Thursday, July 16, 2009


Hey, guess what I'm eating this week? I didn't realize this until last weekend, but I rarely use my freezer anymore. Since this has directly coincided with my healthy eating habits and subsequent substantial weight loss (55lbs and counting! Woo!), I choose to think of this as a good thing. Go me! I only open my freezer for one of these few items: frozen peas and/or corn (so handy if I need a way to add some easy veggies to something like pasta), frozen blueberries (because blueberry buttermilk pancakes are the best thing ever), frozen pizza (for emergencies, and usually it's Husband who eats them, usually about once a month), frozen chicken (Husband used to only buy the bags of frozen chicken from Costco, insisting that it tasted the same as fresh. A few months of good quality chicken, and he now refuses to eat that nasty frozen stuff. Score! So why do we still have it regularly stocked in our freezer? For dog food, of course!). Ok, I admit it. Sometimes there's ice cream in there as well...but Husband is a total ice cream monster, so it's usually gone before I can blink!

Anyway, my point is that if I'm not opening the freezer for one of the items listed above, I don't pay any attention to whatever else is in there. Husband, desperate for a snack last week, poked his head in and discovered 6 steaks from Harris Ranch his parents had stopped to buy for us last time they drove down to visit (who on earth needs that much beef at once!?). Let's see...that was last March. Only four months ago? Oh that's not so bad. Husband declared he would grill them up, so I planned for an easy meat-filled week. Oh joy. Have I mentioned before that I'm not a big meat eater? I'm really not.

After the cooking marathon I did the 4th of July weekend, I was up for something easy this last weekend. Also I was feeling lazy. So what else is new? Here's what I'm eating this week:
  • Cucumber mango bisque, courtesy mom! My mom called me last week and told me about this fantastic chilled soup she had made for a 4th of July dinner she went to. When she mentioned there was buttermilk involved I insisted on having the recipe. I heart buttermilk and mangoes! She got it from a cook book, I forget which one. I'll post it with my modifications below. By the way, this soup took minutes to make. Just chop, blend, then enjoy! I could not wrap my mind around the fact that I had made soup without actually cooking anything. Trippy!
  • No-knead bread, courtesy of the NY Times (note: requires you to register on the site, but it's free). Because every bisque needs some good crusty bread to dip in it, right? This is seriously the easiest bread to make ever. Four ingredients. Mix them in a bowl. Cover bowl and wait. Touch dough for a few seconds then wait some more. Then bake! The recipe calls for a dutch oven, which sadly my kitchen lacks (I want one sooooo badly!), but I just use a corningware dish covered with foil. Works fine for me.
  • Grilled chicken over stir fried veggies and cold soba noodles, courtesy of me. Look at me! I made something on my own without a recipe! If you haven't already noticed, I tend to use a recipe for everything. When I'm left to my own devices, bad things happen. Or at least, the same thing happens. Asian flavors are definitely my crutch. Soy sauce is easy and it tastes good. But at least I spiced things up a little this time. First, I marinated some sliced chicken breasts overnight in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, lime juice, grated ginger, minced garlic and a little sugar. Then, I stir fried a crap-ton of vegetables: snow peas, carrots, celery, mushrooms, savoy cabbage, and green onions. I grilled the chicken actually using the griddle side of my indoor grill pan, I just put some oil down and stirred it around until cooked (Korean BBQ style!). I had sliced the chicken pretty thin, so it cooked up super fast. I threw the veggies and the chicken over some soba noodles and topped with toasted sesame seeds and the same sauce I used to marinate the chicken (not the same actual sauce, that's unsanitary, I mean I used the same ingredients). It turned out really delicious, but after a day in the fridge I think the acid in the sauce broke down the chicken a little too much. So while tasty, it apparently doesn't keep too well unless you leave the sauce off. I am quickly becoming obsessed with soba noodles. They are so flavorful, good hot or cold, and I hear buckwheat is super good for you.
  • Steak and roasted zucchini quesadilla, courtesy of me again. Twice in one week? I astonish even myself. Here is my newly discovered delicious masterpiece. I took a whole wheat tortilla and put a thin layer of Parmesan cheese down. Then, I took some sliced zucchini and yellow squash I had roasted earlier in the oven and layed out the slices until my tortilla was covered. I had lots of extra basil from my soup, so I threw some of that in too because everything tastes better with basil, right? Then I sliced some of the grilled steak into bite-sized pieces and sprinkled them over the veggies. Lastly, I put down another layer of Parmesan cheese and topped with another whole wheat tortilla. You'll want both layers of cheese because it acts as the glue that keeps your food from flying out of the middle when you flip it. I used Parmesan originally because I has some left over I was trying to use up, but in hindsight, this cheese was perfect for the dish. The salty, nutty flavor from the cheese went so well with the zucchini and steak. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Last night I used up the last of the Parmesan and used cheddar instead. So not as good, but still tasty. And this may sound unappetizing, but the Parmesan when melted had almost a bit of a rubbery texture to it, which gave the quesadilla a really nice bite to it. I'm all about texture apparently. I may actually have to write up a recipe for this. It will definitely repeat.
  • Steak! Husband did his man thing and grilled up the steaks. There is so much freaking steak! I've mostly just been eating it in the quesadillas, but the week is mostly over and it's only half gone. Husband insists he can finish it, but I have a feeling Theo may be getting a treat for a few meals in a few more days. I think we have 3 whole steaks left. Ugh, I think I'm on a meat overload right now.

Cucumber Mango Bisque
4 large servings, or 6 small

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat because that's what I had)
2 hot-house cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups)
2 mangoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (I used 1 1/2, minus the seeds)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients except salt in a large bowl and puree with emersion blender, or puree in batches in a stand blender. Add salt to taste. Let chill at least 1 hour before serving.


Diana Mo' said...

is the soup tangy in flavor?

i love buckwheat noodles! i use those sometimes randomly.

JuLo said...

Yeah...between the buttermilk and the yogurt, I think there could be a little bit of what you would call tang. I don't know if this soup is for you. Do you like the flavor of buttermilk? You could always try leaving out the yogurt, or using just a little bit to see if the flavor bothers you.

I need to think of more stuff to use soba noodles in. Got any ideas? They're supposed to be super good for you. :)