Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lost Island Food


Chef Robert Irvine cooked an amazing meal for the cast and crew of Lost.  He went to Hawaii where the show is filmed and he had to prepare this meal right on the beach with no kitchen. They let him go to a hardware store where he came back and built his own kitchen.  They gave him the food that was only found on the island, but later they gave him a dahrma drop where he got to use extra goodies to cook with. He had to build a kitchen and cook a huge meal for 90 people in only 7 hours.  He also had to take the food all the way to the set after he cooked it all.  Needless to say, he passed the test with flying colors.

I was blown away by all the amazing things he came up with off the top of his head.  One thing in particular he made that really caught my eye was his cooked shrimp inside pineapple bowls.  He didn't have anything to put the shrimp in, so he got creative and carved out the pineapples to make bowls with them.  I scoured the internet looking for this recipe and couldn't find it at all. So I finally found a video that shows him making it (but they have since removed and it's nowhere to be found), and I took notes as he told what all he put in it and how he made it.  So I wrote it down and had to try to make this one myself!

He used chard, so I happen to have some of that growing in my backyard, so I pulled some chard up


and washed it really well in the sink.



Next was the part I wasn't sure how to do. He didn't say how to hollow out the pineapple really, so I just used a knife and started cutting away. Cutting out the core part helped the most, the rest of it just came right out.

I had some shrimp in my freezer that my dad had brought back fresh from Florida, so I cooked that.
I had to peel and devein it myself, so if  you buy the shrimp already done for you, it really saves a lot of time in the preparation.


Robert cooked his chard in butter, but I cooked mine in olive oil, garlic and crushed red peppers.


Then I filled up the pineapple half full with the cooked chard.


Put the shrimp on top and then poured the sauce over it.
I'll tell how to make the sauce in the recipe below.
Then bake it in the oven.




Then the best part of all... eating it!


Wow, just wow! This turned out amazing!!!! It took some time to put it together, but it was worth every minute.  He served this to go along with other food, but I just ate it as a single meal for my lunch today.  It was filling and very satisfying.



Here is the recipe, it doesn't really have a name or anything. I guess I could call it pineapple shrimp surprise. :)

Pineapple Shrimp Surprise
Water
Peanut butter
Steak Sauce
Fish Sauce
Chard
Olive oil
Garlic
Crushed red pepper
Pineapple
Shrimp (peeled and vained)

Sauce:
  • Water
  • Peanut butter
  • Steak sauce
  • Fish Sauce
Mix water and a few Tbsp of peanut butter together. Flavor with a tad of the fish sauce and steak sauce. I poured some of the juice from the pineapple in it, too.

Cook olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper in a skillet. Add chard and a small amt of water. Cook til desired tenderness.

Hollow out a pineapple and fill it half way with the chard. Boil abt 15 shrimp and put on top of the chard. Pour some of the sauce on top of the shrimp.  Bake in oven at 400F between 10 and 15 minutes.

Garnish as desired. Add the leftover pineapple to the plate. Enjoy!


You will automatically be transported to a tropical paradise as you eat this!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Farm Garden - Progress


Here is the garden over at my dads farm. I came over here today and a friend and I were weeding it. It's doing really good. I think the soil here is much better than the soil at my house. Things just seem to sprout up in no time and he even planted his things after I did.

That is the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.

The views around his farm are beautiful.


He's got a lot of Boxwood on the farm, too. Some of it's mine, I planted it about 10 years or so ago.  We are selling it, so if you need any Boxwood bushes, just let me know!

[Boxwood bushes]

The grapes are even growing already. Last year I bottled my own grape juice, so I'm hoping to do it again this year, too.  My dad makes wine with it.




These grapes are sooo delish,, too!
I think these are the Muscadine.


Little Foot's been having a ball running around on the farm all morning. He was even wanting to go after the cows and staring them down in his Border Collie stance. I'm so proud of him!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garden Progress


My garden is doing pretty good so far. Minus the weeds!  My plan was to buy a larger and higher fence to put around the garden this year to keep Little Foot out, but I never got around to it, so I just used what I had here and tied string around it. He dug a big hole in it and messed up a few things, but I tried to fix it and now keep a better eye on him when he's out.

It's grown a lot in just 1 month!

Here is how the deck plants are doing.


I'm so glad my chives lived!


My lawnboy had mowed them down and I didn't know if they would make it after I uprooted them from the garden. They are hefty little plants.

[Before]


My Topsy Turvy is also doing better than I expected. 
I didn't know if these things really worked or not, but I actually think it's doing better than the tomatoes in the garden or in the pots.  Still have to wait to see how many tomatoes it gives me, there are lots of tiny little green ones on it already.


