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Friday, June 24, 2011

It's Friday. Grill Something this Weekend.

It's Friday! I have big plans to attend the Ft. Griffin Fandangle tonight.  Stay tuned.  My good friends Jeff and Cori are cast members.

Tomorrow, I have big plans to do chores around the house and work on the blasted dissertation.  More importantly, I have big plans to grill tomorrow evening.  I have steak on the brain, so I have beef in my not too distant future. I encourage everyone to do the same.  For some inspiration, look towards the 29 Ways to Love Lean Beef and get to grilling.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have a Blessed Wednesday


It's Wednesday! I've been working on left overs from my busy weekend in the kitchen.  Mom sent pics from home yesterday, and I just love this little guy!  Hoping to try a new stuffed portabella 'shroom recipe, maybe this evening.   

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak


















What you will need:
2 tsp Chili Powder
3/4 tsp Ground Cumin
3/4 tsp Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 (1-lb) Flank Steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
4 Lime Wedges (optional)

What you need to do:
Combine the first 5 ingredients.  Rub spice mixture over steak. Place steak in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal bag.  Refrigerate 8 hours or over night.
Preheat grill.
Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill steak 5 min each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Remove from grill rack.  Cover and let stand 5 min. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.  Serve with lime wedges, if desired.  Should yield 4 servings.

Fern's Recipe Ammendments:
I followed the recipe up until the grill for 5 min each side.  I didn't time each side of the steak, and I should have to share.  I left each side of the steak on the lower grill rack for 3 or so minutes, and I then moved the steak to the upper grill rack for a couple of minutes before removing the steak from the grill and letting it stand inside.  I did end up with a perfect Medium Rare steak this way.  Note, I have never before, in my life, grilled this particular cut of meat.

Before putting my steak on the grill I created a salad to serve it on. I made a bed of mixed green (spinach, romaine, and spring mix).  To that I added a variety of veggies: carrots, celery, radish, purple onion, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and tomato.  I also made a cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing.  When I lived in College Station, there was a restaurant that had a Southwestern Steak Salad that was one of my favorite meals.  Lettuce and veggies topped with a small sirloin and corn tortilla strips and choice of dressing. They had a cilantro lime dressing that was SO GOOD.  I think that I have found one that is very close to that.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1 Jalapeno, seeded
1 Clove of Garlic
Zest of 1 Lime
Juice of 1 Lime
1/3 c Cilantro Leaves
1/4 c Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pulse all in blender to desired consistency.

Fern's Recipe Ammendments:
I made mine in my Cuisinart Food Processor.  If you don't have one, please get one.  It will change your life. Anyway...I also added some ground coriander for a little more flavor.  Another side note: I have found a great tool for seeding jalapenos! Its a sharp, jagged edged, V-shaped deal on the other end of my melon baller.  Cut the top of the pepper off and stick that in there, run it around the outside, dump the seeds and veins, rinse the pepper, and viola! you are done!

Fern's Steak Salad:
I sliced my Grilled Spice Rubbed Flank Steak against the grain in thin strips.  I laid a serving of steak (1/4 of the grilled steak) on the bed of greens and veggies and sprinkled some feta on top.  I served the dressing on the side. (another random tip: to get the flavor of the dressing but not all of the fat/calories and soggy salad, dip your fork in the dressing before spearing each bite with your fork)

Note:
Flank steak is one of the 29 lean cuts of beef. Because it is so lean and it is often a very thin cut of meat, it is recommended to marinate it to promote flavor and tenderness. Grilling is also the recommended cooking method for this particular cut of meat, so summer is the perfect season to enjoy it!

Breakfast Berry Cornbread

What you will need:
1 c Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 c Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 c Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Large Egg
1 Large Egg White
1 tsp Grated Lemon Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 6 oz container Fresh Raspberries or 3/4 c frozen unsweetened rasberries

What you need to do:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray 9 in pie plate with non stick spray.
Whisk together cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg, egg white, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Add sour cream mixture to cornmeal mixture and stir just until cornmeal mixture is moistened.  Spoon into prepared pie plate.  Sprinkle evenly with raspberries.
Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack 5 minutes.  Cut into eight wedges.  Serve warm.  (it's also great cold out of the fridge with a glass of iced tea for an afternoon snack, just saying)

Fern's Recipe Ammendments: 
I have used Splenda rather than Sugar, as well, I used Light Sour Cream rather than Fat Free.  I also used Egg Beaters (egg substitute) in place of both the egg and the egg white.  I don't have raspberries on hand, but I have used blueberries and frozen mixed berries.  I think that I prefer the blueberries.

Note: This is a Weight Watchers recipe that has found its way to my go to's.  I have modified it slightly to fit what might be in my pantry, but the WW PP values have stayed the same (near as I can tell)

A Weekend of Recipes

Father's Day weekend found me hundreds of miles south of my Dad, and at least 40 degrees hotter outside than my Dad on Saturday.  My folks traveled to Wyoming for a cousin's wedding. Congratulations Johanna!! I hear that it was a beautiful ceremony, a wonderful day, and that you were a pretty bride.  Who could want more, right?!

I found myself home for the entire weekend with no obligations filling my calendar.  Saturday, I putzed around the house--cleaned, washed laundry, found new recipes to try, worked on a dissertation, you know anything NOT OUTSIDE in the blistering 112 degree heat.  Yes, I said 112!!  Newton has come to believe that he is now a house dog.  "Hi, my name is Fern and I have turned my blue heeler into a grouchy show heifer.  All he has done for 2 days is eat, want to stay inside, and lay under the fan."

