Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Grilled Curried Salmon; Curried Asparagus with Cashews

I had picked enough asparagus from the garden the other night to make a side dish, and thought of a recipe I had copied from the Taste of Thai website for Curried Asparagus with Cashews. A few tweaks would be necessary to lower the fat content and adjust the heat, but suddenly I had a craving for the taste of curry. I immediately thought of grilling chicken to go with this asparagus, but we had chicken the previous evening. Then I had an idea. Salmon is a hearty fish that goes nicely with strongly-flavored spices, so I would put together a curry-inspired rub. A step further, since Jack would like this over rice I should make an appropriate sauce to serve with it. Thai flavors… the thinking cap went on and very soon we sat down to an incredible meal.

The salmon was fantastic. The rub provided a flavorful crust, and I had concocted a quick sauce which was incredibly delicious. Served with the wonderful asparagus, this meal will have to be repeated often during the summer. If you enjoy Thai or Indian food, these recipes are for you!

A note, I rarely use coconut milk because I think that using lowfat half and half and coconut extract imparts a very similar flavor and creaminess without the saturated fat which the coconut milk has. In this recipe, as in all of mine, the lowfat half and half can be subbed with coconut milk and then the coconut extract can be eliminated.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Grilled Curried Salmon

Recipe By: Vicci
Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
10 ounces salmon fillet
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
2 teaspoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon fish sauce
3/4 teaspoon lime juice
3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lowfat half & half -- (or regular half and half)
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 small lime -- cut into 2 wedges
1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

Mix the curry powder though black pepper and rub into the salmon. Set aside for 10 minutes while the grill preheats and you make the sauce.

In a 2-cup glass measuring cup (or microwave safe bowl), combine the vegetable broth through red pepper flakes. Heat in the microwave until JUST boiling and thickened (whisk halfway through the cooking time to smooth it out). Remove and whisk in lowfat half & half and coconut extract. Set aside.

Grill salmon until done. Serve over rice with sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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Per serving: 405 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat (2g Saturated); (19% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 46g Carbohydrate; 74mg Cholesterol; 541mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : One tablespoon of light or regular coconut milk can be subbed for the lowfat half & half and coconut extract.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Curried Asparagus with Cashews

Servings: 4
Preparation Time :0:10

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon red curry paste
3/4 pound asparagus -- tough ends snapped off, cut diagonally into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons cashews
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon lime juice

Melt butter and oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the curry paste and stir fry until fragrant.

Add asparagus, cashews, and fish sauce and stir fry until the asparagus is tender-crisp (about 4-6 minutes, depending on
the the thickness of the stalks).

Remove from heat, sprinkle with lime juice, toss to combine and serve immediately.

"adapted from ATasteOfThai.com"
Start to Finish Time:

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Per serving: 64 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (69% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; 3mg Cholesterol; 11mg Sodium

A few years ago I was talking with a new acquaintance, trying to decide on a place to meet for lunch, and I mentioned that I loved a certain Indian restaurant not too far from where she works. "I don't think so", she replied. "I don't like that kind of food and I'm not a curry girl."

Not too surprisingly, we never did meet for lunch and I don't think that we've even been in touch for a couple of years now!

I AM a curry girl!!!! :D

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thai Lemongrass Chicken

As you all may realize by reading my posted recipes, Asian is one of my favorite cuisines. Particular favorites are Thai and Vietnamese foods, and to me summer just is not summer without copious amounts of Thai basil, mint, and cilantro on my entrées.

This is one of our favorite stir-fry recipes, and I can only make it in the summer when my herb garden overflows with mint, cilantro, and Thai basil. As it is doing right now.

Seriously, my mouth is watering just typing this recipe (finally, the handwritten, food-stained piece of paper will be sent to the recycling bin). The chicken is tender, the vegetables crisp, and the lemongrass sauce is seriously drool-worthy. If you don’t have fresh lemongrass, this can be made without it and is quite good, but for heavens’ sake do not use dried lemongrass. I’ve tried it. Flavorless and, well, it’s like munching on bits of straw.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Thai Lemongrass Chicken

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings: 2

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

10 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast

2 stalks lemongrass

3 whole scallions -- thinly sliced, white and green parts

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek -- or other hot chili paste (I use ½ teaspoon)

3/4 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium red bell pepper -- diced

1/2 medium onion -- diced

2 medium carrots -- sliced diagonally

1 tablespoon Thai basil -- chopped

1 tablespoon mint -- chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro -- chopped

1/2 medium lime

Cut the grassy part off of the top of the lemongrass and discard. Peel a layer or two of the outer part off and discard. You should be able to see, at the root end, the fibrous part where the roots were attached. Cut this off, and since you should be cutting into the more tender part of the bulb it should be easy, not tough. Slice the lemongrass very thinly going up the stalk until it starts to become difficult. Discard the rest of the stalk. Using the flat side of a large chef knife, bruise the lemongrass slices to release the fragrance. Place in a covered plastic or glass container that will be large enough to hold the chicken.

