Monday, November 21, 2011

Low Fat Pumpkin Bread w/Chocolate Chips


this might be my favorite pumpkin bread so far.
moist, dense, full of flavor AND it's low calorie-low fat...

then it's outta this world delicious !!!

one nice thick slice is very satisfying for a quick breakfast, light afternoon snack or a safe answer to the midnight munchies.  a healthy treat for any time of the day.
on it's own the nutrition count is quite low compared to full fat, full sugar loafs.
1 loaf cut into 10 slices is  138 cal, 5.2 fat, 21 carbs and 3.5 protein per slice and 1/10th is a very thick slice.

try adding different things...i've made this 3 times already...the last one i made was with crystallized ginger instead of chocolate chips.  i LOVE ginger and peanut butter together...the chocolate was fabulous, but the ginger might be my

you would never know this is a "healthy" Pumpkin Bread, but it go ahead and try it with some peanut can still feel slim and healthy about it.  with all the goodies coming our way this season, it's nice to have a little less guilt about something so delicious.

(many thanks to Gina and please visit her site for original recipe and comments)

11/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup splenda
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp nutmeg...if using fresh ground, i suggest a little less
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
baking spray
1/2 oz. pepitas
60 grams (approx. 1/4 cup) mini chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 F.  spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray
NOTE...i baked mine in a convection oven at 330 F degrees for 47 minutes

in a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, splenda, baking soda, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk and set aside.
in a large bowl mix the oil, egg whites, pumpkin puree and vanilla, beat at medium speed until thick and well combined.
add, on low speed, dry mixture to wet mixture in 3 batches, scraping sides in between just until combined.  stir in chocolate chips...DO NOT OVER MIX

pour into loaf pan, sprinkle with pepitas and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trotter Terrrine with Roasted Chicken

not your basic head cheese, but visually something very similar.  

maybe it's just the fact that it's meat held together by gelatinous broth..or maybe it's just that i used pig parts that are out of the norm,  but this was far more palatable than the sliced head cheese you've been afraid of since childhood AND a little more pleasing than snout, tongue  and jowls...
quite tasty i must say.  of course, i did run out and buy me some REAL head cheese.  not bad, but i wanted something a little more friendly...AND i didn't want to mess with all those various head parts.  i wanted easy...i wanted to enjoy the whole thing...lord knows no one else was going to have any...
what a bunch of pansy palates!

(above is store bought head cheese...not so scary at all)


recipe?...there really isn't much of a recipe to convey, BUT here goes...

cut to the're going to make stock from the trotters.  the trotters are necessary for the stock because that is the glue or gelatin that holds the terrine together.
you may make your stock any way, flavor, you please, but this is my usual method... above is purely inserted to let you know what you will be dealing with...


you'll need 2 full TROTTERS, cut in half to make 4 pieces...they are usually sold cut in half
1 yellow or white onion
couple stocks of cut celery
couple cut up carrots
5 -6 smashed cloves of garlic
1 bigTbsp Mexican oregano
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp coriander
fresh pepper
salt when you're almost done reducing
water, or water and chicken stock, to cover...go ahead and use a can or 2 of chicken stock with the water if you have it...i might have used 1/2 and 1/2.
don't over fill.

bring to a boil and then to a slow simmer.  simmer for at least 3 hours.  the pig's feet skin should be falling off the bone and very fork tender.
check water level during cooking to make sure feet are still covered.
remove trotters and strain broth through very fine strainer...i suggest cheese cloth as well.  you want this broth to be very clean.  let broth cool and then refrigerate so that the fat will rise to the top for easy removal.
let your trotters cool to the you need to go through every bit and remove any small bones.
put all the trotter meat (skin) into a container with a little broth and refrigerate until ready to use.

roasted chicken...just go out and buy one...(can you spell "COSTCO")
cut or torn into big bite size pieces...i think i used about 1/2 a chicken
remove fat from broth container while it's cold...should pop right off the top.
warm the broth until it is liquid...TASTE TEST your broth...add a little more salt and pepper.  terrines always need a little extra flavor.
warm the trotter meat to loosen it up and cut into large pieces (or small if you don't want to really see them)
lightly spray a medium glass loaf pan
add meats to the loaf can layer if you'd like, but i just put it all in evenly dispersed.  you want to get a little something in every bite...pack it quite full.
then pour in your trotter broth.
i wanted my terrine to look packed so i pressed the meat down with another loaf pan and some soup cans.  you might find that more meat will fit in.  don't press too hard or you will have an over-flowing mess on your hands, but hard enough as to close the gaps between the meats.
put in fridge to cool and completely set.  this shouldn't take long...a couple of hours.
remove from loaf pan by slipping a knife around the edges and inverting onto plate.

slice and enjoy...this will keep for at least 5-7 days.

as far as any kind of serving suggestions?...i don't really know what you would pair this with.  i gobbled it up mostly by the slice, but served along with other cut meats and or some charcuterie type faire i think would be nice.  maybe some cornichons and a little Dijon or slap it between some bread and call it a "soup sandwich"...
any way you serve it you will enjoy it with a sense of pride knowing
you tackled the TROTTER

