Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Spin on Eggs

Let’s paint a picture of my typical Tuesday night. I flee from work as close to 5 as possible. Sometimes, I go wild and head for the elevators a few minutes early (4:53 to be exact). Then, I power walk to Penn station bobbing and weaving through hoards of tourists in Times Square looking up at billboards and taking pictures in front of the oh-so-picturesque Duane Reade.

Once I hop on the 5:17 train, I can relax, read a book or fall asleep. Some LIRR train riders obviously missed the memo on relaxation. Every day, a loyal group of grumpies line up in front of the doors so they can spring from the train first, make a running beeline to their car and therefore arrive home 30 seconds before the rest of us suckers.  I would love to catch this on video some day. It’s a real treat to witness.

After navigating this complicated train evacuation and walking up a few flights of stairs to my car, I spiral down the parking garage and drive swiftly (but legally ;) to the gym. A quick costume change, and I’m ready for spin class (usually I remember to call and register before noon to secure a bike).

Spin class is the highlight of my workout week. It’s fast paced and energetic. The music pumps, the teacher motivates and after a grueling hour of work I feel like I can do anything. I stretch out and head home. When I finally walk through the door it’s at least 8PM. I’ve been up since 5:15AM.

Who the heck wants to cook at 8PM? I’m sweaty and hungry. Hungry Trish can be a truly scary beast. EGGS IN PURGATORY is my response to hectic Tuesdays. You can make it in five minutes…literally. 

I wrote a recipe just to be as descriptive as possible, but really it’s just an egg poached in spicy tomato sauce. To stay carb free, I serve mine on top of a bed of sautéed escarole and white beans. But, a side of crusty Italian bread would be the perfect splurge accompaniment.

If this is what Purgatory is all about, I wouldn’t mind hanging there for a while. I didn’t even know this dish existed. I was searching for ideas to spruce up eggs and stumbled on it. A recipe involving a strange reference to religion and the bible stopped me in my tracks. It’s such an odd title.

Protein is essential after a workout routine. It helps to build up muscle tone. The spicy tomato sauce gives the eggs and unexpected kick. Anything that can taste this rich and satisfying and be on the plate in 5 minutes is a keeper in my book.

If you have any super quick, post-workout food ideas, please share. I seem to over-complicate everything and can always use some guidance in the ways of simplification.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I’m certainly no chef, but I like to think of myself as a pretty solid home cook. Plus, I have a husband who gladly stands in as “soux chef” when I need an extra pair of hands. He chops; he measures; he grills, all while balancing a pint of beer in his free hand. It’s quite impressive.

I hate to admit inferiority, but there are a few dishes Joe makes far better than me. Me, food lover and eating expert out-cooked when it comes to stir-fry.  His protein is always cooked to perfection, never overcooked or dried out. Each veggie is crisp and green even though they cook at different times and temperatures. There’s just the right amount of sauce to coat each bite, without having a pool at the bottom of your plate. It might sound simple, but I am yet to master it.

What goes better with stir-fry than rice? Rice, however, is where both of us epically fail. It seems so easy. You follow the instructions on the package for boiling water! But, we can’t seem to get it right. It always turns out looking more like oatmeal than a fluffy side dish.

The last time we battled brown rice, it actually turned out pretty decent. There had to be a catch…and there was. We made enough rice to feed a family of four for three weeks. Too bad we’re a family of two and only intended to eat the rice once.

I had to find a use for this leftover rice. I couldn’t just throw it away. I come from a family that would wrap up one lonely piece of bacon or a third of a chicken cutlet to enjoy another day. It’s in my genes. We don’t waste.

I decided on a BAKED RICE PUDDING. I know rice pudding may have the stigma of being a totally 70’s Suzy Homemaker dessert. I could care less. I really like it. For healthy eaters, it’s a dessert that packs in some fiber and protein. You’ll actually feel full while treating yourself.

