Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

I love ice cream. It’s my favorite splurge. So much so, that I bought an ice cream maker. It’s probably my favorite appliance (next to my coffeemaker, of course).

I’ll admit that I have a weak spot for full-fat recipes. But that's mostly because I haven’t come across a light recipe that I’ve really loved.

That is, until I found came across this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe in Food & Wine, from the owner of Jeni’s here in Columbus. I love her ice cream, so I knew this one probably would be a keeper before I even made it.

Even made with whole milk plain yogurt, it’s lighter than most homemade ice creams. By my calculations, it’s about 169 calories for ½ a cup. Not bad at all!

This time around I made it with some frozen strawberries languishing in my freezer (which is much tastier than it sounds!), but I’ve also made a batch with fresh strawberries when they were in season.

If possible, use fresh. The end results are much better. But the frozen worked out just fine, honestly.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Makes about 5 cups
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
One 1/4-ounce package unflavored powdered gelatin
12 ounces strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Fill a large bowl with ice water for an ice water bath.

Pour the lemon juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top; let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the strawberries until smooth. Combine the strawberry puree with the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high until the sugar dissolves — about 1 minute. Remove it from the heat and stir in the lemon gelatin until it melts.

In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt with the lemon zest and the hot strawberry puree. Stir in the heavy cream. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the strawberry yogurt is cold, about 20 minutes.

Pour the strawberry yogurt into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the yogurt to separate containers and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

I think everyone has a recipe or two they keep in their pocket as a "standard" or "go-to" recipe. That one recipe you could make with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back.

Truthfully, I don't have many of these. Even though there's meals I make often like stir-fry, risotto or chili, I'm easily distracted by the newest recipes — whatever happens to be in a new magazine or the cookbook I most recently checked out of the library.

I don't often save the recipes or write them down and even if I do I'd probably lose it before I ever got around to making it again. So God knows if I didn't have this site to keep track of what I was making, I may never make the same recipe twice.

This is all about to change. I think I've found a "go-to" recipe. Stop the presses. Seriously.

Now, I'm not going to pretend these are the BEST turkey meatballs I've ever had in my entire life. That would be an overstatement. But, they are pretty tasty and ridiculously simple, which is really all it takes for me.

What I like about these — besides the fact it only calls for ingredients I have on hand — is that these are a dense meatball. I've made some "fluffy" meatballs, and I guess I just prefer them to be more dense.

Is that weird? I don't know. I like these better than the mystery meatballs from my freezer. I know that much.

These are excellent as meatball subs or even tossed with your favorite marinara sauce and whole wheat pasta.

Turkey Meatballs
8 servings

1 pound lean ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the turkey mixture and shape them into meatball. Place them on the parchment-covered cookie sheet. Repeat to make 32 meatballs.

Bake the meatballs, 10 to 15 minutes until cooked, turning them over every 5 minutes to brown them on all sides.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finding my way back to fitness

Running Shoes

I haven’t been able to work out — really work out — since May. I ran a 5K on May 15 and my back hasn’t been the same since.

The day after the race I was stiff feeling. My back kind of hurt, but I just thought it was because I ran faster than I usually do. So, I went to yoga.

We had a sub who was much faster-paced than the usual instructor is. We also did a few new-to-me poses.

When I still was sore on Monday, I figured it was the run + pushing myself a bit at yoga. So, I spent time on the elliptical to stretch out the kinks.

It still hurt on Tuesday so I took the rest of the week off. By Friday, it hurt to sit at my desk.

It was getting better there for a bit, so I continued my weekly yoga classes. My doctor cleared me to continue swimming and yoga and told me it was likely just a little inflammation. Some stretches and ibuprofen would help, she said.

Then, in yoga class I did a half moon pose. After I did it, I realized people suffering from sciatic pain, like myself, shouldn’t do that pose. Too late.

After that visit to the doctor, I came home with a script for steroids and instructions not to exercise.

Now, three months later, I’m able to start some exercise again. No where near the level I was at — but something is better than nothing.

Walking feels OK and so does the elliptical. As long as I take some ibuprofen, ice, and take a day off in between sessions.

Running is a definite no and a gentle yoga DVD hurt my back during and for days afterward. Lesson learned.

