Sunday, August 31, 2008

Red Beans and Rice - Pressure Cooker Style!

If any of you know my husband...and I mean REALLY know my husband, you know he LOVES Red Beans and Rice. He makes it at least once a month. Every time he makes it there is some type of variation from seasonings to the type of sausage. Last night as I was cooking up the Martha Stewart Mac and Cheese he was chopping up peppers and veggies for the Red Beans and Rice. I always get a little nervous when he starts up with the Red Beans and Rice because when it rocks, IT ROCKS!!!! But when it doesn' doesn't; in a big, bad way.
Alex is all about beans from the bag, not the can, the bag. That means soaking overnight and cooking all day in a crock pot. Sometimes some of the beans are soft and fabulous while others are NOT al dente and other times they are ALL not al dente...those are the bad nights. Today was a busy day for Alex and I and we forgot to soak the beans. CRAP!

Thank goodness for pressure cookers. I have to admit, I have ONLY EVER used my pressure cooker for potatoes. When I bought the thing it came with three cook books and I was surprised to find you can cook meat, beans AND CHEESECAKE, of all things, in a pressure cooker. SERIOUSLY!!!!! Off to the pressure cooker cookbook we went.
We didn't use the recipe for the Red Beans and Rice in the pressure cooker cookbook, we just stole their idea for cooking the beans. Here is the game plan we used:

Alex's Red Beans and Rice...well, Red Beans...not Rice (More on that later):
1 16 oz package of dried red beans
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 roasted green pepper - this is from our grilling escaped earlier in the week
1 red jalapeno pepper - it is red and looks like a that is what I'm calling it.
2 green jalapeno peppers
1 onion
various Cajun spices...pick your favorite + bay leaf & fresh parsley
1/2 bottle of beer
Sausage of your choice

Alex chopped up all the veggies the night before and marinated them in 1/2 bottle of beer (I'm not sure what you would use in place of the 1/2 bottle of beer if you aren't a maybe you should just crack down, buy a bottle of beer and use the other half of the bottle for killing snails in your yard.)

Cooking the beans: I am fortunate enough to have a Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Pressure Cooker (Alex bought if for my birthday our first year dating) that comes with a cookbook/user guide called, Quick Cuisine - Delicious recipes for your Duromatic Pressure Cooker. This is what it told me about pressure cooking beans: It suggests you soak your beans overnight...why would I do that when I have a pressure cooker?
Quick Soak: for each cup of sorted, rinsed beans, place 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt into the pressure cooker. The book also suggests added some oil to the water to keep the foaming down. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Lock the lid in place and bring pressure to the second red ring over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain pressure at the second red ring and cook 2 minutes. Release pressure and remove the lid. Drain beans and cook as directed in the recipe.
To the 'Cajun Red Beans & Rice' recipe in the book:In a 4-quart or larger pressure cooker, add soaked, drained beans, 4 cups water (because we are using the whole bag of beans), and cut up veggies marinating in beer.

Allow ingredients to come to a boil, stirring often. Close lid and bring pressure to second red ring over high heat. Adjust heat to stabilize pressure at second red ring. Cook for 10 minutes.In the mean time, Alex cut up and browned some fabulous Cajun sausage we found at Costco.
Remove pressure cooker from heat (after the 10 minutes) and use natural release method. We just push down on our button at the top with the two red lines and this releases the pressure.

Add sausage to bean mixture. Close lid and bring pressure to second red ring over high heat. Adjust heat to stabilize pressure at second red ring. Cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and use natural release method.

The other conundrum I run into with Alex's Red Beans and Rice is the rice. He uses regular, plain, old minute rice. Hmmmm...boring. Not bad, just boring. Tonight, I took matters into my own hands.

A couple of months ago I took a business trip down to New Orleans...yes, life is tough when you have to do business in New Orleans. I scored a cute little Cajun book called "Talk About Good!" at a book store called, A Tisket, A Tasket in the French Quarter. How can you go wrong with a name like that?

Rice Casserole II:
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp summer savory - I didn't have this and it still ROCKED!
3 beef (I used chicken) bouillon cubes
3 cups boiling water
4 oz. can chopped mushrooms - Alex hates mushrooms and I am adverse to canned mushrooms so I left these out.
1 small can Parmesan cheese - I don't do canned Parmesan cheese so I grated one cup
2 cups minutes rice (raw)Melt butter, add onion, garlic, rice and savory - saute. Melt bouillon cubes in the boiling water, add to rice, cheese and mushrooms. Put in baking dish, cover and bake 30 minutes at 350 F.

