Saturday, April 14, 2012

You Say Coriander, I Say Cilantro!

     I love to flip through all kinds of cookbooks and check out recipes from lots of different sources.  When I come across recipes from British cooks, I am charmed by their use of the words "brilliant", "lovely", and "fantastic".  A couple Sundays ago, I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  I was dreaming of making a recipe I had torn out of an old House Beautiful magazine that was part of a review of a Sarah Raven cookbook, but I couldn’t find the clipping.  In my mind, I could see the yummy picture of grilled chicken stuffed into pita bread along with a cilantro studded yogurt sauce.  After looking everywhere I could have stuffed the article excerpt, I turned to the internet.  I googled away and after a while found the recipe I remembered - on an August 17th, 2010 post of  (The Daily Telegraph online).  However, it didn’t mention cilantro anywhere.  Instead, it called for a bunch of coriander. Since I had my heart set on cilantro, I went ahead and made it with cilantro.  I also added in some ground coriander, ground cumin, and some ground cardamom because in the back of my mind, I knew that one of those things equaled fresh coriander!  After the dinner rush was over, I sat down at the computer again and figured out that in the UK, cilantro is known as coriander.  Whatever it’s called, I love it!  Below is the Sarah Raven recipe with my modifications. 

Chicken Souvlaki with Cilantro modified from Sarah Raven


(Optional)  Put about 12 wooden skewers in water and let them soak while following the rest of the recipeRinse and pat dry 4 chicken breasts.  Cut the chickenbreast into pieces ableto be grilled or threaded on
to the wooden skewers mentioned above.

 In a bowl mix together:

¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
                                    1 small jalapeno, diced                                  
¼ cup of lemon juice (1 lemon)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
                                                             ½ teaspoon turmeric                                                           
1 cup of plain nonfat yogurt
¼ cup of olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

      Place the chicken pieces in the bowl and gently stir to cover each one with the yogurt/spice mixture.  Allow this to marinate for about a half hour.  Remove the chicken from the bowl, shaking the excess mixture off and either use the skewers while cooking them or place the pieces directly on the grill. When the chicken is done (no longer pink inside), serve them on top of a green salad (or in some warm pita bread as Sarah Raven does).  Top the chicken with the sauce below.

Sauce to Serve with the Chicken:

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
½ a large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some Family Favorites with Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Several years ago, we traded in potatoes for cauliflower and have never looked back! Below are some of the girls' very favorite recipes. The BarbequeTurkeyburger "Cupcakes"  are also yummy just made on the grill as burgers minus the mashed cauliflower "icing."  Likewise, the Big Easy Shrimp tastes great with rice instead of the cauliflower "grits".  And of course, you could use real mashed potatoes instead of cauliflower for the cheeseburger pie.

BBQ Turkey Burger “Cupcakes”
1 ½ ground turkey     
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten

½ cup plus 3 tablespoons bottled barbeque sauce
 (or South Beach Diet recipe for BBQ below)
6 green onions, sliced

¼ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)    

¼ teaspoon garlic
1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
Mix the meat, bread crumbs, barbeque sauce, green onions, egg, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and garlic powder.  Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cups in a muffin tin that has been oiled or is nonstick.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  While the “muffins” are baking, cook the cauliflower in enough water to cover it until the flowerets are very tender.  Drain the water and with a hand mixer or immersion blender, mash it up along with the margarine, the other ½ teaspoon of salt, and the other ¼ teaspoon pepper.  When the “muffins” are baked, take them out of the muffin cups and “frost” each one with the mashed cauliflower.   Drizzle the tops with the remaining 3 tablespoons of barbeque sauce.

South Beach BBQ Sauce – From South Beach Diet Book
1 (8-ounce) can Tomato sauce
2 tablespoons White vinegar
2 teaspoons Chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Garlic powder

Combine all ingredients together. Refrigerate in a plastic container.

