Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' June Challenge - Bakewell Tarts

I can't take credit for this month.. as ya'll know, I was pretty busy being poked, prodded and injected with radioactive materials and was afraid I'd run out of time again to finish my challenge. So my Hubbs, bless him, offered to step in and become an "unofficial" Daring Baker for the month! You just have to love him. ;)

As always.. business first! The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Hubbs said it was pretty easy and he had no problems, other than not being able to find the almond meal (that I had left on the counter for him that morning) in the freezer. hee!

Neither of us were exactly excited about this dessert from the get-go. Aside from cherry, almond flavoring is my least favorite. He's not a fan either. But we never figured we'd be keeping this in the house anyway, so that wasn't a big deal.

Unfortunately, after we each took a bite from the slice I had photographed, we were sadly disappointed. The almond flavor was too overpowering for us (we even left out almond extract and used vanilla). We both liked the shortcrust but it wasn't cooked the whole way through. After re-reading the recipe together, to make sure he didn't underbake the tart, we realized that there was just too much filling and that the crust should have been blind baked before adding the red raspberry preserves and the Frangipane.

That slice was pitched and the rest was taken to work the next day. There must not be any almond lovers in the group, as only one small slice was taken. The rest of the tart was pitched at the end of the week. :(

My only thoughts on this challenge was that if you are not an almond lover, you won't like this dessert, obviously. Again, we liked the crust and the idea of the jam layered under the Frangipane, so the next time I feel like making a tart, I think I'll use that shortcrust recipe, blind bake it, then freeze it and layer on preserves under maybe chocolate mousse or lemon curd...

You can find the recipe on both Anne-Marie's and Jasmine's blogs or on The Daring Kitchen website. Please hit the "still temporary" Daring Bakers' blogroll to see how creative our members are! You'll be amazed! :)


Labels: ,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Very Pretty To Look At... But Delish Nonetheless!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I did! It was a celebratory weekend as a matter of fact. :D The biopsy I had a couple weeks ago came back negative, but I was duped. For five months my doctor and I have been talking about lymph nodes but come to find out, he DIDN'T take a biopsy of the nodes, he took a biopsy of my bronchial tubes. He never said he was going to do that. So when I thought my ordeal was over at my last office visit, I found out that the nodes were still a huge issue and I had to have a PET scan. Well I found out on Friday morning that my PET scan came back negative! No lung cancer. :D So now that that's FINALLY over, and I'm not stressing over the "what ifs" anymore, I'm even more committed to getting healthy.

This recipe I'm about to share is a Weight Watchers recipe, it serves 4 and only has 5 WW points per serving. It's incredibly easy to put together (have no idea why the recipe says it's of "moderate" difficulty) and you only dirty one bowl, a knife, a peeler and a micro-plane grater. THAT'S IT. You cook these in parchment paper in the oven or foil bundles on the grill. We went with the grill.

The taste was amazing and the pork was fork tender - all in under 30 minutes. The only disappointment of this recipe is how it looks.. not very eye catching at all. And with a name like "Caribbean Pork Medallions" you'd think there'd be more color, yes? We both enjoyed this so much that it'll be made often this summer- and I will be adding more vegetables for color to make it as pretty as it is tasty.


Caribbean Pork Medalions

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 min. (it only took me 5 min. to peel/slice the veggies)
Cook Time: 20 min.
Level of difficulty: Moderate (Easy.. trust me, it's way easy)
WW points per serving: 5

1 large sweet potato, peeled & thinly sliced
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 TBS. dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tsp ginger root, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice (not a fan, didn't use)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 pound(s) lean pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into twelve half-inch slices
2 medium scallion(s), sliced

Preheat oven or grill to 400 °F. Tear off four 12-inch squares of parchment paper or foil. I had a much bigger roll of foil, so mine were like 18" x 12" rectangles.

In a medium bowl, mix sweet potato, apple and brown sugar; spoon onto center of each paper or foil square. **My husband doesn't like cinnamon in savory dishes, so after coating the apples & potatoes with the dark brown sugar, I put his portion aside, and added the cinnamon to the other 3 portions, instead of later in the "marinade".

