a hoppin’ John experiment

This recipe for Hoppin’ John from America’s Test Kitchen’s Light and Healthy  cookbook was loaded with salt. I decided to try and cut it down by using water instead of low-sodium canned broth, and to cut down on the fat and carbs by using turkey ham and bacon instead of pork.

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (1 pound) boneless turkey ham steaks, 3/4 inch thick
6 slices turkey bacon, crisp and crumbled
2 celery ribs, minced
1 onion, minced (about 1 cup)
4-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (substitute 4 cups water plus 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 (16 oz) bag frozen black-eyed peas (instead of 2)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
3 scallions, sliced thin

I don’t have a Dutch oven so I used my Calphalon Everyday pan to heat up the oil. Then I fried the turkey ham steaks 3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, I crisped the turkey bacon in the microwave.

After removing the steaks to cool, I added the celery and onion to the oil in the pan and fried them until they were tender, about 4-6 minutes. Then I added 6 minced garlic cloves (add more or less to taste) and the fresh thyme and cooked them until they were fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then instead of the broth, I added 4 cups water and two chicken bouillon cubes for flavor, 1 bag (instead of two) frozen blackeyed peas, and the bay leaves. I let the mixture cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. When it came to a simmer, I reduced the heat to low. While the broth mixture was cooking, the ham had cooled enough. I sliced it into 1/2 inch cubes and set it aside.

After 20 minutes, I added the white rice. Now, the original method says to spread a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on top of the pan  resting it on top of the rice-broth mixture, then cover. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring and changing the foil twice during cooking. Then I was to remove it from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, this did not work for me. After 20 minutes the rice was still slightly raw rather than just cooked. Either it was the pan, which doesn’t have the high sides of a Dutch oven, or it was the foil which didn’t completely seal all the edges. What I did to salvage the dish was to let it steam-cook on low heat for an additional 10 minutes instead of letting it rest.

Then I tossed in the turkey ham cubes, the scallion, and the crumbled bacon. This version of Hoppin’ John was lightly salted but not very flavorful. The turkey ham was hearty and just like pork, but the turkey bacon is a sad substitute for the real thing. My instinct, from years of cooking rice, is that it is best left undisturbed during the steaming process, and that once sealed, with the foil and the cover, it shouldn’t be opened until the cooking time is up. I will have to try this recipe again to test this theory. Or try it next time in the rice cooker. Like my foray into baking meringues and pavlovas, Hoppin’ John is a work in progress!

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Meeting Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen

How does she do it? That’s what I wanted to know! Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen talked about her successful food blog at the Apple Store on 14th Street in Manhattan. In her slide show she showed us a picture of her New York kitchen. It is actually smaller than the Teeny Tiny Kitchen. And she puts out a food blog from that tiny kitchen. Now, that’s awesome. So what’s her secret? There isn’t any. She talked about blogging, commenting, cooking, parenting, and writing a cookbook, but all comes down to good writing. Like Dianne Jacob in Will Write for Food she recommends Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I read it about 5 years ago the summer I started writing my dissertation proposal. I thought it lyrical and wise, a book about life and writing about life. That’s just what food blogging is all about too.

Review: America’s Test Kitchen: Light and Healthy 2011

  Everything from appetizers to desserts–lightened up, as promised, by the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen. I wanted to sample a recipe from each chapter but ended up sampling most of them. The recipes were “light” if you define  light as low in fat, carbs,  and calories, as most of us do.”Healthy” though, was debatable. I was really concerned by the high sodium content of some dishes, particularly those that called for canned soup. I was under the impression that healthy meant “less processed the better.”

