Friday, February 29, 2008

Channeling Cara part deux

So a couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store and saw a cute little two-pack of cornish hens. I thought they would make the perfect dinner without all the leftovers we usually get from roasting a whole chicken. Apparently I'm not the only one with this brilliant idea. The next day I was reading my "usual suspects" when what do I see? A cornish hen recipe from Cara. You know what they say about great minds.

This one was perfect for us as I made one and cut in in half creating the perfect portion. The other one is in the freezer waiting for inspiration......or till I have the time to try Cara's Morroccan version. I made a honey mustard sauce because I was too lazy to experiment and mustard sauce is always good and easy. Throw in some leftover green olives I had and voila - a star is born. The chicken was sweet because of the honey, spicy because of the mustard, and the olives gave it just that pinch of tart. yum!

Cornish Hens in Honey Mustard Sauce
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 cup dijon mustard
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup EVOO
2 Tbsp chopped green olives
1 Cornish hen

1) Whisk together vinegar, garlic powder, mustard, honey, oregano and thyme.
2) Slowly whisk in olive oil.
3) Stir in olives and season with salt and pepper.
4) Pour honey mustard sauce into Ziplock bag and add the cornish hen. Seal, shake, and refrigerate overnight.
5) Preheat oven to 375. Place hen on baking sheet and pour remaining marinade over the bird. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serves 2
Each serving has:
Calories 475.6
Total Fat 32.7 g
Cholesterol 108.7 mg
Sodium 1,101.0 mg
Potassium 396.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.0 g
Protein 24.9 g

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How you know it's Greek

For me there are always two ingredients which make a recipe "Greek" for me (and I'm just waiting for Elly to jump in and correct/modify this). Those ingredients are lemon juice and feta. Now I don't mean that every recipe that has lemon juice is Greek, although I'm more willing to stick my neck out there with feta..... I mean, when I'm looking to make something Greek inspuired, it always has those two ingredients in it.

This chicken is a variation of my child hood "Greek baked chicken" I used to make for my brother and I when we had "make your own dinner cause mom and dad are working" nights. This one leaves out the yogurt and honey for something a little lighter. It wasn't very colorful when it came out of the oven, so I threw some chopped red pepper on top. It would be equally as tasty with tomatoes, but as we know, the boy does not favor raw tomatoes. This he liked.


Baked Greek Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon, cut in half
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 red pepper, diced

1) Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chicken in oven safe baking dish. Drizzle chicken with juice from half of the lemon.
2) Season chicken with salt and black pepper. Top with feta cheese. Drizzle with juice from remaining half of lemon.
3) Bake 35-40 minutes. Top chicken with red pepper

Serves 2.
Each serving has:
Calories 370.2
Total Fat 11.0 g
Cholesterol 170.3 mg
Sodium 863.3 mg
Potassium 690.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4.9 g
Protein 60.1 g

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shrimp is just so easy

We eat a lot of shrimp. Mostly because it cooks so quickly and is such a pretty color. It makes bright meals very easy and after a cold winter day who doesn't like something bright? Shrimp in salad is one of my favorite summer meals, but this shrimp is a little bit heavier so it works for a bright winter meal too. I topped this salad off with a homemade orange pomegranate dressing - basically just orange and pomegranate juice whisked with a little oil, salt, and pepper.

Spinach Salad with Lemon Pepper Shrimp
1/4 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon pepper
Baby spinach
sliced red onion
1 can mandarin oranges.

1) Preheat oven to 450. Toss shrimp with olive oil and lemon pepper and place on a baking sheet.
2) Cook for 9 minutes. While cooking, combine spinach, onion, and oranges.
3) Place hot shrimp on top of salad, drizzle with dressing.

Serves 2.
Each serving has:
Calories 176.4
Total Fat 8.3 g
Cholesterol 86.1 mg
Sodium 145.0 mg
Potassium 541.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.6 g
Protein 13.5 g

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eat to the Beat!


When I saw this new blog event on Elly's blog I got really excited. I love music. I love music and cooking! In fact, when I'm home alone I put on music and dance while I cook. It really heightens the experience and helps me relax.

I use my time in the kitchen as stress relief, a way to relax. I use music for the same thing. When I'm feeling especially down and frustrated, music makes me feel better. And I like all kinds, as long as it has lyrics. Well, that's not entirely true. I do love some classical music, it's just that I'm not into trance/dance/techno. Maybe I love all music that has a melody? harmonies? Who knows but I listen to quite the variety.

Elly's challenge is to make a food that relates to a song, band, album, etc. I knew exactly where to start on this. Those of you who know me well (uh oh - is this a test?) know that I adore the Beatles. It's been that way for years ever since I stole a Beatles' tape from my dad in Elementary school (I still have that tape). Back then it was all about "I saw her standing there" and "Kansas City" - we're talking OLD school. I got my first cd of my very own for Valentine's Day in Jr. High from parents - Sgt. Pepper, kind of an interesting choice for a 13 year old girl, but I loved it. Ironically, this is the first cd that Jon stole from me when we started dating. In college I took the History of the Beatles and grew to appreciate the men behind the music as much as I had the music and that was the final nail in the coffin. CDs were bought, listened to, analyzed - I'm sure in much the same way that teens of the 60s sat on their beds doing. Our wedding was a tribute to the Beatles from the bridal march, to the recessional, to of course the "Shout" during the reception.

You know that what you eat you are,
But what is sweet now, turns so sour--
We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da

But can you show me, where you are?..


So when it came time to pick an eat-to-the-beat recipe, I knew where I had to turn. I had a lot of ideas at first, including some Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds stained glass cookies, but eventually decided I could get no better than the Savoy Truffle. I mean the song itself just makes you hungry, naming off dessert after dessert after mouthwatering dessert. And the piece de resistance is that chocolatey goodness known as the Savoy Truffle.

