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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
My ideal blog would be 1/3 academia (boring dissertation news, other professional information), 1/3 family (how great T and ST are), and 1/3 food (recipes, recommendations, nutrition information). I have considered starting a new blog after I finish the dissertation, a blog where I could be true to this ideal form, which covers a lot of what makes me who I am. I think I've decided against it (although the new blog's name would have been super-cute), and so for now you'll just have to indulge my occasional recipe sharing.
I love to cook, as you know, but truth be told I'm not into fancy food. I don't read Gourmet or Saveur, for example, because I know I won't make anything containing the word "seviche" or any ingredients I cannot find at my local supermarket. I want food I can make any day of the week, food that my entire family will eat (usually not a problem, given ST's love of anything edible), and food that I'd recommend to non-cooks. Most of my recipes come from the cookbooks I collect, my family/friends, the internet, or a few cooking magazines I subscribe to: Cooking Light (subscription lapsed, but I have tons of old issues to read), and my all-time absolute favorite magazine ever, Everyday Food. I also head to Barnes and Noble now and again to read Cuisine At Home, Cook's Country or Cook's Illustrated. I've also been influenced a lot lately by the book Superfoods Rx, which I read on the way to New Town during our last visit. I'm trying to incorporate the Superfoods into our diet in every meal I make (although I despise salmon, no matter how hard I try to like it and no matter how it's prepared).
Here are a few recipes ST and I particularly enjoyed today. I list the original recipe first, and then give my alterations in the "Notes" section.
Pumpkin Dip (for Apples)
3/4 cup (6 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 2 tsp. maple syrup 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon Approx. 24 apple slices (about 4 apples)
Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature. Combine it, the brown sugar, and pumpkin in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well-blended. Add the syrup and cinnamon and beat until combined. Serve with apples.
NOTES:make sure the cream cheese is really at room temperature, otherwise it takes forever to smoothly incorporate into the pumpkin. We've been keeping this dip in our refrigerator for the past week, and it is heavenly on a crisp, cold slice of Granny Smith apple. It's a perfect anytime snack. If you like pumpkin pie and apple pie, this is a relatively healthy merging of both.
Cheesy Tomato Risotto
4 tbs. unsalted butter 1 small onion, chopped fine 1 carrot, diced 1 zucchini, diced 3/4 cup arborio rice (can use regular white rice) 1 (14 oz.) can chicken stock 1 (14 oz.) can chopped tomatoes (undrained) 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add onion, carrot, and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add rice and stir to coat grains; add stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and return heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheeses and let stand. Serve topped with extra cheese, if desired.
NOTES:I find the onion in this recipe too overpowering, and so I only use about 1/4 cup of finely minced onion. I also omit the zucchini, since I don't like the texture, and I increase the carrot. I use Petite Diced* tomatoes, usually the kind pre-seasoned with oregano and garlic. I do not serve this with extra cheese, since I don't think it needs it. This is great served with chicken and a side of steamed broccoli, although ST and I regularly have it alone for lunch.
* ABDmom, I think you could handle this recipe if you used the "petite diced" tomatoes, since they eliminate the "squishiness" of regular cut tomatoes.