Lesson learned from today's post? GO BUY A PRESSURE COOKER!!!!

Martha Stewart is trying to kill us one recipe at a time

If you haven't noticed from the last couple of posts, I have been on a Martha Stewart kick. I rediscovered my Martha Stewart Living annual cookbooks and couldn't figure why I would have forgotten them...after this recipe...I remember. This recipe has so much butter and sugar in it, I am going to have to double my workouts just to get rid of the small serving I had. I was so happy about rediscovering my Martha Stewart cookbooks that I ran off and bought TWO MORE cookbooks on! I'm gonna get fat!

Alex tells me every summer how much he loves rhubarb so this year, I decided to indulge him and found this recipe. I have never cooked with rhubarb and now I am in love. It is yummy and tangy and sweet. It really combines well with the strawberries. Oh the strawberries! We got a 4 pound package of strawberries at Costco and they look like RUBIES!
This recipe isn't hard to make per se, but it is involved. There are three separate parts to this recipe. You've got the cake, the crumble and of course the rhubarb and strawberries. The worst part of this recipe is that when all is said and done and the coffee cake is out of the oven, on your plate and jumping into your have no idea how much butter and sugar is in the yummy concoction. DANGEROUS!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake:
1 1/4 cups chilled unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 3/4 cups sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a 9-by-12-by-3 inch baking pan with pam and set aside. make fruit sauce: Combine lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium sauce pan. Add strawberries and rhubarb; cook, stirring frequently over medium heat, until rhubarb is soft and liquid has thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.
Make crumb topping: Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle butter over flour mixture; using your hands, mix until crumbly. Set aside.

Make cake batter: Whisk together remaining 3 cups flour and 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife or two forks, cut remaining 1 cup butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a separate small bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Spread half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. (The cake batter came out a little thicker than I expected and made it a little difficult to spread) Top with half the fruit sauce. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the fruit, and top with the remaining fruit sauce. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
Bake until cake is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.
Alex and I had this warm right out of the oven and the fruit sauce damn near burned the crap out of my mouth...but Oh! was it yummy!!!!! I would have added some homemade vanilla bean ice cream if I wasn't so concerned about the calories. I had another small taste again this morning after the coffee cake had cooled and it was EVEN BETTER cooled down. Honestly, I think it is better cooled. That doesn't mean I am going to scarf it down just because it is cooled. Alex is taking half into work and I am taking the other half to spread the caloric love!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Not your Mama's Macaroni and Cheese

I don't know about you, but my mom rarely made me boxed macaroni and cheese. She ALWAYS made this grainy from scratch macaroni and cheese with slices of tomato on top. Let's just say, it wasn't one of my favorite dishes; especially if she made it with a side of brussel sprouts.

When I was in college I found a Martha Stewart recipe called Macaroni and Cheese 101. This is my favorite macaroni cheese recipe ever! It uses a sharp white cheddar and gruyere cheeses. I didn't even know what gruyere cheese was when I was growing up. I'm sure if I did I would have hated it. I was a really picky eater as a child.

This is a special recipe I don't make very part because it will clog your arteries...and in part because it will kill you. :) The original recipe calls for butter toasted bread crumbs on top, but I have made the topping with this recipe. I try to tell myself that it is healthier without the saves me two tablespoons of butter. I've included the recipe as I made it...without the butter toasted bread crumbs. I also halved the recipe because the original make enough for 12 servings. It was just Alex and I tonight and I didn't want that many left overs.

Macaroni and Cheese 101:
6 tablespoons butter
2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for water
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup gruyere cheese grated
1/2 lb elbow macaroni - I usually like to add more, otherwise it is a little soupy.
Preheat oven to 375 F.

Warm the milk in an oven safe casserole dish on medium heat. Melt butter in a small frying pan. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook stirring 1 minute.

While whisking the milk, slowly at the butter/flour mixture a little at a time to keep the mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, 8-12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cheddar and gruyere cheeses.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, and add the macaroni. Cook until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce in the casserole dish. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.I cooked up the macaroni and added it to the cheese mixture and realized my macaroni was swimming in my cheese sauce. I searched the pantry for additional elbow macaroni and all I could find was actual boxed macaroni and cheese. How is that for irony?

