Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spicy braised clams with sausage and corn

Every year for probably the last 10 years, my sister has come over to help me carve pumpkins with my kids. It has become one of my favorite traditions over the years. Now, she has a fun little toddler(the fairy below) and my kids have gotten older. So, we have switched roles. I come over with the pumpkins and we carve, cook, and gab.

My niece is adding her own special touches to the pumpkin.

My daughter carving out a cool face on our gigantic bargain pumpkin from Buyers Outlet in Warren Village.

And of course, what would Halloween be with out the roasted pumpkin seeds? We just brush them with olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper, and roast in a hot oven until they are golden.

Our finished jack'o'lantern warranted this delicious antipasto plate. My sister roasts the red peppers in a 450 degree oven until they are charred. Then puts them in plastic freezer bags to steam them. Lastly, peel off the blackened skin. Then add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. These are the unbelievably good! We also had some Parano cheese and a variety of olives.

After our appetizers, my sister made a clam, sausage, and corn chowder from cooking light.

We substituted mussels.....

Here is the recipe..... Enjoy!

Spicy Braised Clams with Sausage and Corn

1 t. olive oil

8 oz turkey italian sauage

3 cloves garlic, thin sliced

1 jalapeno thinly sliced

1/2 c white wine

3 c. chopped plum tomatoes

2 T. oregano

2T. basil

1/8 t. sea salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 1/2 c fresh corn kernels

1 1/2 # Littleneck clams

Heat oil in dutch oven. Remove casings from sausage and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the pan to loosen brown bits. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper; bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add corn and cook 2 minutes longer.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Borderline Cafe...... Best Breakfast

Hi! I know I've been out of commission for a while in the blogging world. I've been busy with good stuff. Most of my fall weekend mornings have been occupied with fall sports. There is nothing like a crisp morning and a hot mug of coffee while cheering your kids on in a beautiful park somewhere in Northeast Ohio. That's my daughter below running cross country. I'm so proud that she is a runner and I'm proud of all you bloggers out there that take on running as adults. My husband has also returned to his running roots and is getting up daily to run before work. I'm impressed and happy that he is taking control of his health. Your accomplishments as runners inspire me daily.

Although I'm not a soccer Mom, I am a soccer aunt. There's my nephew below. He's the one pushing everyone aside with the flaming hat. You gotta love the girl in the pink with the matching pink shin guards. That would have been me back in the day.

After all of this grueling spectating, what else is there to do but eat. This morning we went to one of my favorite breakfasts places called the Borderline Cafe. For those of you who are not familiar, it is located in Lakewood, Ohio. Kelly Wright is the owner and they have been around now for 17 years! That is some staying power. She serves breakfast with a southwestern twist. She told me that the restaurant is due for an update, but, I still love the quotes stenciled on the wall from artists like Jewel, the Guess Who, and John Denver. They all have to do with breakfast.

This is one my favorite items on the menu.... the vegetable burrito.

Its is full of black beans, eggs and vegetables all wrapped in a spinach tortilla. For those looking to lighten-up, you can order any of the breakfast foods with egg whites.

Just a little word on the benefits of breakfast(for my friends out there that like to skip this meal)....
Did you know that research shows those who eat breakfast have better attitudes at work, increased productivity, and do better with tasks that involve memory? And did you know that those who skip breakfast are more irritable, tired and restless? And for you runners... breakfast eaters have more strength, endurance and problem-solving abilities. O.K. I'm done. Happy eating.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Roasted Pear-Butternut Squash Soup

You can tell the weather has changed suddenly to fall by the type of food that is being served around my house. We have gone from grilling to soups and stews. I think I actually eat more healthy in cold weather than summer. Comfort foods do not have to mean heavy, calorie laden dishes.

But enough dietitian lecturing and back to good food. This soup is really delicious. But, I must warn you that it is a little labor intensive. It involves pealing and chopping butternut squash. Does any one out there have a good technique for this or do you just have to endure the pain? I'm not kidding you, I was sweating while I was trying to peal the skin. Then, this waxy substance(which I think was a preservative, yuk!) was all over my fingers afterward. You know that feeling when you get super glue on the tips of your fingers??? Annoying!!! I'm definitely splurging on a farm bought squash next time without that stuff on it. Even better, I think you can buy already cut up butternut squash at Trader Joe's. Its worth the extra couple dollars for sure.

If I have not scared you off, this soup was really delicious. You start off by roasting the squash, pears, leeks, and tomatoes before pureeing them which caramelizes their sugar and maximizes their sweetness. Butternut squash, despite its lack of pealability(new word), is loaded with nutrients. A serving provides 350% of the daily value of Vitamin A and 70% of your daily vitamin C needs. It is also a good source of calcium and fiber. So here is the recipe(found from Eating Well) and some pretty pictures.

Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup with Crumbled Stiltson
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled and quartered
  • 2 lbs of butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium tomatoes cored and quartered
  • 1 large leek, sliced and thoroughly washed
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 T. virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt, divided
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 2/3 c. crumbled Stiltson
  • 1T fresh chives

Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leeks, garlic, oil, 1/4t salt and pepper in a bowl; toss to coat. Spread out vegetable mix on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Place half the vegetables and 2c broth in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the remaining vegetables with 2c broth. Add to pan with remaining 1/4t salt. Cook the soup over medium to low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese, chives, and I added some turkey bacon. Enjoy with your favorite fall beverage and some crusty bread. Enjoy.