Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Archive for the category “Waistline-friendly”

Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee is one of those desserts everyone should know how to make.  Got a boss?  Got a poopsie-kins?  How about in-laws (or people you wish were in-laws)?  If you’ve got anyone to impress, this is what you make.  How can you beat a flaming dessert?  And, though everyone at the table will certainly oooh and aaah over your sweet culinary skills, you and I will really know what a snap this is to throw together.

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Beef Gyros with Tzatziki

Beef Gyro

I wish I could somehow post the smell of this marinated beef.  I need to dab my chin just thinking about it.  Of course, I’ve always had a thing for the smell of wine-soaked cuisine…though I’m more of a beer drinker than a wine-bibber.  Go figure.

So anyway, on to the recipe!  I wanted to do something particularly delicious for Valentine’s Day, so I thought I’d whip up something a la Grecque for dinner.  The menu?  Beef gyros with tzatziki dressing.  Homemade hummus.  Marinated goat cheese.  Tapas.  Everything turned out just loverly and I hope next time you’ve got the craving for a little Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll give these a try.  The great thing with a dinner like this is that it can be as easy or fussy as you want it to be.  Most grocery stores now offer all sorts of ready-to-eat tapas, from marinated cheeses to a variety of olives and preserved veggies.  Personally, I almost always have a huge jar of marinated artichoke hearts in the fridge for just such an occasion (though if I’m honest, I have them for an afternoon snack on an almost daily basis).  For this particular dinner, I happened to make the hummus, tzatziki, and marinated goat cheese, but you could put together a lovely meal with store-bought items and significantly less work.  Do what makes you happy and keeps the peace in your house, I say.

Allow me a small reminiscence here.

I very clearly remember the first time I had goat cheese.  I had just started working at the Pasta & Co. on Queen Anne and a co-worker offered me a bite of something on a cracker.  I’d describe the taste like a slap in the face, except I don’t think I’d enjoy being slapped in the face.  It was all at once tangy, pungent, savory, salty…purely delicious.  What my co-worker had given me was a bite of our house-marinated Chevre.  You’ll understand when I say I immediately purchased several slices of the stuff to take home after my shift.  The marinade was really an amazing thing–extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Though the ingredients were simple, the flavors together somehow seemed greater than its parts.  Since I had some fresh goat cheese just waiting patiently in the fridge, I decided I would try to duplicate my experience from memory.  While I’m sure it wasn’t exact, the results were delicious just the same.  I will share that one with you in a separate post.  But for now, bring on the beef!

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Crock Pot Coconut Curry Chicken with Red Potatoes

Crock Pot Coconut Curry with Chicken

Okay, okay.  It is true that in the past (in fact, not that many posts ago), I have prattled on about the glories of enameled cast iron and how such braises prepared therein are vaaaastly superior to what you can cook up in the humble Crock Pot.  However!  That is NOT to say that there aren’t some seriously delicious Crock Pot recipes out there (I’ve been secretly amassing them).  Add to that the fact that most of these recipes are just so easy.  While some may involve a little saute action prior to being added to the slow cooker, others require nothing more than a can opener, a bit of chopping, and your ability to dump ingredients into the pot.  Gotta love that on a crazy day.

I’d say this dish is worth the effort, but there really is no effort involved.  So.  Easy.  You can also tweak this recipe in any number of ways–more/less curry, more/less spice, more veggies, different meat (or tofu!)–you get the idea.  Plus!  If you are trying to lose a little of that jiggle in 2013, this recipe would be an excellent addition to your repertoire.  Just a quick nutrition analysis will tell you this dish is rich in antioxidants, a great source of protein, includes complex carbs for lasting energy–even the capsaicin found in those tiny chili peppers might just give you an edge with your weight loss efforts.  All of this–and more!–for a  mere 333 calories (442 if you serve it up with some rice).

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