To sum up here are what I thought were the Cons

  • Wordy; lengthy explanations of their process but  not enough pictures of each recipe
  • Good: nutrition information told me how much fat, carbs, and calories were in each dish and its variation so I could become more aware of healthy eating habits.
  • Bad/unhealthy: high salt content of some recipes, e.g. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef

And now, the Pros

  • Helpful: “Notes from the Test Kitchen,” e.g.  forming a press-in tart crust
  • No-brainer: “Notes from the Test Kitchen,” how to prevent wooden skewers from burning–cover them with foil! Now, why didn’t I think of that?
  • Best Test Kitchen Makeover: Chicken and Dumplings p.49
  • Awesome: “Notes from the Test Kitchen” on testing meat for doneness (table, p. 91)

Though I was disappointed in the amount of salt in a supposedly “healthy” cookbook, there were more pros than cons. America’s Test Kitchen recipes have been thoroughly tested and I haven’t been disappointed yet. This cookbook gets my thumbs up!

flank steak lettuce wraps

flank steak lettuce wrap with two salsas

Tonight’s menu was supposed to feature Horseradish Crusted Beef Tenderloin from the Light and Healthy cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Unfortunately, after visiting two supermarkets, I could not find beef tenderloin. So I went for another Test Kitchen recipe instead, Steak Tacos. I made one low-carb adjustment to it and that was I served it with iceberg lettuce instead of tortillas, and I served the steak “wraps” with two kinds of salsa, one spicy and one not. I grilled the steak two strips at a time in the Foreman Grill for just 3 minutes to get them at medium; they turned out quite tender and juicy. For salsa accompaniments I recommend the pineapple-green apple salsa and an avocado-tomato salsa. Either one (or both) can be spicy.

INGREDIENTS
Herb Paste
1/2    cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
3    medium garlic cloves , roughly chopped
3    medium scallions , roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1    medium jalapeño chile , stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped (keep the seeds if more heat is desired)
1/2    teaspoon ground cumin
1/4    cup vegetable oil

Steak
1    tablespoon fresh lime juice
1    flank steak (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut lengthwise (with grain) into 4 equal pieces (see note)

Note: Cut the steak in half lengthwise with the grain. Then cut each half again lengthwise following the grain.

1    tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2    teaspoon sugar
1/2    teaspoon ground black pepper
2    tablespoons vegetable oil

Tacos (serve with lettuce or with the following)
12    (6-inch) corn tortillas , warmed
Fresh cilantro leaves
Minced white or red onion
Lime wedges

INSTRUCTIONS
1. FOR THE HERB PASTE: Pulse cilantro, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and cumin in food processor until finely chopped, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides as necessary. Add oil and process until mixture is smooth and resembles pesto, about 15 seconds, scraping down sides of workbowl as necessary. Transfer 2 tablespoons herb paste to medium bowl; whisk in lime juice and set aside.
2. FOR THE STEAK: Using dinner fork, poke each piece of steak 10 to 12 times on each side. Place in large baking dish; rub all sides of steak pieces evenly with salt and then coat with remaining herb paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
3. Scrape herb paste off steak and sprinkle all sides of pieces evenly with sugar and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy- bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place steak in skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Flip steak and sear until second side is well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, stand each piece on a cut side and cook, turning as necessary, until all cut sides are well browned and internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 7 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.
4. FOR THE TACOS: Using sharp chef’s knife or carving knife, slice steak pieces across grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Transfer sliced steak to bowl with herb paste-lime juice mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt. Spoon small amount of sliced steak into center of each warm tortilla and serve immediately, passing toppings separately.

hummus from leftovers

Sounds weird? I had made grilled chicken breasts for dinner last week with a chickpea and diced tomato sauce. We ate the chicken but had 2 cups of sauce left over. In this Teeny Tiny Kitchen I try not to waste food unless it is truly inedible. I felt that in another iteration, we could eat these leftovers. So I drained it and put it in the food processor along with the ingredients for this hummus recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Light and Healthy cookbook. This hummus has a nutty flavor with a slight bite from the cayenne, and because I didn’t process it into a smooth paste, it had a beany chewy texture which I liked. I left out the oil because the tomatoes and the lemon juice provided enough liquid and flavor.

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 tablespoons water
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 -1 small garlic clove, minced (I like garlic!)
Salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

  1. Process all ingredients except the cilantro in a food processor until smooth, 1-1 1/2 minutes.
  2. Scrape into a bowl.  Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with the cilantro before serving.  Season with additional lemon juice, salt, and cayenne to taste, if desired.
  3. Eat with cut raw vegetables such as baby cut carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets,  and cucumber sticks.

