Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chickpea Stew with Pork

Apparently I am a glutton for punishment. My first punishment is this coming weekend I will run in my first and last 10K race. It is the Ukrop Monument Run in Richmond, VA. I will be running in the race with my 2 daughters Lynn and Ashlyn. Well let me clear something up I don't actually run "I walk with style" to paraphrase Woody from Toy Story. My second act of punishment will come after the race. I decided that after a couple years of walking one day and working with weights the next it was time to try something new. I started looking at different exercise equipment. On the NordicTrack website I was asked to fill out a survey. I did this even though I usually don't fill out those things and believe it or not I won a RIP:60 workout system. That should arrive next week, so if I don't die during the 10K I can kill myself by doing a new workout routine.

I bought myself some new cookbooksOne of them was The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. Since we went from 80 degrees on Thursday to 38 degrees on Sunday I decided I needed to try a slow cooker recipe. The recipe I decided on was Chickpea Stew, but my wife is a meat and potatoes person so I had to modify it. I had a pork loin roast that I cut up and browned and added to the stew. Here is the recipe with my changes listed.

Chickpea Stew with Pork
3 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch coins
2 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh I used I 28 oz can with the juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped I put a sprig in and removed it before serving
1/2 cup chicken broth, I used 1 1/4 cups as 1/2 did not seem like much with all of the veggies and meat I added
3 tbs olive oil, separated
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 lbs Pork Loin Roast, cut into bite size pieces

Add 1 tbs of olive oil to a pan and heat it over medium high heat. Add the pork and brown. After the pork is browned add everything to the slow cooker. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with some nice crusty bread.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Amaretto Almond Pound Cake

My wife made a pound cake that was delicious, so she is going to write the post today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ha Ha! I am taking over Greg's blog. Not really, it's just that I'm the baker and he's the cook. And sometimes you just have to have cake. So I was reading through my Southern Living magazine and they did a section on "Perfect Pound Cakes". This one just sounded really good to me: Amaretto-Almond Pound Cake. And trust me, with a cup of tea (maybe with a little Amaretto in it) this cake is delicious. Greg even ate a small piece. I made a few small changes, taking the cake out of the pan before glazing it, and using a little bit of almond flavoring instead of all liqueur in the batter. I hope you enjoy it.

Amaretto-Almond Pound Cake
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp almond liqueur (I used 2 Tbsp Amaretto, 1 Tbsp almond flavoring)
1Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1. Preheat oven to 325. Beat butter & cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add almond & vanilla flavorings/liqueurs, beating until just blended. Gradually add flour, beating until just blended after each addition. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.
2. Sprinkle sliced almonds in the bottom of a greased/floured 12 cup Bundt pan; pour batter into pan.
3. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
4. During the last 10 minutes of baking, prepare Amaretto Glaze (see below). Remove cake from oven and flip onto wire rack.
5. Spoon hot glaze over cake. You can also poke a few extra holes in the cake to get the glaze to soak down in.
6. Cool cake completely.

Amaretto Glaze

Bring 3/4 cup sugar, 6 Tbsp butter 1/4 cup Amaretto & 2 Tbsp water to a boil in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium/low and boil, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and use immediately.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Salmon with Grilled Veggie Salad

My week in a nutshell: Run, Work, Work, Work, Run Work, Run, Work watch basketball. Michigan State lost :-( Duke won :-). At work I have been working on 3 projects since January. Each project had 4 parts and every time I would work on 1 part of one project for a couple of days an emergency would pop up and I would have to switch to another part and work on that. Then someone decided they all had to be done last week. So after a lot of hours I finished them all. At least all of them are done and I can move on to something new for now and catch up on some food blogs.

This is a healthy recipe that can be made quickly and is very tasty.

A couple of notes before you start. You can use any veggies that you want the ones listed ate the ones I used. Cook the salmon to your desired doneness, I like the salmon crispy but not over cooked. I usually cook the salmon over high heat to crisp it up on the outside, but not long enough so the inside is over cooked. I got a little hand held mandolin a while back and with the remodel I kind of ignored it. I cut the veggies with the mandolin for this and discovered the thinnest setting was not the best setting for grilled veggies as they became kind of a mushy. In my mind the thinly sliced veggies looked gorgeous in the picture. You can cut them any way you heart desires, but I suggest at least 1/4 inch thick.

Salmon with Grilled Veggie Salad
1 salmon fillet or steaks
1 zucchini, sliced into ribbons
1 yellow squash, sliced into ribbons
20 to 30 cherry tomatoes
5-8 mushrooms, sliced thinly
Asparagus, I grilled about 14 spears because they were so small if you get larger ones use less
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Turn the grill on high to preheat.

Cut the veggies. Drizzle with olive oil and slat and pepper them to taste.

Drizzle olive oil on the salmon and salt and pepper it. Place the salmon on the grill and cook to desired doneness.

Add the veggies to the grill and cook until done. Place veggies in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, I use a better grade than what I cook with. and squeeze the lemon on it. Toss the veggies to coat with oil and lemon juice. serve as a side dish or top salmon with it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shirred Eggs

These are the genuine thing, Frodo made them for Samwise, Merry and I. After breakfast he showed me how to make the eggs and then muttered something about returning a ring. I didn't want to go to the mall so I stayed back and did the dishes. My apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

For those that have never had shirred eggs, they are simply baked eggs. This is a recipe I have thought about making for a while, but because it takes more time than fried or scrambled I haven't got around to making it. Today, it is rainy and I couldn't go for morning run so I decided the time had come to give shirred eggs a shot.

Shirred Eggs

No stick cooking spray
1 slice Canadian Bacon per person
1 egg per person
1 tsp of half and half per person
1 tsp grated parmesan cheese, per person

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray ramekin(s) with no stick spray. Put Canadian bacon on bottom of ramekin. Crack egg into ramekin. Put half and half on top of egg. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Tip: I put ramekins on cookie sheet and assembled the eggs, then put cookie sheet in oven rather than trying to put individual ramekins in oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes, eggs should be a little jiggly, if you cook until eggs are set, they will be overdone. I cut up a chive and sprinkled on top for some color.