Monday, August 31, 2015

Faux Kraut

I got a head of cabbage in my CSA last week and this week, and while I love the stuff, it's hard to store for long term usage, and I can't eat a head a week!  So, Sunday night, while suffering from post-stress insomnia, I looked up about 80 bajillion "quick kraut" recipes, and then cobbled them together into what sounded ideal to me.

And it turned out wonderfully.  I do have to let you know though, choose your vinegar wisely.  Many call for white, or cider.  A delicate flavored vinegar will work much better, unless you want it super sharp. This is pretty sharp already, I can't imagine doing it with something as strong as a straight white. I would deff cut back the vinegar by half a cup, and add a half of water, if using a stronger vinegar.

So why "Faux?"  Well, real kraut is fermented, while this is really more quick pickled.  Still, it's delicious, and homemade.

8 cups packed thick leafed cabbage, shredded
2 cups water
2 cups champagne vinegar
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp garlic powder
black pepper to taste
  1. In your stock pot, combine 1/2 of the vinegar, and all of the water and onion over high heat. 
  2. Once boiling, add cabbage, salt, mustard seed, garlic powder and black pepper.  Stir, and pour remainder of vinegar over.
  3. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. 
  4. Continue to stir occasionally, until cabbage is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes.  You can go longer if you want it mushier, but I like a bit of tooth.
  5. Drain off most of the liquid, and store in appropriate portions. 
  6. Cool overnight in fridge, and freeze any you will not be using for later use.
Makes 12 servings of 1/2 cup at about 30 calories a serving.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stuffed Cheese Steak Peppers

I love philly cheese steaks. I love all steaks honestly. Sadly, hoagie rolls are quite a lot of bread, so I'm going with this vegetarian option.  I see them all of the time on the internet, so here's my variation.

This is for one, so just multiple for extra servings. I'm using my spring onions and sweet peppers from this week's farm share, with basil garnish from my own garden.

1 large red sweet pepper, 4 oz.
4 oz. baby bellas, sliced
1 oz. onion, diced fine
1/2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella
3 oz. Applegate Organics Roast Beef
2 Tbsp. ketchup
  1. Slice pepper in half, so they can be used a "crusts."  Remove seeds.
  2. Sprinkle each half with diced onion.
  3. Dice 2 oz. of mushroom, and sprinkle on top.
  4. Slice up the meat, and place over mushroom.
  5. On top of meat, layer sliced mushrooms.
  6. Cover with cheese.
  7. Bake 300F until cheese is melty and golden and mushrooms are tender.
  8. Serve on plate with ketchup.  Yum.

Serves 2 at 189 calories each.

Cream of Neat

I'm not paleo, although I use the paleo diet for a foundation sometimes.  While it's basically about as made up as can be (humans totally ate and processed grains during all paleo periods, and the food available to us today is nothing like that of our ancestors, as we have been selectively breeding for thousands of years), the idea of getting away from processed junk has much to it.

So when I stumbled across a very complicated recipe for N'Oatmeal that involved eggs and coconut milk and all sorts of time, I thought, well, we can do this easier.

So, my Cream of "Neat" is a bit easier to make, and super yummy. And yes, it's made with cauliflower, which you know from my previous posts I have a love-hate relationship with.  I love it as anything but itself.  In general, I'm not a huge fan of the Brassica clan in general, with a few exceptions. So, when I saw it as hot cereal, I had to give it a try, and I made a title that would at least get you to look!

It was amazing. Seriously amazing.

And I could eat enough to be full. And it was delicious.  In fact, if I hadn't known it was cauliflower, I would have thought it was a gourmet cream of wheat of some kind.  This is a super tricky, evil and wonderful way to transform a head of cauliflower into something the whole family will enjoy.

16 oz. frozen cauliflower, defrosted and squeezed
1 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. honey or substitute 1-2 packets monk fruit
5 tsp. pure maple
  1. I defrosted my bag of cauliflower overnight, and then microwaved half a bag at a time for 2 minutes to finish it off.  
  2. I then drained and squeezed it . 16 oz. makes 2 packed and heaped cups.  
  3. Add half to your blender with 1/4 a cup coconut milk and blend on minced.  
  4. Add another 1/4 and scrape down sides in between, until you get a thick cream of wheat consistency.  
  5. Empty into your saucepan, and repeat with other half.
  6. Add spice, honey, and 2 tsp. maple.  The remaining teaspoons are to drizzle over the finished product.
  7. Stirring frequently, cook about 5-8 minutes, until soft, heated through, and flavorful.  Be careful not to overcook-remember, it was zapped once already!
  8. Serve with one tsp maple drizzled over top.  Here you see I also chopped up a few medjool dates (not included in the nutritional info or calorie info-dates are high calorie beasties, but delish).