Of course I swapped out white rice for brown. I’m also substituting whole milk for almond milk. I’m not sure if you’ve experimented with almond milk before, but I’m a huge fan. It’s low in calories but has a subtle nutty, sweet flavor that makes it perfect for a dessert. If you prefer regular milk, go ahead and use 1%.

This rice pudding is, snuggle-up-on-the-couch-with-a-good-book kind of good. It’s hearty and warming. It makes me think of fireplaces and wool socks. I baked the pudding in a water bath to keep it moist and creamy without getting dry around the edges.  The raisins add a burst of sticky sweetness in each bite.

Even though this bakes for a hefty chunk of time, the brown rice holds it’s chewy texture so you can scoop out a nice serving and it won’t ooze all over the dish. Embrace the chilly breeze while it lasts. Spring is right around the corner.

* Love it? Hate it? Get cooking and let me know what you think!

Medium-Grain Brown Rice on Foodista

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pound It Out

A few months back I went to a bridal shower at an Italian restaurant where they served a delicious platter of Veal Milanese. Amidst the mayhem of gift opening and shrieking women, I made a mental note to try the dish at home, my way.

For those of you out of the Italian food loop, Milanese is typically a veal cutlet, pounded thin, then breaded and fried. It’s usually served with a lemon wedge or some sort of vinaigrette based salad on the side, simple and delicioso.

I opted for chicken breast instead of veal. I took the lazy girl way out and bought the thin sliced cutlets from the supermarket. If you have some chicken in the fridge already, you can butterfly the whole breast and pound it between two pieces of plastic wrap.

Panko Japanese breadcrumbs are a must here. I don’t know what magic the Japanese are working, but anything coated in panko comes out of the oven with a crunchy brown coating, like culinary presto chang-o!

My husband and I picked apart an entire cutlet before the plate was even finished. This chicken is certainly good enough to stand alone. But, what’s a magician without his lovely assistant? The arugula adds a peppery bite that makes a seemingly simple salad really punchy and flavorful. It completes the act.

My favorite part of this CHICKEN MILANESE is its versatility. I made it one night for dinner and had the leftovers the next day for lunch. It can be served warm or at room temp. The dish plates up so beautifully you could easily serve it to guests.

I offer this recipe as proof that Italian food doesn’t have to be covered in mozzarella to be completely satisfying!

* Love it? Hate it? Get cooking and let me know what you think!

Chicken Breast on Foodista

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lazy Girl Special

My husband goes to night school twice a week. I usually use the time to catch up on a workout at the gym and when I come home, I’m left to scrounge around the apartment for something that resembles dinner. I do so much cooking as a hobby, that on nights like this one, I want to chill out. It’s 9 PM, I’m damn hungry, sore from a 45 minute spin class and in need of instant gratification.

Sometimes I find myself eating peanut butter from the jar, cereal from the box, or milk from the carton. It’s all well and good to pretend you’re a bachelor every now and then. But without preparing a meal, putting it on a plate and being aware of how much you’re eating, it’s easy to down a half jar of that peanut butter while watching the Animal Planet…in a pink fuzzy robe…on the sofa.

Tonight’s lazy girl special is oatmeal. Oatmeal is perfectly fine. I actually have a cool oatmeal recipe coming your way next week. But, last night’s HUMMUS FLATBREAD was much more satisfying for a low effort dinner.

Whenever I’m at Whole Foods, I stock up on their frozen whole-wheat pizza dough. It has the best taste and texture I’ve found in whole-wheat supermarket dough. But, feel free to use whichever brand you like that’s easily accessible to you. You can even use toasted pita for this.

The idea is simple. Roll out the dough. Bake it for a few minutes. Top with your favorite hummus, sliced tomato and fresh herbs and you can be back on that sofa in minutes.

The lazy ME would dunk pita chips straight from the bag into a plastic tub of hummus. The sensible ME appreciates the same flavors in a portion-controlled package. The flatbread is crisp, the hummus is creamy and the fresh vegetables make it a well rounded, late night dinner.

* Get cooking. Let me know what you think. Love it? Hate it? I’m interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Hummus on Foodista