Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Engine 2 - Cranberry and Orange Breakfast Loaf.

Isabel's Orange and Cranberry Loaf from the Engine 2 e-book.  Moist and yummy with NO OIL, no dairy, no eggs.  Yum!  If I get permission, I'll post the recipe here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pantry Revamp: Magnetic Spice Rack

I've seen these everywhere.... Pinterest, the Food Network, various blogs.  It's no longer a fresh or new idea, but it is a good one and it was finally my turn to take on the project and clean up my spice pantry.  My lazy susan spice rack was getting out of control.  Something had to be done!

I loved the idea of the magnetic spice racks especially because I've become quite fond of buying only what I need of spices in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.  After all, it's kind of silly to buy a $4 jar of spices for a meal you only make once in a blue moon.  I much prefer 50 cents worth and to know it's fresh.  It costs less in the long run, in my opinion.  But having a bunch of flimsy little plastic pouches laying around isn't practical.

With this system, I only need to buy a little of the spices I don't use often (enough for say tonight's meal and maybe a few others) and have a place a little nicer than a plastic baggy for them.  For those spices I do use regularly and seem to always being running out of and need to buy in large quantities (CUMIN!), well, I've got a giant container for those too!  Awesome, 16 oz. containers!

Here's the low down:

I used JB Steel Weld to glue the magnets onto the tins.  I roughly sanded the bottoms quickly before affixing the magnets.  I bought the magnets from Amazon.  They are 1/2"x1/8" neodymium magnets with a 3 pound pull strength.  I used 3 magnets on the larger containers.

I bought all the containers through Specialty Bottle Online.  Some of the lids seemed a little loose (I had heard about this), but a quick bend in the lip of the base makes them tight.  If I had to change anything I think I wouldn't buy the 2.5 oz. flat jars and gotten the 4 oz deep jars instead.  They take up less space (not as wide) and would work just as well for small quantities.  That said, I had plenty of room, so it all worked out just fine.

I bought the magnets (a set of 100) at Amazon for $20 after shipping. (Link on right)

The holder is a sheet of 24"x36" galvanized steel from Lowes ($9) that my husband cut with a special blade that cost $4 on his table saw to cut it down to 21" wide.  He pre-drilled the holes where we wanted to attach it into the steel.  Then he predrilled the door and screwed the sheet onto the door.  Note: not all stainless steel is magnetic.  Only 400 series stainless steel would work.  Quick research showed this to be a much pricier option.

I attached the rack to the back of my pantry door to keep the spices in a cool, dark place.

I haven't finished yet, but I'll be labeling them with my fancy labeler.  For now, I used a sharpie on the back.  Honestly, with the clear lid, things are pretty clear as to what they are but cayenne and paprika are a little hard to tell... so a quick label prevents me from making that mistake!

Waiting for the JB to set.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Recipe Revamp: Balsamic Glazed Portabellos Over a Bed of Creamy Polenta

Tonight I finally got around to converting an old recipe for balsamic pork chops we used to love.  I had almost forgotten about it until I went through my old recipe box.  To revamp it, I've chosen large, meaty portabellos to stand in for the pork.

The result is out of this world. The combination of the sweet balsamic and creamy polenta is magic on the tongue.  And, if that weren't enough, it comes together in a snap.

The ingredients:

2 1/2 c. plant-based milk
1 1/4 c. veggie broth
1 c. uncooked polenta/corn meal (I always use corn meal, this shortens cooking time)
3 ounces Tofutti cream cheese (a modest cheat for Engine 2 folks, you can omit this but it will reduce creaminess)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cloves, minced
4-5 extra large portabello mushrooms, sliced in large sections

How to:

Bring milk and broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. While whisking, slowly add polenta until it is all incorporated. Cook polenta for 10-20 minutes or until it becomes thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in Tofutti cream cheese. Set aside and keep warm.

Place vinegar in a large cast iron skillet or other large non-stick pan. Bring vinegar to a boil and cook on medium high until it is reduced to half (about 5 minutes.) Throw in the sliced mushrooms and allow them to be coated by the reduction. Add in the rosemary, salt and garlic. Allow to cook, gingerly sauteing for about 5 minutes or until done.

To serve place a dollop of polenta and smother with the portabello mushroom mixture.

Serves 4.