Sunday, September 29, 2013

Herbed Tomato Bread Pudding

In an effort to reduce the amount of fresh produce in the kitchen, I looked for a creative tomato recipe. I thought of tomato pie, but wanted a different ratio of carbs to veggies, so I kept looking. Many bread pudding recipes suggested similar ingredients, so I wrote them down and added more items, of course!

I used high fiber bread, egg substitute to replace one egg, and skim milk. Here’s how: sautee a large chopped onion in oil, add 3 minced cloves of garlic. Weigh out 4 ounces of bread, tear or cut into bite-sized pieces. Chop 4 large tomatoes. Beat three eggs and ¼ cup liquid egg substitute, add 1 ½ cups milk, salt and pepper. If using dried herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, add to the egg mixture. Grease a medium baking dish (a 9” round, deep dish worked for me). Layer tomatoes, bread, 1 cup shredded cheese (I used reduced fat multi-cheese blend), onion/garlic and fresh herbs of your choice, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, etc. Pour egg mixture over everything, and gently stir to ensure that all the bread pieces are moist. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until center is set. I can’t believe that I wouldn’t change any of the ingredients used to make this dish, as I often plan to after a recipe. I would only cook the onions more, or even caramelize them. Depending on the rest of your meal and who is consuming it, I would suggest adding small pieces of kielbasa or chopped bacon. 
During winter months when I don't have fresh herbs on hand, I wouldn't hesitate to use Italian spice mix, or any other combination of savory flavors. As you can see from the photos, I added in leftover corn kernels from the corn chowder recipe I made the same day.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ginger Peach Muffins

55 peaches!!! In ONE WEEK’s farm share! Already peaches the last few weeks, very likely more next week…we’re giving them away and adding them to everything imaginable, from tapioca pudding to granola and yogurt. The house is fragranced by the ripe fruits. 

This is the recipe that I used too many healthy substitutions on a couple of weeks ago (and didn't share the results of):
I decided to follow the list of ingredients more accurately this time, and added several more for additional flavor.

Here are the ingredients and directions: Melt ¼ cup butter (half a stick), then mix in 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup honey. Beat in one egg, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ginger, 1 TBSP lemon juice, ½ tsp. vanilla, and 1 TBSP baking powder. Alternately add a total of 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup milk, half cup by half cup or so. Stir in 2 to 2 ½ cups chopped peaches. Optionally, stir in ¼ cup toasted coconut and ½ cup nuts of your choice, chopped.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tops are set. These muffins are moist and tasty, yet relatively healthy. You don’t have to use honey and brown sugar, since the original recipe calls for regular sugar. I increased the spice amounts, and might even increase them a bit more. I'd like to experiment with using fresh ginger. I always have a shriveled up lump of ginger in the fridge, and use dried instead today, but I bet the flavor would be fun with the real thing.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cards # 27, 28 and 29 Wildlife

In an effort to send out two dozen cards to a group of people, I used the dining table and created a pile of photo cards without embellishments. They are low on creativity but high on interesting content. Two of these wildlife sightings are part of travel posts from earlier this year, though the trips span a couple of decades!

This lizard was lounging in the middle of a small river in Panama, at the birding lodge outside of El Valle. I made other cards from photos that were included in several travel blog posts here, so I won’t repeat them now.

This monkey was resting at a safari camp in Tanazia, East Africa. I was so overwhelmed with the amazing diversity of animals that I didn’t take notes of every species we saw, so I can't give any details on this one.

I debated about including a photo taken of an animal in captivity, since I have so many of free wildlife. Giraffes are my favorite in the whole world, and I included a photo of them in Africa in a previous post. The giraffe pictured here lives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So majestic. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Corn chowder with herb infused oil

One of my previous neighbors is Canadian, and made stupendously delicious corn chowder for me while Mr. Spice was deployed. The chowder was so rich and tasty, that I didn’t dare try it with any healthy modifications, for fear of great disappointment. Well, I now have ears and ears of corn stacked up on the counter, and we can’t eat it fast enough fresh! I found a recipe for corn chowder with kielbasa in “From Asparagus to Zucchini” by the Madison County Area CSA Coalition, and decided to give it a try, healthy changes and all.

Boil corn on the cob, and after it’s cooled, slice the kernels onto a plate. I have recently been introduced to flavor infused olive oils, and savor the deep flavors they impart to dishes. I didn’t add extra herbs to this recipe since the oil was already flavored, but if you use regular oil, I’d suggest rosemary, oregano, etc.

Sautee half a chopped onion in oil, add one cup chopped mushrooms once the onions are cooked to your liking. Add up to two cups of chopped potatoes, and two cups of skim milk. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add two cups of corn kernels and one chopped tomato. If you’d like, add ½ to 1 cup half-and half (I didn’t). Heat through, and add chopped kielbasa or bacon.

Of course, if you prefer another type of milk in the first place, I’m sure it would be more like the Canadian version than this one with skim milk! I just love mushrooms and have too many tomatoes on hand, so they might not be standard ingredients, but I’m happy with them included. As you can see, I didn’t have enough potatoes, so I boiled a separate pot of grains, and put the cooked grains in the bowl with the chowder.