Ginger Chicken Shitake Mushroom Stirfry

9 Jan

It’s been a while since I have been posting blogs . I’d like to say that I was doing something super fantastic, like traveling around the world eating all kinds of food or something of that dramatic nature. But, alas, I was not.
Fact is that I noticed an increasing correlation between my frequent posts and my increasing waistline. In and attempt to get that in check I made the somewhat unconscious decision to put my blog on hold until I could sort out how to do this and still fit in to those damn jeans.
Those jeans are still are not fitting yet, but as of last month I started back at the gym and I have been very good about with my from all the food groups and getting my meals made ahead of time. That for me is the challenge. I love making food that I know is good, and when it is good for me, I don’t want to think about it too much. I like things that make a dish easily exciting or different without having to have labored too hard over a sauce or something of that nature.

Today I made my dinner…..and I forgot to take a picture of it. What I made was a simple stir fry starting with about a 1/4 cup of kielbasa that I brown in a pan and let some of the fat render out of. I then removed the browned meat and then add to the pan dried shitake mushrooms that were rehydrate in the microwave with a 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Along with the mushroom mixture I added 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger, a tablespoon each of cooking sake, and soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. I cooked the for about 2 or so minutes to let some of flavors marry and the liquid to cook down. When there was about 2 tablespoons of liquid left I added back the kielbasa and along with about a teaspoon of fresh red chilli. I like the flavor and the heat it brings. It’s a nice visible red contrast when making stir fry’s as well.
My whole dinner consisted of a 2 cups spinach salad with a nice olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt for dressing, glass of orange juice, and pack instant miso soup. I ate it all up and it was good. Miso soup is such a nice thing on a cold day. Warms up my insides!
After dinner was complete I realized that I would have to make sure that I had something for lunch tomorrow. Since I had only made enough for dinner, I was looking at trying to figure out what to do for the next day. I usually make two helpings so that I have enough for the next day. So I made pretty much the same stir fry with almost all the ingredients only switching out chicken for the kielbasa. Since chicken come with the all those ready packed in spices and smokey flavors as well prepackaged oil. I added a tablespoon of Canola oil to the pan and cooked up one chopped small/medium sized shallot on medium heat until they were glassy, then added the mushrooms, chicken stock, fresh ginger, sake, soy sauce, sesame oil. I only that that cook for a minute before added the raw chicken. I cooked until the chicken was done then did my best to get all the chicken to the side of the pan to cook down the sauce as much as possible. Once it was about 2 tablespoons or so, I removed it from the heat and let cool. I still had to add it to my lunch box and since the box also had salad in it I need to take care not to wilt my precious spinach salad or deliciously yummy Honey Crisp apples(Love them!).
I am feeling good at the moment with concern to my somewhat shrinking waistline and the diet of food I have chosen. Being that this is the season of eating and I also have still unopened gifted pound of See’s chocolate in my desk I think that I am doing really well. I will work harder now to get more posts out. It so much fun to cook and I know that this blog challenges me. Thank you for staying with me and still reading all that I have to write. Enjoy!

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Ginger Chicken Shitake Mushroom Stirfry - not much to look at but great flavor

Zero calorie pizza sauce??

8 Jan

Friends of mine graciously invited me to their place today for some low carbohydrate eats and games. It was a great day for food!
First we had pizza made with a crustless quiche for the bottom. The pizza “crust” was topped with Walden Farms zero calorie pizza sauce. I found myself doubting a zero calorie sauce. I don’t want to believe it for some reason.
The final product was fabulous! What a rich tasty treat. Were had with mix green salad. It was the perfect portion of food. I was really hardly with the quiche for crust. I love quiche on its own and this was just really something new for me.

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I  am not sure what the fat content is of this recipe considering the almighty bacon that is ever so gently tucked between some sauce, properoni, and cheese, plus what evers going on in the quiche. I think it had a tablespoon our so of cream cheese. The aim here was low carb to which they were very successful.

We even had carbs left for some almond meal cookies that were gluten free and sugar free. They are like almondy short bread. So delicate, were these cookies, that you could barely lift one with out breaking it. Great texture and sweetness for a sugar free cookie. Splenda was used add the sweetener and possibly more butter than I care to know about as the binder.

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Yummo! I won with dinner but I was not able to win much where the cards were concerned. I managed to win at one hand of Monopoly: The  Card Game. I will have my revenge next time and hopefully more almond cookies.

Mini Cookie Cutters Stole My Heart!

10 May

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a game night where we were instructed that the theme of the night would be “mini”. This of course translated to myself going on a buying binge of everything mini I could find.

Ateco Mini cookie cutters were one of the results of said binge.

I found them at Sur La Table in the cookie cutter section and they were practically singing at me in operatic tones. “Buy us! Buy us!”

It was hopeless to ignore. They had several others but I since none of these seem to be holiday specific I was happy with my purchase. I plan to use some them to make some cookies this week! I’ll post my results when I am done. I do love new things.

The Tiny Cookie Cutters

Tiny cookie cutters!

Crate & Barrel Easter Stencils.

7 May

There are certain foody stores that I am hard pressed to leave without having hemorrhaged my precious earnings from my precious paycheck. Crate & Barrel is not usually as one of those stores. It always seems like a lot of things in that store can be found for fraction of the cost at other stores.

