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….simple, healthy, and with lots of love.

Archive for August, 2009

Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza

August 08, 2009 By: kristi Category: Main Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

zucchini pizza

If someone told me that I was only allowed to eat one type of cheese for the rest of my life, as painstakingly awful as this would be, I would definitely choose goat cheese.  When I go out to dinner, if I see something with goat cheese on it – a burger, a salad, a veggie sandwich – I order it.  No questions asked.  Goat cheese is the bomb.

See my Grilled Vegetable, Herb and Goat Cheese Sandwich or my Roasted Rainbow Pepper Sub for other fun things to do with goat cheese.

What I didn’t realize about goat cheese is its low calorie and fat content in comparison to other cheeses – 70 calories per ounce as opposed to 100+ calories per ounce.  Gotta like that!  Another thing that I didn’t realize about goat cheese is that you can put it on PIZZA.  So yummy.  FYI – if you aren’t a goat cheese fan, by all means use YOUR favorite cheese on this pizza.  It doesn’t have to be spreadable; it just needs to be delicious to eat.

If you are going to use goat cheese the only recommendation that I have for this pizza is to spread A LOT of it on the dough.  I don’t think that I had enough because the cheese cracked a lot in some places by the time it was done baking.  It still tasted good, but it could have looked better.  That’s just me.

At first, you may be put off by using a large quantity of goat cheese because of its expense.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a local Trader Joe’s (I know… I’m giving them yet another shout out), you can buy 11 ounces of goat cheese for a few bucks.  In a typical grocery store 4 ounces costs $7!!  I can get almost three times that at Trader Joe’s.   This is also where I get my pizza dough.  For $0.99 I get a big ball of dough!!  Although, I recently discovered a recipe on Oven Love (a food blog of one of my sister’s best friends…) for a quick and easy pizza dough that doesn’t take hours.  I’ll have to try it one of these days!

Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 batch  store-bought pizza dough that will yield one small (approx. 11 to 12 inches across), thin pizza
1 lemon
4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
Few leaves of fresh basil, cut into thin slivers
1/2 medium yellow zucchini, sliced as thinly as you can pull off with a knife or your mandoline
1/2 medium green zucchini, sliced as the same as above
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roll your pizza dough into a thin 12-inch circle and lay it on a tray or stone that has been dusted lightly with cornmeal.

In a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese with the juice of half your lemon. Season it with salt and freshly ground pepper, and spread it over your pizza dough. Scatter fresh basil slivers over the cheese.

Arrange your zucchini coins in concentric circles over the goat cheese spread, overlapping them slightly.  Squeeze the juice of the second half of your lemon on top of you zucchini, then drizzle with olive oil and finish with more salt and freshly ground black pepper.

zucchini slices

precooked pizza

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes (your baking time will vary, so please watch carefully), or until the edges of your pizza are golden brown and the zucchini looks roasted and a little curled up at the edges.

pizza slice

Vegan Chocolate Cake & Why I Rarely Bake

August 06, 2009 By: kristi Category: Dessert, Vegan

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Ugh.  What an awful picture.  Just had to get that off of my chest.

Oh how excited I was to bake.  I hadn’t baked in a while, and I just had the urge.  I came across a recipe that was so easy – no eggs, no milk, no butter.  Minimal ingredients make me happy especially when I bake because I dread the sink full of dishes after I’m done.   This was no fuss, required no grocery shopping, and had chocolate in it.  Works for me.

Well, it didn’t work for me.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a fabulous recipe.  I’m just not a fabulous baker.  I either take the baked goods out too soon or too late.  I rarely clutch that perfect time when the cakes, cookies, and muffins are perfectly moist and stay intact.

I posted a picture of when the mini cakes were intact.  The second I tried to take them out of the loaf pans, they fell apart into a disastrous pile of crumbles.  It still tasted fantastic, but it looked like absolute crap.  Pun intended.

This was soooo yummy… but unfortunately I had to run out to the store to buy an intact dessert for the guests that were soon to arrive.  I wasn’t about to serve them a pile of crumbs.  We win some and we lose some, right??

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2007

Ingredients:

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil – safflower, canola, or grapeseed work well.
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 tsp. distilled white vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with spray.

Whisk water and cocoa in a small bowl until smooth. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Add cocoa mixture, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in vinegar. Pour into pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, invert it onto rack, and turn cake right side up. Let cool completely.  And let’s hope your doesn’t fall apart like mine did.

Lime and Coconut Chicken

August 04, 2009 By: kristi Category: Main Dish, Spicy

Lime and Coconut Chicken

Ah yes, you put the lime in the coconut.  Go ahead.  Start singing away!  I won’t stop you!

When I came across this recipe title, I was sold.  Limes and coconuts are so refreshing… especially at the beach…. in the Caribbean… with crystal blue water and spectacular white sand… and a glorious breeze.  Ahhhhh….  pina colada anyone?  How about a margarita?  Now we’re talking!

