Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Roasted Herbed Root Vegetables

It was a chilly, damp bike ride home today, so I was craving warm comfort food. This dish of starchy veggies fit the bill....comfort does not have to mean bad for you! Yams, parsnips and onions combined to form sweet roasty goodness packed with vitamins, and filled the kitchen with delectable smells. I ate this with a grilled pork loin chop and some lemon-roasted asparagus I had tucked in beside the other veggies. With just one bowl for mixing and one pan for roasting, clean up was a breeze. Gotta like that!

Roasted Herbed Root Vegetables

1 large yam
1 large parsnip
1 small onion
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp herbs de Provence or Italian herbs
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Clean the yam and parsnip with a vegatable brush. Do not peel, the richest concentration of vitamins is just under the skin!* Chop all the vegetables into one-inch chunks and toss into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to coat. Turn out onto a large baking pan or cookie sheet,spreading out...these guys like lots of space to do their thing. Bake in a 400 oven for 30 minutes, turning with spatula after 15. Easy peasy! Makes two servings.

*Unless your parsnip is old and growing hair like mine was, in which case by all means, peel, ew.

Nutritional values: One serving (1/2 of recipe) is 318 calories, 4.6g fat, 3.9g protein, 66g carbs, 10.5g fibre, 300mg sodium.

These veggies are absolutely delicious served with my green onion, herb, and yogurt dip (just combine 1/2C yogurt with 2 tsp reduced-fat mayo, 1 finely chopped green onion,1T chopped dill or other herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. If you like a thck dip, drain the yogurt for an hour before combining).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Multi-grain English Muffins

I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade English muffins for a while now. Why? Who knows. To see if I could, I guess. And because I have heard they are way better than store-bought. And because I wanted to make them multi-grain.So I got up early on Sunday morning ad whipped up a batch for breakfast....they turned out great! I'm so proud. Look at those lovely golden pillowy babies! They were delicious, too.

I based my recipe on Alton Brown's from the Food Network. I love his show, they way he teaches about the science of food. The recipe sounded easy and did not require a lot of rising time, so I gave it a go, and would recommend it...with a few adjustments, of course! I cut back the sugar, used multi-grain flour instead of white, and changed a few of the instructions to produce a better final product.

English Muffins
adapted from Alton Brown's

1/2C non-fat powdered milk
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp shortening
1/2C hot water
1/2C cold water
2 tsp quick-rise yeast
1/8 tsp sugar
1/3C warm water
240g (2 scant cups) multi-grain bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
non-stick vegetable spray
cormeal for dusting

In a bowl combine the powdered milk and cold water. In another bowl, combine the hot water, , 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Combine with the milk water and whisk briefly. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the milk mixture. Add the flour and baking soda and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or cast-iron pan to to 300 degrees F (med-low heat)and the oven to 350F.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings* onto the pan and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Sprinkle cornmeal onto pan and place 2 spoonfuls into each ring, filling to about 2/3. Cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip with metal spatula. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Romove the metal rings and place on a baking tray, bake for another 6 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack. Split with fork and serve. Makes 8 muffins.

*If you don't have metal rings, tuna cans with both ends cut off works well.I did two at a time and cycled them through the pan and oven, two by two like Noah's ark.

Nutritional values: each muffin has 137 calories, 2g fat, 6.3g protein, 24.8g carbs, 2g fibre, 332mg sodium.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Brandied Chicken Paté with Green Peppercorns

Yesterday after work I went to the grocery store to buy some liver. Now before you think I've gone off my rocker (ewwww does anyone really like liver?) let me tell you why. I got it stuck in my head to make my own paté. I love paté, but I don't love all the fat they put in it, plus the best paté comes from the sausage guy at Granville Island who does not have nutritional values provided, so who knows how many calories are in it. Don't get me wrong, I still intend to have that as a treat once in a rare while, but when I came across this recipe for Lightened Up Paté I totally thought, I can do that. It involves a 1:1 ratio of chicken livers and chicken thighs, no pork fat or chicken fat at all (though I did add a tablespoon of cream to give it a nicer texture). Healthy, really, since liver is very high in iron and other nutrients, as is chicken thigh meat, and they are both pretty good calorie-wise. Now I have never bought chicken livers in my life, nevermind cooked them, but I really wanted to try this. So I thought I'd suck it up and just do it, and if it was a disaster, I bet my cat would like it! I purchased said livers, and said chicken thighs, and cooked them all up according to the directions (apparently liver should still be light pink in the centre, I had to keep mushing them up to check, man it took a long time to cook those things!), cooked up the onions and some garlic to go in, added some other touches of my own, blended it all up and voila, paté! Delicious paté, too!! How totally exciting!