In same bowl, mix apple juice, ginger, salt, allspice and cinnamon. With heel of your hand, press pork slices to 1/4-inch thickness; add to spice mixture and toss to coat. Place pork over sweet potatoes; sprinkle with sliced scallions. At this point I had left over marinade, so I just drizzled it equally over the 4 packets. Bring bottom and top sides of parchment (or foil) together over pork. Starting at center of each square, make a series of tight overlapping folds, then fold up open ends to seal packets. Place on a baking sheet, or on top rack of grill; bake until pork is no longer pink and sweet potatoes are tender, about 18 minutes. Open packets carefully when testing for doneness, as steam will escape. Serve, drizzled with any juices and garnished with chopped scallions.


Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Squeeeee! Even if it's the last minute!

Yeah yeah.. we all know the program by now. Ms. AlwaysByTheLastMinute. But my excitement never waned! I was thrilled with this choice of challenges by one of my most favorite sweethearts, Jen of Use Real Butter. Jen, you did an awesome job this month - thank you so muchly! And no, YOU rawk! :D

With flour underneath my nails, my lower back and feet KILLING ME from standing over the counter rolling and filling, and the yummiest of Chinese potstickers sitting happily in my bellaye, I write this very short post in hopes that I can talk Hubbs into one of his magical backrubs!

Obviously, I took a brief pause from my low-carb lifestyle to make these potstickers. But there was NO WAY I was going to take a chance that I wouldn't like these because of usage of an alternate flour that I am unfamiliar with. And I'm really glad I did.. that dough was a dream to work with. I went a little thinner than the recipe called for, even though I would probably have problems with them breaking while cooking (see below), but the only dumplings I truly love are the ones with the thinnest of "skins". To my amazement, I only had 2 wounded soldiers!

The filling was also SPOT ON! Soooooooo delicious! Both Hubbs and I were "oooh-ing" and "awww-ing" while we ate them this evening. I decided to just make enough for dinner tonight, which left me with a lot of filling left over. I froze it and figured even if it gets a lil mooshey due to the mushrooms in it, I'll just squeeze it in a cheesecloth.

Now ask me how the pleating went. Go ahead, I dare ya.

Frying Potstickers

Jesus, Joseph and Mary I am unfuckincoordinated. Dudes. You have no idea. I'd get like 3 half-assed pleats on one side and then just stare at the other side trying to figure out how to do it the opposite way. Hello? Needless to say, the left side of the 6 pleated potstickers I tried, all ended up being a smooshed insult to dim sum everywhere. *sigh*


I finally said, "fakk it" and decided to make cute lil purses instead. Much easier - all the pleats went in the same direction and I could smoosh them LEGALLY when finished! Party on!


I didn't feel like making my usual potsticker dipping sauce and couldn't find the printed page where Jen's recipe was listed, so again I said.. everyone with me.. on two! One.. two.. FAKK IT! I looked to see what I had in the fridge.. took out a small bottle of peach preserves that was only 1/2 full, a lime begging to be put out of it's misery and a bottle of rice wine vinegar. So I whipped up a peachy-lime vinaigrette for dipping and it totally KICKED ASS with the savory dumplings. :)

So there you have it.. a lil late, but still mucho delicioso!


Big hugs to all of our amazing Daring Cooks! I can't wait to see whatcha'll do next month!

DOH! I wanted to add a link back to Jen's blog so ya'll can get the recipe and see her gorgeous photos! Here's her most recent post for The Daring Cooks - Chinese Potstickers and the original post she did back in 2007.


Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Some Schtuff... and Shrimp Fried "Rice"

*Long Ass Ranting and Raving Post - Prepare Yourselves!*

Hold on to your chairs! I don't want anyone falling off because I'm actually posting something non-Daring Kitchen-y! :D

As I mentioned in my last failure to get my Daring Baker challenge done, I spent some time in the hospital last month. I'm fine now - actually I feel fantastic! But I have a long road ahead of me and frankly, I'm scared shitless. :)

Without going into the gory details, and in a semi-small nutshell, I was in congestive heart failure. I was retaining water like nobody's business and it was suffocating my heart/lungs. It's been over 3 weeks and I've lost FORTY pounds in water/fluid weight. Hello? I didn't think that could be possible, but apparently it is. Jebus.

