Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quinoa, Basil, Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata

This frittata is delicious and a lot more filling than a typical frittata (thanks to the quinoa).

Frittatas are made with eggs. Eggs come from chickens. But not all eggs are the same. We don’t have our own chickens (yet) and we don’t always have access to eggs from local farmers so we buy eggs that come from chickens that are treated like chickens. Eggs labeled Certified Organic, Free Range and Certified Humane are all better than eggs with no labels at all. The standards of all three labeling programs require the chickens to be uncaged so they can do normal chicken things like nest, perch and bathe in dust. The chickens that produce Certified Organic and Free Range Eggs, however, may be starved to induce molting and/or may be debeaked to prevent cannibalism. We buy Certified Humane eggs. The standards for Certified Humane eggs prohibit starvation to force molting and allow slight beak-trimming at a specific age rather than full debeaking.

2/3 cup quinoa

1 tbsp EVOO

2 zucchini, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

10 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for sprinkling

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat EVOO over medium heat in a nonstick ovenproof skillet. Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add garlic and continue cooking until zucchini starts to brown, about 5 more minutes.

3. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

5. Add eggs, basil and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet and scramble until half-coked.

6. Transfer to the oven and bake until set, 8-10 minutes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Southern Corn Bread

According to The Joy of Cooking, there are two types of corn bread: southern corn bread and northern corn bread. Northern corn bread is cakier, thanks to the addition of flour. Southern corn bread (the good stuff in our opinion) is flourless and therefore gluten-free!

Note: You need a 9-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe.

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 ¾ cup cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups fat-free buttermilk

somewhere between 1/3 and ½ cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Place rack in upper third of oven.

2. Add butter to cast iron skillet.

3. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder and baking soda.

4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until they become frothy.

5. Add the buttermilk to the frothy eggs and whisk.

6. Add the buttermilk and eggs to the dry ingredients. Add honey to the dry ingredients. Whisk until blended.

7. Place cast iron skillet in oven until the butter melts and starts to brown. Remove the skillet. Pour batter into the skillet and bake 20-25 minutes, until the top is browned and the center is firm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Loaded Mexican Lasagna

Like our favorite Mexican lasagna, this one is vegetarian and gluten-free. That’s where the similarities end. While the yumminess of the other lasagna lies in its simplicity, the yumminess of this one stems from its craziness.

One caution: This dish is heavy—not in your belly, but in your hands. You’ll need two hands to put this lasagna in the oven.

(This recipe has been adapted—and massively simplified—from Fresh Magazine.)

1 29-oz. can tomato sauce

16 oz. of mango salsa (homemade or pre-made)

10-15 corn tortillas

1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups of corn kernels

5 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2 bell peppers, diced

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350° and coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine tomato sauce and salsa in a medium casserole dish. Stir to combine. Coat the bottom of the lasagna pan with 1 cup of the salsa-sauce.

3. One at a time, dip the tortillas in the remaining salsa-sauce. Place the salsa-sauce-soaked tortillas on a plate.

4. Add corn and black beans to the remaining salsa-sauce.

5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are crisp-tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from skillet and set aside.

6. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. Add minced garlic and tofu. Cook, stirring, until tofu starts to brown. Set aside.

7. Line the bottom of the pan with enough salsa-sauce-soaked tortillas (you may have to cut a few) to completely cover the bottom.

8. Cover with the peppers and onions, then 1/3 of the corn and black bean salsa-sauce, 2/3 cup of Monterey Jack cheese and ½ cup of mozzarella. Cover with a layer of soaked tortillas.

9. Spread tofu on top of the tortilla layer. Cover with 2/3 cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Top with half of the remaining corn and black bean salsa-sauce. Add another layer of dipped tortillas.

10. Pour the rest of the corn and black bean salsa-sauce over the final tortilla layer. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese on top.

11. Spritz a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna with the foil (sprayed side down). Seal tightly.

12. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the top layer of cheese is totally melted (5-8 minutes).

13. Remove from oven. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chocolate Polenta Cake with Peppermint Icing

This is the ultimate (gloriously delicious) Healthy-ish dessert. The cake is healthy and the icing is “ish,” but sooooo yummy. Better yet, it’s all gluten-free!

