Showing posts from June, 2011

Belgian Style Homemade Hot-Chocolate

Perhaps my most favorite cup of hot chocolate came from a small cafe in Bruges, Belgium a few years ago. The idea that three grown women can sit around sipping hot chocolate in the rain and laughing all afternoon seems a bit immature from our stoic American attitudes, but it was exactly what I needed that day. The comedy was provided by myself as I took the Belgian chocolates that had melted from the heat of saucer and dipped another chocolate into the soft melted goo. Sarah exclaimed "Liv!!! You're dipping your chocolate in your chocolate!" Yes, Yes I did, and I don't regret a second of it.


1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 3/4 cup white sugar 1 pinch salt 1/3 cup boiling water 3 1/2 cups milk 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup half-and-half cream DirectionsCombine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an slight boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of mil…

Le Sandwich Américain - "The Most Perfect Comfort Food Ever"

One night while eating a sandwich Americain I asked those around me to name one, any single comfort food that rivals the sandwich Americain? Some named fried chicken, some nachos, some mash potatoes, but in the end they all agreed that nothing rivals Le Americain (also known as a mitraillette in Belgium), with its "toasted, buttered, full baguette filled with at least 5 fast-food type hamburger patties, dripping with cheese, (Gruyère or Emmental) doused in ketchup, then filled to the brim with fries". I first heard about this gut buster from Shannon while studying abroad in France.

Le Sandwich Americain, (The American Sandwich) which is not to be confused with the steak tartare version common in Belgium, is perhaps the most brilliant and clever combination of ingredients and flavors anyone has ever created. Similar to the English's chip butty, the Americain's massive proportions are a joke upon American's girth as well as the solution to answer any and all food …

Welsh Cakes Recipe

Low Fat Welsh Cakes
In Wales, a right of passage is having your mother pass on the family Welsh cake recipe. Made popular by the coal miners of Wales, Welsh cakes were packed in the miners lunches by their wives. They eventually became popular among everyone as quick delicious treats, and it was common for the Welsh to whip up a batch from common household ingredients upon a visitor's arrival.
Ingredients: 2 cups of self rising flour 1 stick of butter 1 tablespoon  milk 1/3 cup of eggs 3/4 cup of sugar 3 oz currants, raisins, etc. ½ teaspoon of mixed spice

Method: Preheat your stone (or iron skillet) to medium-low (3). Mix all your ingredients in a bowl and then roll into little balls. Flatten out your balls of dough on a floured surface and transfer to pan and cook for about 4 minutes then flip and repeat. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar and serve warm. ** You also need some cooking spray.

Chicken Enchiladas and Rice Recipe

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Enchiladas are a popular Mexican dish which uses tortillas dipped in a tomato based sauce and baked. Originally a finger food where a flat bread was dipped in a sauce, the dish evolved into the baked dish it is when people began stuffing and rolling the tortillas similar the cabbage and olive wrapped dishes of Europe.

Ingredients: 1 pound skinless chicken breasts tortillas salsa caliente (this works great) ½ onion chopped 16 ounces of your favorite cheese cilantro to taste non-fat cooking spray Mexican rice (as a side) Method: Chop chicken and onion and grill on stove with non-stick spray. Transfer to bowl. Add 8 oz of cheese, chopped cilantro, and 1 cup of salsa then mix. Take warmed tortillas and add filling. Roll, and place in large baking pan which has been sprayed with non-fat cooking spray. Take additional amounts of salsa and top rolled enchiladas. Take second block of cheese, shred, and top over sauce. Bake f…

How to make pizza low fat - Thin crust recipe

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and the thought of not being able to eat pizza was a very difficult idea for me to accept while dieting. I went in search for healthy options, and not many existed. For a while I used a thin crust wheat pizza which was a great replacement, but then one day on a whim I tried a tortilla. What do you know, it was better. 
For 6 grams of fat you can have a delicious veggie pizza. Comprised of 1.5 grams in the tortilla, and 4.5 grams in the light mozzarella cheese. You can lower your fat intake even more by going with Cabot 75 cheddar in lieu of the mozzarella and save an addition 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
Adding additional toppings like black olives, or turkey pepperoni does add additional fat and calories, but if you can't live without them, this is still a much better alternative than your grocer's freezer section offerings.
My spouse makes a low-fat Canadian bacon and pineapple version and loves that the tortillas actually crisp and harden…

How to make Mexican Rice

How to make Mexican Rice

It's one thing to toss a lot of oil or butter in your rice. It's an entire thing all together to make a rice that goes great with vegetarian dishes, as well as those in the traditional sense without the fat. This recipe has no oil, no butter, tastes great and is perfect to fill tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. It's not a Spanish rice in the traditional sense, since it includes no tomato paste or sauce, but uses several flavors to accent your main dish. It's the perfect combination of flavors and colors to accent great Mexican food.