Here is my first tomato I got to pick, it grew from one of the potted plants. It looks real pretty, but it didn't taste that great and it had a really funny texture to it.  So sad.  :(
The plant I got this tomato from is dying, looks like it has some sort of fungus attacking it. 
Little tiny black dots all over the leaves. I have no idea what to do about that, if anyone knows what it is or how to treat it, please let me know.



The flowers are coming back nicely this year, too.

Here's the Hydrangeas.


The rhododendron that was here when I moved here. 
Last year it didn't bloom really, but this year it is in full bloom!


Well, that's what I got so far.
How is your garden or plants doing this year?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Clean Chicken Divan



Chicken Divan
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, May/June 2009, page 58
Serves: 4 to 6

2 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, sliced very thin and cleaned
1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms (8 ounces, about 15), sliced and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound broccoli, florets and stems cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup cooked cannellini beans, or 1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp fresh chives
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a wide, medium saucepan with a tightly fitting lid, bring broth to a boil.  Add chicken, cover pan and reduce heat so broth and chicken simmer for 5 minutes.  Then remove pan from heat (do not uncover) and poach chicken in hot broth for 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

While chicken poaches, heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add leeks and mushrooms. Cook stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and liquid has cooked out, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds before removing pan from heat and setting aside.

When chicken is done, lift from the both and transfer to a cutting board.  Cover saucepan and return broth to a boil.  Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside, keeping warm.  Add broccoli to boiling broth, cover pan again and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook broccoli until it is fork tender, not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Lift broccoli from broth with a slotted spoon and distribute it onto the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Set aside.  Reserve broth.

Add beans, cottage cheese, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, chives and thyme to a blender or food processor.  Add cooked leeks, mushrooms and garlic.  Carefully pour broth into blender or food processor and puree mixture until very smooth, taking care to avoid escaping steam or hot liquid splashes.

In a bowl, mix lemon juice and pepper together with chicken.  Pour half of puree over chicken and stir to combine.  Spread chicken across broccoli in baking pan and then pour remaining puree over top.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and transfer to oven.  Bake for 15 minutes and then, if desired, broil for 5 additional minutes to brown the top of the casserole.

Serve a heaping spoonful of casserole on top of steamed grains, like brown rice or barley pilaf. Be sure to ladle the flavorful juice from the bottom of the pan onto hot cooked grains.




______

This time Lou's husband Todd picked the recipe. Today is his birthday, so she wanted him to pick what he wanted to eat for tonight. 
Happy Birthday Todd!!!!
You can go and see her Chicken Divan here.

I copied this recipe from Sparkpeople website when I made it. There was a slight problem though, they never said to put the beans in the recipe anywhere, so after I made the sauce and poured it over the broccoli and chicken, I assumed the beans went in the puree.  It was too late, so my puree was a little watery.  To see how the photo of this recipe was suppose to look, check out this blogger at Proceed with Caution.  Wish I would have found her recipe instead of the one I used. Oh well, seems I make quite a few cooking mistakes, so I won't quit my day job! lol

All in all it had a great flavor and I really liked it. I'd never had this before, but Lou said it's a favorite of hers and  Todd's from way back.  Thank you Todd for the recipe idea! :)





Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cherry Smoothie


After we picked all the cherries, then comes the task of pitting them.  So I borrowed this fancy pitting contraption from my dad to pit the cherries.  You just put them in the little cup part of it, they roll down into the shoot, then you press down on that black lever and it knocks the pit out of it into a little tray at the bottom and the pitted cherries fall into the bowl.  


Next I just laid the cherries on a bunch of cookie racks so they don't touch each other, then freeze overnight.


This morning I got up and threw them all in freezer bags.


Then made myself a cherry smoothie for breakfast!

Mmmmmm


Cherry Smoothie
-Frozen cherries
-Plain Yogurt
-Frozen Acai
-Almond milk

I'm not sure what else I will make with the cherries, this is the first time I've frozen cherries like this, so I need to come up with some ideas for them.  If you have any, just throw them my way.  :)
My dad is going to use his for his breakfast in the mornings.  Every morning he makes a little concoction of cottage cheese, Flax oil, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  

Someone commented on my last post asking what I was going to do with the cherries, so I thought I would post this little smoothie recipe.  Enjoy!  :)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cherry Pickin'


I went cherry pickin' with my dad yesterday and we got a bunch of cherries! 


A lady not too far from me has a huge cherry tree farm and she lets people come to her farm and pick as many cherries as they want. She only charges $2.00 a pound.


This was the first time I have ever picked cherries before, so it was a fun experience. I even got to climb up a ladder and pick the ones at the top that you can't reach.


Here are our 3 buckets!
They taste delish and of course we were eating a bunch of them as we were pickin' 'em!


Nope small town life ain't all that bad.
:)





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