Monday, November 22, 2010

DESSERT: Apple Tarts/Galettes

I love, love, love apple pie, apple crisps, etc, but I don't like the associated fat.  Most of the fat in apple treats comes from the dough itself - this recipe results in a very fulfilling apple tart without all of the gunk.  This is one of my favorite recipes because it makes the house smell amazing (great for Fall), I can get use apples on the cusp of going bad, and the galettes are just plain yummy.  Credit goes to The Purple Foodie ( for her great inspiration. 

Serving Size: 8-10 galettes

  • Filling
    • 4 apples, chopped into small pieces (use any kind of apples you have around)
    • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
    • 2-3 tbsp agave syrup
    • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Dough
    • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup apple sauce (in place of butter)
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 egg yolk, beaten (or you can replace the egg yolk with 1/2 tbsp ground flax seed (or 1.25 ground flax-seed meal) mixed with 2 tbsp water - let mixture set for a few minutes before mixing in)
  • Filling - mix all ingredients in a bowl
  • Dough
    • Mix the sugar and flour together, blend in apple sauce and egg yolk - I prefer using my hands, but a whisk is fine
    • Add in ice cold water if the mixture is too dry - if it's too moist, add in flour until the mixture is to your liking
    • Lightly oil a baking sheet (try putting a bit of olive oil on a paper towel and moistening the sheet)
    • Work with individual pieces of dough - dust each piece with flour and stretch out into a small circle; lay it out onto the baking sheet; continue to do this until you have made all of your galette bases
  • Spoon filling onto each base and then quickly turn up the outside edges of the dough over the mixture
  • Bake @350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

HOTSTUFF: Favorite Foodie Apps (Whether You're Searching or Making Food)

My favorite (free) foodie mobile applications are as follows - feel free to recommend more:

  • Search for food
    • Yelp - where would I be without this handy mobile version of my favorite food (and everything) discovery site - the full application (as opposed to mobile web) allows you to figure out what's nearby, scan reviews and tips, and search for new places. Since I am such a dedicated Yelp user, I thought I'd mention some pros and cons:
      • Pros: easy to use, 99% dependable, and integrates well with the PC web version if you like.
      • Cons: The filter function only allows you to figure out what's "open now" as opposed to "open at x time"(which is very convenient if you plan to visit a restaurant in a few hours), Also, the map integration with Google Maps (on an iPhone anyway) can sometimes be screwy which means you have to open Google Maps separately and physically enter the address vs. using the handy "Directions to Business" function
    • Urbanspoon -this app isn't nearly as awesome as Yelp, but is more of a novelty.  It has a great food "food shake" feature, which is essentially a slot machine for nearby (or selected city) restaurants. It allows you to lock individual features such as city, type of cuisine, and price (dollar signs $-$$$$) so you can be as random or controlled as you like.  You can then get specific business information, get directions, and read reviews (not as neat as Yelp's interface, but good)
    • Foursquare - I use foursquare to check out places that are trending now, see where Foursquare users are gathered, check out local deals, and get some quick tips when at a restaurant.  Of course, it is always fun to check in and gather badges...
  • Make your own food
    • Allrecipes - love the website for all of my recipe needs, but this app provides me with great recipes on the run.  I use the dinner spinner quite a bit in order to get great inspiration - it's not as comprehensive as the website (and the search functionality doesn't always provide the best results), but it's a great, quick tool to use (especially when at the supermarket)
    • Epicurious - this app provides a fair share of recipes - the search function is great, and allows you to filter by a comprehensive list of dietary considerations amongst other features (like main ingredient, cuisine, etc) in addition to your chosen keywords, which results in a very tailored list of recipes 
    • Merillat Kitchen Helper - this app is designed to do one thing - provide you with substitutions for nearly any ingredient.  I don't know about you, but any app that helps me to a) utilize my existing ingredients, and b)avoid last minute supermarket dashes is at the top of my list! 
      • How to Cook Everything - Essentials - this app is essentially an upgrade seller, but even in absence of the pro edition, it's a great app.  The recipes are great, but what I really love are the primers on cooking essentials, such as techniques, the basics on ingredients, and food preperation

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DINNER: Easy, Low-fat, Spicy Chicken Curry

Paprika is absent -the curry is usually more red
I find Indian food incredibly hard to make successfully - the number of spices and advanced techniques involved can often create an over-flavored disaster.  This recipe is easy to make, the ingredients are accessible at your local grocery store, and it's healthy.

