Monday, January 19, 2009

Romanesco Broccoli Green Curry - Amazingly Delish & Beautiful!

Readers, friends ... my last box of goodies from Johnson Backyard Farms included one of the coolest vegetables I have ever come across.

Romanesco Broccoli ... which employs the fractals concept is wacky, intelligent and tasty. Check out this image of the veggie before I broke it up into pieces for my very simple curry.

The curry recipe below is kind of cheating, but it is one of the ways that I find making a tasty dinner in under 30 minutes really easy. By having a few key items in my fridge & pantry, I take the freshest of veggies + chicken and am totally in business. Keep reading for a tasty weekday fave. John and I skip the rice so that we have a much lighter overall meal, with only the complex carbs & fiber of the veggies to fill us.

Vegetable & Chicken Green Coconut Curry
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
  • 1 can Reduced Fat Coconut Milk, you cannot taste the difference and this has huge calorie implications
  • 5-6 Cups Varied Veggies of your choice, this week I used the fabby Romanesco, Bok Choy, Reconstituted Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Snap Peas & Orange Bell Pepper
  • 2 Cups Diced or Chopped Lean Chicken Breast
  • 1/2-1 Cup Chicken Broth, depending on how liquidy you like your curry
  • Optional: Fish Sauce & Brown Sugar to taste, tiny bits of both
This is seriously easy ... especially if you follow the instructions on the Curry jar:))) Combine the curry paste with the coconut milk in a large pan or moderate sauce pan and simmer for a few minutes. Add everything else, I usually go chicken first and let that simmer a teensy bit on its own ... then add all the veggies and cook until the toughest veg is done. That is typically 12-15 minutes, by which time your chicken should also be done.

Serve as is in bowls or if you are a carb fiend over brown rice for a healthy and quick meal. This should also provide a bit of leftovers for two people ... a lot if you add rice.

Enjoy and once again, stock your pantry with Curry Paste & Coconut Milk in a can, both of which keep for a loooong time, and you can whip this up with whatever veggies you have handy. Even if you don't have the coolest looking veg ever, Romanesco!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Healthy Pancakes with a Fruity Twist!

I love Sunday mornings ... not only because I sleep in a bit more ... but also because John and I often make a really scrumptious breakfast together. John is undisputedly the breakfast master of the two of us ... when it comes to an omelette or a pancake, he has a way with the pan temperature that I just cannot hold a candle to. So today, I prepped, mixed and blended while John manned the stove for one of our healthy faves.

Eggwhite-Oatmeal-Berry Pancakes with Mint-Berry Coulis
(This batch made 6 cakes total ... you may want to increase your recipe)
  • 6 Egg Whites, or 4/5 of a cup of pure egg whites that you can buy pre-separated
  • 1/2 C Rolled Oats or Quick Oats
  • 1 C Frozen Mixed Berries, thawed
  • 2 tsp Vanilla or Almond extract (based on your preference)
  • 1 tsp Splenda, triple it if you like things really sweet
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed (optional, but makes for a great consistency and adds omegas)
  • 1 C Mint-Berry Coulis, recipe follows
Mix the berries and egg whites in a bowl, whisking together until they are well distributed but lumpy due to the shape of the fruit. Try to get out any clumps of fruit that are stuck together. Add the Splenda, extract and oats. Continue mixing until completely combined and you have a consistent batter. This will in NO way resemble batters you are used to. It will be a little translucent and slightly thicker in consistency.

Heat your pan or griddle to medium and butter or spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray (we use Pam). Make small 3-inch pancakes for best results, pouring the batter onto the surface and cooking for 3 minutes on one side or until the edges are white and the pancake can be flipped. Once flipped, cook them another 2-3 minutes on the other side until they are puffy and no longer squishy. They should once again be easy to flip and have a color that is a bit darker than your classic golden brown pancake. We typically try one 'sacrificial' pancake any time we use a new stove, pan or recipe since each of these variables can really change cooking time. Once you have it down ... make the rest and keep them warm on the griddle or in the oven.

Because these are so eggy, it is important that you get them cooked through. Else you will have raw egg, not good, and the pancake won't be as fluffy as it could.

Today, John did a trick that worked out great. We used a griddle pan across two burners with the front on 6-7 of 10 for the initial cooking ... and then he moved the pancakes to the back burner on about 4 to keep them warm and cook the center perfectly through.

