the guys have been friends since high school and its so great they all keep in touch still. And I love all the wives, girlfriends and fiances! Here we all are!
Okay, the only other thing I made yesterday was my way too healthy tasting Banana Bread. It will be good with peanut butter on it. It's just not sweet enough!
I got this recipe from AllRecipes but changed it up a bit.

Healthy Banana Bread

3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup flax seed meal

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons eggs

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar blend, flax meal, bananas, milk, sour cream and egg whites until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the banana mixture until moistened. Spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the crown of the loaf comes out clean.

Alright so now on to today's cooking adventures. This morning I made more Egg Cups and I attempted to make Ina Garten's Granola Bars. These totally didn't stay together. They were kinda an epic failure but maybe now I will just use them as granola???
So tonight, I made Pretzel Crusted Chicken and Warm Brussels Sprout Salad both inspired from Food & Wine.

First, let's talk about the Brussel Sprout Salad which was AMAZING! But before we do that, check what I brought home from the grocery store!
A huge stalk of brussel sprouts! Okay on to the recipe.
Warm Brussel Sprout Salad
1 Granny Smith apple—peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon very finely chopped shallot
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Two pieces of bacon, crumbled
1 pound brussels sprouts, leaves separated and cores discarded

So that last ingredient- "leaves separated and cored discarded." This is how I did it:
Cut the core out and separate the leaves and wash before putting in the pan- see below.

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small baking dish, toss the Granny Smith apple quarters with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast the apple quarters for about 15 minutes, until they are very tender and browned in spots. Scrape the apple and its juices into a blender. Add the water, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the blender. With the machine on, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the canola oil and puree until the dressing is smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and refrigerate. In a very large skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until the nuts are golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the brussels sprout leaves and crumbled bacon and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the leaves wilt slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the pine nuts and 6 tablespoons of the apple dressing and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.) Season with salt and pepper and transfer to plates.

So along with this salad, I made Pretzel Crusted Chicken also from Food & Wine. I pretty much followed their recipe but I used wheat pretzels. This is one of those dishes that I wish my brother would eat because it was so good! But he has (or claims) a strong aversion to mustard and well mustard is the base of this dish!
Pretzel Crusted Chicken
1/2 pound pretzels
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl. Wipe out the food processor. Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard dressing.
This was another really fun dish to make and eat. And we have tons of leftovers which means we will be eating this for lunch all week!

Okay let's talk workouts from last week.
Monday: 5 miles, lifted legs
Tuesday: 5.5 4X800
Wednesday: PT, lifted legs, ran backwards on treadmill at incline
Thursday: 4.5 miles, lifted arms
Friday: off
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: off
Total Mileage: 23

Plan for this week:
6 miles
Speed Workout (Leah?!)
Long Run with Mike possibly?
3 miles
Super Sunday 10K

Have a good week!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Liz...I really love the step by step directions!!! Keep up the good work!!! xo