Posts tagged ‘Spinach’

June 6, 2011

Savory Broccoli and Spinach Cheesecake

WHOA! Hold the phone! What’s that I read? CHEESECAKE?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “Sonia, didn’t you just say you were going to keep your calorie intake in check and cook more light and low cal dishes for a while? And yet, here you are, making CHEESECAKE? Are you, like, out of your mind or something?

Well, not exactly! 😉 While cheesecake isn’t exactly you typical low cal dish, believe it or not, one serving of this baby will only set you back about 425 calories.

Not bad for such a rich and decadent dish. While eating it, you would never guess that it was so healthy and surprisingly light. It definitely feels super rich and creamy and oh so cheesy.

You see, I was initially planning on making a quiche, but I suddenly remembered that I had bought about a million packages of low fat cream cheese last time it came on sale (I know, I have to work on that…) and so my mind immediately went “SAVORY CHEESECAKE” and this huge grin came across my face.

Then I remembered: “-Low cal”. D’OH!

I had to think of a way to make this happen. HAD TO!

And I did!

How? I remembered that one could also use cottage cheese to make cheesecakes! Bingo, problem solved. I used one package of low fat cream cheese, one container of 1% cottage cheese and a little bit of Feta cheese for added flavour and texture.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY happy with the results. The texture is rich and creamy with nice chunks of vegetables and the pie as a whole doesn’t feel heavy at all despite being loaded with cheese. The taste? Hard to describe… but definitely YUMMY!

There’s only one tiny little detail that didn’t quite work out… the crust isn’t of the cuddly kind and doesn’t seem to want to cling to the cheese filling. That’s why I decided to garnish with arugula leaves, to hide the gap that had formed between the crust and the filling. Problem solved? Not quite that easily…

The slices are a little tricky to cut, but if you make a small “starter” indentation in the crust, the rest goes pretty good. However, once a slice is cut, the “gap” transforms into a drawbridge, so you sort of have to hold it in place with a toothpick.

Not sure how to solve that problem… I will have to think of something… Edible superglue?

Anywho, that won’t stop me from making this wonderful savory cheesecake again, or even from bringing it to an eventual party. I am truly happy with this experiment and the way it turned out.

And, now that I’ve got a good base, I can play with different flavour combinations!

Oh! food, how I love thee!

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp oranic no salt seasoning
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 140g spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 250g low fat cream cheese
  • 500g 1% fat cottage cheese
  • the zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
  • 100g Feta cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS
(serves 6)

Crust

  1. Whisk flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk oil, yogurt and egg; pour over flour.
  2. Stir to form fairly smooth dough.
  3. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes.
  4. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-13 inch disc. Fit into 9 inch spring form pan, letting excess hang over edge. Set aside.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion, bell pepper and seasoning over medium heat, until fragrant and onion becomes translcent, about 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking for another minute or two.
  3. Add water and balsamic vinegar. Cook until all water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add chopped spinach and nutmeg. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Scrape the sides once or twice during process to make sure all cheese is well incorporated.
  5. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, Dijon mustard and give a quick stir.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth between each addition. Add the egg whites and take the mixture for a final spin.
  7. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add crumbled feta and creamy cheese mixture. Fold delicately until well combined.
  8. Transfer this mixture into the reserved crust. Immediately put in the oven and lower temperature to 325F.
  9. Cook for 55-60 minutes, until cake is set.
  10. Allow cake to cool completely before unmolding.
  11. Garnish with arugula leaves right before serving.

May 4, 2011

Go Green – Have Some Soup!

The last couple of days have been absolutely crazy for me, and you know what they say, work always comes first! So that’s what I did! I worked, worked, worked.

That, combined with my the fact that I made poor Mr. Salmon look like he had seen a ghost or something the other night and didn’t dare show his face to the world, for fear that he might send his friends after me, I feel like I’ve been neglecting my journal for wayyyy too long! (Hey, that was 2 whole days!!!!)

Hmmm… come to think of it, it looks like I’m not having much luck with fish lately: failed fish and chips, scary looking oven baked salmon… maybe I should stick to grains, or vegetables!

Speaking of which, this soup I made for supper last night is just loaded with all sorts of green veggies. If you’re not big on vegetables, or on tofu, here’s a very good way to get some into that belly of yours! And if you really can’t stand tofu, you can always leave that one out… it would only make your soup a little less thick!

Ingredients
(Serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 whole broccoli, florets only
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried savory
  • 2 tsp organic no salt seasoning
  • 225g tofu, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 100g fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup soy milk (or whatever milk you like to use)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 150g extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Chopped flat parsley to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and broccoli along with seasonings and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and veggies start to colour, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tofu and water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for about 5-8 minutes, until broccoli is tender but still has a little crunch. It has to remain a beautiful bright green.
  3. Remove from heat; add green peas and spinach then puree until smooth using a hand blender (or food processor).
  4. Mix cornstarch into milk and add to soup. Stir and give another quick boil.
  5. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Serve immediately (garnish with flat parsley, a little bit of the grated cheese and a few green peas)

April 4, 2011

Rustic Sweet Potato Chestnuts Galette

Tracey, over at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, gave me the inspiration for this dish . When I saw it, I thought that tart looked so amazingly good but I really didn’t like the idea of using so much butter in the crust. I think that, unfortunately, good old pie crust is a thing of the past for me… It requires way too much fat to be a part of my regular diet. But I refuse to cross pies entirely off my list! I like them way too much for that. I simply have to look for ways to make them a whole lot healthier.

Back to Tracey’s tart, I thought that the “bready” crust I had used for my rustic spinach feta galette would work great! Then I thought maybe if I was going to use that crust, that I could do the exact same technique as the one I had used for said galette but change the stuffing to match that of the tart! Aaaah, now there’s a great idea!

From there, I totally forgot about the recipe and let my imagination run wild. I had to use sweet potatoes, as to me, that was the base ingredient. I also wanted chestnuts in there. And spinach was also a must. For some reason, I really wanted to try the spinach, chestnuts and sweet potato combination. I wasn’t convinced it was going to work well with the feta cheese but still, I had to try it. If it didn’t work out, then I could always make a few adjustments next time…

Well, I think I made a pretty good call in the end. No adjustments necessary here. I think all the flavours and textures complemented each other just fine. This is another keeper, for sure. Oh, and I have some leftover in the fridge, so now I look forward to trying it cold. I’m hoping it’ll be just as good as the spinach / feta version was!

I just love easy, versatile dishes such as this one!

Ingredients
(serves 4-6)

Crust

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 450g spinach
  • 300g roasted and peeled chestnuts (pre-packaged)
  • 125g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Poppy seeds

Instructions

  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, milk and egg; pour over flour. Stir to form fairly smooth dough. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry onions, stirring often, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Every 2-3 minutes, add water, a few tablespoons at a time and let it evaporate completely before adding more. When onions are nice and caramelized, transfer to large bowl.
  • Add sweet potato and fry for 5-10 minutes, to give it a nice brown coloration. Add ¼ cup water and cook for another 5 minutes, until all water has evaporated. Transfer to bowl with onions.
  • Add spinach, in batches, and cook until wilted. Drain and squeeze out moisture. Mix into onions and potatoes, along with chestnuts, feta, cottage, egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 16 inch disc. Fit into greased (brush with olive oil) 9 inch cast iron skillet, letting excess hang over edge.
  • Mound filling in center; lift pastry up over filling, letting it fall naturally into folds and leaving 5 inch opening in the center. Brush dough with egg white, sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  • Bake in bottom third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is steaming, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.