Mint-Berry Coulis
  • 1 C Frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tsp Low Fat or Light Sour Cream
  • 8-10 Mint Leaves
  • 2 tsp Honey or Agave Nectar if you have it ... I have both and I mixed them mmmmm
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until it reaches your desired consistency. Optionally you can use Splenda to replace some of the other sweetener and you may add vanilla or almond extract if that is a flavor you like.

Serve the pancakes warm with the Mint-Berry Coulis, Syrup, Honey or your favorite pancake topping.

*For full disclosure, this recipe is modified from one that we found in Fitness Magazine about two years ago and we have been making and tweaking these pancakes ever since!

Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon ... by request ...

Last week when I posted my recipe for Wasabi-Sesame Cucumber Salad ... it was an accompaniment to Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon and I received a request to post that recipe. I am happy to do so and hope you enjoy this very easy classic.

In the case of this recipe, it is really more about having the right ingredients on hand than anything else. So stock up that pantry:))

Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon
  • 2 6-8oz Pieces Salmon, skin removed, milder flavor works best for this, but whatever salmon you like best ...
  • 1 Tbsp Miso Paste*, sold in Whole Foods and many major grocers
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger Paste, back to my Gourmet Garden** favorites
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste, Gourmet Garden**
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
*Check out this post on how others use Miso Paste. If you thought you shouldn't buy it for just this one recipe, rest assured, there are many ways to use it. I use it for soup and a lot of different asian dishes in general.
**If you have fresh ... by all means crush and use these ... but in about 1/2 to 1/3 the quantities. I use fresh herbs about 40% of the time ... just find these things so handy to make a lot of different things without running to the store daily:)

Mix all the sauce ingredients and marinate the salmon in this mixture for 10-20 minutes, I usually do this while I am prepping the ingredients for the rest of my meal. When you are about 10-12 minutes away from having everything else prepared, turn your oven broiler on high. Place the marinated salmon filets on a baking sheet or glass oven dish. You may want to put some non-stick cooking spray on this, but it isn't required since Salmon is pretty oily, I find that they usually come off fine. Reserve the remaining marinating liquid.

Broil the salmon for 7-8 minutes ... check to see if it is close to your desired doneness. When it is, pour the remaining marinade over the fish and cook to finish.

HINT: If there is still foamy white stuff coming off the Salmon, it probably isn't done yet. I like mine cooked quite through ... so I typically end up with close to the full 12 minutes in the oven with some browning or caramelization on top.

Healthy, fast and easy (if you have Kir's Kitchen pantry items ...) so enjoy!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year & New Ideas: Wasabi-Sesame Cucumber Salad

Happy New Year friends and fellow foodies!

This holiday season John and I spent a glorious two weeks in Europe (Bonn, Barcelona, Zurich & Brussels) with family, friends and a lot of great food:))) I should be specific though - cheese, meat, bread, repeat ... I will share more about our trip and the great dishes we enjoyed in another post, but suffice to say that we are not only doing our annual alcohol free detox ... we are craving lean, spicy veggie filled meals these days.

That led to last night's meal of Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon with Stir Fried Veggies and an inspiration that came to me: Wasabi-Sesame Cucumber Salad. I will focus on this little gem of a light veggie salad that almost mimics and 'Indian pickle' which would be served with every meal ... something that is served cold, is a little spicy and serves to counter the flavors of the rest of the meal. Because most of our foods in Europe were so rich and not spicy at all we've been seeking punch ... as I made the rest of the meal I was rooting around in the fridge since we did a big Costco run on our return. I saw the baby cukes that I bought and though - ahhh - refreshing ... and then I spied one of my fave condiments ... Wasabi Mayo! Light bulb!!!

Wasabi-Sesame Cucumber Salad
  • 2-4 Baby Cucumbers or 1/2 an English Cucumber, both great as they are almost seedless
  • 1/4 Shallot thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1 tsp Wasabi Mayo, or sub in 1/4 tsp Wasabi Powder, 1/4 tsp Veg Oil + 1/2 tsp Sour Cream (mixed)
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Salt to taste (I didn't add any, but could have)

Cut the cukes in half and then thinly slice. Slice and quarter the shallot. In a small Tupperware container combine the Wasabi Mayo and Vinegar, seal and shake to combine. Add the veggies and sesame seeds, seal and shake to coat. Done and done.

John loved this little addition to our otherwise pretty common meal and even asked me to up the Wasabi next time ... so tweak as you like ... you might even consider adding some other thinly sliced veggies - colorful bell pepper or maybe some radish would add color, interest and some additional sweetness and punch.

Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy 2009 ... I'll keep you posted on how my Alcohol and Cheese Free Detox month progresses:)))