Friday afternoon I had laid a Beef Flank Steak out to thaw.  When using this particular cut of meat, please be sure to give it plenty of time to "soak up" the seasoning or marinade and do not over cook, otherwise, a less than tender eating experience will likely result.  Friday evening I mixed up a rub recipe that I had found and stashed the seasoned steak in a gallon ziploc bag in the fridge. Friday night, I threw together some fish tacos that turned out great.  They definitely will get repeated! Saturday Morning I threw together LemonBerry Cornbread.  I've done it before, and I will likely do it again.  I served it with 2 precooked sausage patties.  The 2 together were filling and a moderate weight watchers points plus expenditure, which is a big deal to me these days.  Saturday night I grilled my flank steak and served it over a salad. I made a cilantro lime vinaigrette to go with it, and paired the entire meal with a Becker Vineyards Malbec.  It was a delicious dinner.  The taste made up for the fact that I dined alone.  I have found that dining alone isn't so bad if one makes the same effort for herself that I would make for guests.  No, I didn't get the living room vacuumed, but I served on pretty plates and used a tall stemmed glass, for instance.  I also FINALLY watched Crazy Heart.  I've had the movie in hand since it came out on DVD.  Since it came out in theaters after I had moved to the middle of nowhere, I waited for DVD release (and apparently then some since I haven't watched until now).  I was okay buying this movie without seeing it before.  It stars none other than Robert Duvall, how bad could it be?? And, I have the sound track and think it's great. 

As I have worked on this post, I have decided to add pages to my blog.  Therefore, please stay tuned.  I think that I'm going to add a page just for recipes to maybe add some flair and simplicity at the same time.  I hope everyone had a blessed Father's Day weekend!  I cannot wait for my dad to get his gift in the mail!!  Sorry folks, work didn't allow me to get to the post office during window open hours early enough in the week for him to get it by last Friday.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

I found this recipe the other day on http://neo-homesteading.blogspot.com. I don't even remember what chain of events got me there.  That ever happen to you??  It's a common occurrence to me, and lately I've realized it's not just pertinent to web browsing, but life.

Bringing the rabbit back around the tree....

Last night in the search for something different, something un-heavy, something delicious for dinner (or supper, however you want to think about it), I looked through a couple of cookbooks and remembered this recipe that I'd emailed to myself earlier this week.  I do that a lot, email recipes to myself from sites I find.  The recipes end up in my email, consequently on my phone.  My phone later ends up on the counter with smudges on it due to my using it as a recipe card.  This practice needs to stop.  It's probably not sanitary and it's definitely not good for my phone.~~~~sorry, rabbit must have taken a left to get to the pond~~~heading him back down the bunny trail.....

I pulled up the recipe and realized that I had most of the ingredients in the pantry.  Stroke of luck!  I'm living remotely these days. The small town grocery store closes at 6.  It's 7:30 by this point.  It's too hot to eat before then, even if I haven't been working outside.  The heat and the late eating have got to stop.  It's not good for me. (off track again, sorry about that...)

The Recipe (finally):
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

6 medium sized portobello mushrooms about 2" in diameter
4-6 button mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

8 ounces crab meat

2-3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 egg
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons mayo
1/2-1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
*fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a bowl combine crab meat, pepper, chives, egg, mustard, mayo, old bay (I use a good deal of old bay). Stir to mix and add panko, do not add too much you just want enough for the mixture to bind together. 

remove stems from the mushrooms, using a spoon hollow out the centers and then toss mushrooms with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Using about 1-2 tablespoons of filling stuff crab filling into the mushrooms. Place on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is golden. You don't want to over cook the mushrooms or they will be too moist and the filling will become soggy.

The above is the recipe as published on the above blog address.  Fern am mended it slightly to make it happen.


I had 3 portobello mushrooms about 4" in diameter, so I used them.  I sprayed the shrooms with Olive Oil cooking spray and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (I was saving on the Weight Watchers Points Plus with this move).  I drained and rinsed 2 6 oz cans of crab meat.  One was lump and the other was just white crab meat.  Probably not ideal, but it's what I had on hand.  I didn't have a red pepper, but I had a yellow one.  I used it.  My chives in the herb "garden" aren't very plentiful, so I used green onion.  Again, to save on the WWPP, I used 1/4 c of Egg Beaters rather than an egg.  I also used Light Mayo.  I thought I had Old Bay Seasoning.  I didn't.  I Googled how to improvise some at home.  I learned that Emeril's Essence is a good substitute.  I tried that.


Horseradish Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2-3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon horseradish (or to taste, but I use A LOT)
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce 

Stir to combine. For a fuller fat version you can use more mayo or substitute the mayo in this recipe for horseradish cream.

Again, Fern am mended the dipping sauce....
I did use Greek Yogurt.  It was good.  I also used Light Mayo like I did with the crab mixture.  I used just over a tablespoon of horseradish.  I tasted it after 1 Tbsp and decided it needed more.  I also went for the full teaspoon of hot sauce.

I served a stuffed shroom with a salad of mixed greens and veggies (cucumber, radish, onion, bell pepper, carrots) topped with blue cheese crumbles and croutons and light blue cheese dressing.  I paired my summery supper with a glass of Llano Sweet Red wine.

It was good.  I'm thinking if I ever re-make the recipe, I'll definitely use the Old Bay that the recipe calls for.  I also think that it needs a little something, although I'm unsure what that might be at the moment.  Let me know what you think, please.  That is if you try it.