Monday, January 29, 2007

Crab Chowder

This is a recipe I got from Eating Well Magazine. Its a great way to add some fish to your diet. The original recipe called for prepared potatoes, but its too easy to roast your own. I also added my own touches by adding some pepper flakes to give the broth just a touch of heat and adding some wine to help release the flavor of the tomatoes. If you make the Chipotle shrimp, save the shells and make a shrimp stock and use that stock in this recipe.
  • 3 Tbs Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup finely diced cored fennel bulb, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds, divided
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs Tomato paste
  • ¼ cup White wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 cups chicken, vegetable or shrimp broth (use 2 cups homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 potatoe, diced medium
  • 1 lb pasteurized crabmeat, drained if necessary
  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Toss diced potatoes with 1 Tbl of olive oil, ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer and roast in the oven until golden brown. Shake the sheet pan occasionally to ensure even browning. When done remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, fennel bulb, stirring often, until the vegetables are just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Toss in the garlic, italian seasonings, red pepper flakes. Stir into the onion and fennel. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Clear a space on the bottom of the pan and toast the tomato paste for a minute and then stir into other vegetables.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, until wine is reduced to a glaze.
  6. Add tomatoes and stir into the vegetables. Cook until bubbly.
  7. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes, crab and fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil, stirring often; immediately remove from heat.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Well-Stocked Pantry from Eating Well Magazine

I found this article about a well stocked pantry in Eating Well Magazine. It is, in my opinion, the closest list to the perfect pantry to be able to cook almost anything. My edited version is below. Anything in your pantry should last at least for 3 to six months (some will last even longer). Try to buy smaller sizes so you run out before six months. Your freezer is an important extension to your pantry. Not only should it contain frozen meal size portions of your home cooked foods, but many pantry items below can be portioned and frozen to extend their shelf life (bread is a great example.) I have omitted produce like garlic, onions, ginger, fresh chiles and potatoes. Just know that you need those and they should be replenished regularly. Check out your pantry and see how well you match.

Oils, & Vinegars
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
  • Canola oil for cooking and baking
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • Toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
  • Vinegars: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice-wine, apple cider
  • Kosher salt and coarse sea salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Anchovies
  • Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled dried sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, Italian seasoning blend
  • Spices: whole allspice berries, caraway seeds, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, dry mustard, whole nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric, saffron
  • Lemons, limes, oranges.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup, grade B
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Asian flavorings: soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
  • Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips
Canned Goods & Bottled Items
  • Canned tomatoes (lots of these, I like Muir Glen and I get diced, whole, crushed some that are fire roasted and some that are not.)
  • Tomato paste, in a tube
  • Chipotles in Adobo
  • Clam juice
  • Canned beans: cannellini beans, garbonzo beans, black beans, red kidney beans
  • Chunk light tuna and salmon
Grains & Legumes
  • Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Assorted dried pastas, some whole wheat (in shapes you can't easily make at home)
  • Long grain (for simple rice) and short grain rice (for risottos)
  • Steel cut oats (I like the quick cooking version)
  • Dried lentils
  • Dried cannellini beans
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Plain dry breadcrumbs
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
Nuts, Seeds & Fruits
  • Walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Coffee beans
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Tahini
  • Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins
Refrigerator Basics
  • Good-quality Parmesan cheese and/or Romano cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Cotija cheese, or queso anejo
  • Kalamata olives, green olives
  • Dijon mustard, big jar
  • Butter, unsalted. Store unopened sticks in the freezer.
  • Mayonnaise
  • Capers
  • Ketchup - Try Muir Glen Organic
  • Barbecue sauce - Try to find one without too much sugar
  • Dry white wine.
Freezer Basics
  • Frozen homemade chicken or fish/shrimp stock
  • Fruit-juice concentrates (orange, apple, pineapple)
  • Frozen vegetables: edamame soy beans, peas, spinach, corn
  • Italian sausage, pancetta and sliced prosciutto
  • Good quality breads (e.g. La Brea Bakery) cut into smaller portions
  • Whole boneless chicken breasts, frozen into family size portions
  • Frozen raw shrimp, shell on, 16-20 size
Perishables you should have
  • Non-fat milk
  • Whole milk for some sauces
  • Cream
  • plain yogurt and/or vanilla yogurt.
  • sour cream
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs, any size, just by the freshest
  • Blue cheese
  • goat cheese
  • carrots
  • celery

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Things to do in 2007

I got on the scale this morning and was 171.5lbs, so I made it through the holiday season without gaining any weight. I set a goal last year to lose 20 pounds and I lost 25lbs so good for me. Thinking about want I wanted to set my goals for this year, I realized my goal last year wasn't to lose 20 pounds, but my goal was to change my eating and exercise habits that would cause me to lose the weight. So over time I gave up sugar in my coffee, sodas, and set goals to go to the gym 4 days a week. As my habits changed, I included more habit changing goals. Fast food became a rare event and not an every night occurrence.

So here are my habit changing goals for 2007.
  1. No TV in the morning before work. (Actually I got an early start on this one.)
  2. Do something for an hour after dinner besides watch TV (Could be anything, cooking, shopping, exercising, reading, anything but sitting and watching)
  3. Read six books this year. I am hoping I can make this a habit, as I currently don't read that much.
  4. Use our new home gym equipment twice a week (In addition to my current gym activities)
Here is what I hope to achieve by adhering to my habit changing goals.
  1. Drop my weight to the 165-170lbs range. I am not sure if this is possible, as I have been at 171-172lbs for about 5 months.
  2. I would like to be able to run a 10K. Joints will determine if this will be possible.
  3. Focus my TV watching on quality shows and educational purposes. I think I will be a better person if I never watch The Insider or Access Hollywood again. Sporting events count as a quality show.