Friday, September 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

I have to admit I've never been the biggest fan of peanut butter. I eat it on toasts that's it. When I buy a jar at the grocery store it usually lasts a long time!
I was never a huge fan of peanut flavor either, like in sauces and all. And as much as I love chocolate, the two together was never my thing. Reese's PB cups don't do anything for me. Sorry...BUT. Peanut butter cookies I like. They're so smooth and sweet and salty. The downfall of them is the amount of fat that's in there. I remember when I'd go visit my grandma she'd keep them a cookie box lined with paper towel that would get drenched in oil. The traditional recipes call for commercial peanut butter AND shortening. Not good.
SO when I found this recipe in Sarah Philips' "Healthy Oven" I had to try it. And I have to admit, they're amazing. And the fat amount is a lot less than grandma's cookies. Plus by using natural peanut butter it assures you there's NO shortening in here! (because we all know commercial PB is loaded with that shtuff...)
Today I thought I'd get over this whole "pb and chocolate" non-sense and add some chocolate on those cookies. It works nice. I admit, they go together quite nicely...but I still won't eat Reese's cups. Not when I can have these!!:


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBSP unsalted butter at room temperature.
1 egg
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1 TBSP vanilla extract

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (for dipping)...(optional but recommended!!)

Preheat the oven at 350F and set the rack in the middle.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, using a mixer or a spatula (spatula in my grandma never had a mixer...),beat the peanut butter, sugars and butter until well mixed. Add in the egg, corn syrup and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture in 2 batches.
*You'll notice the dough will not come together quite nicely in a big ball, but don't worry. That's ok...
Roll the "dough" into little balls, about 1 teaspoon worth for each ball. Place on an oiled cookie sheet, about 1 inch appart. With a fork, press on the dough balls to create that cute peanut butter cookie pattern we all know and love...

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool them on the sheet for a minute and transfer to a rack.
*If you need to make 2 batches I suggest you get the littl' balls ready while the first batch is in the oven...saves time...just saying..!

Now. To take it to the next level, melt some chocolate in the micro-wave and dip each cooled cookie until the top in coated. As I said you can skip this step but why would you??

Don't they look so cute?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kiwi Strawberry Compote

This is my second attempt at making jam. Ok, I may have not chosen the easiest fruit and I have NO idea how to make "proper" jam, but the end product is pretty good. I would call it more like a compote, though, rather than jam.
I didn't have a recipe to follow so I kinda just threw things in the pot hoping for a decent result...
Here's how it all went down:

First I peeled and chopped about 6-8 gold kiwis(they were on special at Costco...) and about 2-2 1/2 cups chopped strawberries (I always forget to mesuring stuff, sorry...). In a pot with the zest of 1/2 a lemon and its juice, splash of vanilla and 1/3 cup white sugar. Doesn't seem like a lot of sugar but I figured it would be better to add more later than too much in the beginning and the compopte being too sweet. And I did end up adding more, about 1/4 cup of honey. The end result is still very tart though, but I like tart.

I let the whole thing simmer on med-low heat for about 30 minutes. The fruit gave out a lot of water so I had to strain it at the end. But let me tell ya...that juice was a-ma-zing once cooled! So don't throw it out!! Then once the fruit was all nice and soft I just turned off the heat and let it cool on that same element.

Then transfered to the fridge for a complete cool-off.
That stuff is good by itself, or on toasts, on a muffin, ice cream, etc.

I'm pretty new at making this kind of stuff...anyone has a tip on how to make things thicken like jam without going through the long process of, well, jam making??

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Spinach&Feta Omelette

This is my favorite breakfast. I make it at least once a week. There's something about feta and spinach together...and with the dill...well, a-mazing!
Think Spanokopita minus the dough...

When I make omelettes I usually use only 1 egg and 2 eggwhites(for 1 person, otherwise double it!), that way it's lower in fat!
So, for one omelette:

1 egg
2 eggwhites
2-3 TBSP milk
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried dill(i rarely buy the fresh stuff, so I use dry. but if you use fresh dill add more!!)
1/2 baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 green onions

Mix the egg and whites, milk and seasonnings. Add the onion and half the spinach and combine well.
In a pan(med-high heat), melt some margarine or butter, pour in the egg mixture and let it set for about a minute, add the feta and the rest of the spinach.
When it looks like it's set enough to flip and it's slightly gold at the bottom, fold it in half and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Basically you just want the cheese to melt.

