Monday, August 27, 2007

Sweet & Spicy Walnuts

So here it is - the second of my attempts at a different type of glazed nut. I thought I'd switch it up with these walnuts and do a combination sweet and spicy. The brown sugar adds a wonderful dimension of flavor, which is kicked up by the chili powder and other spices.

These, as well as the other 4 variations, would be great in gift baskets for a foodie, or a great finger food at your next get-together.

Sweet and Spicy Walnuts

Sweet & Spicy Walnuts

1 c raw walnuts (or roasted and unsalted)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper and/or cayenne pepper

In large pan, combine walnuts and sugar over medium high heat. Stir frequently until sugar starts to melt. Lower heat, and stir continuously for 3-4 minutes, or until sugar starts to fully melt and cover nuts. Add spices and continue to cook for an additional minute or two, until nuts are well glazed and seasonings are well mixed in. Be careful not to burn! Pour onto sheet of wax paper on a cooling rack, and spread out. Allow to cool. Store in tightly-sealed container.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Green Tea & Wasabi Glazed Almonds

A while ago, I did a trio of glazed nuts that were absolutely fantastic. Although the Chili Chai Walnuts and the Jasmine Ginger Almonds were amazing, the Lemon Pepper Cashews were by far my favorite. I've been wanting to try some different variations, especially since glazed nuts are 1-2-3 easy to make and make such a great snack. They are also the perfect finger food to have on hand for guests and look quite elegant.

These Green Tea and Wasabi are quite tasty. They aren't as spicy as you would think, but they do have a nice touch of heat. The freshly cracked pepper add a whole new dimension and I think these nuts will be perfect for your next little gathering. Stop by on Monday for a new variation of glazed walnuts.

Green Tea & Wasabi Glazed Almonds

Green Tea & Wasabi Glazed Almonds

1 cup raw almonds (or roasted unsalted)
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
The contents of 1 green tea bag (or 1 tsp bulk tea)
1/4 tsp powdered wasabi
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper

In large pan, combine almonds and sugar over medium high heat. Stir frequently until sugar starts to melt. Lower heat, and stir continuously for 10 minutes, or until sugar starts to fully melt and cover nuts. Add tea, wasabi, and pepper, and continue to cook for an additional minute or two, until nuts are well glazed and seasonings are well mixed in. Pour onto sheet of parchment paper on a cooling rack, and spread out. Allow to cool. Store in tightly-sealed container.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Asian Grain Burgers

I admit it - I love to go grocery shopping. I would gladly go every day if I could. I don't even mind driving an hour to go to a better store. I make biweekly trips to my nearest Trader Joe's and Wegmans, which are at least an hour away. And I love it. My shopping style is this - I'll usually have a list of what I need, but I always pick up at least 1 or 2 things I haven't used before or have no idea what to do with. Then I come home and try to figure out what to do with them. Of course that makes for an overloaded pantry at times. I don't think there's a food blogger out there who doesn't have a pantry full of all sorts of fun things. Mine is full of spices, grains, pasta, canned goods, etc.

So when I saw this Pantry Raid challenge over at Project Foodie, I knew I wanted to join in. I always have a ton of grains in my pantry - millet, amaranth, quinoa, barley, rice, etc. I wanted to use at least 1 of them so I decided to make a vegetarian burger. Millet is a very healthy grain and is high in B vitamins, iron, and the protein-building amino acid, lysine. Amaranth is also a great grain, full of calcium and iron, as well as lysine, and is also gluten-free.

These are relatively easy to make and freeze well, so you can always have them on hand. They are great between a bun or in a wrap, or simply serve them over a bed of lettuce. The beets give them a great color and flavor, and even if you don't like beets, I promise you won't even taste them. Go ahead - give these a try!

