Tuesday, February 23, 2010


You may have noticed fewer postings on The Food of Love in the past two weeks. The time I usually spend surfing the blogosphere has been cut into by other responsibilities. DSO has just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and my healthy cooking needs further tweaking. And I'm about to put my Principal hat back on for a month or so having accepted an interim position in a neighboring county.

So, after thoughtful deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that The Food of Love will be on a short hiatus while I temporarily resume full time employment. I hope to visit my favorite blogs as time allows and invite you to peruse my index of previous posts when you're looking for something new to try.

I hope to return sometime in mid-April. Until then, eat what you love and love what you eat.
In Friendship,

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I saw Ina make these on her program one day, then happened upon the recipe again in my copy of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. DSO loves scallops; I haven't eaten them in over 15 years. The recipe below is my somewhat lightened version (I used Olivio instead of unsalted butter and halved the olive oil; I omitted the tablespoon on Pernod and substituted whole wheat Panko for regular).

3 Servings
11 WW pts per serving

3 tbs Olivio light
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 oz thinly slice prosciutto, minced
2 tbs fresh parsley, minced
1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
3 tbs dry white whine
1 lb fresh bay scallops
parsley and lemon for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 3 small gratin dishes on a sheet pan.

To make the topping, either fit your standing mixer with the paddle attachment or use a handheld mixer. Place the butter, garlic, shallot, parsley, prosciutto, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Continue to mix as you stream in the olive oil (as though you were making mayonnaise). Fold the panko into the mixture and set aside.

With a small, sharp knife, remove the white muscle and membrane from the side of each scallop and discard. Pat the scallops dry with paper toweling.

Place 1 tbs white wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. Divide the scallops evenly among the 3 dishes. Spoon the butter mixture evenly over the top of each of the gratin dishes.

Bake for 12 minute. Then turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and more chopped parsley, if you wish.

Serve immediately with some wonderful, crusty bread.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. The portion size was generous and I dunked my lovely whole grain bread to finish up every last bit of the flavorful sauce. DSO enjoyed his with some brown rice. Steamed brussel sprouts rounded out the meal. While it is somewhat tedious to remove the membrane on some 60+ scallops, the sweetness of the bay scallops made it worthwhile. I have no doubt that this sauce would be equally delicious on shrimp, lobster, or just about any mild white fish.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I am just back from a week of no internet connection and my withdrawal was serious indeed. While my quilting benefited from my inability to surf my favorite blogs for hours on end, I was so afraid of missing that perfect dish. Would I ever be able to catch up on all that deliciousness?

Since DSO and I celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday night with a wonderful dinner overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, I wanted something I knew he was craving (pasta), but something that would get my eating back on track. Thanks to wonderful seafood options, no serious damage was done during our week away, but now it's time to get serious and get those last pounds gone! So...what to make?

Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish that generally includes a cream sauce, mushrooms, and either chicken, turkey, or seafood. It is said to have been invented in San Francisco and named after the famous opera singer of the early 1900s, Luisa Tetrazzini, who lived there for many years.

Since I began blogging, I've tended to neglect many of our old favorites, which is a shame. Since our weather here is still cold and bleak, I was in the mood for some comfort food. Pasta in a creamy sauce fit the bill for both of us.

Serves 4 - 6
(8 WW pts based on 5 servings)
12 oz farfalle pasta (bowties)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lb fresh white button mushrooms, stem removed, caps thinly sliced
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lb turkey breast, cubed (buy a single, thick slice at the deli) - I prefer smoked turkey breast
2 tbs flour
1 cup evaporated, skimmed milk
2 tbs grated Asiago
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to the al dente stage.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until tender, 7-10 minutes. If the vegetables begin to stick, add a little of the chicken broth.

When the mushrooms are soft, sprinkle the flour over them and cook about 1 minute to get rid of the raw taste of the flour. Add the chicken broth and the evaporated milk and whisk as you bring the liquid to a simmer. Whisking will keep the sauce from getting lumps as it thickens.

When the liquid is simmering, add the turkey cubes. Continue to simmer about 5 minutes, until the turkey is hot and the sauce has thickened. Add the drained pasta  and Asiago cheese to the skillet, season to taste, and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately.
I'd forgotten how much I love the taste of this simple, healthy pasta dish. The flavors are delicate, which is why I prefer the smoked turkey to plain, roasted turkey, but the dish is deeply satisfying. The sauce is plentiful, which is a good thing since we have a good-sized bowl of leftovers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Unlike the Korean food that is spicy hot, this dish, flavored with a traditional marinade, has a more subtle kick that lies beneath the sweet-tart flavor of the chicken. Those who crave that spicy hot flavor can turn up the heat by serving the dish with kimchi, that extremely hot and pungent fermented vegetable dish available in Asian markets.