What a great way to start the day!

(...forgive me but I'll have a bit of ketchup on the side...)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Citrus Squares

This is my "bring something to a pot-luck" dessert. It's rich yet light, sweet but tangy, creamy and other words, one bite of this is a whole range of sensations and tastes that just go together so amazingly and make you go "Oh My" at every bite. And it's so unbelievably easy to make, it requires very few ingredients, and it's also adaptable. Like if you don't have limes just use lemons, or vice versa, if you don't have lemons use orangs, tangerines, clementines, etc. Any citrus works here so there's really no excuse!! I usually do these with lime only because I really love limes but this week I happenned to have also lemons AND oranges, so I did a mix of all three. CRA-ZY good! But, I also have to admit, the graham cracker crust is what makes this thing. There's just something about these crackers...Anyway, I'm gonna stop rambling and give you the recipe so you can try them too! I got it from "Healthy Oven" by Sarah Philips(yes, her again...)

First, make the crust:
(well, actually, first turn on the oven at 325F and set the rack in the middle...)

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crubs
1/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP unsalted butter, melted.

-Stir all 3 ingredients together until combined.
-Press the mixture firmly and evenly in the bottom of a 8-inch square pan (that you previously sprayed with oil lightly), and set aside.

Then for the top part:

3 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP cornstartch
One can LOW-FAT sweetwened condensed milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 TBSP grated zest of whatever citrus you'll be using...
1/2 cup juice of those same citrus fruits...

*this time I used the zest of 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 an orange and one full lime. for the juice I used the whole lime, 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon (see how I did this reverse...? clever, I know...)

-Mix the sugar and cornstarch and add the condensed milk slowly while stirring. Then add the egg, zest and juice and mix until just combined.
-Pour over the crust.
-Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges look firm but the middle is still giggly a bit. It will firm up when cooled, I promise!!
-Let it cool at room temperature and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Bring this to a diner party and people will think you're a genius!
...or, keep it all to yourself, 'cause it's that good!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Simply Grilled Trout Filet

Trout has got to be my favorite fish, ever. I love salmon and cod too but when I go to the fish store and find nice fresh pink trout, I gotta have it! I always get filets, which are really easy to bake, grill or fry, but eventually I will give a go at baking whole trouts, the little ones you can stuff and cook in the oven. Seems easy enough... But that's another post...
Yesterday afternoon I stopped by that fish place I always go to at the Atwater market and picked up some trout filets, and had a nice little grilling session. I've always been a bit scared of putting fish on the grill, always thinking it would stick and make a big actually happened once last year I put a big salmon steak on, without oiling it first...big mistake. Anyway now I know as long as you oil the grill and the fish there won't be any problems! Thank you Food Network!!
So, with this fish it was pretty simple:

1-Get some nice trout filets, rince them and pat dry.

2-Marinade it a bit, 30 minutes is plenty long:

*On a plate, squeeze over the fish half a lemon, pour a BIG glug of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, parsley and a bit of cayenne. Rub it all over and flip the filets, so they're skin side up, cover with plastic wrap and let them chill in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes.

3-Get the grill started on med-high heat, and take the fish out of the fridge.

4-Once the grill is hot, oil it gently with a towel(carefull not to drop any on the flames...ouch...), then place the fish SKIN SIDE UP first. After 3-4 minutes flip it and let it cook for another 5 minutes, more or less depending on the thickness of your filets, and how cooked you like it. I'm not the biggest fan of raw fish so I always cook it through but if you like it a bit raw inside by all means...!

You will be able to tell when it's done by sticking a fork in it gently in the thickest part, if it flakes easily it's done!

All that's left here is a nice squeeze of lemon(once it's off the grill of course! by this time the fish is done, it's on the plate ready to eat!).

And don't forget the Sauvignon Blanc!!

I love grilling fish!