Thursday, July 22, 2010

Edamame Succotash

My last few posts have focused mainly on desserts, so I decided to take a step back and do as my mother says and "eat more vegetables."

I have never actually liked succotash. Lima Beans have just never really been my thing (no offense to all of the Lima Bean connoisseurs of the world), so when I saw this recipe for edamame succotash, I was intrigued because edamame is definitely my thing. In fact, my college roommate and I went through a phase in college where, instead of eating popcorn, we would steam a bunch of edamame and eat it while watching TV. I think this healthy phase lasted for about a week. In the end, the pull of Thomas Sweet was a little too strong.

I was also drawn to this salad because more than anything, I thought it looked pretty---obviously an important factor in my recipe decision-making. I love the colors in my salad,  in particular, because of the color of the corn I used. If you look closely at the picture, you can see little red corn kernels. When my husband first looked at it, he asked if they were pomegranate seeds. I'm not sure sure whether or not we should be embarrassed, but neither of us had ever eaten red corn before. When I got home and started to peel the corn and saw that it was red, my first instinct was to assume that the corn had gone bad. A few google searches later, and I came to learn that red corn actually has a nuttier and richer flavor than yellow corn.  I have to agree.

This would be a great salad to bring to a summer BBQ potluck because it is pretty versatile in terms of what it can be served with. We ate it with fish the first night and chicken the second, and it went well with both. This can also be served cold, room temperature, or even a little warm (I heated it up in the microwave the second night).


The Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the vegetables. Chop the red pepper, tomatoes, sweet onion, basil, and corn.

Check out my beautiful red corn!

 Step 2: Like all great recipes, this one starts with bacon. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon.

(I placed the bacon between paper towels to absorb the grease.)

Step 3: Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan.

Step 4: Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5: Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred.

Step 6: Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 7:  Add red wine vinegar, salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar, tomatoes, and red bell pepper. Cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.

Step 8: Sprinkle with bacon and basil and enjoy! You can serve cold or warm. I think I actually preferred it slightly warm, but it was still good the next day straight out of the refrigerator

Recipe Courtesy: Cooking Light Magazine


1 slice center-cut bacon
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped sweet onion ( preferably Vidalia)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons torn basil


1. Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon.
2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and next 5 ingredients (through bell pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon and basil.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pineapple Sorbet

It is H-O-T!! The rain cooled things off just slightly for a couple of days, but today the high was back in the 90s. And, as usual, the heat + humidity is hitting me where it hurts most--my hair. Oh how I wish we were back in the 80s when frizzy hair was all the rage. I'm still not quite sure what the Founding Father's were thinking when they built this city over a swamp! And, of course, the other effect the heat is having on my life is that all I can think about when I step outside is cooling off with a big scoop of ice cream. Seeking out a healthier alternative, I used my ice-cream maker to make sorbet,*  and it turned out really well with an incredibly smooth and creamy texture. This is a 'light' recipe, so it contains less sugar than a lot of sorbet recipes I have seen. And since the pineapple was so sweet and juicy, I could have probably even used a little less sugar.

Overall, I am pretty excited about how well it turned out. I have joked in the past that, if I am really being honest with myself, the store-bought product is probably slightly better than what I end up making, but this was not the case at all with this sorbet. There is definitely an added benefit to making it yourself using fresh fruit. Right now, given that the fruit at the market is so fresh and juicy, the possibilities are endless. Next week, I want to make a raspberry/strawberry combo!

And yes, how do I own a fancy ice-cream maker yet I still don't have a proper food processor? I'm not sure, but clearly, I have my priorities straight. :-)

* Cooking Light offers this alternative if you don't have an ice-cream maker. Use a covered metal bowl. Freeze mixture 3 hours or until it is hard on the outside but slushy in the middle. Remove it from the freezer, beat it with a whisk until smooth, and return to the freezer, covered, for 4 hours until firm.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Cut the pineapple into 2-inch pieces.  Because my pineapple chopping job looked like a scene out of a Hollywood horror film, I am going to recommend this link for a MUCH smoother chopping scenario.

This photo needs yellow police tape around it.

Step 2: Juice the lemon and place the pineapple pieces and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth.

Step 3: Add sugar; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.

