Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest Blogger 2-for-1 Happy Hour Special

Today marks a first in the Green and Lean 2009 blog! We have a guest blogger! The one, the only, Cassandra R. Jones!!!! Welcome, Cass! I love that my blogs have inspired you. And you, in turn, have inspired me. Your salmon and your soup look AMAZING! Only 4 more days and we can drink that bubbly stuff together!!!!!

By: Guest blogger, Cassandra Jones
This was a meal ben and I made that is so simple and yummy I wanted to share it w/ you!!
mustard salmon w/ smashed peas!
its is honeslty too easy!
here goes!:
in a large frying pan in a small amount of olive oil add one diced sweet yellow onion - saute a few minutes. add thawed peas (about 3/4 of the bag) and cook 2 minutes more. toss w/ lots of freshly chopped parsley and a healthy squeeze of lemon. add salt and pepper to taste now SMASH w/ a potato masher. put aside.
stop by your lovely whole foods and pick up 2 pieces of mustard panko covered salmon. pan fry. meanwhile dish the peas onto 2 plates and in pretty little green piles. top w/ your salmon. pour the remaining bottle of yummy bubbly prosecco you have been drinking into your glasses - pop another bottle for when you run out - add one cute blond guy, throw in some flowers and enjoy!
you will think you are eating at your freind ali's house but be amazed you just did this all your self!!!
ok! and one more! I like adding to your blog!! ;)this was PERFECT!!! here is the recipe!
Halibut with White Beans in Tomato Rosemary Broth
again w/ the bubbly ( AND was inspired by your grilled bread! asparagus so did mine on the george foreman )!!! too perfect! follow w/ dark chocolate forzen yogurt ice cream!
its a wonderful meal!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Asparagus and Poached Egg

As promised, here are more delicious green vegetables. When I saw these super skinny asparagus in the store, I had to have them! Unforch, they're not local (I think that will take another month or so), but they sure hit the spot now that it's totally SPRING!!!!

It looks so French to me, that I put on my best French music and totally geeked out while I ate at my breakfast bar. Kind of wanted to put on a beret, too, but that might have been after I drank that huge glass of white wine.

No recipe here, just grilled asparagus and ciabatta with a poached egg and grated parmesan cheese. Couldn't be simpler. By the way, I found a website that explained the best way to poach an egg and it worked.

Perfect Poached Eggs
Slightly boil 1 1/2 inches of water
Crack an egg into a measuring cup and submerge the cup a little ways and tip the egg into the water slowly
Put on a lid and turn off the heat
Set timer for 3 minutes
Remove egg with slotted spoon and shake off excess water

PS: Other than a really juicy pear and a glass of champagne that I had at 4:30 this afternoon, I have posted a picture of every single morsel I've eaten today (so far). I might still be tempted to have a square of that ridiculously yummy Dolfin chocolate. Today was a good one on the "lean" part of this blog's mission. Let's keep it going during the week!!!!

PPS: Thanks to Mireille Giuliano for writng French Women Don't Get Fat (which I read last week) and to Cassandra's vacation pictures for inspiring me to drink champagne in the middle of the day. It's fabulous.

Cold-Press Coffee

Did you know adding heat to coffee beans releases lots of acidity? Apparently it's true. Google it or something. I've tried just using leftover brewed coffee to make an iced coffee drink but it's always too bitter for my taste. The answer is cold-press coffee. It's a little messy to make, but it's worth it.

Once you make the cold-press coffee syrup, you use that as the base. To drink, mix 1 part syrup with 1 part water or milk (either hot or cold!) and sweeten to taste.

Cold-Press Coffee (small batch)
1 cup ground coffee (not ground too finely)
Add to french press and fill with water.
Let sit at room temperature overnight.
Push down on press and pour out the syrup - will keep in fridge for awhile!

My drink above is half syrup and half vanilla soymilk on ice. Delicious, and LOTS cheaper than Starbucks!

