Thursday, December 01, 2011

Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 5

When I first started this blog I didn’t have a camera to take pictures with…and then I had a camera but wasn’t very good at taking pics.  I’ve definitely gotten better over time (I’ve been at this for almost 3.5 years!) but have a lot to learn too…I’ve been thinking of a camera upgrade as well…Santa??

So I’m going to go back and start updating some old posts…with new pics!  Starting with this one.

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 1Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 3 Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 2

I’ve served this salad twice…first to the senior dancers at Tari’s Christmas party.  And then again for Hilary's graduation/Christmas party for over 100 people. I had to make a lot for this one…recipe times 10?!

This was back in 2008, and I don’t know if I’ve made it since!  Both times it was a hit though!

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 4

I buy a wild rice and brown basmati rice blend in the bulk section of Whole Foods. Both are whole grains. If you can't find a blend, just substitute brown rice and wild rice in a 3:1 ratio (¾ cup brown and ¼ cup wild).

This salad is more of a method than a could swap out any of the ingredients (a different grain, nut, fruit, vegetable...the sky's the limit.  Using orange zest and juice would be really good too! 

Today I ate it over lettuce and added turkey salad and broccoli crunch from Whole Foods…sooooo good!  Double the dressing for the rice and save half to dress the salad!

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice 6

Wild Rice Cranberry Pecan Salad
adapted from

Makes 10 ½-cup servings

1 cup brown rice wild rice mix
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
½ cup green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Cook rice according to package instructions, omitting fat and adding 1/2 teaspoon salt. Here is the method I used:

Rinse rice. Put all ingredients (1 cup rice, 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt) in pot with tight-fitting lid. Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Do not remove lid. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes. Then uncover, fluff with a fork, and let cool to almost room temperature.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the cooled rice, cranberries, pecans, and green onions.

In a separate jar, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine dressing with the rice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve warm, chilled, or room temperature.

Per serving - 168 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 1 starch)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lettuce for Salads

Lettuce 4

I go through a lot of lettuce…3 romaine hearts a week…all by myself!  I don’t buy pre-chopped lettuce for several reasons…it goes bad fast, its more expensive, and I’d have to buy several bags to last me for a week. 

Romaine is my go-to…I buy spinach about once a month and eat spinach salads for that week (and drink green smoothies).  I hardly ever buy spring mix…it goes bad sooooo fast!  Sometimes I’ll do butter lettuce or arugula.

I also always wash my lettuce, but I don’t use a salad spinner…I’ve never owned one (never will either).  I use a trick my mom taught me! 

Lettuce 1

After chopping and washing my lettuce (when I’m serving salad to others, say for a party, I typically tear my lettuce…but chopping is good enough for just me), I drain it for a while in a large colander. 

Then I pour the lettuce into a pillow case (a clean one that I only use for lettuce drying), tie a knot at the opening, and put it in the washing machine on the end spin cycle!  Genius right?  Its like a giant salad spinner!

Lettuce 2

You have to make sure that you use the final spin cycle so that the lettuce doesn’t get “rinsed” again.  And note…I’m not talking about the dryer…I’ve shared this tip with someone before (Mel) who thought that I dried my lettuce in the dryer!

Lettuce 3

I store my lettuce in one of the large plastic container you can get spinach and mixed greens in at Whole Foods.  It holds 3 romaine hearts perfectly.  Happy salad making : )

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lima Bean “Hummus”

Lima Bean Hummus 2

I love hummus…have it in my fridge at all times (almost always homemade).  It’s the perfect snack (it holds me over when I get home from dance late at night until I get dinner ready).  It makes a great spread for a sandwich (I love veggie & hummus toasts, tartines if you want to sound fancy, for lunch.  This one looks really good, so does this one!).  It helps me eat more veggies (I dip carrots, red bell, cucumbers…hardly ever pita, I save that for restaurants!).

I also love lima beans.  So why not combine the two?  Although this isn’t technically hummus, that’s what I’m calling it (lima bean dip doesn’t sound as appealing!).  I kept it pretty simple…it’s flavored with lemon juice, salt, and pepper only (garlic would be a nice addition too). 