Easily.

But for some reason these stencils jumped out at me during a recent visit. I know that I can make stencils pretty easily with plastic canister tops and cookie cutters, but I really like the look.  The price was under $5 and I thought I was okay with spending just a little. The stencil patterns are a rabbit ,a butterfly and a chick. They are staple Easter patterns and so very cute. It might have been an impulse purchase, but when pondering on my possible buyers regret I come back with a vision of me buying them all over again every time.

Wine Tasting Party Anyone?

6 May

I just got my 2oz pourer’s and now I can have wine tasting parties! I am super excited!
I have been part of other clubs, but I think it will be fun to arrange a something for friends and taste wine that within our budgets as well as have a go at discovering wine we might like the most.
Of course you can’t have a wine party without food and snacks. I guess I will have to study up on wine and food pairings!

The 2 oz Wine Pourers

My New 2oz Pourers

Rasberry Chocolate Pudding Cup-Bread Basket Cake Company

4 May

Today was the Sayonara potluck gathering to regrettably wish one of my coworkers good journey in her next endeavors and adventures. I will miss her stories of all her weekend escapes to concerts and food festivals. She always had something unique to share and always brought a wise approach with such youthful vibrancy to any conversation that I was consistently left in amazement of her. I wish her well in her travels.

I think travel is good for the soul! As well as travel, I would include food in things that are good for the soul! The potluck today had some great dishes, but the highlight for me came just as we were sitting down to eat. Our boss walked in and set this big white box down in front of us. It was clear that it had come from a bakery and then I realized that it was a Bread Basket box and I knew what she had bought.  I wish I could remember what she called these treats and I can not seem to find the name for them on their website. They need to be called something like “Nom in the Knees” or “My Rasberry Blackout”.

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Pictured above is a Pudding Cup from the Bread Basket Cake Company of Camarillo, California. They are a fairly local bakery that make some of the most colorful treats I’ve seen in a long time.

Do not be fooled by all the  perfectly ripe raspberries on the top of each cup! This is not a light dessert. The whip cream is of the highest quality full-fat cream. The vanilla base pudding in the middle is copious amounts of decadency incarnate. If you manage to make it to the bottom of the cup, which is made from white and dark chocolate, a sweet chocolate pudding awaits. I think it might be a chocolate frosting because of the seriousness of the sugar texture. All it is very rich and easily shared, but I challenge you to eat one alone!

I saved mine and ate it later in the evening at home. I think my roommate may have known I was home from the “Dessert Aura” that shined from my insides out to the world.

On the flip side, I am planning to go walking tomorrow evening and for the next three weeks. Calorie overload, but I highly recommend them to anyone coming close or driving through the area. They are located right off the freeway and have very pleasant and agreeable staff! If anyone goes please let me know what you think!

The Simple Simplicity.

3 May

When do plans always fall in line. I don’t usually have it so lucky. I had made plans for a friend to come over and make dinner for her and I was running late! Things that I had going form me were that I can chop food like the wind and that I had not planned on making such complicated dishes. What was on the menu for tonight was:

I honestly have never had so much go wrong with a meal!!!! It ended with a bit of dessert joy in a tart, but the first 3 things posed some problems for me.

The garlic toast was a simple enough deal. I just have never used, or don’t remember using an oven broiler. I forgot my delicously dainty toasts in the oven for one minute too many and I was left with more than a couple burnt edges. The bottoms were ok, but the tops were a bit rough in some places.

The second bit was the Curry Rice! I adore Japanese Curry. My Father, with his great love of curry, was making family dinners for years with it. His style of preparation was to cube everything up including the rue, add it all to the pan with some water and then let it simmer for some time.  It ended up being more like a thick soup. It was tasty and I didn’t know any better so all was copacetic.

From the year 2000 to 2004 I shared a condo with Satoko and Yuri, two of the most wonderful girls I know! We lived together and cooked amazing meals for each other all the time. They, among many dishes, taught me how to make Japanese style curry with a bit more careful attention to the details. Talk about a huge taste and texture difference! I really like eating the red pickled daikon radish with it as well. The sharp contrast in texture is refreshing especially if the curry you are eating is really hot.

The part that messed up on was the rice…..

The most simple of things…rice. The upside is that I am one step ahead if I ever decide to make rice porridge.

The last dish, I got the idea to make while driving home trying to think of a quick dessert. I knew that I wanted to make a tart with some left over pie crust. All I needed were some strawberries and some kind of cream topping. I bought some whipping cream and made a what turned out to be this grossly and excitingly tasty dessert! It made up for all my earlier errors.

The strawberry tartine cooling just out of the oven.

I let the pie cool out of the oven for like 15 minutes. Then served it up with a generous portion of Whipped cream that was prepped in way to make it taste like cheesecake. I will make this all for you some day I promise!

The Strawberry Tartine with Cheesecaked Whipped Cream

Strawberry Tartine with Cheesecaked Whipped Cream

I have posted the recipe on the Food52 website if you would like to make it. I enjoy their blogs immensley and the community of food bloggers they attract.  Please ask me any questions about my recipe. It’s only the second one I’ve ever written and I would appreciate input or feedback. Thank you Sasha for coming over and letting me cook for you! Let’s dine again soon!