How are you doing today? I loved reading all of your comments last night on yesterday’s post. You guys added some great tips to my list and I am so inspired by some of your goals. Make sure you get back to me and let me know how you’re doing with them!
Yesterday was the first Try Something New Tuesday of 2011, and here’s what went down:
1. Recipe of the Week: Now that the holidays are over (yes, that makes me want to shed a tear too) I’ve been craving some lighter fare. The solution? Cajun Tuna Lettuce Wraps.
These are really easy to make and absolutely delicious, not to mention super high in protein. Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian because the tuna can easily be swapped out for more Romano beans or another type of bean. I used romaine lettuce, but the trick to eating these without spilling them everywhere is to make sure the leaves are scoop-y. Otherwise, you’ll have more on your lap than in your mouth, and that would be a shame because these wraps really are very tasty.
2. Vanilla Bean Paste. This is an ingredient I’ve been seeing pop up on a few foodie blogs lately, and being a huge vanilla fan, I wanted to try it. Although I’m not a big baked goods kind of girl, if you were to give me a choice of ice cream flavours and it’ll be vanilla bean every time.
The one I found at Williams Sonoma is Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Paste. According to the website of the manufacturer (Nielsen-Massey)…
The world’s finest and most consistent vanilla comes from Madagascar. Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla from Nielsen-Massey has a creamy, sweet, velvety flavor that is perfectly suited for a range of products from baked goods to ice creams, salad dressings to barbeque sauces. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla does not have anything to do with the American whiskey of the same name, but is rather named for the Bourbon Islands off the coast of Africa. Madagascar supplies more than 60% of the world’s vanilla.
Ok, so maybe this qualifies me as a vanilla snob. I don’t mind. It smelled lovely, even better than the vanilla air freshener in my room that I
have become addicted to adore.
So if not baked goods, then what did I make? Sadly it wasn’t ice cream either, but I’m certainly considering it. Since yesterday was my first day back to work after the holidays, I felt it was only appropriate to ease into it with a delicious breakfast. I was thinking pancakes. Spiced Vanilla Protein Pancakes to be precise. In addition to vanilla bean paste, there was plenty of cinnamon and all-spice in these beauties and they certainly hit the spot.
A little brown, yes I know. In the future I don’t think I’d cook them on as high a setting, but crispiness aside they were lovely. Other additions were a topping of plain Greek yogurt mixed with more vanilla bean paste and cinnamon, and a few Pink Lady apple slices on the side because they rock my world.
3. My new cast iron skillet! It’s actually a Lodge cast iron skillet.
Now, I’ll explain why I wanted this absurdly heavy, seemingly boring but oh-so-wonderful receptacle in a minute, but first, a few things I learned about looking after cast iron skillets:
- They cannot be washed with soap, just warm water. Hot water can warp the metal or crack it, and leaving it to air-dry can cause rust. (You can scour it off with a piece of sandpaper or steel wool, but it will need to be re-seasoned. I hadn’t a clue what this meant but you can read about it here if you’d like.)
- Before putting food in the skillet, oil should be added and the pan should be heated gradually, starting on low heat
- It’s not wise to treat it like a regular frying pan on the stove because you will likely burn yourself… the handle gets très chaud, très quickly!!
It was used in conjunction with new thing number 4 to cook my dinner…
4. An oil mister.
Also procured during the same epic shopping trip, the Prepara oil mister is an attempt to clean up my cooking. For ages I’ve either been using cooking spray or olive oil from the bottle. I avoid looking at the back of the cooking spray can because propane and isobutane are on the ingredients list. I’m sorry, but my barbecue eats propane, not me. For a while I had my olive oil stored in a small spray bottle, but that broke and I’ve been without one ever since. Enter this spectacular solution:
To work it, all you need to do is pour oil in the bottom (which you can infuse with other flavours if you want to), twist the top portion back on, then pump the clear plastic outer layer up and down a few times. After taking the clear layer off, you simply press down on the nozzle and the olive oil sprays out evenly.
So, what possessed me to purchase the oil mister and the cast iron skillet on this particular shopping occasion? Ever since I found out what a frittata was, I’ve been wanting to cook my own. Up until now I lacked the oven-safe frying pan required for making the top nice and crispy and golden. I know a frittata is basically just an omelette in pie form, but I still felt the need to make one. And make one I did. It was a Veggie Frittata, and it was marvelous. All of the following action occurred over the space of about 15 minutes.
Foodgasms followed. This is a repeater for sure.
5. A new tip from my yoga teacher. As you may have read, I’ve been getting back into yoga recently and last night I learned a little something new from the instructor. She told us that people who have shallow breathing are at a greater risk of developing diseases and medical problems because their bodies don’t expel the toxins that deep breathers do when they inhale and exhale larger amounts of air. So breathe deeply friends!
Finally, my questions for today…
- Did you do/try/learn anything new yesterday?
- What kitchen gadget or utensil could you not live without?