Big Easy Shrimp with Cauliflower “Grits” from The South Beach Diet Cookbook

2 strips of cooked turkey bacon, crumbled  
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped

½ green pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, cut length wise and sliced

1 garlic clove, put through a press    

1 (15 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
 1 teaspoon salt (divided)

 1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce

1 head of cauliflower, cut into flowerets

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp

Over medium heat, cook the onion, green pepper, and celery in the olive oil until tender.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.  Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, cook the cauliflower in enough water to cover it until the flowerets are very tender.  Drain the water and with a hand mixer or immersion blender, mash it up along with the margarine, the other ½ teaspoon of salt, and the other ¼ teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook until it completely turns pink. (Or, if using already cooked shrimp, cook just enough to warm the shrimp.)  Add the bacon crumbles. Serve the shrimp and sauce on top of or beside the cauliflower “grits”.

Cheeseburger  Pie – adapted from a Pillsbury recipe
1 ½ pounds extra-lean ground beef or ground turkey
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup ketchup                                                    
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (divided)
1 head of cauliflower, cut up into flowerets
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
2 green onions, sliced
Mix the meat, bread crumbs, onions, ketchup, mustard, egg, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper together and press into a pie pan.  Put in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. While the meat in baking, cook the cauliflower in enough water to cover it until the flowerets are very tender.  Drain the water and with a hand mixer or immersion blender, mash it up along with the margarine, the other ½ teaspoon of salt, the other ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ½ a cup of the cheese. Remove the meat from the oven and carefully pour off any grease.  Spread the mashed cauliflower over the top of the crust.  Put the rest of the shredded cheese on top.  Return to the oven and cook 10 minutes more.  Before serving, sprinkle the top with the diced tomato and sliced green onion.  Cut into slices to serve.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Super Easy Sauces - Spicy Red & Classic White

     Roy's paternal grandmother was from Nova Scotia, Canada, and she had quite the repertoire of phrases. Whatever the occasion, she seemed to come up with just the right saying.  One that the family still uses today is, "Hunger makes good sauce".  Of course it means that if you are starving - even the plainest food tastes great.  Recently, six of us got to take a sauce class (demonstration) at Caroline's favorite restaurant for her birthday, and I thought about Grandma Yates's little expression. There is no question that the addition of a sauce to a dish really enhances it, but in every day cooking - who has time to mess with a complicated recipe in addition the main entre?  I got the answer to this when Jenn called me up a couple weeks ago around dinner time.  She stated she was so bored of eating a plain chicken breast for dinner and she asked if I had any suggestions. I remembered the quick and easy sauce I use for chicken parmesan that basically involves just opening a can of tomato sauce and heating it up along with a few spices.  She tried it and loved it!  She just poured it over her grilled chicken breast, but I've included the whole chicken parmesan recipe.  I'm also including a recipe for a simple white sauce along with a few additions that will jazz it up.

Super Easy Red Sauce

1 (15oz.) can of tomato sauce  

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

(1 tablespoon sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce)

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan, mix them together, and heat it up!

Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk 

3/4 cup bread crumbs (Italian style is nice)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  In a second bowl combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.  In a final bowl, mix the flour, oregano, salt, and pepper together.  Rinse the chicken breasts with water and then pat them dry with a paper towel.  One chicken breast at a time, first coat it with the flour, then dip it in the egg, and last coat it with the bread crumb mixture. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan and brown each side.

In an oven safe dish, spoon some of the red sauce from the recipe above in order to coat the bottom of the dish.  Place the chicken in the dish and pour the rest of the red sauce over the chicken. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven and put 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese over each chicken breast.  Return to the oven and continue to bake just until the cheese melts.

Super Easy Classic White Sauce
I'm using whole wheat flour here - that's why it's dark!

3 tablespoons butter or margarine    

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 1/2 cups milk, warmed in microwave


Over low heat, melt the butter in a pan.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together to make a paste.  Cook the paste over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.  Then add the milk, a little at a time, while stirring constantly. Keep stirring and adding the milk until the sauce is thick.

Suggested Uses


Truffled Cream Corn:   

Add sauce to 10 oz. cooked corn along with

2 teaspoons of truffle oil


Creamed Peas or Pearl Onions:

Just add the sauce to 10 0z. of the

 the cooked vegetable


Creamed Spinach:

Add sauce to 10 0z. of cooked and

drained spinach along with a pinch of nutmeg and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.