Cold-Press Coffee (large batch)
1 lb coarse ground coffee
10 cups water
Mix in large pot, cover, and let sit at room temperature overnight.
Strain through a kitchen towel or cheesecloth to save the syrup (this is the messy part).
Store in mason jars or other pretty glass bottles you may have on hand.

Greens and Beans Salad

Are you sick of my salads yet? Well, I'm not! They're easy, healthy, and taste better and better the warmer the weather gets.

Here's another one that's super simple and really yummy. The vinaigrette is to die for.

Greens and Beans Salad
Greens (I used romaine and leftover sauteed kale)
Beans (I used Great Northern, but canellini or butter beans work just as well)
Salt and Pepper
Shaved parmesan cheese

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
1/2 shallot (or 1 whole small one)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard

Whisk in olive oil until it makes a creamy dressing.

PS - stay tuned for tonight when the plan is for even more healthy green veggies.

Steel-cut Oatmeal

Since I've started eating breakfast, it's mostly been fruit, yogurt, and granola. I've had quite a history with yogurt - I used to like it for a few days, then get so utterly turned off by the cold gooey texture that I wouldn't touch it for weeks. Now I have come to really appreciate and love it, especially since it's about my only source of calcium, other than the cheese I'm trying not to eat so much of. The trick to yogurt is avoiding the fruit-filled sugar bombs you get in those individual servings at the grocery store. Those things are filled with chemical flavorings that just don't taste healthy. Now I buy big containers of either Stonyfield Farm plain yogurt or Fage 0%greek-style yogurt. The sharp tanginess is hard to take on it's own, but adding fruit and some protein-packed sweetened homemade granola makes all the difference in the world. I don't even need to add honey anymore.

But even this can get to be too much of the same old thing when you eat it every day for months. I read about Mark Bittman's love of steel-cut oats and wanted to try them. (sidenote: Mark Bittman writes a column and a blog for the NY Times and he has some really awesome books on the market. I think he's a genius). And, oatmeal is incredibly good for you! Oatmeal has always just seemed too labor-intensive for me, plus I thought you had to add tons of brown sugar to even make it palatable. Luckily, I've found this to not be true! And cooked steel-cut oats keep for quite awhile in the fridge, which I LOVE so that it's ready to go each morning for breakfast.

The absolute best part is how easy they are to make. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot, add 1 cup steel-cut oats and toast them in the butter for about a minute. Add 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil (I had a vanilla bean that I split open and added to the pot, the smell was divine). After mixture starts boiling, put a lid on it and turn off the heat. Leave the pot covered overnight and the water will soak into the oats and be ready to eat in the morning after re-heating.

I still needed a tiny bit of sweetness and a little calcium so I added a half of a banana, some dried cranberries, and vanilla soymilk.

(Note the clever use of foreshadowing...I'll be in New York in 5 days - WOOT!)

And I still have a big bowl of leftover oats in the fridge that I can use for other mornings. Or, to get crazy, maybe I'll try Mark Bittman's savory oatmeal recipe with soysauce and scallions. There are lots of options with oatmeal. This is something I'll definitely be adding into my breakfast rotation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seared Tuna Salad

I've talked it up, I've made a poor-man's version, and I've built up the excitement. Now, here it is, the seared tuna salad with spicy asian dressing. Probably my new favorite meal. Isn't it beautiful??????? (PS - I am a terrrrrrrible photographer)

Seared Tuna Salad with Spicy Asian Dressing
Field greens
Shredded cabbage
Diced carrot
Edamame beans
Ripe avocado, diced
Sushi-grade tuna steaks

Arrange first 5 ingredients in a pretty manner on a plate.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes on each side, or until your desired level of doneness. Slice and place atop greens and veggies.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Sun-dried Kale-abello Pasta

This is a really weird dish, born of a weird craving today. There's probably an easier way to make it all in one skillet, but I made each part separately. The flavors worked really well together and it was KILLER with a glass of red wine. To bump up the flavor, use the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes to grill your portobello and saute your kale.

