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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Egg Cups, aka my breakfast thingys

Hello, dear readers!
I am doing my best to update the blog more often, and thus, make my posts shorter, but it's been difficult. What has been particularly difficult is the fact that the left command, option, and shift keys are broken on my home keyboard. Until this moment, I hadn't really realized how entirely I rely on the left set of these keys. These last few days, I've ended up walking away from the computer, leaving a trail of uncapitalized letters behind me...
At any rate, I've cooked and photographed one thing since we last checked in: egg cups.
They are the result of a little improv on my part. They are totally delicious, portable, and healthy. I took the idea for the filling of a quiche and tried it without a crust.

Egg Cups
Makes 24 cups

In a pan, brown 1 lb. sausage (we use turkey sausage. whatever you choose, watch out for BHA)

Shred 8 oz. cheddar cheese

spray 2 muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

divide the sausae and cheese among the 24 cups, reserving 1/3 c. of the cheese

In a large pyrex measuring cup,



mix

4 egg whites
8 whole eggs
1/3 c. milk
3 thinly sliced green onions
salt and pepper

If you don't have a large cup or bowl with a pour spout, mix the eggs in a bowl, then transfer small portions of the mix into something with a spout. It will make your life much easier.

Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and cheese. Top with the remaining cheese.




Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the cheese on top is browned. Let cool thoroughly before removing from the muffin pans.



The combination of whole eggs, eggs whites, and milk make for a very light texture, somewhere between and omlette and a popover. This simple base can be the start to endless improvisations. I used to make a lot of Asian-inspired eggs. This would be delicious with asparagus, sesame oil, a little soy in place of salt, and a dash of rice wine vinegar, which goes so well with eggs.
You could also add some tomatoes, feta cheese, red onions, and tons of fresh basil.
It would be deilicous to add some fresh sage and cumin to the original. These spices really bring out the flavors in sausage.

Yum.

Did I metion it's spring?







This photo is called "A Squirrel Has Been Here"



This is our neighbor Ruth's house. Her cat always sits there like that. We're really going to miss this view.




We close on the new house in three short weeks. We're going to be busy, but there is always more to come!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Roasted 'Maters, Shitty Yogurt, and a Gadget.

I debated about using the word 'shitty' in a blog title, but dammit, it's my blog and I'll swear if I want to.
And that yogurt is truely shitty.

But first, something I've been playing with lately- roasted roma tomatoes.
I slice the tomatoes and remove the seeds and juice, roll them in canola oil and lots of salt and pepper, and roast at 350 for 30 minutes or so until they get all wrinkly and delicious. You can see that it's in your interest to cut the slices as uniformly as possible so they roast evenly.




They are so sweet and get so flavorful when roasted. First we had them on bruschetta (that's right, all bruschetta means is toasted bread rubbed with garlic) with goat cheese. (Yum)




For dinner last night, I had them on wasa with avacado and lime.



What's that, you've never eaten wasa?! Wasa is a delicious and healthy cracker thingy. I eat it all the time with Laughing Cow cheese.





It's real food. I've been discovering lately that I have to be cautious about what I pull from the shelves at my local megamart. If you don't look too closely, you're bound to end up eating something you don't want. I'll get to that in a minute. For now, check out the ingredients list for multigrain wasa from their website-

Whole Grain Rye Flour
Whole Grain Wheat Flour
Whole Grain Oat Flour
Whole Grain Barley Flour
Yeast
Malted Oats
Rye Bran
Oat Flakes
Malt Extract
Mono- & Diglycerides (all natural emulsifiers)
Sea Salt

I know what all of those things are! Save for the emulsifiers, I recognize and am willing to eat all of those ingredients. To top that off, check out the nutritional information on one slice of this stuff-





You read that right- 45 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. I told you it was awesome.
So go out and buy some wasa.

This brings me to the yogurt discussion. Yogurt and I have a long-standing history. Once, I ate what I call 'diet junk' food. 'Diet junk' is food that is low in calories at the cost of having artificial voodoo crap in it. One of the diet junk foods I ate often was light yogurt. I was eating at least one a day before I took the time to read the ingredients list, since the nutritional info was all I really cared about. Here is the ingredients list for Yoplait Light Harvest Peach Yogurt.

