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Friday, August 28, 2009

Oregon Tuna Melts

When I was waiting for a friend at the Tattered Cover (my favorite local independent book store) the other night, I started flipping through the newest Food and Wine magazine. I came across one of those recipes, where the picture itself made me freeze and start breathing very know what I'm talking about. That "I want to eat that, as SOON as possible" kind of a feeling. I called my hubby to have him see if it was on their website, and sure enough it was. This is a heavier meal than our family usually eats, BUT after seeing the picture, you can see I had no choice in the matter. yum.

Recipe by Tommy Habetz
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4 (we'll see about that.....:)
Two 6-ounce cans albacore tuna
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ciabatta rolls, split
Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, for spreading
Eight 1/4-inch-thick slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Sixteen 1/8-inch-thick lengthwise slices of kosher dill pickle
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
In a medium bowl, mix the tuna with the onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a panini press or griddle. Spread the cut sides of the rolls with mustard and mayonnaise and top each roll half with a slice of cheese. Spread the tuna salad on the bottoms and cover with the pickles. Close the sandwiches and spread the outsides of the rolls with the butter.
Add the sandwiches to the press and cook over moderate heat until the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.
HEY - this even comes with a wine pairing. sweet!!
"Wine: Pinot Noir is Oregon’s famous grape, but Pinot Gris also does well there. The minerally 2007 King Estate Signature and the apple-inflected 2008 Chehalem 3 Vineyard would both be good here."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pasta with Tomatoes and Zucchini

I'm still going through lots of zucchini.....grilling and sauteing it mostly. But I've been keeping my eyes out for recipes, and came across this one at the Whole Foods website. It got high reviews, and the zucchini is "hidden" (which at this point, is okay:) and it looked fresh and light. Also I am starting to have lots of tomatoes as they have been coming in at the Farmer's Market and the stores. Try this out for an easy weeknight dish. Put the kids to work grating the zucchini, and you'll have this done in no time!

Fusilli Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and “Hidden” Zucchini

Serves 4

"As you eat this unique recipe the juicy, roasted tomatoes break apart into the pasta to make the sauce right on your plate. People at the table might not even notice the extra serving of vegetables you 'hid' by grating squash into the pasta, but the flavor will make it a winner."

6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/2 pound Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli
2 zucchini or yellow squash, grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes on a large parchment-lined sheet tray, cut-sides up. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Scatter 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil evenly over top. Roast until juicy and bubbling, about 20 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fusilli and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add zucchini, lemon juice, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta onto four plates, top with tomatoes and serve.

Per serving (about 9oz/271g-wt.): 310 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 51g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 13g protein

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grilled Tuna Kabobs with Peach Mango Salsa

This is a favorite summer recipe in our house! It wasn't until I went to Hawaii when I was 20 that I ever had Tuna in any form other than in a can. But Tuna steak is AMAZING. I had no idea what I was missing. Of course, in Hawaii the fish we ate had been caught that morning, and was incredibly fresh - here we have to do with the frozen. But that's okay. In this recipe with the Peach Mango Salsa, all I have to do is close my eyes to imagine the smell of those Plumeria flowers......

Grilled Tuna Kabobs with Peach Mango Salsa

1 12 ounce package frozen Yellowfin Tuna Steaks, thawed and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons
1 cup Peach Mango salsa, divided
1 large yellow onion
2 bell peppers, (red, green, yellow or orange, it doesn't matter), cut into chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Organic Whole Wheat cous cous, prepared to package directions

If using wood or bamboo skewers, put them in water to soak. (at least 15 minutes, so they don't catch fire on the grill) Preheat an oiled grill to medium high. Cut one lemon in half and slice into thick half moons. Squeeze the other lemon and combine with the oil and 2 tablespoons salsa in a medium bowl. Alternate fish, vegetables, and lemon on soaked skewers. Brush with salsa/lemon mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skewers on a hot grill and cook 3-5 minutes, basting often with mixture, turning once. Serve kabobs over couscous with salsa for dipping.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Black Beans and Summer Squash

I came across this recipe in a book I received as a gift from a dear friend. It's called New Flavors for Vegetables, and it is put out by Williams-Sonoma. It was too spicy for the kids, so I seperately made them some rice, beans, sauteed squash, and some mild salsa. They put all their stuff into some Whole Wheat tortillas. Rob and I LOVED this recipe. I will definitely make it again, and again, and again!

Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Black Beans and Summer Squash
makes 4-6 servings


8 Poblano Chiles
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely diced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 zucchini, diced
2 yellow summer squash, diced
1 ripe tomato, diced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 bunch of cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped
1 cup cooked white rice (I made Brown)
1/2 cup creme fraiche
small chunk parmesan cheese

Position an oven rack 6 inches below the heating element and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place 2 of the chiles on the prepared sheet. Broil the chiles, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 15 minutes. Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steam for 5 minutes. With wet fingers, pull off the skin from the chiles. Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles, dice the flesh, and set aside.

Cut a 2-inch-long slit in each of the remaining 6 chiles. With a pairing knife, carefully scrape out the seeds from the insides of the chiles.

In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until the onion is soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the zucchini and summer squash, cover the pan, and saute until just tender, 5-6 minutes. Uncover, add the tomato, cayenne, and a pinch each of salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the vegetables cool slightly.

Add the beans, diced poblanos, cilantro, rice, and creme fraiche to the pan and mix well. Spoon the bean mixture into the chiles, dividing it evenly. Place the stuffed chiles, cut side up, in a baking dish, and add enough water to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the stuffing is heated through and the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil, grate some cheese over the tops of the chiles, and bake uncovered, until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Serve right away directly from the baking dish.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer Cooking

It feels so good to be home, and back in the groove of things, cooking in my own kitchen. The kids have had a three week break off from year round school, and this is the last week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I let them help pick some of the menu this week. This means usually more meat than I would normally cook, but that's okay. We had chicken and turkey this week, but they were both great recipes.

I am not a fan of turkey, especially not ground turkey. bleh! However, this specific turkey burger recipe is good. It's the only way I'll eat it. Next is a sort of Asian type noodle dish. Both we made from the Whole Foods Meals for 4 for under $15 flyer that I picked up 2 years ago, and still use all the time.

Serves 4

1/2 pound white ground turkey
1/2 pounds dark ground turkey
6 sundried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil from the jar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
4 whole wheat buns or rolls
4 tablespoons garlic and lemon sandwich spread*
Lettuce and sliced tomatoes

Place turkey in a bowl. Gently work in sundried tomatoes plus 2 tablespoons oil from the jar, parsley, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Take care not to overwork the mixture. Form into 4 patties, making an indentation in the middle of each one to help the burgers cook evenly. Cover and refrigerate an hour to blend flavors. Grill patties until firm and browned and all pink is gone from center, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve on toasted buns with garlic lemon sandwich spread. lettuce and tomatoes.

Per serving (1 burger/233g-wt.): 440 calories (220 from fat), 25g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 65mg cholesterol, 660mg sodium, 27g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 27g protein

Serves 4
California is known for trend-setting cuisine and much of that is based on the culinary influence of its citizens, including a large Asian population. Here’s a simple take on a cold noodle salad. Add baked tofu, chicken or shrimp if you wish, but it’s delish as is!

8 ounces dried capellini pasta (I used Whole Wheat. Make sure you don't overcook)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (if on a budget, substitute with something else)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 cup julienned carrots and/or red cabbage
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted (optional)
Crushed red chile peppers, to taste (optional)
Cook pasta, adding edamame to pot with the pasta when the water boils. Rinse in very cold water, drain and set aside. In a large sauté pan, cook mushroom slices in oil over low heat (do not brown). Turn off heat. Add toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss shiitake sauce with noodles, carrots and/or cabbage and green onions. Serve topped with sesame seeds. Pass red pepper flakes at the table, if desired.

