Friday, January 21, 2011

South Beach Hot Chocolate

Tired of buying the little packets of Swiss Miss Sugar Free hot chocolate, I figured it was high time I make my own.  Aside from being simple, (I mean what - cocoa, Splenda, and nonfat milk powder right?), it has the added bonus of no weird ingredients I can't pronounce (for the most part).  How hard can it be?  I started here and was off and running.
Now, this is a giant batch because I have a big old container and really, what else am I going to do with powdered milk?
This can easily be made non South Beach by using regular sugar.

6 cups nonfat dry milk
1 3/4 c Splenda (go for the full 2 cups if you have a sweet tooth)
1 cup*  of unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
1 (2.1 ounce - the big one) package of fat free/sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix

Combine all ingredients in a container and shake well until combined - it takes a while, keep shaking.  It's better than stirring though, unless you wanted to breathe this stuff in.
Add 3 tablespoons to a mug and fill with hot water.  Stir until combined.
Add a pinch of salt for salted chocolate; a pinch of cinnamon for Mexican hot chocolate; or a shot of Sugar Free Peppermint Syrup for a Snuggler without the buzzy feel good feelings.  Top with Sugar Free Cool Whip (or marshmallows if you're not going South Beach and you used regular sugar instead of Splenda - lucky).

* I tasted it with 1 cup of cocoa powder and wanted more chocolate oomph.  I added another 1/2-3/4 cup or so.  I think it's great, but the boy roommates are politely letting me know without actually saying so, that it is very chocolatey.  Maybe TOO chocolatey.  Pshaw.  As if.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

After seeing a recipe for Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies, and eyeballing the LOADS of peppermint bark in my kitchen leftover from Christmas indulgences, I knew what had to be done.
I'll keep some of these in the freezer to see how they bake after being frozen, and bake the rest today and deliver them to two darling families that I know will love them.  Temptation gone, creative urges sated, and friends made happy.  Win-win-win.

1 cup of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder\
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1+ cup of peppermint bark, broken into little chip size pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until well incorporated and light in color.  Add the egg and the extracts until well incorporated, about a minute. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl halfway through.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture cup by cup at medium speed, stopping once all of it is incorporated (do not overmix).  This batter is very dry - do not be alarmed.  It'll form into balls nicely.
Fold in the peppermint bark chips.
Take small spoonfuls of the dough and roll into one inch sized balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 1/2 - 3 dozen cookies.

While these were okay, I think I'd prefer to find a better chocolate cookie recipe and alter that, or stick to my beloved peppermint brownies. I found these cookies to be a little greasy and not as chewy as I'd hoped.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies name is too long.  I think I'll call them OAR cookies (oatmeal-apple-raisin).  I don't need the C - I mean cinnamon just comes with the territory, right?
My problem here is making them somewhat South Beachy.  The last ones were okay taste wise, but a flop texture wise.  I'm hoping the addition of sugar free applesauce and fresh apples will moisten them up a bit.  Science I am fairly good at, but baking science is new.  I'm not quite sure if my moisture to flour to rising agents is right.  I looked at a couple of new recipes, plus the recipe from my last attempt, for guidance, but we won't know until we try, right?

The plan:
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c Splenda
1/4 c Splenda brown sugar blend (or 1/2 c brown sugar if you must)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c AP flour (I may experiment here with leaving this out altogether and going with a full cup of whole wheat flour)
1 1/4 c of oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
3/4 c chopped walnuts
1 medium apple, peeled, cored & diced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment or silpat. 
Prep the apple, toss in the lemon juice and set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter together until creamy using a stand mixer.  Add the egg, applesauce and vanilla and incorporate well. 
Whisk the dry ingredients together, and slowly add to the wet, cup by cup until incorporated, at low speed.
Fold in the nuts and fruit.

Drop tablespoon fulls onto cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until desired doneness.  Allow to cool a bit on sheets, then transfer to wire racks.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Goat Cheese

Well, I've finally done it.  I made goat cheese.  It's a ricotta really - same steps I used as when I made the cow's milk ricotta, but I added salt, garlic & herbs de provence to this batch once the whey had drained out.
It's the same grainy, loose sort of crumble, which is. . . . disappointing.  Don't get me wrong, the cheese tastes nice, it's goaty and herby and light and very fresh tasting.  It's just not And the Heavens Parted And The Light Shone Down And The Angels Sang kind of good.  Which is what I'm going for.
Next step - chevre. 
I mean, did I really think great cheese was as simple as adding lemon juice to heated milk?!  Or that I'd magically knock it out of the park on my first go?
(And yes, I'm as guilty as the next guy for referring to chevre as goat cheese, as if that's the only kind.  That's like saying cow cheese, I understand, and yes, I am ashamed).