QUICK FACTS ON RICE: The word rice literally means “food” or “meal” in Mandarin and Japanese. It symbolizes luck, life, wealth and fertility and is traditionally used in ceremonial rituals such as marriage. In Asian cultures; songs, poems, and festivals celebrate with rice. Rice which is technically apart of the grass family, is actually the seed of the rice plant.
Ingredients: 2 cups of rice 32 oz chicken …

Hashbrowns for people who can't cook hashbrowns: Homefries.

s Ten years ago I was living in a small studio apartment in Ventura California with my room-mate Shannon at the time, and both of us were having a craving for hash browns. My initial attempts to cook hash-brows led to potatoes which were burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. Some people just can't cook hash browns she said perhaps a bit drunk. Shannon had decided to embarrass me in front of a group of friends by making it known she was certain I'd never be able to make a decent plate of hash browns. She then stated, "If she ever manages to make me hash-browns, I'll turn lesbian and marry her."

To her surprise that was also just days before this girl accidentally and unknowingly stumbled upon a manner of cooking hash-browns named for their ease of cooking at home, thus I had discovered home-fries. Known also in parts of the world as house-fries or cottage fries, they're easier to cook because they're diced rather than shredded, and shallow deep-fried…

TJ's Deli Hot Sicilian Sandwich Recipe

Patterned after sandwich #60 from my local deli restaurant  TJ's Deli, this is my favorite sandwich in the world: The Hot Sicilian.
Sicilian food may have some vague familiarity with most American's palettes due to the fact it's a spicier variation of traditional Italian foods.
The food, like the word Sicilian originated from the island of Sicily, Italy whose cuisine, linguistics, and culture became varied as a result of its seclusion from main-land Italy.
Sicilian food is generally fast, great tasting, and relatively cheap.
bread rolls of your choice. Italian marinara Provolone cheese bacon pepperoni mayonnaise thin sliced ham shredded lettuce sliced tomato 1000 island dressing (creamy) yellow sliced banana peppers grilled onions
Method: Cook bacon & grill onions. Lightly grill ham and pepperoni on griddle. Warm marinara. Assemble sandwich with mayonnaise, dressing, banana peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and meats. Place on cooking sheet in preh…

Mars Muffin Recipe - Candy Bar Muffins

What is a Mars Bar Muffin? They're commonplace in the U.K. as the Brits have some odd food fetish with Mars Bars. Almost any petrol station will be filled with Mars drinks, Mars muffins, Mars candy bars and countless other derivatives. The Mars phenomenon is something you quickly get addicted to, so the moment I landed in London this last time I made a direct exit from the plane door and into a confectionery store for my long missed Mars muffin. It's a chocolate, caramel, nuggety muffin made with all the flavors of the traditional Mars bar, and topped in milk chocolate. It's a win-win for anyone who has a fondness of either muffins, chocolate, or both together.

There's one tiny problem with baking Mars bars muffins while living in the United States: You can't actually buy Mars bars anymore here. Like Scottish haggis, apparently they've been banned. More importantly, even if you could, the once available American version of the famed candy bar was never ingredi…

Almost Fat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

These cookies are almost fat-free except for the chocolate. My recipe shaves over 8 grams of fat per cookie in comparison to a typical chocolate chip cookie and guarantees you'll never feel nearly as guilty about eating cookies again.
You can easily replace the chocolate with nuts, fruit or another innovation, but one my personal favorites especially during the holidays is adding mint chocolate chips.

