Saturday, September 28, 2013

brioche pour deux

Cinnamon & Banana Brioche French Toast for Two
2-4 thick slices of brioche bread
1 banana
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
tiny pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons butter
 maple syrup
Whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Melt butter in a large fry pan. Dip bread in egg mixture, saturating well. Fry on each side until golden. Top with bit more butter (to taste), sliced banana and maple syrup.
Tomato Brioche Madame Pour Deux
2 thick slices of brioche
2 thick slices of ripe tomato
4 ounces Farmers cheese (or other mild cheese)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 eggs
Toast brioche. Top with dijon mustard, tomato slice, S&P, cheese (sliced thin). Place under broiler until cheese is melted. Top with an egg over easy or sunny-side up. Serve with salad for a light dinner.
Brioche is rich and buttery and makes a great meal any time of day. My mom gave us half a loaf from Patisserie Poupon in Baltimore. Yum!

Monday, September 23, 2013

mediterranean pasta night

mediterranean whole wheat pasta with broiled tomatoes
This dish is a great weeknight dinner - fast and delicious. Serves 4 - (Vance enjoyed left overs!)
2 pints cherry tomatoes (I used yellow and red)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups baby spinach
6 oz cream cheese (feel free to use fat free)
teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1/3 cup capers, drained
2-3 tablespoons fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
S&P to taste
1/3 cup torn fresh basil
Preheat broiler. Broil tomatoes and garlic on a misted baking sheet for about 4-5 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Heat oil in a large skillet; sauté spinach 1 minute. Add cream cheese (broken up into little pieces) to soft spinach, add about 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water and red pepper. Light stir until cheese melts. Add tomato mixture and some more pasta water until the sauce is a consistency you desire. Add drained pasta, olives, capers, S&P to taste. Turn off heat and toss with basil before serving. Top with a little extra basil and Parmesan cheese. Spoon sauce  over pasta and serve with salad, delicious and takes well under 30 minutes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

eat your (summer) vegetables

Vegetable Ceviche (adapted from Food & Wine)
1 cup fresh baby lima beans or edamame beans
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup EVOO 1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (raw, from 2 ears)
2 nectarines, cut into thin wedges
1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large orange bell pepper, cut into narrow/short strips
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Course salt
Prepare the lima beans or edamame and set aside to cool (blanch in boiling water until cooked). Gently toss together corn, nectarine, bell pepper, and tomatoes in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk lime juice, EVOO, shallot, jalapeno and bit of salt. Dress salad gently. Add cilantro, salt to taste, mix and gently add avocado, fold so dressing is evenly dispersed. Chill for at least 2 hours and served cold. We had this delicious salad when my brother, Bill, and girlfriend, Kathleen came to visit over Labor Day. It is a nice alternative to a normal lettuce salad.

Quinoa Tabbouleh
3 cups prepared quinoa, cooled
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped mint
half shallot, minced
1/2 cucumber, slightly peeled, seeded and cubed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
juice from 1/2 large lemon
2-3 tablespoons EVOO
Goat cheese (optional topping)
In large bowl, combine quinoa, cilantro, mint, shallot, cucumber and tomatoes, mix well. Whisk lemon, EVOO and generous about of S&P in a separate bowl. Dress quinoa mixture and top with a bit of crumbled cheese.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

an afternoon on the upper east side

Last week, I spent a few days in New York for work. The weather was perfect and although it was busy, I was able to hit a few great restaurants and sights. I started with lunch at Candle 79, a vegan restaurant on East 79th. I can't tell you how much I loved this place - stuffed avocado with quinoa, black beans, corn, radish, tomatoes, spicy pepitas and cucumber with a chipotle dressing. I will absolutely go here again. I attempted a recreation at home this week - tasted good, didn't photograph so well.

the nicer looking original, instead of home chop-shop job
I walked to the Guggenheim and saw James Turrell's exhibit, Aten Reign. The installion fills the rotunda and there is large mat for visitors to lie down on and look up at the ceiling.
I took my spot on the mat, surrounded by German, Japanese and French tourists. The rotunda color changes from pink to purple to blue to grey and so on. Very calming.
After the museum, I headed to Sarabeth's, where I had a pot of tea and a current scone.
It was a great New York afternoon; the Upper East side can be so quiet. Later that night, back in mid-town, I went to Vitae for dinner. I had the most delicious shrimp risotto. The week got busier as my colleague and I were taking students to corporate visits on Wall Street - lots of rushing around but a great time.
lots of this and lots of suits

Monday, September 9, 2013

comfort foods from around the globe

I must be getting ready for fall - even though it is 90 degrees in Nashville today. I have been making some heartier meals and stocking our freezer full. Over the past few weeks, I made an assortment of what I think of as comfort foods (with some international flare - very minimal at times). Chicken Florentine bake, peaches 'n cream pork empanadas and chicken schnitzel with red cabbage and spaetzle.
Chicken Schnitzel for Two
2 chicken breasts, skinless/boneless pounded
1/2 cup wheat or white flour (for dredging)
1 large egg and a touch of water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 cup (or more) whole wheat bread crumbs  
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided  
Chopped flat-leaf parsley 
Lemon wedges  
 Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Beat eggs and Dijon mustard to blend in a shallow baking dish. Place bread crumbs in another shallow baking dish. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; carefully coat with crumbs. Transfer chicken to a plate. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add 2 chicken breasts to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a paper towel then serve with a lemon wedge.

So Co Peaches 'n Cream Empanadas
I had about a pound of frozen pulled pork meat that I wanted to use up in a creative way so I tried something new. Empanadas are a delicious treat that Vance loves. Roll out pie or pizza dough and cut into squares, fill with whatever cooked food you like and make a triangle turnover. I used pizza dough and filled them with pulled pork with peach barbecue sauce and a dollop of cream cheese. Baked on prepared pan at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until golden.
So Co Peach BBQ Sauce|
1 ripe peach, pureed
2/3 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
  2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Southern Comfort (or other bourbon, etc.)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ dried oregano
4-5 dashes of Chipotle Tabassco
Mix all ingredients together. Combine about half the sauce into the pork and use the rest as a dipping sauce. This sauce is delicious on chicken t

 "Lower Fat" Chicken Florentine Bake
2 large skinless chicken breasts, pre-cooked, cut into cubes
1/2 box frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed to remove access liquid
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon flour
juice from about 1/4 of a lemon 
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup low fat cottage cheese, blended to make smooth consistency
2/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated 
1/2 pound whole grain pasta (I used penne)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and mist a 9 x 11 baking dish with oil. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium-low and saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and whisk for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and stir until thickened. Add lemon juice, nutmeg, oregano & pepper. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and add blended cottage cheese, spinach, chicken, Parmesan cheese & pasta. Stir to combine. Place in casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden & bubbly.
This is delicious and creamy (and since it doesn't have heavy cream it isn't so terrible for you).