Note: New England Cheesemaking Supply Company is a great resource.  I just bought a starter kit and some chevre culture from them.  I mean, they've been doing this almost as long as I've been alive - I figure they know what's up.

And to that end, I do believe this woman is my future, if that one post is anything to go on.

Patrick's Birthday

Patrick is already putting in requests for his birthday dinner and cake in April.  Looks like I'm not the only one that plans things four months in advance. . . .
Of course neither is South Beach even a little bit, but it's okay to splurge once in a while, and splurge we will.  I know that it will make me sick afterward, binging on non SB foods always do when I've been good for a long time, which will hopefully only encourage me to stay good.

First up - a bacon wrapped meatloaf he saw on the cover of a magazine called Fine Cooking, which I've never even heard of.  I tweaked the recipe just a tiny little bit based on preference and user reviews.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
4 oz. cremini (baby bella) or white mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (1-1/3 cups)
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
3 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. day-old rustic or dense white bread, torn into about 1/2-inch pieces (1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
1 lb. ground pork
2 Tbs. light or dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
8 slices center-cut bacon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF.
In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the onion, sherry, garlic, 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread, milk, and egg. Stir well, lightly mashing the bread until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the beef, veal, pork, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and the onion-mushroom mixture. Using a large, sturdy wooden spoon or your hands, gently mix just until all the ingredients are blended; you may need to push the meat against the side of the bowl to get the pieces to break up.

Put the meat mixture in a 9x13-inch metal baking pan. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf about 10x4 inches. Wrap the strips of bacon around the loaf crosswise, overlapping them slightly and tucking the ends securely under the loaf. Pat the loaf back into shape if necessary.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 160ºF, 60 to 70 minutes. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiling element. Heat the broiler to high. Broil the meatloaf until the bacon is brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Let the loaf rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Use two flat spatulas to transfer the meatloaf to a serving platter. Slice and serve with the mushroom gravy.
Just in case you were wondering:  Calories (kcal): 340; Fat (g): 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 26; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 610; Cholesterol (mg): 105; Fiber (g): 1;

Sherry Mushroom Gravy 
1 cup lower-salt beef or chicken broth; more as needed
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices center-cut bacon, minced
6 oz. cremini (baby bella) or white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced about 1/8 inch thick (2 packed cups)
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. dry sherry
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Combine the broth with 1 cup of hot water. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring to break apart the pieces, until just starting to crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onion, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have cooked through and start to brown the bottom of the pan, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the sherry and stir to release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly until the mixture has browned and is slightly dry and crumbly, about 30 seconds.
Whisk in half of the broth mixture and continue whisking until the liquid is absorbed into the flour, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the remaining broth mixture and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and thin with water or broth if necessary. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover, and keep warm. Reheat the gravy if necessary before serving.

Served with butter laden mashed potatoes, this is certain to make us very happy to eat and then very ill for having eaten it.  Then of course there will be the meatloaf sandwiches the next day. . . I can hardly wait.  But there's more!!!  Maybe laying in bed on the weekend watching Food Network until we're too starved to stay horizontal any more isn't a good thing.  We saw Paula Deen try to awkwardly set up her son with a pretty blonde AND make an amazing looking meal.  I'd like the whole thing actually, but the cake certainly caught Patrick's attention.

Double Decker Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 cup butter, softened, plus 1/2 cup, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole buttermilk
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple slices in juice, drained well (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for frosting)
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well
Pineapple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
Chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and coat with flour.
In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the brown sugar evenly into each pan. Pour the melted butter equally over the brown sugar. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar. Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.
Pour equal amounts of batter over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, carefully arrange 1 cake layer, pineapple side up, on a cake plate. Carefully stack the remaining cake layer, pineapple side up, over the first layer. Frost the sides of the cake with Pineapple Buttercream Frosting. Press chopped pecans into sides of cake, if desired.

Pineapple Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Beat all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

Yield: about 2 cups

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Being the pickle lover I am. . . .

And being on South Beach as I am. . . . 
I decided to make pickled eggs.  Yes, pickled eggs.  They're like a joke.  Like pickled pigs feet.  Like, who eats those?  And ew.  And so on.

And you know what?  They're not awful.  They're even - strangely addictive.  And the onions that you use to flavor the pickling liquid?  They're good too!  I have no idea "how" to eat them or what they should be eaten with; for now we're just grabbing them as snacks.  And as a SB snack, they do a pretty good job - some nice filling protein from the egg (no, I still don't eat the yolk in these ones), the tangy pickle of the vinegar, and the sweet from the cloves and the little bit of Splenda you use to sweeten the brine; they're pretty well rounded and satisfy a few cravings all at once.
I used a couple of cups of every type of vinegar I had since I didn't have enough of any one. . . I believe it was 1/2 cup of distilled white, a cup of rice wine, and a 1/2 cup of apple cider.  Add to that 1/2 cup of water, 2 tbsp of Splenda, 1 tbsp of pickling spices, one sliced onion, and maybe a couple of smashed garlic cloves?  Something like that (maybe without the garlic). You put your dozen hardboiled and peeled eggs in a jar, pour the pickling liquid over top and leave in the fridge.  We gave ours a good 24 hours before sampling.  The pickling liquid firms the eggs up quite a bit, so texturewise, don't freak out when yours go rubbery.

