my foodgawker gallery

 

Saturday
Jun252011

Strawberry chicken salad

 

I was on strict bed rest for the last four months of my pregnancy with Sammy, which ended just over a year ago. Here are some things that remind me of that particular period of time: lots of staring at the walls, watching Mystic Pizza or Can't Buy Me Love on tv when my contractions got out of control and I had to lie on my left side, the many many books I read, eating hummus, eating ridiculous amounts of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, the dinners my wonderful husband served me every night because sitting at the table was often too much activity for me to handle, and...the delicious strawberry chicken salad that I made myself for lunch almost every single day.

It was one of the only trips off the couch that I allowed myself. And it was always worth it. I fell head over heels in love with this salad. I still adore it, even though it reminds me of having my butt glued to the couch for months on end.

I have only ever made this recipe as a single serving, and here is what I do..

Put as much green leafy lettuce (use a variety of different kinds, or just romaine) as you want onto a big plate.

Top the lettuce with:

10 strawberries, hulled and halved

4 oz. grilled or baked chicken breast, cut into strips

1 tomato, cut into chunks

Toss everything together.

Sometimes I throw a handful of feta cheese over the top, if I'm feeling crazy.

My two favorite dressings to top this salad with are Newman's Own Lighten Up Balsamic Vinaigrette and Newman's Own Lighten Up Sun-Dried Tomato. Both are DELICIOUS and both are very low in calories.

And when you are finished with the salad, don't do anything silly like eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I would ever know about such gluttony.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Jun232011

Grilled corn with mango-habanero butter

This is Week #25 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

The weather in Minnesota is always unpredictable, but we have had an extra dose of unpredictability this year. One day it feels like we live in Florida, the next we are in Alaska and the next Seattle. If you like variety, we're your place! Yesterday was a Seattle day, but I refused to let that keep me from lighting up the grill.

This grilled corn turned out absolutely delicious despite the weather. And the mango-habanero butter I slathered all over it? Oh my dear goodness was it good.

 

Start out by making the butter.

In a small saucepan, combine:

1 mango, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup mango nectar (or mango juice)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 habanero chile, seeded (I used 2 habaneros and it was spicy, but not over-the-top)

Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mango is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the mango puree into a small bowl and let cool, about 30 minutes.

Wipe out the food processor. Add the cooled mango puree along with:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Puree until smooth.

Scrape the mango butter into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Pull the husks from 8 ears of corn down to the base of the stalks, leaving the husks attached. Discard the corn silk.

Using butcher string, tie back the husks. Fill a large bowl with cold salted water and submerge the ears of corn for about 10 minutes.

Drain the corn but don't pat it dry. Grill the corn over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn to plates, spread with the mango-habanero butter and serve!

My husband and I each devoured 2 ears of mango-buttered corn within minutes of removing them from the grill.

We are thoroughly enjoying the butter, even today. It adorned our toast this morning, and I plan to put it on a sandwich in just a bit. Enjoy!

Grilled Corn with Mango-Habañero Butter

Possibly my favorite way to enjoy an ear of corn. This butter is DELICIOUS! (Source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 8

Total time: 1 hr, 45 min

Grilled Corn with Mango-Habañero Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mango nectar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 habanero chile, seeded
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ears of corn
Instructions:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped mango with the mango nectar, honey and habanero chile. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mango is very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain the mango puree into a small bowl and let cool, about 30 minutes.
  2. Wipe out the food processor. Add the cooled mango puree along with the butter, chopped cilantro and salt and puree until smooth. Scrape the mango butter into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Pull the corn husks down to the base of the stalks, leaving the husks attached. Discard the corn silk. Using butcher string, tie back the husks. Fill a large bowl with cold salted water and submerge the ears of corn for about 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the corn but don’t pat dry. Grill the corn over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer the corn to plates, spread with the mango-habañero butter and serve.

 

 

Sunday
Jun192011

Fruit cubes

First, I would like to thank you all for the sweet well wishes and prayers for my brave boy. His surgery was a complete success! We could not have asked for a better outcome. Here is a photo of him, ONE WEEK AFTER OPEN HEART SURGERY. Freakin' amazing, if you ask me. I'm so proud of this kid.

This same brave boy has always had textural issues with food. He has gotten much better about trying new things, but he still will not put a strawberry or blueberry (or any fruit, for that matter) into his mouth. I have always been a bit bummed about this because the kid is missing out! I love fruit. I always have. It is one of the many reasons why I love summertime.

