Sunday, August 26, 2012

Whole Grain Recipe Contest

The Whole Grains Council is having a recipe makeover contest! Now don't you all go submitting your recipes too; that will just give me less of a chance to win the Le Creuset Set! I will however be submitting another recipe (and I have already submitted 1), for a total of 3 recipes (the max).

So, the dish is awesome I must say, but there is a slight problem; it takes a soooo long to cook!! Whole grains have that nice outer bran layer, making cooking time much longer than their white counterparts. My make it again and shorten the cooking time to under 1 hour (yes, still alot but it's brown rice!).

The plan:to soak the short grain brown rice for a few hours to soften the outer bran a bit.
And, I will also cook the rice in the broth only at first, so that the fat in the coocnut milk does not interfere with the water soaking process. Makes sense right?! GOOD:)

Results to be posted at a later date! By the way, it was still worth the wait...just sayin'. The dish has Thai curry influences fused with a Latin and Pacific Rim flare! What more can one ask for??

Coconut- Cilantro Scented Whole Grain Risotto with Salmon
13.5 oz can. Light coconut milk
5 ½  cups organic free-range chicken broth
1 Tbsp. coconut or olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups Lundberg® short grain brown rice
salt and white pepper for seasoning
½ cup fresh or frozen corn
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 cups cooked salmon chunks
½ small red onion, thinly shaved or sliced

grated coconut, optiona
lLime wedges
I served sauteed zucchini and gold quash with the Risotto; Chris loved it LOL!

Place coconut milk and broth in a medium saucepot; bring to a simmer and keep warn over low heat.
In another pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté shallots for about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Add in broth mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently; allow liquid to be absorbed before adding more of the broth mixture.
Continue process until rice is tender and creamy, about 1 hour and 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy an evening wine spritzer and flake your baked/broiled salmon.
Prep the cilantro, onions and corn too...the rice takes a while so you may as well do the prep in between stirring the risotto.
Stir in corn, chopped cilantro and salmon along with last addition of broth or just before tender; heat through.

Serve alongside a lime wedge and garnih with red onion and grated coconut if desired.

And 1 hour or so later...creamy Coconut Cilantro Scented  Risotto with Salmon

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

A lady must be able to satisfy chocolate cravings! Doing so without over indulging is challenging but certainly possible. I am always looking out for ways to have dessert without feeling like a total blimp; I think I found the answer. These little frozen treats are AMAZINGLY delicious and won’t wreak havoc on your waistline. With 120 calories, 7.5 grams total fat, 4 grams carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein, these treats will surely keep us happy and lean.

To make them even leaner, omit the coconut oil and enjoy a 98 calorie treat:)

This recipe was inspired by Clean Eating Magazine- they used peanut butter in their recipe and I kicked it up a notch with almond butter,coconut oil and vanilla! Almond butter has more Vitamin E and less saturated fat per serving than peanut butter (USDA National Nutrient Database). Works for me!

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

½ cup chocolate protein powder
1 Tbsp. dark chocolate cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾- 1 cup almond milk
Stevia to taste

Combine in bowl and mix until smooth. Pour into 6 muffin cups and freezer until set, about 3 hours.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cake For Breakfast? Maybe...

The chia cake making journey has been horrendous! The last chia cake we tried to make was a glutenous mess. Finally, I found a recipe from Bob's Red Mill with reasonable proportions and simple ingredients (sort of).

I adapted this by using coconut oil instead of the margarine, raw coconut crystals instead of sugar and gluten free baking flour instead of unbleached white flour, and added a touch of vanilla!

Of course I also baked it in a different type pan; a cake pan! So now I can have cake for breakfast (sans my own version of the lemon icing drizzle)!

Ingredients: 2 Tbsp. chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup raw coconut crystals, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 cups Bobs Red Mill Gluten-Free baking flour
Combine chia seeds, milk, lemon juice, zest and vanilla in a small bowl; let sit for 10 minutes and allow chia seeds to gel. Yes, it looks like curdled almond milk..because it is!

