Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chop suey

About 250 gr. soybean sprouts
5-7 mushrooms, sliced
1/3 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
About 150 gr jicama, diced
1 1/2 carrots, diced into small bits
About 1/5 head of green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 Cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp. corn starch.
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Heat the oil in a wok, the stir-fry the vegetables. I add them in this order: 1) onion, garlic and bell pepper, 2) sprouts and celery, 3) mushrooms, 4) jicama and carrot, 5) cabbage. That is, I begin with 1, stir-fry a few minutes, then add, 2 and keep cooking, end so on until the cabbage is a bit soft. Naturally there's quite a bit of stirring, but it is stir-drying, right?

While this is going on, mix in a heat resistant bowl or cup the chicken broth (hot), soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, vinegar and corn starch. The end result looks a bit like coffee and cream, perhaps a bit darker. Make sure the corn starch is all dissolved, then reduce the heat and add the sauce to the wok. Stir occasionally and let the sauce bubble.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Loose pasta bake

I'm very sorry for being so remiss in my postings. Largely it's because I haven't really done anything new. Well, I'm back.

Another good name for this dish would be "lazy person's lasagna." But I'm going with the post title instead.


150 gr. any type of flat pasta shapes (I used bows), cooked to taste
150 gr. green cabbage, chopped
75 gr. soybean sprouts
10-20 snow peas
4 large mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
4-6 tbsp. Ricotta cheese (The one I get is more like a spread)
4-6 thin slices of turkey ham, diced
2 jars of spaghetti sauce, 540 gr. each
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste


Preheat oven to 180 C (around 460 F)

In a deep pan or wok, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper (I like my bell pepper well-cooked and soft) until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and keep coking for 2-3 minutes. The  add the rest of the vegetables and cook until the cabbage is soft, say for 10-15 minutes.

While this is going on, cook your pasta shapes.

In a baking dish ad a layer of sauce and spread it with a rubber spatula. Then add a layer of pasta (not all the pasta), again, flattening and spreading it with the spatula. Add the ricotta, again flattening and spreading it Add the vegetables and ham, flattening as needed. Next another layer of sauce. Another layer of pasta (now use it all up. A last layer of sauce to cover it all, and spread some Parmesan on top.

You may want to add a little low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt on top as well. This is entirely optional, naturally. I actually used fresh jocoque, which is a kind of strained yogurt. I like it better as a sour cream substitute, as it is thick and not sweet at all.

Place the dish in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles.

You'll need a spoon to serve it. When you do, it will look like this:


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cottage Cheesecake

I was quite frankly skeptical of this idea but decided to give it a try anyway. My first attempt was ok, but there was room for improvement. So here's what I did:


1 1/2 Cups regular cottage cheese
1 1/3 Cups non-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. flour
7 Tbsp. granulated Splenda (suitable for baking), or sugar if you'd rather.
2 Eggs
2 Egg whites
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Blackberry marmalade as needed for the topping (or any other topping you want)

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

First you need to reduce the cottage cheese to a thick fluid. Since I've been suing it in other recipes, I did what I always do: mix it with something more fluid, yogurt in this case, in the blender and hit the liquefy setting. It works very well.

Next mix the liquefied cheese and yogurt mix with the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl and whisk them together. the order doesn't matter, but it's easier to leave the lime zest and juice for last. Pour the whisked batter into a greased baking dish and place in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

It's a bit hard to say when it's done, as it won't solidify until it cools down a bit first. By my experience, it's done when the mix on the edges of the dish begin to turn golden brown.

Let the pie cool down and spread the marmalade, or the topping of your choice, on top.

The consistency is close to, but quite that, of regular cheesecake. The flavor is very close. For low fat it's really excellent.

I want to try mixing chocolate chips in the batter next. They ought to melt nicely while it melts. Or perhaps add melted chocolate in layers. This would raise the fat content, of course, but it might be worth trying.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Cebollitas (little onions) are a popular side dish at taco restaurants in Mexico (some taco stands also sell them) Usually they're just grilled green onions, but I make them differently:


As many green onions as you want to make, short stem, and make sure you cut off the roots at the other end.
2 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
The juice of 1/2 a lime
A little cooking oil or cooking spray.

Heat up the oil in a skillet. In a cup, mix the soy sauce, Worcestershire and lime juice, stir well. Place the onions on the skillet and cook them until they begin to turn black on one side (see photo above), turn them and keep cooking  until the next side begins to turn black. You need to cook them this much so the inside will be soft.

Add the sauce mix to the skillet and keep cooking until about a third or half of it is consumed.

That's all there is to it. The mix above should be good for 10-12 onions. If you're making more, add more soy and Worcestershire and lime.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Berry Yogurt bake

Remember me?

Sorry. Work's been oppressive lately, to the point where a mere10-hour day seems short. I've still cooked every weekend, but was too tired to post about it. I'm still tired, but also way behind. So let's get to it:


2 whole eggs
2 eggs worth of egg whites (I buy egg whites in a jar as it involves less waste for me)
2-3 Tbsp. granulated Splenda, suitable for baking
1/3 cup brandy
375 gr. plain, non-fat yogurt
a pinch of nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
400-500 gr. berries of your choice, either fresh or frozen (defrost them first!); I used raspberries and blackberries.
2 tsp. Corn starch

In a bowl whisk all the ingredients but the berries. If you used frozen berries and they released some juice as they thawed, add the juice to the mix.

Next place the berries in a baking dish. Add the batter. Place in the oven at about 180 C for around an hour or until it's cooked through.

That's all there is to it.

