Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Restaurant Trend

This past week was Restaurant Week in Baltimore, so my roommate and I made reservations for dinner Friday and Today at an Italian restaurant and a steak house. At the steak house, we both got the prime rib dinner with salads, sides and dessert for a great price, but found ourselves with more food than we knew what to do with. 
Well, I think this steak house had the right idea. When they came back with my leftovers all packaged up they also attached a card with this website that had recipes using leftover steak. I think this would be a great trend for restaurants to start!

Less overeating and less waste? That's what I'm talking about!

Sugary Sweet Treats at the End of the Week

Persian Ghotab, Almond-Filled Cakes

I always love to try new foods, and these cakes/pastries/cookies were certainly fun to make. My old college roommate is Persian, and she loves to make Ghotab with her mom for parties and family get-togethers. It's wonderful how food can remind you of so many traditions and memories. Although, she admitted to me that this recipe from the internet, is better than her mom's.

I plan to reproduce this recipe in my own kitchen some day. But until then, I have no way of knowing exactly how much of any ingredient we added (The dough was too moist so we added more flour then the recipe called for). This makes it pretty much impossible for me to do a nutritional analysis. So, for the time being, I can live in ignorance, and actually enjoy this indulgent, fried dessert!

2 egg yolks
½ cup butter
½ cup yogurt
1½ cups flour
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

½ cup ground almonds
¼ cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Beat the egg yolks, butter, and yogurt until creamy. Stir in the flour gradually, and knead well with the hands. If the dough is sticky, add more flour. Place the dough in a plastic bag and keep it at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours.

For the filling, mix together the almonds, confectioners sugar, and ground cardamom.

Roll out the dough on a floured board to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut it into circles with a floured cookie cutter. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each cookie. Fold the edges up, pinch together, and crimp the dough together all along the open side. Heat the cooking oil in a deep saucepan to 375 F. Drop the cookies in and deep-fry until golden brown (3 to 5 minutes). Drain them on paper towels. While still warm, roll them in confectioners sugar. When they are cool, roll them again in confectioners sugar.

Allergens: Egg, milk, nuts, wheat, gluten

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lighten it up!

I just finished prepping to make my favorite Jambalaya recipe tomorrow, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to update the recipe with nutrition information.
 Of course, as soon as I look at the nutrition breakdown, I realize the sausage is full of saturated fat and sodium. So I may consider switching out the sausage for shrimp. Replacing one sausage link with 3 oz of shrimp saves 76 calories, 10 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat and 810 mg sodium per serving! 

Cajun Rice a la Ocean City

1/2 onion, finely diced
1 can dark red kidney beans
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 pack of precooked Cajun Andouille sausage, sliced
Bouillon cube (Recommended: Edward & Sons Not Chick'n) 
Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups white rice
Salt & Pepper

1. Boil 3 1/3 cups of water, drop in 1 bouillon cube and allow to melt, pour in rice
2. Sauté onion, celery, and bell pepper, flavoring with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to taste
3. Stir continuously, adding more sauce as it cooks
4. When the onions are browned, heat up the beans and sausage with the other vegetables
5. When the sausage is heated through, serve vegetable mixture on top of the white rice

Allergens: Soy (broth)
Nutrition (1/4 recipe w/ 1 sausage link): 345 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 1249 mg sodium, 523 mg potassium, 38 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 23 g protein, 4% vit A, 7% vit C, 5% calcium, 18% iron, 15% copper, 26% folate, 11% magnesium, 36% manganese, 15% niacin, 18% phosphorous, 11% selenium, 16% thiamin

"Lighten it Up!"
Allergens: Shellfish, soy (broth)
Nutrition (1/4 recipe w/ 3 oz shrimp): 269 calories, 2 g fat, .5 g sat fat, 167 mg cholesterol, 839 mg sodium, 677 mg potassium, 37 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 26 g protein, 5% vit A, 10% vit C, 8% calcium, 29% iron, 23% vit B-12, 12% vit B-6, 22% copper, 27% folate, 18% magnesium, 38% manganese, 26% niacin, 30% phosphorous, 10% riboflavin, 59% selenium, 18% thiamin, 16% zinc

