Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mark Bittman’s Rich Berry Shake

I have an affinity for smoothies, but I normally shy away from them due to all the sugar. Without fail, I've watched cooking shows and videos of people adding servings up servings of fruit and sugar fruit juice to a blender to make a smoothie and deeming it healthy. To each their own I suppose, but if I drank something like that I would be having a major sugar high and then a major sugar crash that left me tired and sluggish for hours. No, thank you!

This is why I like Mark Bittman's shakes. He has a handful of shake recipes in the back of How To Cook Everything that are way healthier than the alternative! Years ago, I made his  Banana-Vanilla Shake  and I bet I've made that recipe 100 times. It is simple, consisting of 1 banana, 1 cup of milk, crushed ice, vanilla, and a tablespoon of so of sugar. It makes 2 shakes and is easily within the realm of normal sugar intake for the day. We absolutely love that one and I highly suggest clicking the link above and giving it a try!

This week I wanted to try my hand at his Rich Berry Shake, so I began by making his sugar syrup the night before. I added some vanilla to the sugar syrup and let it get nice and cold in the fridge overnight
The next morning it was as simple as grabbing some frozen berries and blending them up, straining the the berry mixture through a sieve to remove all the pesky berry seeds, adding the mixture back into the blender with some milk, crushed ice, and sugar syrup and blending it all up. The end result is refreshingly sweet and fruity, with a nice frothy consistency that is reminiscent of a strawberry milkshake, but without all the calories.
Certainly everyone has their own idea of what healthy is and different things work for different people, but I definitely love both this Rich Berry Shake and also the Banana-Vanilla Shake listed above if I'm in the mood for something smoothie-like or milkshake-like, or just something plain sweet. It is a much healthier alternative than ice cream or a traditional smoothie.

 Bittman's Rich Berry Shake

Adapted from How To Cook Everything

by Mark Bittman

Serves 4-6

4 cups strawberries or other berries, cleaned

6 cups milk or a mixture of milk and cream

1 cup, ice (optional)*

sugar syrup, see blow

freshly squeezed lemon juice or vanilla extract to taste

*Note: I added the ice to this recipe because I wanted to have a drink that was froth and semi-frozen. I like how the ice adds some density to the drink without adding calories. 

Puree the berries in a blender and put through a sieve if necessary to remove seeds. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth. You may need to do this in batches; simply divide the ingredients in half and recmobine them for a moment before proceeding to the next step. 

Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more lemon juice, vanilla extract, or sugar syrup if necessary.

Sugar syrup: Combine 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Store in the refrigerator.





Sunday, January 9, 2022

Ina Garten's Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli {Foodgoals 2022}


I love the fresh start that the new year brings. I like to make all manner of goals, from reading goals to work goals to cooking goals. This year my cooking goals are to continue eating healthy dishes like this Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli with Basmati Rice.

I also have some other food-related goals, such as really delving into some baking (both cakes, pies, and other various baked goods, but also possibly breads). Another goal I'm hoping to explore more is to take make some of my "staple dishes" gluten free so my son can enjoy them. In the past few years, gluten-free options, such as all-in-one flours, have flooded the market and made gluten-free cooking so much more accessible, so I'm really hoping to create more foods that he can enjoy! 

Of course, all of these things are subject to the world around us, such as continuing overwhelming illness, food shortages, and quite simply lack of motivation, but I am hopeful to at least grow in all these areas.

Speaking of motivation, if you want to excel at cooking healthfully, it is very helpful if you to have nutritious ingredients on hand and lots of quick, easy, and healthy recipes up your sleeve. If you can get really good at having the right ingredients and the right methods, then half the battle is already won.

Ina's Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli is one of those recipes. It really couldn't be any easier. Cook up some rice, make a quick teriyaki sauce out of olive oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, get out a baking sheet, place the salmon on it, pour the sauce over it, bake for a few minutes, add some sliced broccolini or broccoli and roast until cooked to your liking. We're talking beginner level cooking here. Plus, easy clean up!

Plate the salmon with the rice and the broccoli or broccolini and you're all set! Quick, easy, and totally painless, BUT also healthy, delicious and flavorful. The perfect weeknight meal! 

Salmon Teriyaki & Broccoli with Basmati Rice


by Ina Garten

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

4 skinless salmon fillets (2 to 2-1/2 pounds total)

salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound broccolini, lower third of stems discarded (*or broccoli)

steamed white basmati rice (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside off the heat.

