Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tahini and Oatmeal Cookies

I bought tahini sauce last week and haven't done anything with it yet. Last night, I got the baking bug again and decided to make tahini cookies. Surprisingly, they actually came out okay, all without the use of sugar. If you want to make these vegan, take out the honey, add raw sugar (experiment using 1/2 cup to start) and water (again, experiment adding a little at a time). Since they need a binding agent, ground of chia seeds to act like an "egg" should work well. Anyway, I got in the mood to bake last night and try something a little different.

5 tablespoons tahini
3/4 cup honey (I used 1/2 cup raw honey, 1/4 cup orange blossom honey)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup freshly ground flax seed
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup freshly ground almonds
1/2 cup coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a medium sized bowl, combine by hand (mixer would be too much for it) the honey, tahini, and cinnamon togther. Add in the rest of the ingredients.

Using a teaspoon, place the dough on the cookie sheet, placing them about two inches apart. I found that the higher mound you can make, the better. You don't want flat cookies or they will burn very easily and spread.

Bake for about 8 minutes, until the edges are browned, but not burned! Be careful, these can go from done to burned very quickly (yes, I learned quickly). Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before you attempt to move them onto a cooling rack.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seared Tuna

A few weeks ago, I had a mental health day (sounds so much better than I took the day off from work because I was stressed and needed to, well, not to be). I went up to Annapolis to hang out with my friend Kelly. It was fantastic. Talked, relaxed, and most importantly, destressed. We made dinner together and since her family doesn't love tuna as much as she, she was excited to have someone share it with (I love ahi tuna). Quite yummy.

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, de-ribbed, minced
2 tablespoons of peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 limes, freshly squeezed (pick out any seeds)
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tuna steaks (go for sustainably raised tuna! Whole Foods is good about that)
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and olive oil. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet on high heat for one minute. Coat the pan with the canola oil and let heat up for 30 to 45 seconds. Sprinkle the tuna pieces with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt or it can be very salty with the soy sauce). Sear the tuna for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on how well-done you like your tuna.

Pour some sauce on a plate. Place the tuna on top and place more sauce on top of the tuna. We ate it with sliced avocado and lime wedges on the side. Delicious! Thanks Kelly!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mushroom Tartlets

Katie, a dear co-worker, has decided to go onto greener grad school. In pure foodie fashion, we celebrated with lots and lots of food and goodies. Everything was finger food, with the exception of the chocolate covered homemade cheesecake, served with chocolate dipped strawberries....yes, we go all out at my job. Here is one of the appetizers. (*Note, I used premade frozen pastry dough due to time constraints.)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 ounces portobello mushrooms, diced
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 cup milk (I used fat free)
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons flour
Pastry dough

Cut the pastry dough into small rounds (I used a small cookie cutter). Place on a greased cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and onion over medium heat. Cook until translucent, but not browned. Add in the mushrooms. Cook until the juices begin to be released. Add in the spices. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the milk and flour. Stir well. It will become thickened. Take off heat and cool for a few minutes.

Then, using a teaspoon, put the mixture on top of each round. I was worried that the mixture would spread and melt off the rounds once in the oven; however, it did not. So don't be afraid!

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Enjoy warm!

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Grilled" Veggies

Recently my father gave me a grill skillet (let's say it was a 4th of July present...On a side note, I think everyone should celebrate America by giving cookware to each other). I finally busted it out tonight for dinner. I got all different types of veggies and did what other apartment dwellers do. Pretend I have a home with a backyard and in that yard a grill. I marinated the veggies in baggies and everything. Very exciting for me! Yes, it may say something considering I find using new cookware the highlight of my week. :-)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping teaspoons honey (I used raw blossom honey)
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons balsalmic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove minced
Assorted veggies (I used carrots, green and red bell peppers, red onions, asparagus, Japanese eggplant, and zucchini), chopped in large pieces

Combine all the ingredients together in ziplock baggies. Close well and make sure the marinade coats the veggies well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Then over medium to high heat, cook the veggies on a grill skillet for a few minutes on each side. Serve while hot.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Slow Cooker Cheese Enchiladas

Last month I made cheese enchiladas. Totally hooked (not a surprise since I've loved them FOREVER!). I got the idea to do cheese enchilads in a slow cooker. I'm trying to actually use my slow cooker other than just during the winter time. And since classes will be starting up soon and my schedule will once again be insane, it would be nice to have easy meals ready to go. Not to mention that I, along with every other person, is trying to save money. So, limiting the eating out if at all possible. (I am determined to get credit card debt free in just under two will be a birthday present to me. Ha! I spoil myself.) Anywho, this is my attempt at a cheese enchilada casserole.

Shredded cheese (I used Trader Joe's shredded soy cheese)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 package corn tortillas
1 bottle enchilada sauce (again, I love Trader Joe's)

Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with enchilada sauce and then layer in the following order:

Tortillas, green pepper and onion, beans, cheese, sauce, tortillas....

Cook on high for 2 hours and then lower the heat to low and cook for another 2 hours.