Bottom line, if you like eggs, and you love a good pickle - fear not, the pickled egg.  Give them a try.  Lord knows Ontarians do if you believe the stories of Canadians who will let you know you're not alone in your pickled eggedness.  I guess they're quite a pub treat for our Northern Neighbors. Can't wait til I can try them with beer and see how it goes.

I absolutely adore the idea of COLORED pickled eggs too (in also loving pickled beets this works doubly).  Roll on Easter!  The idea of that color combo gets me all worked up and wanting to put some in my ramen.
And again with the tiny. . . eeee!  Even better!!

Texas Sheet Cake

Lest I forget to post this horrible "I can hardly read it" recipe before the next time my mom asks me if I have it (even though it is HER favorite), I'd better do it now.  My Aunt Kathy & Uncle Skip's Texas Sheet Cake Recipe!  Ta da!
Texas Sheet Cake
Preheat oven to 350.
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine these and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring to a boil:
1 cup butter
4 tbsp cocoa
1 cup water
Then add to the flour mixture.

Now also add:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
and mix well.

Spray jellyroll pan (see below) with Pam and bake 20-25 minutes at 350.

1/2 cup melted butter
3 tsp cocoa
4 tbsp buttermilk
1 box confectioner's sugar
Mix well and pour over cake while warm.   
Allow to cool and slice into large squares to be individually tin foiled so they can then be gifted to your mother who can store them in the freezer and enter Nirvana any old time she pleases.

You'll need one of these if you don't already have one:

Meal and shopping planner

Best thing since sliced bread?  Yes, probably.
Especially if you ever catch a glimpse of my "We Need to Shop for South Beach So We Have The Right Kinds of Food In The House So We Don't Fall Off the Wagon, But I Don't Know What We Need, So Let's Look Through the Recipe Books and Select Recipes For Each Day and Then Cram Ingredients Off On The Side and Try To Shop, Which We Both Know Means Crossing the Store 80 Times To Pick Up Some 'Forgotten In The Produce Section' Item."

In any case, enjoy.

I'd LOVE to laminate this bad boy and be able to reuse it.

Yet another steak & mushroom option

Williams Humbert'S Dry Sack Sherry Advertisement 1956
I feel like steak and mushrooms are everywhere, especially in South Beach Diet meals.  Last night after returning from a burger joint (where I only ate my patty, some salad, some sparkling water, and okay fine, five sweet potato fries), my darling co-South Beacher had not yet eaten.
I whipped him up a steak (seasoned with salt, pepper, Garlic seasoning and onion powder), perfectly medium rare (it was really a thing of beauty) and some sauteed mushies.  I didn't just want to leave them MUSHROOM flavored, so I reduced down some beef broth with a dash of Dry Sack and some fresh cracked pepper, and finished it off with a tablespoon of butter.
I cooked the mushies in another tablespoon of butter and a little bit of olive oil and some garlic.  I'm sure the Dry Sack was a bit of a no-no, but what can I say?  My dad got me hooked on Dry Sack and mushrooms as a child and it's one of my favorite flavor combos to this day.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hash Brown Quiche

Paula Deen had to take my hashbrown casserole and up the ante with a hash brown quiche.  While I got four thumbs up from my brunch guests, Paula has nearly 300 for this recipe.  What a show off.
This can also be scaled up into larger casserole dishes for larger groups, and the ingredients can be subbed out for just about any others you want to try. I agree with one reviewer though, in that I will cut WAY back on the butter - starting with maybe a quarter stick rather than a half. 
This can easily be served for any meal, not just breakfast or brunch.

Hash Brown Quiche
3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

French Dinner

South Beach and the Food Network do not mix.  Especially not YOU, Ina Garten.  Your treat for Jeffrey - I want all of it and I can only eat one part of it.  CURSE YOU.  But, Phase 1 doesn't last forever. . . . until we meet again, French pastries.

Filet of Beef au Poivre
6 filet mignon, cut 1 1/4 inches thick
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
1 cup canned beef broth
1/2 cup good Cognac or brandy

Place the filets on a board and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the black pepper evenly on both sides. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the butter almost smokes. Place the steaks in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Saute the steaks for 4 minutes on 1 side and then for 3 minutes on the other side, for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the saute pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and cook over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Cognac and cook for 2 more minutes. Off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce poured on top.

