Thursday, February 14, 2013

Meatless Meals for Lent - Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice & Salmon



It appears that I recreate old recipes.  This is one I did re-do recently.  I usually waited to use up leftover white rice and I would either use canned tuna or ground beef to stuff the peppers.  I actually cooked up the filling this time using uncooked rice and bulgur wheat.  I also used canned Wild Sockeyed Salmon.  My veggie-intolerant son really enjoyed this dish, so much so, he ate the leftovers.  NOTE:  One of the changes I have been making in order to eating healthier is to replace organic products such as canned tomatoes, rice, etc. We are also eating more whole grains such as the organic brown rice and Bulgar wheat. Feel free to continue using your regular brand of canned tomato sauce and salmon for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Tomato Marinara Sauce

1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh or dried basil and oregano (few leaves of fresh or pinch of dried)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Heat small saucepan, add olive oil, onions and garlic.  When onions are translucent, add the tomato sauce and herbs.  Season to taste.  NOTE:  canned tomatoes have a high amount of sodium.  Be careful not to over salt the sauce.  Simmer until the tomato sauce changes color and is bubbling.

Green Peppers

Choose 3 large fresh green peppers, cut in half horizontally and remove seeds and hard center part.  Be sure not to break the pepper cups.  Drop in boiling water for about 1 or 2 minutes and drain.

Filling

1/2 cup cup organic brown rice
1/2 cup Bulgar wheat
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 can wild sockeyed salmon, drained and flaked with a fork
1 cube or 1 tsp. of vegetarian bouillon (preferably low sodium)
3 cups boiling water
1 15 oz. can organic tomatoes (diced or whole)
1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Heat a cast iron skillet (or your favorite skillet), add oil, garlic and onions.  Fry until onions are translucent.  Then add the rice and Bulgar wheat.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and boiling water.  Add the bouillon.  Bring to a boil and cover.  Heat should now be low.  Simmer until the liquid is absorbed.  Turn off heat and then add the salmon.  Blend throughout the rice mixture.

Place the drained green pepper caps in a Pyrex baking dish.  Fill the caps with the filling.  Top with a tablespoon of sauce and shredded cheese. Pour the remaining sauce around the stuffed peppers.  Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1/2 hour or until heated thoroughly.  Serves 3 to 6 persons.





Friday, October 26, 2012

Green Curry with Shrimp


Thai food just happens to be my family's (except for yours truly) favorite meal .  But when you have lemongrass, coconut milk, Thai fish sauce, basil, etc. what else could one possibly make but Thai curry.  I had to substitute a few ingredients though.  As I mentioned many times previously, I like to use what I have at hand without having to go to the store. The exception was with the eggplant.  I actually used the ones from my garden in minestrone yesterday so I had to buy this at the store

Ingredients:

1 lb. Tiger prawns (shelled and deveined) You can actually leave the shells on if you want a richer flavor
1 medium onion
2 inches or so of young ginger, julienned
1 can coconut milk (not the sweetened cream)
Lemongrass stalk (I used the leaves which I tied together for easier removal)
2 large potatoes (preferably organic), peeled and cubed
1 large celery stalk (preferably organic) sliced
1 large Japanese eggplant, sliced
Green curry paste (start with a tablespoon of the paste and add more if you wish)
1 coconut can filled with water (I used two cans of water and it was more like a soup than a stew consistency)
Thai fish sauce
Thai basil (I used Greek basil which was all I had handy)
Kaffir lime leaves (I didn't have any so I used a squirt of Meyer Lemon)  If you don't have Kaffir, you could try using the zest of a lime.  Using lemon juice will curdle the coconut milk so I don't recommend it. But it did give it a nice flavor.

In a large saucepan, heat one tablespoon oil. Add the onions and ginger.  Fry for a couple of minutes.  Add the coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, green curry paste, 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce. Bring to a boil and then add the water, potatoes, celery, eggplant, Kaffir lime leaves.  Season to taste. You may have to adjust the amount of curry, fish sauce and/or salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat.  Cook until the potatoes are cooked. Then add the shrimp.  Cook another minute or so.

Serve with Jasmine rice.

Crispy "Garbage" Cookies

Before going into the oven

Right out of the oven
Many years ago a friend shared her very delicious cookies with me.  She actually gave me the recipe one Christmas.  I think I made them once since then.  Today, I was searching for another cookie to make (being tired of the usual chocolate chip, oatmeal and/or sugar cookies) and remembered her recipe!  I changed the recipe a bit to my taste preference.  I like very crispy cookies.  I also wanted to use ingredients I had in the pantry.  The original recipe was also for double the amount.  I thought that was way too many cookies for our small family.  Although, I don't think my family would agree.  They were very happy with the results.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, oil or shortening (I used the Mediterranean blend)
1/2 cup organic sugar (or plain white sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg (fresh local eggs preferred)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup unbleached flour
Pinch salt (I used coarse Hawaiian sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

"Garbage" Ingredients:
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup Corn flakes, Rice Crispies, etc. (I used crushed Frosted Flakes)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or almonds)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Craisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I used organic)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with Pam, or a similar shortening spray (or grease by hand).