Cultured pasteurized grade A nonfat milk, high fructose corn syrup, peaches, modified corn starch, whey protein concentrate, kosher gelatin, natural flavor, citric acid, tricalcium phosphate, *aspartame, potassium sorbate added to maintain freshness, colored with annatto extract, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D

*Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine


So much wrong. The first ingredient after milk is high fructose corn syrup. *shudder* High fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar that has had extra fructose added to make it sweeter than regular sugar. Apparently high fructose corn syrup is so common in American diets because of tarrifs on plain sugar. According to wikipedia, studies have found many side effects to high levels of fructose. "Large quantities of fructose stimulate the liver to produce triglycerides, promotes glycation of proteins and induces insulin resistance.", "Studies on the effect of fructose, as reviewed by Elliot et al.[19], implicate increased consumption of fructose (due primarily to the increased consumption of sugars but also partly due to the slightly higher fructose content of HFCS as compared to sucrose) in obesity and insulin resistance."

So, for many reasons, I make an effort to keep high fructose corn syrup out of my body. While I generally try to keep my sugar intake low, I avoid aspartame and other sugar substitutes whenever possible. Even if it weren't owned by Monsanto, I still would avoid aspartame, given its own laundry list of side-effects. According to the wikipedia entry on it, "Some studies have also recommended further investigation into possible connections between aspartame and negative effects such as headaches, brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma.".

Did I mention that Donald Rumsfeld is responsible for getting it approved by the FDA!? Check out this part of the wikipedia article-

"In 1980, the FDA convened a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) consisting of independent advisors charged with examining the purported relationship between aspartame and brain cancer. The PBOI concluded that aspartame does not cause brain damage, but it recommended against approving aspartame at that time, citing unanswered questions about cancer in laboratory rats. Searle's Chief Operating Officer, Donald Rumsfeld, reapplied for FDA certification immediately after U.S. President Ronald Reagan took office."

So, for the above reasons, I had to quit my diet junk yogurt habit. I decided that I should only eat plain yogurt and add honey or fruit to avoid fake and real sugar all together.

Now, I eat this yogurt when I'm feeling rich-




Guess what's in this yogurt? Not much.

Strained yogurt made from Grade A pasteurized milk and cream, live active yogurt cultures (L.Bulgaricus, S.Thermophilus)

Just the way I like it. Since we are on a budget (thanks, new house) I usually get this stuff.



Ingredients from the Stonefield website-
CULTURED PASTEURIZED ORGANIC LOW FAT MILK, PECTIN, VITAMIN D3. CONTAINS OUR EXCLUSIVE BLEND OF SIX LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES INCLUDING L. ACIDOPHILUS, BIFIDUS, L. CASEI AND L. RHAMNOSUS.

None of this is to mention that most yogurt comes from milk with bovine growth hormone in it, but that's another post. :)

On to the titular shitty yogurt that inspired this post and this long-winded discussion. I'm always looking to save us money when I'm at the grocery store, I grabbed two containers of HyVee lowfat "plain" yogurt. It's my own fault for not checking the label, but, wouldn't you expect "plain" to mean just that, no stuff? I was so wrong.



Ingredients;
Cultured grade A lowfat milk, sugar, nonfat dry milk, corn syrup solids, food starch-modified, gelatin, carrageenan, whey protein concentrate, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness)

Corn syrup?! AND sugar?!? In "plain" yogurt?! I unfortunately discoved this not by reading like a smart consumer, but tasting it. I wish I had a picture of the face I made when I took a bite. Shock and disgust about sums it up.

So, let this be a lesson to you, dear consumers. Read about shit before you buy it and eat it. Soon enough I'm going to have to grow anything I want to eat.

On a much lighter note, I recently purchased a VINTAGE kitchen gadget that I'm so excited to use. In all honesty, I bought two of them; one as a wedding gift for my sister and one for me. It's the mouli julienne grater. It's vastly superior to my box grater for grating cheese. There's a crank on the top that turns a changable blade. The object being grated rests on top of the blade. It's a low-tech version of a food processor, in a sense. Check it out-





That's all for now. Be careful out there.
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