So now I'm working on living a low-carb lifestyle. Which is to say, I think it would be easier to cut out oxygen in my life. Kidding? Anyhoo, I've joined Weight Watchers and so far am doing pretty well. Their online tools keep me focused and I've kind of enjoyed lurking on low-carb blogs and recipe sites. It's been quite an eye-opener to read about alternatives to white sugar and white flour. I've purchased Stevia powder, erythritol, xantham gum and coconut flour and although I about had to take a loan out to pay for these items, I am looking forward to getting back into the baking thing once in a while. I've also "met" a new friend who has been sooooooooooo helpful in giving me tips and suggestions on how to stay on track. Thanks Michele! *hugs*

And if all of this wasn't enough.. yesterday I went in for a bronchoscopy to make sure my tubes were open and to take a biopsy of the lymph nodes on my lungs. It seems that they are enlarged. When they were first discovered in this state, I was told it was pretty common in pneumonia patients, so to be safe, I was scheduled for another CT-scan 3 mos. later - which was the Friday before I went into the hospital for the CHF. Unfortch, the test results showed they were more enlarged than they were before, so the next step was a biopsy. *sigh*

I'm not too worried about this. I mean, I'll know for sure on Thursday - but my pulmonary doctor (who is reportedly one of the best in these parts) and the doctor that admitted me to the hospital with the CHF both feel that this isn't c-word related. So I'm very optimistic. :)

But I can't just let it go at that.. I must vent on how this bronchoscopy went down yesterday. I was told numerous times that I'd be put out and wouldn't feel anything or remember anything. This was very important to me. I can deal with pain, that wasn't my concern. My concern was my delightful gag reflex. It's horrible. Touch the tip of my tongue and I start to gag sometimes. It's quite sensitive and highly embarrassing when I'm at the dentist. Boo. So this "twilight sleep" they were going to put me under was suppose to just keep me slightly conscious so that my gag reflex would work, as I guess that's important when they shove a 50 foot hose down your throat. But I won't feel a thing! I won't remember anything that happened afterwards!


I felt every fucking thing and I remember most of it. Bastards. I had two nurses, both under 5' 2" and 110 pounds. One of them comes at me with these 2 lil cups of "numbing medicine" so I won't feel the scope. "Uhh.. why do I need numbing medicine if I'll be out??" She stammered some and then said, "It helps the scope go down." :Uhh.. okay?" So I gargle with this stuff that tastes like bleach and lay back down. Then the doc comes in and asks if I've got any questions.. you'd think that I might have said.. "Dude, WTF is up with the numbing medicine if I'm going to be put the fuck out??" But noooo.. I just looked up into Ohio's version of McDreamy and smiled pretty and nodded my head. Gah.

Then I hear tiny nurse no. 1 ask how much medication should she give me.. and he gives her 2 numbers.. there are 2 meds they mix together.. a highly potent narcotic for pain and for putting me into that "twilight" state and another medicine that will help me not to remember anything (I think?).. and then I heard him give her the two numbers. But then tiny nurse no. 2 says, "Are you sure? She'll need at least 120 to 140" and he then said, "Okay, 120 but that's it" and tiny nurse no. 2 says, "That's not going to be enough." and he said, "Shhhh."

Again, at this point, wouldn't you sit up and say "Dude, I agree with tiny nurse no. 2, 120 isn't enough GIMME MORE GODDAMMIT" But.. nooooooo.. I don't say one fakking word.

Now granted, I do not feel or remember him actually putting the cable in. But I DO feel and I DO remember him pushing it past my vocal cords and I DO remember just about shooting 10 feet up in the air when I felt that. I remember trying to say, "THIS HURTS" but I had some kind of plug thing in my mouth that prevented me from biting down on the cable, so it came out more like "cough - cough - gaggggg - cough - cough - OOD! GAHAMMIT!!!" Well that must have pissed off the tiny nurses, because the next thing I know, I've got one on each side gripping my lower JAWFUCKINGBONE and pulling down on it with all of their weight. I wanted to so give them both the evil "curses" eye but they had a towel over my face. How rude is that?

The rest of it went pretty quickly, I'd say the bulk of time during this test is the actual prep and the nurses trying to figure out how to get the computer to work before 'he' gets there "or 'he' will be pissed.". I didn't feel the actual biopsy being taken, thank the baby Jebus. I am also proud to say that I did not projectile vomit at any point of the procedure.

