Creme Brulee

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Until Father's Day, I had not made creme brulee in at least a year in a half. That's a long time considering everyone loves it and I used to make it most times we had guests for dinner. The idea of turning creme brulee vegan was always too daunting, so I never tried.
So when my grandparents were in town for Fathers Day, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bust out the ramekins and torch.
Not much else to say in this post as 1. you just have to follow the recipe, be patient and then die and go to heaven. 2. I am re-reading Harry Potter this summer and I spend all my free time doing that, so I'd like to stop typing and get back to that, thank you very much. (I'm on the 3rd one- I can't help myself.)
I did modify this from an Alton Brown recipe- I tried to go easy on the heavy cream thing and I think the modification turned out splendid. Also, if you don't have real vanilla beans because they are disgustingly expensive and you aren't blessed with a bunch of cheap ones from Mexico, just use vanilla extract.

The creme brulee team.

Creme Brulee: adapted from Alton Brown

1 quart fat free half and half
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve for another use (like sticking it in a bowl of white sugar and making vanilla sugar- seriously good).

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color.

Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into 6 (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour some water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar on top. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the creme brulee to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Look at that delicious sugar top...mmm.

Run: June 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This month's race was more special than previous ones. It was just a 5K, but it was in Lincoln (oh how amazing that was!) and it was for an incredible organization, "Ride to Walk" and one special little girl, Ally.
My mom photographed Ally and her family at the end of last year. Ally was only 5, born with cerebral palsy and had loving parents and an adorable little sister. Check them out here. A few weeks after my mom did the photos, Ally passed away.
When I heard her parents were creating a run in honor of Ally, to benefit "Ride to Walk", I knew exactly what my June run would be.
Ride to Walk is a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with special needs.

Check out their website to lend them a little support.

They are located off of 193 in Lincoln. I have been to the property many times before- to volunteer for the organization, help my mom take engagement photos, and even as a high school student building homes for the wood duck population.

The beautiful property

It was wonderful for me to be on the property on Saturday; reminded of all the reasons I love Lincoln as I ran through the hilly, dusty, rocky, grassy terrain intermingled with cement and road. (Yes I encountered all of those)
Now for the nuts and bolts of how I did:

the weather was great, maybe a little too windy, but I will take that over "I wanna die" heat. I started off really strong and maybe a little too fast, but I was pumped: I was so happy to be running this race, I was stoked to be in Lincoln and I had a killer song on my ipod. The course looped around the same path twice and I was regretting my speed a little bit the second time around. The tough part came as we made our way back to the entrance to the property. People cheered and I thought, "oh this must be the last 0.1 mile or so" Of course, I booked it, only to realize I had about 0.5 mile to go. I kept pushing thinking, "where is the end?" but I didn't want to stop because I knew I was almost there.
I was surprised when I saw my time- about 3 minuted longer than I assumed, but I got over it. It wasn't until I got home that night and saw an e-mail explaining that the course was about 0.3 miles longer than a 5K. It was nice to know I hadn't lost my mind and that I know my body and how fast it's going.

Our cool timing tracker...never seen one of these.

I posted more pics than i usually do because this race's cause was closer to my heart than most. Enjoy them, The race was so organized and the race packets were awesome: a cool shirt, lots of treats and all assembled in a Ziploc bag with our race numbers and safety pins. So mark your calendars for June 18th, 2010 for the 2nd annual Race for Ally. This time they're adding a 10K!

And what is this blog without a little food? They had these amazing scones after the race, so I posed with it and my medal; like the total dork that I am.

Ode to the Green Olive

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A couple weeks ago I posted that antipasto tray I threw together. I may or may not have mentioed that I used to dislike the little green oilve. Do not fret, friends. I love him now. So much so that I need to decide how to marinate and stuff himself so I am not wasting my money on the Whole Foods olive bar when I could be spending it on books, races, and my trip to Europe next summer.
The green olive and I are in the honeymoon stage, so I have written a little poem about him.

Eh hem...

Ode to the Green Olive

In my younger years,
your taste made me curl my face in disgust
In martinis they would give me fears-
your salty skin and bittnerness I did not trust

So sorry, little green one
I have matured, and so have my tastebuds.
To your black bff I still say "yuck!"
But with you I am simply awestruck

Fish burger (sort of).