Per serving (about 7oz/210g-wt.): 420 calories (140 from fat), 15g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 15g protein, 54g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 370mg sodium

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread

I've been receiving gifts of zucchini this past week, which has been SO wonderful. Even I can only eat so much of it raw, or grilled, sauteed....and so even though it's hot out, I broke down and made a couple of loaves of bread. I threw some in the freezer, and we've been eating the rest. I really like this recipe because it sneaks in 2 veggies, and anytime you can have your kids eating two servings of vegetables before breakfast is even over, is a good day, right? I would love any experienced Agave Nectar bakers to let me know if they think I could use that in this recipe instead of sugar. With no butter in the recipe, if I could also put Agave Nectar in place of the 2 cups (gulp) of sugar, I would be thrilled. Either way though, it's YUMMY. And you can use the excuse of it not having butter in it, to slather some on when you eat it hot out of the oven. :)

I put the kids to work, and had the boys do all of the vegetable grating. It made this super easy!
I also used half whole wheat flour, and did not make any altitude adjustments, and it turned out great. Don't skip the flour and butter in the pan, you'll need it to get this out in one piece.

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Bread
Bon Appétit November 1992
by Debbie Fleming: Townville, South Carolina
Makes 1 loaf


2 cups all purpose flour (I used half Whole Wheat)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups grated peeled sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Sift first 5 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla to blend in large bowl. Mix in zucchini and sweet potato. Add dry ingredients and walnuts and stir well.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around bread to loosen. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and let stand at room temperature.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Greens, Chicken and Citrus Salad

While the kids have been off school for these 3 weeks, I let the boys each pick a night where they were "in charge" of dinner. Obviously this meant a lot of help from me, but I still tried to let them do what they could do. I let them flip through cookbooks, and of course they were drawn to anything with pictures. Tonight Isaac set the table, and helped to make this delicious salad.

With a short ingredient list, and only 15 minutes of prep time, this was a great summer dinner.

Serves: 4 (2-cup)
Details: Grapefruit brings a refreshing taste, a pretty look, and a healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber to this salad. (Phase 2)

2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (1-pound) head green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (8 cups)
1 pink grapefruit, sectioned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine onion, vinegar, 4 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teapsoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a jar with a lid. Close tightly and shake vigorously to combine.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook chicken until browned, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cut into 1/2-inch clisces, and toss with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.

Gently toss together lettuce, grapefruit, and remaining dressing in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve salad topped with chicken slices.

Nutritional Information:380 calories
20 g fat (3 g sat)
8 g carbohydate
41 g protein
2 g dietary fiber
190 mg sodium

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Sandwich

We've been getting cucumbers out of the kid's garden and they are so good! I'm not trying to can or pickle anything this year - I don't think we'll end up with enough for that. We're getting the perfect amount to eat really. We've had just a handful of green beans, and herbs. The tomatoes have some green heirlooms on them, all beautiful and knotty. I can't wait until they are ready! In an effort to not get bored with cucumber - all we've been doing is munching on them plain or with some goat cheese and herbs smeared on top - I looked up Budget Recipes on Whole Foods website, and came across this lovely summer sandwich. The kids loved it for lunch today, and I'm excited to have something new for their lunchboxes when they head back to school. I used baby leaf lettuce instead of watercress, and sprouted grain bread.

Serves 4

When summer fruits are at their sweetest, peaches make a worthy substitution for the strawberries in this recipe.
8 large strawberries
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) Neufchâtel, softened
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress, long stems trimmed
8 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
Chop 4 of the strawberries and slice the remaining 4. In a large bowl, mash chopped strawberries with a fork. Add Neufchâtel, mint, zest, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Spread strawberry mixture evenly between slices of bread then arrange cucumbers, sliced berries and watercress over half of the slices. Top with remaining slices to form sandwiches then halve each and serve.
Per serving (about 6oz/170g-wt.): 230 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 670mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 10g protein