Just Peachy

Saturday morning breakfast is my favorite. Alex and I actually have time to make something fun. Earlier in the week Alex picked up peaches for peaches flambe and then we didn't make it. I didn't want the peaches to go to waste so we made Whole Wheat-Granola Waffles (with Peaches) from my Ultimate Bisquick cook book. The book is so old school. It is what family cooking was before Food Network. :)

I had to halve the recipe because I only had one cup of Bisquick left. Alex LOVES waffles so we go through Bisquick fast. I also modified the recipe a little for my entertainment and health. Here is the recipe as I made it. If you want the real recipe, snag the cook book.

Whole Wheat-Granola Waffles (with Peaches):
1 cup Heart Smart Bisquick
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granola
1 tablespoon wheat germ
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
3 yummy fresh peaches chopped into bite sized pieces
1 jar of Sarah's Famous Failed Spiced Peach Jam
Combine Bisquick, whole wheat flour, granola, wheat germ, milk brown sugar egg and a handful of chopped fresh peaches. Pour batter onto center of hot waffle iron and cook to manufacturers directions. Serve with the rest of the fresh peaches and Sarah's Famous Failed Spiced Peach Jam.
Because I halved the recipe I ran into a two issues, one was my fault and the other was the actual recipe's fault. That is what I said, the recipe was to blame.

The first issue was the brown sugar... "Brown suga', why you taste so goo-ood" - this is a line from a Rolling Stones song and Alex sings it to me EVERY time I pull the brown sugar out. I felt bad for a while because I had never heard the song before...but thanks to iTunes, i am educated. "Brown suga', why you taste so goo-ood" O.K. sorry about that...the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and I forgot to halve it. I guess if you are going to forget to halve something in the recipe, brown sugar isn't a bad thing to go overboard on.

The second issue was the egg. Funny thing when you are halving a can't really halve an egg...I guess you could just use the egg white or use the whole egg, but I opted to pull out my egg replacer again and use half the amount of a full egg. That stuff ROCKS!!! Thanks to my three month stint as a vegan.
What in the world is Sarah's Famous Failed Spiced Peach Jam? And where do you get it? My mom has a couple of peach trees on her property and I LOVE to snag some peaches for the making of spiced peach jam. It is the BEST on freshly toasted wheat bread as the weather is turning nippy with the coming of winter. This one year in particular something happened. I don't know what happened because I followed the recipe EXACTLY like I had the year before, but this year it didn't set. I was broken. Ever the sweet husband, Alex told me this was the best spiced peach syrup he had ever tasted. Can you believe that? CUTEST HUSBAND EVER! Here is the recipe for Sarah's Famous Failed Spiced Peach Jam or Spiced Peach Jam...look how great I am? I give you two recipes in one.

Spiced Peach Jam:
4 cups prepared fruit (about 3 pounds fully ripe peaches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fruit protector (optional)
1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon and cloves
5-1/2 cups sugar
1 box fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon margarine or butter

Peel, pit and finely chop peaches. Measure 4 cups into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Stir in lemon juice, fruit protector and spices.

Measure sugar into separate bowl. (Scrape excess sugar from cup with spatula to level for exact measure.) Stir fruit pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add margarine. Bring to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle quickly into hot sterilized jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Invert jars 5 minutes, then turn upright. After jars are cool, check seals.

Or follow water bath method recommended by USDA.

Makes about 7 (1-cup) jars.

This isn't my personal recipe...I got it 3 or 4 years ago and don't remember where I scored it this is my disclosure to the real owner of the recipe.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speedy Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast during the week usually equates to a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with soy milk and dried cherries or blueberries. Occasionally I have dreams of a hot breakfast but always write it off because I think it will take too long to cook up. It doesn't.
I LOVE going to Cafe Rio and seeing them cook up the homemade tortillas. I can't make them from scratch if my life depended on it. Fortunately for me, our buddies at Costco sell uncooked tortillas that are PERFECT! Throw it into a frying pan (no oil) and cook about two minutes on both sides on medium heat. Be careful, because they can burn easily.
Cook up a single egg and is speedy and beats trying to cook it over hard fast. I threw some black beans into the frying pan after the egg cooked up just to warm them through.
One of my other favorite Costco treats are Laughing Cow spreadable swiss cheese. THEY ARE PERFECT FOR EVERYTHING!!! They make for yummy cheese and crackers, quesadilla's, AND come to find out, Speed Breakfast Burritos! I spread a packet of Laughing Cow on my tortilla, stacked the egg, beans and salsa, wrap and munch! MMMMMMHH! It was fast and yummy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"You mean one of my meals makes the internet?" This is what Alex said to me when I whipped out my camera and started snapping pictures of his kabobs. My cute husband called me at work today and told me it was 'Wife Appreciation Day' today and he was making me a yummy dinner. WHOOHOO for me!
Alex loves the BBQ. EVERY time he grills, he puts a pepper, red, green or yellow, on the grill and then shoves them in a brown paper bag. It makes me giggle because he is being so Food Network. It's cute. Tonight was no different. He put Jalapenos on the grill with a green pepper. The funny part is that the peppers are never part of the meal we are making that night.
Tonight our dinner consisted of chicken tenders, red peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, egg plant and corn on the cob. Alex prepped the grill to the point that the coals were nice and red and threw the kabobs on the grill. Towards the end of cooking Alex said, "I'm burning everything!" The egg plant came out a little toasty, but egg plant is kind of barf any way. I wanted to remind Alex that he could turn the heat down if we had a gas grill...but I didn't want to ruin wife appreciation day. :)