All in all, it wasn't THAT horribly bad.. but it wasn't THAT horribly good either. When it was finished, my friend Cindy (who got to babysit me all day, bless her cotton socks) came in and I could hear him talking to her and then she appeared at my side and the first thing I said was, "they lied to me." and she asked how and I said, "I FELT IT" and tiny nurse no. 1 said, "you did great!" and I'm like, "I'm so Delvecchio cursing you as soon as I can get this death grip off the bed rail." She laughed. Obviously, she has no idea how powerful the Delvecchio curse is. tisk tisk for her.

Recovery was quick, after all I wasn't put to sleep AS PROMISED, so I came outta the fog after 15 min. or so and was allowed to leave. Next stop was a frosty beverage to cool the burning pipes and then back to my house, where we sat and laughed over the whole thing, then we put a movie in and I FINALLY passed out. Always a day late and a dollar short.

Today the mild sore throat is gone, but I'm sporting a rather large face and neck. My cheeks are swollen as if I've been foraging for nuts and my neck is swollen quite like what a bullfrog looks like when he's offering his mating call to the sexy frogette on the next lily pad. That's hott.

So what lessons have I learned from this experience? NEVER trust 2 tiny nurses and ALWAYS wear barbed wire around your neck when going in for a bronchoscopy, so they can't get to your jaw bone. Also? McDreamy or not.. always be prepared to administer the Delvecchio curse and DO NOT get lost in his sexy brown eyes, for he and his minions can be evil.

Oh and I did find out why I couldn't be put under completely (had to do with low blood-ox levels).. and I understand that.. but maybe a lil heads up would have been nice? :P

So anyhoo.. I've vented and I feel better. Back to the low-carb goodies!

I found this recipe on a new blog for me. It's Healthy Indulgences written by Lauren. Lauren has taken so many high carb/high fat/high caloric dessert recipes and turned them into delicious looking low carb/low fat/lower caloric desserts that have just astounded me. So much so that I went and bought those alternative natural sugars and flours that I mentioned above. No more white sugar or regular all purpose flour for me! But I am not ready, quite yet (soon though.. very soon! hee!), to bake a dessert. I want to stay with my fruits and sugar free pudding for a bit longer. So when I found this vegetable recipe that was suppose to taste just like shrimp fried rice, I couldn't resist!

And seriously, this stuff rocks. I'm not just saying it to make myself believe that CAULIFLOWER can taste like rice - it can! Actually it was better than the last batch of carry-out fried rice we had. It was super easy and super quick to put together and it's definitely going to stay on rotation often.

Give it a whirl! Recipe is below with my minor changes, basically out of necessity than anything else. Thanks so much, Lauren! I'm looking forward to this being the first of many recipes from your blog that I will be enjoying in the future - guilt free! :)

Shrimp Fried "Rice"
Adapted from this recipe by Lauren at Healthy Indulgences

Makes 3 servings


2 heapings cups of grated fresh cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut oil (any cooking oil is fine) - I used EVOO
1/2 cup sugar snap pea pods - I omitted these and used diced zucchini instead
1/3 cup onion, chopped
4 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or soy sauce - I used low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
dash of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-4 oz can of baby shrimp, or protein of choice
1/4 cup of green peas - I upped the amount to 1/2 c. since we like peas
1 cup of sliced baby portobello mushrooms since I needed to use them up! Not in original recipe
2 eggs, beaten
green onion, for garnish (optional)


Grate cauliflower using a fine cheese grater. Heat up pan with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix together sesame oil, tamari, and seasonings in a bowl. Sautee onions (I also threw in the zucchini & mushrooms at this stage) for 3 minutes (I went for about 5 minutes to give the zucchini & mushrooms good coloring) over medium heat, or until translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Sauté sugar snap peas until tender. Add more oil if necessary and all of the cauliflower, stir frying for a couple of minutes. Pour in 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture and stir fry to coat the cauliflower evenly. When the cauliflower is tender (this didn't take long at all.. maybe 4-5 min.), add cooked vegetables, shrimp, and peas along with the rest of the soy sauce mixture. Push "rice" to the side of the pan and scramble eggs on the other side, moving spatula quickly to incorporate eggs with the "rice" mixture.

7 grams net carbs


Labels: , , , , , , ,