If using butter, make sure it has softened.  Cream the shortening with the sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla and blend well.  Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder together by sifting (I actually skipped this part and added these ingredients directly into the sugar mixture.  But, I made sugar to mix well so that no white was left in the bowl.  Add the "garbage" ingredients and again, mix well.

Place teaspoon full of dough onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned.

Enjoy!





Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marinated Oven Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillet

Baked Wild Salmon Fillets
We are trying to eat more wild salmon. This is in part due to the fact I am now doing what my sister does...buying the big bag of frozen wild sockeye salmon from Costco.  Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon is supposed to be very healthy for us. It is full of Omega-3, a good fat and less likely to be contaminated with Mercury, etc.

The following is the recipe I created based in part on a friend's grilled salmon recipe.

Ingredients:

3 individual wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon fillets (one per person)
1 large piece of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
1/4 cup sliced fresh green onions or chives
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup Shoyu (Soy Sauce, I used Kikkoman)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a Pyrex baking dish, place all the ingredients except for the salmon fillets.  Blend well.  Coat both sides of the fillets with the marinate.  Place the fillets in baking dish with the skin side up.  Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until the skin is crispy and browned.  Serve with rice and vegetables such as wilted Kale or Swiss Chard.



Homemade Vanilla Extract


My mom sent me vanilla beans so I could make my own vanilla extract.  I found a very easy recipe here.  So today, I made vanilla extract.

Ingredients:

1 bottle of 80 proof vodka (I do not think it has to be the really good stuff)
12 vanilla beans

Remove approximately 1/4 cup of the vodka from the bottle.  With a sharp knife (I used a sharp cleaver) slice the vanilla beans lengthwise.  Add the the vodka in the bottle.  Shake and put in a cool dark place for approximately 2 to 3 months.  The instructions indicate that we should shake the bottle at least once a week.

All this extract will surely come in handy for cookie making season...i.e.  Christmas!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fresh Organic Strawberry Cupcakes and Icing

Batter and cupcakes getting ready for the oven

another angle

Cupcakes right out of the oven

Icing

These cupcakes came about because I could not find an exact recipe for what  I was hoping for.  My family really enjoyed them!

Ingredients:

1 pint organic* fresh strawberries (washed, thoroughly dried of all moisture and hulled).  Set aside 12 whole smaller strawberries for the center of the cupcakes)
2/3 cups organic* sugar
1 cup white whole wheat flour or organic* unbleached flour
2 teaspoons organic* baking powder
1/3 cup organic* plain yogurt
1/3 cup organic* low fat milk
1/4 cup organic* butter, softened
1 organic* egg
1 teaspoon organic* vanilla
Pinch salt

*organic products are optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the meantime place cupcake or muffin cups in the muffin pan (I used an older cast iron muffin pan which makes 11 smaller cupcakes.  I therefore had to buy smaller muffin cups to fit).

In a large bowl mix the sugar, butter, egg, vanilla until well blended. Add the milk and the yogurt and mix well.  Add the flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix well.

Pour 1 tablespoon of batter into muffin cups.  Place one small strawberry in each cup with the batter.  Fill the  these cups with the remaining batter.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool.

Icing

Remaining strawberries (mashed)
Organic* powered sugar (1 cup or more)

 Slowly add the mashed strawberries into the powered sugar.  Mix well until it is the consistency of icing (not too thin or watery).  Add more powered sugar as needed.  Refrigerate for a few hours.

Ice cooled cupcakes with this icing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crispy Kale Chips


I bought a big bunch of Dinosaur Kale at the Farmer's Market the other day with the intention on trying kale chips which is what I made tonight as a side dish for dinner.  TIP:  Prepare the kale a day in advance (wash and dry thoroughly with salad spinner and paper towels).

Ingredients:

1 bunch Dinosaur Kale, washed and dried, torn or cut into big pieces (or any other kale you may prefer or have)
Olive oil
Salt (preferably Hawaiian sea salt (fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix the kale with enough oil to lightly coat (be careful to use too much.  Approximately 1 or 2 tablespoons should suffice.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place on baking sheets.  I actually sprayed a little shortening on both pans.  Place the kale leaves as pictured above.   Do not crowd.  Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  Chips should be crispy but not brown.

Serve immediately.

NOTE:  I thought these chips had a slight Korean nori taste.