This chicken is phenomenal.  The coconut milk and lime juice are perfect compliments to the curry, cumin, and coriander.  Although the title whisks me away to the tropics, the spices remind me of Indian fare, which I love!  Depending on your preference you can take it easy or go nuts with the cayenne pepper.  In this house, we like to walk on the wild side.  The chicken can marinate for as little as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours.  Whatever fits your schedule.

Okay… back to singing… put the lime in the coconut...

Lime and Coconut Chicken

Source: Mildly Adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen/Fine Cooking, Winter 2006

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp oil
zest of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
pinch cayenne
1 small fresh hot chili, such as Thai or Serrano, minced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh limes, cut into wedges
*I added shredded coconut as a garnish

Directions:

Starting on thick side of the breasts slice the chicken breasts almost in half, then open.

Place each open breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper or inside a large, open, Ziploc bag.  Using a small heavy pan, bottle or smooth meat mallet lightly pound out each breast into even thickness.

Mix all remaining ingredients except fresh cilantro and limes.  Add chicken and marinade to a large bowl or ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for up to two hours.

Remove each breast from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.  Boil continuously for at least 2 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.

In a heavy skillet or grill pan, heat 1 Tbs. oil over high heat and cook the chicken in batches to prevent over crowding the pan.  Place the breasts in the hot pan and cook without turning for a couple minutes.  Flip the breasts over and cook until the other side is golden.

Place cooked breasts on a plate in a warm oven or under foil while cooking the remaining chicken. Sprinkle with fresh lime juice, shredded coconut and cilantro. Serve with sauce on the side.

Curried Steak with Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread

August 03, 2009 By: kristi Category: Main Dish, Spreads/Dips

IMG_2595

Sometimes I wonder where I come up with these off the wall ideas for my food.  There have been plenty of occasions when I think something sounds fantastic to find out it was not a bright idea.  Fortunately for me (and my husband) this one turned out GREAT!

It all started with this jar of roasted red peppers that was hidden in the way, way back of my cabinet that I totally forgot about.  Don’t you love when you find something that you forgot that you had?  At this point, I was already thawing some steaks for dinner, but I really wanted roasted red peppers.  Hmmmmm…. it was time to start thinking.

Then Ina Garten showed up.  If you aren’t familiar with her yet, you need to get acquainted with her.  Ina is a friend that you need in the kitchen.  Her Food Network show Barefoot Contessa has been the inspiration of so many meal ideas that I was not surprised that she helped me out again.

I was going through my file of recipes (one of many) and found her Roasted Eggplant Spread.  Well my wheels just started turning!  Ina’s recipe calls for red bell peppers, which I simply substituted for roasted red peppers.  Done.  Let’s put it on the steak and see what happens.

Well, it didn’t stop there.  Even though Ina’s spread has a lot of flavor, I didn’t want the steak to be bland.  That’s when curry crept into the picture.  It meshed with the whole eggplant-roasted red pepper-Mediterranean thing I had going on in the spread.  I say, why not?  Let’s give it a go….

It turned out beautifully!  Plus, I have left over spread for my pita chips.  Sweet deal.  If you love Mediterranean food, give this one a try.   Trust me, it’s good!

PS – If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, and you don’t have time to make the spread from scratch, check out their red pepper spread!

Curried Steak with Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Serves 4

For the Spread:

Ingredients:

1/2 medium eggplant
2-3 roasted red peppers
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

For the steak:

Ingredients:

4 petite sirloin steaks, fat trimmed
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. curry powder
2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat grill pan to medium-high.  Add olive oil to pan.

Sprinkle curry powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to both sides of each steak.   Place on grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium.   Please keep in mind that my steaks were about an inch thick. Adjust cook time to suit your steak preferences (cook longer for well cooked steaks and less for rare…).

Place steaks on serving platter, covered in foil.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Top each steak with spread and garnish with fresh parsley.  Enjoy!

Lazy Sundays: Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Zest

August 02, 2009 By: kristi Category: Breakfast, Fruit

pancakes

It’s pouring.  It’s dark and gloomy.  And I am lazy.  So lazy in fact that I didn’t take the normal 40-50 pictures of my food for you.  I took 3.  And they were all “eh”.  But it’s a lazy Sunday so I’m sure that you can forgive me.  Will you forgive me?

As lazy as I am on dark and rainy weekend mornings, I still want my big, cozy meal.  What is cozy and filling without all the fuss?  Pancakes, my friends.  The answer is pancakes.

You can do one of two things.  Create your pancakes from scratch like I did with my Homemade Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting OR get out your pancake mix (mine happened to be the Fiber One Complete Pancake Mix) and add a little love to it.  My love of choice for this morning was fresh blueberries, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.

My little fluffy pancakes tasted like a gourmet chef made them.  Mind you they TASTED gourmet-ish but the appearance was that of a lazy wife trying to squish all of her pancake batter into her large skillet at once.

Try it!  Give your pancake mix a little love next time.  You won’t regret it – even on your laziest of days.

Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Zest

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 cups of pancake batter
handful fresh blueberries
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl and cook pancakes as directed.  Top with confectioner’s sugar and extra lemon zest.