Serves 3 at 98 calories a serving.

The base recipe is 40 calories, and super simple, but plain it still tastes like cauliflower:

4 oz. cauliflower, frozen
1/4 cup so delicious unsweetened coconut milk
  1. Microwave frozen cauliflower for 2 minutes. 
  2. Combine in blender with coconut milk on mince until cream of wheat consistency, scraping down sides twice.  
  3. Scrape out into small soup pan and heat through, until super creamy.

The great thing about this is that there's so much you can do to add flavor. Add compotes, jellies, and other fruits to make your own delicious variations.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heirloom Shrimp Diavolo

I love Nooodles shiritaki noodles, and I'm constantly trying to things to make them even better. This week, I have a lot of tomatoes left over from a picnic, and more from a farm share, and I'm still working my way through the onions, so I thought I'd try my hand at a homemade sauce.

And, I needed something low in calories, because I totally fell off the wagon this week between family picnics, last suppers before school, and a date.  I need to hop back on and behave.

This sauce was super easy, and super delicious with shrimp over Nooodles with Parmesan crunchies, and nasturtium leaves and Thai basil from my garden.

16 oz. of tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. of onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 tsp red chili pepper flakes, or more to your taste
1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 oz. shrimp
1 package of Nooodles or similar brand non-soy shiritaki noodles
2 Tbsp. parm
  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, pepper and salt in your saute pan.  Cook, stirring often, on medium high, until reduces and almost no water remains.
  2. While this cooks, thaw and peel your shrimp.
  3. While your shrimp thaw, measure out 1 Tbsp. scoops of grated Parmesean cheese onto you parchment lined or silicone baking sheet. 
  4. Spread them a little, but not much. 
  5. Bake at 350F for about 3 minutes in the convection oven, until golden. You can cut off overcooked edges.
  6. While your chips cool, keep an eye on your sauce.  
  7. Once the sauce is reduced, process it in a blender.  
  8. Add back to the pan with your peeled shrimp, and cook about 3-5 minutes until shrimp are done.
  9. When you add the shrimp, rinse your Nooodles in hot tap water.  That's it, they're done.  This is another reason I love them.
  10. Serve with a healthy dose of sauce, parm crunchies, and a sprinkling of thai basil and nasturtium leaves for flavor. Nasturtiums have a light caper taste.

This sauce can be made pre-shrimp and stores really well-about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Serves 2 at 195 calories a serving

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lightly Curried Root Veggie Skillet

I'm starving, and I have a lot of calories left for the day, because I forgot to eat before work. Ooops.

So, this is totally going to be one of those meals for 2 that I eat for one. It's sweet, it's salty, it's spicy, and it's super filling. It's also going to help me clear out my fridge a bit.

8 oz. beet, washed and cubed
4 oz. yam, washed and cubed
2 oz. spring onion bulb, cut how you prefer it (I like it almost quartered and peeled-big chunks)
2 oz. fennel bulb stalks, chopped like celery
3 pieces center-cut, reduced sodium bacon, cooked then torn up into bite size pieces
1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Before tossing stuff in your pan, consider how you like your eggs.  If you prefer them sunny side up, you'll want something you can toss a lid on.
  2. Cook bacon.  Reserve about 1/2 Tbsp. of drippings, and store the rest in the fridge, covered for a week (you can do longer, but I rarely have any left beyond this point). Set bacon aside to drain
  3. Toss beet, yam, onion, pepper flakes, and chopped fennel stalk into the bacon grease and cook it up until onions are fairly translucent and yam is just under fork tender.  
  4. Add curry powder, sprinkling it over a bit at a time and stirring in.  
  5. Cook until yams begin to brown, then add bacon back in.
  6. Sweep your goodies to the side, and toss those eggs in whatever way you like them.

Serves 2 at 286 calories

Monday, August 10, 2015

Healthy Stove Top Blueberry Crumble

I love crumbles more than pie, and this quick, stove top version is perfect for when you want one without all of the calories, and you want it NOW.
filling forms

1 1/4 cup blueberry (or any berry)
1 tsp. local honey
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon granola
  1. In your small saucepan, combine berries, honey, salt, and nutmeg.  
  2. Cook, stirring and mashing a bit, until filling forms.  It will be a bit soupier than pie filling, but should still be thick. About 5 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool until it no longer burns your mouth. About 5 minutes.
  4. Top with 2 Tbsp. of granola. I'm using Kind Healthy Grains Granola Clusters in Cinnamon Oat with Flax.

