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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vegetable Crêpes

Vegetable Crêpes
1/3 Cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 Cup chopped fresh chives, divided, plus more for garnish
3 TBS low-fat milk
2 TSP lemon juice
3/4 TSP salt, divided
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 Cup chopped yellow squash
1 1/4 cups baby spinach
1 Small onion, diced
1/2 Cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 TSP freshly ground pepper
6 Whole wheat crêpes

Whole Wheat Crêpes
1 1/4 Cups whole wheat flour
3 Eggs
3/4 Cup low fat milk
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 Cups water
1/2 TSP salt

There's only so many pasta dishes I can make, so here's another great alternative for using left over veggies. I love making crêpes for breakfast or brunch, but I usually fill them with ham and cheese or fruit. I adapted this recipe from YumSugar, adding different vegetables and swapping the pre-made crêpes for homemade.

Stir sour cream, 1/4 cup chives, milk, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash and onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Then add spinach and stir until wilted. Reduce heat to low; stir in ricotta, cheddar, the remaining 1/4 cup chives, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently, until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

For the crêpes, mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until combined. Heat pan over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray, then add about 1 ladle-full (about 1/4 cup) and swirl around pan until coated with a thin layer. When batter begins to set and edges curl-up, flip over and let cook for 30 seconds more. Add some of the veggie-cheese mixture and fold over. Repeat. Serve each crêpe topped with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce and more chives.

It's a little labor intensive, but if you have your crêpe-making technique down, you'll want to make this dish morning, noon, or night!

(P.S) I had a left over crêpe for breakfast the next day, and it was delicious!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Kale White Beans and Grilled Chicken

Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Kale and White Beans
1 Pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 Bunch of kale, chopped into thin strips
1 Can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 Cloves garlic
1/2 Cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Grilled Chicken
2 Chicken breasts
Lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
4-5 Basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper

I've been really into kale lately. Not only is it super healthy, it's a nice change from boring old spinach. The kale and white beans add some texture to the pasta and the lemon-herb grilled chicken round out this healthy dish.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In the meantime, pound the chicken to a 1/2 inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper and let marinate in garlic, basil, oil and lemon juice for 5-10 minutes while the grill heats up. Grill the chicken, then set aside.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over media high heat, add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add kale, letting it cook down for 2-3 minutes. Then add beans, wine, lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, then let the sauce reduce while the pasta cooks.

When the pasta is just about al dente, drain and add to the saute pan. Toss until combined, and add Parmesan cheese. Top pasta with grilled chicken.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pork Milanese Sandwiches With Lemon-Basil Mayo

Pork Milanese Sandwiches
2 Pork cutlets, sliced
Cibatta bread

Lemon Basil Aioli
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 TBS fresh chopped basil
1 TSP lemon pepper seasoning

I'm taking my left over pork cutlets and transforming them into pork Milanese sandwiches. I really like the combination of the crispy bread and cutlets with something creamy, so I'm making a lemony-basil mayo.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut cibatta into 6-8 inch slices, then slice each piece in half. Place on baking sheet and top with sliced pork cutlets. Heat up in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cutlets are warm. In the meantime, I mix my mayo with basil and a pinch of lemon pepper seasoning. If you don't have lemon pepper seasoning you could use fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. When the sandwiches come out of the over spread the mayo then top with arugula.

Korean Style Pork Cutlets

Korean Style Pork Cutlets
5-6 Pork cutlets
3 Eggs
Panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBS minced ginger
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar
1 TBS honey
1-2 TBS hot sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Green onions for garnish

Meat tenderizer (or a rolling pin)

Rich groaned at first when he found out I was making pork cutlets. I'm not a huge fan of pork either (unless it's in bacon or ham form), but I'm always looking beyond the basic chicken and steak dinners. And I've made a Milanese style pork before, which was delicious. Cover anything in breadcrumbs and fry it, and it's going to be good! I'm going to add an Asian twist to my pork, using panko bread crumbs and a tangy and spicy sauce. I promised him this would be much better than any of the greasy, soggy pork katsu dishes he's had in the past. I also roasted some red peppers and baby zucchini to go with my pork, but sushi rice or baby bok choy would also be great sides.