Lemons - Lima Bean Hummus

It comes together really quickly.  Frozen lima beans cook for about 20 minutes and then everything goes in the food processor.  The end.

And I’m sure its no surprise, but lima beans are really good for you!  Fiber, manganese, folate, potassium, iron…what more could you want???

Lima Bean Hummus 4

Lima Bean “Hummus”

makes 10 1/4-cup servings

1 16oz bag frozen lima beans
1/4 cup juice from 1-2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In boiling, salted water, boil lima beans until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

Process the lima beans in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula.  With the food processor running, slowly add the lemon juice.  Process for 1 minute and then scrape down the sides again. 

Again, with the food processor running add the olive oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.  If the hummus is too thick add more lemon juice or water*.  Add black pepper and taste for might not need any because the beans were cooked in salted water…process one last time.

The hummus can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Per serving (1/4 cup) – 110 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3.5 g protein (exchanges: 1 fat, 1 starch)

* The “hummus” really thickens as it cools…so make sure it’s a little on the runny side after you finish processing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Broccoli Crunch

Broccoli Crunch 6

One of my favorite prepared foods at Whole Foods is the broccoli crunch.  It is the perfect salad “topper”…nutrition from the broccoli, sweetness from the raisins, smokiness from the bacon, crunch from the cashews, creaminess from the dressing.  I chop it up and serve it over romaine with other veggies (red bell, shredded carrots), sometimes adding chicken.  I usually don’t have to add dressing because the broccoli crunch is already dressed.

Broccoli Crunch 1

Typical broccoli salad has a lot of fat (mayo, nuts, bacon), but honestly the one at WF’s is mostly broccoli and isn’t overly dressed with mayo.  Mine is on the lighter side too.  But NOT because I used light mayo (I can’t stand light mayo).  I used less bacon and swapped some of the mayo for Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage). 

Broccoli Crunch 2

You could swap a purple onion for the shallot, but a shallot provides the perfect amount of onion (no leftovers to use up).  Broccolini was on sale at WF’s last week, so that’s what I used.  The stems are really thin (like asparagus), so I chopped them up right along with the florets.  If I were to use regular broccoli I might peel and chop some of the stem as well.

Broccoli Crunch 7  Broccoli Crunch 3Broccoli Crunch 4  Broccoli Crunch 5

The salad needs to chill in the fridge for a while before serving to help soften the broccoli (which in my opinion makes it better).  Next time I’m going to add the cashews right before serving…they lost their crunch!

Broccoli Crunch 9  Broccoli Crunch 8Broccoli Crunch 10

Broccoli Crunch

makes 6 servings

4-5 cups broccoli florets, chopped (stems if you want), 1 head*
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup cashews, toasted and chopped
4 slices of bacon, cooked** and crumbled

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
5 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients for the salad in a large bowl (broccoli through bacon).  If not serving right away, I recommend waiting to add the cashews.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients (mayo through pepper).  Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Per serving (a little less than a cup) – 190 calories, 11 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 19 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein (exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1 fat)…plus 115%DV vit C, 99%DV vit K, also a good source of vit A and folate

* If you wanted you could blanch the broccoli, as they did in this recipe.

** I cooked my bacon in the microwave.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lima Bean Soup

lima bean soup 2

I have random cravings for lima beans…like the kind I imagine a pregnant woman has for something equally as weird.  Yes, I know you’re thinking “she would crave something healthy”…but I seriously do!  Maybe its because they remind me my childhood…it’s a Bernie favorite! And just so ya know, one of my favorite dancer/foodie friends shares my love of lima beans (and loved the soup)…so I’m not the only one!

I’ve never had lima bean soup, but I figured I could make it the way Bernie makes her beans, and then just make them “soupier”.  So I called the expert to consult the best way to go about this.  Here is what we came up with.

Sauté your “seasoning” (carrots, celery, onion) in a little oil with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken stock and frozen lima beans.  Cook until they are as tender as you like.  I decided  to add lemon juice to finish.  Really easy!

