Sunday, May 8, 2011

Challenge #8 - Stuffed Peppers

The Original Dish- Peppers with Eggplant Stuffing
The No's - Italian Breadcrumbs
The swap - Portobella Mushrooms as stuffing

Eggplant ( I used about half a med. one, since I was only making 2 peppers)
2 Peppers
2 med. portobella
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
splash of vegetable broth
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp butter

Saute the garlic, onion, and eggplant in butter.  When eggplant starts to get soft, add portobella mushrooms. Add small amount of vegetable broth and cover until all veggies are soft.

   I used a slotted spoon to remove veggies so any remaining broth was left behind.  Gave my veggies a quick few pulses in the food processor to give me a more stuffing like texture.

Stuff peppers.

Baked for about 25 mins. on 350


Conclusion: It's difficult to replace breadcrumbs with a vegetable instead, but I enjoyed this recipe.  I think putting the sauteed mixture in the food processor helped combine the vegetables into more of a stuffing like consistency.  I think the eggplant and the mushroom flavors worked well together.

Challenge # 7 - Elephant Garlic - Something New

I was grocery shopping and walked by some elephant garlic.  I had seen this in the store before, but never bought it until the other day.  I came home and looked it up and learned it is more closely related to a leek than garlic and had a milder and sweeter flavor.

I decided to roast it in the oven like one would garlic.

I used one large roasted clove that I smashed up and added to some spaghetti squash along with some butter and a little bit of sea salt.

It was delicious addition to the squash with a more subtle flavor than garlic. I will probably try to use the rest of the roasted garlic as a spread on some veggies.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Challenge #6 - Sweet Potato VS. Yam

I've always considered a sweet potato to be the orange potato in the grocery store.  However the orange ones are actually yams, even though everyone (at least around me) seem to call them sweet potatoes. I wanted sweet potato fries the other night, so I stopped at the market on my way home and asked for few sweet potatoes. When I got home, the skin was a beautiful deep maroon color and delicate and when I cut it open to make my fries, to my surprise it was a very pale yellow almost white color.

Before I baked my fries, I googled it.  I found out that what I bought, actual sweet potatoes are similar but sweeter than yams.  I rough cut the potatoes, melted some butter and sprinkled some sea salt and baked them for about 30mins. at 350.

So I tried them and...they were so delicious!  Now for the yam vs. sweet potato debate, I am not sure to me which was sweeter or whether I prefer on over the other.  I think this means I am going to have to do another challenge where I make sweet potato fries and yam fries and do a side by side tasting.  What a yummy challenge that will be!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Challenge #5 - Jicama - Something new

For the past few years I have seen/heard of jicama on TV and surfing the web fir recipe ideas.  I passed repeatedly in the grocery store but I never picked one up.  Why?  I wasn't familiar with it, so I never did, but now it's time to be Adventurous!  So I found a recipe online and purchased one finally!

A while back I picked the root vegetable daikon up by mistake and thought, "Why not?" Without investigating recipes or any info on how to cook it, I roasted it in the oven with a bit of salt and pepper and did not like the result - the daikon tasted very bitter. 

This time, before I became too adventurous, I looked up what jicama is and some tips.  I learned you need to peel of the skin with a knife, a veggie peeler won't work, which was very useful.  And of course I was following a recipe this time to start my new veggie experience.

I prepared a raw jicama salad and it was soooo delicious.  To me, the jicama tasted like a cross between a  potato and an apple.  It was a winner and I am trying to think of recipes to create using jicama.  When I do, I'll post and let everyone know how I do.

Results:  I am inspired to try more recipes using jicama.  I think after I do some research for tips and recipe ideas, I will try daikon again and see if I like it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Challenge #4 - Another Birthday Party

So this year is the year of many birthday parties as many of us are turning 30.  Yesterday my husband and I went to a surprise party for a friend out at a bar/restaurant.  No dinner this time, but appetizers and drinks would be served.  We had to be there at 7pm so my plan of attack for this outing...

I checked out the menu ahead of time.  I knew there would be no appetizers I would want to eat, but I could order a salad and sides if I really wanted.

I decided to eat dinner ahead of time since everyone would be eating finger foods while mingling, I didn't want to carry around a plate of salad and veggies.

I knew I would want something when I saw and smelled all the food around me.  I brought carrot sticks with me (yes that's right, in my purse along side my chocolate bar).  When I got hungry, I took one of the small app plates (my husband's idea) off the buffet table, put my carrot sticks on it, and walked around with a plate of food and mingled just like everyone else.

One of my friend's saw me do this and laughed in a very loving way, as if to say, "I can't believe I am watching you pull carrots out of your purse and put them on a plate."  Instead of it being weird, I provided entertainment!

As people ate cupcakes for dessert, I happily nibbled on my dark chocolate bar.

I am learning to navigate eating out!

Challenge 3- Favorite Crepe - re-worked

Challenge #3 - Favorite Grilled Asparagus Crepe (from a restaurant) - re-worked
The NO's of the original - flour, asiago, swiss, creamed spinach, and a yummy dipping sauce
The Swap - A thin egg omelet as the "crepe", goat cheese, sauteed spinach and asparagus, goatmilk yogurt based dipping sauce

The following is for 2 "crepes"
4 eggs
5 stalks asparagus
Couple handfuls of spinach
1 clove garlic
Soft Goat cheese to taste
goatmilk butter (could use regular butter)

Dipping Sauce: ( I don't know what is really in the original, so I just tried to re-create the flavors)
Approx. 4-5 tablespoons goatmilk yogurt
2 tsp  of Sweet Paprika
1 tsp Chipotle Chili powder
1 packet stevia
pinch of sea salt

Chop garlic and begin to saute in melted butter.
While that is sauteing, chop asparagus and spinach.

Add asparagus to pan first and for a couple of minutes before adding spinach.  Saute until tender.

Beat eggs while veggies are cooking.
Melt butter in pan and add eggs. (I made the 2 "crepes" individually.  I had all eggs in one bowl so "crepe" #1 was a bit thicker thank "crepe" #2

While egg is cooking add together all ingredients for dipping sauce.  I tasted as I went along and made adjustments.  What I specified is approximately what I used for the final sauce.

While egg "crepe" is cooked, add the veggies and goat cheese to half and flip.  Cook until cheese is melted.

Serve with dipping sauce drizzled on top or on the side and Enjoy!

 Conclusion: Ok, so my "crepe" was really more like an omelet version of the grilled asparagus crepe, but it was delicious!  Both my husband and I enjoyed very much and will make this again. I loved the lightness of the very thin omlet. The dipping sauce added a  layer of flavor which I enjoyed tremendously although it was not quite the same as restaurant version.  I might experiment more the next time with the spices and ratios for my version of the sauce.