Creme tangerine and Montélimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart

A coffee dessert--yes you know it's good news

But you'll have to have them all pulled out

After the Savoy truffle.


Internet research led me to the information that the song was about a box of chocolates and was a jab in the ribs to fellow musician and best friend Eric Clapton who had quite a bit of the sweet tooth. However, no one was able to uncover what exactly the Savoy Truffle consisted of. I was undetterred. This meant that I got to create my own Savoy Truffle. I told my eater-of-all-things-chocolate that I was going to make truffles and asked what he'd like in them. Having recently watched an "Unwrapped" episode about orange flavored treats, he told me he wanted chocolate and orange. My jaw dropped to the floor. My husband hates chocolate and orange. But what he asks for.......

So I adapted the classic cake truffles to chocolate truffles with a marmalade center (I had to get my Lucy in the Sky in there somewhere.....) Savoy Truffles
chocolate cake mix (homemade or pre-packaged)
16 oz milk chocolate frosting
16 oz semisweet chocolate
1 jar orange marmalade

1) Bake the cake in a 9×13 pan as directed by the recipe/package selected.

2) Crumble the cake while still slightly warm into a bowl and combine with frosting. Use a spoon and form the mixture into balls and refrigerate.

3) Add marmalade to small saucepan and heat over medium until it liquefies. Using a toothpick, make a hole to center of each truffle (make this hole wide enough to put the marmalade in, and make sure not to go all the way through). Use a teaspoon to drip the liquid marmalade into the hole. (I tried to do this using a "flavor injector" - like syringe, but the orange peels clogged the tip. If you can think of a better way to do this, go for it)

4) Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler and use two forks to roll the truffles into the melted chocolate. Place the truffles on a cookie rack to rest so that they don’t “grow feet.” Once they have completely cooled, transfer to the refrigerator to allow chocolate to harden.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mammoth

Our first day in Mammoth we got up early so we could hit the slopes as soon as they opened. Last year was my first year skiing EVER. I really loved it and told Jon we had to make it an annual event. I'll do a really quick recap of last year since it's important.

Day 1: I get lessons in the morning. Hey - I can do this. I am amazing. I have the wedge down. The group meets up for lunch and Jon decides to spend the afternoon with me. He brings me up my first chair lift. I'm not happy. I hate heights. I hate the chair lift more. I'm beginning to hate Jon. We get off and I realize I have to get down the mountain. Crap. People are whizzing by me. I'm crying. Hysterical. I hate Jon. I hate him so badly. Why did he bring me up here? I demand he call the rescue patrol. He doesn't. Somehow I make it down to the bottom of the mountain. I think it takes about four to five hours. Maybe a little less. Jon signs me up for more lessons the next day.

Day 2: Lessons in the morning. No one else shows up to the group lesson, so I get a private one and the instructor works with me all morning on going up the chair lift and down the scary run (it's a green - the easiest one). In the afternoon I'm able to go down it with Jon once.

Fastforward to this trip. As we ride the bus over to the slopes, I start getting nervous, nauseous, and sick. I can't do this. Why did I want to come here again? I hate skiing. I'm going to kill myself. Jon signed my up for a lesson again, just as a refresher. He's a good man. The lesson was really helpful because it helped me remember that I know how to ski and I really like it. I was worried at first because the instructor was an ass. A serious ass. First run down the bunny slopes and he was already yelling at me for going to slow. "You might as well walk down the mountain." Well you know what buddy? You don't scare me. I like going slow. So there. Luckily, he didn't stay our instructor for long and nice guy instructor took over. Nice guy instructor who thinks we should be going slow, so we can pick up the skills. And know what? I got skills! I'm not the slow person in the class! In fact, the instructor barely pays attention to us as he works with the slow person, and I'm okay with that! I'm swooshing down runs I was afraid of last year! Nice instructor sends us up a run with creep instructor who balks at the sight of me CI: "I don't want to take her - she's slow"
NI: "No, she's go great control!"
CI: "That's the problem, she has too much control. You could read a book on her way down. Hey - did you bring a book with you?"
I stick out my tounge at him and tell him I brought a novel I'd like to finish on my way down and we head up the lift.

On the way down he yells at me for not going fast enough, so I pick up some speed, and promptly fall over. Nice. He ditches us as my classmates help me gather my poles and get up. We head over to nice instructor who apologizes for making us go off with creep instructor. Later nice instructor tells me creep instructor was just joking with me. I tell him he's wrong, but I don't care what creep instructor thinks. I'm having a good time!

The next two days are filled with skiing and friends. C and R came up just in time for perfect conditions. It snowed! That made for nice powdery runs. R kept Jon company on the hard runs, and C and I made our way through the greens. By the last day, I was going down blue runs!! Jon snapped some pictures of me. C calls my style "Zen skiing."




In turn, I captured some pictures of Jon. He's a snowboarder - obviously.



The last night we ate dinner at The Mogul restaurant, and it was such a ski lodge kind of place. French onion soup, great steaks, good beer. We were warm that night despite the frozen temperatures.

We were sad to leave, not just because we had such a good time, but because the weather was turning.....it was snowy, and icy and there were storms coming in. We gingerly made it to the freeway where it was scary for a bit, and then just cleared up....like magic. Check these pictures out which were taken over a span of about 10 miles.





We stopped in Bishop at Schat's Bakkery for a yummy sandwich on fresh bread. We brought home some of their sheepherders bread (which makes excellent toast) and chili cheese bread. Then it was drive drive drive all the way home. Which is always fun for us. We picked up Ringo and crawled onto the couch to just relax the weekend away.