Monday, January 9, 2012

In Which Super Tracker Helps Me Justify my Love of Fatty Meats

As a future dietitian, I should know better. I know which fats are the "healthy" kind and which ones to avoid. 
But I love my sausage, be it at breakfast or dinner, be it in patty form or bulk, be it Italian or Andouille. In this case the good outweighs the bad. And I can prove it. (If you trust me already, skip to the bottom for a delicious recipe; if you want my evidence, read on.)
I just learned about this great new tool called the Super Tracker. It is part of the government's MyPlate campaign, and it tracks just about anything you could want. In this case, I wanted to know how many servings of vegetables I am getting. The Super Tracker tells me that one half a squash has 1 cup of vegetables (40% of my Daily Value), and 1 1/2 oz protein (27% of my Daily Value). (The other 1/2 oz sausage per serving contributes to my discretionary calories due to the fat content.) In my opinion, for the average healthy person can handle a little fat from a natural, minimally processed source.
You won't see me substituting leaner meats for this pork sausage because the spices and the flavor make the recipe and deliver the satisfaction you crave. However, when you look at the sausage's nutrition label, please do me a favor. Make sure that the ingredients list does not include the words "monosodium glutamate", "autolyzed yeast extract" or "MSG".

1/4 cup chopped apple
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 pound bulk pork sausage
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

In a medium bowl, combine apple, onion, sage and pepper. Add sausage; mix well. Spoon into squash halves; place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until sausage is no longer pink and squash is tender.

Allergens: None
Nutrition (1/2 squash): 255 calories, 12 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 332 mg sodium, 839 mg potassium, 26 g crabohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 13 g protein, 16% vit A, 44% vit C, 9% calcium, 13% iron, 18% vit B-6, 8% copper, 11% folate, 18% magnesium, 20% manganese, 21% thiamin

Adapted from:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I finally brought some of my cook books from home when I came back from winter break, and the Pioneer Woman Cooks was first on my list. Just out of sheer luck, one of my friends mentioned he loved pineapple upside down cake, so when I found this recipe, I had to make it for him. 
Unlike Ree Drummond, I don't happen to own a cast iron skillet, so I had to adapt a little and transfer my caramelized pineapple into a cake pan, and drizzle the buttery brown sugar on top. On the plus side, I didn't have to pour the entire half-stick of butter in.
The cake portion was super moist and the pineapple looked great (even though they stuck to the bottom of the pan at first). 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 stick  (3/4 cup) butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One 20 oz can sliced pineapple, 2 Tablespoons juice reserved
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
Maraschino cherries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, 1 stick of butter, milk, eggs, vanilla and reserved pineapple juice. 
3. Mix until well combined, set aside.
4. Melt the remaining half stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Swirl to coat. 
5. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, making sure it's evenly distributed. You want the entire surface of the butter to be covered in brown sugar. Do not stir. 
6. Once the sugar dissolves, place a layer of pineapple slices over the top.
7. If desired, place maraschino cherries in the center of the pineapple slices.
8. Transfer the pineapple slices and maraschino cherries to a 10" cake pan and drizzle some of the butter mixture on top.
9. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple slices.
10. Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Immediately run a knife around the edge of the cake.
12. Place the cake pan upside down on the plate, and patch the cake
back together if needed. 
13. Cool slightly, and serve warm

Allergens: Wheat, gluten, eggs, milk
Nutrition (1/12 recipe): 440 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 194 mg potassium, 86 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 66 g sugar, 5 g protein, 9% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 7% calcium, 10% iron, 14% folate, 30% manganese, 16% vitamin B-1, 14% vitamin B-2, 15% selenium