Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Research Proposals

Since we've met a total of three times, it only seems natural that I would already have a research proposal due today for my art history class. Right? Because a week is definitely enough time for me to know which art objects in a span of 20,000 years I'd like to research.

All sarcasm aside, the real problem I face is narrowing down the things I want to research. My three possible topics were:
1. Comparing funerary masks of various cultures and the meaning/power that was attributed to them by that civilization.
2. Discovering (for myself--not all of humanity--obviously) what kind of link there is between abstraction in Mesopotamian art, and abstraction and pattern in Islamic art.
3. The iconography (meaning of the symbols) of Egyptian jewelry and cultures it was influenced by/influenced.

The second topic came to light because I asked a question last class period that my teacher didn't have a definitive answer to, so he said, "That would be a great research paper."

The third topic, though... is much more interesting to me. Hmmm, I wonder why...

So, I'm printing out #2 and #3 and taking both of them with me to class.

(Really, I'm turning in the Egyptian jewelry proposal, and keeping the Islamic art proposal as a backup in case my professor doesn't like my first submission. Wish me luck.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Double-Coconut Macaroons (not quite pina colada...)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe for basic coconut macaroons I found on Tasty Kitchen.

Double-Coconut Macaroons

14 oz bag of shredded coconut
3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 whole egg whites
1-2 tablespoons pina colada drink mix

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a baking sheet.
Mix all ingredients but the eggs and drink mix.
Add in egg whites and drink mix at the end.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes.

I am not a fan of coconut, but I made these for a Hawaiian luau-themed potluck, and everyone really liked them. I had a couple, just to test them... and I have to say they were pretty tasty.

The intent was to create a pina colada macaroon, but the pineapple was missing. So next time I think I'll mix some finely diced pinapple into the cookie mix and see how it goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers

I'm just going to say this in advance: You're welcome.

My mouth is watering right now just thinking about this. You have to make it.

Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
from Real Simple magazine, issue unknown

  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges (I used 2 medium shallots)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1.5 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds

  • 1 cup long-grain qhite rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  2. 25 minutes before serving, cook the rice.
  3. Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with avocado and cilantro.

That's it. Simple but incredibly flavorful and tender. The only change I made was to use shallots instead of onion--just because that's what I had on hand.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sophie's Chopped Salad by Bobby Flay

This recipe was featured in Shape magazine in Aptil 2008.

  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 T canola oil
  • 3 c finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup canned red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup nicoise olived, pitted and coarsley chopped
  • 3/4 cup mix of 1/2-inch cubes reduced-fat white cheddar cheese and 1/2-inch cubes reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (3 oz total)
  • White and blue corn tortilla chips for garnish
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

In a blender, blend the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Set aside.
In a large bowl add everything else except the chips and chives. Toss together.
Dress lightly with the vinaigrette and garnish with chips and chives.

In my humbe opinion, the chips shouldn't be optional. That crunch would be sad to miss out on.

Doesn't store well. Obviously. Serve it right away.

Tropical Shrimp with Ginger-mango Relish

This recipe also makes one serving of Couscous with Shrimp and Asparagus.
From Shape magazine, August 2007

Tropical Shrimp with Ginger-Mango Relish
-serves 4

  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons each salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry (I used frozen pre-cooked--I don't recommend taking that route)
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 4 tablespoons crystallized ginger, slivered
  • zest of 1 line
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Lime wedges (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large shallow bowl, combine 2 teaspoons oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add shrimp and toss to combine, then spread in a single layer on a large cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp are just cooked.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mango, red onion, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, and remaining two teaspoons oil and toss to coat.
Place 5 of the cooked shrimp in a covered container and refrigerate until you're ready to prepare them for the Couscous dish.
Divide remaining shrimp among four dinner plates and top with mango relish. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Nutrition (5 shrimp and 1/3 c relish)
-218 calories
-7 g fat
-14 g carbs
-25 g protein
-1 g fiber
-79 mg calcium
-3 mg iron
-330 mg sodium

The shrimp and relish alone is NOT dinner in my opinion. 218 calories? I don't think so. I ate this with quinoa. Tasty and full of great nutrients, including protein.