I based my recipe on one I found in a favorite cookbook, Everyone Loves Chicken. The suggestion to prick the chicken all over with the tip of a sharp knife was a good one as it allowed the marinade to really permeate the meat. I marinated the chicken overnight, but that isn't necessary; two hours will do.

Serves 6
5 WW pts per serving

3 scallions, chopped
3 tbs mirin (rice wine) or sherry
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, all visible fat removed
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

Combine the scallions, mirin, rice vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp of the sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a zip close plastic bag. Add the chicken, press out the air, and seal the bag. Turn to coat the chicken and refrigerate at least two hours or up to overnight.

Lift the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the remaining tsp sesame oil, and add the chicken. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until the chicken is browned. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and syrupy. Turn the chicken to coat with this syrupy liquid and serve.
I removed the chicken after 10 minutes and kept it warm while I further reduced the liquid. The result was  well-coated pieces of chicken that were spicy and sweet, very moist, and perfect with some jasmine rice and an Asian vegetable stirfry. I found that I preferred this preparation to the shoyu chicken that has always been a favorite. Both are very flavorful and result in perfectly cooked chicken, but this one had more interesting contrasting flavors.

Monday, February 8, 2010


If the fates have smiled upon us, as you're reading this, DSO and I are basking in the sun on Longboat Key. And if I can't piggyback on someone's internet connection, I'll be having serious blog withdrawal. Meanwhile...

Waking up early to a snow-covered lawn last week, I turned to my favorite pasttime to get away from the harsh realities of winter. Eagerly surfing through my favorite blogs, I came upon Claudia's What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine and the day was suddenly brighter. Thank you, my foodie friend, for the lovely friendship award, which I am happy to pass on to some new, dedicated bloggers that I've recently happened upon. One of the joys of food blogging is meeting like-minded folks who share one of my passions--good food. I learn something new every day and the year and a half I've been blogging has been filled with new discoveries and new friends.

With apologies for bending the rules, here are a half dozen Friendship Awards that I would like to pass on to blogs that have inspired me. Please visit them and see for yourself "what's cookin." To the wonderful bloggers responsible for these blogs, feel free to pat yourself on the back and nothing more, if that is your wish. Or, feel free to send out your own Friendship Awards to however many foodie friends you choose. The rules are yours to make.

Nina's Recipes - A visually stunning blog, Nina's Recipes run the gamut from sweet to savoury, but all share one characteristic--you want to make them at once. One visit and I guarantee you'll be hooked.

brown eyed BAKER - If you're looking for something sweet, savoury, and sinful, Michelle of brown eyed BAKER has it. Whether it's a bowl of incredible French onion soup or her Quiche Lorraine scones followed by crunchy biscotti, your food fantasies play out beautifully at BEB.

Stirring the Pot - I confess, Kim is not a new foodie friend, but she just keeps getting better, so I have to add her to the mix. What I love about Kim's blog is her range. Sometimes I think she doesn't sleep because day after day she turns out incredible meals from some of my favorite Food TV stars and treasured cookbooks. She also prowls the blogosphere turning up great new sites, so be sure to visit soon...and often.

Fight the Fat Foodie - Since I returned to Weight Watchers in September, I've been focusing my efforts on eating good food that is healthier (and less caloric). Scott, who lost 100 pounds on WW, shares my goal of eating the foods I love while simultaneously keeping my weight in check. Everyone can benefit from eating more healthfully and Scott has some great recipes to help you achieve that goal.

Moogie & Pap - Just this name of this fabulous blog makes me smile. I'd like to be adopted by Moogie because she makes some of the most decadent desserts (how about chocolate ganache tarts and banana flips??) I've ever seen. Photos are always mouth-wateringly good and that woman sets a fine table.

Figtree Appetizers - For someone who'd rather eat apps than any other part of the meal (and that includes dessert!), finding this incredible blog was serendipity. While Figtree doesn't limit herself to appetizers, you'll soon be dreaming of Manchego quesadillas and shrimp sliders. A cooking instructor and therapist, Figtree won me over after my first visit.

Friday, February 5, 2010


In order to make all of the recipes I've bookmarked from the incredible blogs I visit on a daily basis, I would have to live to be at least 150 years old...I'm just saying. Add those "must makes" to the recipes torn from magazines and newspapers and to those I've flagged in my ever-expanding cookbook collection and we might be talking 175.

I've seen recipes for lasagna made from pierogi and ravioli before, but none of them had been recommended by a reliable source or foodie friend. And then along came George of A Nod Is As Good As a Wink to a Blind Horse. When I read George's post about this dish and saw a picture of the result, I knew it was time to give it a try. The last time we had lasagna was Christmas and, while it was memorable, it took the better part of 3 days to make the spinach pasta, the Bolognese sauce, and the bechamel. The result was incredible and you may want to try it the next time you have company (recipe here), but if you're just in the mood for a quick and easy baked pasta that is sure to please, give this recipe a try and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Using George's recipe as a guideline, I tried to lighten the recipe a bit by making a smaller lasagna using whole wheat ravioli and part skim mozzarella. Be sure to check out George's wonderful blog. Not only does he have great recipes, but he gives a wonderful backstory to his food.