We had the kabobs over cilantro rice and it turned out fabulous!
Desert turned out to be grilled pineapples and mango. Pineapple is ALWAYS yummy on the grill, but mangoes...PURE YUMMINESS!!! You totally need to try the grilled mangoes. They might be a pain to peel and cut up, but it is 100% worth it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good Ol' Days...Southwestern Cobb Salad

I whipped out the first cookbook I ever bought and made one of my favorite recipes. Martha Stewart...yeah, baby! Back before Martha did time and her magazine was still cool, I used to have a monthly subscription to Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Each year Martha came out with an annual cookbook with all the recipes from the magazine for the year. This gem comes from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes.

Southwestern Cobb Salad:
1/4 freshly squeezed lime juice, plus juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 large eggs
8 ounces thickly sliced bacon
1 yellow pepper
1 poblano chile (I used a serrano for more heat)
1 tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted black olives
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe but firm Hass avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 fifteen-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small head romaine, torn in 1-inch pieces
Green Goddess Dressing

Combine 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup oil, the soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and the red-pepper flakes in a small bowl. Place the chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lift the chicken from the bag allowing the excess marinade to drain off. Place on the grill, and cook until grill marks appear and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cool the chicken completely, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

Place the eggs in a saucepan with cold water cover the pan and bring to a boil. (Note the bit about putting the eggs in COLD water and THEN bring to a boil. Alex pointed this out to me when I started out too and I shrugged him off...FYI, put the eggs in cold water and THEN bring to a boil)Remove from the heat. Let sit about 11 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold running water until cooled. Peel and coarsely chop the eggs; set aside.

Instead of cooking the bacon in a frying pan. I stole this idea from Ina Garten. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Remove the pan carefully from the oven; there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm. This method is the ONLY way I am EVER going to cook bacon ever again!

The recipe calls to roast the peppers, which I didn't do...too much effort. I am glad now I didn't roast the peppers. It would have made the salad to mushy in consistency.

In a bowl, combine the yellow pepper, tomato, olives, half the onion. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the poblano (serrano) with the avocados, 1/4 cup cilantro, remaining juice of 2 limes, cayenne pepper (if using), and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the black beans with the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and onion. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Arrange the romaine on a platter and serve with additional ingredients. Drizzle with dressing.

Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 sour cream ( I used a 1/3 cup of each mayonnaise, sour cream and plain yogurt - it is what I always do to cut back on calories)
2 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bunch chives, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
2 scallions, white and green parts coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar - I would omit this next time
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.

I would love to say that this is is a healthy salad recipe...but you can tell from the bacon, eggs mayo, sour cream...But hello yummy!!! And at least you get your serving of veggies!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to School

My youngest step sister is starting her first year of college at the end of the month...that got me thinking about my college years. I was an industrious college student. I went to school full time, I worked full time, I owned a house and was a landlord...phew! How did I survive?! RAMEN NOODLES!!!!!

Who doesn't live on ramen noodles when they are in college? After a while you get tired of the same old, same old so I got creative.

Spicy Chinese Ramen Noodles:
1 package ramen noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups cabbage (I normally use packaged cabbage, but cut up cabbage is just as good and cheaper!!!)
Pinch or two of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger - in a pinch you can use ground ginger, but combine it with the oil to make sure it gets distributed throughout the dish.
1/2 teaspoon crush garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped cashews

Cook the package of ramen noodles until soft. Toss the flavor packet. Using the flavor packets makes the noodles WAY too salty. Drain noodles and set aside. Heat oil in frying pan and add chopped cabbage. Cook until soft. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Mix all together until well combined. Add noodles and cashews. Mix until combined and serve!

