Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beet, Chickpea and Grapefruit Salad

Beets are deceiving. Honestly I have no idea why I didn't like beets before now. They are sweet, tasty and really so versatile that I find myself dropping them into all my salads.

This particular day was another classic day for me which the fridge and cupboards were quite bare. We had a Pork Loin in the freezer but not much else. The one lone piece of fruit I had was a grapefruit that was on the verge of being wasted; this became the base of the dressing. The rest just came together nicely with the tang from the grapefruit and sweetness from the beets; you'll find a real nice change from the typical lemon or lime base used in so many dressings.

Beets and grapefruit- again, not your typical combination, but if you only keep to what you already know you like.... well then you won't experience something new. I may have never given beets a second chance.

Try this odd sounding concoction, what the worse that could happen? You might find a new flavor combination and there again lies the basis of being fat and happy.

Beet, Chickpea and Grapefruit Salad

Always using fresh ingredients when you can as it will make a difference, but in the frozen tundra of the Midwest winters- I opted for canned and it's just fine.

1/2 can chickpeas
1/2 can corn
1/2 can of beets, diced
1/2 cup of diced Havarti cheese
1/2 cup of diced roasted tomatoes

Place all the above in a bowl, don't mix yet. (In general you should try not to overmix salads, you'll see the ingredients get muddy making a less appealing presentation.)

In a small bowl whisk together:

Juice from 1 large grapefruit
3 Tbls white balsamic vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup Olive oil (more or less for your liking)
salt & pepper to taste

Pour the dressing over the salad mix, and toss gently. Let the salad sit for the flavors to meld, serve at room temperature.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pine Nut Ice Cream

If you've been reading this blog at all, you would know I'm completely addicted to making ice cream. It started over a year ago with Guinness Ice Cream; it's rare for me to use recipes I haven't created, but that was the first and only time I've used some else's ice cream recipe. Since then I've been making it up; might have had something to do with the 15 yolks in that recipe!

The idea for the pine nut ice cream came from Dave and I trying to come up with a flavor to match the anise cookies we were making for Easter. Sure, a basic orange, lemon or even coffee would have paired well with the anise, but I do like to try for 'random' flavors. Plus I see the pine nut as a very Italian nut.

This may be the creamiest ice cream I've created yet. So creamy that you could almost eat it straight from the freezer without letting it thaw slightly. My friend Carolyn thought it reminded her of the Spanish turron (nougat) candy from her days of living in Spain.

Once again, this is slightly savory, not a super sweet ice cream- so one small scoop will do. And I think it's a more of a holiday ice cream rather than an everyday- but go nuts! When you're craving a truely creamy ice cream, this is the one! Try it today and tell me you're not Fat and Happy!

Pine Nut Ice Cream

2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 cup pine nuts

Begin by warming the cream and milk (make it hot, but do not boil it) and toasting the pine nuts.

Place in a blender:
the warm, toasted pine nuts
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sunflower honey

Begin to blend, adding in small scoops of the warm cream mix to help the nuts blend. Continue to blend until completely smooth.

In the mean time, whisk together until light and thick:
3 yolks
1/2 -3/4 cup sugar (use more for a slightly sweeter taste)

Pour the blender mix back into the cream pan, heat to just below boiling. Temper the egg yolks with the hot cream. Over medium heat, stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not to push this step too fast using high heat, you don't want to cook and scramble the eggs. Strain the cream to get any nut chunks out of it. Cool in an ice bath.

It's now ready to be placed into your ice cream machine, follow directions that came with your machine. At this point I prefer to let the ice cream sit in the refrigerator overnight before freezing in the ice cream machine- I've tested this theory before and I truly believe it helps the ice cream to be smoother and more flavorful. But if you need it immediately, go ahead and make it, it's still going to be fabulous!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ricotta Cheese Ravioli

Making ravioli at Easter is a tradition in my family, one that Dave and I have continued with our friends. We hold a pasta making party on the Saturday night before this Sunday holiday- which often times is attended by more people than the actual Easter dinner itself... and has been known to continue into the next day!

This year's party was a blast- a whole new group of friends attended, made pasta, drank wine and played Wii. Everyone got their hands in the dough and everyone was sent home with fresh pasta. I can't wait till next year!

We offered two types of fillings this year, one was a classic ricotta cheese filling and the second was the turkey sausage and fennel filling I created to show everyone how easy is is to diversify the filling. Both stand up wonderfully to a simple drizzle of olive oil with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper. Because of the holiday, I did create a classic red sauce (often times referred to as Sunday Gravy) as seen in the photo below . The cheese ravioli is superb with a drizzle of balsamic reduction as well; the balsamic vinegar becomes so thick and sweet - it only takes a little to be powerful.

Every time I make this ricotta cheese filling it's different, similar, but different. I have a habit of not measuring ingredients so I just go by what tastes good to me that day, adding a little extra this or that depending on the day. The recipe below is pretty much my base recipe of what I put in every time I make this particular filling, so feel free to deviate from it in terms of adding more cheese or less garlic. Just taste it and decide what tastes good to you!

For the pasta dough itself, look to my posting for Homemade Pasta. For an interesting meat filling, do check out my Fennel Sausage Ravioli, or make this super simple cheese filling. Both are amazing and just may find yourself starting your own Fat and Happy ravioli making tradition.