Cut the chicken breast into 1/2" dice and add to the lemongrass. Add the scallions, pepper, and salt; toss until well mixed, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the broth through the cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat a nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil then add the chicken mixture, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables and continue to stir-fry until the carrots are almost tender (about 3 minutes). Add 1/4 cup of water and stir for a minute. Add the stock mixture and stir continuously until it comes to a boil and thickens.

Remove from heat and serve immediately over cooked rice. Sprinkle with desired herbs. Serve with lime wedges.

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Per serving: 315 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat (1g Saturated); (26% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 83mg Cholesterol; 759mg Sodium

Monday, June 22, 2009

Potato, Bell Pepper, and Broccoli Frittata

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and a breakfast with eggs is my favorite kind of breakfast. Oh, wait. Cancel that. I’m not a big fan of stratas. But other than those, I love eggy breakfast dishes. :)

At least once a week I make omelets or a frittata and, with whole-grain toast and fruit, we are set for several hours until lunch.

This particular recipe for a frittata takes a little forethought to make because the potatoes and broccoli have to be cooked and cooled beforehand, but it’s well worth it the effort. Flavorful with a delicious smoky flavor (thanks to the smoked Gouda and smoked paprika), it is Jack’s favorite frittata and he requested it for his birthday breakfast a couple of weeks ago.

My basic recipe calls for broccoli, but I have also used lightly sautéed spinach as a substitute (add it during the last 2 minutes when cooking the bell peppers and onion). Also, when I have it, smoked applewood cheddar adds an awesome flavor as well.

And a procedural note. I specify that the broccoli should be cooked beforehand because I have found that because it is a “harder” veggie than the peppers and onions, it doesn’t cook in the same amount of time. I find it easier just to cook it while I cook the potatoes, but you can certainly add it to the olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the other vegetables. I just find that I get distracted* and forget to add the other veggies!

Note- the photo shows a half-recipe baked in a 6” cast iron skillet.

*And no broccoli because it was morning and I forgot the broccoli!!! I told you that I get distracted...

* Exported from MasterCook *

Potato, Pepper, and Broccoli Frittata

Recipe by: Vicci:

Servings: 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 pound red potatoes -- boiled or steamed and cooled

2 medium red bell peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion -- chopped

1 cup broccoli florets -- steamed

1 large garlic clove -- minced

4 large eggs

3 large egg whites

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces smoked Gouda cheese -- shredded

Prepare potatoes and broccoli.

Preheat oven to 375F

Rub vegetable shortening into a 12" diameter cast iron (or other ovenproof) skillet.

Slice potatoes (peel first, if desired) into 1/4" thick slices and layer in the skillet.

Cut 2 or 3 thin rings from the center portion of each bell pepper and set aside. With the remaining pepper, deseed and chop into 1/4" dice.

Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the diced red pepper and onion over medium-low heat until almost tender. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Stir in the cooked broccoli florets.

Beat the eggs and egg whites with the water and seasonings, then stir in about 1/2 of the shredded cheese.

Arrange the cooked vegetables over the potato slices, pour the egg mixture over all, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and arrange the bell pepper rings on top.

Place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are firm and cooked. Let stand for a couple of minutes, and cut into wedges.

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Per serving: 205 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat; (40% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 140mg Cholesterol; 551mg Sodium

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Peach Daiquiris

If I am not too exhausted after a day of working outside in the heat and humidity, I will make a nice, refreshing (rewarding!) rum drink at the end of the day. Last evening, I used some very ripe peaches to prepare peach daiquiris and they were fabulous. And, look! Each drink contains a half serving of fruit!


* Exported from MasterCook *

Peach Daiquiris

Recipe by: Vicci

Servings: 4

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 1/2 cups fresh peaches -- peeled and chopped (about 8 ounces after preparation)

1/3 cup peach nectar

4 ounces rum -- white or gold

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cups ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender, taste and adjust for sweetness (depending on the ripeness of the peaches). Serve immediately.


"4 cups"

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Per serving: 115 Calories (kcal); trace Total Fat; (1% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 6mg Sodium

Happy Summer! Cheers!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

We’ve had a typical June weather pattern for southwestern Pennsylvania lately—cool mornings, muggy afternoons and evenings, thunderstorms at least a couple of days a week. Everything is so green and lush, and when I run on the wooded trails behind the house it feels as though I am in a jungle (although not entirely unpleasant, when the sun is hiding behind clouds I choose to run on the meadow paths instead).

A couple of days ago, we spent the evening watching weather maps on television. Atypically for our area, there were several tornado sightings, thousands of lightning strikes contained in severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding in the area (almost 4” of rain in 12 hours!). Although we were prepared, we must have been in some sort of protective bubble as we watched damage reports all evening and most of the next day, yet had no more than a few branches down on our yard. Our fingers are crossed to repeat this good luck, since a similar forecast is for later today.

