Recipes Inspired by the White House Garden

I wish I had a garden. But besides the fact that I live in the city in an apartment building, I do not have a green thumb. I can’t even keep a cactus alive. So as you see, it’s that bad.   So since I can’t grow my own fruits and vegetables, and we all know I haven’t had any luck with the CSA, I go to local produce markets to buy my produce. It’s local, many times organic, and I’m supporting farms around the area.

As everyone knows, I love desserts – cakes, cookies, brownies, you name it. So I like to make other healthy dishes to give me the room to have a treat here and there. I’m always looking for some good, healthy recipes to add to my recipe box.

For the third year in a row, the First Lady has transformed the White House backyard into a robust, 1,500-square-foot fruit and vegetable garden. Throughout the summer and fall, Obama uses the garden’s bounty to serve her own family and the local community as part of her larger Let’s Move campaign to curb childhood obesity and promote healthy living nationwide.

Check out some of the recipes inspired by fresh seasonal crops and festive comfort food that Michelle Obama is sharing with everyone. The one that looks so good to me is the Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes. I don’t know about you, but I love Candied Sweet Potatoes. But all of that butter and sugar isn’t good for me. So this is a wonderful alternative.

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes RecipeImage Source: Eating Well/Everyday Health

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds potato(es), sweet, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup(s) maple syrup, pure
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper, black ground, to taste

Recipe Tip:

If you can find it, organic maple syrup without all the extra additions is your best bet.

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In small bowl, combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.

Recipe Source: Everyday Health Eating Well

Which recipes would you like to try?

5 Ingredient Friday: The 3 B’s Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon)

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe is something totally new for me. It’s my first time ever attempting to make beans that weren’t in a can! I came across Claire Robinson’s recipe for The 3 B’s – Beans (Bacon, Brown Sugar and Bourbon). I love baked beans and honestly all I’ve ever had were Campbell’s Beans. I usually open the can, doctor them up, heat and serve! But I wanted to try something new and I saw this recipe so I figured it would be perfect to try.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried navy beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl of water
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground or spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup bourbon
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, rind removed and diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Put dry beans in a bowl


Soak the beans overnight

Cook bacon in dutch oven; drain and set aside

Drain beans and add to the Dutch Oven


Whisk together brown sugar, mustard, water and bourbon

Add the liquid mixture to the beans

Directions

Drain the beans and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, mustard, water, and bourbon until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove the bacon and all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add the drained beans to the pot and stir in the bourbon sauce mixture. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook the beans, stirring every 20 minutes, until the beans are soft and the sauce is very thick, about 4 hours. Once the beans are cooked, season them with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the cooked bacon and cook, covered, an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve warm.


Notes

If the beans get too dry, add water, 1/4 cup at a time. If the beans are too wet and runny, remove the lid and cook, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached.

My thoughts…

Eh. I was kind of disappointed with how these turned out. Not that I was expecting that much. They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t great. I was hoping these would be out of this world so that I had something new and exciting to take to picnics this summer…but this will not be that recipe.

As others said in the review, the beans were not done in the 4 – 4 1/2 hours that the recipe says. They weren’t even close to being done. I soaked those bad boys for 24 hours as well. After 4 hours, I knew that we were going to be going somewhere, so I transferred everything to a small crockpot and let them continue to cook in there for another 3 hours.  I tasted them and they just kind of bland. I added a little bit of ketchup and a little more brown sugar hoping to help them out a bit.  I added in the bacon and stirred and let those flavors mingle for a bit. I think the recipe was a bit heavy on the mustard. If I were to make this again, I’d knock that down a bit and add in some ketchup. I know, it won’t be 5 ingredients anymore, but I think it would definitely help the dish.

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010
Show: 5 Ingredient Fix
Episode: Big State BBQ 

Souper Bowl Sunday – Week 9

Yesterday’s soup was based off of a recipe called Christmas Chowder that I saw on the Food Network’s web site.  For some reason I’ve been on a huge seafood kick (I blame Cooking Light for publishing that Lobster Risotto recipe, lol) so we have another seafood recipe to enter into the books. I made a number of changes to it so I am just going to post my recipe. You can see the recipe I based it off of by clicking the link above.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lobster tail, approximately 1 pound
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shells still on
  • 1/2 pound (or more if you desire) king crab legs
  • 1/2 pound of lump crab meat
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces high-quality smoked slab bacon, diced
  • 3 medium leeks, white part only, rinsed and diced
  • 5 cups of seafood stock (recipe below)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt, for seasoning
  • Old Bay seasoning (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives

DIRECTIONS:

Seafood Stock:

Peel the shrimp and put the shells in a large stock pot. Set the shrimp aside. Pick all of the meat out of the king crab legs and place the shells in the stock pot. Set the crab meat aside. If you haven’t cooked the Lobster yet, cook the lobster, let it cool, and then take all of the meat out of the shell; set aside. Break the lobster shell into smaller pieces and throw into the stock pot. Add in about a cup of dry white wine, a few chopped carrots, onions, peppercorns, salt and 5-6 cups of water.  I simmered this for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Strain the stock through a cheese cloth. If you don’t have a cheese cloth, use the finest strainer you have. Once you are done straining, there may be some sediment in the bottom of the stock. I just used a ladle to transfer it in a measuring glass so that the sediment would stay at the bottom.

Seafood Chowder:

In a large dutch oven, cook the diced bacon over moderate heat until golden and nearly crisp.  Add the diced leeks to the bacon fat, stir, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add in the 5 cups of seafood stock and continue cooking over moderate heat for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir, cover the pot, and continue cooking, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending upon the potato variety and the thickness of the slices. Keep the chowder base hot as you prepare the lobster meat and cream mixture.

Heat the butter in a wide skillet. Add the lobster meat, crab meat and shrimp. Season with black pepper, and saute over moderate heat 3 or 4 minutes until the meat is firm, opaque, and pink. Pour in the heavy cream, and rapidly bring it to a simmer. Pour the lobster and cream mixture into the chowder base, and stir gently to combine. Taste for seasonings, and adjust with  sea salt,  black pepper, and old bay seasoning. Garnish with chives.

If the soup isn’t thick enough, you may want to add a corn starch + water mixture to the soup so that it thickens up.

I thought this soup was good. I wish it was a bit creamier, but it was still very good. Next time I’ll probably play around with it some more to make it more creamier. I loved the flavor that the smoked bacon gave it.  There was so much seafood in this chowder that each bite was loaded with crab, lobster and shrimp. Perfect for seafood lovers!