Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 5: The Art of French Cooking

I was joking with one of my closest friends about being famous one day, and having my blog picked up one day to be a feature film like Julie and Julia. Everyone who loves cooking as much as I do has probably seen that film which detailed a young woman, Julie, who embarks on a conquest to make every recipe from famed chef, Julia Child's, cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So while I didn't use one of her recipes, I was inspired by her enough to make two French themed recipes today. While they don't use nearly as much butter as normal French cuisine contains, they are a healthier alternative but just as tasty. Seriously, my sister groaned orgasmically (is that a real word?) while eating her share of dinner tonight. I know Julia Child's views on dieting (“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook” is one her notorious quotes), but trust me, these recipes are so good that it won't even feel like you're dieting. You are what you eat, so you may as well eat well! 

Shrimp and Tilapia Remoulade with Palmitos Served in Romaine Boats 
*Note: I ran out of shrimp so I added in the tilapia, but you could double the amount of shrimp if you have enough.
Makes 2-3 Servings

8-10 unpeeled frozen shrimp (you can also buy it cooked and peeled in the frozen section of the store as well if you want--I know Target carries both options)
half dozen palmitos cut into stripes (palmitos are basically palm hearts already sliced--I have the Goya Brand)
2 filets of tilapia (optional if you have enough shrimp)
2 stalks celery sliced thinly
2/3 c. light mayonnaise
1 tsp chopped chives
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash's Fiesta Lime spice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 pinches of thyme
2 tbsp mustard (whole grain is better but I just had regular French mustard)
2 tsp minced garlic
6 leaves of Romaine lettuce
1 tsp dill for garnishing

*Note: Remoulade is basically a mayonnaise based sauce, also known as aioli sometimes, kind of like a French version of the American's tartar sauce only without the relish.

1) Cook the shrimp on high in the microwave for about 3 minutes (until they are pink). Remove skins and set aside. 
2) To make the remoulade, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
3) Mix in the shrimp and put in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
4) After shrimp has marinated in the sauce, spoon out about 2 tbsp onto the Romaine "boats".
5) Garnish the boats of shrimp with dill.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

Spicy Chocolate Peanut Butter Ricotta Mousse 
Makes 6-8 servings

1 3/4 c. part-skim ricotta
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites
1/2 c. Splenda or Truvia
1 tbsp natural creamy peanut butter (when I say natural, I don't mean the brands that claim that they are natural but then have additives like honey, cane syrup, and other crap--I mean, pure peanut butter--just the peanuts)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Spices to sprinkle on top:
black pepper 
salt (can use sea salt or kosher salt, but I didn't have that so I used Morton's salt. "When it rains, it pours!")

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) With a hand mixer, whisk together ricotta, almond milk, cocoa powder, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, and peanut butter in a large bowl until mixture is creamy. (*You should really use a food processor or blender instead, but I don't have those as I broke my blender last night if you read the previous blog!)
3) Clean off the mixer doodads, and in a medium bowl, beat egg whites and Splenda until stiff peaks form. (Be patient--it takes about 5 minutes. You can daydream about the amazing guilt-free treat you will be enjoying later!)
4) With a rubber spatula, fold in (that means gently stir with the spatula for those novice chefs out there reading this blog) the egg whites into the ricotta mixture. 
5) Pour blended mixture into 6 small ramekins (or you could ceramic oven-proof teacups--I have a bunch from Syracuse China, however, I used 3 mini-loaf pans the previous tenants bought on sale at the Christmas Tree Store and just left them in my apartment, score!)
6) Pour some water about 1/2-3/4 way in a rectangular pan (mine's 13x9x2).
7) Place on second shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes (the tops should be firm when you pat them with your finger, not that I'm condoning touching food with your fingers, unless you're like me, and you don't care because you're just eating it yourself or sharing with close relatives or friends).
8) Remove from oven and let cool for about 5-10 minutes in the casserole dish before removing them.
9) Sprinkle spices on top of mousse for garnish.
10) Refrigerate for at least 3 hours OR I put two pans in the freezer to make a healthier version of ice cream! If you do that, freeze for several hours or overnight and when you take it out of the freezer to eat, let it thaw for a few minutes before digging in.

Enjoy and Bon Appetit! 

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