Friday, June 11, 2010

You're looking at this picture thinking, "what the heck is that and thank you for not making me eat it."
I promise that these reminants of dinner last night were delicious.
I'm showing you, what ladies and gentlemen? A fish burger. Bunless, you see, because this is today's lunch and I try not to have a lot of bready type carbs at lunch; especially when I know I am eating crepes for dinner. (Insert jealousy here)
I've been dying to adapt and make a fish burger recipe I've had on hand for months and last night I did. I used cod, but I think you could sub almost any fish for it. The problem, as you've probably noticed, is that it fell apart on the grill. I'm talking a giant mess: I could have lifted up the grill grate and fed myself with all the bits below.
I need to work on this recipe- I don't know if it needs more olive oil, maybe some flour, less ingredients? Maybe it can't be done on a grill, or I need to start it in a pan. I will revisit this recipe and report back, but I suggest trying your hand at this recipe. Despite the crumbly mess we piled on the bun with tomato, avocado, lettuce and sour cream dill lime sauce (recipe to come later), everyone said the flavor was great.
I will admit there is one ingredient I added, you may or may not find: A mango tequila sauce/marinade type thing I buy at Nugget and Whole Foods. The burger will taste great without it, but I thought this divine sauce (the only way to describe it) would make a great addition.

Fish burger: adapted from foodnetwork Marlin burger

Makes 5-6 burgers (as long as it doesn't all fall through the grill)

1.5 pounds ounces fresh marlin
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 half large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for topping uncooked burgers
Pinch salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Earth and Vine (I think) mango tequila sauce or mango salsa or forget this ingredient all together

4 hamburger buns, toasted
Lettuce, tomato, avocado and sour cream lime dill sauce, for serving

Put the fish in a vitamix or food processor and grind. Transfer the fish into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and then mix everything with a spoon.
Drizzle a little olive oil on each side of the patties.
Place patties on a hot grill, close the grill and let cook for 6-7 minutes, flip (if you dare!) until fish is white and flakey.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We're still not done with the food I made over graduation weekend, which is fitting because I don't think I'm done being tired either. It's been a long time since I've struggled with my alarm yelling at me at 6 am, but coming off the heels of the trip to Boise and then gearing up for the grad week, I find myself startled every morning, wishing I had a bat or club to use on the alarm clock I've had since 4th grade.
If only I still had one of these muffis to greet me...
These are adapted from this blog. I must say, it is my favorite food blog at the moment. The recipes are always wonderful- healthy or not- and the author always seems to say the right thing at the right time. (She's a mom and they seem to have a knack for that.)
You might know I have a thing against sticking veggies in baked goods and then covering them up with a bunch of unhealthy ingredients. Can you say oxymoron? (Not that I didn't just make a batch of unhealthy cupcakes for the party last weekend.) Look at this link for the full recipe, but use my adaptations and I promise you they will still come out moist, sweet and delicious and I won't tell if you slab on a little melted butter.

Adaptations to In Praise of Leftovers "Sunday School Muffins"
1. sub white flour for whole wheat flour (at least do half and half)
2. I didn't have oat bran, so I used wheat bran- use what you can find
3. Reduce white sugar to 2/3 cup natural sugar
4. sub 1 cup applesauce for oil, or 3/4 cup sauce and 1/4 cup canola oil
5. 2 eggbeaters, 1 egg- or use all eggs; no big deal.

Antipasto Platter

Monday, June 7, 2010

When all of our graduation guests arrived on Wednesday, I figured I'd need a little something to keep them happy and their bellies full until the spaghetti (nothing more than a large pot to feed the masses) was ready. Ok, maybe they didn't really need anything, so much as I love having guests because it is an excuse for me to make food I don't usually make.
Since we were eating Italian food, I went for an antipasto platter sans the meat- I don't know if that really makes it an antipasto platter, but give me a break. I went to the olive bar at Whole Foods, got extraordinarily giddy over olives and onions and set them on a platter with some veggies and homemade roasted garlic hummus.

Here are the baby mozzarella, roasted garlic pickles, onions and olives (some stuffed with garlic- yum!)

Serve that hummus with fresh cut veggies- especially for those who want to opt for a lower calorie pre-meal snack.

I cheated slightly; buying the roasted garlic from WF, but you can certainly roast your own or just use raw garlic. I do not have an exact recipe for the hummus, but as long as you use all these ingredients and start with a small amount of each and taste until you reach your palette's desired satisfaction, you'll be fine.

