Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Healthy Duo

This week, I caved into being sick--I put up a good fight, but in the end, the chest cold beat me into submission. What really sucked was when I lost my voice. I had a hard day of teaching, but Ken, the ever wonderful husband, hooked me up with a bowl of homemade Pho. Out of gratitude, I rewarded him with a healthy carrot cake. Check out the recipes and light your stoves--I'm off to the farmers market to see what my local farmers are harvesting this week.

Let's start with the best--Carrot Cake made super healthy--an achievement in and of itself and so delicious, you'd never know all the oil and sugar were missing. I came up with this by sifting through a few recipe sites, making changes, and adding some frills and delicacies.
Mel's Healthy Carrot Cake
Makes 16 servings

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 big pinches of cinnamon
1 big pinch of nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves
1 small can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/2 cup of no sugar applesauce
2 Tablespoons robust molasses
2 eggs
juice of one orange
zest of one orange
2 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together dry ingredients. Add applesauce, eggs, molasses and juice and zest of orange. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean (about 35-40 minutes). Set on a rack and cool for 8 minutes; immediately invert onto a cake stand or plate; cool, then ice.

Cream Cheese Icing
4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip softened cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and no lumps remain. Smooth onto cake with a spatula. Top iced cake with 1 Tablespoon chopped pistachios and 1 Tablespoon chopped candied ginger.

Ken's Pho
Ask Ken to name his favorite soup and he will quickly tell you it's chicken noodle; ask him what kind of chicken noodle he likes best and he will thoroughly describe a piping hot bowl of Vietnamese Pho with rice noodles, crispy vegetables, fresh herbs, and lots of hot sauce. While I wouldn't agree that it's the best soup, I will agree that nothing beats back a cold faster. Plus, it's fresh, healthy and low fat!

*Homemade chicken stock
2 poached chicken breasts, pulled into small shreds
1 package thin rice noodles or angel hair pasta
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium jalapenos, thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 big handfuls of shredded carrots
fresh bean sprouts
finely minced ginger
fresh cilantro
fresh basil

Heat stock until it reaches a simmer. Add the shredded chicken breasts. Meanwhile, take rice noodles and put into a shallow pan; cover with boiling water and then cover pan with aluminum foil; let 'cook' for five- six minutes and then drain.

To assemble pho, ladle hot broth into deep bowls. Add a handful of rice noodles and then top with shredded chicken.  Top with celery, onion, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, carrots and bean sprouts; cover with a bit more hot broth. Top with torn basil and chopped cilantro. Serve with Sriracha (an Asian hot sauce made with chili peppers and garlic) and finely minced ginger. Breath fumes and slurp noodles.

*Ken makes his stock by using the carcass of a roast chicken (he uses the meat for the pho) along with fresh bone in and skin on chicken breasts (we poach off some of these every week for salads and sandwiches). He covers the chicken with water, tosses in parsley, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, and garlic and lets it simmer. I'm not exactly sure of his recipe, but I will tell you that his stocks rock--especially his shrimp stock!

1 comment:

  1. the Pho sounds yummy. My hubby makes a great homemade chicken soup when we are fighting a cold. Lots of yummy veggies and broth with a nice hot kick. I will definately be adding this to our make me feel better soup recipes.