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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shrimp and Cabbage

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 4 oz / 100 g shrimp (100 cal)
- 8 oz cabbage (55 cal)
- 4 oz jicama (45 cal)
- 1 oz/ 30 g corn (25 cal)
- 1 garlic clove (5 cal)
- 1 tsp canola oil (40 cal)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (5 cal)
- salt, pepper and dried basil to taste
Total 275 cal, 2 servings, 140 cal / serving
1. Finely chop the cabbage into 1/4 inch thick strips. Slice Jicama. Crash garlic. 
2. Preheat a medium sized frying pan on medium heat. Saute the garlic, the cabbage, the jicama, the shrimp and the corn with 1 tsp of oil for about 5 minutes. 
3. Add the chicken broth, basil, salt and pepper and let cook for 5 more minutes, stirring. 
Very easy, very quick, very healthy and low calorie. And it’s crunchy and tastes pretty good.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dried Fruit Buns

Inspired by Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 1 cup water from soaking the dried fruit
- 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 3 egg whites (45 cal)
- 2 tbsp honey (130 cal)
- 2 tbsp canola oil (120 cal)
- 2 1/3 cup / 11.5 oz / 325 g all purpose flour (1045 cal)
- 10 prunes (200 cal)
- 5 dried apricots (125) 
- egg white wash (1 egg white and one tbsp of milk beaten together) (15 cal)
Total 1680 cal, 16 buns, 105 cal / buns
1. Soak the dried fruit in about 2 cups of hot water for an hour. Drain, keeping 1 cup of the soaking water for the dough, and finely chop the dried fruit.
2. Mix all the liquid ingredients with yeast. Add flour and salt, followed by the chopped dried fruit, mix and let rise for 2 hours. Then refrigerate for use over the next 5 days.
3. On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough, create a ball and cut it in half. Roll each half into a 6 inch round and cut into 8 wedges. You can also roll the wedges into small balls, if desired, or you can leave them triangular. Allow to rest for about 40 minutes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon pad or a parchment paper. Just before baking brush the tops of the buns with the egg white wash. 
4. Bake the buns for about 20-25 minutes at 350F until golden brown. 
5. Allow to cool on a rack slightly before eating. 

Overall it tastes nice. It is basically a Challah - like dough, but I was probably too greedy with the fruit - I can barely feel the dough between all these dried apricots and prunes. Maybe next time I should half the amount of dried fruit, and / or use lighter fruit, such as frozen or fresh berries (in that case, I should be adding more sugar or honey). 

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Waldorf Salad

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 1 Granny Smith apple (60 cal)
- 1 stalk of celery (10 cal)
- 1/3 cup cranberries (130 cal)
- 2 oz / 60 g green grapes (40 cal)
- 4 walnuts (100 cal)
- 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (60 cal)
- 1/2 tbsp sugar (20 cal)
- 1 large strawberry (20 cal)
Total 440 cal, 2 servings, 220 cal / serving
Finely chop all the apples, the celery, the walnuts and the strawberry (or half the strawberry for decoration). Half the grapes. Mix all the ingredients together with the cranberries. 
Mix the yogurt with the sugar and pour above the salad.
A nice, easy, sweet (literally) salad - makes a great appetizer or a small lunch.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eggplant with Farmers Cheese

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 4 (out of 5)
- 1 large eggplant (110 cal)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil (180 cal)
- 50 g breadcrumbs (180 cal)
- 4 egg yolks (60 cal)
- 30 g Parmigiano-Reggiano (120 cal)
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 30 g coarsely grated mozzarella (80 g)
For White Layer
- 100 g farmers cheese (170 cal)
- 30 g feta cheese, crumbled (100 cal)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 20 g pine nuts (135 cal)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard (5 cal)
- 1 tbsp yogurt (10 cal)
- 2 egg yolks (30 cal)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
For Red Layer
- 1/2 medium onion (30 cal)
- 1 garlic clove (5 cal)
- 1 tbsp sun dried tomatoes (45 cal)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (20 cal)
- 1/2 roasted red bell pepper (15 cal)
- salt and pepper to taste
Total 1295 cal, 4 servings, 325 cal/serving
1. Peel the eggplant and slice into 12 rounds about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Sprinkle eggplant rounds with salt and leave in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes to remove the bitterness. Drain and wash the eggplants.
2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and dried basil. Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp oil. Soak the eggplant rounds in egg, coat with breadcrumb mix and fry on low medium heat for about 10 minutes per side, until nicely browned. 
3. Chop the onion, the garlic and the pepper. Place all the ingredients for the red layer in a small frying pan, preheated with 1/2 tbsp oil and saute for about 15 minutes on low medium heat until the onions are translucent. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor to form smooth paste. 
4. Mix all the ingredients for the white layer. 
5. Place 4 fried eggplant rounds on a silicon lined baking sheet. Spread the white layer, top with 4 more rounds, spread the red layer and cover with the last eggplant piece. 
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 400F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella and bake for 5 more minutes until the cheese melts. 
It tastes quite well, but takes disproportionately long to prepare. If I make this dish again, I will probably have only the white layer, maybe add the sun dried tomatoes to it and will directly bake the raw eggplant soaked in eggs and dipped in the breadcrumb mix. This should save 80% of the work and  will probably taste very similar. 