Per 1/4 cup serving: Cal 100; Fat 7g; Sat fat 1g; Chol 0mg; Carb 7g; Protein 3g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 260mg

low salt vietnamese rice noodle soup with meat

Vietnamese rice noodle soup or pho is a light soup. And most people would agree that it’s “light”  because it doesn’t have cream in it. It has low-sodium chicken broth from a can in it.  It’s true that canned low-sodium chicken broth is more convenient, but let’s talk about how much salt is good for you. According to the Mayo Clinic we should consume 2300mg salt per day or 1500mg if you are over 51. If you use canned low-sodium broth and use the fish sauce (1/4 cup), salt (to taste), and soy sauce (2 tablespoons low sodium)  in the amounts given in the original recipe, then you will consume between 1440-1450mg sodium per serving. So I made many changes to this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Light and Healthy cookbook.  I made the soup using home-made broth as its base. I have also cut down the fish sauce as well as  eliminated the soy sauce and the sugar–you don’t need it if the salt is reduced. And, I suggest tasting the soup before adding any more salt or seasoning sauce.

Broth (home-made)
2 onions, minced, about 2 cups
1 tablespoon fish sauce
4-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, trimmed and sliced thin (See note)

Note: Cut off and discard all but the bottom 5 inches. Trim the stem end. Peel and discard any discolored sheaths on the stalk. Split the stalk in half lengthwise then mince each half crosswise.

1 teaspoon canola oil
4 chicken wing tips
10 cups water
2-4 star anise pods
2-4 whole cloves
Salt and pepper

Noodles, Meat, Garnish
12 oz (1/4 inch wide) dried flat rice noodles
3 cups bean spouts
1 cup fresh Thai basil (see note)

Note: You can substitute Italian basil. Simply roll a bundle of  leaves into a cigar-shape then slice thinly.

1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves only (see note)

Note: Wash and dry a bunch of cilantro. Holding the stems in one hand and resting the leaves lightly on the cutting board, slice downward with a sharp knife to take off the leaves.

2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1 fresh Thai, Serrano, or jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
1 lime, cut into wedges
12 ounces beef or pork tenderloin, sliced 1/4 inch thick medallions. If you wish, you can slice larger medallions in half.

  1. For the broth. I combined the onions, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, and oil in a large pot. Two large pots, actually, since the Teeny Tiny Kitchen needs a Dutch oven.  Then I covered the pots and cooked the onion mixture over medium  low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions  softened, 8 to 10 minutes. I turned up the heat to medium and added the chicken wings then sautéed them until they were no longer pink. I reduced the e heat to low and covered the pot(s) again. I simmered the chicken 20 minutes to release their juices. Meanwhile I froze the beef or pork so it will slice easier.
  2. While the chicken was simmering, I boiled the water in a kettle.  To the chicken mixture in the pots, I stirred in the boiling water, star anise, and cloves and simmered again. I covered the pots and reduced the heat to low, cooking until the flavors blended, about 20 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, I strained the broth, discarding the solids, tasting and adjusting seasonings with fish sauce or salt and pepper. I combined the two pots of  broth into a clean pot.
  3. For the noodles, meat and garnish. I boiled 4 quarts water in a large pot. I removed the pot from the heat, added the noodles, and let them sit, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender but still chewy, about 6-10 minutes. Don’t let the noodles sit too long. By this time, the meat was ready for slicing.
  4. Immediately I drained the noodles, dividing them evenly among individual serving bowls, topping each with 1/2 cup of the bean sprouts, and set them aside. Next I arranged the basil, cilantro, scallions, chili, and lime wedges on a plate and set them aside for garnishes.
  5. To cook the meat, I returned the strained broth to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduced the heat to low. I added the meat to the broth and braised it until it was no longer pink, about 1 minute. Here’s a tip: I dunked the meat in the soup using a Chinese cooking strainer.  Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and serve, passing the garnishes separately. The meat should have that just-tender melt-in-the-mouth feel so don’t overcook it!

