Posts tagged ‘Cream Cheese’

May 5, 2011

Creamy Hidden Salmon Pasta

I’m starting to think that my salmon suffers from excessive shyness. Bummer! I was so looking forward to showing him off. Looks like he had other plans…

You see, this salmon was given to me by one of my coworkers, who happens to be an avid fly fisherman. Strangely enough, though, he doesn’t care much for fish. So once in a while, when he goes on a fishing trip, I get to be the lucky one who gets to enjoy the “fruit of his labor”.

For some reason, it looks like that particular fish doesn’t want to show his face to the world. Oh, he was a beautiful specimen allright, you know, he has nothing to be ashamed of… I suspect he’s ashamed he got caught and he doesn’t want his buddies to recognize him or something…

I mean seriously, when I initially oven baked it, my pictures came out absolutely awful, so I swore to him I would not show them to anyone. At first, I thought it was my fault, you know, pictures don’t always come out right, now, do they?

But seeing how the second dish in which he was showcased also came out not so good (in picture, I mean… the dish itself was delish!), I’m starting to suspect that Mr. Salmon must’ve jinxed my camera or something… I mean the pictures aren’t soooo bad, really, but you can see that he is definitely HIDING, as if he was just REFUSING to show his face again… Even with all that bright light, you can barely make him out. Only if you look real hard, you can see little pieces here and there…

He’s really shy, I tell you! (but he’s also reaaaaally good! Shhhht, don’t tell him I said that!)

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! Some of you might have read in my weekly menu that I had plans to eat mussels at some point this week if they were available at my local grocery store? Well… I did manage to get some, except they were almost all dead!!! Needless to say they went right back to the store. GRRRRRRR!

Seriously, what is it with all things fish being against me this week?


Ingredients
(serves 3)

  • 225g – 250g whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 250g cooked salmon
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 50g sharp cheddar
  • 60g low fat cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package direction
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook mushrooms over medium heat until they are nice and brown on both sides.
  3. Add onions, salt, pepper and oregano, stir and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli, lower heat to medium and continue cooking until broccoli becomes tender but is remains crunchy and vibrant green, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add salmon, milk and cream cheese. Stir gently until cheese is melted. Make slurry out of corn starch and water, add to sauce and stir until sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.
  5. Add sharp cheddar, turn off the heat and stir until cheese is melted.
  6. Serve immediately over pasta. Garnish with flat leaf parsley.

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April 30, 2011

Creamy Cheesy Cranberry Pine Cone (and sucky run…)

I went for a run this morning. A teenny, weeny, should be easy 6.6km run. Pfft, that’s peanuts, right? NO WAY! It was extremely hard and extremely disappointing.

You know that feeling when you want to give it your all, your brain is all up for it, but your body just won’t follow? You’re like GOOOO BODY GOOOOO and it’s like, NOPE, don’t wanna and you can’t make me. I hate that. It has to be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Well, this morning was 42 minutes and 10 seconds of EXACTLY that. I could never manage to run for more than 3 consecutive minutes, then I’d have to walk for one. My heart rate would get way high in no time at all! I’d walk and get it down to 145-150, then as soon as I’d start running again, it would get back to 175-180. One cannot sustain that kind of intensity for too long, now, can they? And it’s not like I was running fast either. I was trying to keep it slow and steady. To no avail. AAAAARGH! Frustrated. That’s where I’m at now.

But, while I am extremely disappointed with my body’s performance, I have to see this as one hell of a HIIT. That was 42 minutes of it right there! BUT, that won’t get me running a marathon efficiently! Hopefully next time will be better.

On a completely different subject, remember the creamy cheesy pine cone I made for Easter? I did say that it was so good, it was worthy of getting its own post. Well, I am finally giving it to the little fellow, sort of… He only has to share with my morning run frustration. I’d say he’s getting a not so bad deal. Much better than having to share with all the decadent food from the original post, don’t you think? Plus, to me, it really qualifies as feelgood food, so it does belong here. Big time! I wish I still had some. That would make me feel better!

Now for the recipe:

  • 8 oz low fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream
  • The zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 75-100 perfect pecan halves (to make the pine cone effect)

Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (an electric mixer would also work), whip cream cheese and sour cream on medium speed until well incorporated, smooth and creamy in texture, about 2-3 minutes. It might help to have the cream cheese at room temperature before you start.
  2. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Turn onto final serving plate and shape into a teardrop. Cover with a plastic film and, ideally, refrigerate until the next day. This will allow flavours to fully develop.
  4. You might want to wait until the last minute to cover with pecans to avoid them going soft on you. Also, you might want to take your teardrop shaped creamcheese  mixture out of the fridge about an hour or two before you are ready to start laying the pecans so it softens up a bit. Pecans will stick better to cheese that is closer to room temperature.
  5. Start layering the pecan halves at the tip and keep shingling until you get to the top. The first rows will lay flat against the cheese but they will be more and more upright as you move towards the end. This will happen naturally, don’t worry. Just keep them nice and tight and use the best pecans you can find.
  6. Decorate with a few pine branches.