Roasted Garlic Hummus
Makes about 1.5 cups
1 can garbanzo beans- drained
2 tablespoons sesame tahini (look for this next to the all natural peanut butter)
6-8 cloves roasted garlic (use less if it's raw garlic)
1/2 squeezed lemon
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (this is the ingredient you're really going to have to experiment with quantity wise)
salt and pepper to taste

Dump all ingredients through lemon into your Vitamix, food processor, blender, etc. Pulse until it because chunky- not completely smooth. Then, with the machine running, drizzle a steady stream of olive oil- start with about 1/4 cup. You'll need as much olive oil as it takes to give the mix that creamy, smooth texture. Add the salt and pepper, run for a few seconds and then taste to make sure it has your desired flavor and texture.

Nota bena: You do not have to add garlic to this. Make red pepper, sun dried tomato, olive, or anything else you desire. I would still add a couple cloves of raw garlic to any hummus you make.

No named dinner

Friday, June 4, 2010

I have no idea what to call this meal, so I am not calling it anything besides, "Everyone else was having sausages and grilled veggies on buns, but Ali ate too much bread today so she was passing on the bun."
My "too much bread" came from a delicious muffin I had at lunch and I try to eat meat only once a day and had chicken in a salad, so my dinner was going to have to be quite different than the rest of the fam's.
I grilled some veggies- a summer staple: onions, peppers and portobello mushrooms and mixed it with some tofu, served with some roasted red potatoes.
Tofu was on sale this week and here's the thing about tofu: it's cheap and accommodating. I fried this tofu- gasp! But only because 1. it tastes good and 2. I have yet to research an excellent baked tofu recipe (help me out of you have one).
As this dinner has no name, I am unsure if it has a recipe either, but I'll tell you how to cook tofu and potatoes in case your cooking repertoire does not extend past mac n' cheese and PBJ sandwiches.

Roasted red potatoes:
Serves 5-6
Buy 6 red potatoes.
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut in half long way, then half again, then those quarters into chunks.
Place in a baking dish, big enough that the potatoes don't overlap. Drizzle with about a tablespoon or two, or more if you like!, of olive oil and a generous portion of rosemary, salt and pepper.
Leave in over for about 30-40 minutes- until golden brown.
Serve with ketchup, ranch and/or hot sauce.

Crispy tofu:
Serves 3-4
In a LARGE skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Let it get REALLY hot, but don't burn it.
While heating, get a package of extra firm tofu and cut into cubes. Pat them dry- no excess H20, people. Place tofu in the hot skillet, leaving room for them to breathe- if your skillet is not big enough, do this in two batches.
Leave the pan on medium high and leave the darn things alone!! Let them cook on one side for about 6 minutes and then flip it when they are golden. Repeat the process. Do this to every side and place the golden pieces on a paper towel. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

For some reason people were having a terrible time posting comments to the blog.
The word verification thing-a-mijig was cut off and playing difficult.
Well, friends- that is an issue no longer. Post away, and if you try a recipe, please comment on how it went- I love to know there are other people out there cooking too.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I had to cut the salad series short because, well, I went to Boise last weekend for a best friend's bridal shower/bachelorette party extravaganza and let's just say there was not a lot of salad to be had.
There were many salads at her shower on Friday night, but I was not gonna pull out my camera and say, "Hey, hostess I don't know, can I be a weirdo and take a pic of your salads?" They were quite delicious and I am forever grateful for them because besides the bruschetta I made for the bach party, and the veggies in the Chinese food Sunday night, I think that was the extent of my greens.
In any case, it was a truly fabulous weekend and so fun to be with "my girls" and to become friends with some new ones too.
Monday, Jena had already returned home and Maddie and I had a day to play in Boise. She took me to a quaint little place for breakfast- Le Cafe De Paris. Promise me you'll say it in a sweet French accent, okay?
We split a nutella crossiant, which we downed too quickly for me to photograph, and I had this cute little frittata (can eggs be cute?) You can choose between a list of cheeses, meats and veggies to go inside it. I had some bacon- I could not resist, no cheese- shocker, and peppers and onions (yay for veggies). It was served with pico de gallo and some of the best potatoes (I'm not just saying that because I was in Spud City) I've ever had. They were probably from California... only kidding.
This is one of those places that will make you long to go to France and I am honestly still surprised at how adorable and cute and chic and trendy Boise is, every time I go- how judgmental of me, but it's true!

My sister graduates high school this week and family starts For me this means the craziness is about to begin, but for you, this means lots of posts are coming.