Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Easy "peas"y

Tonight's dinner was Hoisin Pork and Snow Pea Stir-Fry. Get it? "Peas"y? I know, I hate puns too.

This was delicious and super fast - on the table in less than 30 minutes, start to finish. It will definitely be making a reappearance on our menu in the future. I served the stir-fry over steamed brown rice.

Hoisin Pork and Snow Pea Stir-Fry
Cooking Light, November 2006

The slightly sweet, soy-based hoisin sauce is to Chinese food what ketchup is to American food. Look for hoisin and rice noodles with other Asian foods in most supermarkets.

4 ounces uncooked rice noodles or rice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon honey
4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
3 cups snow peas, trimmed (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.

Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and pork, tossing to coat. Set aside.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, broth, hoisin, cornstarch, and honey in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan. Stir in peas, bell pepper, ginger, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Return pork mixture to pan; stir in broth mixture. Simmer 2 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in green onions. Serve pork mixture over the noodles.

4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup noodles and about 1 cup pork mixture)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mmmmm, mushrooms!

Like I mentioned, this month's Cooking Light has some great-looking "wild" mushroom recipes. And I had a bag of beautiful dried porcinis that my bosses brought me back from Italy last year that have been screaming to be used in something wonderful. Tonight's dinner definitely fit the bill, although it was almost a shame to grind such gorgeous, Grade A porcinis into a fine porcini powder. The rest I'm saving to go atop an elegant risotto or pasta.

Porcini-Dusted Chicken Scaloppine
Cooking Light, October 2007

This dish puts dried porcini mushroom powder to use as a flavorful coating for chicken cutlets. If fresh porcini or chanterelle mushrooms are available, use them for the sauce. Serve with steamed haricots verts and garlic mashed potatoes.

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced shallots (about 1)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups sliced wild or cultivated mushrooms (about 1/2 pound) [I used a combo of porcini, shiitake, and oyster]
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley [I omitted]

Place porcini mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Slice chicken breast halves in half horizontally. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with porcini powder, shaking off excess powder.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken pieces to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until chicken is lightly browned and done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining 4 chicken pieces.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 3 cups mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add broth to pan; simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and parsley.

4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken pieces, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Wild" mushrooms that aren't so wild anymore

So it's been pointed out to me that the "wild" mushrooms in my dinner last night are not actually wild. I know, most "wild" mushrooms are now cultivated. But that's generally all I can find around here. That said, we are headed to San Francisco next weekend and have plans to visit my favorite foodie stop ever, the Ferry Building Marketplace, and I hope to bring home some REAL wild mushrooms from Far West Fungi.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Breakfast for Dinner

I'm not usually a fan of breakfast food, but I am a fan of wild mushrooms, and this month's Cooking Light had some fabulous-looking wild mushroom recipes. I picked up more than I needed at Whole Foods last weekend and decided to use the extras to make the Fines Herbes Omelet with Wild Mushrooms. It was a perfect high-protein, low calorie dinner, and I was surprised at how filling and rich it was. I'm not sure it will make our regular rotation, but it hit the spot this evening.

Fines Herbes Omelet with Wild Mushrooms
Cooking Light, October 2007

Chanterelle or oyster mushrooms would complement this omelet. Chervil is a traditional component of fines herbes; if it's available, add 1/4 teaspoon to the mix.

Cooking spray
3 cups sliced wild or cultivated mushrooms (about 1/2 pound) [I used a combo of shiitake, porcini, and oyster]
3 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream [I used light]
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fat-free cream cheese, softened [I used light]
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
[I subbed 1 tsp dried herbes de provence for the chives, parsley, and tarragon]
4 large egg whites
2 large eggs

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until moisture evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown. Remove from heat.

Combine 1 tablespoon milk, sour cream, cream cheese, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add mushrooms to milk mixture; stir well. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons milk, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, onions, chives, parsley, tarragon, egg whites, and eggs in a bowl; stir well.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spread egg mixture evenly in pan; cook 3 minutes or until center is set. Top with mushroom mixture. Carefully loosen omelet with a spatula; fold in half. Cut omelet in half.

2 servings (serving size: 1/2 omelet)

I stand corrected.

I'm rarely ever wrong but when I am, I'll admit it. I was wrong and jumped to premature conclusions. I got the call for a second interview this morning! I am SO excited, I can hardly stand it. Not at all excited about the timing of my interview, which coincides with two other trips I have the same week, but hopefully it will be worth it. The Senior Recruiter who called me this morning told me that my interviewer said he had a "great" interview with me by telephone on Monday. I thought it was good, not great, so I'm happy to hear that. Especially happy to hear that after the dream I had last night where the interviewer told me, in person, that I didn't get a second interview because I hadn't printed my resume on colored paper. :o Seriously.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Job blues.

I really really need a new job. And now that I've decided I really need a new job, it's making me REALLY need a new job, and soon. I still have yet to hear back about a second interview for the job I really want. I know it's only been two days, but given their hiring timeframe and the fact that it would require me to travel out of state as early as Monday, I think I would have heard by now if they were interested. Not to mention, I called (and left a message) this morning, and didn't get a call back in response to that. Quite honestly, I'm surprised they're not interested, as I am perfect for the job. I know, that makes me sound SO arrogant. But it's true. Anyway, I've resigned myself to the fact that I am going to get a ding letter in the mail anytime now. That just means I'm back to square one as far as looking, when I really wanted to be getting ready for an interstate move back home and to start my "dream job."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I love my personal trainer!

I have been working out with a personal trainer since April. I swore I would never pay someone money to kick my ass at the gym, but I started going in a last-ditch attempt to lose the final 5 pounds I wanted to lose to hit my "goal weight." And he ROCKS. Even though I haven't actually lost any weight since I started working out with him, I lost 6% body fat in 10 weeks. And that's worth every penny I pay him. He's been on vacation for the last two weeks -- and he'll be none too happy with me to hear that I completely ditched working out for one of the weeks he was gone -- but he is back today and I am excited! I also need to return the clothes I borrowed from him before he left, when I showed up to work out without a gym bag.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My foray into blogging

I decided to start a blog because I enjoy reading other people's blogs so much. Then again, they probably have a lot more interesting lives than me. I'm not sure yet what shape this blog will take -- probably just ramblings from me about my everyday life, which, as described above, consists most days of just working, working out, sometimes cooking, and trying to find a way to enjoy the simpler things in life.

My current interest is finding a new job. I've been in my current position for four years, and I'm completely and totally burnt out. Not to mention the hubby and I want to move back home to Texas. I had a phone interview this morning with a company I love for a job that was written for me. Now, the painfully long wait to hear if they want me to come down for a second interview next week. This is sure to be the longest week of my life.