fontas food

eating my way through suburbia

Monday, July 26, 2004

The challenge for today? Make something tasty, low in points, and liked by the Spawn! As anyone who has ever cooked for a teenaged girl knows, this is not an easy task.

I decided to do something with pork tenderloin. My idea was to create a "Tower of Pork" and here's how I did it...

First, the ingredients:

1/2 cup citrus fruit juice (I used Dynamo Juice from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. sesame seed oil
1 T. brown sugar

1 pork tenderloin (sorry, I didn't weigh it until after it was cooked)

First, I made the marinade by combining the first 7 ingredients. I stirred it well to make sure that the sugar dissolved completely.

Then, I sliced the pork into 1/4" thick slices:

When it was all sliced, then I pounded it out so that it was very thin. In the picture, you'll see that I cover the pieces with plastic wrap before pounding. This is so that the pork doesn't stick to the mallet.

All the pork went into a container and the marinade went in with it (Everybody into the pool!):

I put the pork in the fridge and let it "steep" for a couple of hours. If you were pressed for time, I think 30 minutes would do the trick too, though.

After marinating, I quickly grilled the pork on my Calphalon grill pan:

It has to be done in batches so I started ahead of time and just set the cooked pork aside. When it was all finished, I gave it a zap in the microwave just to heat it up a bit. Because it's so thin, it cooks very quickly. The marinade might smoke a bit too (because of the sugar) so turn the fan on!

I also strained and reduced the marinade to use as a sauce. I strained it first to remove the garlic and then, in a small pan, boiled it, skimming any foam off, until it was reduced by half. This part is completely optional.

To serve, I shredded some cabbage as a foundation for the "Tower". Here it is, served with rice cooked in chicken broth and steamed bok choy:

Total pointage for the entire meal, with sauce: 7

4 oz. pork: 4
sauce: 1
rice: 2
bok choy: 0

The Spawn liked it. Phew!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

And the verdict is in...the stuffed Cousa squash was superb!

I didn't look at the clock to see how long I cooked it but here's what I did:

When I put the water on to boil for the spaghetti, I also put the steamer on to boil. When the spaghetti was completely cooked, so was the squash! (Don't you love it when things work out like that?)

Total pointage: 9.5

Squash: 2.5
Spaghetti: 4
Sun-dried tomato sauce: 2
Dressing on the salad: 1

The sauce I used was Classico Creations Sun-dried Tomato Sauce and Spread. I treated it like I would a pesto sauce and tossed the hot pasta with it before plating.

My challenge today...riffing on the LA Times article about stuffed vegetables (registration required), I decided that I would try to make a "low point" entree.

Here are most of the ingredients (I forgot to put the onion and garlic on the table):

In recipe speak:

6 Cousa summer squashes
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
fresh spinach (no idea how much as I bought it by the bag at the farmer's market)
10 oz. ground turkey breast meat
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (Walla Walla's are in season!)
1/2 T. olive oil
1 T. flat-leaf parsley, fresh, finely chopped
1 t. basil, fresh, finely chopped
salt and pepper

I took the top bits off the squashes and hollowed them out. Sprinkle some salt on them and turn them upside-down on some paper towels. They can sit there while the rest of the action is taking place.

Steam the spinach. Once it's cooked, drain it and let cool.

Meanwhile, chop everything that needs chopping. Mix together the tomatoes, cheese, peppers, and herbs.

Brown turkey meat in a non-stick pan. Set aside to cool. (BTW, my initial 10 0z. cooked down to 7.75 oz.)

In the same pan, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until starting to soften, then add garlic. Cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Squeeze any excess fluid from the spinach and coarsely chop. Add to vegetable-cheese mixture. Add turkey and onions and garlic. Mix well.

Invert squash and wipe dry with a paper towel. Stuff mixture into hollows. Mine looks like this:

Serves 6 (although only 3 are shown here) at 2.5 points per serving. Yowza!

I will update this when I've cooked these puppies...