The Amazing Mirvana

Travels, and makes stuff.

Archive for the tag “cooking”

Cooking: Seafood quesadillas

And here’s one inspired by macgirlie.

Seafood Quesadilla: for an individual serving, mix together 1/2 c. imitation crab meat, diced, 1/4 c. reduced fat Mexican or taco-style cheese, 2 scallions, chopped, and place on a low fat whole wheat tortilla on a sprayed cookie sheet. Top with another low fat whole wheat tortilla, sprayed with a little oil spray. Bake on 400 degrees F for about 15 mins or until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted. 7 points.

Cooking: Crispy Baked Eggplant

I can’t resist the eggplants when they start showing up in profusion in the food store, so here goes.

Crispy Baked Eggplant
by Mirvana

Note: the seasonings here give a Middle Eastern flare. You can omit or add whatever spices you prefer.

1 large eggplant, about 1.5 lbs.
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. plain dried bread crumbs
1 T. Italian seasoning blend (thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Slice eggplant 1/4 inch thick, sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 10 min. Pat the slices dry. Combine the dry ingredients. Dip slices into egg, then dredge in dry ingredients. Place on a cookies sheet sprayed with olive oil, or non-stick spray. Spray the breaded eggplant slices with a little olive oil. Bake 20-30 mins. until golden brown. 4 servings, 3 ww points.

Eggplant parmesan variation: for an individual serving, layer one serving of crispy eggplant on oven-safe dish. Top with 1/2 c. Newman’s Sockarooni or marinara sauce and 1/4 c. Soy or reduced fat mozzarella cheese. Heat under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. 5 ww points.

Jambalaya, two versions

So the little get together last night was really only just an excuse for me to cook. Jambalaya is one of those dishes that you can’t make a small amount of. I came up with the following two recipes based on lots of research and experience;)

Quickie Jambalaya (non-vegetarian)
Quickie Vegan Jambalaya

I prepared both simultaneously and they both start out the same way. I just chop and add the ingredients in the order listed. I’m guessing on all these measurements because I didn’t actually measure anything.

About an hour beforehand, start a big pot of white rice. Then, add to each of two large stock pots:

2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 very large yellow onion, diced
1 celery heart, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 heaping Tbs. minced garlic
1-2 bay leafs
pinch of salt

For the non-vegetarian version:

1.5 lbs (about 6) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size chunks
1 lb. of cajun style andouille sausage, sliced

For the vegan version:

1 lb of imitation chicken strips (optional)
1 lb. of soyrizo (soy chorizo) sausage, cut into chunks

To both pots, add:

1 heaping Tbs. of my own cajun seasoning (see recipe below)
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder

Let the meat brown a little, then add: 32 oz. chicken broth to the non-veg pot, and 32 oz. vegetable broth to the veg pot.

To both pots, add:

28 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 c. of red wine (optional)

Bring to a simmer, then add 1 heaping c. diced okra. (This is used as a thickener. If you don’t like okra, you can make a roux or use file powder.)

Optional addition to the non-veg version: 1 lb. peeled deveined shrimp. ( I actually just threw in a bag of salad shrimp, just to give it that flavor.)

Let this simmer as long as you can, at least 30 minutes, salt and pepper to taste. Serve, ladled over the rice.

Cajun seasoning–this is much better than any store-bought and you can mix up a big batch to keep around. It works well as a dry rub for seafood and chicken, and to flavor rice and other cajun dishes.

1.5 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne (or use less for a milder seasoning)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano

There is a pretty big difference in flavor between the two different versions but both are equally good, and the heat level is about medium.

I also made a “king bread.”

Pumpkin biscuits

I still have lots of that pumpkin puree in the freezer, so…

Ginger-Pumpkin Biscuits
by Mirvana

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.

1 1/4 c. flour (pastry or all-purpose)
4 T. cold butter
1 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda

Cut in the cold butter and dry ingredients until you have bits the size of small peas. Easiest way to do this is just to pulse these ingredients in a food processor.

1/2 c. pumpkin puree (or any squash, such as butternut)
2 T. buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 t. maple syrup
1/2 t. ground ginger

Whisk together the wet ingredients, then fold into the dry mixture. Turn this dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times just until it holds together. Roll it out into about 1/2 inch thick dough. Cut into shapes with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 13-15 minutes. Makes about one dozen.

Cooking: fresh pumpkin puree RAWKS

I had an extra pumpkin left over from Halloween and decided to try a little experiment. I know that you are supposed to use the small ones for making puree, but this one was fairly large. I just cut it into more managable chunks (after removing the seeds) and placed them skin side up on a cookie sheet and baked at about 400 for a good long while, over an hour. I kept checking on it and removed when the pumpkin felt squishy and could easily be scooped out of the skin. I place the flesh into the cuisinart and pureed. One large pumpkin yieded several cups of puree, enough to freeze for future use. I was surprised by the consistency and flavor of the fresh puree. It tasted much better than canned. I used some to make the following pumpkin bread in my bread machine:

Fresh Pumpkin Bread
by Mirvana

4 T. butter, softened
1 T. molasses
1/4 c. orange/apple juice or water
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. fresh pumpkin puree
1 c. flour (half can be whole wheat flour)
1/4 c. oats
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
*1/3 c. chocolate chips

Load bread machine with ingredients and set on cake/batter bread. *Add the chips after the first beep.

I also washed and dried the seeds, then placed them on a cookie sheet and sprinkled liberally with kosher salt and a little Essence of Emeril and baked until they looked crispy. Yum.

Unexpected culinary post

I haven’t made a culinary post in a while, prolly ’cause I haven’t been doing much cooking. However, this evening’s menu was delightful and I thought I would share. It’s from First magazine, and it’s quick and easy, but you have to let some stuff marinate in advance:

Szechuan Cucumber:

Combine a couple Tbs. of unseasoned rice wine vinegar, a T. of sugar and about a 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes in a bowl, then add one English (seedless) cucumber cut into small spears, toss to coat. This is better after it sits for a while.

Light Asian Salmon:

2 Tbs. dry sherry
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. five spice powder (I didn’t have any so I used red curry–results were still really good)
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tbs. fresh ginger root, grated

Combine these ingredients and add to plastic bag along with:

2 lb. salmon filet

Let marinate for at least one hour, then roast in a baking dish at 450 F for about 20 mins. (You could prolly try grilling.)

Wasabi mashed potatoes:

I was really lazy with this one and didn’t have any potatoes anyway, so I made up a few servings of Potato Buds and added some wasabi to taste.

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