Somedays, I get frustrated. I want to return to yoga and I want to run. Other days, I’m happy I can at least do some activity.

Every day, I’m thankful my injury wasn’t serious. As far as back injuries go, it’s definitely small potatoes. I’ve witnessed MUCH worse.

It’s slowly getting better, so maybe someday I’ll run and practice yoga again. In the meantime, you can find me on the elliptical.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops

Pork with Spice Paste

The weather lately has been fabulous, so I decided to grill out the other night while I still can.

Spice-rubbed pork chops were on the menu. Turn out they were the best pork chops I’ve eaten in a while.

They were spicy, slightly sweet and definitely salty. In other another word — delicious.

I wouldn’t say they’re a great weeknight meal, especially if you’re like me and come home ready to gnaw your left/right arm off. But, it worked well for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Make up the paste, rub ‘em down, wrap them up in plastic and let them sit for an hour or so while you go about your afternoon. When you’re ready to eat, throw them on the grill for a few minutes on either side.

Don’t like pork? The rub would be fantastic on chicken.

One the side I made my standard steamed green beans tossed with olive oil and some random seasoning blend and some smashed potatoes.

This time I smashed them with some salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest. The lemon zest made those potatoes something special. Try it for yourself sometime.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops
Serves 4
Originally from Everyday Food

4 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (see note)
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you’re spice adverse)
4 bone-in center cut pork chops (about 3 pounds)

In a bowl, mix together garlic, oil, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne until a paste forms. Coat pork chops with paste and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 3).

Heat grill to medium-high; clean and lightly oil hot grates. Grill pork, covered, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium, depending on thickness. Mine were thin didn’t take long at all. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Note: The original recipe calls for twice that amount of salt. I made it as written and found it to be too salty for my tastes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A cooking slump

Days like today are exactly why I love fall so much. Sunny and 78 degrees.


My cooking? Not so perfect.

I’ve been absent because I don’t have anything new or tasty to share, honestly. Lots of dishes I’ve made before like vegetarian black bean chili or a riff off these ricotta-stuffed shells with WAY too much fennel seed for my liking.

Pepperoni Pizza

I also made a pepperoni pizza that was pretty great, but I'm still fussing with the crust recipe.

I guess you could say I’ve been in a cooking funk. Good thing fall is almost here to turn things around.

Anyone else feel like fall is like a renewal? Each new season is like that for me, except winter. I loathe winter. On the other hand, I kind of love the word “loathe.”

So, I guess now is a good time as any to look back on my New Year’s resolutions and check up on my progress, right?

  • Continue establishing a healthy routine. I continually struggle with this. I was doing great with exercise and completed my first 5K before I injured myself. Post-injury, exercise and healthy eating have been all over the map. Starting to clean things up though!
  • Continue saving. I rock at this. So much so, that I have a hard time parting with my money. You know it’s bad when your mom needs to convince you to buy a necklace.
  • Read more. I’m listening to Eclipse on tape.. er.. MP3 player. Does that count? It makes my commute suck less and it was free from the library. See the saving more resolution.
  • Try new things outside of my comfort zone. I took the photography class I wanted to take, but had to quit yoga due to my back injury. Sewing classes are still on the list. I should take them before the end of the year. Learning to make a tote bag or an apron would be awesome — and useful.
  • Blog more consistently. I try. I will continue to try. Sometimes, even though I want to post more, booting up my home computer after I’ve sat on the computer at work all day is just too hard. Not an excuse. Just saying.

I'll be back tomorrow with an actual recipe!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Minestrone with Garlic Bread


Yup. I'm that person.

The person that eats soup in 90-degree weather.

It was good soup. The key to the soup is the bacon. The original recipe says bacon is optional. The smoky flavor from the bacon is necessary, in my opinion.

Turns out the beans are optional. I thought I had some in my pantry, but I didn't. That's what I love about soup, though. It's forgiving like that.

On the side a version of garlic bread. I ran the garlic over a microplane and warmed it in a pan with some butter over low. Then, brushed it on some toasted ciabatta. I topped the bread with parm and broiled it until it the cheese melted. YUM.