Place the cutlets between sheets of plastic wrap and pound until desired thickness (about 1/4-1/2 inch). Pat dry, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in eggs, letting the excess drip off, then coat in bread crumbs. Let hang out on a baking sheet for 5 minutes while the pan heats up. Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large pan or dutch oven. When the oil begins to shimmer, cook cutlets in batches until golden brown (about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness). Drain on paper towels. Place in warm oven until ready to serve. In the same pan add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 min, then add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer, then add the lime juice. Drizzle sauce over the cutlets, or serve on the side for dipping. Top with some green onions.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vegetarian Fajitas with Black Bean Salad

Vegetarian Fajitas
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 Red Pepper
1 Zucchini
1 Small onion
1/2 TSP garlic powder
1/2 TSP cumin
1/2 TSP cayenne pepper (or less, depending on the amount of heat your looking for)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Salt and pepper
Grated cheese, for serving
Salsa, for serving

Black Bean Salad
1 Can black beans
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Green onion
1/2 TSP garlic powder
1/2 TSP cumin
1/2 TSP cayenne pepper (ditto)
Salt and pepper

A major culinary event occurs every summer at my parent's house, and that event is when my dad harvests all the tomatoes and peppers from his garden to make (and can) his own salsa. I had to make sure I secured my very own jar before they disappear! It's so good, I could probably eat the entire jar myself with a spoon, but I'm going to make fajitas instead! On the side, I'm going to make a black bean salad.

I cut peppers, zucchini and onion into thin strips so they will cook fast in a saute or grill pan. If the mushroom slices are thick, slice them in half. Toss with the lime juice, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until soft and a little charred.

In the meantime,prepare the bean salad. Drain and rinse the black beans. Toss in a bowl with lime juice, EVOO, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne. Add thin slices of green onion, then season with salt and pepper. Let sit in the fridge until ready to serve. Feel free to add more veggies or even avocado to this salad!

Grate some cheese (sharp cheddar, monterey jack, or whatever you like) for the fajitas and warm up the tortillas in a hot pan. Serve with the black bean salad on the side.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pistachio-Crusted Tofu with Ponzu Sauce

Pistachio-Crusted Tofu with Ponzu Sauce
1 Block of extra-firm tofu
1 Cup Pistachios
1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1/4 Cup ponzu sauce

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Peppers
1 package of soba noodles
1 Small eggplant, diced
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1 Yellow bell pepper, diced
Rice wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I just had to try it because I'm always looking for new ways to prepare tofu. At first I thought it sounded pretty strange, but Rich and I love pistachios! I'm sure this recipe would also work great with peanuts or even sesame seeds if pistachios aren't your thing. For my side, I'm going to cook up some soba noodles and toss with veggies and a little rice wine vinegar. Consider this an adventure in Asian-fusion cooking.

I'm making a few alterations to lighten this dish up. I'm going to bake the tofu, instead of frying it, and I'm going to leave out the extra mayo for the dipping sauce. First, finely crush the pistachios and add to a shallow dish for dredging. Whisk the mayonnaise with the ponzu sauce in a separate dish. Drain the tofu well and pat dry. Cut into 1 inch squares and coat with the mayonnaise mixture. Then dip into the pistachios. Make sure you really finely chop the pistachios, otherwise they won't stick as well. Place on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

In the mean time, cook soba noodles according to package directions. Saute the chopped eggplant and peppers in oil with salt and pepper until soft. Drain the noodles and add to the sauteed vegetables. Toss with the rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.

Serve with extra ponzu sauce on the side.

P.S. The soba noodles taste even better the next day, so you can make ahead!

BBQ Grilled Chicken

BBQ Chicken With All the Fixings
Chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 bottle of BBQ sauce
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes
1-2 TBS butter
1-2 TSP milk
Garlic powder
1 Bunch of kale, cut into strips
Salt and pepper

We didn't make it to any Labor Day BBQs this weekend, so to get our Americana fix I'm going to make BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes! I bought a bunch of kale to saute to round out the meal and healthify it (making up words).

Cut potatoes into chunks, then boil in salted water until fork tender (about 20 minutes). Pound the chicken breasts until they are nice and thin and season with salt and pepper. Let them marinate in some BBQ sauce while the grill heats up. Your favorite bottled sauce will do the trick, I'm using the Memphis BBQ sauce from Balducci's. It's a little spicy, and not too sweet. Cook the chicken on the grill, occasionally basting with more sauce. Drain the potatoes and mash in a bowl with a pat of butter, milk, salt, pepper, and some garlic powder. I like them kind of chunky, but you can whip until smooth. While the chicken is resting, heat a pan with olive oil and toss in the kale with some salt and pepper. Saute until wilted and dark green.

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.