This recipe ROCKS!!! It is total comfort food. Stand by for additional ramen noodles recipes!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


It is that time of year again. The time of year when gardens are bursting with Zucchini. I have selected two recipes I recently acquired to help you use up your garden zucchini. A classic to everyone, Zucchini Bread and a new, but odd sounding favorite, Zucchini Pancakes.

I scored the Zucchini Pancake recipe from my sister-in-law, Anne, who got it from Cusine at home. I am not kidding you when I tell you that these little babies ROCK all over your kitchen to your plate! They are so flavorful. I have made these twice since getting the recipe and I have learned a lot in the process. The first time I made these they were PERFECT! The second time I made them I took them to dinner at a friends house and this is where the learning began...

Zucchini's have an insane amount of water in them. All the watering you do to bring these babies into the world goes right into the zucchini...well, not all of it. :) As a result of all that water, you have to squeeze as much of it out of the zucchini to make sure the patty doesn't fall apart while you're cooking. Because I was taking this to a friends house to cook, I prepared as much as I could in advance. I made the semi-fatal error of adding the egg BEFORE I left my house. We didn't eat for over an hour after we arrived at our friends house and the freshly squeezed zucchini absorbed all the egg and then sweat out additional water. I waited to add the baking powder knowing the chemical reaction that would happen there, but I should have left the egg out too. They still tasted FABULOUS, but were much more wet than the first time I made them.

Zucchini Pancakes:
2 medium zucchini, grated (~5c)
2 t kosher salt

Stir Together:
1/2 c flour
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1 egg
1/4 c yellow onions, grated
2 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 t garlic, minced
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
Olive oil

Combine zucchini and salt for 5 minutes, then rinse in cold water and spin in a salad spinner. Stir together zucchini and remaining ingredients (except oil). Heat 2T oil in a skillet over med-high. Drop zucchini mixture by 1/4-c measures, flatten, and fry in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Serve w/ marinara sauce.

Recipe #2 Zucchini Bread
There are so many different recipes for Zucchini Bread. The one part that is consistent in nearly all of the recipes is the amount of vegetable oil they require...ONE CUP!!! There are 124 calories in a TABLESPOON of canola oil! A tablespoon! Well, I had to fix that! Instead of using the full 1 cup of vegetable oil the recipe calls for, I substituted 1/2 cup of the oil with 1/2 cup apple sauce. To make this bread even more healthy, I went back to my vegan roots and used Ener-G egg replacer instead of real eggs. Egg replacer mimics the chemical reaction real eggs do in recipes. You seriously can not tell the difference!

I replaced the walnuts the recipe calls for with chocolate chips...seriously, who actually likes walnuts in sweet deserts? Nuts in sweets should be banned! And they are in my kitchen!

Zucchini Bread:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

I scored this recipe from, submitted by v monti. This recipe received 5 out of 5 stars by 1141 members! What do I give it? This bread is FABULOUS! I give it a 5! Despite replacing the oil with apple sauce and using the egg replacer, it turned out moist and yummy!!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Corned Beef Hash

Earlier this week Alex made corned beef and cabbage for dinner in the crock pot. I used to be terrified of corned beef. It sounds so barfy...surprisingly, it's not. If I had been on it, I would have taken pictures and posted that recipe for you. I was not on it this week so you are getting the left over recipe.

Whenever Alex and I cook, we ALWAYS have leftovers. I think this is a good think because it keeps me from having to buy lunch everyday. In this instance, I morphed the leftovers into another meal...thanks to Williams Sonoma's corned beef hash recipe. I modified the recipe Williams Sonoma has on their site because parts of their recipe didn't appeal to me.

4 Yukon Gold or other waxy yellow potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut into 1/2-inch squares
1/2 lb. unsliced cooked lean corned beef, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus parsley sprigs for garnish (didn't have any parsley, so I left it out)
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives (same on the chives)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a saucepan, combine the potatoes with lightly salted cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until just tender enough to pierce with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add to the onion and pepper mixture. Add corned beef and cook mixture until corned beef is warmed through.

Cook your eggs to your liking (I HATE runny mine are always overhard). Spoon corned beef hash on plate and top with your egg.
This Easter I bought the worlds coolest egg poaching pan to make Easter breakfast and I was able to use this pan again for today's meal. The pan has non-stick little cups with holes in the bottom that hover over the bottom of the pan. You add water to the bottom of the pan, add your eggs to the little cups, cover the pan with the lid and boil for 4-6 minutes depending on how you like the consistency of your yolks. It sure beats the old fashioned way of dropping and egg in boiling water and vinegar.