Monday, March 26, 2012

Choose Ye This Day...

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

I'm an early to bed and early to rise kind of girl. I wake up talking, ready for my coffee and a sunshine-y outlook no matter the weather. I am, however, the exact opposite after 11pm - do not, I repeat, do not attempt a conversation of any sort after 11pm...I'm gone and refuse to be accountable for my words or actions after this time - do you have a clear picture?  Being a morning person should not be confused with being a breakfast person. I am not a breakfast person. I do not like eating breakfast, or eating at all, until I've been awake at least 2 hours. I will, however, make exceptions for those times when I am someone's houseguest and it would be rude to skip the breakfast laid out for me OR if I am traveling and know I have to eat a little something because my next chance for nourishment will be several hours away. No one likes the I-haven't-eaten headache. I'm not set in stone with my anti-breakfast lifestyle I just, as a general rule, avoid the typical breakfast foods at the typical breakfast time. Frankly, I've never liked how breakfast specific foods make me feel. A bowl of oatmeal? Might as well send me right back to bed - as soon as I eat it I am overwhelmed with sleepiness. Pancakes? Who wants to feel weighted down by all that flour first thing in the morning? I can handle protein - an omelette or some sausage. A piece of cheese. A fresh sliced tomato. You get the picture. When I make the pancake, egg, and sausage spread for the family (which I do often as the other five people in this house are all huge breakfast eaters) I eat the sausage only. Having said this it should come as no surprise that my "breakfast of champions" might be in the form of stuffed portobello mushrooms. What can I say? I'm up at 5a and get a little hungry by 9:30a. So I threw these darlin's together and scarfed them down with my second third cup of joe. They were great. They hit the spot and kept me going strong during a heavy baking day.

I started with two portobello mushroom caps, some herbs, cheese, lemon, and tomato.

Whenever possible, I try to use fresh herbs. Given my abundant supply of rosemary, I use lots of it in everything.

Clearly, I own the burning bush of rosemary and though we've trimmed it down numerous times, it returns with mighty prosperity. I love the aromatic qualities of fresh rosemary (reminds me of the spa) and have begun cutting sprigs every couple of days to dress up our mantle and take in the fragrance. I'll take relaxation in any form I can find.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and after reomoving the stems and brown gills from the underside of the mushrooms, place them on your baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about five minutes on each side. They should be just beginning to emit their natural juices - they are ready for the topping.

I combined the shredded mozzerella, diced tomato, finely chopped rosemary, minced garlic, pepper, soy sauce, parsley and juice from 1/2 of a lemon.

Spoon mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover pan loosely with foil and return to oven until cheese is melted, about 5-8 minutes.

Channel your inner Hungry Girl or in this case, Nigella Bites, and plate up the goodness for...breakfast. Exactly.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 Portobello mushroom caps
1 roma tomato, diced
1//4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 small garlic clove, minced
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. dried parsley
Dash ground pepper
Cooking spray

Remove stems and brown gills from the mushrooms. Place mushroom caps on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes on each side. Stir together tomato, cheese, olive oil, rosemary, garlic, lemon, soy sauce, parsley and pepper. Top each mushroom cap with tomato mixture, return the baking sheet, cover loosely with foil and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes more or until cheese is melted.


Monday, March 5, 2012

At Last...My Love Has Come Along

I fell off the wagon. I strayed from my healthy eating and calorie counting and fell smack into the slough of was sinful. I need an extra 1 1/2 hour zumba class to help me repent. Given the chance...well, I'd do it again...sooner rather than later.

For the past 15 years I've been hunting for a cookie. Not just any cookie. The. Perfect. Cookie. Not the way-too-soft kind you find with the recipe on a bag of chocolate chips. Not the too-much-oatmeal-to-ever-leave-the-cookie-moist kind either. Step away from the knock-off recipe that turns out to be rock hard disappointment. I need a yummy balance of crunchy at the edges and moist in the center, but not too much of either facet. I traveled far and wide (in my mind) on this hunt for the perfect cookie. And at love has come along. Bake some soon and forget making them as 2-inch wide petite things - we bake them biiiggg and watch them spread to a good 4-inch wide, grown-up cookie. 'Cause around here we go big or go home.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

4 sticks (1 lb.) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. Vanilla extract
4 eggs
3/4 cup pureed oats
4 1/2 cup flour
1 Tbs. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups chocolate chips (we used bittersweet chocolate, but semi-sweet will work just as well)
3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together oat puree, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside. In the bowl of a large mixer, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla until well combined. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stire the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and the nuts to the dough and mix by hand until well incorporated. Spoon onto an ungreasedcooke sheet lined with parchment or a silpat baking mat. Place the scoops about 2 inches apart - you don't need to press the dough flat. Bake for 14-16 minutes (I find 16 is just perfect in my oven) until they are light brown on the edges, but still soft in the middle. Store cooled cookies in a sealed container. Dough can be chilled overnight before baking or store dough in an airtight container for 3-4 days for fresh cookies anytime. Makes approximately 5-6 dozen cookies.