Arrange the salmon fillets, rounded sides up, in a baking dish just large enough to hold them with a little space in between the fillets. Sprinkle the salmon with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and spoon the soy sauce mixture evenly over the fillets. Roast the salmon for about 12 minutes for rare and 15 minutes for medium, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile, prepare the broccolini (or broccoli). Place the broccolini on a sheet pan, drizzle it with 4 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with your hands. Ten minutes before the salmon is done, roast the broccolini on the second oven rack until crisp/tender.

Divide the hot rice between 4 shallow bowls and top each with a salmon fillet and some broccolini. Spoon the sauce from the salmon over the salmon and rice and serve hot.

Steamed Basmati Rice
1 cup white basmati rice, such as Texmati
1-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the rice, water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy. You may have to pull the pot halfway off the burner to keep a simmer. Fluff with a for and serve hot.

Food Goals @ IHCC

Saturday, January 1, 2022

My Top Five Recipes of 2021!


It may have been the year of slimming things down in the Stirring The Pot kitchen, but the #1 FAVORITE RECIPE OF 2021 does anything but slim things down.

To be fair, 2021 was full of tough times and comfort food was necessary. Ruth Reichl's Fettuccine Alfredo did a perfect job of comforting my family. This is THE BEST recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo I've ever tried and since I stumbled across this recipe, at the end of September, I have made this no less than 25 times.

There is a reason I've made it so many times. First, it requires a simple handful of ingredients that are always on hand: pasta, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, and salt and pepper. I have made this for myself using traditional pasta and I have made this mostly for my 15 year-old son who is gluten free  and it works like magic every single time. If you're ever in doubt how to fill up a 15 year-old boy who works out for hours upon hours and has the hunger of 10 men, try making him some of this fettuccine alfredo. It works like a charm, every. single.time.

I realize this is not healthy in the least, but it is fast and delicious and you can have it ready in the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta. Plus, this is foolproof, every single time!

As always, click on the recipe titles above the picture to be directed to the original post and recipe

Ruth Reichl's Fettuccine Alfredo

Ok, so Ruth's Fettuccine Alfredo was the #1 recipe of 2021 by default, simply because it was THE RECIPE that I cooked on repeat in 2021, but if I had to pick my favorite recipe that I made, and the one that I would make if time wasn't a factor, it would hands down be Ina Garten's Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel. I could tell you a million things about how it is probably THE BEST PASTA DISH I'VE EVER COOKED, and it is, but I will sum it up by saying that I text everyone I know who loves to cook, and some who don't, and told them IF THEY EVER MADE ONE RECIPE I SUGGESTED, IT SHOULD BE THIS ONE! Don't even worry if you don't like fennel! You will in this recipe. Don't skimp on any ingredients. Make it exactly as it is written! You will thank me. It is incredible! Definitely entertaining-worth. Definitely THE DISH to pull out if you want to impress someone.

Ina Garten's Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel

For years and years I wanted to make Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce and I finally got around to it. Guess what? It was love at first bite and now I can see myself making this every fall season. A real favorite, especially that cider cream sauce.

Ruth Reichl's Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce

It's no secret that I love eggs! They are a star ingredient in the Stirring The Pot kitchen. I also love a recipe inspired by the farmer's market and on a trip to the Lexington Farmer's Market I got all kinds of glorious fresh herbs. I always turn to Mark Bittman when I have an ingredient I want to cook with and he came through with his recipe for a Bread Frittata. Now, you know we love potatoes here at Stirring The Pot, but bread is the way to go in a frittata and I learned that lesson when I made this dish! The bread retains its shape so well and really holds up well in the eggs, adding much more texture than potato and also really allowing the herbs to shine. The bread frittata is my new go-to for a quick breakfast. This has become another staple recipe, something akin to a Kitchen Sink Frittata, allowing me to use up all kinds of bits n' bobs of leftover bread, cheese, herbs, meat, and veggies.

Mark Bittman's Herby Bread Frittata

You simply CANNOT have a favorites roundup without a dessert, and Jamie Oliver's Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies are the stuff of dreams!  I mean how can you go wrong with a dense chocolatey brownie with swirls of peanut butter cream and jelly, dotted with raspberries? Heaven. Just total heaven. 

Jamie Oliver's Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownies

And that's a wrap, folks. I wish you all a healthy, safe, happy, and DELICIOUS New Year!