Ingredients: 1¾ all purpose flour 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup egg substitute ½ cup white sugar ¼ cup of fat free vanilla yogurt ¾ cup dark brown sugar 11.5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chunks 1 teaspoon salt

Method: Preheat oven to 375° F degrees Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, sugars. Add yogurt, egg substitute, vanilla and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Take large spoon sized lumps of cookie dough and place on cookie sheet sprayed with non-fat cooking spray. Bake …

Les Carbonades Flamandes / Flemish Beef Stew Recipe

While in Bruges, Belgium we visited this very tiny restaurant called mozarthuy's on a sleepy back street. A fire roared inside, and we entered dripping from the cold European rain.We hung our scarfs and jackets on the coat rack and took a seat. We enjoyed drinks and laughter, then moments later came forth a beautiful bounty of Belgian cuisine ordered by our tour guide and best friend, Sarah. She had been living in Brussels for over a year and did a wonderful job of ordering some authentic dishes often passed over by tourists. One of her favorites is Les Carbonades Flamandes otherwise known as Flemish beef stew to us westerners. 

Carbonades Flamandes is about as Belgian as you can get, and each Belgian family has their own take on the stew. Cooked in a rich dark beer (golden ambrosia) and often served with frites (French fries), I absolutely loved this recipe and this dish which we adopted from Belgian cook and author Ruth Van Waerebeek. If you like it, be sure to check out her book…

Scotch Eggs Recipe

Contrary to its name, Scotch eggs weren't invented in Scotland, but by the British in 1851 at a London restaurant called Fortnum and Mason.
Traditionally deep-fried, this recipe saves a ton on fat and calories by using 4.5 gram per serving turkey sausage, and baking the dish rather than deep frying however feel free to engage in bathing them in a bath of vegetable oil just like they do at the pubs abroad if you choose. They're great with H.P. sauce or if you can't get your hands on it, A1 Sauce in the States.

Ingredients: 8 large Eggs 2 pounds of turkey sausage egg substitute breadcrumbs non-fat cooking spray HP Sauce or A1 sauce

Method: Hard boil eggs. Remove shells and allow to cool. Wrap in sausage. Dip in egg substitute. Cover in breadcrumbs Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° F. Cut in half, drizzle with HP sauce or A1, and enjoy.

"No Pudge" Fat Free Brownies Recipe

Several years ago, I tried "No Pudge" fat free brownie mix after a severe sweet craving while dieting. At $4.00 a box, you can see where the incentive was to clone the recipe, or even make it better. This recipe does just that.

Fat-free brownies. It's the Holy Grail of baking. A brownie that defies all known forms of scientific law. A delicious, chewy, decadent, even downright naughty brownie which will blow away the minds and mouths of all those who choose to enjoy this eighth world wonder of the world: Liv's fat-free brownies.

Ingredients: Brownies: 1¼ cups flour 1 cup sugar ¼ cup brown sugar 1/3 cup egg substitute ¼ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup of Hershey's special dark “Dutch” blend cocoa powder 1 6 oz fat free single serving of vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla, butter & nut flavor. Frosting: 8 oz fat free cream cheese 3 cups of powdered sugar ½ cup of Hershey's special dark “Dutch” blend cocoa powder 1 …

Giant Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

I've often made stuffed mushrooms using the smaller mushroom varieties following a similar method as below adding tomato sauce on top, but if you want an interesting main dish, and love mushrooms then this version using giant Portobello stuffed mushrooms is definitely the one you want to try. You may also wish to try a variety of other cheese if available such as Gruyere, Feta or as recommended by a friend, Stilton cheese. You can also try substituting the sausage with crab meat or other meets available locally. They're amazingly succulent, and visibly beautiful as you serve your flowering stuffed giant Portobello stuffed mushrooms to guests.


fresh whole giant Portobello mushrooms ground pork sausage onions mozzarella cheese 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic cayenne, paprika and salt and pepper bread crumbs 

Method:In a bowl combine your uncooked sausage and a couple handfuls of shredded cheese, one chopped onion, bread crumbs, pinches of seasonings and garlic. Mix by h…

Authentic Mexican Restaurant Style Salsa Recipe

So here is the dilemma. You go out to any Mexican restaurant and they always have (generally) the same salsa. It is basic, yet fresh and delicious, but you can't seem to pin down exactly what it is that makes it good. You go to the store hoping to purchase it, but never find anything that remotely tastes like it anywhere. So why does the stuff at the grocery store never tastes anything like the authentic Mexican restaurant variety no matter how many brands you try. Why? Because Old El Paso has to add preservatives and chemicals to prevent their outdated recipe which descended from a two decade old American palette from spoiling on the shelves of your neighborhood hyper market.

Let's first sort out exactly what salsa is. Translated from Spanish it basically means sauce. More precisely it doesn't involve cowboys nor a "New York City" tag line. Real salsa is either red or green, and generally not chunky. Red salsa is your normal variety of tomato based garnish or t…