Monday, October 26, 2009


It's interesting being a science major. After semester of calculating velocities and memorizing mechanisms in organic chemistry, I've stumbled across a class that actually has some practical applications... you know if you aren't going to graduate school for physics or chemistry... which I'm not.

Biochemistry. Yes it sounds intimidating, but I assure you there are hidden interesting nuggets to be found. After our second exam memorizing tons of pathways (can I get a Kreb's Cycle Woot Woot!) our professor lectured on something I found to be extremely interesting.


Yes, remember those things that your mother made you take every morning? Maybe that was just mine... But here are some that I though would be applicable to the college student... or anyone for that matter:

Vitamin B1 (the one I found most important...)

According to our professor, almost 60% of the population has a vitamin B1 deficiency. Vitamin B1 (or Thiamine) is critical in energy pathways of the body. Mild cases of vitamin B1 deficiency present as fatigue and depression. Ringing any bells among college students? Not even kidding, I've been taking a regular old multivitamin and I've been less tired since I've started taking them... Thank you biochemistry! Here's some more tidbits you might like to know!

For the record, Most daily vitamin pills contain a Vitamin B complex, which contains a whole slew of vitamin B's for your body's pleasure. See:

B vitamins are found in all whole, unprocessed foods. Processing, as with sugar and white flour, tends to significantly reduce B vitamin content. B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat, and other good sources are potatoes, bananas, lentils, chile peppers, tempeh, beans, liver oil, liver, turkey, tuna, nutritional yeast, brewer's yeast, and molasses.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

300-calorie dinners

Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)—Sliced almonds add a delectable, almost-like-fried-chicken crunch to the breading for these tender pieces of pork. We slice the pork thinly to keep the cooking time quick. The resulting pork “fingers” are great dipped in this surprisingly simple, delicious honey, soy and mustard sauce.

Catfish & Potato Hash—Hash isn’t just for corned beef. It’s also great made with catfish—or other flaky white fish. Any ham adds flavor to the hash, but we think a higher-quality smoked ham will give you the biggest flavor-bang for your buck. Serve with a poached egg on top and a green salad.

Sweet Potato-Peanut Bisque—This satisfying vegetarian sweet potato soup is inspired by the flavors of West African peanut soup. We like the added zip of hot green chiles, but they can sometimes be very spicy. It’s best to take a small bite first and add them to taste. Try chopped peanuts and scallions for a different garnish. Serve with a mixed green salad with vinaigrette.

Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry—Spiked with lots of zesty lemon, this delectable chicken stir-fry has a colorful mix of snow peas, carrots and scallions. But feel free to substitute other thinly sliced vegetables, such as bell peppers or zucchini. Serve with: Rice noodles or brown rice.

Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

1 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large egg white, beaten
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
2. Place breadcrumbs, almonds, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until the almonds are coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.
3. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip both sides of each pork slice in egg white, then evenly coat with the almond mixture. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the pork on the prepared rack and coat on both sides with cooking spray.
4. Bake the pork until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 16 to 18 minutes.
5. Meanwhile/, whisk honey, soy sauce and mustard in a small bowl. Serve the pork with the honey-mustard sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 299 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 74 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 3 g fiber; 561 mg sodium; 562 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Potassium & Zinc (16% daily value).

Note: We like Ian’s brand of coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets. To make your own breadcrumbs, trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry and crispy, about 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs.

- from yahoo (Carolyn Malcoun)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tapa: Crema de Cabrales (sorta...)

  • ¼ pound blue cheese (the Spanish variety is cabrales, but gorgonzola or roquefort may be used)
  • 2 teaspoons raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon white grape juice or cider
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoons apple, finely chopped (about half a peeled apple)
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Remove blue cheese from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (let it sit on the counter for an hour or more).
  2. Soak the raisins in the fruit juice for 20 minutes.
  3. Using a spoon, remove the raisins from the juice and set aside.
  4. When the cheese has reached room temperature, place it in a small mixing bowl.
  5. Add the cream and fruit juice.
  6. Using a fork or wooden spoon, combine ingredients until smooth.
  7. Stir in raisins, apple, walnuts, and thyme.
  8. Serve with crackers.


Found this on the internet while searching for spanish foods. Okay, so the ONLY thing I did differently was use goat cheese instead of bleu cheese, mainly because a few of my friends don't like bleu cheese. But this came out wonderfully! It's a little rich with the goat cheese, but well worth every bite.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Girls Night:: Spanish/Latin food

Another great night getting together with my favorite girls. We tried to do a latin/spanish inspired dinner. We ended up with Quesadillas and Paella, both which were awesome. Sadly, the picture of the quesadillas came out poorly, so I omitted that. I'll also post the recipe for the paella once I get it :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stop Overeating?

Interesting article on a new drug to stop over eating using real science?

yeah right....

Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic Chicken
[from Giada De Laurentiis]

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (giblets, neck and backbone reserved for another use)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve.


So I've had this bookmarked for a while and I FINALLY had the time to make this recipe. The ONLY modification I used was using chicken breast instead of a whole chicken. And honestly, the flavors were very good, brought me back to working at Big Tomato and enjoying their own balsamic chicken. The only problem I had was the stupid chicken texture was horrible. I'm not buying perdue anymore... I think I've stated that fact before... it's terrible...

