Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

Making salad dressing is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen…all you need is oil and an acid (citrus or vinegar) plus a little salt and pepper and you have a delicious vinaigrette.  Want it sweet?  Add a little honey, sugar, or jam/jelly.  Want it creamy?  Add a little Dijon, mayo, or in this case feta.  Creamy feta-red wine vinegar dressing is one of my all time favorite salad dressings.  I’ve already posted the recipe in the past, but no pictures!  Time for an update!

I’ve said it before, why get stuck with a whole bottle of dressing (and the same monotonous salad) day after day, when you can so easily change it up?  I just read a similar post over at Christie’s Corner…couldn’t have said it better myself.
Creamy Feta-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
adapted from (he wrote the ice cream book that I love, The Perfect Scoop)

Makes about 1 cup (or 8 2-tablespoon servings)*

4 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh oregano (or a pinch or two of dried oregano...Italian seasoning would work too)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons water
salt and black pepper

Mash the feta, vinegar, and oregano with a fork until fairly smooth.

Mix in the olive oil and water, until smooth. Taste first (because the feta is already salty) and then season with salt and pepper. This dressing will keep for four days in the refrigerator. (After mashing the feta and red wine vinegar, you could add all ingredients to a jar and shake it to combine).

Per serving (2 tablespoons): 69 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein (exchanges: 1 ½ fat; WW points: 2)

* The original recipe says it makes 3/4 of a cup, but I ended up with about 1 cup


David suggests serving it 1) over a Caesar-ish salad with romaine lettuce, red onions, and garlic croutons, 2) alongside tabbouleh, 3) mashed with canned tuna fish and chopped capers or green olives and scallions, 4) drizzled over a plate of seasonal tomatoes with fresh chopped oregano, 5) tossed with a mix of winter greens, slices of pear, and toasted pecans, 6) over grilled chicken breasts or tuna steaks, 7) with falafel, or 8) as a dip for toasted pita chips, radishes, or raw vegetables.

What am I going to use it on?  A Greek salad consisting of romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, diced    cucumber, oven roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and crushed pita chips.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shrimp and Mango Curry with Mango Cashew Rice

For my dietetic internship in Houston, one of the rotations was with Supermarket Savvy.  I researched and wrote articles on food and nutrition for the monthly newsletter.  I loved it!  One of the added perks was a lunch meeting and cooking demo with Chef Allen Susser, the author of The Great Mango Book.  On the menu?  A mango lassi, crab and mango salad, shrimp and mango curry, mango macadamia rice, and a mango fool for dessert.  Its a good think I like mangos!

My favorite variety of mango, the Champagne or ataulfo mango, is in season right now.  I can find them a Whole Foods here in Baton Rouge and this past weekend at Publix in Florida.  According to the website this variety is:
“more compact compared to other varieties, it has a kidney-shaped form, with a skin that turns from green to a deep golden yellow when fully ripe. The inside is velvety smooth, with almost no fibrous texture, unlike other varieties, and a much thinner pit (about the thickness of a wafer). The taste is intensely sweet and full”
And although you really don’t need one, this is my mango peeler…another “treat” from the luncheon (along with a copy of his book).
The spicy-sweet curry has been calling my name ever since…how have a waited this long?  I’ve also been wanting to try the red rice Danielle brought me from Thailand, so I went with the mango cashew rice as well…I swapped the macadamias for cashews.

The rice recipe called for a few spices that I didn’t already have in my (previously thought) well stocked spice cabinet…cardamom and saffron.  It was my first time cooking with both.  Saffron are these tiny red threads from the stigma of a flower…they impart flavor and color (yellow) to the dish…although the red rice masked the yellow color in mine.
 P5111228P5111229    P5111242
You could skip the rice recipe (and all its fancy spices) and just cook some plain ol’ white rice (or brown if you want to be healthier)…but don’t skip the curry!  It is delish!  And spicy…the original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne, which I think is A LOT!  I used just a pinch (prob less than 1/8 of a teaspoon) and my mouth still burns a little.  I must have really strong cayenne powder. 

Mango Cashew Rice

adapted from The Great Mango Book or the National Mango Board

makes 12 servings

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cashews (or macadamia nuts)
5 whole black peppercorns (or just 1/4 teaspoon black pepper)
2 whole cloves (or less than 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
2 cardamom pods
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups Basmati rice (or white rice)
1/2 teaspoon saffron, soaked in 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/4 cup raisins (golden or brown)
3 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add nuts and continuously shake pan until nuts are golden brown. Remove nuts from pan with a slotted spoon, keeping oil in the pan, and set aside.

Add all spices (pepper through cinnamon) to the same pan and stir constantly until aromatic, about 2 minutes.

Stir rice into spice mixture. Add saffron and salt, stirring until rice is well coated. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in mango, raisins and toasted nuts. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

At this point you can add all of the onions and cilantro to the rice mixture, or alternately, garnish each serving individually.

Per Serving (about 3/4 cup) – 168 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat; WW points: 3)

Shrimp and Mango Curry
adapted from
The Great Mango Book or the National Mango Board

makes 8 servings

1 tablespoons unsalted butter (or oil)
1 small onion, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced 
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons salt
a pinch to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 15-oz can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and diced
2 medium sweet potato, diced and boiled or steamed until tender and quickly chilled*
4 tablespoons minced green onion (white and green parts)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder, ginger, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Add coconut milk and water; bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.  Add half of the sweet potatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add shrimp, mango and remaining sweet potato to saucepan; bring back to a simmer and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more or until shrimp are pink. Stir in green onion and cilantro and serve.

Per serving (about 1 cup) – 174 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated), 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 13 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 1/2 starch, 1 1/2 protein, 1/2 fruit; WW points: 3)

* I steamed the sweet potato in the microwave in a covered glass dish with a little water at 3 minute intervals until tender (about 9 minutes total).  I drained them in a colander and then ran cool water over them.

Tip – I store my ginger in the freezer in a zip-top bag.  When I need some for a recipe, I take it out, peel back some of the skin with a vegetable peeler and then grate it with a Microplane directly into the dish.  It goes well with anything Asian such as Indian Lentil Coconut Soup, Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, Shrimp Summer Rolls, and Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps.

Lagniappe...more mango recipes!

PS…this is my 100th post!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day (and birthday to Adam).  I am blogging from our new beach house in Florida...jealous?  Today is a special day, and while I don't have a recipe to share with you, I would like to re-share this past post.  My mom had a huge influence on the way I eat and cook today.  I hope one day to do the same for my kids...and until then for you!