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Yogurt Bread

Inspired by Buttermilk Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 1 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (60 cal)
- 3/4 tbsp granulated yeast
- 3/4 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil (240 cal)
- 3 1/4 cups / 1 lb / 450 g unbleached all-purpose flour (1480 cal)
Total 1780 cal, 2 1-lb loaves, 890 cal / loaf
1. Mix all the liquid ingredients with yeast. Add flour and salt, mix and let rise for 2 hours. Then refrigerate for use over the next 7 days.
2. On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough, cut a 1-lb piece, shape into a ball and let rest for about 90 minutes on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. This dough has a nice texture - not too wet and not too sticky, and is easy to shape. 
3. 30 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven with the baking stone and an empty broiler tray to 450F. 
4. Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top, using the tip of a sharp, wet knife. 
5. Slide the bread onto the stone. If you don’t have a stone, you can use a cookie sheet.
6. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray. Be very careful - this will generate a lot of steam. Keep your face and little kids as far from the oven as possible when doing this. Close the oven door immediately to keep the steam in the oven. You might want to place a towel on the oven door glass - some people say it can crack from hot water. 
7. Bake the bread for about 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. 
8. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
- Lovely bread. The crust is not very hard, but still crusty. The crumb is very soft with nice bubbly texture. 
- All the buttermilk bread recipes that I saw call for a little sugar or honey. I forgot to add them, and frankly, I don’t miss them: to me it feels like this bread could use a little more salt :-). And I barely use salt at all.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pomegranate Chicken

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 2 (out of 5)
- 1/2 lb / 250 g boneless skinless chicken thighs (300 cal)
- 1/2 medium onion (30 cal)
- 2 garlic cloves (10 cal)
- 1/4 cup walnuts (200 cal)
- 3 tsp canola oil (120 cal)
- 2 small pomegranates (150 cal)
- 1 cup orange juice (130 cal)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
Total 940 cal, 4 servings, 235 cal / serving
1. Wash and cut the chicken into small pieces. Mince the garlic, mix with 1 tsp of oil, salt and pepper and brush the chicken with a mixture. Heat a frying pan with 1 tsp of oil and saute the chicken for about 20 minutes until nicely browned and cooked.
2. Finely chop the onion and the nuts. When the chicken is done remove it from the frying pan, add to the pan 1 more tsp of oil, the onion and the nuts and saute on low heat until the onion is translucent. 
3. In the meantime juice the pomegranates using a strainer. Reserve a handful of seeds for decoration. Add the pomegranate juice, the orange juice and the spices to the onions and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. When the sauce thickens, add the chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes. 
4. Sere over rice. 
Nice dish. Could use more juice to have a bit more sauce. 

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gheimeh - a Persian Meat and Split Peas Stew

Used to be a great site with Persian recipes, but it’s gone :-( 
Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 3 (out of 5)
- 750 grams stewing lamb or beef (1500 cal)
- 250 grams split-peas (850 cal)
- 3 medium onions (180 cal)
- 500 grams potatoes (465 cal)
- 1/2 cup of cooking oil (960 cal)
- 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste (20 cal)
- juice and zest from 2 lemons or 3-4 crushed dried limes (25 cal)
- 1/2 tbsp of turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp of paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Total 4000 cal, 10 servings, 400 cal / serving
1. Prior to cooking, soak split-peas in warm water for 2-3 hours, then drain out the water.
2. Peel and thinly slice onions, then fry in oil until golden. 
3. Wash and cut meat into small pieces and fry in onions until color changes. 
4. Add 3 glasses of water and bring to boil. Let boil slowly for 1-1.5 hours until mostly cooked, adding more water if needed.
5. Wash and cut the potatoes. Add potatoes, split-peas, salt, pepper, spices and tomato paste and continue boiling slowly until cooked. Add more water if needed during cooking.
6. If using dried limes, they should be added in with the other ingredients. If using juice, add in towards the end and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Adjust seasoning according to taste.
7. Serve with white rice. 
- Very good stew. This recipe is for a huge amount. You can freeze it in serving size portions or you can make half of the amount. 
- The stew should be liquid, almost like a sauce over the rice, so add more water as needed. 
- The rice in the picture is crispy, cooked with oil on low heat for about 40 minutes, until a hard layer is developed at the bottom of the rice, it’s called “tahdeeg” and I should post a separate recipe for that some time.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grapefruit Salad with Water Chestnuts

Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 4 grapefruit wedges (30 cal)
- 2 orange wedges (15 cal)
- 1 tomato (20 cal)
- 1 water chestnut (10 cal)
- 5 lettuce leaves (10 cal)
- 1 oz / 30 g bean sprouts (10 cal)
- 1/3 oz / 10 g pine nuts (60 cal)
- parsley for decoration
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp orange juice (10 cal)
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp low fat raspberry jam (5 cal)
For serving
- skin of 1 large grapefruit halved in 2 bowls
Total 170 cal, 2 servings, 85 cal / serving
1. Thinly slice the tomato and the water chestnut. Cut the lettuce. Arrange all the ingredients in the grapefruit bowls.
2. Mix all the dressing ingredients and drizzle on top. 
A lovely salad if you like citrus fruits.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Uma’s Orange Cake

Uma, our friend’s mom + my calorie saving substitutions

Taste 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5) 

- 1 1/2 cups flour (675 cal)
- 1/4 cup non-fat yogurt (30 cal)
- 1/4 cup margarine (410 cal)
- 1/2 cup orange juice (65 cal)
- 2/3 cups sugar (510 cal)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 egg + 2 egg whites (100 cal)
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- pinch of salt
For the glaze
- 3 tsp icing sugar (45 cal)
- a few drops of vanilla essence (5 cal)
- 2 tsp water
Total 1840 cal, 12 servings, 155 cal/serving
1. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the salt and beat more until peaks. Add all the sugar a little at a time. 
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Carefully fold in the egg whites. 
3. Grease a 9’’ round pan mold and pour the dough. Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
4. Let the cake cool a little in the pan, the remove from the pan and place directly on a cooling rack. When the cake is cool, decorate with the glaze. 
A very nice soft cake, with an orangey flavor, and so easy to make. I loved it.

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Buckwheat Bread

Adapted from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (and made less healthy :-) )
Taste 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty 1 (out of 5)
- 1/2 cup buckwheat groats (320 cal)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour (560 cal)
- 1 cup dark rye flour (415 cal)
- 5 cups unbleached all purpose flour (2275 cal)
- 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3 1/2 cups lukewarm water for the dough + 1 cup for the buckwheat
Total 3570 cal, 4 1-lb loaves, 890 cal/ loaf
1. Cook the buckwheat groats with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt until done and the water is all absorbed.  
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large 5-6 quart container. Cover the container with a lid (not airtight) and allow to rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. Once the dough has risen and starts falling, refrigerate overnight. The refrigerated dough can be used over the next 10 days. 
3. The dough is very wet, so it is easier to bake it in a loaf pan. I used size 9x4 or something similar. Lightly grease the pan. Cut 1 lb of the dough, dust it with flour and shape into a ball. Elongate the ball and place into the pan. Allow to rest in the pan for about 1 hour 30 minutes. I did not cover the pan.
4. Preheat the oven to 450F. Since you are using the loaf pan, you don’t need the baking stone. But you need steam in the oven, so place an empty broiler tray or cookie sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven. Right before baking,  wet a sharp serrated knife in water, to prevent it from sticking and slash the top of the bread. Place the loaf pan on the middle rack of the oven. 
5. Pour 1 cup of hot (but not boiling) tap water into the broiler tray and immediately close the oven. You should be very careful doing it - there is a lot of steam. You might also want to cover the glass on the oven door with the towel - on some sites people report that their doors’ glass cracked.  You might also want to spray the top of the bread with water for additional moisture. 
6. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, remove from the oven and from the pan and let cool on the rack.  
- I love the taste, but the buckwheat groats create lumps in the bread. I think this bread will be better without the groats - 1 cup of buckwheat flour should be enough for the buckwheat-experience. 
- The original recipe asked to soak the buckwheat groats in water, not cook them, so the groats were still hard when mixed with the dough, and then they turned out too dry after baking. It tasted great in pizza dough, but I did not like these hard groats in the bread - made me fear for my teeth.
- The dough is very wet, so you can add plenty of flour as you work and shape it - it will all get absorbed during resting, even in pizzas, with virtually no resting time. 

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Raspberry Rolls

Improvised based on Challah dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day 

Taste 5 (out of 5)

Difficulty 2 (out of 5)

- 1 lb of Challah dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (1250 cal)
- 5 tbsp low fat raspberry jam (175 cal)
- sweet egg wash = 1 egg white + 1 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp brown sugar (30 cal)
Total 1455 cal, 12 rolls, 120 cal/roll
1. Cut 1 lb of refrigerated Challah dough (see instructions here or in the book). Dust the dough with all purpose flour and form a ball. 
2. Dust working surface and a rolling pin and roll the dough into a 12 inch round. You might need to let the dough rest a little if it shrinks back after you roll it. Use more flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the pin or to the table. 
3. Spread the jam evenly over the round. Using a pizza cutter, cut the round into 12 equal slices. 4. Roll each slice from the wide side towards the center. Place the rolls onto a baking sheet lined with the silicon mat or a parchment paper and allow to rest for 40 minutes. If the rolls do not rise, don’t worry - most likely they will rise in the oven.
5. In the meantime preheat the oven to 350F. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. 
- I really love them, I think this Challah dough is going to be a regular in my fridge.
- Of course, the same recipe will work with any other jam, chocolate, sugar with nuts or any filling you can think of. I'll be making chocolate next.

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