I wanted something brothy with beans that held their shape so I didn’t cook the soup for too long.  But I think it would be really good if you cooked it longer and the beans started to fall apart…or if you puréed half of the soup.

lima bean soup 3

Lima Bean Soup
created by me and Bernadette

makes about 8 1-cup servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 16-ounce bags frozen lima beans
salt and pepper
juice of a lemon

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, sauté the carrot, celery, and onion with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add stock and beans.  Add enough water to just cover the beans.  Season with salt (a few pinches) and black pepper.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until beans are tender (or longer if you want the beans to begin falling apart).  Add lemon juice. Taste and re-season if needed. 

Per serving: 200 calories, 3.4 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 30 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 10 g protein (exchanges: 1 protein, 2 starch)

* I ALWAYS make enough soup to freeze some…Its so nice having soup ready to go on days when I don’t have have time to cook!  Especially when it’s a long studio night!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Spice Syrup 4

Although I hate fall clothes (give me a sundress and sandals over jeans and a sweater any day), I LOVE fall weather (especially on LSU game days) and fall food!  Soups, soups, and more soups!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

And pumpkin!  Pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks used to be high on my list of fall favorites.  But now that I try to steer clear of artificial ingredients in my diet, sadly it doesn’t make the cut.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup 2

This recipe from Cook Like a Champion is the PERFECT solution!  I halved the spices (because I don’t care for overly-spiced things)…but you may not want to.  Your call!  Give it a try, you won’t be sorry!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup 3

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
adapted from Cook Like a Champion

makes 2 cups (or 32 tablespoons)

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons pumpkin purée

Combine water and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar has completely dissolved. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or a FINE mesh sieve into a large glass measuring cup. Transfer to bottle of your choice and store in the refrigerator.

To make a pumpkin spice latte, simply add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of syrup to your drink…start with less – you can always add more!

Per tablespoon: 37 calories, 0 g fat, 10 g carbohydrates (10 g sugar)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats 7

I have a few “requirements” for my everyday breakfast…it needs to have a fruit, something with fiber (from the fruit and possibly something else), fat and/or protein, and it must be filling.  And delicious (sometimes I go to bed thinking about what I get to eat in the morning!). 

It might be a smoothie (green or not…usually this is a summer, post-run breakfast).  Or oatmeal with fruit and nuts (in the winter).  And lately its been overnight oats, which aren’t all that different from muesli.  I’m more of a fruit, yogurt, and whole grain breakfast kind of girl.  I LOVE eggs…just not at breakfast.

Overnight oats 1 

In my “easy” method I just combine oats with unsweetened Greek yogurt and let them soak overnight.  In the morning I add a little milk to thin it out and the toppings, the best part!  Fruit, nuts, sometimes maple syrup or another sweetener.  Or I’ll mash a banana into the yogurt and oats the night before (which doubles as the sweetener and the fruit). 

Overnight oats 2

Sometimes I take it a step further and do a batch for the whole week.  I shred a couple of apples and then add them to the yogurt and oats to soak overnight. 

Or if I’m really fancy I use this method.  I pulse oats, nuts, shredded apple, and coconut all together in a food processor.  Sometimes I’ll do a few bananas instead of the apple.  You can keep this mixture separate from the yogurt (which I do sometimes) or go ahead and mix it with the yogurt (I typically do that and then portion it into my little class storage containers…breakfast ready for the week!). 

Overnight oats 3   Overnight oats 4 

The possibilities are endless…sometimes I do a mixture of Greek yogurt with vanilla Wallaby.  Sometimes instead of using milk to thin it out I do coconut milk.  You can vary the nuts and the fruit.  You could add cinnamon.  Or peanut butter (PB&banana is sooo good!). 

Kath has a bunch of variations (she’s the one who got me hooked).  The basic proportion for me (her’s is a little different) is 2:1…4 cups of yogurt (the entire container of Fage…the 35 oz size) and 2 cups oats.  This lasts me the whole week…6 - 7 servings.  For a single serving I’d do 2/3 cup yogurt and 1/3 cup oats.  Plus the toppings!  Don’t forget the toppings! 