Per 1 1/2 cup serving: Cal 360; Fat 5g; Sat fat 1.5g; Chol 40mg; Carb 60g; Protein 18g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 1440mg (these figures will vary if you make your own broth)

Variation

  • Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Chicken. Follow the recipe for Low Salt Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Meat by substituting 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the broth in step 2 and simmering until the chicken registers 160-165˚F on an instant-read thermometer, 10-15 minutes. Remove the breasts from the broth before straining. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite size pieces. Substitute the shredded chicken for the meat in step 5.

Per 1 1/2 cup serving: Cal 340; Fat 2.5g; Sat fat 0g; Chol 35mg; Carb 60g; Protein 18g; Fiber 2g; Sodium 1450mg (These calculations will vary if you make your own broth)

roast chicken with vegetables and quinoa pudding

Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Carrots

This was amazingly easy to make and so good for you! Another recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy cookbook, it is light, the chicken is juicy, and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Since I like food that snaps with spice, I found this dish to be rather bland. So. Fair warning to those whose palates are decidedly more adventuresome.

4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on, trimmed of extra fat
Salt and pepper
1 pound carrots (I used baby carrots)
10 ounces Brussels sprouts
1 butternut squash (about 2 cups), peeled, seeded, cubed
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 shallots, peeled and quartered (didn’t have any; left these out)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, if needed (or water)
Lemon wedges for serving (didn’t have any; used lemon pepper)

Seasoning I added:
Mrs. Dash Italian Medley seasoning, optional
Garlic powder, optional

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450˚F
2. Toss the Brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash, shallots, garlic, oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl. Spread the vegetables in a 13×9 inch baking dish and roast for 15 minutes.
3. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. [I sprinkled Mrs. Dash and garlic powder here.] Lay the chicken, skin side up, on a wire rack. Carefully place the wire rack over the dish of partially cooked vegetables (the rack may overhang the dish slightly). Roast until the chicken registers 160 to 165˚F on an instant-read thermometer, 30-35 minutes. Note: If after 30 minutes the chicken registers 155, I would take it out and move on to step 4. On resting, the chicken’s internal temperature will continue to rise.
4. Transfer the chicken to a platter then remove and discard the skin. Tent the chicken loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. If the vegetables are not yet tender, stir in the broth or water and continue to cook until they are tender, up to 15 minutes longer. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to the platter with the chicken. Serve with the lemon wedges, or, as I did, a dash of lemon pepper.

For dessert I made a Quinoa Pudding from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com . It can be either a dessert or breakfast, depending on how you feel about quinoa. Personally, I could eat it any time of day! Quinoa, which is originally from South America, is not a cereal grain as it is not a member of the grass family (Thanks, Wikipedia). The taste is slightly nutty and the texture pops in your mouth, a little slippery, with a mouth-feel that reminds me of caviar! I eat quinoa for breakfast (and dessert) with a spoonful of dried cranberries on top. You can put a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of whipped cream to make it remind you of those decadent desserts you will forgo because you are on a diet.

Quinoa Pudding with Dried Cranberries

3/4 cup quinoa*
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sugar (I used a sugar substitute)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Rinse the quinoa. This is a step you shouldn’t ignore, as I did. I ended up with a cup of foam on top of the quinoa when it was cooking. Put the rinsed quinoa in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. In a blender, add the milk, bananas,sugar or sugar substitute, and salt. Process until the bananas are puréed. Pour the milk mixture into the pot with the quinoa and mix.
3. Over medium heat, cook and stir until the quinoa mixture becomes thick and creamy, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or cold.

