This is fun to say, and even more fun to eat. Best of all, it’s incredibly healthy. The preserved lemon isn’t traditional, but it adds a little burst of sunshine in every bite. and it really works here.
Agatha Christie had a truism when it came to stories: a gun shown in the first act must be used by the third act. What she meant was that something as significant as a gun simply cannot be shown in the story if that gun is not going to eventually be used. It’s too confusing for the audience.
I found a similar situation here. I mentioned that I purchased a canned mackerel, prior to smoking the whole mackerel. I honestly thought I would never open that can . After all, I had all this delicious smoked mackerel.
Then, I made the mistake of overestimating the preservative effects of smoking. My beautiful mackerel – the amount I planned to use in this risotto – had spoiled. But, I still had that can. And, I’m extremely happy to say, it worked beautifully.
Another miscalculation of preservation time led to maybe my favorite part of the dish. I normally would have used onion, but the onion I bought was starting to look…scary. It seems that the holiday season has caused me to lose track of time! At any rate, this led to me using garlic instead. The result is a terrific roasted garlic flavor that pairs well with all the other elements.
This recipe uses a pressure cooker, which certainly isn’t necessary to make a risotto, but which I found very useful to make the dish quickly.
I have smoked things using the barbecue grill before, and it’s largely the same thing that I did here with an offset smoker.
I will explain the adjustments as needed for each step of the process.
Full disclosure: I decided to start my adventure in smoking a whole fish when the outside temperature was 27°F (-3°C). I certainly don’t recommend doing this, since it was impossible to maintain the temperature I needed to fully cook the fish. I finished the cook of the fish in the oven. But, in fact, what I did constituted a Cold Smoke of the fish: the internal temperature rarely got above 85ºF, but the smoke flavor imparted by the process was spectacular.
This is a fairly simple recipe to execute, but the way the pieces go together really blew me away. Here’s where I will try to explain why it had such a profound effect on me.
When I made the Chicken Ropa Viejo, I naturally ate some of it. The taste is terrific, but I have to admit that the leanness of the chicken breast puts it ever so slightly on the dry side. This isn’t an issue, since I expect to enjoy it with a slew of different things (like guacamole, salsa, and so on). But, I did notice.
The mofongo recipe that follows technically doesn’t need to have any meat in it. It can be seen as sort of a garlic mashed potatoes, with plantains in place of potatoes. I tried some before I mixed in the chicken, and it was tasty…but also pasty: the starch of the plantains made this inevitable.
So, it was a surprise to find that mixing the two together actually improved both. The starchiness of the mofongo seemed to bind to the chicken and provide the moisture that it (somewhat) lacked. And, the savoriness of the chicken elevated the plantains beyond where they would have been on their own.
It actually gets better. While this chicken mofongo is terrific as-is, it also takes very well to salsa, guacamole, sour cream…and I can honesty see rolling some up in a tortilla and having it that way.
As a side note, I understand now why mofongo recipes always call for green plantains. One of the plantains I bought ripened, and seriously tasted just like a banana. The sweetness would have been distracting.
Now, the part I’m not so thrilled about. I’m baffled as to why Weight Watchers says that 1 plantain is 10 points, whereas bananas are 0 points. The carbs (31 to 27) are similar, as are the calories (110 to 90), and the nutritional value is comparable. I would have expected this to weigh in significantly lighter than Weight Watchers says it is.
This is one of my favorite things to make. I can’t claim credit for the recipe, since it’s based on Ina Garten’s fantastic Spanakopita recipe. Other than substituting healthy ingredients wherever possible, one big change was adding garlic. Wow, did this add to the taste! It’s almost like eating garlic bread with spinach on it.
I’m so glad I didn’t decide to make this as a white chicken chili. To do that, I would have had to leave out two of my favorite things in a chili: chilies (duh) and tomatoes. Besides being ridiculously healthy, it’s also pretty and very tasty.
I ground my own chicken from breast meat, leaving in the little bit of fat that came with them. It’s really negligible…something on the order of a 97%/3% mix, but I think it helps with the sizzle.
I also decided to try a quick prep of the dried mayocoba beans. Typically, they’re soaked overnight, then boiled for a long time to soften. I found that I can achieve the same results in 30 minutes using a pressure cooker and enough stock to cover the beans, plus a few inches. The beans weren’t totally soft, which is what I wanted: the cooking process in the chili would finish the job.
Also, in my recent penchant for shortcuts, I decided not to devote much time to the tomatoes, and instead went with the canned variety.
This is not a very spicy soup…it’s intended for normal people who don’t want their faces burned off by the heat.
Every recipe for this type of flatbread calls for raw onion inside the bread. I think this makes for a harsh bite, which is why I saute the onion first before folding it inside the dough.
I’m not sure if I can adequately express how much I love this preparation. The initial thought might be to use it with a tagine (it is perfect for that). But, it has so much flavor by itself that I can eat one without anything else (and probably want another one).
Just because I’m limiting my calories doesn’t mean I’m limiting how good my food tastes. I had my first deep fried egg in Detroit on my birthday 2 years ago, and it blew me away. I’ve made a deep fried egg before, and it works out to four points per egg.
I wanted to see if I could duplicate it in the air fryer. It was tricky, but here’s how I did it. My only regret is that there wasn’t a runny yolk. I’m not sure if it’s possible to keep the yolk runny – which is why a poached the egg instead of hard boiling it – but I’m going to keep trying until I see if it’s possible. The result was delicious, with a nice crispy exterior.
Nutritional info was calculated based on the breadcrumbs, flour, and egg yolk that was actually needed to make the egg. After subtracting the flower, breadcrumbs, and egg yolk that remained, each air fried egg is 125 calories.
This is an adaptation of the #twoingredientdough that works so well for bagels and pizza crust. For those applications, people have reported that the dough can be sticky if you don’t use the right kind of yogurt. But, when making naan bread, sticky dough is exactly what you want. This makes is tricky to work with, but it also yields the best results.
Regular naan bread already has yogurt as part of the dough, so figuring out the right proportions took some trial and error. I ended up using the same proportions that worked for the other doughs – 3 cups of flour for 2 cups of yogurt, plus some water – but I made sure to use a less dense yogurt. Oikos works perfectly for naan bread.
Per the sparkpeople recipe builder, each naan is only 129 calories, compared to about 200 for a regular naan.
I’ve made croquettes several times before, always with potato as the main ingredient. With Weight Watchers declaring potatoes to be Bad (due to high starch), I decided to sub out the potato in favor of rutabaga. Not surprisingly, this lightened things up considerably (rutabaga is 10 calories/ounce compared to the potato at 26 calories/ounce). The result is 104 calories per croquette…and they’re a good size (almost 3 ounces each