Saturday, January 30, 2010

One of the latest projects

So, this post should be about the January Daring Baker challenge, but.... I didn't get it done yet, so you'll just have to wait. Instead, let me share with you what has been happening in my kitchen: SAUCES!!!! That's right, I've moved into chapter 2 of the Julia Child cookbook. The rest of my group is involved in doing other things, so I'm soldiering on alone.
The thing is, sauces don't photograph well all by themselves. And they're even less fun to eat without anything else. So I've been coming up with things to put them on. Since the first sauce was a bechamel and I'd made one of those before, It wasn't too hard. I just made this terrific spinach lasagna recipe that I'd done before with the daring bakers. It's got homemade spinach noodles, thin layers of bechamel and marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese.
As much as I love this particular recipe, I had a little trouble with Julia's bechamel. It had a nice thickness, but it wasn't quite smooth. I think my burner was up a little high. I did a little better with the veloute sauce. I'd never heard of a veloute, and I'd certainly never eaten one.
Basically, it's just like a bechamel except, instead of milk, you use a white stock. I served it over poached chicken and asparagus. It was AMAZING! And it was only 2 points per half cup according to Weight Watchers. The Tummy liked it too. This week, I'll be attacking the Mornay sauce. Wheeee!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Back in the big city

I just got back to Brooklyn last night. The Tummy and I were in Michigan, visiting family, for 10 days. We had a wonderful time and lots of fun, but we are very happy to be home and definitely ready to start up a brand new year.

Like everybody else, New Year's fills me with hope. I always make resolutions, some of them more ambitious than others. This year, the Tummy and I discussed ways we could eat healthier and we came up with a plan: we're cutting way back on meat. Now, meat is yummy and doesn't have to be unhealthy, but it is just part of a balanced diet, and we weren't getting enough veggies last year. Besides, it's an easy way to make sure that the Tummy doesn't have to go back on cholesterol meds. So we've decided we're not going to eat meat more than twice a week. Tonight I made some roasted vegetable pitas and some of the big JC's potato leek soup. And to make the sauce for the pitas, I used this little stowaway from my luggage:

That's right. I brought back horseradish from my dad's garden. Now, I had never prepared horseradish before, but my step-mom said that I should peel it and throw it into the food processor with some vinegar and salt and then stand back, because the fumes would be powerful. I was a little bit unsure, and I was looking for more specific directions, so I consulted Joy of Cooking. It said to peel it, dice it, and throw it into the food processor with vinegar and salt. Hmmmm.... So I tried it.


And then I threw it together with some other stuff to make the dressing for my roasted veggie pitas and dinner was served.

Gretel's Horseradish
5 oz peeled, diced fresh horseradish root
4-5 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

Roasted Veggie Pitas
1/2 oz feta cheese crumbled
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp skim milk
1 tsp prepared horseradish
dash of pepper
1 cup zucchini slices
1 cup green pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 plum tomatos, quartered
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
3 cloves garlic, minced

Mix the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl and set aside. Toss the filling ingredients together in a larger bowl and then spread in a single layer on a broiler tray coated with cooking spray. Broil for 10 minutes, then scoop filling into 4 pita halves. Divide sauce evenly. Serves 2.