Cream oil with raw crystals until creamy; whisk in chia mixture and blend well. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour into a 9 inch greased cake pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so. Center will be set.Cool completely before serving/slicing/icing.
Optional Lemon Icing Drizzle:1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 tsp lemon juice.
Surprisinly delicious! Garnish with lavender if you have it, and extra lemon zest too.

I recommend no lemon icing drizzle if you are going to have it for breakfast (or maybe just a light drizzle).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pittsburgh's Wigle White Whiskey: Sexy Semi-Skinny Cocktails

Our good friend Eric Meyer and his family own the new hot spot in town; Wigle-a white whiskey distillery!  Located in our very own Strip District, Wigle offers tours, cocktail making classes and of course...booze!
Last week, while still celebrating RD-ism, my friend Leann (also an RD) and I decided to whip up some new cocktail ideas hoping that one day, they could be featured on their website. We had an amazing time making these tasty treats, and yes, we did practice portion control!

The Wigle white rye!

Coconut Agave Wigle Chiller
1oz. shot of Wigle white wheat whiskey
¼ cup light coconut milk
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/3 cup seltzer water
Crushed ice
Grated coconut to garnish rim of glass

The Wigle white wheat
Green Tea Cooler
1oz. shot of Wigle white rye whiskey
3 Tbsp. green tea syrup*
2/3 cup seltzer water
Crushed ice
Lemon wedge & cilantro leaf for garnish

For the green tea syrup*

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
4 green tea bags (Market District
green tea with honey and ginseng)
Place syrup ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil; steep for 3 minutes. Strain and cool syrup.
Blackberry-Lime Pop
1oz. shot of Wigle white rye whiskey
2 Tbsp. blackberry puree
1 shot of Pomegranate liqueur
2/3 cup seltzer water
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Lime wedge for garnish
Ice cubes
Wigle Grapefruit Fizz
1oz. shot of Wigle white rye whiskey
1/3 cup Italian grapefruit soda
1/4 cup seltzer water
Splash of mango vodka

2 lemonade-herb ice cubes*, optional
For the Herbed lemonade Ice Cubes*
1 cup fresh herbs such as basil, lavender and mint
2 cups lemonade
Place about 2 teaspoon of fresh herbs in each ice cube tray; fill each with lemonade and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Dirty Wigler
1oz. shot of Wigle white rye whiskey
1 Tbsp. pepperoncini juice plus 2 pepper rings
2 tsp. olive juice and or dill pickle juice
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
Cocktail picks threaded with small cherry tomatoes
1 hot red pepper for garnish, optional
Shake up with ice and serve straight-up.
Lemon Verbena Soda
1oz. shot of Wigle white rye whiskey
2 Tbsp. lemon verbena syrup*
½ cup seltzer water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Crushed ice
Lemon wedge for garnish

For the lemon verbena syrup*

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
15 lemon verbena leaves
Place syrup ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil; steep for 10 minutes. Strain and cool syrup.

Wigle White Shooters
1oz. shot of Wigle white wheat whiskey
½ shot Khalua® liqueur
1/3 cup of low fat milk (I did almond milk!)
Instant coffee granules for the rim of the shooters
So, as you can see you, we are pretty creative! Hopefully our buddy Eric loves our recipes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fun and Clean Uses for Fresh Herbs

Summer's bounty brings us so many amazing things; porch cook-outs, refreshing beer cocktails, succulent tomatoes and best of all, copious amounts of fresh herbs.
Name them and I have them in my garden: basil (genovese and opal), rosemary, lemon balm, sage, mint (orange, apple, chocolate and ginger), lemon thyme, dill, lavender, lemon verbena, oregano, parsley and even chives!

Besides boring 'ol pesto and pasta sauce, here are a few fun and creative ways to use up your fresh herbs:

Make a fabulous centerpiece! Why not, herbs are beautiful and fragrant.

