Posts Tagged 'peppers'

Hotel Potluck Adventure

Only a crazy person makes goodies for a potluck in her hotel room.  I have been traveling, and I wanted to check out a possible congregation to join when I move to Baltimore later this year. Online, it said that their service was to be preceded by a potluck. Taking this as a good sign (naturally I want lots of potlucks), I decided to attend. But I was staying in a hotel, seriously limiting my gourmet cooking capacity. And of course, I would NEVER just go out and buy a pre-made dish. Shame!

The hotel had a refrigerator, meaning something cold was in order. These stuffed peppers were more assembling than cooking. I bought a bag of those assorted multi-colored little sweet peppers, and three cheese spreads: artichoke garlic, sundried tomato, and cream cheese with chives. I also picked up some nice deli olives.  In my suitcase, I brought a small sharp knife, plastic spoons, and a few paper plates to use as cutting boards. I cut and cleaned the peppers in the bathroom sink, spread a bath towel on the coffee table and let the assembling begin.

I cut up bits of olive, and some thin bits of the peppers for decoration. I needed a sturdy tray, so I borrowed the square tray from under the hotel ice bucket – less than elegant, but utilitarian.

These probably have about 3 grams of fat/piece – I used lighter cheeses.

But then the fun began.  I looked up the address of the event, which was in a building called the Interfaith Center. I plugged the address into Helga, my GPS. Appropriately dressed and with a “home-made” offering, I sailed out into the dark and rainy night. Helga took me to a shopping center. When I roamed around trying to find anything that resembled an interfaith center, she shrieked “recalculating” in her stern and disapproving tone. For 40 minutes I roamed up and down Cradlerock Road, where said building was supposed to be. I was getting madder and madder. Finally, I grabbed my cell phone and called up Google to save me. Sure enough, it identified my position and pointed to a spot behind the shopping center and above a gas station and a McDonald’s. I honed in on my object.

There were several things going on in the building. I saw a room with people eating – Jews! Of course, by the time I got there, people were finishing off the remains of what had been there (it smelled good, though). They ate quite a few of the peppers leaving me with the remains for breakfast.

Christmas Asparagus

This was fast and a big hit. Preheat oven to 425. Roasted 2 pounds of asparagus tossed with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and a bit of sea salt for 10 minutes.

Be sure to snap off the tough ends of the asparagus before you roast them.

Sauteed 8 thinly sliced roasted  chestnuts, 5-6 thinly sliced small colored peppers and the zest from two small lemons in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until the peppers were slightly wilted, then added the juice of one lemon.

Removed the asparagus from the oven, sprinkled with the juice of the other lemon, and assembled artistically. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings at about 2 grams of fat/serving.

I neglected to take a picture until after it had been half eaten.

Dried Cherry Chili

Sometimes I think that winter dishes should be called “things in bowls”.  That is because we have been having weather that makes the outdoors look like this


And this:


Now I admit (somewhat grudgingly) that it is all quite beautiful, especially when the sun shines on the snow. But when it is combined with temperatures well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it quickly loses its charm.  Time to take out the soup pot and make things in bowls and keep the kitchen and my tummy warm.

 

This recipe, which came from the Cherry Marketing Institute, originally was made with ground turkey. But I am not fond of chili with ground turkey – the regular ground turkey is not that low in fat, and I think that ground turkey breast does not have a good texture in dishes like chili. But this chili is great with ground buffalo. I don’t use store bought packages of ground buffalo. It is somewhat higher in fat than buffalo meat from a roast or some such, because I expect they use fattier cuts of meat. If you made this recipe with packaged ground buffalo, it would probably be closer to 12 grams of fat/serving, which isn’t that bad, but not as low as I like. I grind my own meat from buffalo roasts. I usually grind large amounts using the electric grinder attached to my mixer, but this time I wanted to grind only the pound I needed for the chili. So I used my food processor. Trim the buffalo of all fat and cut into about 2 inch pieces. Place in food processor and pulse several times until meat is ground to the texture that you want. Don’t overprocess – you’re looking for ground meat, not pate.

When I saw cherries and chili, I wondered how it would work out. I’m not sure I want sweet chili. But this chili is actually a nice, rich, somewhat spicy chili. The cherries are just a burst of tart-sweet flavor every now and then. It has beans, but not too many – and they’re black beans, which are a little different.

Dried Cherry Chili

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

4 ounces dried tart cherries, chopped (¾ cup)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped garlic

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno

1 pound ground buffalo

1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon, chili powder

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried mustard

½ teaspoon dried oregano

4 cups chopped fire-roasted tomatoes  (2 15 ounce cans will work)

1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained

¼ cup chopped cilantro

 

Heat 1 cup of broth. Place cherries in small bowl. Add hot broth and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno; cook 1 minute. Do not brown. Add buffalo; cook until it is no longer pink.
Add bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, coriander, mustard and oregano. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes. NOTE: I used bottled roasted red peppers to save time.

Stir in beans, cilantro and cherry mixture. Continue cooking until thoroughly heated. Makes 8 servings at 5 grams of fat/serving.

I added 1 ounce of reduced fat cheese and homemade corn chips, adding 7 grams of fat to the overall meal.


ABOUT KAREN

I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

More about me.

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