Tips and techniques:  It's easy to overfill ravioli - heck we all want lots of filling!  But do be conscientious of how full your ravioli's are, these are delicate creatures and can break open easily.  Also, be sure to pook each ravioli with a toothpick before adding to the boiling water to allow steam to release and keep them from exploding.

Ricotta Cheese Ravioli or Quattro Cheese Ravioli

16 oz Ricotta cheese
6 cloves sauteed garlic
2 cups shredded mozzerella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Romano (or Asiago)
1 cup shredded Cheddar (medium)
1/2 - 1 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined, taste, adjust accordingly. (if you're worried about the tasting a raw egg, leave out the egg until after you taste.) Do make this before starting the pasta dough so that all the flavors have a chance to meld. Just set it aside on the counter. You can make this the night before too! Simply refrigerate.

Follow my homemade pasta directions for the dough. 

Making the ravioli:
There are many ways and shapes for ravioli - quite simply, you need a top and a bottom whether they are square or round.  Use a spoon to drop the filling on the bottom shaped dough, brush the edges with water or egg. Add the top dough; use the tines of a fork to seal the edges. 

Boil water and cook immediately or freeze for up to a month.  If you decide to freeze, put the directly into boiling water from the freezer when you are ready to eat them. Do not allow them to thaw or you will end up with a glumpy pasta mess.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

Everything tastes better wrapped in bacon. And you can wrap anything in bacon- even vegetables. Case in point- asparagus. While asparagus is good on it's own, wrapped in a little prosciutto with a drizzle of lemon it becomes superb. Even my non-asparagus eating friends devoured these morels of tastiness.

The best part is they are super simple, taking only minutes to prepare. And you can prepare them ahead of time, set them aside until ready to cook. Pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes and serve. Call it a side dish, use it as a salad or serve it as an appetizer 'cuz these little bundles are cute enough to stand on their own. You'll look like a genius and your guest will be fat and happy!

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

1 or 2 bundles of Asparagus (plan to put 5 to 10 stalks in each bundle, depending on the size of your stalks. Mine were quite small as you can see from the photo.)
1/4 lb Prosciutto (sliced extremely thin)
1 lemon
olive oil

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Wash your asparagus in cold water, break off the tough end of each stalk by bending it until it breaks. Lay down one thin slice of prosciutto, place a small bundle of asparagus on one end of the meat and roll up keeping the wrapped portion mainly towards the thicker end of stalk. Place on the pan, rotating the wrapped end opposite of the last.
Repeat until all bundles are rolled.

Drizzle each bundle with olive oil, and then squeeze the juice of the lemon over each bundle as well. Add fresh ground pepper too, the prosciutto is salty enough so don't add any extra. Set aside until ready to bake. Place in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes (check the doneness of your stalks with a fork.) The prosciutto should also be lightly crispy. Serve.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Baked Stuffed Pears with Fig Vinaigrette

March and April have turned out to be my lowest numbers of posts since I started this blog ! Busy new job has kept me from posting- but I have lots of new recipes to put up here. Like this Baked Stuffed Pear with Fig Dressing that was the salad course for our Easter dinner. Extremely yummy, easy and healthy even!!

The Fig Dressing is sweet, balancing out the blue cheese and pepper. I've since used this dressing on a zucchini and squash tart as well as on a panini. I'm really enjoying cooking with figs, but I'm having a hard time finding good figs in Chicago. So in this recipe I use a simple fig jam found at any supermarket- it's quite tasty and fun, but feel free to substitute real figs if your lucky enough to get them!

This could be a salad course, a side salad or an appetizer; it's quite versatile. This could easily pair well with a grilled steak, I'd grill the pears for added flavor too. Add the blue cheese to your liking, but it does balance out the sweet fig dressing, so don't be too cautious with it.

This is an easy dish that looks like it could be on a menu in an fancy restaurant. Have fun with it- I made this up with simple ingredients which keeps its cost effective (especially for a larger dinner party) and super tasty at the same time. Elevate your Fat and Happy stature, add this to your next dinner party!

Baked Stuffed Pears with Fig Vinaigrette

Makes 8.
4 semi-ripe pears (simple Bartlett pears worked well)
2 Tbls butter, melted
1 Tbls olive oil

Peel the pears, cut in half and scoop out the core so that you have a nice big 'bowl' in the pear. Mix the melted butter and oil; dip the pear halves in the butter mixture. Place on a pan, add a little fresh ground pepper and bake until near soft and roasted (About 20 minutes).

While the pears are baking:

Sautee in olive oil:
1/4 cup small diced yellow onion
1/4 cup small diced red onion
1/2 cup small diced celery
continue to sautee until soft, but still fork tender.

Take the pan off the heat, add
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries (or cherry craisins)
1 peeled, diced apple (rub with some lemon juice before dicing)
add a lot of fresh ground black pepper (and salt if needed)
1/4-1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

The filling can be made ahead of time. Once the pears are ready- stuff the pears with the filling. Place back in the oven until all is warm and the cheese is melty. Serve drizzled with the Fig Vinaigrette (recipe below).

Fig Vinaigrette
Sautee (only for a minute or two)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot (about the size of a golf ball)

add 3 Tbls balsamic vinegar to pan, turn off the heat and let steep for about 20 minutes.

Whisk in:
2 heaping spoons fig jam
2 Tbls of chopped parsley
1/4 - 1/4 cup Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper, salt

Serve warm.


Related Posts with Thumbnails