Brandied Chicken Paté with Green Peppercorns
adapted from Lightened Up Chicken Paté with Brandy at nourishnetwork.com

200g chicken livers, cleaned and trimmed
200g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" peices
2 tsp olive oil
1/2C finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper, black or blend
2 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp brandy
1 Tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp green peppercorns

First prepare your chicken livers and thighs, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high and add oil, onions, and garlic. Season with remaining salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chicken livers and continue to cook until livers are seared on the outside and light pink on the inside (do not overcook). Transfer to a bowl or food processor.

In the same pan, add the thighs and sauté until they are browned, then add wine and simmer until cooked throughout and wine is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the thighs and the remaining ingredients to the bowl of liver and onions. Using either a food processor or a handblender, pulse until mixture is smooth and uniform. Transfer to a vessel of your choosing and chill for at least 2 hours. I went with plastic-wrap-lined ramekins (fills three small ramekins) because I intend to freeze two of them. Using the plastic wrap means you can just pop it out and invert it cleanly onto a plate.

Serve with slices of baguette (I bought a multigrain ficelle and it's perfect with this), crackers or any GF cracker for those with gluten intolerance, cornichons, and hey remember that bottle of wine you had to open to use 2 stinkin' tablespoons in this recipe? Well that wine would go awfully nice with this too ;).

Nutritional values: for 1/6 of recipe (about 4 Tbsp): 95 calories,3.5g fat, 10.8g protein, 1.4g carbs, .2g fibre, 144mg sodium.

Not bad considering store-bought paté is around 160 cals/14g fat for the same amount!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lemon Chicken

For as much chicken as I eat, I can't believe I only have one chicken recipe on here so far! So, here is another to tempt your palate...tangy,sweet Lemon Chicken. I adapted this recipe from one my mom used to make, that one involved breading and frying and simmering in the crock-pot for hours and hours. I cut back on the added sugar and fat as well as the chicken skin, and made it much more time-efficient too!

Lemon Chicken

6 chicken legs, skin removed
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
1/4C frozen lemonade
1/4C vinegar
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp demerera sugar (or brown)
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
juice of one lemon

Place the chicken legs in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish, and bake in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour over the chicken and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, basting the legs with sauce twice during cooking.

Serve with brown rice. If you put some rice on to cook right before you put the chicken in the oven, they will be done at the same time. Gotta like that.

Serves 2
Nutritional Values (for half the recipe): 304 calories, 5.4g fat, 27.5g protein, 36g carbs, 0 fibre, 450mg sodium.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hot and Miso Soup

I love a good bowl of Japanese miso soup. I also love Hot and Sour Soup, I think it's Chinese. There are elements of each soup that I adore, like the spiciness and thickness of Hot and Sour, and the tang and depth of flavour of Miso. So, I decided to do a soup morph...Hot and Sour, meet Miso... muah ha ha, two cultures unite to form one Super-Soup!!! Also this soup is a rich source of very low-fat proteins, and it's insane how much of this soup you can eat for very few calories. It is very quick and easy to make. It fills you up and warms your belleh!

Hot and Miso Soup

6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 square rice vermicelli noodles
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sambal Olek (chili-garlic paste)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 C mushrooms, sliced
170g (half a package) medium tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 bunch gai lan or other dark leafy greens, chopped
200g raw shrimp or prawns
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 green onions, sliced

Heat the broth and add the next 7 ingredients (up to tofu). Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then add the greens and prawns. Simmer one minute and then gently swirl in the egg whites. Garnish with green onions. Makes three generous portions, great for lunches!

Nutritional Values: 164 calories, 4g fat, 20g protein, 11g carbs, 1g fibre, 900g sodium. Yeah the sodium is high, sometimes you just have to deal and drink lots of water.

Alternative ingredients: Sometimes I also add bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, broccoli, or shredded cabbage.