Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's Sandwich Time! Grilled Edition.

Short, Sweet and to the Point:
I Love Sandwiches.
I especially Love Grilled Sandwiches.
Here is my idea of A Perfect Sandwich:
2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread (I Love Big Sky Bakery & Alpine Valley Organic)
2 Slices of Uncured Hard Salami
Extra Sharp Vintage White Cheddar (Tillamook)
1/2 Avocado
1/2 Tomato
1 handful Spinach
1 handful Sprouts

The Construction
Butter Bread, layout cheese & cook over medium low until golden brown
Once bread is golden brown & cheese is melted add Salami & Veggies
Add a Pickle & you're good to go!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunshine Juice

So by now you know I love my Jack Lalanne Power Juicer.  You also probably look at some of my juice concoctions and think "no thanks" or even "yuck" but really, none of them taste bad, they just take a little stronger palate sometimes.  In honor of Jack Lalanne, who passed away last month, I have made "normal" juice to please the masses. I call it Sunshine Juice. It's the perfect way to start the morning. 
Sunshine Juice
3 Ruby Red Grapefruits
3 Oranges
Remember Citrus Must be peeled or the juice will be bitter.
That's it! Juice away.
Have a Sun-shiny Day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For the Love of Cheese...Ode to the Cow

     If I were to make a list of my favorite things  {all things not just food} Cheese would be very near the top of the list.  I've already professed my love of fresh mozzarella. This post is dedicated to a few of my favorite Cow Milk Cheeses, I am a big fan of both sheep & goat cheeses but today is all about my favorite animal, the Cow. {Seriously I love cows - they are the most selfless animals on the planet. Think of all they give us - Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream, Butter, Steaks, Cheeseburgers, Leather [i.e. shoes]... I love cows!} 
     I should warn you that I am not a maitre fromager, I don't know the lingo, I just know what I like.  Someday, I'll take a few lessons on the craft but until then, here's my simple analysis of the creamy goodness.
I've got a Soft Spot for Soft Cheeses
Delice de Bourgogne is a French Triple Cream made from Cow's milk. Hands down my favorite soft cheese. I love love love Delice de Bourgogne. It's so good I don't even know where to start, it's rich and buttery and oh so creamy. I think Delice de Bourgogne is The Perfect Cheese. You must try this cheese!
Saint Nectaire is a French cheese made from cow's milk raised in the volcanic Auvergne region.  If you like a little more pungent cheese, Saint Nectaire is for you. It's rich, creamy, and nutty with a slightly grassy mushroomy flavor. 
Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery in California. Mt Tam is a slightly firmer version of the triple cream. It's buttery and mellow.  This is a great starter cheese for the faint of heart who aren't into stronger flavors.  It's much milder than a Brie.
Something New!
Mountina When I saw Mountina at Whole Foods the first thing I noticed was the byline "An Alpine Cheese from the Mountains of...Montana" How could I not try a cheese from my home state? I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting much, Montana is known for a lot of great things but dairy isn't one of them. I was pleasantly surprised, the Mountina has some serious depth! Mountina is a semi-firm raw cow's milk cheese with a mild washed rind. It's nutty, it's sweet, it's creamy, it's fantastic! Mountina is slightly reminiscent of raclette, but milder and in my opinion better.
Something Just a Little Different
Sottocenere is one of my favorite "special" cheeses. Sottocenere is an Italian semi-soft raw cow's milk cheese with slivers of black truffle. I Love this Cheese! It's a delicate, silky, aromatic, slightly nutty cheese.  It is one of my personal favorites.
The Everyday
If you haven't noticed by now, I am really trying to each less processed foods.  This applies to snacks, meats and yes, even cheeses.  It can be hard to find small brand cheese in a lot of locals.  My favorite national brand is Tillamook. Tillamook is an Oregon Co-op, that's right, the farmers are the owners. If you visit the Oregon coast, you will see lush farms with pretty Dairy cows dotting the land. It's beautiful, the cows really do look happy & the people are so nice. I love knowing that is where my cheese comes from. If they had a Nordstrom & an Anthro, I'd move there - that's how picturesque Tillamook is. And the cheese, oh the cheese, best Cheddar ever! My favorite is the Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar. But the Medium just so happens to be the "World's Best". Don't believe me? They've got the award to prove it.
*While Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, it's important to eat full fat cheese in moderation* 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Sweet Treat for Your Sweet Heart: Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Happy Valentines Day! 
Today I'm Sharing a Sweet Treat for Your Sweetie
When I think of Valentines Day treats I think Chocolate & Cherries {But I don't like real chocolate covered cherries - weird right}
I Love this Cherry Chocolate Hot Chocolate 

But My Favorite Chocolate Cherry Treat is Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. My mom used to make them for us every year & we couldn't wait to get our hands on them!
The Cookie Deets
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Egg
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Maraschino Cherries (set aside for construction) 
The How To
Mix all ingredients - except the Cherries
The Dough will be slightly crumbly
The Filling/Sauce Deets
6 oz Chocolate
1/2 Cup Sweet Condensed Milk
4 Tablespoons Cherry Juice
The How To
Mix all ingredients & Melt until smooth 
(about 1 minute in the microwave)
Roll Dough into Ball, then Poke a hole in the ball & work the hole until it is large enough to fit a cherry & chocolate sauce. 
Add Cherry
Fill with Chocolate Sauce
Bake at 350 for 10 Minutes & Enjoy!
Happy Valentines Day to you & yours!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

