Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Red Velvet Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Strawberries

These pancakes are inspired by a post I discovered at the food blog Carnal Dish. The original post was for red velvet pancakes with a maple cream cheese glaze, and that's where my obsession started. I couldn't get the image of these pancakes out of my head and was dying to find my own spin on this idea. Since I'm doing the whole P90X thing these days, I couldn't very well eat a whole batch a cream-cheesey-chocolate-red-velvet goodness all by myself. So, if you check out my Current Obsessions page at the top, you'll understand how this idea came to be.

Red Velvet Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes - as my roommate Kelsey said, "It's a mouthful!" (I quoted her to avoid feeling lame myself despite the fact that I secretly love lame things.) I've never made yogurt pancakes before, but they're so fluffy and delicious! I whipped up a very simple hot strawberry sauce to sweeten up this healthy attempt at pancakes. They might be pretty good for you, but they still taste like dessert to me. Mission accomplished. :)

Red Velvet Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Strawberries
Makes: 1.5 dozen large pancakes  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 45 minutes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups vanilla greek yogurt
1 egg
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp red food coloring
2 cups strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
Whipped topping to garnish

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add yogurt, egg and milk and mix well. Add food coloring one tsp at a time, using more or less to achieve desired color. Cook pancakes on a skillet at medium-high heat, flipping until done.
To make strawberry sauce, boil sugar and water. Add halved strawberries and boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat and cook for another 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fresh Tomato Pasta Noodles AKA "The Sauceless Linguine"

The first time I made homemade pasta noodles was New Years Eve two years ago. I decided to attempt 2 pounds of linguine the afternoon before my friend's dinner party. Little did I realize it was going to take 5 hours, stiff legs and a sore neck to get the job done. The result was phenomenal, completely worth the effort, and I fell in love with the art of homemade pasta. I have experimented with it several times, and after getting a pasta maker and drying rack from my grandparents this Christmas, I am ready to try every pasta variety I can think of... and I bet I can think of a lot.

I make my pasta noodles with the Roma Traditional Style Pasta Machine, rolled out to thinness setting 4 or 5 and pressed through the linguine cutter. These are whole wheat linguine noodles flavored with tomato paste. I'm not a lover of marinara sauce, so I was stuck on the idea of a pasta that could be eaten without sauce. I mixed it up with some olive oil, fresh basil and mini mozzarella balls. No sauce necessary - the tomato flavor is already in the pasta!

Fresh Tomato Pasta Noodles AKA "The Sauceless Linguine"
Makes: 1 lb  Prep: 1 hour, 30 minutes  Total: 3 hours

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs tomato paste
3/4 cups water

In a large bowl, pour flour and dig a well in the middle large enough to hold your other ingredients. Add eggs, olive oil, salt, tomato paste and water into the center of the flour. With a fork, begin to break the egg yolks and whisk the wet ingredients inside the flour well until fully incorporated. Gradually start to whisk in flour a small amount at a time until dough forms.
Remove dough and place onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour or water as needed to gain the right consistency. When the dough is finally solid and elastic, cover in plastic wrap and let set for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic and cut pasta into 1-inch thick slices. Begin rolling through pasta maker until preferred thickness is achieved. Roll through linguine cutter, separate noodles and hang dry on pasta drying rack. Repeat until all dough is used. Let pasta hang until dried, about one hour, and store in an air tight container until ready to use. (Uncooked fresh pasta will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze pasta for a longer keeping period.)
Boil water and cook noodles for 3 minutes. Remove, drain and enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sesame Cashew Shrimp Stir Fry

Hi everyone! I've been off my regular posting schedule because I moved to New Jersey and started working full time at Johnson & Johnson! I was in a hotel for the first few days and moved into my permanent apartment last week, where I'll be for the next 6 months. On my first day of work my manager (who reads my food blog and jokes about putting the link on our J&J sales department website) had this beautiful homemade apron waiting outside my cubicle - thanks Patty! It was a great welcome into the office. :)

Besides the location change and new job, I also started a new fitness program: P90X. Heard of it? Basically I wake up at 5 in the morning, work out/lift weights/jump around, eat lots of protein and my roommates think I'm crazy. So I'm going to start featuring more healthy meals on here, but don't fret - I'll still make cupcakes and buffalo chicken dip and all that good stuff!

This stir fry took 15 minutes to make and I simply used the ingredients I had in my fridge. Easy, light, high in protein and sooo good as leftovers. I recommend making the whole batch and storing it in your fridge for a few days... mostly because you're gonna want to eat it again.

Sesame Cashew Shrimp Stir Fry
Serves: 4  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 15 minutes

1 lb frozen shrimp, cooked and deveined
1 1/4 cup broccoli, chopped
3/4 cup tomato, chopped
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup sesame stir fry sauce
2 cups brown rice

Thaw frozen shrimp and remove tails. Chop broccoli and begin sauteing in oil on medium heat. Once broccoli begins to soften, add whole shrimp, tomato and cashews. Pour sesame sauce over shrimp mixture and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Cook brown rice as directed. Cool and serve with stir fry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cinnamon Challah Bread

I used to think that being from a small town was a nuisance when coming home from school. Everywhere I went, I ran into people I grew up with. Sometimes I really enjoy the anonymity of walking through the streets of Boston and going about my day in a zone. However, last night made me realize why I love being from my town. I ended up celebrating New Years with my two best friends, two of our boyfriends, and a ton of old high school friends who I rarely see anymore. Realizing that I can come home and connect with people I haven't talked to or seen in years reminded me that home is more than a destination. It's reassuring to know that no matter what, I'll always have friends to return to. To sum it up with my favorite quote, "No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."

Anyhoo, about the bread. Dylan and I baked these loaves for my extended family to give as Christmas gifts. (Dylan's been home with me for a whole week! We've been doing a lot of cooking.) Turns out bread is very easy to make. It's a little time consuming to let the dough rise but the braiding part is really fun and it came out delicious. Perfect fresh and even better as French toast!


Cinnamon Challah Bread
(Adapted from Fabulous Foods)
Makes: 2 loaves  Prep: 1 hour  Total: 3 hours, 20 minutes

4 eggs, one divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 envelopes dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
6 cups flour

Whisk 4 eggs together, reserving one egg yolk but adding the egg white. Add sugar, oil, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine dry active yeast with warm water until yeast dissolves. Mix the yeast water with the egg mixture, add 5 1/4 cups flour and begin kneading the dough with floured hands. Gradually add the last 3/4 cup flour and knead until the dough is stretchy.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours. When dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and divide in half. Cut each half into three pieces, roll out into equal pieces and braid, pinching the ends to close off the braid. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat reserved yolk with water and brush on loaves. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
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