(The cake recipe has been modified from Canyon Ranch Cooks. The icing recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.)

For the Chocolate Polenta Cake:

1 cup plus 2 tbsp skim milk

2 ½ tablespoons cornmeal

3 oz. semisweet chocolate

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate

3 tbsp natural sugar

2 whole eggs

3 egg whites

1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

½ tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray an 8-inch round spring form pan with cooking spray.

2. Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal. Keep whisking until thickened, 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Melt chocolate (carefully) in microwave, zapping for 20 seconds, stirring, then zapping for 10 seconds at a time.

4. Add chocolate to cornmeal mixture. Stir well.

5. Set up a double boiler. (See our post on Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes for instructions on setting up a makeshift double boiler.) Combine sugar, eggs and egg whites in the top part of the double boiler. Whisk until the egg mixture is warm, about 3 minutes.

6. Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high for 5-8 minutes. The mixture will get huge and fluffy. As soon as it looks like it’s gonna jump out of the bowl, stop beating.

7. Meanwhile, add applesauce to the chocolate cornmeal mixture. Mix well.

8. Sprinkle baking powder over chocolate polenta mixture. Mix.

9. Add half of the fluffy egg mixture to the chocolate polenta mixture. Gently fold. Add the rest of the fluffy egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir gently until combined.

10. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

For the Peppermint Icing:

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp peppermint extract

1 tbsp heavy cream

1. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. (You’ll have to stop and scoop the butter out of the whisk every once in a while.)

2. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is buttered, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat until totally combined.

3. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts and heavy cream.

4. Beat at medium speed for about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high. Beat for 4 minutes or so, until icing is light and fluffy.

*One note of caution: Adding more peppermint extract than a recipe calls for may sound like a good idea. It’s not. It burns. (Speaking from experience, although not with this recipe…)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Penne with a Creamy Gruyere and Brie Sauce

This sounds excessively decadent (and tastes pretty darn decadent too), but this recipe is from Cooking Light so it has to be healthy, right? Actually, we lightened the recipe and added the veggies so it’s even lighter than a Cooking Light recipe.

1 box penne (we used brown rice penne)

3 tbsp flour (we used brown rice flour)

2 cups skim milk

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 ¼ cups shredded Gruyere cheese

3 ounces soft Brie, rind removed

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

lots of green beans, trimmed

1. Steam green beans until bright green, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

2. Cook penne until al dente. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, add flour and ½ cup milk to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth.

4. Gradually add remaining 1 ½ cups of milk to the saucepan, whisking constantly.

5. Bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in butter.

6. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 155° (about 4 minutes).

7. Add cheeses and stir until smooth.

8. In a large bowl, combine penne, cheese sauce, green beans and tomatoes. Toss to cover everything with the cheese sauce. Serve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pork and Mango Stir-Fry

I’m not usually a fan of pork in stir-fries—it’s usually dry and kinda squeaky—but this recipe is different. Ellie Krieger puts an end to the squeaky pork problem by using thinly sliced pork tenderloin. This is by far the best pork stir-fry I have ever had!

(Adapted* from “So Easy”)

*When we say “adapted” we mean that we used the original recipe as a guideline. We rarely follow a recipe exactly. We omit some ingredients, add others and make a few substitutions. If our omissions, additions and substitutions don’t result in deliciousness, we won’t post the recipe here. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, every recipe we’ve “adapted” is either the same or better (in our opinion) than the original recipe.

1 pound lean pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp cornstarch

4 tsp olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

lots of green beans, trimmed

¼ cup red wine vinegar

3 tbsp soy sauce

¼ tsp rushed red pepper flakes

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chunked

1. Whisk chicken broth and cornstarch together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved.

2. Steam green beans until bright green, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook, stirring until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate and set aside.

4. Add 2 tsp olive oil to the now-empty wok. Add onions and peppers. Cook, stirring, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.

5. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

6. Add green beans, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes and cornstarch-broth mixture. Toss to combine.

7. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, 1-2 minutes.

8. Return pork to wok and add mango. Cook until the mango is warm.

9. Serve over brown rice.