Side note… I think this could easily be made into a pineapple… using the pineapple top instead of pine branches and some of the flesh in the cheese mixture instead of cranberries. I will have to come up with something, but I really like the idea and flavor combination. Stay tuned!

April 25, 2011

OMGIDITGLIFO – Easter Extravaganza!

Wondering about all those letters? They stand for Oh My God I Did It Thank Goodness Lent Is Finally Over!

To me, Lent this year meant 46 days of eating clean, 100% of the time. No processed sugar, in fact, no sweet treats at all. The only exception was a teaspoon of honey here and there when a recipe called for it, and there is this once when I drizzled a half teaspoon over my buckwheat pancake, mostly for the looks… Hey, I had to make that sacrifice so that my picture would look good!!! How’s that for dedication?

So for 46 days, no sugar, no junk, not one french fry, not one potato chip, not even a pretzel, not one drop of alcohol, not one bite of meat (save for fish and seafood), even white flour was off limits. Need I tell you It was tough? It was a heck of a challenge, but I did it!  And I am very proud. Kudos to my kids for also succeeding with their Lent challenge. You kids are good! Hats off to you!

I do feel, however, like this year has been especially long and especially hard… especially when it comes to everything sweet. You see, I have a mega sweet tooth. Sugar would be my one addiction that still isn’t completely under control.

For Easter, my brothers and I went to my parents and had a lovely pot luck lunch. I love pot lucks. You get to eat so many different things in a very relaxed atmosphere. You can walk with your plate and sit anywhere you please. You can eat in small installments, too. The only thing is, I always overeat. At least, this time, I was good. Most of what I ate was healthy and good for me… most, I did say!

For the occasion, I had baked this absolutely decadent Stout and Chocolate Cheesecake. I had found the recipe on Kevin’s Closet Cooking a few weeks ago and I had been drooling and day dreaming about that cake ever since. I was looking sooooo forward to eating it, you can’t even imagine. I think the hardest part of my Lent observance came when I finally made the cake. You see, since I was making it for Easter, I had to prepare it in advance so Lent wasn’t over yet when I actually made it.

Have you ever tried making a cake without even so much as licking your fingers, especially when you have been craving sugar for weeks and you have to look at this melted chocolate, and smell it, and you can’t even taste it? Then you crack open this beer that you really really like, and you don’t even need half of it for your recipe, but you can’t even finish it… It was hell, I tell you! At least, I thought I would get to eat the cake that I’d been daydreaming about in less than 48 hours…

Unfortunately, the cake, while good, was not nearly as good as I expected. I chose to top it with Bailey’s Whipped Cream and, well, I think THAT was my favorite part. For some reason, I think my cake was a little overcooked… It wasn’t nearly as creamy as Kevin’s was. And I couldn’t taste the beer at all. Maybe it’s because I chose to use a different stout, a cocoa and vanilla stout called Aphrodisiaque, which is brewed by a local brewery. Maybe I ought to try the cake again using Guinness this time.

It did look pretty, however, didn’t it?

Another very yummy thing that I contributed to the pot luck is this lovely pine nut shaped cream cheese appetizer.  I got the inspiration here for the shape, but I didn’t care much for the cheese recipe. I’m not big on mayo, you see… and I wanted something orange / cranberry. This turned out soooo good, I think it’s worthy of getting its own post… but it’s basically low fat cream cheese, sour cream, the zest of 1 orange, some parsley and chopped pecans with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and a pinch of cayenne!

The rest of my food contributions are all déjà-vu…

My cold shrimp salad (I cheated and added a can of heart of artichokes…)

My Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

My No Knead Country Loaf  (well, ok… not quite mine… I admit!)

This, my brother made. It’s so easy and soooooo good. You simply take a very fresh salmon fillet, cut it into cubes, then pour some lemon juice over it, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh dill and let it marinate for a half hour or so. The lemon juice will take care of cooking the salmon but it remains super tender. Notice on one of the pictures below, this is the only plate that got completely cleaned!

This plate right there was 750g of salmon and the juice of about 2 lemons. Not much calculation required here, really…

Of course, there was also people at that party!!!

This adorable little fellow would be my nephew, Lyle. He is just the custest kid I have ever seen. Don’t you agree? I think he too, really liked the whipped cream on that cake…

This is my older brother, Sylvain, oh, and Lyle eating cake again… We had this huge chocolate fondue with tons of fruit. YUM!

My niece Rosalie in the foreground and my daughter Natasha (with the red sweater)

My mom, Maria and my sister-in law, Myriam (I guess you can figure out who’s who…) This picture reminds me of “The Last Scene”…  Notice the empty salmon plate… all that’s left are lemon slices!

My younger brother, Patric, and his girlfriend, Myriam

My niece Elisabeth playing the guitar, her sister Rosalie and Lyle, the future heart breaker…

My dad! My favorite dad in the whole wide world! (with again, Lyle in the background… he’s just everywhere, that kid!)

And, well, me! Yep, this is all you’re getting! 😉