Overnight oats 6

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pulled Chicken

Pulled Chicken Taco 2

I love pulled anything…falling-apart, fork-tender meat?  Pot roast?  Shredded beef?  Pulled pork?  I’m in.  100%.

But I wouldn’t eat any of that on a regular basis.  I try to limit my intake of red meat.  Once or twice a month…if that.  Chicken thighs make a good stand in here.  They stay just as moist as a pork shoulder with a lot less saturated fat.

Instead of the usual sticky-sweet bbq sauce, I wanted to do something vinegar based, similar to East Carolina barbecue.  This allows the chicken to pair well with a wide variety of condiments and toppings.  I think this would be a PERFECT game day recipe.

Adam, this recipe has your name written all over it…you can thank me later…for the Saints tickets too…you owe me big.

Pulled Chicken
inspired by this and this

1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the cider vinegar, water, white wine, soy sauce, dry mustard, sweet paprika, salt, and black pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Place chicken thighs in a roasting pan or rectangular Pyrex baking dish and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour the vinegar mixture over the chicken. Cover the baking dish/pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Cook chicken for about 1 hour, then remove foil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes longer until the chicken is fork tender.

Remove the chicken to a plate. Pour the vinegar mixture into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced to 1 - 1 ¼ cups, about 15 minutes. Remove the vinegar sauce from the heat.

Meanwhile, when chicken is cool enough to handle, shred using two forks. Add the pulled chicken to the vinegar sauce and toss to thoroughly coat.

Serve the pulled chicken warm as sliders (on mini buns) or as soft tacos (on corn tortillas). Serve with sliced onions, sliced jalapenos, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, shredded lettuce, slaw…the possibilities are endless!

Per 2 oz serving of chicken (w/o the bun or tortilla): 82 calories, 2.2 g fat (0.6 g saturated), 0.7 g carbohydrates, 11.4 g protein

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Three-Seed Crusted Tuna

Seed Crusted Tuna 3

You know that person whose food you can’t wait to eat?  Maybe its your mom…or your grandmother…but everything they cook is perfect in your mind.  For me that’s my Aunt Millie.  She has a way of always cooking exactly what I was hoping to eat on that day.  Since my mom passed away, she has become the cook for many our family celebrations…Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, Easter, Birthdays. 

She has a few meals that are welcome repeats (ribs, roast, gumbo).  But she also loves to try new recipes too; she’s a food magazine girl just like me. 

Uncle Wayne deserves a little credit too :)

Seed Crusted Tuna 1 (2)PB191777

Three-Seed Crusted Tuna is one of the recipes she’s shared with me over the years.  It is so easy…but looks really fancy!  All you need is really good tuna (I love when I’m the lucky recipient of some freshly caught tuna…also a benefit of being their niece…Uncle Wayne loves to fish). 

The original recipe is served with lima bean, corn, and pancetta succotash.  It’s from The Wine Lover’s Cookbook and the recommended pairing is with a chardonnay.  But usually I just cook the tuna and then do something “Asian” with it…maybe lettuce wraps?

Seed Crusted Tuna 4

Three-Seed Crusted Tuna
from The Wine Lover's Cookbook

make 6 servings

1.5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds of tuna (Ahi/yellowtail), cut into 6 steaks
salt and black pepper
1.5 tablespoons sesame seeds
1.5 tablespoons poppy seeds
1.5 tablespoons mustard seeds

Using a pastry brush (or your hands) coat tuna steaks with 1 tablespoon oil on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Mix seeds together in a bowl and coat tuna evenly on top and bottom with the mixture. 

Heat remaining oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  When very hot, add tuna to the pan.  Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, making sure you don’t overcook it!  I prefer it very rare inside. 

Remove from heat and thinly slice (use a good knife…or it won’t slice as pretty…and will make your pictures less appealing!). 

Per 6 oz serving: 230 calories, 2 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 37 g protein (exchanges: 1.5 fat, 5 protein)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Claim Your Journey

I don’t know how I have failed to mention this…but I’m writing for a running blog these days!  One of my friends has started an AWESOME online magazine for Louisiana running and culture…Claim Your Journey.  I am lucky/proud to be a part of something so great.  Follow us on twitter @claimurjourney and Like us on Facebook!