Serves 4-6
10 ww pts for 1/4 serving
1 (20 oz) pkg. whole wheat chicken and prosciutto ravioli (I used 4/5 of the package)
1 - 26 oz jar quality pasta sauce
1 pkg. shredded part skim mozzarella
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, set 6 quarts of salted water on to boil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the cheeses and the minced parsley and set aside.

Cook the ravioli according to package directions; drain and rinse.

To assemble: Coat an 8X8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and spoon a little sauce in the bottom. Place a single layer of ravioli in the pan, overlapping slightly; then top with a third of the remaining sauce and a third of the cheese/parsley mix. Repeat the ravioli/sauce/cheese layers, adding some additional grated cheese to the top layer, if you wish.

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
The ravioli that I used were on the small side so they were difficult to overlap. I think the slice of lasagna would have held together better had I used larger ravioli. That said, we enjoyed our quick and easy lasagna very much. I am not a fan of ricotta cheese, so the mozzarella and grated cheese in between layers was very welcome. I used a jarred sauce and didn't add meat to my sauce as George did simply because I had chicken and prosciutto in the ravioli, but you could really tailor this dish to your own tastes. The recipe is definitely a keeper and I know this would go well at a covered dish affair.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


One of my favorite ways of finding new blogs is to visit one of my "old favorites" and click through their list of favorites. This is how I found Amy from Dinners for a Year and Beyond. If you haven't checked out her blog, be sure to do so soon. Since we were heading into the weekend, what immediately caught my eye was her recipe for a hash brown quiche. I had bought a large bag of them to make potato cheddar soup, then didn't get to it because I had lots of leftovers this week. Amy's recipe was based on a recipe by Paula Deen. I used Amy's recipe as a springboard and lightened it up a bit. Here's my version of Amy's version of Paula's version. Don't you just love food bloggers!

Hash Brown Quiche
8 servings
5 WW pts per serving

makes 1 (9-inch) quiche

4 cups frozen hash browns (defrost them in the refrigerator)
1/2 stick butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 cupfat free half and half
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, then chopped
2 thinly sliced scallions
1 cup lowfat shredded cheese (I mixed cheddar and mozzarella)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the hash browns with the melted butter. Place the hash browns in 9-inch pie plate and press them into the bottom and up the sides plates to form a crust. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until golden brown and starting to get crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl, add the eggs, half and half, and scallions and whisk to combine. Spread the chopped bacon over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the bacon, then pour the egg mixture evenly over all. Return to oven and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the eggs are just set. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
This is a recipe you can definitely play around with. I want to try it next time with my Spanish tortilla ingredients (roasted red pepper, onions, Sazon, colby cheese). My only disappointment was that I could only eat one slice (5 WW points is at the high end of what I allocate for breakfast). DSO had 3 pieces and was very happy with this new brunch dish. The bacon and scallions made for a flavorful filling. The fat free half and half worked perfectly in the filling and I may try egg substitute next time to further lighten the calories. Amy, thanks for a wonderful Sunday treat.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'll let you in on a little secret. I HAVE time to bake, I just choose to spend it quilting or reading or doing something that doesn't require me to wash a lot of dishes and cookie sheets. But the weekend is coming up and DSO will be looking for something sweet, so I thought I'd whip up a batch of cake mix cookies. That's right, foodie friends, when you just don't feel like creaming butter and sugar and adding a bunch of dry ingredients etc., etc., just grab a box of your favorite cake mix and cookies are a half hour away. And that half hour includes washing up!

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen small cookies

•18 oz. pkg. cake mix (any flavor)

•1/2 cup butter, softened

•1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients at low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and dough is thoroughly mixed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Cool two minutes on cookie sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool.

If using chocolate cake mix, add 2 Tbsp. water along with egg. You can stir in chocolate chips, coated candy pieces, chopped nuts, or oatmeal. You could even go hog wild and frost the cookies, using canned frosting, or make sandwich cookies by spreading frosting between two cookies. These cake mix cookies should be stored tightly covered at room temperature so they stay soft.
The pantry turned up a box of white cake mix and a bag of white chocolate chips (who bought those???) which produced some very welcome treats for DSO. In the interests of reporting to my readers, I enjoyed one with my afternoon tea. The cookie was satisfyingly sweet and I doubt anyone would know it was made from a mix. If you like to bake with your children, or if you don't like to bake but want something better than those dreadful store-bought cookies, give these a try.