A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Roasted Green pears with blue cheese

These pears are a refreshing way to start a meal, or serve them after a main course in place of dessert. I look use a low fat blue cheese (I think the brand is Stella) because even though its low fat it still has lots of flavor. You can use any blue veined cheese such as stilton or even gorgonzola.

non stick spray
2 Green pears such as Anjou, halved and cored with a knife or melon baller. Also, you can trim a small slice off from the bottom rounded part of the pear so the pear lays flat if you like.
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375

Spray a small baking dish, (just large enough to hold the pear halves) with cooking spray. Place the pears in the dish and brush them with lemon juice. In a small bowl combine the cheese and cranberries. Divide the cheese mixture among the pears and stuff the mixture into the pear cavities. Bake for 15 minutes, then brush or drizzle the pears with the melted butter. The butter helps give the pears a more golden color. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender. I suggest serving 1/2 a pear per person along with a Arugula salad that has been lightly dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wow, isn't it nice when it feels like summer weather again? After the long winter I look forward to 80 degree days. Working in the garden at this time of the year brings such joy. I love seeing the flowers bloom and feeling the earth in my hands. Usually, around now I opt for lighter fare from the kitchen as it allows me more time in the sun.

I like fast and healthy recipes that remind me of the outdoors. This week I made my friend Jan's Sicilian pasta. Its quick, easy , light and fairly rustic. Just the kind of meal to eat out in the garden. Also, fish in parchment has become a new favorite because many of the aromatics which I need for the dish are just outside in my herb garden. Dessert may be as simple as some strawberries with a bit of whipped cream.
enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Healthy Brownies

Often, the problem with losing a few pounds when you have children is that we tend to fall into the rut of "one bite for Johnny one bite for mommy"!- These brownies are for when you want to have that comfort food feeling, but they are a bit healthier. The children seem to gobble them up too.

non stick spray for pan
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 Teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup coco powder
1/4 cup hot water
1 brownish banana, peeled and mashed
1 egg plus one egg white
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350
Spray your 8 x8" pan with non stick spray.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the Flours, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl combine the coco powder and hot water. Whisk to combine. Add the banana, egg, maple syrup, honey and vanilla. Whisk to combine then Pout the dry mixture into the whet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour into your pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Clean soft shelled crabs-

Soft shelled crabs are in season starting around the beginning of may. They are the molten state of the blue crab. Cleaning them takes only a few minutes, but if at all possible, its much less messy for you to have your fish guy do it for you. If you want to clean them yourself, or if you get home and find that they have not been cleaned, follow these simple steps.

1. First remove the eyes and mouth buy holding the crab with tongs and snipping off at least 1/4" behind the eyes in one swift cut with the scissors. While still holding the crab use your scissors to snip away or scoop out any extra harder shell or any other matter left behind from the area.

2. Take out the gills. You will do this by lifting up the shell on each side of the body. Scrape out or use you scissors and cut out the gills.

3. This step is optional but some people prefer if done. You will now flip the crab over and see a flap on the bottom area of the body (it's kind of a triangular shape and I think of it as the tail). Cut this off with scissors.

4. Rinse the crab well before storing on ice in your refrigerator.

To Cook: Crabs are usually dipped in batter and then pan fried in neutral oil such as vegetable, for about 4 minutes per side. They can also be grilled for about the same amount of time.