*I buy quinoa in bulk at Whole Foods. If you’ve never tried it before, 3/4 cup isn’t an expensive investment.

shrimp lettuce wraps with pineapple salsa

When I started to make the salsa there was something familiar about it. I had made it before for the September 16th post! I must be losing my mind… Actually, the two recipes in the Light and Healthy cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (2011) both use a pineapple salsa. Except this one adds jicama to it. I could not find jicama so I chopped up half a green apple and threw it in. If I was in my kitchen in Bangkok, I would have cut up a farang or guava instead. Originally called Shrimp Tacos, this is the low-cal version of a seafood taco: instead of refried beans, this “taco” is accompanied by mashed avocado. America’s Test Kitchen cooks advise you not to let the shrimp marinate for longer than 15 minutes or the acid marinade will begin to “cook” the shrimp and turn them rubbery. To lower the calories of this dish, I substituted iceberg lettuce for the corn tortillas. I liked the taste and the textures of this dish, a symphony of crisp crunchy lettuce, spicy grilled shrimp, and tangy-sweet salsa with avocado in the high notes.

Accompaniment
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
Salt

Using a potato masher, mash the avocado with 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice until some chunks remain. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pineapple-Green Apple Salsa
1/2 green apple, cored and stemmed, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces (10 oz jicama in original recipe)
10 ounces (1 1/2 cups) fresh pineapple cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1-2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed and minced (remove seeds if you want less heat)
Salt

Combine apple, pineapple, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeño in a medium bowl. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Shrimp
I was supposed to heat the spices but since I did not have ground coriander, I made a paste out of chopped fresh cilantro and the remaining spices. I left out the sugar as the purpose of adding it was to caramelize the shrimp, an unnecessary step to me.

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (1 teaspoon ground coriander in original recipe)
3-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (I omit this)
1 1/2 pounds extra large frozen shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
Iceberg lettuce (12 x 6-inch corn tortillas in original recipe)

In the workbowl of a food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and set aside. Scrape the cilantro mixture into a large bowl and set aside.

Butterfly the shrimp. First, remove the shells over the tail, then split the curved back of the shrimp until you can open out both halves but not separate them. Butterflying helps the shrimp to cook faster and more evenly. Put the shrimp in the bowl with the cilantro mixture and toss to coat evenly. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and grill (2-4 minutes) or broil (10 minutes) until the shrimp turns opaque and just pink.

Note:
Serve at once with accompaniment and salsa. I served it with Asian Avocado Salad and in this way used up the large avocado I had bought and the other half of the green apple.

Per serving: Cal 410; Fat 14g; Sat fat 1.5g; Chol 170mg; Carb 45g; Protein 27g; Fiber 8g; Sodium 450mg (will vary because of the substitutions)

Moroccan grilled chicken and sautéed peas with shallot and mint

I was enjoying the sunny cool weather on Broadway last Sunday afternoon when I came across a street fair on the east side of 103rd Street. At the very first table I looked at I found this George Foreman grill  marked $5.00. The lady said, oh, no, it’s more than that. She wanted ten. I figured she had bought it at another street fair for $5.00 and now she was selling it at 100% markup. The thing had never been opened and never been used. I figured $10.00 was still a steal so I bought it.

Moroccan Spiced Grilled Chicken Breasts (from Simply Recipes)
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

METHOD
1 Mix the marinade ingredients (yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper) together in a medium sized bowl. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and thoroughly coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator from 6 to 10 hours.
2 . Grill the chicken breasts until cooked through, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes in the Foreman grill. Take care not to overcook, as chicken breasts can easily dry out.

Honestly, this recipe had a very light flavor. That’s probably because I only marinated the chicken for 45 minutes instead of the recommended 6-10 hours. This website didn’t give the nutrition information so I can’t begin to estimate the number of calories, fat, protein, and sodium that are in it. In the Foreman grill, I could only cook each chicken breast one at a time. I discovered that I had to wipe the grill plates once halfway through cooking the fillets because charred bits tended to stick to the chicken. The grill was slanted so that the  fats and juices ran down into the little trough that came with the grill. This bargain Foreman grill performed very well; the chicken was tender and juicy. I think I got my $10.00 worth. I’d make this again but I would marinate the chicken longer.