Things I’ve blogged about over there

Green Monster Smoothie
Rip’s Big Bowl
my favorite Creamy red-wine-feta vinaigrette
my trip to NYC

I love running and have ever since I was a Golden Girl…what started as the perfect way to “stay in shape” has turned into something I really enjoy.  And it fits right into the healthy lifestyle I try to model for all the dancers I teach.  I’m glad I get to be the nutrition perspective for CYJ!

CYJ is starting a weekly running group in Baton Rouge.  Come join us for Sunday Runday at 6:30 pm…I’ll be there when I’m not in the Dome :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Panko Crusted Salmon

panko salmon 3

Salmon is one of the things that I try to eat once a month…some say I should aim for once a week, but I’m not paying $20 a pound every week.  I’ll get my omega-3’s elsewhere (cheaper).

I usually wait until salmon is on sale at Whole Foods, the wild kind…not farm raised (read more about this here)!  This happens just about every month (I check the sales at the BR Whole Foods each week before I shop, which helps me save money…is that too type-A for you?!?). 

Last week when I checked I found this:

Buy 2lbs of Salmon and get the following free: French baguette, cedar plank (for grilling the salmon on…I passed on this), a bottle of organic lemonade, organic romaine, and green bean and carrot salad. 

Couldn’t pass that up!  I bought the 2 pounds, froze half and turned the rest into panko crusted salmon (I’ve been waiting to make this since Annie posted it in April).

So yummy!  The lemon really stands out!

panko salmon 1panko salmon 2

Panko Crusted Salmon
adapted from Barefoot Contessa via Annie Eats

Makes 4 servings

2/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 (6-8 ounces) salmon fillets, skin on
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  In a small bowl, combine the panko, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss with a fork (or fingers!) until the crumbs are evenly coated; set aside.

Place the salmon fillets skin side down on a work surface.  Generously brush the top of each fillet with the mustard and then season with salt and pepper.  Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each fillet to help the panko adhere.

Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes without turning to brown the skin.  (If you don’t want to eat the skin, this step also helps the skin stick to the pan so the fillets can be easily removed without the skin later on.)

Transfer the pan to the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until the salmon is almost cooked through and the panko is browned (I broiled mine for the last minute or two to really brown/crisp the panko).  Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes.  Serve warm with fresh lemon wedges.

Per serving – 353 calories, 7 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat (3.1 g saturated), 38 g protein (exchanges: 3.5 fat, 5.5 protein, 0.5 starch)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pesto Yogurt Sauce

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 1

I miss New York…the food, the dance classes, the (near) absence of responsibility :) But it has been “back to reality” for almost two weeks, and while I do wish I was still there, I’m glad to be here in Baton Rouge freshly inspired both as a choreographer/teacher and as a cook. 

A few blocks away from Broadway Dance Center, one of my friends discovered a great sandwich place, City Sandwich.  They boast mayo-free sandwiches where they have “swapped the mayo for yogurt sauces and a splash of olive oil”.  Now I’m definitely not opposed to mayo, but I don’t use it regularly either…and the yogurt sauce sounded interesting.  Kind of like Labneh, something else I tried in NYC and wanted to make at home. 

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 2

So I bought a 16oz container of Fage 0% and strained it overnight in a sieve lined with paper towel.  Then the following morning I divided my “yogurt cheese” into 2 portions.  To one half I added 3 tablespoons of pesto (homemade*…from my freezer).  The other half got a little EVOO and za’atar (to be used as a dip for carrots this week). 

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 3

I used the pesto yogurt sauce to recreate the sandwich I got BOTH times from City Sandwich, the Altan.  Tomato, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, and pesto-yogurt sauce on crusty French bread.  I think mine was just as good as theirs!

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 6

Pesto Yogurt Sauce
created by me

8 oz Greek Yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
2-4 tablespoons pesto*

Line a course mesh sieve (or a colander) with paper towel (or a coffee filter or layers of cheesecloth) and set over a bowl.  Add the yogurt, cover (just fold the paper towel over the top), and let drain overnight** in the refrigerator. 