Couscous with shrimp and asparagus
Serves 1
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 medium asparagus spears, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons couscous
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 5 cooked Tropical Shrimp, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
In a 1-quart saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add asparagus and return to a boil. Stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 8 minutes. Fluff lightly with a fork.
In a medium bowl, combine parsley, lime juice, mustard, oil, and lime zest. Stir in shrimp and couscous mixture. Serve warm or chilled.

302 calories
8 g fat
38 g carbs
19 g protein
5 g fiber
83 mg calcium
5 mg iron
599 mg sodium

Okay. I loved both of these. The relish is delicious. But of the two, I preferred the second. So I might just make the Tropical Shrimp and relish, and use all of the shrimp in the second recipe, then serve it with the relish on top.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whole-wheat linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce

Yum. I loved this, and highly recommend it--but only if you like olives. I didn't have whole-wheat linguine, so I just used whole-wheat spaghetti.

From Shape magazine, issue unknown

Whole-wheat linguine with Cherry Tomato Sauce
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 pound whole-wheat linguine
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, garlic, olives, salt, and crushed pepper. Let mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Cook linguine in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain into a large colander, then transfer to a large bowl.
Toss linguine with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Place the tomato mixture in a sieve over a bowl to drain the excess liquid, then lightly toss the mixture over the pasta. Add the basil, toss again, and serve.

per serving (2 cups):
518 calories
19 g fat (4 g saturated)
74 g carbs
18 8g protein
2 g fiber
193 mg calcium
4 mg iron, 472 mg sodium

Cold Curried Chicken Salad with Cranberries

from Shape magazine November 2006

I tried this, but apparently Shape editors shop at a grocery store that is better-stocked than mine... because I had to make up a cranberry relish, and it was a complete failure. If you're more comfortable making a fruit relish than I was, and if you give this a try and like it, let me know what you did, and I'll give it another go. As it is, this isn't a recipe I'll revisit.

Cold Curried Chicken Salad with Cranberries
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup lowfat mayonaise
3 Tbsp cranberry-orange relish (Shape says "bottled on shelf or fresh in deli section")
2 cups mixed baby greens

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except greens. Toss well, cover, and chill for 15 minutes (can be made the day before). Divide salad in half and place over each serving of greens.

per serving
388 calories
11g fat
28 g carbs
45 g protein
3 g fiber
65 mg calcium
2 mg iron
474 mg sodium

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coming Soon

So... the supper club idea died a quiet death. For a couple weeks in a row a bunch of people told me they could make it, and then canceled the day of. So I bagged that idea because it was just causing stress in my life. Instead, I've just been making two or three new recipes each week. Almost all of them have been excellent.

So, here's a selection of the recipes that I'll be posting soon:

-curried chicken salad (I might have to try this one again before I post. It was a failure. Mostly because I tried to improvise with little to know understanding of how to make a homemade orange-cranberry relish.)
-Cuban braised beef
-sweet cherry and apple salsa
-Parmesan-crusted tilapia with lemon-pepper green beans

I also bought a couple of new cookbooks that focus on making large batches of food and then freezing most of it for later use. I thought with starting back to school that kind of cooking would really work well for me. Haven't started using that method yet, but when I do, you'll be the first to know how it goes.

I forgot

that at the beginning of the semester I would have to get a new student ID card.

Ew. Should have thought to pause and re-apply some makeup.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

With Both Feet

A while ago I posted about all of the different options I was thinking about for school.

Well, I made a decision, and I start classes on Monday.

I'm currently going back to BYU as a Post-Bac/Evening student, taking prerequisites to get into the Art History and Curatorial Studies MA program. My end goal is to work in Museum Educational and Family Programming, and I would also love to teach part-time (maybe full-time eventually. We'll see.).

So that's it.

At least for now. There is the one hurdle of actually getting accepted to deal with. GRE, here I come.