I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.
I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware. I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:
- Diamonds are durable – As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
- Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal – Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
- Diamonds are naturally nonstick – One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.
So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.
For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.
You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.
Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream
For each quesadilla:
- 1/2 of a ripe avocado
- 1 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
- 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
- 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
- Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
- About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
- About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!
- First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
- Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
- Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
- Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.
If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.
“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy
The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …
Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.
I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup
This recipe makes about a quart of soup.
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions
- Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
- Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.
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Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.
It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.
For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.
Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”
This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
- 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
- 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
- 1 roma tomato
- About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
- A splash of wine (or water)
- About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
- About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
- To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
- Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
- Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
- Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
- Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
- Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.
on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese
Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.
So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.
A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.
Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.
- 1 egg
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
- About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
- Several slices of Gouda cheese
- Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
- Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
- Sliced fresh garden tomato
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
- Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
- While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.
This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Favorites, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.
with Great Northern Beans & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing
Have you ever made something once and thought “it’s good, but it really ought to be better?” Yeah, that’s what happened here. The first time I made it I used a great big eggplant and I tried cooking it on the grill. Except my coals ran out of heat and the eggplant didn’t get properly cooked and it was this awful rubbery texture. I ended up picking all of the eggplant out of my salad that night and just eating the tomatoes with the corn and bread … not that that was a BAD thing, it was quite delightful that way. I just hated wasting the lovely eggplant …
So: take 2. This time I used a couple of my fairy tale eggplant. If you’ve not seen fairy tale eggplant, they are those tiny purple eggplant that look SO adorable because they are about finger sized or a little bigger, maybe half my hand size? You never have to peel them or salt them because their skins are perfectly tender and they are never bitter. If you’re inexperienced with eggplant, fairy tale eggplant are a good place to start. This time was definitely better … but something was missing … oh my gosh! the corn! I totally forgot the corn. Okay, so I went and grabbed some corn from the freezer, cooked it up and added it … ah! much better!
Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad
Adapted from Williams Sonoma. For one hearty serving or two small “sides”:
- 2-4 fairy tale eggplant (about 1/2 cup after roasting/chopping)
- 1 cup fresh garden tomato, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained
- 1/2 cup cooked corn, drained
- 2 slices of sweet onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes (about 1 inch in size … or smaller … to your liking)
- A few fresh basil & tarragon leaves
- A few roasted sunflower seeds
- Tahini yogurt ranch dressing (recipe below)
- Slice the fairy tale eggplant lengthwise in 1/2-inch slices. (You can use other eggplant in place of Fairy Tale, but you may need to peel them first.) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set the eggplant on the baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt or Red Robin Seasoning. Roast the eggplant in the oven or toaster oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
- While the eggplant are cooking, chop the tomato and onion and heat the white beans and corn up. Also, set the bread cubes on another oiled baking sheet and let them toast in the oven for the last few minutes of the eggplant roasting or until the cubes are lightly browned and toasted.
- Chop the eggplant into bite-size chunks. In your salad bowl, toss the eggplant, tomato, corn and onion till well mixed. Gently fold in the toasted bread cubes, drizzle with tahini ranch dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.
Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
- 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.
In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.
Do you want to know a secret? Those Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables that I shared the other day? There’s a way to make them even better … I didn’t think it was possible, but my gosh they make an incredible sandwich. Put them on a good bun and then melt smoked cheese over the top and oh my gosh it’s heaven. I’m telling you, you really need to try this.
It was Ann at the Fountain Avenue Kitchen that gave me the idea when she posted her Grilled Pesto Veggiewich, which looks totally yummy, and I LOVE that word: vegiewich! I didn’t have any of that gorgeous multi-grain bread, and I don’t have a panini maker, but I have some really good hot dog buns left over from our camping trip and I have a fridge drawer full of gourmet cheeses from Dofino cheeses that are just dying to be made into something delicious.
And thus a new sandwich is born. I have made this sandwich twice already and I’m going to have another one for lunch today. If you really must, you could add some chicken or something, but trust me, you won’t miss the meat. The vegies and cheese are just divine. It tastes like there’s some magical sauce in there, but I didn’t add any sauce.
Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich
- Good quality homemade or bakery buns (white or whole wheat … whole wheat of course is healthier)
- A bunch of Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables
- Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Take your bun and pile a bunch of the roasted vegetables on it. Shred and mix the cheeses, then cover the vegies with the lovely cheese.
- Set the bun on a baking sheet, set it in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is nicely melted, the bun is toasted, and the vegies are hot.
- Take the vegiewich and put it on your plate and gobble it up while it’s still hot. A little bowl of melon is a lovely accompaniment. Have napkins handy because it might get a little messy …
When I saw these zucchini “crab” cakes over at My Kitchen Addiction, I so very badly wanted to try them. I love crab cakes. I love zucchini. I loved the idea of making a crab-cake-like thing with zucchini. I couldn’t wait till my sister brought me some zucchini so I could try them! She brought me these gorgeous striped Italian zucchini, along with some regular green ones. I used one of the pretty Italian ones for this dish.
These “crab” cakes have no crab in them at all … they are made with zucchini, breadcrumbs, spices and chickpeas. They don’t really taste like crab, but they are pretty yummy. They have that same soft, gentle texture that crab cakes have, which I really love. I think, though, the next time I make these I will tone down the Old Bay seasoning or replace it altogether with other seasonings. I love Old Bay seasoning on seafood, but it seems a little strong when there really isn’t any seafood present. (Or maybe, just maybe, next time I should toss in some real crab along with the zucchini! Now that would be fun.)
This time, however, I had some tzatziki on hand so I thought instead of tartar sauce, I smeared on some tzatziki and topped with slices of mom’s first fresh garden tomatoes. Oh yes, that was the perfect topping in my book. I also think they would be fun as sliders, served in little buns. I suppose most people would classify these as appetizers, but I think they make a nice little meal.
I was in a rush to eat so I didn’t salt and drain the shredded zucchini like she did … I just set it on a clean kitchen towel, covering it in the towel, and pressed to remove the excess moisture. I also added extra breadcrumbs and some chickpeas to mellow out the flavor a bit and give it some extra protein.
Zucchini Chickpea Mock “Crab” Cakes
Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction. I think I got about 15 – 18 2-inch patties from this batch. It was hard to count because I kept munching on them as I cooked.
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
- 1/4 – 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (I used 1 teaspoon, but I think that was too much. I recommend starting with a little bit and tasting it, then add more to taste.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (again, start light and add to taste)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
- a sprig or two of fresh terragon, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded asiago cheese
- 1 heaping cup of chickpeas, finely chopped until they are almost a mush in a handi chopper or food processor
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For frying: 2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For dipping/serving: tartar or tzatziki sauce (my recipe for tzatziki is here), fresh tomato slices, little buns if you like
- Set the zucchini on a clean kitchen towel, cover and squeeze out the excess moisture. Put the zucchini in a large mixing bowl and toss it with the breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil and mix well. Form into patties.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cakes to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. If you have more cakes yet to cook, add a Tablespoon more oil and wait till it heats up, then cook the rest of the cakes. Put the cakes in a clean towel to keep them warm until you’re done frying.
- Serve warm, topped with your choice of toppings. They can be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) at 400 for about 5 – 8 minutes.