So I love that my one-year-old adores fruit as much as I do. He could eat a tray full of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries at every meal. And oranges, bananas, pears...you get what I'm saying.

We have plentiful amounts of berries in our fridge these days. I always figure our chubby Sammy will certainly eat them. I peeked in the fridge yesterday morning and saw an overabundance of berries. I wasn't certain that Sam could eat that many, so my creative juices started flowing.

I squished blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into the squares of an ice cube tray. I filled in the gaps with water and stuck the tray in the freezer.

Once they were sufficiently frozen, I plopped a few of them into a glass of water. They were so pretty! And they added such a nice fruity flavor to my cold, refreshing drink. Once my water was gone and the cubes had started to melt, I popped the berries into my mouth and enjoyed a few slightly crunchy yet delicious pieces of fruit.

This would work great with any type of fruit. Oranges, pears, pineapple, apples, lemons. Get creative! It's summer! And warm!

Isn't summer wonderful?

Fruit Cubes

Spruce up a pitcher of water without adding a ton of calories or sugar!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jun 19, 2011

Serves: 6

Total time: 5 min, plus 1 hour freezing time

Fruit Cubes

Ingredients:

  • Handful of blackberries, rinsed
  • Handful of blueberries, rinsed
  • 4-5 large strawberries, hulled, sliced and rinsed
  • Handful of raspberries, rinsed
Instructions:
  1. Place the fruit into an empty ice cube tray (use two trays, if needed). Pour water over the tops of the fruit and freeze for a minimum of 1 hour.
  2. Add the fruit cubes to a glass or pitcher of water, with additional fruit, if desired.

 

 

Sunday
Jun122011

Garlic-herb pinwheels

Somehow it feels odd to be writing about food while sitting in a hospital. Food has been the last thing on my mind for the past few days, although I suppose I have eaten plenty of it. Our friends and family always provide us with plentiful amounts of food whenever we are here. It's nice being able to focus all of our energy on our little boy and to never have to worry about how we are going to sustain ourselves.

Anyhow, onto the recipe at hand, the pinwheels I made early last week (from Food Everyday: Martha Stewart magazine). I had all of the ingredients at home, so I threw them together quickly. I fully intended to share them with my husband once he got home from work, but, um, well, let's just say that I really enjoyed them. They are much tinier than I expected them to be, so that is how I justified my shameless pigging out.

So while my brave boy naps in his hospital bed next to me, I will share with you how easy it is to make these delightful little treats!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine:

1/3 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, chives and mint

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt & ground pepper, to taste

On a floured surface, unfold 1 thawed puff pastry sheet and spread the herb mixture over top.

Roll pastry along the long edge.

With a sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and arrange the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and golden on edges, about 15 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. For the record, I did not wait 10 minutes.

I love the simplicity of the ingredients and how totally easy these were to make. And eat.

Back to my beautiful boy now..

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Jun092011

Redhead in bed

This is Week #23 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I'm a day late with this post again this week. I'm not sure how much time I will have in the coming days to post, so please forgive me for that. (If you are interested in following the progress of our son's surgery, you can follow us here.)

So, drinks! Summer drinks! I love them. For me, lovely Minnesota weather = fun drinks, bbq-ing and family/friend outside time. When you endure an insanely cold and treacherous winter, these things all become really exciting. I was excited to mix up a fun new cocktail for my husband and me to enjoy in the 95-degree weather this week. It's the kind of cocktail you can't drink more than one of, or at least I can't. Its sweetness satisfied me after just one, and we are saving the rest for another day. I have placed the remainder in the freezer for a post-surgery indulgence.

In a medium bowl, toss together:

3 pounds strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped

2/3 cup sugar

Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries release their juices, about 10 minutes.

In a blender, combine half each of:

The strawberries and their juices

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vodka

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup of ice

Puree and pour into a pitcher.

Repeat with the remaining strawberries, juices, vodka and lime juice and 1 more cup of ice.

Fill 10 glasses (or just 2, and chill/freeze the rest) halfway with ice. Pour into the glasses and top each with:

1/2 tablespoon chilled Riesling

Serve!

I hope you are all enjoying this hot summer weather as much as I am.

By the way, the pile of snow is gone. :)

Click here for a printable recipe!