Asian Grain Burgers

Asian Grain Burgers
Makes 6 burgers

1/2 c amaranth, uncooked
1/2 c millet, uncooked
1 c fresh beets, shredded
1/2 c carrot, shredded
1/4 c onion, diced
3/4 c mushrooms, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 c cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

Prepare amaranth and millet as you normally would. (I normally toast both grains over high heat for a few minutes until golden brown, then add 1 cup water and a touch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover. Stir once or twice. For millet, simmer until all water is absorbed and millet is tender and fluffy, about 15-20 minutes. Amaranth takes less time, about 8-10 minutes, and will have the consistency of Cream of wheat when done.) Cool grains slightly and add to a large mixing bowl. Add veggies and lemon to bowl. In a food processor, add remaining ingredients and process until well mixed. Add mixture to bowl and stir until well combined. With slightly-oiled hands, form into 6 patties. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up. To cook, heat skillet over medium high heat. Lightly spray with cooking oil and add patties. Cook for about 5 minutes, flip and cook other side for 4-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thai Coconut Curry Hummus

So you know how I love hummus, right?? I could honestly eat it every day, and since it's so versatile, it's easy to make a meal out of. Hummus is the perfect healthy base for wraps, sandwiches, or even grilled pizzas. I love making my own, not only because it's super quick and easy, but it's also healthier than the storebought versions.

I have a "hummus file" where I jot down ideas and flavor combinations I want to try. I've had the notes "coconut and curry" written down for a few months now, but it wasn't until this weekend when I thought I'd make it happen. And wow- what a great combination of flavors. The curry paste is so full of flavor and pairs nicely with the slight sweetness of the coconut. I promise you won't be disappointed if you give it a try.

Thai Curry Coconut Hummus

Thai Coconut Curry Hummus

1 can (15.9 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
2 tbsp red curry paste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c sweetened flake coconut

Combine all ingredients, except for coconut, in food processor and blend until well combined. Remove from processor, place into medium bowl and stir in coconut. This hummus does need to chill in the refrigertor for at least an hour before serving for the flavors to get nice and friendly. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shrimp & Asparagus in Wine Basil Sauce

I've had a huge craving for shrimp since I started the detox, so I knew it was going to be one of the first things I made. For my first meal out, I ordered a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, and the shrimp was so dry and overcooked I was sorely disappointed.

Although this recipe, with the butter and olive oil, isn't the type to make every day, it is definitely something I would make quite frequently. It's a great way to use up any fresh asparagus you have lying around. I also love that the recipe is super easy to make, so you can have this elegant-looking entree on the table in about 20 minutes. Although I have it tossed with angel-hair pasta, it's also excellent over whole-grain rice.

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus, and Basil Wine Sauce

Shrimp and Asparagus in Wine Basil Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red serrano pepper, diced
1/2 c white wine
1 tbsp butter
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails intact
15 asparagus stalks, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups fresh basil, thinly sliced
Rice or pasta

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and pepper, saute for 1 minute. Add wine and butter, bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and asparagus, and saute until done, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and basil and toss until basil is wilted. Serve over pasta or rice.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Horseradish Hummus

I can't tell you how good it feels to be in the kitchen again, making real food! And I thought what better way for me to get back to food blogging than by having a new hummus recipe. I was recently named "Queen of Hummus" by 2 of my favorite food bloggers, Kalyn and Alanna, which is very flattering. I love all things hummus, as you can tell from my 12 different variations in my archives. Not only is hummus super easy to make, but it's also a great healthy snack.

Those who know me best know I love anything spicy and horseradish fits that bill perfectly. Feel free to decrease or increase the amount of horseradish, based on your own personal taste. This spread is great on tortilla chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables.

Horseradish Hummus

Horseradish Hummus
1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp freshly ground horseradish (I used the jarred kind)
1/4 c good extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or two to allow flavors to get friendly. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Food for Thought...

So much of my world revolves around food. And somehow, I always knew that, but I think being on the detox has only magnified that. The very first day, I stopped at Barnes and Nobles to hang out for a bit. I grabbed a hot cup of tea and went wandering off throughout the store. I suddenly realized that my normal browse of the newest cooking magazines, then the cookbook section, and then the food writing section probably wasn't the most supportive thing for me at that time. I almost felt at a loss without my normal routine.

I also spend quite a bit of my free time during the week either cooking, developing new recipes, or even doing the pleasurable task of grocery shopping. If you looked at my budget, I can guarantee you that the thing I spend the most on is food or food related things.

If you haven't gotten the chance to see Time Magazine's spread on what the rest of the World eats, then definitely check it out. I saw this posted over at Sweetnicks's and it immediately struck me. It's a very interesting view of what different families from all over the World consume in a week, and it's interesting to see how little is spent in some families on an entire week's worth of food. Check it out.