Coming soon more recipes. I hope sometime this month.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chicken cutlets with chipotle and morita sauce

Sorry for the delay. I've been doing 12-to-14-hour work days for two weeks, and even working some weekends. I've been too tired to post.

But I did cook (I have to eat, don't I?) So here's what I've been up to:


10-12 Roma tomatoes (these are the oblong type; I prefer round tomatoes, but they are scarce right now)
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 dried Chipotles
3-4 dried Morita chiles
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 Chicken bouillon cube, lo-fat and low-sodium
9-10 cilantro branches
220 gr. (about two scoops) cottage cheese
3/4 cup non-fat or low-fat milk
3-4 chicken cutlets (these are skinless, boneless chicken breasts pounded flat) about 800 gr.
Black pepper to taste
Shredded cheese to taste
Low-fat sour cream to taste

First peel and seed the tomatoes. Make sure to place the removed seeds in a colander over a bowl to catch the substantial juice they hold. You'll need it later in the recipe. Next chop the tomatoes into large pieces.

Preheat oven to 200 C (about 390-400 F)

In a big, deep saucepan, heat the oil, then saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Add black pepper if you want to. As the tomatoes cook, they'll release some juices. Keep cooking, stirring on occasion, until the tomatoes are soft and they easily break apart. Add the juice you reserved from the seeds. Reduce heat to minimum and keep cooking, again with occasional stirring, until the whole thing bubbles and boils.

While all this goes on, you need to prepare the chiles. First set water to boil in a small pot, then add the dried chiles. Let them boil for five minutes or so. You want them to soften and hydrate them. Some won't soften much, others will soften too much. Either way is ok. Next cut off the tails and discard them. Sit the chiles length-wise and open them, then remove all the seeds (lots of seeds to remove in this recipe, I know). Cut or shred the chiles into smaller pieces.

Now let the  tomato mix cool down a bit, then place it in a blender along with the cottage cheese, milk, cilantro, cumin, bouillon cube and chiles. Liquefy well. If you need to do it in batches, make sure you put a bit of everything in each batch. The result should be thick and creamy.

Batches or not, you may want to add the chiles in parts, lest the sauce wind up too hot. If it does, add a little tomato sauce and a bit more cottage cheese (this is a guess).

Ok, next pour some sauce on a baking dish and add half the chicken. Sprinkle some cheese, if you want, pour in more sauce, then the rest of the chicken, then the rest of the sauce. Top with some shredded cheese and low-fat sour cream.

Now place the baking dish in the oven, preheated to 200 C or 390-400 F, for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked through. You may want to check after 40 minutes or so. Serve with plain white rice, if you like mixing it in with the chicken, or with Mexican Rice.

I found the sauce delicious, and there was some left when I was done eating the chicken alter in the week. I saved it to use in omelets. It could also be used to make huevos rancheros (hm, I should try that next week!)

A little side note. Chiles are a bit complicated, especially in Mexico. There are many varieties, and some processed varieties have different names. So for example a Chipotle is a smoke-dried big Jalapeño variety, while the Morita is a dried "sweet" Jalapeño variety. Really. So don't try to find "natural" Chipotles or Moritas. they don't exist!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cream of Tomato Soup

This one I made yesterday. Again it's my own recipe, and again it's all made from scratch. About that, I've learned two things: 1) It's very tiring to do everything from scratch, but 2) it's very satisfying.

Without further ado:

Another Anchor container


About 1.25 kilos (almost 3 lbs) of round tomatoes, peeled, cored and seeded, then chopped. Oblong tomatoes should work, but the round ones cook faster and better. They're also easier (but not easy) to seed.
1 small or medium clove of garlic, minced
1 thick slice of onion, chopped.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1.5 liters chicken broth
3/4 Cup low-fat or non-fat milk
5 Tbsp. Cottage cheese (I use regular, which is rather low in fat anyway)
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/3-1/2 tsp. Paprika
420 gr. Tomato puree (or paste, or sauce)

First peel and seed your tomatoes. This is hard work, and I usually assume my readers know how. But in this case it's important that you seed the tomatoes over a strainer in a bowl, to catch and keep the juice that seeding usually produces. So my method for seeding is to quarter the tomatoes and manually remove the seed parts.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and set the onion and garlic to saute. Add the tomato when the onion begins to turn translucent. I cut mine into fairly large pieces, but go any way you want. As they cook, they'll release a lot of juice and will soften considerably; so you want to keep stirring them in order to keep them from burning. When they're soft, add the juice you reserved from seeding.

Cook with the juice until it barely begins to boil. Despite the released juices and the added juice, the mix will be very thick and will form large steam bubbles. So lower the flame to minimum and add the chicken broth. Bring to a slow boil, stirring on occasion.

A word here. I used actually hot water and two low-fat, low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes. The reason is to have a more subtle chicken flavor. If you can do that with broth, great. If not, try my approach.

Good. When the mix boils, turn off the heat and let it cool a bit. You guessed it, the mix will be going to the blender. Do it in batches, adding a little milk and some cottage cheese on each batch. You may want to transfer the soup to a container first, as it's all going back in the pot.

Once it's back in the pot, add the tomato puree, cumin and paprika. Stir well, and again set the heat to low and bring to a slow boil, stirring frequently. Let it simmer a bit after it boils and then serve.

I love tomato soup. I usually have it mixed with boiled, plain white rice and a little lime (yes, lime; I'm like that). Or with crackers and lime, or with croutons and lime, or with rice, crackers and lime. Enjoy!

As I said, it's very satisfying to do it all from scratch (I know I used chicken bouillon cubes and tomato puree). So much so that I later thought "Shouldn't I get canned diced tomatoes?" And I answered myself "No. I might as well get a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup!"

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