Weekend Roundup: Liquid Dinners, Breakfast Treats and Guests for Dinner...
So I'm rounding up my weekend here, which was supposed to top off my 7 days of healthy eating... and for the most part, it did. But first, I went off track. Desperately off track.
Dinner Friday night was largely liquid, rimmed with salt, consumed on an outdoor patio at The Quays, a great spot overlooking the Hudson River. I was with a girlfriend who brings out the best (and worst!) in me... And so I suppose the night could be summed up with one pic. It was taken with my camera phone, so it's a bit fuzzy, but somehow that seems appropriate...
Note the pitcher in the background -- hald empty, or half full if you are an optimist... it was decidedly empty when we left. We also tried the crabcake with mango salsa. The presentation was lovely, and I had high hopes as my friend and I clinked forks in an effort to sample. The salsa was very a nice blend of heat and sweet, but the crabcake was a bit soggy for my taste. I prefer them to be a bit crisper on the outside, with a tender middle.
Saturday, I woke up, a little hungover, and looked in my fridge to see half a pint of blueberries that I needed to use up. I decided to bake some yummy low-fat blueberry scones. I was a bit skeptical at the thought of a low-fat scone, but I used some of my hard-earned knowledge about healthy baking and put it to good use with this recipe... a baked breakfast treat sure to make you believe that low fat baking doesn't have to be icky. Here's the recipe:
"I Believe in Blueberries" Lowfat Scones
2 c flour
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t table salt
1 T melted butter
1 cups buttermilk (it's lowfat!)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Cooking spray (butter flavored is best)
Preheat over to 400, and line baking sheet with parchment
Combine all dry ingredients, whisking together until well blended. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.
Combine melted butter, buttermilk and the egg. Pour into the well, and stir it up JUST until you can't see raw flour. Don't overmix or your scones will be yucky! You were warned.
Toss the blueberries with a tiny bit of flour, and fold into the batter -- gently!
On a well-floured surface, use your hands to turn out the mixture and pat into a rectangular shape. Spray a knife with cooking spray, and use it to cut the dough into triangle shapes, arranging about 1 inch apart on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with sugar -- this is optional.
Bake for 20 minutes.
On Sunday, we decided to have some friends over for dinner, and I took a partial menu from the July issue of Cooking Light Magazine, where they outlined a Spanish-inspired dinner that looked simple and yummy. I decided to have at it!
On the menu for our guests:
Icy, fruity sangria
Fresh tomato and garlic spread with grilled toasts
Pork tenderloin stuffed with dried plums and roasted peppers
Baked saffron rice
Orange Yogurt Cake with fresh raspberries
The pork, rice and orange cake were from Cooking Light, and I highly recommend this menu. If you don't get the magazine, go get it... Especially if you love food, but it doesn't love you back! I have served Cooking Light recipes at many dinner parties, and no one has ever guessed that they were eating "light" food.
The dip was from a handout given to me at the Heirloom Tomato Festival in Hoboken, which I wrote about last week. It was so simple, and tasted fresh and zesty. Just whir up 2 large plum tomatoes, a cup and a half of yellow pear tomatoes, 2 cloves ofRoja garlic and 8 ounces of cream cheese (I used low fat) in your food processor, then season... then chill. Drizzle some good french bread with olive oil and grill or toast. Sprinkle the bread with salt and pepper and serve along side the spread, like I did here.
One thing I realized while writing this up... pork does not photograph well. It just doesn't. In my recollection of the meal, my pork was not misshapen, and the pan juices with onions were not slimy. So, I'll spare you. It looked lovely on the table, I swear!
And the cake... oh the cake. I sent it home with my guests so as not to eat it for breakfast and lunch the next day... look how lovely:
That cake is flavored with orange juice and zest, moistened by low fat yogurt, and glazed with a reduction of sweet orange marmalade and Cointreau. I topped it with some fresh raspberries, and the table was silent with the exception of a few "mmmm's" and the mumble-mouth expression of "This is so good..." that sounds like "vis ish sho goot" when your mouth is full. Music to my ears.
Bottom line: check out that menu in Cooking Light... it also has a great write up on creating a tapas platter, and a review of the spices common in Spanish cooking.