Calories vary by topping.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Squash Bread

Note: This is a super tricky loaf! Don't do this if you're new to the baking thing!

I love pumpkin everything, but you don't necessarily need pumpkin for any of it.  In fact, I usually sub in acorn, delicata, or butternut squash and no one is the wiser.  Whatever is available. This is one of those times, but you can use pumpkin.  Just adjust calorie differences.

To make my acorn puree, I just follow the microwave directions for the squash, let it cool, and scoop it into a blender.  I use a bit of water when needed and then measure it out into 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup servings, which I freeze for pies, cakes, cookies, waffles, etc.  I just thaw them out in a bowl of hot water while I prepare the kitchen and get the dry goods going.

This loaf is good for eating straight up, making a decadent french toast with sweetened cream cheese spread, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and all other sorts of evils that are delicious. It pairs nicely with Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, as well as other things.

Seen here sliced thin with one black fig, 1 Tbsp. 1/3 less fat American style Neufchatel cream cheese, 1/2 tsp. local honey, and a bachelor button garnish. About 250 calories right there, same as a Hershey bar, and oh so decadent.

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups squash puree
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 3/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, and squash puree.
  4. Using the muffin method, stir wet ingredients into dry until just moistened through.
  5. Grease your pan well and pour the batter in.
  6. Bake for about one hour, until toothpick is almost clean.  Then drop it to 300F to finish because this is such a wet batter.  You don't want to burn your outsides before your insides are done.
  7. Allow to cool completely before removing and cutting. Seriously, this is a super moist bread and it will just fall apart.
10 slices at 282 calories a serving.

Zucchini Shrimp Scampi

Friday is almost here, so I'm working hard to use up enough of my last farm share to have room for the new one.

I know, or woe is me, I have food.

I really wanted an alfredo, but my attempts at a healthier one have fallen flat...or gooey and watery at the same time, yuck. So, mid-recipe I made a change, and it was wonderful. Of course it was.  It's full of butter. Paula Deen must be astrally projecting again.

Anyhoo, I have a medium zucchini I've spiralized using the thick cut and swiss chard from my farm share. The greens are getting close to the point where I know they'll be fit only for pigs, so I'll be cooking with them quite a bit for the next few days. Both go well with shrimp, which is my preferred protein source today.

Zucchni noodles are great because the squash really has a light, green flavor raw, which is why we don't tend to love it outside of things that are terrible for us.  Also, it has 5 calories per ounce to spaghetti's 45, and about 1/8th the carbs, double the calcium, and more than triple the potassium. It's a great substitute for dieters, because one thing that science has proven about weight loss is that lower carbs really do work, especially for the obese. Slightly warmed, it doesn't get gooey, and in cold "spaghetti" salads I actually like it better than the pasta! Holds some crunch.

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 oz. of spring onion bulb, or white onion, chopped small
1 tsp salted butter for cooking in
2 Tbsp. salted butter for finishing
2 oz. swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
4 oz. crimini or baby bella mushroom, sliced
10 oz. zucchini, spiralized into noodles
6 oz. shrimp, peeled, raw
12 oz. beer, whatever you hated last
  1. In a large pan, combine 1 tsp. butter with garlic and onion, cooking on medium until onion is slightly translucent. 
  2. Add mushroom.
  3. Bring beer to a boil, and toss in your shrimp. Immediately remove from heat and allow to basically poach in the pan until almost cooked through.  
  4. Drain. This step isn't vital, and you can cook your shrimp in the pan with everything else, but beer brings out the sweetness and adds a bit of flavor, and it keeps the rest of the food from getting that cooked-meat slime on it, which isn't pretty. I used Electric Peel by Magic Hat Brewing today, because I thought it was absolutely horrific. But, it make a nice shrimp.
  5. Once the mushroom is cooked down, add the chard and wilt it good.  
  6. Once that's done, add last of the butter and melt.
  7. Add in shrimp, and then zucchini noodles, tossing with tongs until thoroughly coated and warmed through.
  8. Seen here finished with nasturtium petals, which have a bit of that caper taste, Parmesan, and a profound amount of black pepper.  People who like things salty might want a dash of something, but I really enjoyed the clean taste of the veggies through the buttery, fatty goodness without it. The petals are from my pesticide-free deck garden of edible flowers.

Serves 2 at 239 calories a serving and is super filling.  You could probably make this serve 3 if you weren't feeding say, my brothers, or lumberjacks.