A Lighter Version of the Classic Chicken Parmesan. It's made with fresh ingredients, Pan Seared Chicken (Not Fried) & Whole Wheat Pasta.
The Deets For the Chicken
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Butterflied
1/8 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 TBS Olive Oil
The How To
Dredge Chicken in Flour
Dredge Chicken in Egg wash
Dredge Chicken in Bread Crumbs
Heat Oil over medium high in Medium Skillet
Add Chicken & cook for 2 minutes on each side
Remove from Heat and Cover
The Deets For the Sauce
3 Cups Tomatoes Diced (or 2 Cans) Today I used Yellow Sunshine Baby Tomatoes - hence the yellow sauce instead of traditional red
5 Leaves of Basil Roughly Chopped
1 Clove Garlic Minced
1 Shallot Chopped
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

The How To

In Medium Sauce Pan Heat Oil, add Garlic and Shallot until clear
Add Tomatoes,  Basil, Salt, Pepper and Sugar
Cook over Medium Heat for 10 minutes
The Deets for Assembly 
Tomato Sauce prepared above
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
8 Slices Fresh Mozzarella
4 Large Basil Leaves

The Assembly 

Place Chicken Breasts on Baking Sheet
Top each with 2 TBS Tomato Sauce
Sprinkle with Parmesan
Top with Basil & Mozzarella
Bake at 450 for 10 Minutes
Add Cooked Whole Wheat Spaghetti to left over Tomato Sauce Top with Parmesan. Add your favorite Salad or Vegetable
Plate, Pray & Enjoy

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Baked Mac & Cheese

It's Cold.  It's Darn Cold. You know what that means? Comfort Food.
When I think Comfort Food, I think Mac & Cheese.
*Warning* This Recipe is not in any way shape or form healthy.  It is slightly "less bad" than normal, but not healthy - sorry, but sometimes you've got to have the real deal. We are getting our Dairy for the day. Hooray for Vitamin D & Calcium.  Also, we are eating whole "real" foods that aren't overly processed - can't say that about the mac in a box...

The Deets
1 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp White Cheddar (Tillimook Vintage White)
1 1/4 Cup Shredded Medium Cheddar (Tillimook Medium Cheddar)
1/4 Cup Goat Cheese (No Goat? add more Cheddar or your favorite Cheese {Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack are all good options})
1 Cup Sour Cream (I used reduced fat)
1/4 Cup Milk (I use skim)
1 TBS Butter
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
3 Cups Whole Wheat Penne or Elbow Macaroni (It's best to use a pasta with ridges to hold the sauce)

The How To
In a Medium Sauce Pan mix 1 Cup of Extra Sharp & Medium Cheddar with Butter and Milk
Cook over Medium Heat until smooth 
Add Goat Cheese and Sour Cream
Add Salt and Pepper 
Cook to a smooth consistency 
Prepare Pasta according to package directions - usually 8 minutes in boiling water
Do NOT overcook the pasta
Drain and Rinse Pasta and add to cheese mixture
Mix until pasta is coated 
Transfer to a baking dish (9x9) 
Top with remaining Cheese and cover with tin foil
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
Uncover for the last 5 minutes
What goes great with Mac & Cheese?
Fried Chicken? Not Quite, but close.
UnFried Chicken 
The Deets
4 portions Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Seasoned Salt (Lawry's)
1 TBS Canola Oil
The How To
Butterfly Chicken Breasts (lay breast flat & cut parallel to cutting board cutting breast almost in half {thickness wise} stop prior to cutting through & "fold" breast open, pound or smooth by hand)
Mix egg in a bowl large enough to dip/dredge chicken in
Dredge Chicken through egg & then through the Panko Bread Crumbs (I sprinkle the bread crumbs on my cutting board - less dirty dishes)
Sprinkle with  Seasoned Salt to taste (less is more)
Heat Oil in Skillet to Medium High 
Cook Chicken for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown
Cover and remove from heat to continue cooking
Add a Salad and/or your favorite Vegetable

Plate, Pray & Enjoy!

Note: We don't eat "White" in our house - this means no white bread, rice or pasta - we make exceptions for rice noodles, Panko Bread Crumbs & mixing flour for baking (50/50 Whole Wheat & All Purpose). This is one small way we can eat less processed foods & up our whole grain intake. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Seared MahiMahi with Tomato Confit

Seared MahiMahi over Saffron Quinoa with Tomato Confit 
Seep 1 Pinch of Saffron in 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
Boil 1 1/2 Chicken Broth
Add 1 Cup Quinoa to Boiling Broth
Cook on Medium of 20 Minutes
Add Saffron Water and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes
Tomato Confit
1 Cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes diced
1 TBS Olive Oil
1 pinch Sea Salt
1 pinch finely chopped Basil
Heat over Medium-High for 5-7 Minutes
2 Portions MahiMahi Filets
Season with Lemon Pepper
Heat 1 TBS Olive Oil in a Pan on high
Sear Filet for 2 minutes on each side
Remove from Heat and cover to continue cooking for 5 Minutes 
Plate by making a circle of Quinoa on a plate, place seared MahiMahi Filet on top of Quinoa, top with tomato confit
Plate, Pray & Enjoy!