Matchstick Potatoes - the crispiest fries are my favorite, so I am SUPER PUMPED to try these 
peanut or canola oil 
2 large oval Idaho potatoes, peeled 
sea salt or Kosher salt

Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour at least 1-inch of oil into a deep pot and heat it to 350 degrees F.
Slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks (1/8-inch thick) with a vegetable slicer or mandoline, dropping them into a bowl of cold water as you cut. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Drop the potatoes in batches into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pot with a wire basket skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the potatoes.
Sprinkle the potatoes with parsley, if desired,(I do not desire - I'll be sprinkling with some kick ass French sea salt thanks) and serve hot.

 p.s. - I really need to pick up one of these for frying stuff

Strawberry Tarts - I fell in love with fruit tarts when I lived in Australia, and they are a favorite to this day; I love the ones with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and kiwi
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco)
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream:
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cognac
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
Yield: 2 cups

I think I need these too. . .


Whiskey Sours - Sidecars would be great with this meal too, and are quite similar, just a bit less tangy - simple syrup can be used in those as well instead of Triple Sec
3/4 cup whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
2/3 cup sugar syrup (see note)
Ice cubes
Maraschino cherries

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and pour in the drink mix 2/3 full. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

Note: To make the sugar syrup, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill before using.

Turkey Meatloaf

Now that we're back on South Beach (curse you, phase 1!!), we planned out a menu and did a huge shopping trip to get ready for the week.  Somewhere along the line, I thought turkey meatloaf sounded like a great option so we got the stuff.  When I went to make it yesterday, it occurred to me that all of my SB meatloaf recipes are phase 2 or later - everyone wants us to use some sort of grain as a binder.  I wanted to just go for it and not worry about a cup of bread crumbs or oatmeal in the grand scheme of things, but Patrick was adamant.  No starch!!!  Well crap, now what?
This is the recipe I have in my book, and here is one from Kalyn, but flax seed meal?!  I don't exactly have that laying around. . . I had to improvise, and while not ideal (the way the fat came out of the meat was horrifying - I poured at least a cup of liquid off throughout cooking - ew), the loaf actually turned out quite well, and really delicious.  Who knew?

1 package of Jennie-O ground turkey meat (I think they tend to be around 1 1/2 lbs)
1 can of Italian seasoned stewed tomatoes, well drained and smooshed with your hands  (the better you drain these, the less liquid you have to worry about in your loaf later)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp of salt
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (I'd recommend more if you have it - I would've used more but we were out!  Keep the calories in mind though and don't go nuts)
1 egg

Smoosh everything together - with your hands or a fork if you're squeamish.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, and fill with meatloaf.  Sprinkle a little more parm on top if you'd like (I borrowed a few shavings from my roommate).  Bake until 160 - it took us about 40 minutes.  You might want to check it a few times and pour off any creepy oily water.  Let it sit for a bit and serve with South Beach ketchup (and Sriracha if you're so inclined, and we usually are; Patrick went for it, I went without).
The Italian flavors were really delicious and I'd recommend the combo for any regular meatloaf as well.

We served these with goat cheese stuffed Portobello mushrooms which I cooked alongside, based on another SB recipe that I also couldn't fully execute due to a lack of pasta sauce and basil (should've saved some of those stewed tomatoes I guess).  I put some sliced roasted red peppers down in a baking dish, put some medium sized portobello mushrooms (not the huge ones you'd use instead of a burger, but not the baby creminis either) on top of that, and filled the mushies with a slice of goat cheese and a sprinkling of pine nuts and baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Yum.  :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

This looks like a great phase 3 South Beach recipe - just use whole wheat flour in place of AP.  I'd actually really like to eat this right now. . . . thanks Self!

 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
1 whole egg 
1 egg white 
1/4 cup finely ground cornmeal 
2 teaspoons ground cumin 
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons sugar substitute
Vegetable oil cooking spray 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 oz each), sliced lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips 
1 avocado 
8 oz mixed greens 
1 jar (7 oz) roasted red peppers, thinly sliced 
3 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoons grapefruit juice 
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 
1 teaspoons honey 
Heat oven to 425°. Set out 3 shallow bowls: Put 1/2 cup flour in the first, egg and egg white in the second and cornmeal and the remaining 1/4 cup flour in the third. Season flour and cornmeal bowls with 1 tsp each of cumin, salt and sugar substitute and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir each bowl to blend ingredients. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Dust each chicken strip with flour mixture, then dip in egg, dredge in cornmeal mixture and place on sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning once halfway through, until chicken is cooked and crust is golden brown. Cut avocado into thin wedges. 
Whisk dressing ingredients in a bowl big enough to accommodate greens; toss greens in dressing and divide among 4 plates. Top greens with chicken, avocado, peppers and goat cheese.