Step 4: Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Best and most impractical Christmas present ever!

It took about 25 minutes in my machine to reach a creamy consistency.

Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm (we actually ate it immediately--it wasn't quite firm yet but still delicious). Garnish with mint leaves and enjoy!
Recipe Courtesy Cooking Light Magazine

Full List of Ingredients:
1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Mint sprigs (optional)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Low-Fat Blueberry Crumble Pie

So I am 7 months into my little blogging adventure, and I am still trying to get a feel for what people would like to see more or less of each week. I love it when people leave comments with suggestions because I like the idea of this blog being more of a dialogue than my personal cooking diary. Let's be honest, I still have a lot to learn. I also love it when I receive emails from people making special requests. In fact, I scream across the apartment for my husband to come see my "fan mail." I recently received an email from a blog reader who wanted a quick and easy healthy summer dessert, so that is the motivation behind today's blog post. So, long story short, if you email, I will respond.....mostly because I don't really get that many emails, so it is still a pretty big deal. ;-) But seriously, this blog is still very much a work in progress, so if you have any advice, I would love to hear it.

I have been making this blueberry crumble since I was in college. It isn't exactly worthy of a special occasion, although my husband did request it once for his birthday. In fact, now that I have really taken up baking, I find myself slightly apologetic that I am using a pre-made crust. I suppose you could make the crust from scratch....but the beauty of this dessert is that it is easy and casual---and best of all, low in fat. And since we are in the middle of bathing suit season, I could use more desserts like this and less desserts like this.

The recipe is pretty simple, and it really lets the natural sugars of the blueberries shine through without adding too many additional ingredients. It is best served warm, but there have been times when we eat it straight out of the fridge because it is just that good.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°. Rinse 5 cups of blueberries and place in pie plate.

Step 2. Combine brown sugar, flour, vanilla, rind, and sour cream; spread over blueberries.

Step 3: Combine breadcrumbs, granulated sugar, and margarine; sprinkle over sour cream mixture.

Step 4: Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until set and crumbs are lightly browned. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack (if you can wait that long).

Recipe Courtesy: Cooking Light Magazine


5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 (9-inch) reduced-fat graham-cracker crust
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dulce de Leche

Can this really count as a blog post when all I did was boil a can?

This has been the debate going on in my head tonight, but honestly, the end result was kind of amazing--mostly because I really didn’t believe this would actually work. I had images of the can exploding, leaving traces of sweetened condensed milk all over my kitchen walls.

So to back track...tonight I made Dulce de Leche.

For those of you who read my recent post on “Eating My Way Through South America,” you’ll remember me mentioning Dulce de Leche as one of my favorite foods. This smooth caramel was literally like its own food group in Argentina. Every morning, we would spread it on toast and dip it in coffee---SO good. I actually brought back miniature cans of Dulce de Leche for all of my co-workers. Little did I know, it is actually really easy to make. All you have to do is boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for several hours. That's it. Really.

I had always been aware that there was 'something' you could make by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, but it wasn't until I began researching Dulce de Leche recipes that I connected the dots. If you google "boiling a can of sweet condensed milk," you will find several message boards discussing this topic, and there are people out there who are pretty skeptical of this method and encourage another method that uses a water bath in the oven instead with the sweetened condensed milk poured into a pie plate.  Because my husband is in law school, I have been encouraged to add the disclaimer that I am not officially endorsing this method and to proceed at your own risk [happy now, husband? :-)]. The most important thing to remember, make sure the can always has at least a few inches of water above it. I boiled this can over a 2-hour period, and I added a little bit of water probably every 15 minutes.

Here is what you will need:

Step 1: Unwrap the can (blogger refuses to let me rotate my photos, so apologies).

Step 2: Submerge in a deep pot of boiling water. Do this for at least 2 hours. I think you can do it up to 4 hours.The longer you do it, the thicker the consistency. BUT REMEMBER TO ALWAYS MAKE SURE THERE IS AT LEAST 2 INCHES OF WATER ABOVE THE CAN. Check on the can every 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Remove the can and let it cool. Open the can and step back in amazement!!

Enjoy! The possibilities are endless---you could use it on toast, ice cream, cookies, cakes....the list goes on!