Transfer thickened yogurt to a covered container and stir in the pesto (I used about 3-4 tablespoons).  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Per serving – 1 tablespoon (made with 3 tbsp pesto) – 35 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 2.5 g protein

* I have yet to find a store bought pesto that I like (there might be one…but I gave up trying/throwing away ones that I didn’t like).  So now I make my own each year, and freeze it into little disks using a mini muffin tin (which once frozen I transfer to and store in a zip-top bag).  If you are buying from the store read the ingredient list and stick to the brands that use REAL pesto ingredients (basil, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan).

** Don’t over strain your yogurt or it will get too hard and not spread as easily.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Midnight Asparagus and Creamy Eggs

eggs and asparagus









One of my favorite things to listen to on long drives are the NPR Splendid Table podcasts on iTunes.  They are about 50 minutes long…just the right length to get me to and from Covington/Mandeville/Nola and Baton Rouge. 

The week before I left for NYC, I was listening and heard the recipe for Midnight Asparagus and Creamy Eggs.  It went straight on my “to make” list that I have saved as a note on my phone.  Usually these recipes sit on the list for a long time…but I had to make this one asap. 

The recipe is so easy, so quick, and so good.  Three ingredients – asparagus, eggs, and lemon (salt, pepper, and oil don’t count!).  You broil chopped asparagus, then add the eggs, and then finish with a squeeze of lemon.  How can this go wrong??  (Actually the second time I made it I overcooked the yolks…it’s definitely not as good without the runny yolks!)

So here I am in NYC, cooking for myself in a tiny, but cute apartment.  And what am I making?  Asparagus and Eggs two nights in a row.  (Don’t worry, I ate out plenty the first week I was here…now I’m saving money…and calories…by cooking).  I eat mine with toast to sop up the yolk-lemon sauce…it reminds me of hollandaise!

nyc kitchen 2

Don’t be scared of eating the yolks either!  Low-fat diets are an old way of thinking.  Fat doesn’t make you fat!  To many calories does.  And a little fat in each meal can help keep you full longer.  I love nuts, avocados, cheese…all in moderation. 

The original recipe included chopped onion, but I omitted it.  I also altered the recipe for one.  My apartment in NYC doesn’t have a broiler so I cooked it on the stove instead.  Just as good!   I use the entire bunch of asparagus just for me…I don’t think it would be as filling if I didn’t.

eggs and asparagus 2

Midnight Asparagus and Creamy Eggs
adapted from Splendid Table

1 bunch of asparagus (the thinner the better), trimmed of tough stems
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 (or 3) large eggs
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

Put the oven rack in the center of the oven, about 5 inches below the heat source, and preheat the broiler.

Add the olive oil to a straight-sided (broiler safe*) 12-inch sauté pan. Set the oiled pan beneath the broiler to heat for 2 minutes.

Pull the oven rack out. Then, taking care not to touch the hot handle, add the asparagus, salt, and pepper into the pan. With a wooden spatula, turn the asparagus to coat with the oil, spread them out, and let them cook under the broiler for 3 minutes, stirring them once. You want them to brown slightly, but not become mushy.

Again, being careful not to touch the pan's handle, use the spatula to make 2 (or 3) empty spaces among the asparagus.  Carefully break the eggs into the spaces.  Broil 1 more minute, until whites are set and yolk is still runny.  Immediately, and carefully, remove the pan from the oven.

Squeeze the lemon juice over everything. Give the pan another sprinkle of salt.

Here’s the tricky part…serving!  You could eat right from the pan or slid a rubber spatula under the eggs/asparagus to loosen and then slide out onto a plate (or bowl).  Not the prettiest presentation, but still delish!

* Broiler safe pans are usually entirely metal.  If you don’t own one with a metal handle, wrap the handle in double thickness of foil…it will be fine for such a short amount of time under the broiler. 

Per serving (with 2 eggs) – 251 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 15 g fat (4 g saturated), 20 g protein (exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 fat, 3 protein); remember, I eat this with whole wheat toast which adds another 100+ calories per slice and sometime I’ll do three eggs…depends on how hungry I am!