Snip herbs such as basil, oregano and sage and place them into mini muffin cups or ice cube trays; top them with olive oil and freeze them. Pop out the little oil cubes and store them frozen in a plastic baggie. Use them as a sauce starter, to saute veggies or toss them into a pot of soup!
Use a mortar and pestle to crush herbs such as mint, lemon verbena and rosemary; add them to a jar of sugar and store tightly for a 1-2 weeks. Stir sugar every so often. Remove herbs from sugar once infused.
These little jars can make great inexpensive gifts.Tie a ribbon around it and a sprig of herbs-voila! Experiment with other fun sugars such as turbinado, coconut crystals and sucanat. They make great sugars for rims of cocktails.
Place fresh herbs such as mint, basil, lemon balm and lemon verbena in a tea pot; pour hot water over top and steep for a few minutes. Sweeten to taste, serve warm or try it over ice!

Chop mint and basil; place in ice cube trays and pour lemonade over top of each. Freeze and serve in your favorite summer beverage, seltzer water or a cocktail.

And that is what summer's bounty is all about!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baguettes Galore

Ok, so I haven't been on track lately and I may not be able to fit into any of my dresses for the wedding in Vegas this weekend. Maybe it's because of my job description, or maybe it is because of the endless social events focused on tasty food and adult beverages. It could also be due to lack of consistent physical activity, after all I should be working out for 1.5 hours on most days of the week according to the American College of Sports Medicine. I suppose what it comes down to is comfort zone! I need to get out of my comfort zone and get back on track! 

Baguette: a long, thin French style bread typically made with little fat (but usually made from enriched wheat flour blah!). Easy to overeat, especially when paired with tasty accompaniments such as below.

Although baguettes are not as nutrient dense as an RD would like, they can be eaten as part of a balanced diet that includes fruits,vegetables, lean meats & legumes, and calcium rich dairy or milk alternatives .

My challenge was to come up with as many ways to prepare baguettes. The varieties I had to work with include: sesame semolina, ciabatta multigrain, Kalamata olive and traditional. For my Sous Chef Julia (also an RD!) and I, the past two weeks have been packed with fun filled recipe development and testing using baguettes.

Just how many ways can one use a baguette? Check it out:

Baked French Toast Style Breakfast Pudding

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta with Kalamata Olive Crostini

Roast Beef Baguette with Horseradish Dijon Aioli
Hummus Tomato Avocado Toasts
Prosciutto Arugula Sandwich with Kalamata Olive Spread

Baguette Pizza Bites
Wild Mushroom and Sun dried Tomato Toasts
Zesty White Bean Dip with Toasted Baguette
BLT Baguette
Grilled Veggie and Smoked Mozzarella Baguette
Baked Artichoke and Jarlsberg Baguette
The expert taste test panelists

And that was Baguettes galore... Only one of the reasons as to why my dresses don't fit! This week, I am getting out of my comfort zone!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Celebrating RD-ism

So testing recipes for "steak-ums" was definitely not the highlight of my special day, but when duty calls, I answer.
Beef Strips Stir Fry
Bracciole for Four

My drive to Wheeling, West Virginia yesterday morning proved to be worthwhile; passing the national Registered Dietitian exam was definitely the highlight of my day!

So how did I celebrate my success? Well I hung out with my super awesome friend Jen Murphy, who is also an RD. We played iron chef using some must-go ingredients from my garden and from her refrigerator.

Black cherry tomatoes, garden peach heirloom tomatoes and little yellow ones too, needed to be eaten desperately.
Garden Tomato Salad with Rougue River Blue on Garlic toast
An amazing salad with cucumbers, black beans, cilantro and red peppers-Jen's creation!

We used an Oregon Rouge River Blue cheese too-this brings back wonderful memories of visiting the Rouge River Creamery near Medford in Oregon.

I also finally learned how to can! Turns out I learned something valuable relating to canning during my RD studies, and got to see it live at Jens place! So, fruits and vegetables with a low pH can be canned in a water bath (more room for error), and those with a high pH must be canned using a pressure cooker. And it makes sense now! I can't wait to make my own canned salsa to eat all winter long!
Jen's famous simmering Mixed Berry Jam
Dishwasher sterilized jars, yes they got up to 170F!

My super talented amiga Jen, who is going to teach me how to be a photographer on Monday!
Bringing them up to a boil...212F
"And now, you listen " said Jen.." For what I answered?".."the popping of the lids...its like a chorus of frogs" she replied..

So that is how I celebrated RD-ism...It was perfect!