Bonnie’s Blog on Food and Grog

Cooking and life advice from a Nana.

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS….. February 21, 2010

Filed under: 1 — bonhuse @ 10:54 pm

“Pancakes and cookies, frittatas, a waffle —

Everything covered in something quite awful–

Big juicy steaks that you barely need chew…

These are my favorites, to name just a few………..”

WHOOPS… Little relapse there!   Probably prompted by the very scary thing that I had to do yesterday!!  Go to the BAKERY!!  And NOT just any bakery… NO… This was “La Creme”  Bakery in Woodland Hills, the absolute best bakery I’ve found YET, and believe me when I say I have looked!   WHY would I submit myself to such torture?  Well, my granddaughter, Sydney,  and I were asked by her Step-mother-to-be to pick out the Wedding Cake.   Very sweet of her to turn over such an important task to us!!  And I love doing things like that, so was more than happy to be asked!!

Well, we entered La Creme to face a sample tray, with delectable little cubes of various cakes and fillings.  The white cake with raspberry mousse filling  is the flavor that Sydney and Pam had selected on a previous trip to the bakery for a tasting.  That and the chocolate with raspberry mousse filling.  Obviously I had to at least taste it to make sure they hadn’t made a horrible mistake.   One tiny cube of each.  Two cubic-inches of cake.  Probably 200 calories, half of which were fat… HEAVEN, I tell you.  I would give a kidney for the recipe for that white cake.  I have never been a big white cake fan.  Usually crumbly, kinda boring…  this one is unreal.  I think maybe the baker is some sort of WITCH or something.  It is too good to be white cake.    I wanted to grab the entire tray of samples and devour it like a starving dingo.  

I think I have made my point.  The cake was good.  Our job was to select the design of the cake which we did.  Very elegant, simple, beautiful.  We made our decisions and I made a run for it.  When I got home I dutifully posted my Weight Watcher’s point consumption, figuring high to be on the safe side.

If the bakery was a temptation to eat like a pig, the next stop was the antidote.  The bathing suit store on Ventura Boulevard called “California Swim”.  I was buying a bridal shower gift, and decided to get a couple of bikinis and cover-ups for the bride to take to  San Lucas  on their honeymoon.   I left there with a conviction to graze on leafy greens the rest of my life.   

So I am sitting here this morning, horrified at the measly FORTY-ONE days remaining , and cognizant of the fact that I cannot START shopping for a dress on April 2!   Clearly I should have started this project a little earlier.  It reminds me of my dear friend Noelleen, who told me about the time she tried to grow tomato plants in two days for a school assignment.   There are some things you just can’t RUSH.   So I must do the best I can, and hope to find the perfect dress…. slimming, elegant,  yet  BIG.  

 Just for a little reality check, Sydney and I did make one other stop yesterday.   There is a really good store in the so-called “Alley in the Valley” which is a small strip of discount stores in Reseda.  One of the stores — “Dressed Up” — has very nice designer dresses and formal wear at reasonable prices.  In we went. 

Wellll, there was one dress that I really liked that COULD conceivably look good due to the figure-concealing design.  Unfortunately, the size they had it in didn’t NEED figure concealment.  I tried on two others, both of which were out of the question.  Staring, horrified, into the unflattering mirror with the brutally honest lighting, I told myself not to panic, that 10 more pounds will make a significant difference.  And it will.  Every ounce of my weight goes directly to a section of my body from my waist to  my knees.  It is NOT attractive.  However, conversely, every pound I lose makes a real difference in what I can wear.   Corrective under garments have come a long way.  “Spanx” , God Bless those people, are unbelievable.  But even Spanx have their limitations.  There are laws of physics that even Spanx cannot overcome.   I therefore cannot depend on them to do anything but redistribute the excess slightly, and make me really, really, uncomfortable.   Forging on with renewed conviction is the only answer!! 

Back to food.  The Pork and Tomatillo Stew was definitely a success.  It actually tastes very much like another MUCH more fattening version which I invented, of course.  The only difference is that you choose a less fatty cut of pork.  In fact, it is the loin, which has very little fat at all.  The result is, of course, a slightly less juicy meat but a much less fatty stew over-all.  Delicious, nonetheless, and high in fiber and good things!

I have a sort of rule of thumb when trying new recipes.  I always do it the first time without changing any ingredients or processes.   If there is a spice we particularly dislike, I will leave that out, but on the whole, I follow it to the letter the FIRST time.  I mention this because  it seems that  95%  of  the entire bean-eating world  HATES Lima Beans.  If you  are among that majority,  just leave them out of this recipe.  I happen to like them and plus they add some fiber and make it more filling.  It’s another slow-cooker recipe too, so you can throw it together and leave. 

Pork  and Tomatillo Stew

1-1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos,  husked and rinsed  and cut in half   — may have to go to the Mexican market for these….

3 poblano peppers — these are big dark green peppers, often available in regular markets, and always at our local Mexican market, “Vallarta”. 

1 large onion, cut into wedges

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved

1- 1/4 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

1  – 15-ounce can of hominy, drained

1 – 10 ounce box frozen lima beans, thawed

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat boiler.  Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Arrange tomatillos, poblanos, onion, and jalapenos on baking sheet.  Broil vegetables  4 inches from heat until lightly charred, 2 – 3 minutes per side.  Let cool slightly.  Put vegetables in food processor and puree. 

2.  Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with cumin and salt.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned, about 5 – 6 minutes.  Transfer pork to slow cooker.  Stir in tomatillo puree, hominy, beans, broth and oregano.  Cover and cook until pork is fork-tender, 4-5 hours on high, or 8 – 10 hours on low. 

3.  Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro. 

This is 241 calories per servings (one cup) , 8 grams fat, and 6 grams fiber.  For Weight-Watchers, it is 5 points a serving.  Not bad!!  Very filling, satisfying, and fun to make.  You could spice it up even more by adding some hot sauce or fresh salsa when you serve it…  We really enjoyed it. 

Another way to do this would be to NOT puree the vegetables after charring them.  You could add them to the pot cut up as directed, and do everything else the same.  If you like a chunkier stew, that is the way to go. 

If you are not dieting, or decide to splurge, or are one of those fortunate individuals with the metabolism of a hummingbird, then try this recipe with a pork shoulder or pork butt.  Everything else the same, but a fatty, more tasty cut of pork.  THEN, to continue your eating enjoyment, you can spoon the stew into tortillas and roll them up for a really delicious soft taco, or burrito… call  it what you like — it’s delicious.   You skinny people can add cheese and sour cream and all those wonderful things as well.  I hate you.    But DO enjoy it. 

OK — I’m off to the swimming pool, with visions of me in that enormous dress that made me look like an explosion in a fabric factory.  THIS will make me swim faster!!   Hasta Manana!!


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