Article: Dangerous Foods?

Leafy greens -- including lettuce and spinach -- top the list of the 10 riskiest foods, according to a study from a nutrition advocacy group released Tuesday.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest listed the following foods, in descending order, as the most risky in terms of outbreaks: leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries.

The scientists rated these foods, all of them regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, by the number of outbreaks associated with them since 1990, and also provided the number of recorded illnesses.

The severity of the illnesses ranged from minor stomach aches to death, the center said. With leafy greens such as lettuce, the top cause of illness were pathogens like E. coli, Norovirus and Salmonella in foods that were not properly washed.

Over the past 20 years, leafy greens caused 363 outbreaks, resulting in 13,568 reported illnesses, the center said. That's compared to berries, No. 10 on the list, which were associated with 25 outbreaks totaling 3,397 reported illnesses.

"Leafy greens are a healthy home run, but unfortunately they're associated with food-borne illness," said Sarah Klein, a staff lawyer with the center who helped prepared the study.

In all, the Top 10 resulted in more than 1,500 outbreaks, totaling nearly 50,000 reported illnesses, according to the center, which added that most food-related illnesses don't get treated or reported, so the real total is likely much larger.

"Millions of consumers are being made ill, hundreds of thousands hospitalized and thousands are dying each year from preventable foodborne illnesses," the study said. "Unfortunately, the FDA is saddled with outdated laws, and lacks the authority, tools and resources to fight unsafe food."

Food producers, including the Western Growers Association, released statements criticizing the report.

"Farmers are consumers, too," the association said, in a release from spokesman Paul Simonds. "They eat the fresh produce they grow as do the members of their families, and have invested millions of dollars enhancing food safety practices in the last few years. Scaring people away from eating some of the healthiest foods on the planet, like fresh produce, does not serve consumers."

Salmonella was also a chief culprit in egg, cheese and tomato-related illnesses, the study said, in cases when eggs are undercooked and when cheese is not processed properly.

Salmonella can be difficult to remove from raw tomatoes without cooking, according to the study.

The study also associated Salmonella and E. coli with potatoes. Klein said this generally happens when cold-prepared potato items, such as potato salad, are mixed with other contaminated ingredients.

Unrefrigerated fresh tuna deteriorates quickly, the study said, releasing harmful toxins, and canned tuna gets dragged into the picture because of mixed-in ingredients such as mayonnaise. Improperly washed oysters are at risk of Norovirus.

Rich Ruais, executive director of the Blue Water Fisherman Association and the American Blue Fin Tuna Association in Salem, N.H., disagreed with the study's "bad rap" on tuna.

"Tuna? I beg to differ," he said. "Tuna is one of the healthiest foods on the Earth. It's life sustaining; it's life prolonging."

Ruais said the tuna-based diet of Japanese citizens plays a big part in their high average longevity. He also said the FDA strictly mandates that tuna is gutted and stuffed with ice immediately after it's caught by commercial fisherman, and submerged in slush once it gets to shore, to prevent risk of pathogens.

More surprisingly, bacteria can also survive in ice cream, primarily from the Salmonella contamination of eggs, an important ingredient that is sometimes undercooked, the study said. Much of the study's blame goes to a 1994 outbreak that sickened thousands of ice cream lovers in 41 states.

The National Milk Producers Federation released a statement criticizing the report as "based on outdated information."

"Cheese and ice cream products are among the safest, most stringently regulated foods in this country," said the federation, in its release. "The cheese examples in this report mostly concern consumption of raw milk products, which neither [the] FDA nor the dairy industry recommends. The ice cream example is 15 years old and was an isolated incident."

-By Aaron Smith, staff writer On 2:07 pm EDT, Tuesday October 6, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Egg Roll Wraps

As I was perusing the new "organic" publix that opened up here in Gainesville, I came across egg roll wrappers. I'm not sure if the regular publix carried these (they probably do...) but I was so excited to finally find some. I've seen a lot of recipes using egg roll wraps or wonton wraps that I've been dying to try. And here's my first attempt...

Chicken Egg Roll Wraps
  • 1/2 pound already cooked chicken
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 package egg roll wraps.
  • 1 egg (or water)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Shred the cooked chicken and toss in a little bit of teriyaki sauce.
3. Combine in a bowl with about half a bag of coleslaw mix
4. To make the egg roll: "Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper." - Thank you wiki how for putting it in words!. Also The Hungry Housewife has some lovely pictures explaining, not to mention a kick ass south western recipe..
5. Add a LITTLE bit of the filling to the center of the roll and fold as described above.
6. To seal the egg roll, brush the edges with a little bit of egg or water (this acts as a glue)
7. Once all the rolls are assembled, brush the tops with the egg (optional... makes it look prettier..)
8. bake at 350 for 7 minutes, flipping over, then 7 minutes.

OVERALL: Yeah, so this was a fun dinner. Making the egg rolls was the longest part. Perhaps the saddest thing was that I had to bake them instead of fry them... simply because we don't have a deep fryer or a thermometer to safely heat oil... maybe one day. These didn't turn out too bad though. Just like with the Buffalo Chicken Empanadas I overstuff too much, which you can see in some of the egg rolls. Again, I would modify this recipe a bit before I served it too friends...