Servings: 4-6

  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water - use as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red onion, diced thinly
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (toss the stems)
  • 2 tbsp ginger (diced very finely)
  • 2 tbsp garlic (don't forget to use a garlic press)
  • 2 pds skinless, boneless, chicken thigh filets chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

  • Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a large skillet, add onions and bay leaf - let cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes (or until the onions are golden)
  • Add turmeric, chili powder, paprika, ginger, and garlic - add enough water so that the mixture and the onions are moist - reduce heat and stir as needed for 2-3 minutes
  • When water has evaporate, add in chicken, tomato,  cloves, and at least 1 tbsp of water
  • Cover and simmer for at least 30-35 minutes - if the curry is too moist, feel free to add in bread crumbs or cornstarch as that will help to thicken the curry sauce
  • Add in cilantro prior to serving

BUILDING BLOCK: Savory Sauce Base

I made a mustard sauce last night, and in the process realized how easy it is to make a sauce base (add in whatever you like post base-creation).

Serving Size: Modify Accordingly

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (or use 4 tbsp flour and double water)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chicken/veggie broth
  • Mix cornstarch/flour with water and let sit
  • Boil broth and subsequently bring to a simmer
  • Add in mixture to broth - stir until sauce thickens
  • Add additional broth if you want a thinner sauce
  • Add in desired ingredients (for a mustard sauce - try two tbsp of a spicy mustard)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SIDE DISHES: Garlic and Spice Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts aren't exactly my favorite vegetable; in fact, I've found ways to dodge these mini-cabbages for decades.  Recently, I felt the need to give these cancer-fighters a shot, and I think it's fair to say that when prepared in the following fashion, they may be on my vegetable rotation list (credit goes to for my inspiration):

Serving Size: 3-4 (as an appetizer)

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 tsp salt (freshly ground or sea salt is best - Trader Joes has great disposable spice grinders)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (always opt for freshly ground)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Any favorite seasoning for added taste
  • Cut stems of brussel sprouts and remove tough outer layer (I just peel off the outer dark leaves by hand)
    • Cut brussel sprouts in half
  • Heat oil and garlic in a large pan 
  • Add in spices 
  • Add in brussel sprouts and coat them in the mixture of oil and spices
  • Add additional spices to taste
  • Reduce heat to low and cover pan - allow sprouts to cook for at least 7-10 minutes (be sure to move them now and again)
  • Enjoy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

DINNER: Easy, Fire Roasted Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love stuffed bell peppers, but am not the biggest fan of the pan/oven work involved - this recipe skips the oven, is very easy to make, low in fat, and tastes amazing.
Serving Size: 2

Total Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • 2 large red bell peppers, cut each bell pepper lengthwise and remove stem and seeds
  • 1/3-1/2 pound lean ground beef (ground chicken or turkey work as well, as does tofu)
  • 1.5-2 cups mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes (Roma tomatoes work fine in terms of size), chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves, garlic, crushed
  • Spices
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 tsp ground basil
  • 1/4 cup favorite melting cheese - blue cheese is ideal
  • Saute onions and garlic in 1-2 tsp of olive oil until lightly browned
  • Add in spices, ground beef, mushrooms, tomatoes, and an additional tbsp of olive oil
  • Once beef is thoroughly browned, move mixture to one side of the pan and place bell peppers in pan with hollows face up (or place peppers in a freshly oiled pan if this is too complicated)
  • Lower heat to a simmer and fill bell peppers with beef mixture - cover pan and let sit over heat for 3-5 minutes
  • Remove bell peppers from the pan, sprinkle blue cheese over peppers and serve (I also like to serve the peppers topped with my fresh guacamole)
  • Enjoy!