Sautéed Peas with Shallot and Mint (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 4
I made some changes to this recipe because the amount of salt in it is alarming. Two things to remember: it isn’t necessary to thaw the frozen peas first and the purpose of adding the lemon juice is to prevent the peas from turning brown. But mine did anyway.  However, the lemon imparted a light flavor that enhanced the sweetness of the peas. The mint wasn’t too strong; next time I will buy mint from Whole Foods. Their herbs tend to be fresher but more expensive.  I would make this again because the peas were firm enough to chew but not creamy soft. I liked that.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon) (I used red onion)
Salt (omit salt if using chicken broth)
1-2 garlic clove(s), minced
1 pound frozen baby peas (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/4 teaspoon sugar (I left this out)
1/4 cup fresh mint, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dash of Mrs. Dash’s Italian Medley (I added this to compensate for the low salt)
Pepper

  1. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the peas, broth or water, and sugar, if using. Cover and cook until the peas are bright green and just heated through, 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
  3. Stir in the mint and butter until incorporated. Turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Per serving: Cal 130; Fat 4g; Sat fat 2g; Chol 10mg; Carb 17g; Protein 7g; Fiber 5g; Sodium 110mg (will vary if you use water instead of broth)


egg roulade with spinach and mozzarella

The original America’s Test Kitchen recipe used Gruyère cheese but why be fancy? I used mozzarella, which was all I had on hand in the Teeny Tiny Kitchen. In fact, whether or not you have Gruyère cheese on hand is immaterial. This isn’t hard to make at all and makes a quick delicious and filling breakfast when you are tired of eating scrambled eggs and omelets! To make this you will need a large rimmed baking tray approximately 18×13 inches, and a large sheet of parchment paper that extends about 1-2 inches over the sides. What I did was crease the parchment into the edges and corners of the baking sheet to “mark” the boundary. This will be important later.

5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
10 large egg whites or 1 1/4 cups store-bought egg whites
5 large eggs
1-2 garlic cloves, minced to a paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded cheese (Gruyère in original recipe)
Vegetable oil spray

1. Prepare to bake. I set the oven rack to the middle position and heated the oven to 375˚F. Then I lined an 18×13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, with about 1-2 inches extra to overhang on all sides. This will help you to keep the egg mixture on the paper so that you can roll it up easily when it’s cooked. Finally I coated the parchment generously with cooking spray and set it aside.
2. Microwave the spinach. I put the spinach and water in a microwave-safe bowl, covered the bowl and microwaved it on high heat until the spinach wilted and decreased in volume by half, 3-5 minutes. Using potholders, I removed the bowl and transferred the spinach to a colander. Using a potato masher, I pressed out the water. I find that when it is cool enough to handle, squeezing the spinach with my hands is the best way to press out excess water.
3. Make garlic paste. Using a chef’s knife, I chopped up 1-2 cloves garlic until fine. I sprinkled the garlic with a pinch of salt then dragged the side of the knife at a slight angle over the mixture to make a fine paste. I continued to mince and drag the knife until the paste was smooth. Then I set it aside so I could make the batter.
4. Make the batter. In a medium bowl,  I whisked together the milk and flour until it was smooth. In a large bowl, I whisked the egg whites, eggs, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Then I whisked in the milk mixture until combined. Carefully, I  poured the egg mixture into the prepared baking sheet within the marked boundary. You need the overhang otherwise the egg mixture will get under the paper and you will bake the paper into the roulade.  Finally, I sprinkled the drained spinach and cheese on top.
5. Bake and serve. I baked the roulade (that’s French for roll)  until the cheese melted and the eggs were just set, about 11 minutes. I rotated the baking sheet once about halfway through the baking time. When the time was up I removed the baking sheet from the oven. Beginning at the short end, I used the extra end of the parchment paper to lift and roll the egg over itself into a tight cylinder. Careful, it’s hot. Then I picked up the two ends of the parchment paper to transfer the roulade to a cutting board. I sliced it into pinwheels and served it with Sriracha sauce.*

Egg Roulade with Spinach and Mozzarella

*Sriracha is a hot sauce made in Thailand. It’s available from Asian markets.