Sun-dried Kale-abello Pasta
Grilled portobello mushroom
Sauteed kale and onion, seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
Sun-dried tomatoes, diced
Whole wheat penne, cooked according to directions

Mix all ingredients in a skillet, add a ladle of pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chocolate Review

I know this blog is supposed to be about being lean, I really do. And, you can be lean and also enjoy delicous chocolate in moderation. If you love chocolate, I recommend trying this kind. It's so good, that just one tiny square is enough to satisfy your sweet craving. It's a very dark Belgian chocolate with ground coffee. YUM.

Chickpea Salad

It's springtime in Minneapolis! Fifty degrees today, finally! So today's lunch needed to feel very light and fresh, while keeping in mind that spring veggies won't be in the farmer's market for another couple of months. This salad uses pantry ingredients.

Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
red onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
juice of 1 lemon
lemon zest
olive oil
salt and pepper
dash of hot sauce

Serve over field greens and top with crumbled feta cheese.

Best enjoyed before or after a brisk walk around your nearest lake in the sunshine.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Here's a great way to get tasty food in a healthy way! I was craving fish tacos (future post, I'm sure) but settled for coconut shrimp tonight. And I baked it to avoid all the grease that comes with frying. It actually tasted better than fried. Served with it, a mango salsa. On the side, roasted broccoli and a green salad. YUM.

Baked Coconut Shrimp
Large raw shrimp: peeled, deveined, and patted dry
Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
Dredge in flour, then beaten egg, then sweetened coconut.
Place on baking sheet drizzled with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle more oil on top.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until coconut is dark and shrimp is firm.

Mango Salsa
Mango, chopped finely
Red Onion, chopped finely
Jalepeno, chopped finely
juice of 1 lime

Roasted Broccoli
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
Bake at 425 degrees for approx 15-20 minutes

Monday, March 2, 2009

Desperation Soup

I am ridiculously proud of this soup. It's made entirely of things I already had in my house, and it tasted amazing.

Desperation Soup
Onion, Carrot, Celery, all diced (saute in olive oil with salt and dried herbs)
Mushrooms, sliced (leftover from the frittata)
Grilled chicken breast, cubed
2.5 cups water
1 veggie boullion cube
1 parmesan cheese rind

Bring all this to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes

Add a handful of egg noodles, and keep simmering until they're soft.

Ladle into a bowl and top with a spoonful of homemade pesto that you found in your freezer.
Serve with grilled ciabatta topped with herbed goat cheese.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

Baking really doesn't fit into a lean blog, eh? But if you cut the pieces super duper tiny, it kind of fits because treats are GOOD FOR YOU if you have them in moderation.

These brownies are so dense, they are nearly fudge-like. And the raspberry jam (made from berries in my backyard!) pairs so well with the cheesecake and chocolate flavors.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
1 stick butter
2 oz baking chocolate
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

8 oz room temp cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350 degrees, grease 8x8 or 9x11 pan
Melt butter and chocolate in microwave or double boiler and cool
Whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and add chocolate mixture.
Add flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
Mixture will be thick, pour into pan, ten prepare cheesecake mixture.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
Layer on top of brownie mixture.
Drop jam by spoonful on top of cheesecake layer.

Carefully use toothpick or knife to swirl jam into cheesecake mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is light golden brown.
Can be refrigerated.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spicy Asian Dressing

Last summer my friend Lindsey made a salad for me with this awesome dressing. I've used it several times, most notably for Cass and Ben's "last supper" in MN before they moved to NYC. Originally adapted from a Bobby Flay coleslaw recipe, it has a spicy kick, tangy lime flavor, and sweetness from the rice vinegar and mayo. The dressing is a little runnier than normal vinaigrettes, but the big flavor will make up for that.

Spicy Asian Dressing
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chili oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix thoroughly (it takes awhile for the mayo to incorporate). I like to shake it in a mason jar.

I serve it on field greens with tuna, edamame beans, and avocado. Would be prettier with something like a red bell pepper in this photo.

Have also done this with tuna cakes (made similar to salmon cakes) and would be spectacular with seared ahi tuna.