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baby Bella, Shiitake Mushroom Soup...(non dairy)

move over pumpkin...there's a fungi in town...
(sorry, i get carried away.  i'll just stop there with the bad puns)

but really...isn't everybody talking about pumpkin or butternut squash soup for the holiday?...

how predictable...change things up a little.

this creamy unctuous soup is so delicious.  rich deep flavors but very light on the palette.
no cream and very little fat.

the key ingredients here are the roasted garlic and some homemade roasted chicken broth
and the key utensil is an immersion blender 

trust me, take the time to roast the garlic...
 eat a roasted chicken this week and make some good broth.  chicken broth from a roasted chicken carcass is like liquid gold.  i always have some on hand in the freezer.  
and... go out and buy yourself an immersion blender.
your soup will be tasty and your puree-ing world will be forever changed.

in a nut shell...roast garlic, saute mushrooms and aromatics, whiz it up with some broth and serve.


3 oz. Baby Bella (Crimini) mushrooms
30 grams dried Shiitake mushrooms
1/2 medium onion
1/2 shallot 
3-4 cloves roasted garlic
approximately 4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth...home made is best, but...
2 cans  (15 oz.) low sodium chicken broth will be fine (more or less depending on how thick you like your soup)
NOTE...i used 1 whole can and about 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth...
vegetable broth works very well with this for a pure vegetarian version
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

FIRST...before you do anything...roast your garlic.  i like to roast mine whole with the top sliced off and drizzled with olive oil inside.  wrap in tinfoil.  oven at 370 F and it should take about an hour.

meanwhile, rehydrate your dried mushrooms as the package instructs if using dried.  saute your veggies in about 2 Tsp olive oil (maybe less if possible).   do not salt your veggies while sauteing.  you can add your tarragon and thyme in when they are almost done.  when everything is done and mushrooms look yummy and golden transfer to a sauce pan (3-4 quart works for me).  reserve a few mushrooms for garnish.  squeeze the water from the rehydrated mushrooms and chop them up a little and add them with the roasted garlic cloves to the pot.  add chicken broth, a little less than you think you might need because you don't want your end product to be too thin.  bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.  when everything has been heated through take off the stove and get your immersion blender in there and blend away...blend it to the texture you like.  i like it creamy.  you might need to add more broth at this point (heat through if you add more).  when you have it just right check for seasoning...salt and pepper to your liking.  i like the base creamy, then i add a few whole reserved mushrooms or use as garnish.
reheat just before service.  this soup can be made ahead and keeps well for a few days.

NOTE..the fresh thyme is for presentation and photos only.  i found when eating the finished photographed bowl of soup i didn't care for the pieces of thyme interrupting the smooth creamy be the judge.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chocolate Pear Tart


sometimes Martha has a winner...and this is one of them.
or should i say "Martha's People"...
there's just NO WAY she comes up with all this stuff on her own.

YES, i DO fall into the "Martha vortex" every now and then and i'm not afraid to admit it.
i'm not going to shout it from the roof tops or buy her dinnerware at K-mart, but i sure wish i'd bought some of her stock when it plummeted a few years back.
when things turn out as good as this lovely tart, i assure myself it's OKAY to wander through the Martha one's gonna get hurt until something turns out bad.

regardless of how you feel about Martha...good, bad or just don't care...
you should really try this super easy tart.
the base is done in the food processor, slice a couple of pears, bake and VOILA!

a delicious, beautiful tart to be proud of

and...a fabulous addition to the pumpkin, pecan and mince pie line-up that are always regulars at the party.

here's where to find the original with comments, but i have copied it for you below.
i made zero, changes...(well...i only used 1 3/4 Bosc pears instead of 3)

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp., plus some for the pan
1 cup blanched almonds
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
3 firm, ripe Bartlett pears...i used 1 3/4 Bosc pears
1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp apple jelly...i used strained apricot preserves (Bonne Maman)

preheat oven to 350F degrees.  brush a 9 inch removable bottom tart pan with butter, set aside.

in a food processor, combine almonds and sugar...process until very finely ground.  add butter, eggs, cocoa, vanilla, salt and almond extract, if using...process until combined.

spread mixture evenly into prepared pan

peel, halve and core pears...cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices and rub them with lemon juice to prevent browning
NOTE...i used a small bowl of lemon water for the pear and then blotted them dry before arranging them on the tart
arrange slices on chocolate mixture, slightly overlapping, without pressing in.

place on a baking sheet and bake until top is puffed and toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached (be careful not to mess up the pretty top).
should be about 45-50 minutes.  cool completely in pan

briefly heat jelly or preserves in the microwave until liquefied...strain if necessary.  gently brush the pears with the jelly and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

remove tart from pan, and serve.  
slice with a very sharp knife and you will get pretty slices...take your time or you will drag the pears through with the incorrect knife.

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