Because hail was also forecast the other day (one county west of here was reporting “egg sized” hail!), I picked all of my lettuce and greens from the garden rather than risk their being shredded by ice balls from the sky. For lunch, I made one of my favorite salads consisting of greens, chickpeas, tomato, onion, and lowfat feta crumbles. If I had any, I would have liked to add sliced cucumber and kalamata olives, but it was not to be.

I dressed this salad with a light, creamy lemon vinaigrette which accented the flavors without being heavy and overpowering. I’ve been making this for years, but I don’t think that I have ever posted it here. Because I have fresh oregano, I added ½ tablespoon (chopped) to the dressing.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette

by: Vicci

Servings : 3 (makes 1/3 cup)

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon plain lowfat yogurt

1 teaspoon honey

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 mall garlic clove -- crushed

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. If available, add fresh herbs if desired (about ½ tablespoon). Transfer to a bottle and refrigerate at least an hour to meld flavors.


"1/3 cup"

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Per serving: 55 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; 1g Saturated (72% calories from fat); trace Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Cholesterol; 20mg Sodium

Another wonderful salad to use this dressing on would be salad greens, veggies, strawberries or blueberries, and goat cheese. Hmmm, I think that I have some goat cheese in the freezer…

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Josie's Sweet & Spicy Barbeque Sauce

I adore this time of year! The days are long and warm, not yet sweltering hot with hair-curling levels of humidity. The grass and trees are a beautiful, lush green, perennials are taking hold and forming buds, annual flowers are providing masses of color throughout the flower beds. I run the trails in the meadows and woods behind our house and have to fight the urge to stop too frequently and take huge, deep lung-fuls of air scented sweetly with wild rose, blackberry blossoms, and honeysuckle.

I saw yellow petunias, with white centers, at Lowe’s last month and bought several. Although I am not a huge fan of this particular flower, oh my, the scent! And they look gorgeous. I bought some dark purple ones, too, and mixed with the yellow in a few planters. I don’t usually buy a lot of annual flowers, preferring perennials for the single reason that they do not have to be planted every spring when I’m elbow-deep in potting mix in the garden, but these are converting me. Next year, more petunias!

We have two green frogs in the pond this year that (for lack of a more descriptive term) cavort every morning among the corkscrew rush plant. They splash enough to interest Spooky, although as soon as he leans his head over the edge of the pond, the frogs disappear with barely a ripple.

I love our farm, but there is so much to do these days from keeping the cracks between the patio stones free of weeds to maintaining the vegetable garden, flower beds, landscaping, and pond; scraping and painting… lots of things from window frames to siding, and a myriad of other projects.

And then there is the lake house where a good deal of entertaining takes place during the summer months, plus maintaining the planting beds (much less extensive than those at the farm, but still…) and fun stuff like cleaning the huge windows and scrubbing the green off of the patios and steps.

This is why I have not been posting more regularly. The days truly are packed, and I am afraid that by the time I am able to sit in front of the computer in the evening, I fall asleep. I have a backlog of recipes that I have prepared and photographed but the reviews will be slow in coming, and I apologize. :)

Lunch is usually something quickly grilled, and most often dinner is the same. My creativity frizzles along with my energy at the end of the day, and just to have something decent and hot on the table is a goal to be accomplished. Tonight, for example, I dredged tilapia fillets (cut in half) in a mixture of flour, cumin, s& p and pan sautéed them, serving in corn tortillas with finely chopped onion, hot sauce, cilantro, and Trader Joe’s salsa verde. Incredibly simple. The corn, red bell pepper, and edamame “succotash” took longer to make then the tacos.

Today I will mention a barbeque sauce/ glaze which Josie posted on 1 Kitchen 2 Dogs and a Girl. I made this several weeks ago and have used it many times on chicken and shrimp. She created this from cleaning out her refrigerator where a can of fruit nectar awaited a use. Since I had a can of mango nectar in the pantry, I gave it a try with great results. This isn’t your typical thick, tomato-based barbeque sauce, but has a wonderfully fruity/ spicy flavor and can be used as a marinade or glaze, or thickened and used as a sauce.

I have used it to marinade chicken breasts (and then boiled the marinade for a few minutes to use as a glaze on the cooked chicken), and have reduced the sauce to brush over skewered shrimp and mango cubes on the grill. It seems to keep for a long time (the other night I used the last of my initial batch, 6 weeks after making it, and it was still “good”), and is perfect for quick meals.

Next time, however, I will use the lesser amounts of chipotle and hot pepper jelly! Jack loved the heat level, but it was a tad too hot for me.

Here is a photo which I took the first time I used this sauce. I was so hungry and it was late, and I hadn't planned on photographing it, but one bite and I just knew that this recipe would have to be posted on my blog. I served the chicken (and the wonderful barbeque sauce) with grilled potato wedges and a mango/red bell pepper/red onion/jalapeno salsa. Perfect.